October 24, 2011

Trip Loon Interviews The Nuclears

I sell people as how I like them as. I see Nick Vivid as a raw energy front man that drips with a messy hormonal charge. And I see the rest of The Nuclears as dudes with a great sense of humor. In an ideal world I can see Mick, Brian and Bobby in an MTV interview laying down the humorous banter of Rockstars. Similar to Ace Frehely’s or Rick Nielsen’s.

I also imagine Mick, Brian and Bobby associated with outrageous images of Pop Culture like they’re side by side with an image of a cartoon pizza or endorsing a Ghostbusters movie for some reason. Saying a really funny line with gusto then giving a thumbs up with a huge, wide grin. Wearing sunglasses. At night.

I think that the culture is too glossy and too serious and too buzzkill these days. If I were to influence culture in any way I’d campaign your songs and charachters to give everything personality again. Songs like Pay Yer Dues and The Hair Stays is written in the tongue of the common man. I feel that they’re also a bunch of fun numbers that ease everything up and make light of the daily bullshit that we have to go through.

At the same time, you have songs like Eclipso. Which feels very serious and powerful. Having a number like that in your repertoire prevents people from typecasting you as just a party band. And having a number like that proves that you can be more than that.

How would you guys sell yourself as?

Everything must go! 50% off! 5 for the price of
1! No rough stuff! $50 for you, $100 for your friend! Eye contact is
extra! All sales final!

Do you feel that the world of rock n roll these days lacks a sense of humor?

We have more of a problem that the world of comedy lacks guitar solos.

Lets talk about the sonic element of The Nuclears. This is for Mick and Brian. Who do you both take after in your guitar playing? Are there any underrated guitar players you take after that you’d like to turn us on to?

Mick: Chris Masuak and Deniz Tek from Radio Birdman, Mick Ronson, KK
Downing from Priest. Christian Datsun from the Datsuns is a great
underrated player, there's hundreds of them out there to discover.

Brian: Pete Townshend's my favorite. I'm a big fan of Mick Jones from
the Clash, his style's really informed mine and never gets enough
props. Obviously Jimi Hendrix was a great lead guitarist, duh, but his
rhythm playing taught me a lot too. But yeah, there's too many underrated
guitarists out there to count. Dudes like Ross the Boss and Glenn Buxton
and Mick Ralphs and Patrick Williams are never gonna make a Rolling Stone
top 100 list or whatever, but they're easily the equals of the guys who

What’s your playing style?

Mick: Brian does a lot of cool subtle rhythm guitar parts which
compliment my straight-ahead power chords, it makes for a good dynamic
that factors heavily into our songwriting. For leads, it's all about
trying to create song hooks.

Brian: Yeah, I'm always trying to do something a little bit different
even with otherwise straight-forward progressions, little inversions
or different voicings or what have ya. With two guitars, it's all
about us trying to find two cool ways of playing what's essentially
the same bunch of notes.

Do you give any attention to tone? If yes, what kind of tone do you chase after and why?

We start thinking about tone the second we write a tune. We have an array of
amps and guitars and pedals. Every song on the album for example uses
about 6 different guitar-and-amp combinations and a lot of
experimentation in the studio to get what we were going after. It's all
on a song-by-song basis.

Bobby? (Same 3 questions about the sonic stuff in regards to your instrument)

My playing style is "I don't want to be boring." I see too many
bassists audiences don't care about. The best bass players are like
Paul McCartney. I mean, he's like the best bass player, right? He's a
great singer songwriter but no one talks about how great he was at
bass. I like John Entwistle. Paul Simonon from The Clash had a great
stage presence and he had simple bass lines that just stuck out. I
don't like that virtuoso shit at all. Bass virtuosos just have guitar
envy. As far as tone, the less I have to bring gear wise to the gig
the better. If I could have some drive that'd be cool. Ever since we
lost the pedal board it really doesn't matter. My style is more visual
than sonic anyway.

Geoff? (Same 3 questions)

Generally the influences have been like punk, fusion, and afrobeat
drummers like Billy Cobham, Jaki Liebezeit. But for The Nuclears I
really take a minimalist approach in the vein of Phil Rudd and Scott
Asheton. As far as tone, I just tune the snare tight, the toms loose,
and beat like I just found out they were cheating on me.

