Monday, August 26, 2013

Cowboi! up with Johnny Rioux's (Street Dogs, Ex-Bruisers) new album!

When Johnny Rioux of the Street Dogs announced that he would be starting a new side project last winter, I knew that not only I would enjoy it but would fully back it.  I am a huge Street Dogs fan but when I heard Johnny would be taking Oi! classics and mixing them to a country and rockabilly feel, I was more than intrigued.  Rioux did not go it alone as he was accompanied by Jeff Morris (The Bruisers and Death and Taxes) and the current drummer of the Street Dogs, Pete Sosa ( also in Roger Miret and the Disasters).  With three, it proved to be a perfect line up!

As the saying goes, less is more and that proves to be so on this record between the range of sounds the trio delivered.  The ten track record opens with the Cock Sparrer classic, "Working" with a perfect southern guitar flair to it by Jeff Morris .  The fantastic thing with Jeff is that every project he has been involved in, he constantly proves that he is one of the best guitar players in the scene yet constantly overlooked!  Even when Jeff was a Bruiser, his guitar playing ability and talent shined through even with his experience in Death and Taxes and the Unloved.  On this record, the trio performed "Societies Fools" by the Bruisers (a personal favorite) where Johnny plays an impeccable upright bass intro! Other upbeat anthems are given 110% by the boys with, "Voice Of A Generation" and "Someone Is Gonna Die Tonight" by Blitz which are superbly upbeat.  Pete Sosa completes the line up with hitting the snare and symbols with perfect timing which easily gives off that western and rockabilly edge!

Of course this record could not go released without a local band and that band being Blood For Blood.  The last track is Johnny Rioux's version of "Evil In The Brain" which is a stripped down, slow, and dark track that can relate to the inner demons and struggles inside of us.  This is easily my favorite track because Johnny makes this version of the song flow absolutely perfectly.  The tone of the acoustic guitar matches up perfectly with the lyrical content originally written by Rob Lind.  This is a perfect way to end a great record with an introspective touch that forces the listener recognize the demons inside and how it is easily a struggle for all of us to come to grips and face them no matter who you are!   

Other classic and sing along covers include Agnostic Front's skinhead anthem, "Crucified", "If The Kid's Are United" by Sham 69, and "Oi! Oi! Oi!" by Cockney Rejects!  Lastly, you can't forget the 4 Skins, "A.C.A.B." What I can really appreciate about this release is that it is  the most original project I have seen done.  Many musicians will often start a new project that is either substandard or may not have a new attack plan to it or worse, will "do it for the sake of doing it!" The amazing thing that Johnny Rioux and company did here was that they took classic songs and gave them a new sound and it worked absolutely beautifully.  I am not afraid to say that this may be the new definition of the term, "punk rock" because it is more original than what is coming out today.  The three of them took a chance with full confidence and tried something new and succeeded!  I honestly think one day, Johnny, Jeff, and Pete should do a U.S. mini tour.  They are onto something right here! 

With all of that being said, if you are ready to trade in your Doc Martens for a pair of cowboy boots, your scally cap for a cowboy hat, and your half ass beer for some great bourbon, all for 10 tracks out of your night, I suggest you listen to this record!  If you enjoy what real country is such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and the like, I can ensure you this record will be in your liking. If you are looking for something on the range of Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, or some pop country phenomenon, go elsewhere because this will not be for you!   Go Cowboi! up!

Artist Information and Associated Projects:
Johnny Rioux Cowboi! Facebook Page
Street Dogs Offical Facebook Page

Record Label Information:
RandaleShop Randale Records Facebook
Randale Records Facebook
Randale Records Official Website- Buy the CD, or LP here!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A word with Marc Orrell (Ex- Dropkick Murphys, Black Pacific)

One of the bands I grew up listening to that made a huge impact on my life as a person and musically were the Dropkick Murphys.  I still feel to this day that they still bring the same intensity and energy to the stage. When I was younger, the most energetic person on their stage was their now former lead guitar player, Marc Orrell.  After leaving the Dropkicks in 2008, he headed for sunshine, good times, and a new life in California  He currently resides in Los Angeles!.  For those who may not know, Marc still is making music!  I was lucky enough to catch up with Marc through email to see how California living is treating him, and his new project, Wild Roses!  

Run Don't Walk: So originally you are from the Boston area.  When did you move out to California and why did you?  What kind of opportunities has been presented to you since moving there?

