Tonight Jeff the Brotherhood will open for garage godfathers, The Greenhornes, at the Bottom of the Hill. Brotherhood brothers Jake and Jamin bring out the raw essence of rock and roll with just one guitar and drums. Their latest recording “We Are the Champions” is set to release soon and the duo have just inked a deal with Warner Brothers. Luckily we had a chance to sit down (in cyberspace) with guitarist brother Jake and ask a few questions before they head off for the major league.
OCMD: The Brotherhood seems to have a deep SF connection. You have done shows with Hunx and his Punx, and Shannon and her Clams. You released a split 7″ with OCMD fave Ty Segall. What gives, how did ya’ll hook up? Any chance you guys are moving out here? Jake: We did a tour with Ty and co a while back and became fast friends. That crew turned us on to a bunch of stuff. Probably not movin to bay area anytime soon.
OCMD: We compulsively go to SXSW every year. You guys seem like regulars. Do you have a favorite venue or two in Austin? Any particular snacks you seek out there? Jake: We like to get BBQ and Jamin likes the Crawfish Boil. Also into the food trucks. Don’t have a fav venue.
OCMD: I try and eat your blog’s “Snack Attack” suggestions whenever possible and really enjoyed the Dickel and Donut combo. Any other choices not to be missed? Jake: Pickled sausage and cheese and crackers. Just alternate bites, total bliss.
OCMD: We read that you are encouraging your sister to learn bass and join the family band. I can’t think of any bands of 3 siblings, that could be a serious edge. Has there been any progress there? Do you have a favorite sibling-based band? Jake: She’s just started learning. We like the Jackson 5!
OCMD: What’s up with the Japan tour? What do you hope to find there? With all the sitar on the new album, might you consider a tour of India? Jake: Japan tour is hopefully soon, not trying to find anything in particular, just good times. Dunno if we r gonna tour India, is there cool places to play?
OCMD: Are you sick of people asking you guys about the whole brother thing? Jake: Kinda
OCMD: Why should we love you more than Natural Child? They have a lot more herb on their blog, not to mention that naked picture of you. Jake: If u are super into cheefin out on sum cheeba u should love Natty Child more, I don’t know what naked pic u talkin about!
OCMD: Ramones or Zeppelin? Jake: Ramones
Thanks Jake! Safe travels, enjoy the tour. I hope you make it to Japan (and India-I imagine there are some really cool places to stay).
Those who know me know how deep my obsession runs for the Brooklyn, by way of London, based band called Alberta Cross. A band I feel like I’ve been waiting for all my life. They hooked me with their EP, The Thief and The Heartbreaker, in 2007. Left me waiting (what felt like) an eternity for their debut LP, The Broken Side of Time, that released last fall, and even longer for their tour to hit the West Coast.
Thankfully, the wait ends tonight at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill. And I know, just like their debut album, it will be well worth the wait. I had a chance to catch up with lead singer, Petter Ericson Stakee, before the show to talk to him about the album, the tour, and what took him so long.
The OCMD: How’s the tour going so far? I’ve been waiting so long for you to come to California. Is this your first official West Coast tour?
Petter: It’s going great. We just played the Troubador last night in LA and sold out which was great. And yeah, I’ve been waiting a long time to get out here too. I love it out here. We’ve been out this way before for some gigs and a few festivals – like Coachella and the Download Festival. But this is our first official West Coast tour.
The OCMD: You grew up in Sweden and London –both of which have distinct musical influences– yet your sound has such a retro Americana/ blues-rock vibe. How did that come to be?
Petter: I grew up listening to loads of different music. I do think we have a bit of that blues/Americana thing but we also have a lot of English influences in us too. Growing up there, we listened to a lot of bands like My Bloody Valentine and The Verve so there’s definitely a mix of influences for us.
The OCMD: You now live in New York. What inspired the relocation?
Petter: I’m living in Brooklyn now and it’s great – a really inspiring place to live with a lot of energy and amazing bands. We had a hard time the last year or two and when we went to New York for a festival, we met so many amazing bands and were so inspired that we decided to make the move. It’s been good for us but there’s so many places in America we still want to see. We really loved Austin, Chicago and the whole West Coast is really amazing.
The OCMD: I’ve read that Alberta Cross is actually an anagram. Is that true? Can you tell us what it means?
Petter: It is true. But I’m not going to tell you what it means.
The OCMD: Is there a prize if we figure it out?
Petter: [laughs] Sure, as long as it’s not too much money.
The OCMD: If Alberta Cross is an anagram, is the song “ATX” an acronym? What does it stand for?
Petter: Yeah, it stands for Austin, TX. The album was recorded down in Austin. We thought it would be a good idea to get out of New York and the City and record in some place new. And we really loved it there. It’s a beautiful place, full of great people and great music. So we really just wanted to name something after it.
The OCMD: Speaking of Austin, will you be there again this year?
Petter: I think we probably are but we have quite a busy tour schedule so we’ll have to see if we can work it out. I hope we go, definitely. I’d love to go.
