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Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Jackets - "Queen Of The Pill"

Voodoo Rhythm Records recently released "Queen Of The Pill", the fourth full length album by Swiss trio The Jackets. For this new album The Jackets benefit from Jim Diamond (White Stripes, The Dirtbombs, The Vice Barons, ...) magic touch as far as the mixing and mastering is concerned and believe it, this album is a blast! 10 raw slices of amazing Full-Fuzz-Power-Punk-Beat with a touch of Psychedelia! The Jackets like you've never heard them before!

Don't miss the video here under that proves if proof was needed that this band has a lot of humor and a cool sense of fun. 

So it was time for this blog to have a enlightening conversation with drummer and founding member Chris Rosales

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The The Jackets to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument? 

My name is Chris Rosales. I am the drummer and founding member of The Jackets based in Bern, Switzerland. Our lead singer/guitar player and founding member is called, Jackie and our bass player is Sam. We started playing out in 2008 and have played all over Europe and recently in the USA and Canada.

2) About the recently released full length record "Queen Of The Pill",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? What can you tell about the choice of the title? 

All the basic tracking were played live and then of course the lead and backing vocals, percussion and solo and filling guitar parts, etc. were done afterwards. I can’t imagine doing it any other way since it is important to capture the bands live character and enthusiasm. The title of the LP comes from one of the tracks. It just sounded right and that song was one of the first we wrote and highlights the slightly new sound and song writing direction we were moving towards.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

We like both. We usually track to tape and then mix digital. Our LP "Shadows Of Sound" was done all analog and that was cool but the mixing process was a bit of a nightmare because we were changing our mind a lot. We like the flexibility of mixing digitally.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

Everybody writes songs and composes but Jackie has written the most.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

We write a lot about breaking out of situations, being stuck in situations, being vulnerable, being
invincible, being bored. It has been said we have a lot of “anthem” type songs like Keep Yourself Alive, Wasting My Time, Freak Out, etc. We write a bit about relationships that are not exclusively romantic and we even delve into topics like suicide, depression and addiction. We don’t have a favorite topic. It doesn’t work that way. We write about what is happening around us or with us at a given moment.

6) If I were to label The Jackets a "60's psych/garage" band, would you agree with this description? Would you be proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

We are not a 60’s revival band. Of course we love 60’s Garage music and it is obvious in our music but we like to think we have something to say about today. We are a forward thinking group of people even though we love the (punk) music of the 1960’s and 1970’s we don’t want to be trapped in that bubble. We are a Rock and Roll band. We are a Punk band. We are a Garage band, but to put a year in front of those labels puts us in a “box” and that is not how we want to be.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the new LP?? 

Yes. We have a new video out on YouTube for Losers Lullaby which is a track on our new LP.

8) What can concert goers expect at a The Jackets gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the concert? 

Concert goers can expect high energy from the first second to the last song. We are a live band and love playing and giving everything on stage. We really are not a cover band. We played a few covers when we first started (live and on our first records) but we have our own songs and our own voice. But – we do cover “Hang Up” by The Wailers sometimes during our live shows.

9) Are there any bands in Switzerland today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

There are quite a few cool bands from Switzerland that we like but I am not sure there is a band quite like The Jackets in terms of a female lead singer and guitar player. In terms of intensity, the band that comes to mind would be Reverend Beat-Man’s band, The Monsters.

10) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

I was heavily into 60’s Garage as a teenager and involved in the Garage Revival Scene in Los Angeles in the 1980’s. I lived and worked with Garage Revival Legends The Miracle Workers before I moved to Europe in the early 1990’s. I loved bands like The Cramps (I was also in a band with Candy Del Mar), The Gun Club and X (Los Angeles). Jackie first got into hard rock bands like AC/DC as a young teenager and then was introduced to Psychobilly and Garage in the 1990’s. Sam was fascinated by Jimi Hendrix and Acid Rock from the late 60’s and 70’s when he was younger and then got into “Alternative” music and then Punk and Garage music in the 1990’s. I don’t know if other bands today have an influence on The Jackets songs or work right now. We have our influences from the past but try to make our own way into the future.

