Norway’s finest new sleaze band tells us about the past, present and future of rock’n’roll!
So, when did you think about starting the SUICIDE BOMBERS? Did you have the idea before the end of the TRASHCAN DARLINGS or just after? I remember you had the image idea/concept right from the start…
CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL: Parts of the vision was there years before the end of the Trashcan Darlings, such as the band name, image, general musical direction and a few songs, but it evolved a lot when Trashcan Darlings broke up and the chance to start this band was there for real. It evolved even more as we got the band together and started working on everything.
Were all the songs written especially for the band or were some of them planned for the TRASHCAN DARLINGS?
CHRIS: As a songwriter you always have a bag of riffs and ideas lying around that you have not yet used, so some parts here and there is older stuff, but as far as finished songs there are only a few that were written for the Trashcan Darlings, and even those have been rearranged and changed around by the Suicide Bombers. Teenage Breakdown was written in the mid 90’s and is the only track Trashcan Darlings ever played. We did it live once in 1998. It was in a different key then and we never recorded it as it was very hard to sing, but it’s always been one of my favorite of the unreleased songs. When I presented it to the Suicide Bombers they loved it, especially T-Bone, so we decided to do it. I transposed it to a better key and changed it around to be more of an “open chord” track, rather than the punk/powerpop thing it originally was, something that has made the song really blossom.
Princess Socialite was written even before the Trashcan Darlings, but never used as it didn’t fit that band. The lyrics and title have been changed and there are a few arrangement details here and there that has been worked on, but apart from that it’s the same song. High On Explosives was written in 2002 / 2004. I had all the riffs, except the one that goes under the guitarsolo, I had the first verse and pre chorus, but the title was different and sucked, so it was never played. This Time Tomorrow was written right at the end of the Trashcan Darlings and intended for the next album. We never got around to rehearsing it, but it was there and ready. Suicide Bombers added a much harder drive to the song + the riff at the end of the chorus and the track really came into it’s own. The rest were all written especially for the Suicide Bombers. Coming from a situation where you have a back catalogue and then to start over again really inspired me to write and most of the songs came fairly quickly when I saw that the Suicide Bombers would happen for real. Even more came when we got the band together. Napalm Heart was one of the first ones and I think that kinda set the standard for the changes in songwriting direction. Let’s Rock’n’Roll and Riot were the last ones written for this album. A track like Bombers En Vogue was basically written at rehearsals. I kept playing the intro riff and one day we just decided to start working on it. I had a few more riffs and we put it together as a band and worked a lot on it.
So there are all kinds of different tracks here, but most of the album is written especially for this band.
Was it difficult for you to get the right line-up for the SUICIDE BOMBERS? You introduce each member with detailed descriptions on the record and on the website. It brings to mind bands like KISS or MÖTLEY CRÜE, do you think this thing about the importance of each member is missing in bands nowadays?
CHRIS: Well, it was kinda difficult. I wanted to be in a band with members who had the same vision as me, both musically and all the rest. I didn’t wanna get some guy who could play an instrument and have to tell him how to dress or anything like that. I, and then we as we started to get members, wanted to be in a band with people who live and breath this stuff, people who feel it in their guts. It all flows naturally then and it’s so much better to use that extra time and get the right people from the beginning, rather than to just go for someone and then have a lot of unnescicary work explaining stuff afterwards. I was looking for STARS and I found them!
The only member I knew from before was T-Bone, the Outlaw Groover. I had known him since the mid 90’s, but never played with him. Bitch Commander James Nero was however first onboard the spacecraft. I got a tip from a friend about this fantastic bassplayer with musical skills, attitude and looks who didn’t have a band. We met over a few beers, he listened to some of my demos, loved them, we rehearsed together once and he was in. T-Bone had seen that we were advertising for a drummer, but was taking his time thinking about it. He showed up for an audition together with a lot of other drummers and literarily wiped the floor with all of them. He’s a fantastic drummer, a very creative guy and always delivers his beats with intense power and immaculate precision. We became the final 4 when Lazy Leather, The Sex Gunslinger, joined.
LAZY LEATHER: I hadn’t played in a band for years when T-Bone one day showed up at my door in the deep forest bringing two Suicide Bombers songs with him and asked me to join the band. The songs were “High On Explosives” and “Bombers En Vogue”. The songs blew me away and of course it wasn’t possible for me to say NO to such a fantastic band. In the years prior I had been asked to join many bands, but I always declined the offers. This band, however, I really wanted to join.
CHRIS: As far as importance of each member in bands nowadays, I wouldn’t know. I do know that all the members in this band are extremely important as everyone bring their own flavor to the mix and it’s the sound of everyone playing together that is the sound of the band. For us it was only natural to emphasize that in our press release and CD cover. What other bands do, I wouldn’t know.
Lazy, how was it to join the band as a guitar player? How do you function with Chris as far as the guitar parts are concerned?
LAZY: It was cool, it was really great and I felt welcome from the very first rehearsal we had together. I was not looking for a band at that time, you can almost say I’d have given up on being in a band and was just playing guitar and writing songs in my home studio. The first song we did together was High On Explosives, it was a killer right away.