The OCMD: Broken Side of Time is one of my favorite albums of 2009, though it seems more dark and brooding than The Thief & The Heartbreaker EP. What was happening for you when you wrote it?
Petter: I think the album got that vibe because of the stuff we were going through at that time. We were in London and in kind of a dark place. We left our label and were feeling lost and broke. Then we moved to New York. It was really exciting but we were still kind of in the same situation for a while. And when we moved here Bush was still the president. So it was a crazy time and that definitely inspired the vibe of the album. We’ll see where the next album takes us.
The OCMD: What are the plans for the next album?
Petter: We’re writing stuff all the time and we’re recording stuff that we might release pretty soon.
The OCMD: Alberta Cross + Hacienda = one kick ass live rock show. Are you excited to tour with them? I saw them support Dan Auerbach last year where they pulled out a cover of The Animals “Inside Looking Out” that literally melted my brain.
Petter: Yes, we’re doing the whole tour with Hacienca. We saw them when they were touring with Dan Auerbach and met them down in Austin. They’re an amazing band and good friends of ours now.
The OCMD: Speaking of covers, I have a real soft spot for them and loved the cover of John Lennon’s “Steel and Glass” you did. Are you planning to play more? Can I make a request for one tonight?
Petter: Ohhhh, we’ll see. That’s kinda soon. We are definitely planning to play some more cover songs, but we don’t have that many right now. We’re working on a couple. Covers are fun. It’s always fun to play other people’s songs. But “Steel and Glass”, yeah, we might play that one.
King Khan greeted the crowd Wednesday night at the Independent with a few words to sum it all up: “It’s good to be back in civilization.”
The King Khan & BBQ show tour was sorely interrupted on November 12th when their rental car was “randomly” stopped at a “safety checkpoint” in Kentucky. All were arrested and the groups manager was jailed on possession charges (mushrooms). Two shows were missed.
People expecting a Shrine’s style stage full of musicians and dancers may have been initially disappointed to find only the dynamic duo (King and Sultan), but any disappointment would be quickly flattened as the two tore threw a long sweaty set and encore. No distractions, just King and Sultan, giving it all their mighty powers. Mark Sultan used all 8 appendages, playing fierce guitar while keeping the pounding, tribal beats on drums and tambourine with his 2 feet. It seems his foot went through the tambourine which was attached to one of the two drum pedals. King Kahn dressed elegantly in a sleeveless, shimmery blue dress. The fringed skirt barely covered his thighs. He wore a black helmet with a silver spike and eagle on top (Franco-Prussian war perhaps?), snappy red tennis shoes, and a necklace of teeth and bone. Together they plowed through most of the KK&BBQ catalog including great renditions of personal faves “Zombies” and “Why don’t you lie?”. Yes there was moshing.
Opening act, Those Darlins come from Murfreesboro, TN. They have developed quite a reputation for wild shows with lots of drinking and mayhem. Consisting of 3 lovely ladies (Jessi Darlin, Kelley Darlin and Nikki Darlin on guitar, bass and ukulele) as well as a handsome dude on the drums. He has not achieved the “Darlin” surname yet. The show defied all expectations. Shredding guitar and lots of stage antics. Nikki, in particular, was in prime form. She jumped into the audience to have a cigarette and push some guys around. She climbed back on stage only to drool beer into the welcoming mouth of a lucky young man in the front row. Yet with all the drinking and rocking they still found the time to answer some questions for us at the OCMD! Smart, wonderful, sober answers, enjoy!!
OCMD: How is the tour so far? Any favorite cities or venues? Will we see you at SXSW this year?
TD: Interrupted. The Bottletree in Birmingham is one of the best venues, for bands especially!!! They have 2 air stream trailers outside that are fully equipped with flat screen tvs, dvd players, refrigerators, blankets, beds, movies , nintendos, etc. They are all decorated really retro and awesome, they even have lawn gnomes and an outside hangout out area with lawn chairs. The bands can stay there all night if they want! and there is still a huge back stage area with tons of couches and comfy stuff, including massage chairs!! It rules. As far as cities on this run, atlanta, st louis, and memphis brought it as a whole. But there have been crazy sweet people in every city. Los Angeles showed up with huge enthusiasm after the Troub cancellation and a last minute venue change. Yes we shall be back to the SXSW festival this year. At least we sure hope to be.
OCMD: How are things going with the King? It seems like a match made in heaven. Are you playing any songs together yet? Is he behaving himself since his arrest??
TD: Things were great with King Khan, until they went missing. We were pretty damned worried when no one could get a hold of them. And then their whole run in with the KY sobriety force. A drag on everyone. We’ve had to cancel 2 shows and move one. But we’ve tried to keep the spirit of the tour going…we played extra long sets and covered some KKBBQ for Kansas fans who were understandably bummed. And now we are on our way to rejoin them in SF. I think it is a match made in heaven. And, Khan and I can share accessories. The rest of the tour is gonna be crazy fun. I think everyone has a lot of pent up energy to play out. I don’t know if he is behaving himself since then, as we haven’t seen him yet. But i would hope he isn’t.