11) What are the plans for 2019 as far as The Jackets are concerned?

We are currently touring everywhere to promote our new record which was released in June. We have tons of concerts coming up in September-October-November (Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, etc.) so check out dates on our website for more info. We are also planning our third USA tour for Spring of 2020 and maybe Mexico and New Zealand/Australia some time next year as well. So stay tuned!

12) Anything you wanna add?

No, that’s about it!


Monday, July 15, 2019

Local Drags - Shit's Lookin' Up!

During his interview for this blog, Geoff Palmer mentioned this promising band featuring Lanny who was a member of the New Wave / Pop Punk sensations Starter Jackets. Their debut full length, "Shit's Lookin' Up", is now released on the dutch label STARDUMB RECORDS. 

If you're into big guitars and hooky melodies you are going to feast your ears to these 10 power poppin' punk rock tunes that benefit from the expert production work of Luke McNeill of The Copyrights. Get it without any delay!

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about LOCAL DRAGS to introduce yourselves? How long are you together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays? What can you tell about your musical background?

- I started the band with Matt sailor while living in St. Louis, Missouri in 2014-2015, I can’t remember. I moved back home to Springfield, Illinois a couple years ago and Matt moved to Colorado. He still played drums on the record, but the live lineup is my pals Carter Bibb on bass and Fred Malcom on drums, both of whom play with me in our other band starter jackets.

2) About the newly released full length record "Shit's Lookin' Up!",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

- Track by Track because it was only two of us. Not too many overdubs though, wanted to keep it a minimal sound. Recorded it at Luke McNeill’s studio in his basement in between Gin and Sodas and petting his cat.

3) Do you use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

- I played into Luke’s computer and then he made me sound good somehow.

4) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today?

-I got into punk and pop punk as an early teen through Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the Nintendo 64 and the SLC Punk movie soundtrack! I don’t know if they still consciously influence my songs now, but my favorites then were Lawrence Arms and Jimmy Eat World.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

-being a big loser fuck up

6) If I were to describe LOCAL DRAGS a "power pop band with a lot of power and a little bit of pop", would you agree with this description? Would you be proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that?

- any description is fine with me. Someone will always be there to tell you you don’t sound like what you say to sound like anyway.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP?? 

-yes! Matt has made a number of fun videos for us.

8) What can concert goers expect at a LOCAL DRAGS gig? Are you playing any famous cover
songs during the concert? 

-me having trouble with my one effects pedal. I try to play as much Tom Petty as possible.

9) Are there any bands in the USA today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

-I don’t get out much.

10) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 as far as LOCAL DRAGS is concerned?

-Playing Fest in Gainesville Florida and putting out a 7 inch!

11) Anything you wanna add?

-Wash your hands every time you use the rest room. Thank you!



Available on black vinyl as well as red with black marbled vinyl

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

SURF ME UP SCOTTY - "Pop-Cultural Studies in "A" minor"

"Pop-Cultural Studies in "A" minor", the posthumous full length by SURF ME UP SCOTTY,  was certainly one of the best surprises as far as instrumental records are concerned. 

This highlight in the 20 something years of the band's career is featuring some brilliant renditions of "Squad car",  Journey to the stars" or "Taboo Tu" to name a few. 

Do yourself a favor: track it down and purchase a copy. You get all the useful information at the end of the interview that was conducted with founding members of SURF ME UP SCOTTY drummer DAN and guitar player PATRICK. Here we go.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about SURF ME UP SCOTTY to introduce yourselves? Can you tell us the full story of the band?  Who was playing what instrument in the band over the years? 

