September 2004 - SASQUATCH
We all know the stories about the mysterious creature, named Bigfoot or Sasquatch (Indian language). Only a few people have seen this giant animal with their own two eyes, but the reports have one thing in common. It's a huge living muscular thing with long coat and a strange behaviour. Well, most of this properties can be be also said about the power heavy rock trio SASQUATCH. Their 70's tinged heaviness got huge muscular riffs, and excellent hooklines with rough and charismatic vocals on top. A few weeks ago, Small Stone Records released the debut of SASQUATCH and it's a high-quality album that will knock off all fans of heavy rock. As I said before, they are of course 70's influenced, by not retro. They have added a very modern sound to their earthy bulldozing rock, but are still aware of the roots. All in all, they have convinced me so much that is was time to make an interview with SASQUATCH, and I talked with Keith Gibbs (g/voc.).Read on, so that you can tell your children, lovers and friends........I've seen it.........
Hey Keith! First off, a big praise for the excellent self-titled debut album of Sasquatch, released by Small Stone Records. How do you feel about the debut? Is it exactly the result you wanted?
For the most part yes. Going in we really wanted a straight forward, heavy rockin record. No bells and whistles for this one. We do wish we had more time to turn the knobs and find more tones with some different microphone placements and recording techniques but all in all we are very happy with the way it turned out. For the next release were going to institute a bit more recording variety.
The band was formed in 2001, but Sasquatch sounds, as if you were playing for years. What's the reason for it? Only a good workin' chemistry within the band or does any of the members had made other musical experiences in previous groups?
Practice. practice, practice, and the simple fact that we as a group have a very strong chemistry. We're all brothers inside as well as outside of the band, which makes us even tighter.
For me, the album is a more than just a solid forceful mesh of 70's Rock, heavy Rock 'n 'Roll, Metal and Southern Blues, due to the reason that Sasquatch are talented song-writers instead of just adding one heavy riff to the next without any concept. How important are tasteful hook lines for the band?
Very important, it's all about the songs and i mean that. All of us are big fans of songwriting and singers, and hopefully that comes out in the way we write our music.
Sasquatch is a so-called power-trio. What do you think about this term and was it planned right from the start or more by chance to play as a three-piece?
I'm fine with the term, I think it describes us perfectly. We had all been in a bunch of four and five pieces in the past and was never really satisfied with the singers, so i just decided to do it myself. Plus the checks divide up much nicer.
Apart of the strong song material of the album, I really enjoy this thick, fat and crunchy production. You recorded all tracks at the Mad Dog Studios, together with John 'Ninja Dog' Debaun. Please, tell us a bit more about the recordings, the studio and Mr. 'Ninja Dog'! What groups had he recorded before?
Mad Dog is a treasure of a studio located in Burbank, Ca. When our friends in Fireball Ministry were doing some tracking for there latest release we stopped by and were very impressed. We knew immediately that was the place for us. Featuring a vintage Neve 8088 console and a large variety of vintage compressors and mic's the place has it all. Ninja dog is a bad ass! It did not take long to learn how well he knew the Neve & the tracking room nuances. John really showed up for us on this recording. I don't know all of the bands he has worked with but he had just wrapped up "The Mars Volta" and "The Graveyard Farmers" prior to our assault on Mad Dog.
You've build a nice concept around the band name Sasquatch with the cover-artwork, done by Keith Scharwath. Have you talked with him about your cover ideas or did he just came up with the complete layout and you said: "yes, that's it!"?
Well we were a little unprepared with the cover as far as ideas, so Scott Hamilton at Small Stone just gave the CD to Keith (Scharwath) and let him run with it. We think he did a fine job. I believe the art is somewhat based on the 'banned" cover for Electric Lady Land by Hendrix.
Drummer Rick Ferrante and bassist Clayton Charles are coming from Detroit, as city that is worldwide well-known for it's musical history. You're hailing from Philadelphia. To be honest....I associate Philadelphia only with the "Philly-Sound", so please broaden my horizons and tell me more about the current situation there. Is there any kind of heavy rock scene/community?
Well there is a reason I left Philadelphia. The music scene was anemic, it was full of rap-rockers and hip-hop trying to latch on to the latest craze and not doing a very good job of it. There are a handful of really good bands in town though, there is just not that much of a scene. Otherwise it's a great city.
I think, your music fits perfectly to Scott's Small Stone label. What are your personal favorite bands on Small Stone and can we expect a longer business connection/friendship between Sasquatch and Scott?
Dixie Witch of course, Acid King, Valis,The Glasspack, Five Horse Johnson, Greenleaf, pretty much the whole roster. I think Scott (Hamilton) has a keen ear for good music, and we're very happy to be on Small Stone. We actually signed for two records so you can definitely expect at least one more Sasquatch record from Small Stone.
Let's talk about the band's name! Are you interested in mysterious creatures and have you ever witnessed (other someone you knows) Bigfoot aka Sasquatch?
The name originated from my first drummer, Scott Phillips, when I was still in Philly. He was into prehistoric & mythological creatures and it sounded like what we were trying to do so we kept it. I've never personally witnessed the hairy ghost, but we have a picture of Triny (from Dixie Witch) that could be mistaken for Sasquatch.
You've entitled the last song on the album "Yeti". Is it meant as hidden greetings to the Eastern 'brother' of Sasquatch?
Somewhat. Yeti just sounded better than "The Sabbath rip off song".
At least, I like to close our interview with the usual question about your upcoming plans for the second half of 2004. Do you will be hitting the road or write new material etc.?
We'll be hitting the road in October for about a month doing the U.S. on our way to CMJ in New York City, and then a few shows in the pacific northwest. Maybe Europe? Invite us we'd love to come.
Thanks a lot! In opposite to the creature, I hope that Sasquatch will be seen by a lot more people. All the best and good luck. Any additional comments?
Yes , we want to come to Germany and drink you out of beer. Thanks again Klaus