OCMD: Tav Falco Pather Burns. Great American rockstar or the greatest? Can you help spread the gospel about Tav? Maybe a cover? We would really like to see him return home from Europe and we need your help!
TD: We love Tav Falco! Yeah, we’ve wanted to tour with him but he’s so far away…we can certainly help with a campaign to let him know how much he is loved and missed in the States. We’ll start with a cover and then try to court him with love letters. Surely there are others who will join us in our efforts? And if he doesn’t come here, we will just have to go to Europe and find him!
OCMD: Why should we love you more than the Vivian Girls?
TD: When it comes to love, you should follow your heart…I love the Vivian Girls’ use of reverb, but I will say that we can shred some guitar solos.
OCMD: What do you look for in a groupie?
TD: I look for groupies that will carry my equipment, buy me drinks, and never talk to me.
OCMD: Top 5 things to do in Murfreesboro?? ..other than say it over and over again?
TD: 1.Volunteer at Southern Girls Rock n’ Roll Camp 2. Eat at Kleer-Vu 3. Ride your bike on the Greenway 4. Uncle Dave Macon Days 5. Wiffle Ball in the Sir Pizza parking lot
OCMD: As a father of 2 young girls, I would like to know how I can ensure they will become rock stars? Your camp is a bit too far from California…
TD: Aww…they can become “rock stars” by being encouraged to be confident and creative. By rock stars, I mean that they will have the confidence to succeed in whatever they pursue. There are so many girls rock camps that have this very purpose as their main mission all over the US and around the world! Last I checked, there were over 20 camps and more being started all of the time. There’s a list of all of the camps maintained by the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, a group formed to share resources among camps. In fact, there’s a Bay Area Girls Rock Camp in San Francisco and there’s a full list available at <http://www.girlsrockcamp.org/supporters/grca>. We’re really proud to be a part of this kind of social change. Please check out the camps and help support the movement!
OCMD: Thanks ladies! Safe travels and come back soon!
An extensive interview with Thom Yorke this month by The Believer revealed that the band has no imminent plans to release a full LP anytime soon. In fact, Yorke was quite candid with his feelings for the traditional album format and creative process, saying: “None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off. I mean, it’s just become a real drag. It worked with In Rainbows because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”
Yorke also went on to discuss his thoughts on the CD and music industry stating, “I mean, I always hated CDs. Me and Stanley [Donwood] always hated CDs. Just a fucking nightmare. There’s a process of natural selection going on right now. The music business was waiting to die in its current form about twenty years ago. But then, hallelujah, the CD turned up and kept it going for a bit. But basically, it was dead.”
But fear not, the band intends to continue to make music, just on their own creative terms. And only a band like Radiohead could help shape and define what that means. So in the meantime look for more EPs one off tracks, like last week’s release of “Harry Patch, In Memory Of”.
Over the weekend I caught up with Reuben of Simon Says No!, an up and coming Norwegian shoegaze group whose debut EP Ahoi de Angst has been making making waves. Pegged as a band to watch in 2009 by many, the group is in San Francisco tonight at Harlot sharing the bill with my favorite hometown band, Leopold and His Fiction. Don’t miss it! The event, sponsored by The Owl Mag,Future Sounds, Stranded in Stereo and SonicLiving, is free if you RSVP here and sure to rock your socks off!
the OCMD: I heard you’re in LA recording? Are you working on the follow up to your EP “Ahoi de Angst”? SSN!:We’re recording one song right now with producer Michael Patterson (Beck, She Wants Revenge, Ladytron) at the Glory Hole studios. We’ve been here two days and this is the last day. We’re trying out where we are going to record our next album and might use this song on the new album.
the OCMD: Is your new album slated to be released soon? SSN!:When we get home we’re planning to focus on our new songs and put together our ideas. The plan is to do some pre-production in the summer then start recording in August. That way the album should be ready for release next year.
the OCMD: Is this your first time in the US? SSN!: No, this our second time. We were here last October for CMJ.and played a couple of shows in NY.
the OCMD: Right, you got a lot of good buzz from that CMJ show. SSN: Yes, it was amazing and one of our best concerts we can think of. We got a lot of great feedback and in a way it really startled us because we had never done anything in the US before. It’s been really exciting time for us.
the OCMD: So the first time I heard your music, I couldn’t help think of Serena Maneesh – the only other Norwegian band I know. Were they an influence for you at all? SSN!:Yeah, we live in the same town (Bergen, Norway) and the entire music scene there has been a big inspiration for us.
the OCMD:What is the music scene like in Norway? I know so little about it compared to your Swedish neighbors. SSN!:In Oslo the indie rock scene is pretty huge. But in the second largest town where we live, which is Bergen, there’s a pretty big metal scene. Three of us in the band are from Bergen, so we definitely grew up and were influenced by the hardcore metal scene there. And we’ve definitely brought that kind of energy into the shoegaze sound we have.
the OCMD: I can definitely hear the metal influence in your music. It sounds good… and really loud! Should I bring my earplugs to your San Francisco show on April 1? SNN!:Yes, we like to play loud. You might want to bring your earplugs!