Marc Orrell: Yes, I was born and raised around the Worcester/Grafton MA area but I moved out to LA in 2009. It's a great place for rebirth and change. So much to do, so many shows to see and I don't have to shovel snow anymore. So it all made sense to me. I needed to make some changes in my life. 
I've got great friends, been to some killer places, and just purely loving life out here. I'm actually in Palm Springs right now. Only a 2 hour drive from LA and it gets me out of the blaring loud city for a while. Super relaxing in the desert. I love coming out here with a few friends, take some mushrooms with a bottle of whiskey and party with the ones I love.

RDW: A couple years ago, you teamed up with Jim from Pennywise and joined the Black Pacific?  What was that experience like?  What lead you to the band you started and play in now, Wild Roses? 

MO: Jim Lindberg is a punk icon, a great guy and a talented writer. I didn't really know him personally that well before The Black Pacific. I got an email from Joe Sib at Side One Dummy Records one day asking if I wanted to jam with Jim. I liked the tunes I was sent so we set a date to jam. Jim, Gavin Caswell (bass) and Alan Vega (drums) and I fit in like a glove and we just took it from there. Tours just started going everywhere. They're great bunch of guys. They're my boys.
About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine who I played hockey with as kid back in MA and also books the bands at The Whisky A-Go-Go convinced me to do a show down there. I got a few people together, formed a band (one of them being Gavin of The Black Pacific) with a few songs I had been writing and I found my spot. I have never been happier playing music. I called it Wild Roses. The writing in my songs is all over the shop so I thought the name was fitting.

RDW: Reaching back as far as you could remember, what made you want to be a musician?  How old were you when you picked up the guitar and when you started your first band? 

MO: Michael J. Fox put it in my mind doing Chuck Berry's, "Johnny B. Goode" in Back To The Future. I thought "I want to do that!" Although I never knew music instruments actually existed though. Hah! I first picked up the drums. When I look back on it, I think that was a smart decision. It got my rhythm going and developing that sense was key. I played punk rock so it was all about being free and going for it without thought. After begging my mom to buy me a bass with an amp for $100 I saw at a garage sale like a spoiled brat, she buckled and bought it for me as an early birthday present. I played bass and sang in a 3 piece when I was 12. Next thing I know, I'm playing the guitar my brother gave me. His Epiphone 100 Bolt. What a good dude.

RDW: As most might know, you formally were the lead guitar player for Boston Punk stalwarts, the Dropkick Murphys.  How old were you when you were picked up by them?  How long did you play with them for?  Was it an overall satisfying experience? 

MO: I dropped out of high school during my second sophomore year of high school and started working at Blockbuster Video headed for high places. Next thing I know I had joined DKM through James Lynch who I knew through The Westies. I was 17 and my first show with DKM was in Japan. I played with them for 8 years. I consider myself so lucky and grateful to have had that opportunity. I learned a great amount from those guys. I would not be here if it weren't for them. I can't thank them enough.

RDW: Lets talk gear!  As a guitar player myself, I am always curious as to what gear other musician’s use.  What is your current set up for Wild Roses?  What were you using in Black Pacific and in Dropkick Murphys?  

MO: In DKM I jumped around a bit from guitar to guitar but mostly I used a 1973 Gibson Les Paul Custom with '57 Humbuckers with a Marshall JCM 800 100w. Boom! Done! Classic sound. Bright and clean like Malcolm Young. Kinda rips the paint off the walls though. Hah!
The Black Pacific I used a 1974 Les Paul Delux? or Standard? (can't remember) with Seymour Duncan JB Jazz pickups. They're a little hotter. ABYed a Marshall 800 100w and a Marshall 900 50w. Both on at all times. Fuckin loud! A few effects pedals here and there. A Phase 90, Keeley Katana boost pedal, Boss Compressor, I dunno a few other things I've tried here and there. I'm new to pedals.
With Wild Roses, I haven't found my perfect set up just yet. Still looking. Like I said my writing is all over the shop so I'm jumping from here to there. I was playing a lot of acoustic guitar on tour. Mainly, I AB'ed from a Fender Pro Junior 80w (which breaks up nicely) with a 1971 Telecaster and '51 Nocasters. Switched over to acoustic Martin D18 with a DI into the PA. I have been pulling out the Les Paul more an more often lately. Might just start playing the whole set with it. I was born a Les Paul man. The Keeley Katana, Holy Grail reverb, and we'll see what happens when I continue writing. Tremelo...?

RDW: Who were some of your major influences growing up that made you want to be a musician for a living?  I noticed a while ago you have that Rolling Stones logo on your shoulder.

