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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tommy And The Rockets - I Wanna Be Covered

In less than 2 years, the man released 2 full length records and a slew of brilliant 45's. Recently he has recorded a full album of RAMONES cover tunes. By avoiding the original Mosrite + Marshall sound and adding cool backing vocals, he managed to make these songs sound totally fresh by bringing up their inner pop side! He is the hottest sensation of the moment and every record label wants to release a Tommy and the Rockets record. Let's talk!

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about Tommy And The Rockets to introduce yourself? Is Tommy And The Rockets actually a real band or is this just you with some friends helping out?  What instrument are you NOT playing? ha ha ha! We want to hear it all from you!

In essence Tommy And The Rockets is just me playing all/most of the instruments. On some recordings I have guest musicians, on others I don't. I get by fine on guitar, bass, and drums, but I'm no virtuoso in any sense and sometimes a little help is needed :-)

2) What can you tell about the recording process regarding the songs included on your latest full length record "Tommy And The Rockets - I Wanna Be Covered"? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

Track by track. I record everything but the drums in my tiny little studio in my bedroom. And when I say tiny I mean really tiny! I have to sit in odd angles when recording an instrument. Not ideal, but I make do. I enlisted the help of a friend in Copenhagen who helped me track the drums at his studio. The guitars have been dubbed, and the vocals as well. Some of the backing vocals have been dubbed up to four times to make it sound richer. Mixing/mastering was done by Chris Frehley, the guy also responsible for mixing all The Dahlmanns releases.

3) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

I've been a huge Ramones fan since I was about 10 years old. That's MY band if you can put it that way. The Ramones is at the core of everything I write. They're my bread and butter. It was around this time I discovered AC/DC as well. Those two bands are by far the two bands I've listened to the most. I'm hard pressed to name a third band. There's too many to choose from! Hmm, Joan Jett maybe? She's the coolest chick in rock 'n' roll. Hopefully I can coax my daughter into looking like Jett when she gets older :-) I've gradually started introducing my two boys to all the good stuff and thankfully they seem very receptive to all the beautiful noise.

4)  There was a time when all the songs were written in a "four hands" collaboration between you and Michael Chaney? How was that collaboration split: were you handling the music and he the lyrics? It seems lately that you are now the sole composer music and lyrics of the tracks of your previous release (I'm not talking about "I Wanna Be Covered" since those are all Ramones songs) what happened to that collaboration?

For the first album and the first single, Chaney wrote all the lyrics, sometimes from song title ideas I had, or even scrapped lyrics I'd written, but mostly he came up with the stuff on his own. As for the music, I wrote about 95% of it (apart from the one where Chaney wrote both the lyrics and the music). I had some songs more or less written already, and some songs were put together from lots of little snippets I had recorded. Some songs were old songs from previous bands I've had that Chaney and I re-arranged a little.

Tommy teaching his boys the rock'n'roll attitude.

Eventually it got to a point where I wanted to stand on my own two legs and branch out a little. I had three songs written and decided to release another single where I was the sole writer (apart from the cover song that is also on that release).

It was a great opportunity to do the stuff I did with Chaney, and it was fun while it lasted, but things change, and now it's just me. I have some stuff coming up soon with collaboration from other people, so it's not like I insist on writing everything myself. More on that further down in this interview.

5) What are Tommy And The Rockets favorite topics to write about or the topics that come easily when you write a new song?


6) Is there a new rock'n' roll scene in Denmark these days and are there any other bands you are feeling close to?

Hard to say really, I've been out of the loop for so long. I live in Odense where nothing much is happening when it comes to rock 'n' roll. I'm sure it's different in Copenhagen, but I haven't lived there for close to 8 years.

7) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release? 

I do, but it's just an audio video. I dislike seeing myself on video, and it feels weird to record a video when it's just me in the "band". I'll get around to doing a proper music video eventually though. I promise.

8) Do you intend to take Tommy And The Rockets on the road one day soon and if this happens what can concert goers expect at a gig of Tommy And The Rockets? Will you be playing any famous cover songs? The full "I Wanna Be Covered" album?

I'd LOVE getting a band together! I really would. I've had offers to tour in Spain, Norway, Sweden, etc. There's "obstacles" though. It's very hard finding like minded musicians here in Odense, that's the main thing. There's social anxiety (which I've had my entire life). There's being an introvert. There's stuttering (which I obviously don't do when I sing, but I stutter a lot when I speak). There's having three younger kids which takes up a lot of time.

I'm a lousy front man in the sense that I don't speak at all between songs, and I'm a total wreck before/when I perform. I play drums in another band (The Hitchcocks - which is easier to handle, but there's still lots of nerves and whatnot before/when performing.

And the thing is, I don't want to just find someone not really fitted for the job. I'd want to find someone with the right attitude, the right style of playing (down strokes on the guitar/bass, 8th notes on the hi-hat, etc.).

So, as you can probably tell, there's a lot going against getting a band together if I have to put all these variables into consideration. Realistically speaking though, I know I'd have to mellow a bit on some of the stuff or it'll never happen, and I'd love for it to happen.

9) What are the plans for the rest of 2018 as far as Tommy And The Rockets are concerned? 

There's some exciting stuff coming up later this year/early next year.

A split single with a Spanish band called The Bikini Wipeouts will be out soon. Two songs from each band, one original and one cover. I did a cover of "Summer Means Fun" by The Fantastic Baggies and they did a Brian Wilson cover.

A split with The Dahlmanns will be out early next year. I did a cover of the Joan Jett song "You Don't Know What You've Got" for that particular release. The Dahlmanns is covering a song by Rachel Sweet.

I also have a project coming up with Wayne Ford Lundqvist (the guy who runs the "Ice Cream Man Powerpop And More" radio show). I wrote all the music, he wrote all the lyrics. I'll be playing (most of) the instruments and Wayne will be singing the songs. We'll call it "Wayne And The Rockets". Looking forward to that one a whole lot! It'll be an EP with probably six songs. I think we're looking at an early 2019 release for that one.

I've started putting together songs for a new full-length too, but that won't be out until next year. There's also a single in the works with my other band, The Hitchcocks. We recently just got together after a 9 year long hiatus.

And last, but not least, Tommy And The Rockets will be included on a Yum Yums 2xLP tribute album which will be out soon. Lots of prominent names on that one like The Queers, Nikki Corvette, Chixdiggit, Psychotic Youth, The Spazzys, etc.

10) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?

Trump is a butthole!

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Anonymous said...

Johnny Ramone would NOT approve of that last comment!