Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RETRO INTERVIEW: SCOTT "DELUXE" DRAKE

I was first introduced to the Humpers courtesy of a feature in Flipside magazine in the early 1990s. What caught my interest was the comparison to the Dead Boys and the action packed photos of a drunken live set that seemed unreal at the time. I was only getting my fix of garage rock n roll through reissues that were coming out, of bands that no longer existed. Other than that, it was an underground world filled with Fugazi, Screeching Weasel, and math rock hardcore bands taking up space in my favorite zines. This sound and intoxicating wildness was something I craved and when I got ahold of Journey to the Centre of your Wallet, I was officially hooked. Scott “Deluxe” Drake was the charismatic front man that held this loaded gun of a band together. The Humpers ruled the 1990s garage scene and became bigger with their signing to the Epitaph label. As the decade ended so did the band. Drake continued with the Vice Principals, an impressive solo career, and his latest and greatest, the Lovesores. The following is an interview I did back in the summer of 2014 for Fear and Loathing LB magazine. This is the official digital blog reissue of that interview, one of my most enjoyable too. -KM

What was your first experience with the LA music scene and what led you to start playing guitar and singing?

SDD: Well, like most people, I started out as a fan, buying records and going to gigs. I moved to Southern California in 1980 (from Central California), so it was a great time for music. Black Flag, X, Adolescents, Weirdos, Flesheaters, Social Distortion, etc etc etc. There were so many great bands. I sang with a band in Merced called RH Factor, but we only played live one time at an Air Force party. The first band I joined in SoCal was The Naughty Women in 1983, playing guitar,barely hahaha. I joined them because I liked that they were a cross between punk and glam (not Sunset Strip style glam, but 70’s trashy stuff like Dolls, Stooges, Runaways, etc).
What was the atmosphere like at the time… filled with debauchery, exciting, or dull?

Suicide Kings started around 1984, after Naughty Women broke up. Mike Crescione (guitar player from Naughty Women) and I started it. The scene itself wasn’t debauched, but The Suicide Kings certainly were! Around that time most groups were either playing Hardcore or trying to be Red Hot Chili Peppers, so there weren’t a lot of punky rock and roll bands around, especially not in OC. We were based in Stanton.

I was first introduced to the Humpers through your landmark album “Journey to the Centre of your Wallet”, how did the band form and what was your favorite early release?

The Humpers started when I broke up Suicide Kings. A couple of the guys were really strung-out and we just weren’t moving forward. I wanted to do something more high energy musically as well. At first, I intended The Humpers to be all new people, but Jeff Fieldhouse came over to my place and said PLEASE let me be in this new project,so I said okay, which is one of the best decisions I ever made! We met Jimi Silveroli through a mutual friend (I think it was Kerry Martinez?) and Jimi had no background in punk rock at all, he was into Rush and stuff like that, but I guess he had fun playing with us, because he ended up drumming with the Humpers for good.

Billy Burks we got through an ad in The Recycler (the only time that THAT ever worked) and on bass at first we had Jaybird Blake, who became another drug casualty…and then Billy’s friend Mitch Cartwright took Jaybird’s place. We picked-up guitarist Mark Lee alongside the road in Sioux City, Iowa. He was a stowaway hahaha. I didn’t really like many of our early recordings to be quite honest. I’m very self-critical, the songs were good, we just didn’t know what to do in the studio. I don’t think we really started to get into a recording groove until “Journey…” which was our 3rd LP.
I remember seeing the band early on, on tour in Philadelphia playing to a small crowd and at the end; you were playing to packed houses. What do you think led to the band’s rise to mass underground popularity?

I think we appealed to a wide range of people. We always wanted to be “inclusive”. Like, if you like loud guitars with memorable riffs, 3 chords, maybe some funny / smartass lyrics, you’ll like us. You don’t have to dress a certain way, or have any certain politics, all you need is a love of high-energy rock and roll, and a few drinks probably helps.

After being signed to Epitaph, the band went into the studio and re-recorded fan favorites from past albums, what made you decide to redo certain songs?