Nick, what do you want to bring to the audience as a front man? More importantly, what do you want to bring out of the audience as a front man?

I like to get in their face. I make sure they know I notice them. I
enjoy seeing their reactions when I make eye contact and give them 1
on 1 time. Badass dudes with tattoos, supermodels, I stare 'em down
and they get really wierded out and I have a lot of fun with that.

Nick, who is your favorite singer?

Bon Scott. Iggy. Both those guys are very blue collar. It shows in the
urgency in the way they sing. I identify with that. You work for it
and earn it. That's what it's about. I have a whole other set of
favorite frontmen who can't really sing but can entertain a crowd, but
you didn't ask me that question, so...

This is a question for each member of the band. Who are your favorite bands? And what are your favorite songs?

Geoff: PJ Harvey, Can, Fela Kuti, the Stooges. Recent favorites
include "Telegram Sam" by T. Rex and Darondo "How I got over".

Bobby: Alice Cooper. I dunno, what's a modern band that I like...? The
Booze, and Deathrow Tull. "A Quick One While He's Away" by the Who.

Mick: Judas Priest is my all-time favorite band. The Alice Cooper Band
right after them. Hanoi Rocks, and Radio Birdman. "Cool Metro" by
David Johansen and "Non-stop Girls" are my favorite songs right now

Nick: Kiss was my first love, and they are the reason I do what I do.
Though I don't really listen to them much these days. Priest, Thin
Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult. Lots of BOC lately.

Brian: Mott the Hoople, the Kinks, the Dictators, the Clash. I've had
"Alex Chilton" by the Replacements stuck in my head for like 3 days
now and I'm not sick of it yet.

Are there any ideal producers that you would love to work with in the future?

We could say old school producers like Jack Douglas or Tony Visconti.
But those guys don't do drugs anymore so their best days are most
likely behind them. Eddie Kramer would be cool for picking his brain,
learning some of his engineering techniques, hearing old war stories,
and just saying we made a record at Electric Lady would be badass.
Someone like that that we could really learn something from would be
cool. But We will most likely keep doing it ourselves until we've
lost the ability to be our own worst critics. Then we'll need that outside ear.

Last question. Where do you see The Nuclears evolving musically in their later albums?

We don't get very complacent. We constantly try to outdo ourselves. If
you mix that ideal with whatever music and outside forces are
influencing us at the time, that will be the sound of the following

For a rare appearance in Los Angeles, The Nuclears will play live TONIGHT on Monday the 24th at The Dragonfly along with The Americana Deth Cult and Nothing Sacred.

The Dragonfly
6510 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90038-1408

Doors open at 7 PM.

Nothings Sacred - 11:30pm
Americana Deth Cult - 10:30pm
The Nuclears - 9:30pm

The Nuclears will fly back to New York City on Friday the 28th of October. So if you’re in LA, this is your only chance to see them live. Be sure to make it, they’re worth every .. oh wait. I forgot that it’s a free show. Come on down and be a part of an outrageous rock n roll spectacle,,

Over and out,,


October 22, 2011

Blitch 66 and The Americana Deth Cult

Finally, we all get to see Blitch 66, Nathanial John, Gary Martin and Keif Robert together on stage. I had the chance to catch Nathanial and Keif at one of the Big City Rebels shows. Big City Rebels is an annual sleaze rock festival run by Sam Valentine, one of the earliest and leading revivalists of ballsy, glammed out, sex-driven rock n roll in New York City. I went to the show to catch my friends The Last Vegas, whom Sam booked as the headliners.

Opening for them were Nathanial and Keif, who were both in separate bands. Nate was on drums for The Party Death and Keif was on guitar for Wildstreet . I spoke to Sam about the vision of his party promotion activities. He kept telling me how he wanted rock n roll to be about rolling into a party and grabbing the hottest girl there, then if anyone fucks with you, you punch him straight in the face. I can see why he booked Nate and Keif at his show.