Dan : Well, our band which was active from 1996 until 2017, consisted of a core of 3 members – Patrick (guitar), Patrizia (bass) and me, that’s Dan (drums). Raised on anything that was more rock-ish in the 80’s – from metal to punkrock – we found a common ground in the surf-instrumentals that some of the Californian skatepunk-bands like Agent Orange and JFA included on their records. The idea of a project revolving around surf-instros came after a rehearsal (around ’95) with the punk-band we had at the time, when one of the members firmly rejected that sound after Patrick started playing “Mr Moto”. It was too clean, too “mainstream”, too … whatever.

Somehow, realizing that there’s such a thing like “bad taste” for a punk made it even MORE appealing to us! (that’s what made me also turn onto easy listening, exotica, crooner stuff, swing, etc – that and the incredible songwriting in those styles). So we started rehearsing in 1996 and did some shows after a few months, even though our skills weren’t exactly what you’d expect from a surfband (switching from bass to drums, I had to start from scratch!). Then again, we mostly played in front of punkrock crowds in the beginning and cranked up the speed, so few people cared. Neither did we, at least not in the beginning. Over the years, we noticed, obviously, that there’s more to surf music than 3 chords played over a reverb unit, so I think it’s safe to say we improved on our skills in both playing and songwriting. And in picking coversongs.

Besides the band’s core, we had a bunch of musicians either on organ/keyboard or on rhythm guitar, most of which left after a while. We started to doubt if our body hygiene was responsible in some way, but they assured us – it wasn’t. Even though 2 band-members emigrated to remote places such as Estonia or Florida. Here’s the list : Alexej (keyboard 1996-1998), Muck (keys 1998-1999), Katia (keys, 1999-2003), Polka Claus (keys 2003-2008), Nicolas (guitar, 2008-2014), Eric (guitars, 2014-2016). And we had Mendaly, the Luxembourgian scream-queen (“De Zombie-Film”) on theremine and she also did a kinky sideshow for a while in the late-2000s.

As for our discography : we did a split 7” with a local noise rock band, Gauged, back in 1997 (our first output), a demo CD-R called “Music to get wiped out by” in 1999, a first full-length-CD in 2003/2004 (“Surf now, Apocalypse later”) and it took us, ehm, what?, another 14 years to put out “Pop-cultural studies in ‘A’ minor”. Plus a bunch of compilation tracks.

2) About the posthumous full length record "Pop-Cultural Studies in "A" minor",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

: Recording track by track, with quite some overdubs on some songs. We decided to exploit all the technical possibilities that were available, for instance on songs like “Como quien pierde una estrella”, which is a cover of a 90’s latin-pop classic – a song we’d never played live. It would’ve been a pain in the ass to bring all the folks together that played on that track for a single rehearsal, let alone a liveshow! But then again, that’s one extreme example – all the other songs had a spot in our live set lists for quite a while, and we added some percussions or guitars on those. I think the “honesty” of a live-recording is one thing, but it shouldn’t turn into a dogma. We knew we could add some extra spice to the songs by doing some overdubs, and the result was more important to us than a musical ethos. What’s “real” anyway? Didn’t Plato already question our perception of what’s “real”? ;o)

Patrick: Also, considering the band’s impending break up, time was a factor here. First you are confronted with a choice: make the recordings as “live” as possible, and, in doing so, sacrifice some of the possible grandeur of the compositions, or go with the flow instead, record with the available personnel (the extreme example here is our cover of “Besame mucho”, which at the time saw ME lay down all the tracks on a Bass VI and some latin percussion, all alone…with Dan coming in the next week to record a track of Bongo rythms on top of that – done! Just the two of us…), to “Coyote” or “Como quién pierde una Estrella”, which featured all of us (three different guitar tracks) plus violin, trumpet, latin percussion and samples…almost a surf ORCHESTRA!. The second point to consider was that of a point of view…was it really important to catch a band “live”, which, by that time was a patchwork at best, or rather focus on the SONGS to produce the best possible way for them to sound so they could shine on in posterity? We opted for the second!  ;-)

3) Did you prefer to use the nowadays digital recording technology or did you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

Dan : Analog over digital anytime. Except for bands who don’t rehearse enough to get it all done live in an analog studio – like Surf me up, Scotty!

