July 2008 - SHAME CLUB
'Come On' is a real appropriate titel for the third album from the US-band SHAME CLUB, because this is the kind of music that drive away all dismal thoughts and that sort of kicks serious ass. SHAME CLUB injected a fresh transfusion into the body of old mother Rock 'n' Roll, than gave her a Southern Blues enema and now this lady is feeling like a young hot chick. Their heavy sound is tasteful, varied and it possesses a lot of heart and soul. The album is choke full of beautifully crafted songs and you simply can't deny the power and virtuosity of this band. So it's no surprise that Small Stone Records signed the band and Cosmic Lava hopes this partnership will continue over the next years. Gideon Smith get in contact with the band and his questions have been answered by drummer Ken McCray, guitarist/vocalist Jon Lumley, and guitarist Andy White. So, it's up to you to join the club...
Hey man how's it going, tell me about the history of the band from your formation until the new cd?
ANDY - Jon and some guys formed the band in like 2000, I joined in 2001. We used to play around here alot, Eric joined in 01, we did a cd, toured some, did another cd in 03, drummer quit, Ken joined, did this cd, now were touring, playing, writing.
KEN - I was in another band..... I hated SHAME CLUB ..... then they asked me to join.......now I like them.
JON - I started this band with the intention of having no proscripted ideas about who we would be or what kind of music we would play. I (and the other founding fathers) wanted to let the sound create itself in a very organic and authentic way. Rock and Roll came and found us while we were experimenting with some other more aggressive and esoteric sounds. It was the most natural and instantaneous and real thing we could do. Like speaking our mother tongue. There have been other members of the SHAME CLUB, in fact there are enough extra guys to start a tribute band if they want, but I never really think about our other lineups or other members. This is SHAME CLUB. Ken, Eric, Andy and I are SHAME CLUB.
A lot of people seem excited about your new album, how does the band feel about it and what was it like recording this one?
KEN - It makes me excited to think that others are excited. Fuel for the fire, so to speak. The recording process for "Come On" was chill as could be. We were all pretty anxious though, pretty proud of these tunes, and couldn't wait to get the process over so we could set them free.
ANDY - Glad people are digging it and that they see how rad it is, recording it was fun, We did it in Oklahoma with a guy named Carl Amburn at Mousetrap Studios, really killer engineer, really relaxed environment, lotsa joking and laughing, lotsa bbq and frisbee and peeing on trees.
JON - I actually listen to this one periodically. That says a lot. I love the way this record came out. I'm really pleased that it doesn't seem particularly stuck in any one era. The recording is big and loud and really open sounding. There are so many tiny things that I would go back and fix or change if we had more time, but by the same token, youkeep fixing things and changing harmonies and parts and solos and drum fills and it's really easy to suck the life right out of a song. There's definitely a time to let go and let the album grow into it's own thing. The recording process was pretty cool and relaxed. We were very well rehearsed, and able to spend time looking for good energetic takes instead of perfect takes.
When you write songs do you write as a whole group together or do one or two of you bring the songs to the band?
KEN - I personally don't bring riffs to the band, but I offer up some suggestions on arrangement when I get the notion. They never work, but I try. Jon brings the lions share to the table. But ultimately, nothing gets out the door that we don't want to get out the door.
JON - Usually it begins with me. Sometimes it's Andy and me collaborating. Sometimes the four of us collaborate/arrange. We definitely talk about songwriting as a group. Occasionally I bring a completely finished product to the table. About half of "Come On" happened that way. It all passes through the same filters though, and we pretty much all sign off on everything before anything makes it to the stage or studio.
Who writes the lyrics and what are the songs/themes about on the new album?
ERIC - Jon has in the past.
JON - I write the lyrics. I write about some pretty hippie stuff truthfully, but I believe that negativity is completely outdated and boring. Hope is a strong theme on the record. I really don't give a shit about records full of depressing doom and gloom lyrics. So this ones pretty positive. It's about never believing anyone who doesn't believe in you. It's about never letting anyone drag you down. It's about having a good time and living well.
What's makes the SHAME CLUB sound?
KEN - We turn our amps up loud and beat the shit out of the drums and basically take a warm bath of sonic pleasure. We play with Heart and Hunger!!
ERIC - Loud instruments recorded loudly, mostly lots of guitars with decent vocal hooks wherever possible, but hooks are (hopefully) the key, not just riffs.
JON - We have a lot of obvious influences and even more that aren't so obvious. Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Zeppelin, Van Halen, Free, and so many more of the same ilk. The other stuff though, that's where it gets cool. Sly and the Family Stone, Black Flag, old Metallica was huge for me, Nick Drake, Guided by Voices, James Brown, the Meters, Earth, Wind and Fire, Otis Redding, the guitar playing of Steve Cropper, the songwriting of Steve Earle, the greater works of Stevie Wonder, really any kind of pop music from the Makes Nice to the Kinks to ABBA and everyone in between. We like music. Basically all of it. I personally hate disco/dance music pretty passionately, but that's about it. We're a Rock and Roll band. Rock and Roll doesn't borrow. It steals. From everyone. Pretty damn unapologetically. We really like playing to the edge of our abilities, but if there's no song, it doesn't matter. We just want to write the songs we want to hear.
What are the plans for the band in the next year?
KEN - Tour Tour Tour.....write....Tour....record....Tour
ERIC - Continue to play out of town shows each month and accomplish our goal of getting out West by early 2009. Would be nice to play some more festivals and do SXSW next year as well.
JON - Write a new record. Play as much as we possibly can. Try to meet business associates that don't wear suits.
Any plans to head over to Europe?
KEN - I would absolutely love to....sooner than later, for me.
ERIC - Everyone wants to, we'll see.
JON - We're talking about going to Europe in 2009. Can't wait to tell you the truth.
Thank you guys and any last words for the readers?
KEN - We will eventually be playing in a bar/club near you.....so come check out a show and buy me a shot! We promise not to disappoint. Thanks for the interview.
ERIC - When you see SHAME CLUB playing in _______ (insert city here), first and foremost; come see us LIVE, then buy a CD or t-shirt so we can pay for gas........, and finally let us stay at your house - we supply our own T.P!