First album by FAST EDDY from Denver who flew to Atlanta during the pandemic to record 10 songs with Tuk Smith and Dan Dixon. “Take A Look” is a great opener, it offers us THIN LIZZY influenced guitars in the intro and vocals that remind me of RHINO BUCKET. It definitely makes the listener want to hear more! Second song “Milwaukee” sounds like a hit from the 70s played by 2010s US power pop rock’n’rollers while “Kill City” sounds more modern with its up tempo beat and angry vocals but you can definitely hear some 80s roots in it. The band also takes influences from British indie rock in songs like “Dead Eyes”, “Sunflower” or “Help Me” and mixes the STONES and ELVIS COSTELLO with fresh punk energy in “Hurricane Alley.” FAST EDDY also pays tribute to CHUCK BERRY with the killer “Lost” and gets soulful in “Game Of Love.” Different songs, different moods, the band manages to mix their various influences in style whether it is 70s American rock’n’roll, British pop, punk rock or even sunny boogie (“Frankie Died”.) Well, we can already say that “Take A Look” is a great 2022 album! /LaurentC.
Month: January 2022
Too Sophisticated “Like It Or Not”
TOO SOHISTICATED is a hard rock band from Finland. They started back in the 90s so they have released a few records but this is their first full-length album. While the music of the band definitely sounds hard rock’n’roll, you can hear a bit of heavy metal in the vocals too (“Soul Suckin’ Day”) but also a punk touch in “Like It Or Not” and in “E.I.A.” “Lipstick Kiss of The Death” has a bit of a D.A.D. vibe and”Different Blues Song” reminds me of the mighty SMACK. The band can also gets lighter with “Restless Soul” and its drunk summer afternoon mood or flirt with heavy 70s rock in “Lazy.” “Nightmares Every Night” is taking us in darker lands not that far from the LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH… After listening to this CD you get to think that this is far from being perfect, but like it or not, this is rock’n’roll ! /Laurent C.
Scream Idol – Trash Rock a Go Go!
STAR STAR has morphed into SCREAM IDOL, a scary montster for a new degeneration. We’ve asked Johnnie Holliday (vocals/guitar) a few questions about this new incarnation and the STAR STAR days…
You were one of the first bands I interviewed for Veglam back in 2002. I remember thinking it was so cool to be able to talk to you by email since “The Love Drag Years” is one of my favourite albums. A lot has changed since those days for the music world and especially rock’n’roll. How have things changed for you and your music?
-I like much less of the music I hear at clubs now…and…being that I’m the only guitar player now… we only do songs that can be played with the guitar hung very low. We’ve become so comfortable as a trio that I can’t even imagine playing with another guitar player again. Musically we’re closer to what we sounded like when Mickey Mess and I started Star Star. Long before the Love Drag Years of course.
Can you tell us about the name change, going from Star Star to Scream Idol, will you ever play under the name Star Star again?
-We feel too far removed from the band that was Star Star to continue using that name. We felt like a different band for a while now. I’m not saying that we’ve matured or that we’ve cleaned up or anything crazy like that… but, we definitely feel a rush breaking out as a new band man! Will we ever play under the Star Star name again… hmmm…. kinda’ like if I’ll ever fuck an ex-girlfriend again.
You have re-recorded a few songs from your first album “Go Go Girls In Love”, can you tell us why you have chosen to do so? Did you ever think about a re-release of the album?
-When we did that album I had just started singing and we were in this high lifestyle that didn’t allow us to focus. We’ve always felt that those songs never had a fair chance. So we re-did them….. not that I can sing much better now, but, at least I’m a little sober now….ok, maybe not….but, anyway, yeah, we re-did them the way we sound now..
How do you record music in 2021? Do you have your own home studio?
-We carefully set up our recording situation. We basically bought the gear that we use in the studios. We also built a vocal isolation booth that’s also a guitar booth and a laundry room. Technically speaking…we run Universal Audio and Avalon pre’s through UA and Apogee converters.
Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to cover The PARTRIDGE FAMILY’s “I Woke Up In Love This Morning”?
-The first time I heard that song I thought it was the best chorus ever written..and the singer David Cassidy had the coolest hair on TV. It doesn’t have many chords and I could look cool playing it…and we thought we could bring a fresh feeling to it.
You also covered The SISTERS OF MERCY’s “Vision Thing” live. Have you ever thought of recording it?
-Oh yeah man! We’ve already recorded it. Actually we’ve recorded a Sisters Of Mercy medley that we’ve been playing live. It’s gonna’ be released as a dance Maxi Single along with some club remixes later this year.
STAR STAR was a great mix of rock’n’roll, glam and punk. “Soul Sucker” says “Not a punk, not a rocker…”, is this how you feel in the rock’n’roll world today?
