Please visit the January edition of the Skinny Magazine at this address www.theskinnyvancouver.com
|BLOODSHOT BILL - Tim Snow photo|
His brand of rock ’n’ roll gets greasy
“If you’re a horrible band, then that’s your fault,” says Bloodshot Bill. “That has nothing to do with anybody but you,” as he takes ownership of his musical project. For him, this is something he really can’t escape due to the fact that he often travels as a one-man band. His ‘raved about’ performances are living proof.
A prolific touring machine, the Montreal-based Bloodshot Bill serves up good old-fashioned rock and roll with a side of twang and no shortage of grease. He started playing in 1998 armed with his instruments and distinctive voice. Once he hit the road and hasn’t stayed off since.
His look and sound have a 1950s flavour and according to Bloodshot Bill it was in this time period that “they really got it right.” But it is not just ‘paint by numbers’ nostalgic rock and roll. “There are bands today that try to do that and it’s just horrible and they are missing something, and then there are bands that don’t try to do that and do something else and they are just great. It’s truly up to the band, not necessarily style,” he adds.
He has a distinctive look, he even had his own brand of hair grease, and this sometimes draws comments from the general public. Some lady in a diner will say, “You remind me of Elvis!” He doesn’t mind so long as the comments are made by the really old or the really young, but if someone is making the comment to be a jerk they had better watch out.
“This one time I remember walking down the street, I was with some friends and we had split up and were going to meet somewhere. Blocks away some guys were like, ‘Hey Elvis,’ or whatever, and I was like, ‘That’s it!’ I was just in a mood and I start walking back. I see a bottle, so I pick up a bottle. And I’m just about to toss it at them and it’s my friends. They all thought it was really funny… But I usually don’t get too violent, I usually look at what the other person looks like, usually someone from the cast of friends, and I call them that,” Bill explains.
This feistiness not only affects his personal life, it is a key part of his survival as a musician. He was banned from entering the USA from 2006 to 2011 but is now taking full advantage of his regained freedom. While he has found some success as a Montreal-based artist, there still have been some limitations. “There used to be a couple papers in town, like French and English version type of style, but they don’t have those anymore. I think you get a little more press I think if you’re French.” But according to Bill the audiences in Montreal are great and don’t care whether good music is in French or English.
When asked what song he would recommend for someone to listen, he favoured a slower song called “Jill.” His track record for releases throughout his career has been consistent and is definitely worth checking out. The 2014 LP Shook Shake is a great place to start.
Bloodshot Bill will be live onstage this January but also keep your ears open because he hinted at a West Coast tour with Shannon and the Clams. If you’re smart, catch this one-man firehouse solo as he is gonna heat up a cold and lonely January night.
Bloodshot Bill performs at the Hindenburg on January 23.
- by Alex Moulton
A project takes flight
When clarity, timing and all points converge for an artist it can yield an extraordinarily intense product. For Heron the result was not “strictly” any genre, but their own with a trademark element of layers, samples and a dense landscape. The early live dates did not pigeonhole as much as point at a “nineties vibe,” with components of bands such as Helmet and ISIS coming up in discussion.
Heron is the undertaking of Ross Redeker, who may have been known for being a bass player, but was actually a guitarist and he had been quietly stockpiling material for over a decade. After some sage advice, which led to a year off to focus, it all came together when drummer Spencer Clark and Scotty Bartlett became available. Heron came together naturally and was off the ground.
Redeker was with Eugene’s Axe and the sludge/grinders, Cathar on bass “I’ve always felt rather stifled, so to get that music out I’ve been recording and doing stuff at home,“ reveals the soft-spoken guitarist. He wanted to keep working with Scotty Bartlett, who was also in Cathar, because of their positive chemistry. “The last band I was in before Cathar was My New Enemy,” explains Redeker and, “the vocalist in that band, Spencer Clark, was an amazing drummer, foremost, but we also played in a band a very long time ago before that, where we synched and the clear choice was to bring him on board.”
In Heron, Scotty Bartlett and Ross Redeker share vocals with Bartlett handling the rhythm and Redeker working his chops on layers and loops plus Spencer Clark on drums.