Well, the LPs we put out before only pressed 1 or 2 thousand copies, Epitaph was pressing 40,000. So the vast majority of people who bought that LP had never heard us before. We figured it would be wise to stack the thing with our best songs.
What are your thoughts on the last Humpers record you did with Epitaph? I’ve always loved “Ghetto in the Sky” and the different approach that song took.

The last LP had some good songs on it, but it was pretty unfocused. We were burned out from touring and the band was on the verge of splitting up, so there were starting to be musical differences and everyone was just sick of each other to some extent.

If I remember correctly, at a show in the mid-90s you told me that the band was going broke touring and owed the label money. Is it true that Epitaph wouldn’t let you record under “The Humpers” name after you left the label?

Well, they stopped supporting us MID-TOUR on our last tour. Our van broke down and we called them and asked for help and they said NOPE. So, their patience with us ran out and they cut-off the cash. But, no, they never said we couldn’t use the name or anything like that. We had a contract with them for 3 LPs and we gave them 3 LPs,then the band broke-up and that was that.
How do you feel about the Vice Principals recording you did after the Humpers? Was it cathartic or a change of pace in any way?

Well, the whole point of the Vice Principals was for my brother (Jeff Drake) and I to do a record together. I see it as an opportunity lost. To me, the expectation was that we’d write a bunch of new tunes together, but we ended-up only writing 2 or 3 together and the rest of the LP was covers and things that we wrote individually. So it was a bit frustrating, but it’s a pretty fun record anyway.
I know so many fans that love your solo record “Grand Mal” and treat it as a long lost Humpers record. How did your approach differ with this album than your other solo releases?

Well, the main difference is that I wrote EVERYTHING on “Grand Mal” (except 1 cover) all at the same time. It’s sort of a concept album, really. All about the dangers of love and crap like that hahaha. My other solo records have been more “patched-together”, old stuff and new stuff, with no over-riding theme.

Your newest band the Lovesores kicks ass! What made you decide to get back into the band racket again?

Cheers! The main thing that made me want to start a real band again was collaborating with Jeff Fieldhouse again. He’s by far my favorite person to write songs with, so when he expressed interest in starting something new I was very excited. He’s no longer with The Lovesores (he left due to some family medical issues) but I’m really proud of the stuff we wrote together. And I really like all the other guys in the band. It’s a way more relaxed experience than being in The Humpers and everybody pitches in, which is cool.
Do you prefer writing your own material or collaborating on songs with a band? I know that on such Humpers classics as “Fast, Fucked, and Furious”, you were the sole writer.

I like both. Sometimes I come up with a complete idea and it’s fun to flesh it out by myself, but other times I’ll have a lyrical idea and I’m stumped for music. So it helps then, to have some input.

Will the Humpers make another record? Do you enjoy doing the occasional reunion gig?

Ahhh... the $64,000 question. I really don’t know. It’s up to the other guys. I’ve told them if they put some music together, I’ll write the words and, so far, nada. Meanwhile, I have a working band in The Lovesores, so that’s where my energy is going. I have no qualms about recording with The Humpers, but there’s more expectation attached to it. I don’t want to put something out just to put something out. It’s got to be good. And, yeah, I always enjoy playing with those guys, they’re my brothers, even when we’re pissed off at each other!

What made you decide to leave California?

It was just time. My wife, Jeannie, and I wanted a change. Sometimes you have to shake things up a bit to keep it fresh. So, not one thing in particular, maybe we were just bored!

Any words of wisdom after serving your time in the rock n roll machine?

Hmmmm, words of wisdom. Well, if you go to the grocery store to grab a few items, and you need milk, get all the other stuff first and get the milk last. Because that gallon of milk is pretty heavy to carry around while you’re shopping...That’s all I’ve got. Cheers!


THE HUMPERS - MUTATE WITH ME

THE HUMPERS - WAKE UP AND LOSE


--Kevin McGovern--
FEAR/LOATHING

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ANIMAL DAYDREAM: CITRUS EP 7"


I remember being a little kid, agitated and bored in the backseat of our family station wagon. I was young enough not to be in school but old enough to be aware of what was around me. I would have to ride along with my mom to pick my dad up from his job. It felt like it was always gray, always cold, and everything just stood still, nothing to look forward to in the near future. I just witnessed people looking miserable, doing their daily routines and it depressed the hell out of me. Why the fuck would I want to be an adult? What a drag! What a serious fucking drag. I would escape into my head while sitting restlessly in the car, listening to the softer rock featured on AM Radio at the time. I would dream of places that had nonstop sunshine, full moons every night, and people who talked to each other about exciting things.