MO: Yeah, The Stones are fucking incredible to me. They just light me up. I've always been a bluesy type of guy because I had Chuck Berry's "The Great Twenty-Eight" record when I was learning guitar. That was all I wanted to learn how to play. That and Green Day's "Dookie" record. From that grew The Clash to the Pogues to local bands. A huge influence was believe it or not, Dropkick Murphys. I was the craziest fan of theirs. I had my own rock concerts playing along to their records in the mirror with a guitar. Fantasizing, "Maybe they'll invite me on stage to play one day". I don't know why I was thinking these things or how that would even happen, but its just something kids do. I gained a lot of knowledge from my time prior and while in DKM. Ryan Adams is also a huge influence of mine too. He's one of my favorites. All eras. Such a fantastic writer, that one. LCD Soundsystem are a favorite of mine as well.

RDW: Outside of playing music, do you work any jobs on the side or does music take up most of your time? 

MO: I watch Bob Ross.

RDW: There is a video out there of you performing “Breakdown” which was released on “The Meanest of Times” as a bonus track at one point in time.  Was that a song that you wrote while with them and you perform on your own now? 

MO: I did that one just for fun. I won't be recording or releasing it. I was playing around with that song a bit at the time, put it in a different key and added some parts, basically just messing around with it because it's a good track.

RDW: What does the future hold for Wild Roses?  I know there is an E.P. out.  Are there any plans for a full length?

MO: Wild Roses is my future. Its taking up a lot of my time right now but I plan to do more in music down the road. I love producing and playing live so we'll see how it all rolls. Right now its full steam aheadI released the "Denim" EP in July. I got the chance to work with David Bianco (T.S.O.L., Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, AC/DC) on that. Dave is an old buddy who produced the DKM record "The Warriors Code" which spawned "I'm Shipping Up To Boston". Had a great time with him and got some cool material out of those sessions.
I also just got back from Nashville, doing the first recording session for the forthcoming Wild Roses full length with Andrjia Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Promised Land, Clear Plastic Masks, and Horray For The Riff Raff). I moved out of ProTools land and recorded to 2 inch tape. Such a rad experience and an overall vibe working like that. Haven't done it in over 10 years. Tape brings a heartbeat that I forgot about a long time ago. Its a living thing. Makes it all human and lifelike. Andirja works fast! A lot faster than me so he's been keeping me on my toes. I'm headed back there in October for the next session. No release date is set until we get finished with the recording sessions but keep an eye out on our websites.

Wild Roses Information:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Interview with Jake Carrick from the Hex Bombs!

Back in June, some of you may remember a review I did of the Hex Bomb's latest 7 inch release, "None Shall Be Forgotten".  Tonight, I had the opportunity to share a few words with the band's lead guitar player and one of their vocalists, Jake Carrick.   In this interview you will find some background information on the band who happen to be on the rise as one of the best punk rock and roll acts the United States has to offer. The band also is from Michigan which is currently the epicenter in which some of the country's frustrating state of affairs is currently looming.  These situations though often shines through the band's history and voice as well as their story.  Enough of me, lets let Jake do the talking!

Run Don't Walk- 1.Whats your name and what is your position in the Hex Bombs?  Can you give us a brief history of the band?  What is your relation to East Grand Record Company?  

Jake Carrick-  This is Jake Carrick riff dealin madman guitar player for the Hex Bombs!! The Hex Bombs started with Michael Mann, Steve Borr, Tim Kozloski and Nate Garmin. It was originally just a group of guys that had some ideas for doing a high energy band with a focus on an intense live show. Mike with a natural pension for working a crowd, Nathan with his great pop sensibilities, Steve with his machine gun snare work, and Tim rounding out the crew with his animalistic guitar riffery. I didn't come along until shortly after that but the foundation was already built on the high energy live show and powerful anthemic songwriting. Since that time we have continued to grow and craft a sound that has become remenisant of a classic time while keeping true to our infuences. We knew Mark and Mike at East Grand well before we became part of the family. We had partied with those guys at a lot of shows and one day they approched us and asked if we wanted to be involved in what they where doing. At that time it was just Continentel (Rick Barton) and us. It's really an all for one one for all feeling with the East Grand crew. They take care of us and we take care of them. It's all very touchy feely and shit but it works really good and leaves us a lot of freedom to do the things we want to do while still being an asset to the label.

RDW- 2.What are some of the major topics in your song writing?  It’s clear many of your songs resonate with bands such as the Street Dogs, Dropkick Murphys and many other similar bands. You definitely talk about the average middle class American.  Elaborate on that! 

