Excellent tribute to the seminal SUNNYBOYS by 18 Australian bands delivering recordings from the powerpop smarts of Melbourne's Even & Brisbane's Shifter to the all girl garage action of Melbourne's The Shimmys to the straight out rock n roll attack of the Naked Eye and Cherry Smash.
Michael Giblin put together a rock'n'roll supergroup and "Another Cinderella" is their sophomore album. They play what they call "Big Dumb Rock". Check it out, this blog loves it and you gonna love it too!
1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The SPLIT SQUAD to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band? Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays? What are your various individual backgrounds? How did you manage to gather this "super-group" of musicians?
The Split Squad is composed of myself, Michael Giblin, (bass, vocals, guitar, keys), guitarist Eddie Munoz (The Plimsouls), guitarist/vocalist Keith Streng (The Fleshtones), drummer Clem Burke (Blondie), and keyboardist Josh Kantor (The Baseball Project). We all knew each other, through various musical projects, and decided to make a record together in 2013. We had so much fun, we turned ourselves into a real band, and have been playing together a few times a year, ever since.
2) About the new full length record "Another Cinderella", can you explain the choice of this title in regard of the cover artwork?
In American sports, the term "Cinderella" is used to describe a person or team that is succeeding where they aren't expected to. In boxing, it's referred to as someone who is holding his own against a much stronger opponent. Given the current fractured state of the music business, we thought it was a good metaphor for releasing an album independently these days.
3) 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?
Our process is that generally myself, Clem, and at least one of our guitarists will record the basic rhythm track, and then the rest will overdub their parts and vocals. We like to record like a "real" rock band as much as we possibly can. We did the first album that way, essentially completing it all in about 3 sessions. The new album, however, was a bit different, due to the restrictions of the pandemic, and the fact that no one could travel for almost an entire year.
4) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?
All of the actual recordings are digital, but, depending on where we are working, there will be a number of analog components involved, with regard to preamps, signal processors, eq's, etc. I have my own studio (Red Chuck), where most of the new album was done, but we have also done a lot of tracking and mixing at a wonderful old school studio near Boston called Woolly Mammoth Sound.
5) Are you the main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?I mean do you arrive at the rehearsal with a full demoed song where the other guys play what you tell them to play or do you only give the global direction and everybody plays what he wants?
Keith and I write the majority of the songs, but everyone is most definitely involved when it comes to arrangements and such. I like to demo my songs (because with my studio, I CAN), but Keith will generally just have an idea and show it to us to learn. I'm not fussy about my demos. If the band comes up with something different (and usually better!) it's always a good thing.
6) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write the lyrics to a new song?
When I write for The Split Squad, I try to keep the subject matter "not too serious". In fact, I often refer to our sound as "Big Dumb Rock". But there are a handful of our songs that have deeper, more personal meanings, such as I Can't Remember, which was inspired after the death of my wife.
7) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.
I was a teenager in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and the music that inspired me the most was all of the great cutting edge New Wave and Punk music of the time. The three bands that continue to influence me, are also the bands that were my favorites at the time: The Who, The Clash, and Elvis Costello. They have always stuck with me.
8) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the latest full length?
Yes, we do! For our first single, "Hey DJ"
9) What can concert goers expect at a gig of The SPLIT SQUAD? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the gig?
As a live band, we are very high energy and kinetic. We take that from The Fleshtones, as Keith is a non-stop, perpetual motion machine. Our set consists of an equal sampling from both our albums, as well as some fun covers from The Heartbreakers, The Small Faces, AC/DC, and a few surprises!
10) Are there any bands in the USA today that you consider yourself close to musically speaking?
We take a little bit from a lot of different styles and genres, so it's tough to say we are close to any ONE band, but we are never very far away from The Fleshtones and The Plimsouls.
11) How would You describe the music you're playing? Is this POWERPOP, is it Garage rock or do you consider there is way more than that?
As I said before, we call it "Big Dumb Rock"! Musically, it's some 60's-inspired Mod rock, some Power Pop, some Garage, some Soul, etc. Everyone in the band is so musically adept, that we feel confident trying just about anything, and making it sound like us. There's even an unreleased instrumental track from the album, where Keith said "let's play it like The Meters!", so that's what we did!
12) What are the plans for 2022 as far as The SPLIT SQUAD is concerned?
Now that "Another Cinderella" is out in the EU (on FOLC Records), we have plans to play over there a few times this year. We will be in France in June, The UK in July, and then Spain in the fall.
13) Anything you wanna add?
It's been a rough couple of years for musicians, so we are excited to get back out in front of some people with our rock and roll circus!
When I first heard the single "Hot Cold Fever" I must admit that I was a bit confused -to say the least. As a musician myself, I totally understand that, at one point, every band is entitled to make a change in its musical style. But in this case the change was RADICAL.
What the hell happened to FAZ WALTZ that everybody loved for their take on BOVVER rock? It was almost like, in the early seventies, SLADE had morphed overnight into Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers.
Nevertheless, now that the full length "On the Ball" is out everything seems to make more sense. After all, it's only rock'n'roll and as long as the songs are good everything is fine. And Faz knows how to write great songs! So why complain?
1) This radical change in sound and in look, is this something that happened during the pandemic or is it something you had in mind since a long time.
Faz La Rocca: It's something that came naturally, always loved the roots of Rock'N'Roll and it shows in many other songs during the years: "Shakin' Like An Hooligan", "Millionaire", "Last Train To Nowhere" and others.
2) Aren't you afraid to lose the old FAZ WALTZ fans? Why have you not tried this new musical style under a different band name?
Faz: No, I'm not afraid of losing old fans... I've never wrote my music to please somebody else, I write for my pleasure and for what I feel. I think fans should follow the musical evolution of the artist, not the opposite. In eight albums I see a progression in many ways, but basically it's always been Rock'N'Roll. Why should I play my music under a different name? This is me.
3) 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? Did you overdub the piano parts yourself?
Faz: We recorded the rhythm section first (drums / bass) playing all together, then I've added guitars, piano, vocals and percussions. Yes I've played all the piano parts on this album.
4) For this new album did you use the nowadays recording technology or did you only work with analog machines to reproduce the 50's sound?
Faz: We used both technologies, old and new. Anyway we love working in studio, not at home like many do today. Thanks to Brown Bracella, who always produce the records with me, we can use 50s/60s microphones and preamps, of course going through a real vintage mixer.
5) During concerts are you going to keep playing old numbers and mix them in the set with the new ones or will it be a total new set focused on the new album?
Faz: Yes, we're playing many songs of the new album but we always add some from the old repertoire.
6) When it comes the rock'n'roll pioneers of the 50's who are your main heros? I, for one, hear a lot of Eddie Cochran and Little Richard influences in this new record.
Faz: Well, I've always been a big fan of 50s Rock'N'Roll, I think my favourite are Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Buddy HOlly and... John Lennon. Yes, I consider him one of them, a real rocker.
7) On every FAZ WALTZ there is a John Lennon's tribute. On this one, it's "Shining Teeth". Can we expect a full "Lennon" album one day ?
Faz: No, just expect a new full "Faz Waltz" album as always.
8) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release?
Faz: Yes, the first single, "Hot Cold Fever".
9) What are the plans for the rest of 2022 as far as FAZ WALTZ is concerned? Are you guys planning to tour Europe to promote the album?
Faz: Yes, we're on tour and playing in Italy now, Germany in July, Spain in October, we're working on a new U.S. Tour in 2023.