The radio was a friend that gave this dreary atmosphere a mysterious soundtrack, made-for-television movies about teen runaways made me feel like I possibly had a chance to go somewhere else. Those last words from the lost souls of the lost late 1970s haunted me in the early 1980s. The luminous sullenness of Fleetwood Mac, Gary Wright, and America held a darker meaning. It was the sound of neighborhood couples having affairs, going to strange parties, and losing their way in an impromptu sexual revolution.

Animal Daydream’s Citrus EP takes the soft strains of dark feelings and polishes them with a charismatic college-rock blade. The opening track “Citrus” lifts off immediately, with a contagious cocaine fluidity. The abundant harmonies and vibrant strumming bring to mind the retro daze of Fleet Foxes. The Brian Wilson bliss of “Sun (Turn Around)” has a nice touch of psychedelic expansiveness that beams into the ultraviolet buzz. “All That You Can Give” keeps the blissful flow moving along with a slight detour into folk rock balladry. Closing out this four-track collection of retro softer rock eccentricity is the choice cut, “In My Room”. This track has a serene and wired aloofness that eerily echoes the vibes of the Love classic, Forever Changes. If you’re looking for something different, then look this way.



JIGSAW RECORDS
ANIMAL DAYDREAM

--Kevin McGovern--
FEAR/LOATHING

Thursday, January 14, 2016

ANTLERED AUNT LORD – Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (And on Fire) / Throwback Bikes Premiere


Video in motion, prisoners of our own electronic devices, the dull thud of a door closing, and the nervous shudder of one opening create unusual monsters in our imagination. There’s nothing more beautiful than a twenty-four hour establishment, reliable availability is so hard to find in an age of face-time dating and inconsistent suspicion. You can give into the constant state of panic, or just not give a fuck. I prefer the latter. Is it really worth wasting valuable moments of your life wondering if you have a safety net or back up plan? The neon laced violent dance of nature carves the tempo and twists reality into unrecognizable fashion statements constantly. The latest full length by Antlered Aunt Lord creates an alternate universe of apathetic gold for the unsuspecting masses. Impetuous hooks of melody and insomnia fueled chord changes forge a new wave of songwriting that is difficult to define but soothing in its syrupy uncertainty. This motherfucker of musical mayhem requires several listens to acquire a proper addiction, it shrieks and whispers like a fallen star staging a comeback with a live suicide for the final act.

Vocal commotion and overdriven amplified harmonies instigate a joyous paranoia of indie-glam-pop that hits hard and caresses with uncleanliness. If Frank Black covered the first two Squeeze albums and used Frank Zappa as his producer, it might come close to the opulent cacophony presented on Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (And on Fire). AAL consists of only one band member, the eccentric Jesse Stinnard (recording engineer and drummer of the infamous Tunabunny). This collection is a shortened showcase pulled from hundreds of songs that Stinnard has accumulated in an impressive short amount of time. Brigette of Tunabunny shot the video premiere (featured here) for “Throwback Bikes”. A very impressive debut that leaves you wanting more, but each listen opens up a fourth dimension that allows this body of songs to reshape and reinvent itself with repeated exposure.
Choice Cuts:
“Hi-Beam Hi-Priest”-“Pray for Glam”- “Questions from Our Publicist”-“Munsonfly”-“Sigil to Noise”

VIDEO PREMIERE - THROWBACK BIKES

HHBTM RECORDS


Kevin McGovern – FEAR/LOATHING



Thursday, December 3, 2015

SPC ECO and MARK VAN HOEN

The world can be a very bizarre, very loud place at times. The insane volume of the current year’s unimpressive conclusions mixed with the annoying murmur of lives in motion, cars starting in the morning, empty laughter on lunch breaks, and meaningless chatter that booms within the walls of happy hour every day. December comes strutting in like a wounded woman, unknowingly beautiful feeling painfully invisible, but if you attempt to strike up a conversation, you will feel the sting of her disgust with reality. Art should never refer to itself as art. Those who observe it and flirt with it should decide that. The state of modern music is perplexing in many ways. Sonic introductions now reduced to a Tinder-like existence, swipe left, reject, swipe right, and listen. The average person now has an attention span of around seven seconds or so. This concept and fact-finding method has been applied to cinema, music, and newsfeeds that we all partake in. Flash and grab, strike a nerve, rattle an emotion but you better make it fast. I guess people are pretty scared to jump into the pool, the unpredictable chill of immersion. But then again it is December, and it does get pretty fucking cold.