“Ross plays a seven string, I play a six-string guitar and through multiple cabs, “ adds Bartlett and “Spencer has a unique drum style, he doesn't tend to repeat.” After a rehearsal the drummer counted fifteen different drum parts in a song without repetition and he has a style that adds, fills and reinforces.
They considered adding a bass player but realized it was not necessary. “The response from folks at shows was, tone, we love your tone,” says Bartlett. “We are tuned down so low, in A-sharp,” says Redeker and after gigs, audience members had remarked, “you guys are so full, thick and so encompassing, you don’t need a bass.”
Heron is recording with Kevin Grindon from Burning Ghats and WTCHDR at Grind City and the release ETA is set for early 2015. So, if you factor in the timing of steady rehearsals and recording tightness, expect the VU meter to be teetering on high potential for their next live date.
Heron perform at the Art Signified Two year Anniversary Party January 9 at Studio East, on 1480 Frances St.
|Liquor Kings - Jonathan Moogk photo|
“And their fans say, Liquor Kings Baby”
Some might say, RNR music is the fountain of youth. After the last four years these rolling lifers, the Liquor Kings seemed to have tapped into a prolific wellspring. With over 60 original songs under their belt, they seem to be pumping them out at a rate of one a week these days. If you check out the rap sheets for these musical gangsters you will find their individual records go back as far as Vancouver’s first and second wave of punk heyday. History, indeed, look it up!
Their second release, Unfiltered came out in the fall 2014 and a third DIY release Happy Hour is underway and due out early 2015. Perhaps, this last title is a tip of the glass to the reinstated drinking establishment tradition and a return to Vancouver cocktail culture. You should check in with them at the next bar show, after all, they are the ‘Kings!’
Oh, wait; this story is getting sidetracked, so back to the album. “We do the entire process ourselves. We write, record, mix and master the songs,“ says their front man, Eddy Dutchman. To add to this home-brew society, another pal of theirs, artist Richard Katynski threw together some artwork and T-shirt designs.
They claim these high-spirited and high-proof songs come together as a rock ‘n’ roll duty and an enterprise of good friends. “Everybody is involved. Our music is seemingly simple and anthem oriented rock with lots of loud and complicated guitar parts,” he adds.
As for original music, Dutchman asserts that they will never do covers. “Never have, never will,” he firmly states reinforcing their inclination ‘to do it their way.’
For this gang of pranksters their colours are laden with imagery and metaphors of LIQUOR, DEVILS and EVIL. Dutchman’s philosophy reads like a mislaid pulp fiction novel. “For us, as a rock band, we are like your older juvenile delinquent brother,” he claims and “it’s a challenge and rock is our medication and our rock is salvation rock.”
You never know what dark corner these guys turn up on for local gigs. They can add them, as fast as they can write songs. With that in place the vocalist dares you to hit them up at one of their live shows. “Loud and ugly,” he calls it, “we don't care, and straight up and on the rocks, Liquor Kings, baby.
In the meanwhile for those who wanna hear the testimony, their two releases Liquor Kings - 100 Proof and Unfiltered are available direct from the band or at Neptoon Records and Bonerattle Music.
The Liquor Kings perform at The Fairview Pub on Friday, Feb. 27th with The Bad Beats
- Anita Lee
Unfiltered - Independent 2014
This slab comes out swinging with 'Hit You Hard' the twin axe attack of Steven Graf and Mike Laviolette ripping right into your cranium. "It's 3 A.M." lays down a mean groove - time for some dancing. The lights and the sound are beginning to make everyone delirious so "Head above the Water" brings furious focus back into action - Liquor Kings baby!
The album switches into high gear, with Terry Russell and Ed Hurrell providing a wicked bottom end. "On my feet Again" is a lovely ballad, so, buy the ladies a drink now.
Coming home the epic 'Way down Here' turns the dance floor into chaos! It's a fun time here with Eddy and the Boys - this recording was recorded in 12 hours flat over a week - with exemplary artwork by Rich Katynski. Check it out and come see their live show anytime!
- Rene Milord
When this world goes to shit I’ll be ready. People already stampede and panic over Black Friday shopping and hackers fucking up their video game time.