-Music has lost its spirit as it conforms to the guidelines of social and streaming platforms. It has strayed from the culture that influenced generations. The music industry has also been cultivating a mindset so that bands will endeavor to sound like other bands. Do you know where that leads? Check out this years Grammy nominees… that’s where it leads. Generic music without attitude or style! It makes clubs less cool, less chicks, less colorful personalities, more straights, less fun, less artistic spiritual freedom. I feel heartbroken by artists condoning censorship…I feel sad for this generation that is discovering the world through regulated mediums… I feel pissed at punks and rockers that parrot establishment narratives. Other than that I don’t like to talk about what our lyrics mean
I’ve read that you were also a club owner in Greece and I remember seeing some cool flyers about glam/goth/punk nights. Can you tell us more about that?
You didn’t see flyers for that club. It was strictly word of mouth. It was a simple metal door on a street in the center of Athens that led to a staircase going down to the club. We only opened on Saturdays and it was always packed. It was also like 70% dance floor. It was a dark wave, goth, industrial, fetish club so we made sure the atmosphere was comfortable for the regulars. The flyers you did see were for parties that we host at clubs in various cities. We do DJ sets, get drunk and meet chicks… sometimes we’ll arrange fashion or music promotions. Those “Trash City Nights” events always attract very interesting crowds. They are nights of madness
Speaking of Greece. How come you’ve chosen to move there?
I had an uncle that was like a father to me. He became sick and I wanted to spend the time he had left close to him. Weeds, Jay and I decided to do it together and make a new start in Europe. Obviously after Jay’s suicide and my accident it wasn’t such a great new beginning…. but we turned it around man.
These last two years have been difficult for many musicians but have you played live with the SCREAM IDOL line-up before Covid?
We’ve played many shows together as Star Star. Jack was our first drummer when we first got to Europe. We parted ways for a while, then reunited when he got back from Brazil… and Scream Idol was born
I learned in your great interview with Suits and The Platform Boots that you lived in Hollywood. Do you think that New York was better for STAR STAR?
Probably not. We struggled with bad habits everywhere we went. I preferred the scene in LA. Going back to NY was more to straighten up and start fresh, and not so much a musical decision.
Last but not least. It happened more than once when pronouncing your name in France that people thought I was talking about French singer Johnny Hallyday who was over famous here!: )… Ever heard of him?
Yes, of course I was asked that question a lot when I did a French press tour. I listened to a bunch of his stuff. Pretty good songs but not enough guitars!
Star Park “S/T” EP
If you’ve been following the glam trash glitter bubblegum and power pop subculture this zine celebrates for a long enough time, you might remember the O’Donnal Brothers, of Bang Bang Satellite fame, who always write catchy, memorable, and deeply heartfelt songs about smalltown melancholy and day job disappointments, modern heartbreak, and existential despair. If you’re a fan of moody, broken dreams pop songs ala Big Star, Badfinger, Beat Angels, or Gin Blossoms, you will undoubtedly appreciate their latest three hit songs. Their new guitarist is really golden, totally brings that poppy Ryan Roxie or Michael Brooks feel their melodic pop songs require. It’s a miracle whenever hardscrabble, blue collar people are able to find their way into a recording studio in this horrible pay to play world, nowadays. I am pleased to hear new music from these long enduring cult figures and at their usual standard of high-excellence. If you are hip to any of their old bands, like Ill-starred, Bang Bang Sattelite, A Streetcar Named Disaster or China Stars, you’re sure to love the latest tunes, from these weary old underground heroes. God bless ’em, if you’re into vintage glam or power pop, tell all your friends about STAR PARK. /Pepsi Sheen.
The Claws – Gut-level Rock’n’roll!
Let’s start 2022 with one of the most interesting rock’n’roll bands from L.A. Chad Cherry (lead vocals) and Gary Martin (guitars & vocals) tell us about the release of their new album “Stars and Broken Stars” and new EP “Hazy Days Wasted Nights” and much more!
Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band?
C.C.: It all started with Gary and I. Gary was living out here in Los Angeles and Sarah and I were out here visiting around 2013/14. We were staying at this place on top of Laurel Canyon. It was right next to an abandoned house that some producer from Walt Disney owned back in the 60’s. Place was trashed and cool. We’re checking it out, sharing a bottle of scotch, moonlight creepin, and we came up with the idea of us getting together to make some kinda noise when I moved out to Los Angeles. In the beginning we were just two guys with an acoustic guitar.
G.M.: Soon, Terry Love (bass) came into the picture, and this formed the core of the band. We recorded the début EP in 2017, and the ‘No Connection’ LP was released in early 2020. With the addition of Tony Pacheco on drums in 2019, and Mike Gavigan on guitar in the lost year of 2020, we began the recording of the follow up LP, which was released in late 2021.