Rearranged moods and obsessive grooves are the name of the game in two current releases that I’ve been letting myself get lost in recently. Saint Marie Records is a relatively new label with its own distinctive sound, there’s a certain crispness and mysterious hum within all of its releases. Whether it’s post-punk, shoegaze, dark-dream, or indie pop, each release is unique because it’s very obvious that artistic vision and creative prowess come before the need to launch “the next big thing”. The sounds of unhinged lust, jilted lovers, jealous rage, uncooperative desire, and mind-altered contemplation come to life in the latest albums by SPC ECO and Mark Van Hoen.

SPC ECODark Matter (Saint Marie Records)

A dream within a dream soundscape that hesitantly advances into a lurid emotional conundrum, the quavering bang croons and rocks loosely with its slow brooding beats, techno drenched sex vocals, and delicate dark synth layers. With the vampire burn of Portishead and experimental shades of Chelsea Wolfe, this entity forges a sound that is decidedly current and seductively hostile in its use of slow, gyrating techno pop and plasma soaked bass line allure. The opening track “Creep In The Shadows” exemplifies the atmosphere of Dark Matter. Disappear into the night, dissolve in the bedroom, and daydream in sepia.

The hypnotic intercourse takes a smooth drop into gloomy hip-hop on “Down Low” which lays down a racy groove with sweet sparks of breathy distortion. Disfigured dream-pop luster creeps its way into the ultra-catchy “I Wont Be Heard” and coy tunefulness of “Playing Games”. “Under My Skin” produces a dreamy doomsday lullaby with a beautifully ravaged melody that floats and dissipates into SPC ECO’s Technicolor void. The entrancing vocals of Rose Berlin and composition skills of Curve’s Dean Garcia create a listening experience that is euphoric and uneasy with a deliberate and sculpted pacing that allows this record to breathe and sway, distraction free.



MARK VAN HOENNightvision (Saint Marie Records)

Night and day warp into a blinding stream of buzzing opiate resonance on the latest release by underground ambient legend Mark Van Hoen. Surreal and winding in its spectrum of melody, with characteristics not unlike the ambient works of Steve Roach and Tangerine Dream, Hoen claims his own territory in the hazy world of symphonic drone. Beginning with his groundbreaking work in Locust and Scala, his non-linear evolution continues, bold and uncompromising in artistic vision.

Eerie sequenced harmonies of psychedelic bleakness gently invade the atmosphere with bewildering dynamics and vigorous lead melodies. Nightvision encompasses a series of techno orchestral movements that bleed together into an otherworldly listening experience. A psychological mind game that mourns and celebrates the horror of everyday life using a lush array of synthesizers and haunting loops as the narrator. Love and hate, beauty and terror, in the end we all face the inevitable.


--Kevin McGovern--
FEAR/LOATHING

Thursday, November 5, 2015

RADIOHEARTS and JUKEBOX ZEROS

After a pleasant summer in the mouth of madness, playing Russian roulette with the the vast opportunities that breathe within instant gratification, problematic self-admiration, and self-loathing, I finally found the motivation to reconnect with some incredible new music after making a deliberate effort to disconnect from writing about anything, period. Getting lost in the winding waves of anonymous highways, dizzying displays of lights, and rechargeable personalities that wander like ghosts provided an opportunity to spark and drown in the rise and fall of summer 2015. Where does one go after such a thing? Fate decides that or spontaneous decision-making, whatever you want to call it. Two brand new releases caught my attention in the last two weeks that gave my nervous system a much-needed jolt of garage born electro-shock rock.

