Badass Band #12
This next band is like a super juicy piece of gossip that you know you probably shouldn’t share but you can’t help it. So here I am, putting them on blast to you, my followers. They are too badass NOT to talk about. They are an LA/Philly based band called The Shakers. Their name is not only cute or clever, it literally describes what you will do when you hear their music. People literally leave their shows saying their catch phrase, “I love The Shakers!”. Though at first listen their music may come off as pretty strictly rock, it is not. Give ‘em a chance, listen to a few songs, and they will wow you with their mash up of rock n roll, soulful melodies and intense (dare I say) Adele-esque vocals.
The band is made up of four members: Jodie Schell on vocals, Blane Barker on bass, Chris Lee on guitar and Nick Woods on drums. As I believe I have stated in the past I am always skeptical of a chick as the lead vocalist in a band. Not that I have anything against chicks it’s just that too many of them come off sounding whiny, insanely high pitched, or very auto tuned. Jodie definitely does NOT have that issue. Her vocal talents, spurting out some deeply relatable lyrics, combined with the intensity of Nick, Chris and Blane’s rocking, works so flawlessly together that The Shakers will win you over in a flash. I have yet to catch a show (hoping that will change next weekend!) but just watching some of their Youtube videos, it is easy to see why fans leave so pleased. I had a hard time sitting still watching the videos, I can only imagine what it’s like to be actually there!
*ADDENDUM- Well, I went to see The Shakers at The Viper Room last Saturday and HOLY SHIT did they rock my world! It was a packed house for their set and as soon as the curtain opened you could feel the excitement build. Their new songs were fantastic and only expanded their musical diverseness! I can’t even put into words how well all of them (well, maybe with the exception of Nick because he was banging it out hard on the kit) worked the tiny, tiny Viper Room stage. I have been to many shows at the VR and no band I have ever seen has ever put on a show as excellent as The Shakers did on that stage. Their energy seriously rivaled that of a band playing a huge concert venue. It was intense and they really made it VERY apparent how much they adrore playing their music. In turn, the fans were digging on them hard and definitely ‘Shaking’ it. Wow, just wow.
The Shaker’s have one EP out now, dubbed ‘The Shakers’ and their second album (their first full length) ‘Oh So Loud!’ is coming out on November 5th. I will say I have been a fan for just a few months and only having five of their songs to rage to started to make me itch for more! Luckily, they are going to satisfy that itch for us next week! If you are in the LA area you need to make it out to their album release show at The Viper Room next Saturday night! Remember, remember the 5th of November!!! It will be one hell of a party!
The Shakers were also kind enough to take some time out of their drive to Sacramento today to answer some questions for me, so here you go fellow music lovers! Read on and fall in love with The Shakers!
When you start your musical journey?
Chris- I had the idea for the band The Shakers before I met anyone. I had been in bands before and I had never really been in a project I liked. I moved out to LA and met Jodie right away and we pretty much hit it off. She was in another band at the time and I kind of had to weasel my way in there and do a little home wrecking. We wrote together really well and started looking for band members, then Nick came along and Blane joined us most recently. The rest is history!
*How did Jodie’s other band feel about you weaseling in and stealing her away?
Jodie- Actually, my shenanigans with The Shakers kind of got me fired. Chris got me a plane ticket to play in Philly at this massive show at a place called Doc Watsons. It blew my mind so much that I think my other band knew they were starting to lose me. Everything with The Shakers was coming into place so fast.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Blane- You opened a can of worms! Oh shit! Well, I’ve got to say Bernard Purdy who played with Steely Dan. That dude rips. He just looks so happy on stage no matter what he is doing. Even if you couldn’t hear him playing drums, just watching him move, you can feel it. I think that’s the key. I want people to be moved when they see and hear the music.
Nick- Obviously, Led Zeppelin is a big influence of mine. I’m a big The Mars Volta fan, their original drummer Jon Theodore was a big idol of mine. Of course, Dave Grohl. I love Dave Grohl a lot. My list is pretty big. (Some of the audio cut out here, sorry Nick!)
Chris- The Adventures of Rock and Roll, Milli Vanilli, Scary Spice’s solo career affected me deeply…Josie and the Pussycats….
Jodie- My biggest influences are Tina Turner, Grace Slick, and Mama Cass. If I venture outside of ladies I would say Bon Scott from ACDC is one of my favorites.
How often and for how long do you practice?
Jodie-We don’t practice enough, which is a shame, but we play a lot of shows. We play out of town a lot. Even when we are not playing big shows in LA or out East, we are playing 3 hour sets in Ventura, or Culver City. We are playing together all the time but the shame is that we are not in a rehearsal studio and running through things over and over.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Nick- Sometimes at the big shows you get excited butterflies that make you feel maybe a little nervous, but its more excited than nervous.
Any rituals before a show?
Jodie- We do a band huddle to connect our energy and quiet our heads. We just have a moment to come together and breathe a minute before the show.
Describe what it’s like to perform for a crowd.
Jodie- It’s the biggest adrenaline rush! It’s like every favorite thing you wanted to do happening all at once. It’s hard to describe.