JC- We generally right about the lives we have lived, lessons we have learned, and shit we have all been through. Although we all come from different places we have chewed a lot of the same dirt with shitty jobs, shitty pay, and shittier prospects for our futures. The one thing we have always had is our music. I think most of what we have written about and accomplised stems from the lives that we have all led. We also write a lot about what we see happening in our world around us which, is in a poor state of affairs at best. I thank you giving us the complement of being middle class but unforunately in Michigan, there really is no middle class anymore. The auto industry is dead, unions are non-exsistant, and there really isnt very many prospects for people out there trying to make ends meet. Enough of this cheery shit though, we just write and play about what we know and love and it's been one hell of a ride so far. As far as being compared to the Street Dogs and the Murphs, thank for the compliment. We definately love those bands a ton but in honesty I have know idea how we wound up sounding like these bands. Our influences are so all over the place and somehow out of them we became what is now the Hex Bombs.

RDW- 3. On your recent 7 inch release, the band recorded two songs.  One was with the Street Dogs lead singer, Mike McColgan in which he performed the title track, “None Shall Be Forgotten” as well as you recorded, “Destination USA”.  What was your experience like working with Mike?  How did the opportunity to arise to work with someone who has some major influence on the punk scene all over?  

JC-  Well I have to credit East Grand with getting us set up with Mike. We had been wanting to re-record None Shall for a while (it was previously recorded on our first full length We Are Rock N Roll) and when we finally decided that we where indeed going to record it, Mark had told us that he had talked to McColgan and let him hear the song. Evidentely he dug the song because after that Mark asked if we wnated to have McColgan sing on the record. Which of course we said fuck'n right we do!!!!! That was that. Mike has been really great about everything. We are looking forward to maybe working together again in the future.

RDW- 4. Recently, you guys put a press release out to end some obnoxious accusations that you guys supported some sort of right wing politics and were accused of being a “nationalist band”.  Obviously these comments are not true and jumped at the opportunity to put the word out there that the band does not support such causes.  How frustrating was it when the bands found out the lyrics were interpreted that way?  Sadly these accusations come up too often in the punk scene.  

JC-  It's just part of the deal man. Theres always going to be somebody that doesn't understand, doesn't like, or misunderstands your message. There are also a lot of language and cultural obsticals you have to take into consideration as well. It does get frustrating but if we lashed out and started a good old fashion donnybrook with everybody that didn't agree with us there would be no time for making records ha ha!!!

 Yeah, we are so far from that you cant even see the light from there!!!! We love and support our troops cause theyre just out there doing a sucky job that they have to do, doesnt mean we support the war, and as far as racism!!! That is just a fucking joke!! I think we are some of the most tolerant people on the planet!!!!

RDW- 5. Who are some of your biggest influences as song writers and musicians as individuals and as a band?  How do you incorporate those influences in the music while creating something of your own?  

JC-  We have many influences between us all. The list is long and distinguished just like my johnson but really we all have our own things we brign to the table. Mike is big into old old school punk and rockabilly, Nate rolls with a lot of shoegaze and old goth, Vinny and Darryl keep things current with a lot of great new punk and indy bands, while I, well I thought I was going to be Jakey Van Halen until I realized I wasn't that good, then I discovered punk and the rest is history ha ha. THere really is too many to list but somehow we manage to jam it all together in a great big crock pot, cook it on high for 8 hours, and out poops Hex Bombs rock n roll!!

RDW- 6. Who in the band does the most song writing?  What do most of your songs talk about from a personal perspective?

JC- Nathan is our primary song writer althogh we all contribute. He has a rare talent for busting out song after song after song and there all good!!!!! We definately write a lot about the struggle of the blue collar lower class underdogs. It's the world we live in and it for sure breeds a lot of ideas!!

RDW- 7. As a musician and gear nerd such as myself, what guitars, amps and set ups do you all use?  

JC-  Nathan runs Les Pauls and Marshall 100 watt heads with 4x12 Cabs. I recently switched from my JCM 900 with a 4x12 cab to a Vox AC30 with a Tube Screamer. I'm a Les Paul nut from way back!!!! . We run real basic rigs. British mids and make em loud baby!!!!!

RDW- 8. Who are some bands that are worth looking out for in the future that you guys currently listen to right now?  

JC-  Some of the bands I have been loving recently. Voice Of Addiction out of Chicago has been in my car for a year or so straight!!! The Tosspints, Murder Party, Flatfoot 56, there really is so many great bands out there right now. Ya just gotta get out there and find them!!!

RDW- 9. Lastly, what are some of the bands future goals and endeavors?  Is there a future United States tour in the works?  What about a new full length? 

JC-  As for the future of the Bombs, getting back in the studio for a new record shortly, Europe early next year, a US tour shortly after that (should be in back in Boston!!!!!!!), and by that time should be ready for some more recording. The main goal is just to tour tour tour and record record record... It's a crazy hustle out there to keep things moving forward and we just keep getting better at it!!!! 

Info on the Hex Bombs-