Patrick: Living in Luxembourg, one does simply not have a lot of analog studios to choose from. So we opted to work again with our long time friend and studio engineer André Thiltges of “Emerald/Orange Box Studios”, which were rebaptised into “Spacestation64 Studios” for the occasion. It’s in a town close to all of us, so we could drive there on the weekends and/or after work to continue working on our recordings whenever some of us had the time. He also has a lot of vintage amps, effects and microphones, so the “digital” recordings were done with a richly analog and vintage equipment. I exclusively played a 1962 brown-face FENDER showman amp with a reverb tank hooked up, to give it the surfiest sound I could muster. Some bass tracks and reverb splashes were recorde through an all-tube SUPRA combo amp and we used an original BINSON ECHOREC, the works!

4) Was there a main composer in the band or was everybody involved in one way or another? Or alternatively did you only play covers and no original tunes?

Dan : About half of the songs are originals, which come from either one of the 3 guitarists involved in the making of the record – if there’s such a thing as a main composer, it’s Patrick in our case. Two songs were written each by one of both rhythm guitarists, “Lightning Bolt” (Eric) and “Coyote” (Nico) .“La Curandera” was the last song to be arranged and recorded by the band. The groundwork was laid by Eric, a Chorus/break added by Patrick and Patrizia and me laid down the rhythm section. As for the covers, some were picked by me (Taboo Tu, Space Fly, Journey to the stars) or by Patrick (who, in a flash of maestric genius, re-arranged stuff like “Como quien pierde una estrella” and “Besame mucho”).

5) Are all the tunes actually in "A" minor? 

Dan : You tell me… ;o)

Patrick: Most of them are, I guess…some may also be in “E minor” for that matter. That fact was of little consequence to the choice of the title. Most of all we liked the word play in the meaning of the title for the album. “Studies” can refer to courses taken in an academic environment as well as to a set form of written musical pieces. We wanted to take the listener by the hand and bring them on a tour of our favorite pop-culture items, in music, literature, as well as in a cinematic sense, as well as to provide them with the most finely crafted surf music we were ever able to perform, kind of a swan song, if you will.

6) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

Dan :  it’s tough to pick only 3. As a teenager : Suicidal Tendencies, The Cult, Metallica.
3 musicians / bands that influence me nowadays, somehow (even though I’m not active anymore) : Ennio Morricone, Arthur Lee & Love, Brian Wilson / Beach Boys.
But it wasn’t only the music known as “surf-music” that inspired me, but also the whole lifestyle revolving around it : I started surfing in 1993, around the same time I got my first Ventures record. For a while, the myth of the 60’s California beach-lifestyle and the subculture (boards, mags, movies) was something that also inspired me to play in a surfband. For the record : surfing in Blankenberge on a sunny afternoon in the summer of ’98 and hitting a show featuring the Revelaires and the Fifty Foot Combo at the Botanique in Brussels afterwards was about as close as I could get to the Californian lifestyle, without even leaving the continent. Who needs Malibu and the Rendez-vous Ballroom then??

Patrick: For me, growing up, it would have been Gary Glitter(all things glam, really! Suzy Quattro, The Sweet, T-Rex, early Bowie, some Slade, etc), Alice Cooper, and, more relevant to the surf music I played: the Shadows and the Sputniks, some Ennio Morricone of which my elder brothers listened to a lot. Megadeth and Slayer were very prominent for me, then all the punk and hardcore legends…for surf music, I would always come to certain reference points: Dick Dale, Man…or Astroman? And I must admit the VICE BARONS were/are among my favorite surf bands of all time. I could not get enough of your albums, listened to them all day long in the middle of the 90's. “Friends in low places” was a go-to album if that surfing mood hit me. So you might understand that I am quite excited by the news of new material being put together by you guys!