The boys all stated sometimes it is so awesome that they actually get boners. Jodie wanted to clarify that she doesn’t actually get a boner but it’s definitely an exceptional feeling. So exceptional in fact that it is hard to get excited about anything else because the rush is so awesome.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Chris- Mistakes happen. I take pride in the mid-song guitar change over when you break a string or something. When something goes wrong at a show it definitely ruins my mood for the rest of the show. A lot of times I have a hard time shaking it afterwards. But when people come up after and are like, ‘Great show!’ and you’re like, ‘Yeah, if it wasn’t for ____.” and they reply with, ‘I didn’t even notice!’ Then you are like, ‘What do you know?!’ Ha Ha. I was stating more of a technical thing going wrong. Usually if I make a mistake playing I just laugh and think, ‘Hahaha you’re an idiot’ but I keep playing.
Nick- I have come to realize that people don’t notice your mistakes. I just let it happen. It’s normal.
Blane- Playing with these guys, they hardly ever make a whole lot of mistakes. So, when I am playing with them and something does go wrong, it kind of shakes you out of what you are thinking about just because you realize that this is organic. These are actual musicians playing this stuff. It reminds you that a human is playing and not a machine. Flubs in music remind you that this is a man made thing, nothing is perfect. I think that’s the coolest thing about what we do.
How does your creative process typically work?
Jodie- Most of the songs have been written in a way that the guys start an instrumentation, like they will write something together or something organically will happen either on stage or at rehearsal. Then we continue to re-create it and they will either give me a recording so I can take it home and put some lyrics on it or Chris sometimes comes up with an entire song all on his own. There are definitely a lot of songs where Chris just showed up to rehearsal and was like, ‘I just came up with this, no big deal.’ and it’s, you know, perfect. Most of the songs are a full band effort though.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Blane- I’m actually loving the way the record industry is kind of fizzling out now. People are realizing that if you are a successful band signed to a major label you are basically putting yourself out of business because they control everything you do, which sucks. A lot of bands now are recording to wax rather than CD because people generally don’t throw away wax and they are awesome. They sound way better and if you sell it like that then you have more of a chance of making some kind of income for yourself rather than going to a huge label who will distribute your CDs all over the world and who knows where the hell they are going. They are going to get ripped off digitally and all that shit. Right now we are in the midst of a change in music. The first time I realized it was Jimmy Kimmel had Primus as a guest on Monday and instead of showing a CD he actually showed the LP, he held it up on TV and that is the first time I have seen that in a long time. It was such a smart thing to do. There are a couple other bands like Black Carl, that have that similar idea. I was hearing them talk about it and it is such a great idea. A lot of other bands are doing this right now.
Nick- I wish more talented musicians were rewarded for the music that they create. There is too much shit out there right now. There is so much good music out there that is totally undiscovered because of oversaturation and people don’t really appreciate some of the writing that really talented musicians do. People are close-minded because of all the pop shit that is out there.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you in the coming year?
Jodie- We are actually in a pretty hectic time right now because our album drops a week from today. The past month been a scramble to get that mastered, replicated and get the artwork done. The album itself is finally ready to go, it’s going to ship to us this week. The next year will be travelling to all of our favorite cities and trying it put it in people’s hands directly. You can only do so much online, you really have to get right there and give everyone an experience. We are really excited for the coming year and this album, it’s called ‘Oh So Loud!’ and it’s our first full length album. Actually, we are already writing songs for the next album and are planning on getting started on it almost immediately. It’s going to be a great year!
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique?
Chris- I think our band is unique in the sense that people that come to a Shakers show almost always leave saying our motto, ‘I love The Shakers’. People will tell us that we are incredibly fun to watch. We are not that band that just stands there playing with their heads looking at the ground. I always had the notion that if girls and people are not dancing at your show, you are fucking up. So we dance, we rock out, and our music is organic. It’s not that same churned out song nine times that a lot of bands have. We are kind of all over the place. There is no backing track, no computers, it’s just four musicians playing serious music. We love what we do and I think that comes off on stage.
One song you never get tired of.
Chris- ‘Superstition’- Stevie Wonder or ‘All my life’- The Foo Fighters
Jodie- ‘Sitting on the dock of the bay’- Otis Redding (They do a cover of this one!)
Blane- ‘Summer Soft’- Stevie Wonder
Nick- ‘Roulette Dares’- The Mars Volta
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
Jodie- Faith No More at the Palladium last year. I was in a sea of people it was nuts to butts packed but watching Mike Patton (Jesus Christ!) was mesmerizing. It blew my mind!
Chris- The Foo Fighters at The Forum recently. It was unbelievable. The way they own the stadium, they make sure that every person in every seat has the best time, view and sound. They completely destroyed it!
Blane- Nine Inch Nails, the Lights in the Sky tour. The visuals they put into that, the lights on the LED screen, was really ahead of its time. I had never seen anything like that visually. The cocky side of me says I haven’t seen the best show, because I haven’t played it yet!
