Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Date : 24 July
Location : El Rey Theatre, Hollywood, CA
I must say, that as brief as the interview was, it was
matched by the bands kindness. One would expect
an upstart band, signed to a major label and gaining
praise from music luminaries such as Liam Gallagher
and Johnny Marr, to have a bit of an attitude. This
couldnít be further from the case. They weíre all as
kind as could be. After the interview was unexpectedly
ended they offered to speak again when it was more
convenient. Berny and myself sat back and watched
them conduct sound check with an almost total lack
of assistance, either in moving their equipment or
checking the sound. We hope to continue the below
interview at some later timeÖ.
and wish them all the luck theyíve earned.
Charles: What year did you start?
Robert: Late 98
Charles: So itís actually only been a couple of years?
Peter: Almost three
Charles: You are very
cohesive as a band with a very strong
sound and identity. It seems that it usually takes a band a while
to find an identity.
Peter: Me and Rob have
been going since high school, about eight
years, so that might have helped.
Charles: I want to get
this out of the way quickly. One of the
first bands that I was ever into was The Call, so itís interesting
to see things come full circle.
Robert: Oh, yeah, that is. Kinda weird.
Charles: The Walls Came
Down was the very first song that I
ever got into.
Robert: So this is the end?
Charles: Hopefully not. Do you mind if we take photos?
Berny: Theyíre black and white, so itís ok!
Nick: Sorry, we donít do black and white photos.
Berny: Yeah, Iíve noticed that.
Robert: Itís all color, because we have colorful clothing.
Charles: So for a long
period you traveled between Los Angeles
and San Francisco?
Charles: Was there a difference between the crowds in the two cities?
Robert: Your home town
is your friends and family basically. When
you first start out itís anyone you can get to come. That was the
beginning. It was pretty hard getting a following, so San Francisco
has a rough beginning to start something like that. Once we moved
to LA things started to take off. I donít know if it was the people or
the industry or people coming together, but people were really
Charles: Do you find a
difference between the people, aside from
friends and family?
Robert: One, no one
showed up in Los Angeles, but now things are
going fine. Now we go back and itís great and people are really supportive.
People weíre into it, they just donít show it very much in San Francisco.
The mentality is that you donít show your hand. Itís fine, but not very
much fun to play to on-stage.
Charles: We were at an
indie pop festival last weekend and it seems that
there is a difference between the crowds in LA as opposed to San Francisco.
Iím not saying they were rude. We were at the Bottom Of The Hill, and I
know they oversold by quite a bit. Every room was packed and you couldnít
get anywhere. Is it hard to play such a small venue?
Peter: Not at all.
Charles: Do you prefer small or large venues?
Peter: Small. We prefer it be packed and stuffy and hot.
Charles: It matches the mood of your music.
Robert: You also want
people to play to, as many that will fit. If itís a
big room you just feel less connected with folks. If you canít see
them at the end of the line, thereís not much point.
Charles: Do the lights
effect you at all, to the point where you
canít see anything?
Robert: We can see them
all right. Itís usually pointed out to them.
We usually keep our eyes closed, so we really wouldnít know.
Charles: So now youíre touring with the Charlatans.
Peter: Weíre just
starting now, this is our first night. Weíve been
doing shows on our own for the last week and half. Denver, Seattle,
Charles: How is it playing in Montana?
Peter: Great actually.
We were playing in Missoula on a Monday
night and actually had a good amount of people. 50 or so.
A tiny little place with an upstairs wood room. Itís really nice.
Charles: Is it a
special challenge to move on from your core crowd
to those that may know you but have never seen you?
Robert: Iím not sure what core crowd you have yet.
Charles: For example,
you have a strong following in San Francisco
or the numerous people on your web site that state they see you
every chance they get. They know what to expect as opposed to
Montana where theyíve never seen you before and might be there
on word of mouth.
Nick: Thereís a large
heavy metal scene in Montana, thatís their
thing up there. Pantera and big heavy metal stuff.
Charles: So how do you fit into that?
Peter: We donít.
Itís more the attitude behind it. Itís being as
honest as possible with what youíve got to deal with. It doesnít
matter a whole lot, what music youíre playing as long as you have
the attitude. It transfers. Heavy Metal transfers with anything as
long as youíre not being a jack-ass about it.
Charles: The first way
I found out about the band was through a
Dandy Warhols interview. There are a lot of people who have discovered
you through people such as Johnny Marr throwing your name out there.
Does this create a special challenge for you with such a backing?
Robert: We werenít
discovered or anything, we had all ready had our
thing going on. It wasnít too long ago. It was just nice to hear support
from people you respected, going ďall right, youíre doing a good job,
keep at itĒ. Itís the nicest thing to hear when youíre in the middle of
recording your record or working. With the constant work it helps
you go a bit further.
Charles: So thereís no pressure at all?
Robert: Thereís pressure. Not from them. Not sure what you mean.
Charles: As an example,
if my friend asked me to play on his soccer
team and told everyone I was the best player there would be a great
deal of pressure on me to perform.
Robert: They never said we were the best thing
Peter: He just said he
liked it. He had listened to it and liked it, stating
it to a music periodical. That was it. Thatís all it is.
Robert: We put the
pressure on ourselves. From the beginning it was
to make it as good as you can, make the best record you can, do the
best show you can that fits and flows right. Weíre harder on ourselves
than anyone else can ever be.
Charles: Is that the overall goal with the music, to do the best you can?
Peter: Iíd be happy with that.
Robert: The goal is not
to worry about it some day. Actually, the
goal is to forget about it sometime and be comfortable with what
we do rather than picking it apart to death.
Charles: The press will do that for you.
Peter: Yeah, sure.
Charles: Has it gotten to that point yet?
Peter: That has yet to
come. Well, every once in a while, yeah. That
will probably come a bit later, perhaps in a month or two from now.
Charles: There was a
review that you list on your web site which states
youíve merely copied Jesus & the Mary Chain.
Robert: We put
everything up. Weíre not just gonna put up the
people that praise us. Thatís cheesy.
Charles: It wasnít so
much that he lambasted the group, as he stated
you are a great band. He just said the influences were a bit obvious.
I actually see a more than this, such as blues with some of the guitar work.
Peter: Yeah, itís all
there. Nothing you can do about that. Itís first
record, first time. Itís our first record, so all they can do is compare
you to someone else. I donít see anything wrong with the first
record having you influences on your shoulder a bit anyways.
Iím not trying to rip anyone off, but thereís nothing wrong with this.
(At this point the owner of the
cafe next to the El Rey announces
that he is closing down for the day. The sounds of metal barriers
being scraped across the ground can be heard.)
Charles: I feel like Iím on
the beach and the waves are slowly coming up.
We mentioned that other bands have named dropped you.
Are there otherís that are coming up in LA or San Francisco that
you could suggest?
Robert: Stratford 4, Sunstorm Warlocks in Los Angeles.
Peter: The View, Voyager One.
Shop owner: You can not
sit here. The next time you donít
buy nothing here.
Charles: But we did.
Shop owner: Oh yeah, sure, you buy one drink for six people.
The extreme kindness of the shop
owner and the
bandís impending sound check called an end to
reserves all rights for the above interview.
Please notify us with any intentions or desires to
re-broadcast the above in any manner.