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

Dan: Yes, we have : you can find an “appetizer” which features excerpts of 2 songs (only covers, though). Check my youtube channel (keeperofthelostpipe), I have a Surf me up, Scotty! playlist on there that has some live stuff and 2 unreleased recordings (“Surfing on the moon” and “Storm surf”).

8) What could concert goers expect at a gig of SURF ME UP SCOTTY, way back in the day?

Dan : Flashy outfits, B-movie trailers played on TVs, wrong notes, chaos.  Oh, and a bee-mask.

Patrick: Yeah, on our better and bigger gigs we would have B-Movie interludes: Dan transforming into a Bee-Man Monster, chopping someone's (fake) hand off…artificial blood spewing all over the place to the irritating sounds of a theremin playing an eerie sci-fi type background music, flashing lights. Later on we would have themed shows, we would all dress up as cops or do a classic Zombie show in full make-up and theatrical blood all over. We also had a Surf Nazi phase where we would shock people with anachronistic visuals and contrasting messages. A voluptuous, sexy girl (our friend and co-conspirator Mendaly who also laid down some theremin tracks for the album) would dance and improvise, interact with the audience or just plainly worship the band while playing, being scantily clad and luxuriously shaped. Visuals of all kind would be a fixed part of our performances, be it a surf or zombie or Mexican wrestling film on old TV sets playing, projections of slide shows, pictures and films, you name it.

9) Were there any bands you considered yourself close to musically speaking?

D : If you mean bands that inspired us, I’d say Agent Orange and Man or Astroman when we started out. The original 60’s bands, obviously. Those records are still spinning on my turntable on a regular basis. Also bands that took more care of their songwriting and arrangements - 2 bands come to mind : The Bambi Molesters and, uhm, yes, The Vice Barons.

10) What happened to the other people in the band? Are they still active musically nowadays?

Dan : Patrizia now lives in Florida and she did a band with her husband for a while, Giorgio ‘The Dove’ Valentino – check them out on youtube. Dark-crooner stuff. Nico lives the life he’s always dreamed of – as a lumberjack somewhere up the Baltic sea. Still playing his OG 60’s Fender Jag, but not a band in the making, as far as I know.

Patrick: Well, yes I have been and still am active in loads of bands and projects, chief among them would be TOXKÄPP! , my Two-tone ska band (which also evolved out of the super-group Dan mentioned earlier. SMUS and Toxkäpp would be sister-bands in that regard. I also play (along with Eric, of course!) in the live set of ROME, a dark folk band , which evolved out of our Oi-punk band THE SKINFLICKS and which is touring around the globe constantly.

11) Anything you would like to add?

Dan : It’s quite weird to think back of all the stuff we did – and it’s a bit sad to see most of it is gone. Not speaking only of the band, but also of the lack of interest in surf music nowadays, if compared to the situation in the 90's, when the Pulp-Fiction hype brought in a lot of people (maybe for the wrong reasons, agreed). At least we got to know cool bands and people from Belgium… and other parts of the world. But yeah, maybe it’s time to move on.

Patrick: yeah, I know we were all bitten by the surf bug, and even if this incarnation cannot function any more because of restraints that time and space chained us to, I am fairly sure that we will return in some form or another, maybe under a new name, who knows? But I myself miss playing surf music a lot…it still means a lot to me and we will do something along those lines sooner or later, come the right time! Thanks for the support and the interview, keep up the good work!

Dan: And then there’s the obvious beg : BUY OUR RECORD!  Since it’s the band’s final output, we really wanted to have it on vinyl and went the  whole hog : vinyl + CD in a gatefold cover. So it’s pretty clear we’ll never see our money again, but what the heck. It’s a present to ourselves for our 20th band-birthday, so it was worth it. If someone else along the way happens to dig it, it makes me a happier person. If someone wants to buy a copy, just get in touch via our facebook-page (/surfmeupscotty) or send me an email : It’s 15€ plus shipping (but I’ll throw in half of the shipping costs).