Nick- I would agree with Chris, The Foo Fighters show was mind blowing. Since he already said that I’m going to go with my other one. It was NYE 2007 going into 2008 and it was in SF at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It was The Mars Volta, which if you haven’t realized is one of my favorite bands of all time. They played for like three and a half hours and an hour of that at least was after midnight so they did the whole countdown thing with the fans. It got really personal even though it was a huge show. I was there with my brother which was really special and we got to squeeze right up to the front. It was just incredible.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Blane- PePe Le Pew, that dude is smooth!
Nick- Kick Ass (Original answer…Sonic the Hedgehog)
Best prank you have ever pulled?
Chris- I got pranked on pretty good. I was working this horrible job doing door to door sales for Verizon, and I was working on straight commission. It was terrible. I had to get up at like five in the morning and didn’t get home until like nine at night. It was right out of college and I thought I was going to be making all this money. I was working like 60 hours a week and making crap for my hours. I was living at my girlfriend’s mom’s house at the time and she had two little sisters. They had just seen like Jackass 2 or some shit. I am getting ready to leave for work so I am washing my hands in the kitchen sink and I am already late. If you were late you would get screwed, especially since it was our meeting day. I was already pushing the time limit and I go to wash my hands real quick before I leave and no water is coming out of the faucet. I was exhaustedly tired so I don’t realize what is happening until my underwear soaks through. They had put scotch tape on the hose thingy and it completely drenched my pants. It completely soaked my suit and I didn’t have another clean one. It was a pretty good prank.
Nick- I was at a summer camp, I was maybe like 13 or so, and I was asleep and it was one of those dorm type rooms with bunk beds. I fell asleep early and my friends, this is pretty cliche, but they put Ben Gay all over my hands and then they tickled my face. So I rubbed Ben Gay all over my face. Then I woke up and I thought it was toothpaste for some reason. I got super pissed.
Preface to Blane’s answer- Totally busted him giving me the Revenge of the Nerds Prank with the jock straps. Ha!
Blane- I have a friend whose girlfriend works at a bar. We got her phone one day and got the number of a dude she works with out of it so we decided to prank call him. Now, this dude gets drunk a lot, like super drunk, they work at a Comedy club. He gets smashed like 4 or 5 nights a week. So we call him up and we say, “Hey, my name is so and so and I met you last week. I helped you to your car and I thought we really made a connection. We made out and stuff.” and the guy is like, “I don’t remember this.” So we say, “You drive the Camaro right?” and he is like, “Yeah.” So we continue tying in random stuff that is actually relevant to his life. A long story short (and he didn’t want to remember this because we were other dudes and he didn’t want to have to say he made out with another dude) we left it at we are going to come to his work and mess him up because he tried to play with our heart. He still has no idea who it is and told everyone at work that he is freaking out because he has a stalker coming. He is genuinely scared and its ongoing right now!
What is something no one knows about you but you wish more people did know?
Blane- That I have a 10 inch penis.
Someone also said their grandma died with the key to his chastity belt….
Chris- I don’t have much of a filter so there isn’t much people don’t know about me. However, people are starting to find out that I have a passion for puppetry. We did one tour blog once where we incorporated the puppetry. One of the oldest things I have, you know how people have like a blankie from when they were little, is a shark puppet named Sharky from Sea World that I have had for as long as I can remember. For a long time it was a dream of mine to work for Jim Henson. I just think it would be funny as shit to sit around all day and mess with puppets because you know you would make perverted jokes like, “Look at this puppet! Hahahaha!” so I wish more people knew that about me, especially people that hire in the puppet industry. I’ll work for free.
Jodie- Everything that I haven’t revealed or that is a secret, I do that on purpose. I don’t want people to know.
Jodie added later- In 2005 or 2006 I had an audition for The Black Dahlia, the one that Brain De Palma did with Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett. They needed someone to play the title role of Elizabeth Short and so I went in and auditioned and I nailed it! So they rushed me ahead and had me meet Brian De Palma. We sat down and talked about Elizabeth Short’s death and murder. It was crazy because I was told I was getting the part and I was going to be flown to Bulgaria or Bolivia or wherever the hell they were shooting. I packed my bag, everything was ready to go and I was telling my family I was going to do this major feature film. Then there were some last minute negotiations with the studio and I found out Mia Kirshner’s rep put her into the title role because Hillary Swank got the role that Mia had wanted. It was a bummer but it’s okay because the movie didn’t do very good.
Blane- I agree with Jodie. The people who I let into my life that know me, or who I get along with, know the special things about me.
Nick- When I was about 10 or 11 years old I was in a Sunny Delight commercial. You don’t know because they edited me out, but you can kind of see my hand. We were playing kick ball and I threw the ball and the main part of the shot was one kid getting to third and one catching the ball. They were going to cast me as the principle role because they really liked my look and my hair, which was really encouraging at the time because my brother used to always make fun of my hair and say it looked like poop. Take that bro! But they needed more of an ethnic melting pot cast and they already had a cute little white kid so I couldn’t be another cute little white kid. So spread that along!
THANK YOU AGAIN TO THE SHAKERS! I hope I got it all right, we made the best attempt at a speakerphone party as we could! They provided some most excellent entertainment to my Saturday afternoon!
Follow them on Twitter: @theshakers Facebook: facebook.com/ilovetheshakers