You have two new releases, “Stars and Broken Glass” (album) and “Hazy Days Wasted Nights” (EP). Is this because you wanted the album to be released on vinyl and avoid having too many songs on it?
C.C.: We would’ve had a quadruple record on our hands if we didn’t break it up. There’s no lack of creativity with The Claws.
G.M.: It’s true. At this point, we have more than enough tunes for another full length (& EP!) Sonically and thematically, it made sense to do it the way that we did.
Was it easy to choose which songs were going to be used for the album and for the EP?
It was not a case of the “best 10” make the LP. The sequence needed to flow. The sound of the songs can tell a story. We tried our best to make that happen.
Can you tell us about the recording. Where and when did it happen?
G.M.: We recorded the new music at the same place, with the same producer & engineer as the last LP, 2020’s ‘No Connection’. It’s a cool little studio in the Hollywood Hills called Fox Force Five studios. We began the process in late 2020 and finished in the summer of 2021. The LP & EP was mixed and mastered during the autumn of 2021.
C.C.: That Beechwood Canyon studio is magical.
C.C.: That’s like asking a falling star where it’s going to land. There’s not really a rhyme or reason for anything that we do musically. Gary comes up with nonstop songs and we’re all over the place. We never talk too much about it, we mostly just blend together, push and pull melodies into place. I really don’t think we have a specific anything besides some good synergy going on.. we just do whatever it is we do.
Did you know how you wanted the album and EP to sound before recording them?
G.M.: Our surroundings, our adventures, and our personal relationships between the 5 of add spice to the tunes. Everything has an effect. The studio itself has a great feel, along with some excellent vintage equipment, that really helps bring out the nuance in our tunes. Gabe Lowry (producer/engineer) did a fantastic job of capturing The Claws at our best.
While the 70s influences are obvious, there’s also some 80s ones in the songs. Do you like both decades the same?
G.M.: The keyboard during ‘When The Nighttime Comes’ and ‘Strange Rumblings’ is a vintage synthesizer from the mid-1980’s. Totally. Strictly from a songwriting point-of-view, there’s so much great stuff from the 1960’s through the 1990’s that it is impossible to pick a favorite decade, but I do tend to prefer the production values of the 1970’s.
C.C.: I kinda love all decades, man. But let’s face it.. the 70’s ruled!
Some songs like “High Noon”, “A Song For You”, “Seven Medicines” or “In The Dust” could definitely be featured in series or movies. Did you get any interest from Hollywood film makers?
C.C.: We’re too expensive for them.
G.M.: Yeah, we’re open to collaboration with film makers, but they need to cough up the bread. Besides, we’re telling our own stories, so who needs ‘em?
How is the rock’n’roll scene in L.A. These days? Any new interesting bands? What are the best clubs these days ?
C.C.: L.A. still has just about everything happening musically. Nothing will ever be the past but there’s so many great bands here. Any club that you don’t have to pay to play is a good club.
G.M.: I love the current rock n roll scene in L.A.! Much like the city, it’s spread out. You may find yourself in the suburbs at the Maui Sugar Mill one weekend, and downtown at the Redwood (our favorite) the next. Great joints like Alex’s in Long Beach and the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena always have killer shows. There are many talented players in L.A., so you never know who is going to impress on any given night. Someone just needs to open a genuine rock n roll joint in Hollywood!
It seems like a lot of people are moving out of L.A, especially musicians who seem to have found a new home in Nashville…
G.M.: Don’t believe the hype. L.A. has always been a city with people arriving or leaving. Here today, gone today.
C.C.: That’s news to me.
Chad, you also sing in The LAST VEGAS but you have a couple of other projects. Can you tell us about them?
C.C.: I have some new TLV demos somewhere. Let’s see, everyday is Halloween with the spooky synth/guitar pop sounds of Razor Candy. I’m also doing synthesized music with my director pal, D.M. Cunningham in our outfit called Dreaming In Neon. We’re busy scoring his new film, “3 Demons” at the moment. But I do The Claws on the daily. Gary keeps me busy.
Do any of you play in other bands/projects?
G.M.: I don’t play in any other projects or bands, as everything that I write I consider for The Claws. If my tunes get too weird for The Claws, then maybe I’ll do some acid-jazz solo trip.
Will Europe be on the map when things finally start getting better in the world?
C.C.: Question is, will The Claws ever want to leave once we get there.
G.M.: Would love to do a European swing! I heard that many European rock n rollers have moved to Nashville..true?
Oh! That might explain why I haven’t seen any in almost two years! Haha