Later that year, Kelle Calco booked The Dirty Pearls at Don Hill’s (before it sadly closed down). The Master of Ceremonies that night was non other than Blitch 66 himself. That was the first time I ever saw Blitch. Nick Vivid mentioned him in Kelle’s blog and spoke highly of him. Alright, let’s see what this guy is all about.

The moment Blitch stepped on that stage, he had everybody’s attention within seconds. He was a force of nature in charisma and charm. Everyone that night started out standoffish and a little too shy to be social, but when Blitch had a microphone and a spotlight on him, he made hormonal animals out of us. Everybody stopped being afraid of yelling and cheering and all the girls got really horny. Getting laid that night got a thousand times easier, for everyone. After that party I always wondered, what kind of charisma would Blitch bring if he was in an active band? I wanted to steal him for myself but I was too busy with film school.

Blitch, Keif and Nathanial all moved to LA this year. Wildstreet got Jonny Prince from Dirty Penny to fill in for them when Keif moved here. And after a long run, The Party Death broke up. I remember all those late LA conversations I had with Jack, Dave and Nate whenever we’re at an ihop after all the bars close down. They were all telling me how they wanted to take the time off to focus on practicing their instruments and evolving as musicians. Dave moved back to Maine and Jack wanted to escape away to Philadelphia. They wanted to be away from everything. Like Shaolin kung fu fighters on top of a deserted mountain, training in a place away from distractions.

Nate stayed here in LA. Without a band. Keif was here. Without a band. Blitch. Without a band. “I wanna get back to music. I just started a new band with Nate and Keif”, Blitch broke the news, as I visited his DJ booth at The Rainbow Bar & Grill. My response: “Whoa … interesting.”
They called the band “The Hollywood Hounds”. If you know Blitch, he’s a really busy guy. And I’ve been in bands where all the members are too busy to put any time to work on writing. Nothing really good comes out of it. I was very pessimistic about The Hounds. I was almost certain that the lack of thought and effort is gonna come across if I ever hear their music.

One morning I was browsing around in facebook. The Hounds posted their first song. Hmmm. Click … A heavy Chuck Berry intro. Hanoi Rocks progressions. Thin Lizzy inspired Irish Folk riffs.. Vocals that remind me of Cinderella’s Tom Kiefer. A bunch of vocal harmonies that feel like Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”. Then a randomly arranged ballsy, burn out, messy, street punk, bluesy Guns N Roses outro foreshadowed with a harmonica. Well ... that was pretty bitchin' ...

It’s one of those songs that make you feel that everything is gonna be ok. Heavy, yet cheerful and soothing at the same time.

“Blitch! Holy shit dude! Who’s the singer?”, I shouted. “That’s Gary, he wrote the Thin Lizzy style riffs too”.

The Hounds are gonna play that song live for the first time ever this Monday. And I can’t wait to finally see them play. They haven’t developed a full set of songs yet, but they were just dying to play live, so Blitch put together a bunch of his favorite songs: Originals, covers and surprises. He’s calling this one-time set: “The Americana Deth Cult”. Not only will we see Blitch play bass with The Hounds, we’re gonna see him as a front man for the rest of the set. I’ve been anticipating Blitch as a front man ever since Don Hills in New York City. And now, I finally get to see him do it.

The Americana Deth Cult will be playing live at
The Dragonfly this Monday Oct 24 along with The Nuclears and Nothing Sacred. Make sure to make it for this one. It’s a special one. Two bands playing their first show in LA. Don’t miss it...

October 21, 2011

New York City's "The Nuclears" Fly To Los Angeles

The Nuclears. I’m flying this band in from New York City to Los Angeles. And trust me, they’re worth every dime I spent.

I found out about the Nuclears through the rock n roll nightlife kingpin of New York City, Kelle Calco. He discovered them, booked them for a show, and wrote about them in his blog. I read amazing things about their front man, Nick Vivid. It was an old blog entry that I stumbled upon after the show was over. I felt very unfortunate that I missed the show. I waited for weeks to see if I could catch them again at another date somewhere in the city. Eventually, I caught an announcement that they were playing at Trash Bar, a famous rock n roll dive in Brooklyn. And in that cold intimate New York night, I put a cozy jacket on, walked over the Williamsburg bridge and decided to see for myself if they live up to my expectation.