RadioheartsLot To Learn (No Front Teeth)

The brand new EP by Long Beach, CA’s power-punk-mod kings rages and roars like the bastard child of the Buzzcocks’ Singles Going Steady and the Damned’s Machine Gun Etiquette, staying out past curfew and stealing the neighbor’s car, running it straight into the ocean. Last year the band released the very solid Nothing At All EP, showing off their Clash inspired power-pop prowess. However, their latest offering is by far their best to date. The band’s sonic assault is more aggressive and cohesive in its delivery with the guitars up front and Ed Stuart’s vocals displaying moodier nuances than on their previous outings. With the rhythm-section providing a dirty and menacing pop swagger, bass lines twist and the percussion bounces in a volatile but sophisticated fashion that makes the band rank high among their fellow pop-rock noisemaking peers.

This four song collection wastes no time in delivering its infectious creations, I’m talking straight and no chaser. It’s pretty impossible to stop listening to the first two tracks “Lot To Learn” and “Decisions” (my pick for the “hit song” here). These two are a classic single in themselves with punky chord crunching and contagious hooks that dance and slice with the perfect bite. The two closing tracks “Heartbeat” and “Let Them Know” continue the razorblade-sugar assault with slick verse-chorus combos bringing to mind the intelligence of vintage Blondie and sharp attack of early Generation X. Kill the future and free your mind, you need this band. It’s hot and it’s happening now.



Jukebox ZerosCount To Ten (Rankoutsider Records)

The long awaited full length from these infamous Philly garage-rock demons has finally arrived and it was definitely worth the wait! Produced by the legendary Dean Rispler, this album is a monster. A fun-filled terror train crashing through the streets of Philadelphia at 2 a.m., this Molotov cocktail of cheap booze, prescription pills, and rock n roll angst terminates everything in its path. Search and destroy is the mission and this record accomplishes it and even more. The Zeros have upped their game with Peter Santa Maria delivering unforgettable vocal performances on all the tracks, emphasizing melodies while using syncopated punk snarl to burn the house down. A heavy dose of pissed off punk infects the proceedings and the band heavily utilizes its secret weapon, powerhouse drummer Justin Lee. Lee pounds the drums like there’s no tomorrow and adds a whole new dimension to the garage-punk genre with his combination of thunderous floor tom bashing, pounding surf grooves, and 4/4 grind. The band dynamics blend in perfectly, explosive and trashy, this kicks ass.

“Snot Rocket”, “Hey Now! Oh My!” and “B Train” take the genre of punk rock n roll to dizzying new heights. “My Love” and “Green Wave” show off the power-pop chops of the band with sleazy guitar finesse and insidious surf stylings. “Drama Queen” and “Insomniac” are classic Jukebox Zeros with an enhanced 2015 venom that puts this band in a category of its own. Before you have your next nervous breakdown, drink a 40 oz. or three, shoplift some frozen pizzas, and tear the town up with this impressive and memorable powder keg of punk rock fury.


-Kevin McGovern-









Tuesday, August 18, 2015

LUNCHBOX - SMASH HITS

Seattle's Jigsaw Records has begun an onslaught of catchy and idiosyncratic 7" vinyl and full-length releases. I just got hip to their stylish and wayward celebration of independent music. With an ethos similar to early indie upstarts Beserkley and Stiff Records, the label is crossing boundaries while bringing back focus and fun to the scattered independent music scene. The cool thing about indie in the Internet age is that it is more accessible than ever. There was a time when you would have to stay up late to catch your local college rock station's prime hours on a Sunday night from 11:30 pm until 2:00 am. During that time, you would hear Minor Threat, Dinosaur Jr, the Smiths, and the Descendents all in one show. Now in place of having to record the proceedings on your boom box with a 90-minute cassette, we have blogs that filter and provide instant access. Gone are the days of waiting up for a midnight show or a monthly zine to show up at a record shop an hour away. I do miss the days of rummaging and hunting down mysterious band names you would read or hear about from a friend of a friend. At the same time, things change, move forward, and transform to fill the present void.