Our playing styles are very different, but I think it fits perfectly together. From my point of view: If it’s mathematically correct, it doesn’t feel right. You have to play with your heart, soul and energy and not just play the correct notes at the correct time. We work very hard on creating different guitar parts to make a fuller and more interesting guitar sound.
You’ve just released your first album “Criminal Record” as a self-release. Where and how did you record it? Is it going to get distributed or only available at shows/online? How do you feel about record labels in 2012?
LAZY: What was important to us was to find a studio with huge drum sound, after a lot of research we found a studio about an hour out of Oslo called Toproom. We really enjoyed recording this album! “Criminal Record” is, to us, the album we all dreamt of making.
We actually recorded it very quickly, I think we had 6 weekends during the summer 2011 and that’s it.
I don’t feel much either way about record labels in 2012. There isn’t much money to be made from recorded music anymore and that means that the record companies don’t have the budget they used to have to promote new talent. This means that the few major labels still left have to focus on safe bets, mostly in the pop genera, while smaller labels basically just work as distribution labels. The job of the record companies used to be to discover new talent and then put a lot of money behind them, so they got big quickly, but without the finances a record company really isn’t much use anymore.
CHRIS: It’s distributed through Indie Distribution so it’s available in all stores in Norway. For citizens of the EU it’s available through CDON.COM. For the rest of the world it will be available through iTunes and all other digital channels from the 1st of October this year. If you want a physical product and live outside of the EU, you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org , which is the same address anyone else should use if they want a T-shirt, a pin or the the Limited Edition CDep as well.
How many shows have you played so far? Chris, is it difficult for you to sing and play guitar at the same time? How different is it from doing backing vocals in the TRASHCAN DARLINGS? Any favourite song(s) to play live?
CHRIS: At this point we have played 6 shows, all in Oslo. We really wanted to get the album out before we started gigging a lot, so people would have the chance to hear the songs before they went to a show. It took a bit of time getting the mix right for the album, so the gigs we have played so far have more been a matter of wanting to get out of rehearsals and blow off some live-steam, but the reception at the gigs have been fantastic! Every one of our shows have gotten killer reviews in Scream Magazine or Norway Rock Magazine or both, and the audience has been great. We just signed a deal with Live Wire Booking for Scandinavia, so now that the album is out we’ll be able to play a lot more. We’re hoping to do a few shows this autumn, but I think the major part of it will be from early next year. We are also looking to get out of Norway and tour next year, but we have to find a good booker for that first.
It was difficult to sing and play at the same time at first, but I’m getting the hang of it. Suicide Bombers music is more riff-based than the stuff I have done in the past, so not only is it the issue of playing and singing at the same time, but also playing more advanced stuff while singing. Having a brilliant guitarist like Lazy in the band, who can play all that stuff in his sleep, has really given me the opportunity to focus on my rhythmparts and concentrate on the lead vocals. And I have to tell you, there is a tremendous difference between the lead vocals on the album and those on my first home demos hahaha.
Lead vocals and backing vocals are 2 completely different galaxies. With backing vocals you don’t sing that much during a song and you kinda shape your voice a bit for the mood of it. With backing vocals the most important thing is to get the right element…whether that is massive gang vocals or some fucked up shit.
With lead vocals you have to find your real voice and learn how to use it, but I love it and the band has given me a lot of positive feedback for my singing, so that’s all cool. One of the things I enjoy the most with singing is that it gives me so much more time to work on the lyrics. In the past a lyric would be done when it was good enough to sing, I’d hand it to the singer and forget about it. Now I have all these rehearsals where I try out new ideas and that’s very cool. A few of the lyrics actually weren’t finished until 5 minutes before I recorded them for the album.
I love all our songs for different reasons and I think all of them work very well live. It’s too hard to pick one favorite, as it differs from gig to gig. We did our first support show recently and the time restraint meant that we had to cut a few songs from our set-list… and there really were no obvious ones to skip either.
LAZY: One of my favourite live, and on the album, is “Bombers En Vogue.” It’s our slowest song, but it has sooooo much energy.
What are the former TRASHCAN DARLINGS members up to these days?
Strange? has a cool rock’n’roll band called Hard Luck Street who’ve released a 7” and a 10”. Frankie is in a band I haven’t heard yet called Anton Ruud i Terapi. Andy is still with me in Ronny Pøbel. Q.Ken is not in any band, as far as I know.
Seems like Norway’s scene is more rock’n’roll oriented than Sweden’s one (which still seems to be more into “hair metal” stuff), I’m thinking of the KILL CITY BANDITS for instance. Any other interesting bands to check out?
LAZY:Yes I guess you can say that. Sweden has so many great metal band with looks that kill and world class production. In Norway we have always had great rock’n roll bands, not many but some great ones like Backstreet Girls, Turbonegro and Motorpsycho.
CHRIS: Kill City Bandits is Suicide Bombers’ bassplayer James Nero’s other band. It also features members of Viper Cult and Hollywood Vampires and they are cool. In general I guess you can say that the Norwegian scene is leaning more towards classic rock, while the Swedish is more metal… I guess, I haven’t really thought about it as I like both.