I reached the gates of Trash Bar. I saw a guy with brown hair and a coat. He’s the guy from the picture in Kelle’s blog. He’s Nick Vivid. It’s weird when you meet someone you anticipated for a while. Nick Vivid isn’t a celebrity, he isn’t an established high selling act, but I got a little starstruck when I met him. It felt like I understood Nick a little more than anyone else in that bar. I trust Kelle Calco, and I trust anyone he vouches for. Meeting Nick Vivid might not feel very special to anyone else, but it did to me.

After a hand shake and a cool conversation, I went inside, had a couple of beers, the lights went dim and the ceremony was about to begin. They started playing, and naturally, when I see any band I’m in my very speculating “critic mode”. Folding my arms and preparing the speech in my head about what they lack and what they need to do to get better. Until they reached a number called “Eclipso”.

The Sabbath-Influenced Eclipso has a very ominous intro. The intro has a powerful and haunting evolution in it’s progression. Then it erupts into a sonic avalanche of chaos and doom that blasts the entire crowd to the wall. After a good fix of that, the song decrescendos into a beautiful outro that mesmerizes you and touches your heart. The outro evolves into a feeling that creates a sense of mission, the guitars arc to a powerful sense of drama, then finally, a climatic resolve.

I really wanted to keep an impression in front of Nick that I was composed, but during that number, I couldn’t help but lose my shit. After the show was done, I went outside and gave the band a huge thank you. Mick Maverick, Brian Maverick along with Bobby Atoms were outside. Very cool trio. “Yeah, we wrote Eclipso after stealing from 10 Sabbath songs”, Atoms joked. We had a cool conversation and I made a bunch of new friends.

I went back home to check out the rest of their songs and live videos online. Nick Vivid is someone who really takes after Iggy Pop. The Nuclears are very rooted in punk and rock n roll. And by rock n roll I mean the Chuck Berry kind. Yes, they’re that rooted. Those roots are very clear in songs like Pay Yer Dues and Fast Cars and Loud Guitars. One of my favorites is the interestingly composed The Hair Stays You Go, with Brian Maverick on Vocals. The Hair Stays has a long and fun jam session in the middle which takes you on a fast ride. I love it when songs are unpredictable like that. Wherever that band is headed, as long they have those roots, they’re on the right track.

I visited New York City again for a documentary I’m doing about the post-CBGBs rock scene in New York. I interviewed The Nuclears to do commentary. I was very impressed by how enlightening and insightful they are. The sense of humor that Mick, Brian and Bobby have is hilarious. And when I visited their apartment, I got to see the enormous “work space” that Nick Vivid built for himself. It’s a huge wall of audio machines everywhere. It looks like NASA. And while Atoms was watching reruns of Star Trek, Brain and Mick were being jolly hosts to their guests as Nick, like a workaholic, presses buttons in front of his NASA station doing god knows whatever the hell he’s busy with.

I can’t even begin to emphasize how rare Nick Vivid is. He airs a 24/7 broadcast of live concert bootlegs on the internet for free. He helps other bands all the time. He runs his own label and his own recording studio. And he’s a smart super literate rock buff. To me, he is one of the biggest assets any scene is blessed to have.

When I came to LA, I met a great parade of diehards that I really wanted to bring together. More importantly, I wanted to bridge the LA and New York scenes together. Kelle booked Hammered Satin in New York City last year. Brett Hellings of the Nasty Souls was in New York a few weeks ago too. Fellow New York Rockers Nathanial John, Jack Nightrain and Davey Dynamite moved to LA earlier this year along with Blitch 66 and myself. And now, The Nuclears are gonna be here for a week to do a show. It’s all coming together. And I see big things happening to two local scenes of two rock n roll capitals that’s stretching out to both sides of the frontier.

Monday the 24th of October, my comrade Blitch booked The Nuclears at The Dragonfly. Along with Nothing Sacred and Blitch's very own project, The Americana Deth Cult. The Nuclears are only gonna be here for a week so don’t miss it. This is one of the very significant events where both coasts are coming together. I want you all to be a part of it.

Trip Loon,,