Lunchbox is like the pleasure-seeking orphan of the Weezer Blue Album, ditching the prom with their date to go hang out in the local graveyard, dancing on the burial sites of Nick Lowe and The Simpletones. Fusing the fuzziest nuances of pop with a careless and playful fever, while burying their own inhibitions, new sounds with familiar echoes are brought to life. The kids aren't alright and the world's a mess, ground zero for reckless summer fun. "Smash Hits" is 13 minutes of pure indie pop-punk bliss with the just the right amount of dirty ambiance to let the raw guitar and trashy drums highlight its five star tunefulness. The 7" format fits this extended song collection perfectly. The packaging includes a nice homage to the 90s with its cool front cover, featuring a reel-to-reel recorder and the classic back cover "footwear" photo, not to mention the perfect "slacker" font style. Six look-sharp blasts on one small record, perfect brevity.

The record fizzes with a wild aloofness and briskly cruises into overdrive producing a saccharine concerto of noise-pop wizardry. The EP kicks off with “Heaven”, a sweet Phil Spector by way of the Ramones inspired number. It’s followed by the scorching “Paws of Destiny”, which is reminiscent of the great singles that Shredder Records used to assemble on its classic CD compilations. The tracks “Friends” and “Flatland” provide punchy anthems replete with Rich Kids guitar style and garage rock aplomb. If you have any doubts about the rock prowess of this band, check out the kick ass “(It’s Your) Lovesong”. “Most Unlikely to Succeed” ends this collection with its self-deprecating Beach Boys harmonies and Queers style chord progressions. An essential addition to your vinyl or digital collection, my only complaint is that this classy noise-bomb of trashy pop goes by too quick, leaving you wanting more. Actually, that’s a good thing, this band plays hard to get, just the way I like it.


LUNCHBOX FACEBOOK
JIGSAW RECORDS

--Kevin McGovern--
FEAR/LOATHING

Monday, August 3, 2015

NOON:30 - FINDING RELEASE

Eternal sunshine of the disenfranchised mind, the blood trickles slowly with the heavy weight of rage and impending termination. Battered citizen syndrome, plastic food, false streams of cable news, organic waste, and debt that is too horrendous to comprehend. Fractured families, fair-weather friends, and the pretty gloss of smeared lipstick across your bathroom mirror. I fell in love with her fear, her alluring dishonesty, and fragmented self-esteem. A minor key hum and foot stomping drone infect the atmosphere. An experimental rendering of picturesque violence and reverse hypnosis takes center stage. Noon: 30 are at the epicenter of this complex magnetic Venn diagram with their latest automated-dissonant creation Finding Release.

The Washington, DC based duo of Blue (Vox and Bass) and Aissa (Noise and Guitar) is an entity that achieves high art while avoiding genre at all costs. A revolution of sound that meticulously dismembers and reconnects Bjork, Brooke Candy, and vintage Suicide, forming a passionate-vengeful symphony of unsettled pulse. Concise and non-linear, the sequence begins with an evil-tinged broken apart piano that invites a lush vocal and scattered sonic rhythm. The sound waves flow with a circular ambience producing an esoteric composition entitled “Dream”. “Interlude” quickly follows with its distinctive solo vocal non-arrangement. The angst-ridden melody has a beautiful soul-poisoned flavor that comes and goes much too fast. The notes enrapture and traumatize with their short-lived perfection.

The walls begin to crack and the alarms go off as the electro damaged hip-hop drone of “Rodeo” begins its malicious assault on the senses. This irresistible trajectory of anger and indictment captivates and compels with its contagious rhythm and sharp-tongued wordplay. The loudest volume possible is a pre-requisite for this track of ear-catching terror. The riot escalates with the volatile mood swinging “Gun”, smashing windows, and burning institutions with its machine-like groove that maniacally gyrates, holding the listener hostage with a hypnotic post-punk melody. Finding Release viciously breathes with four songs on the A-side and three freak-scratched remixes on the B-side (courtesy of infamous noise mongers Tunabunny and Bastards of Fate). The remixed versions provide a perfectly warped reinterpretation of Noon:30’s attractive madness. Join the revolution and get your freak on, an essential storm of luxurious discontent for the unpredictable times we live in. The vinyl version has an intense blast and shudder that only adds to the production of this unique work of art.


NOON:30 FACEBOOK
HHBTM RECORDS
--Kevin McGovern
FEAR/LOATHING