You have your own website (http://www.thesuicidebombers.com/), do you think it’s still important to have band websites in this Facebook age?
LAZY: It’s really important to us to have our own website. Our website will always be the main place to find info about the band. Naturally we have a facebook site and a youtube site as well.
Right now the “web en vogue” is facebook, but you’ll never know in 5 years, that might have changed… maybe there is a site like youbook, facetube, or something like that. Our own website will always be there and be the Suicide Bombers home on the internet. Facebook has even started charging us to reach our fans now.
There’s a bit of SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK in the SUICIDE BOMBERS’ concept. When you look at SSS, they really were the future, the whole image thing (can be found in Lady Gaga today for instance), the whole thing about computers and advertising invading/controlling the music industry, and their music that was ahead the whole electro-glam thing… What do you think? How and when did you get into SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK?
CHRIS: I got into SSS in 1986. Bought a pop compilation cassette from the gas station where I live for the soul reason that Love Missle F1-11 was on it and I had seen their pictures in the magazines. I was blown away! At first I didn’t understand any of it. Wild echo, guitars coming in and out, voiceovers, pieces of commercials, sound effects… There was nothing like it and I thought it was the weirdest thing I had ever heard. Then I discovered just how to listen to SSS. The trick is that you have to embrace the insanity.
You have to treat all the crazy effects like they are guitarfills, drumsbreaks or whatever. Then you start remembering them and seeing the big picture and before you know, you’re looking forward to your favorite effect, the one that kicks the whole song almost off-beat for a few seconds, like you would look forward to your favorite piece of lyric from a more conventional song. It took years until I heard more songs from them. The gas station where I live never carried the album, but when I heard the rest of that first album I loved it just as much as F1-11. I have bought all the albums and most of the singles since and even saw them live once, at the Rock Garden in London in September 2000. There is an audiobootleg from that gig and the harmony vocals you hear during the chorus of Dancerama, in that bootleg, were all done very loudly by me from the audience. I still check in regularily on www.sputnikworld.com to see if more parts of the movie have been posted. Sigue Sigue Sputnik were definitely ahead of their time with a lot of their ideas. U2 stole so much for their Zoo TV tour, but I haven’t drawn a connection to Lady Gaga, before you mention it now.
I’ve always been into bands with strong concepts as well as great songs. SSS is not the only band with a strong concept in my record collection. I could talk just as much about any other band I love, but I am also very much into Sci-Fi and action movies and a lot of the stuff SSS were into as well, so it all comes naturally really. The Suicide Bombers music has a lot of personality and doesn’t sound like SSS or anything else, but if you hear the SSS influences coming through in the intro, I take that as a compliment. I mailed it to Tony James and he certainly heard the SSS influences, but I think he enjoyed it. He’s a great guy. I do, however, think that I am the only one in the Suicide Bombers who’s that much into Sigue Sigue Sputnik. We all bring our influences to the table and it’s where those influences meet that the Suicide Bombers happen.
What are the other bands that had a big impact on you when growing up?
LAZY: We have different influences in the band, but also some shared influences like Motley Crue, Kiss, Hanoi Rocks, Guns N Roses etc.
Aerosmith kicked it off for me really. It’s my all time favorite band, but I’m also crazy for bands like Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Free. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone hearing a bit of something in your music, but don’t be a rip-off. No matter how original you are you’re still just the sum of your influences.
CHRIS: There are too many to list, really. I still love discovering new bands and I think I like something in almost every genera of music. Kiss was the first hard rock band I discovered, after Elvis and the Rolling Stones. Then I discovered W.A.S.P. and several of the other west coast bands of the 80’s. A bit after that I got into the Sex Pistols and with them came a whole bunch of other bands that led me to the New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks and the more rock’n’roll orientated glam bands. Then there was that whole bubblegum glam scene in Hollywood in the 90’s. Glamour Punks, Queeny Blast Pop, Heart Throb Mob, The Zeros, Big Bang Babies and Alleycat Scratch being my favorites. After that I started discovering the more classic rock and metal bands like Judas Priest, Aerosmith, AC/DC and so on, but along the way there has been tons more… My record collection spans from stuff like Doris Day to Darkthrone and everything in between, and as Lazy says, the important thing is that you draw inspiration from as many sources as possible and have a strong sense of direction and personality in what you do. We have succeeded in that.
Do you play any covers live?
CHRIS: So far we have done Mike Monroe’s Dead, Jail or Rock’n’Roll at nearly every gig and one time we did a totally reworked version of Get It On by T.Rex. There are a bunch of songs we’d like to do, but we’ll see what happens. Covers are not our main priority.
Where can the SUICIDE BOMBERS be seen live next? Your projects?
LAZY: We’ve just signed a deal with Live Wire Booking who will book shows for us in Scandinavia and we’ll start playing more here early in the fall, It’s going to be killer. And, yeah, we are already working on some new songs for our next album.
CHRIS: Lots of stuff going on, but too early to talk about most of it.
Check out our web-site www.thesuicidebombers.com for more info.
We’ll see you out there!
History is about to begin!
…over & motherfucking out!