Waiting for me to feature another band with a more metallic, heavy rhythm edge? Well, today is your lucky day, I have just the one for you. This is another band from LA, however, ACIDIC is a continuously touring band, and so they constantly on the road and most likely in a city near you! ACIDIC quickly won me over and dissolved any assumptions I had that they were strictly a metal band.
I heard about ACIDIC through another Badass Band, thatwasthen, some time ago. I put them on my list of bands to check out (Yes, I keep a list) and I finally got around to them a couple of months back. I downloaded their newest album, ‘Chronic Satisfaction’ and I will say, just at reading the title, I thought to myself, “Is this another Crazy Town trainwreck?” Thank the musical gods that ACIDIC is far more talented than Crazy Town. The first song I pressed play for was ‘15 Miles’ and within about 30 seconds I got the vibe that ACDIC is a combination of surfer rock, metal, and classic rock n roll. The fast paced guitar combined with heavy bass and drum breakdowns sends your ears into musical overdrive in a good way. I thought I was going to be able to predict the sound of this band, but as the song progressed I was taken aback at how well these guys combined so many genres into one song. Not only is this true for all of the songs on ‘Chronic Satisfaction’ but also the vocals. Mike’s vocals take on a different sound with each new track, it is almost like listening to a different band every time you click the ‘next’ button. Aside from the instrumentation and vocals, their lyrics are more intelligent than some ‘metal heavy’ bands out there, which is insanely refreshing. Some of my favorite tracks include ‘Uninspired’, ‘Goodbye’, ‘Break Me Down’ and ‘Black Box’.
ACIDIC is made up of Mike Gossard- Guitar, Lead Vocals, Ted Dubrawski- Bass, Backup Vocals, Matt Whitaker- Drums, and Michael Thompson- Guitar, Backup Vocals. The combination of these dudes proves true to their name, they dissolve all reservations of the listener within a few seconds of hearing them play. I was highly impressed of the big names these guys have toured with, for example, Candlebox and Fuel. I have yet to see them play live, but they have their ONLY LA show this summer coming up THIS Thursday at The Troubadour (with thatwasthen!) and after speaking with Mike (who was kind enough to talk to BBB while on tour) and hearing his description of their stage show, it is not something to be missed, or something you will soon forget!
When & why did you start playing music?
I was a little kid and I remember sitting in front of the TV and listening to the radio because both of my parents were in the radio business. Watching MTV and listening to KLSS which is a really good rock station in Los Angeles, I became infatuated by it. It animated my soul so to speak from the youngest of ages. One day my parents found me rocking out like I was in front of a stadium full of people but there was nothing on. They then decided they needed to get me a guitar. I remember coming home from preschool and seeing this guitar and I did not let it out of my sight. I brought it to school, I slept with it, etc. From there I just kept playing. I loved it. It was a natural inclination and magnetism towards music.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up and how does that differ from what you listen to now?
Rock N Roll. I have gotten a little more diverse, but not a lot has changed. I listen to all styles of music, classical, good ol’ fashioned stuff, the bigger rock bands. There are a lot of bands that people have never heard of that are some of my favorite bands, like there is a band called Warner Drive, and I love those guys. I listen to them all the time. They are big in Los Angeles, but they are a lot like us, a small touring band.
Which musicians do you admire & why?
I admire two guys, and they are my mentors, still even. My guitar teacher, his name is Richard Preston, and he is the best guitar player I have ever known. He is not the fastest or most technically talented, but he’s just got this energy about him. He is a guitar player from England and he took me on when I was a little kid. He has just been there for me, and he’s like a life coach. He has been there for everything, it is been amazing. The other musician I admire is Jack Walker, he is the most insane songwriter I have ever met. He taught me how to own my craft and how to be a better songwriter and listen for certain cues in music.
Do you get nervous before a show?
All the time! People are always saying, “Oh you’re going to do great.” and I am like, “Don’t tell me that!” I am always nervous and thinking about my voice and if my hands going to be warm enough to play. Which I have never had any trouble with but I worry about it anyway. It’s just butterflies in your stomach. We’re a new band, so a lot of the crowd we play for is us opening for bigger acts. We have gained somewhat of a rabid following. It’s interesting to be meeting all these people and a lot of times you can’t read if people like you or not. There could be a night where not everyone looks like they are into it and you sell more CD’s than on a night where everybody is going crazy.
Any rituals before a show?
There is this thing called the ‘Brothership’ and I can’t tell you what it is, I CAN tell you it is a fellowship and it is not a brotherhood, it’s a brothership and it takes off before every show. The best part of the brothership is that you can brothership yourself which is awesome. I know you’re like, “What the hell is this?!” but I can’t tell you. You are going to have to be amazed.
Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.
We are talking about good ol’ fashioned All American Rock. We love it and we love what we do, so we put our hearts and souls into our music. Its hard rhythms, We have the most killer rhythm section I have ever seen. Our bass player and drummer just get into it and bring it like you’ve never seen. You know the Tazmanian Devil? That’s Ted, perfectly. We call him Esteban and he is a ball of wonder. He rocks the drums like no one you have seen before, or will again. It just a great show. Visually, we are talking organized schizophrenia here. You’ve got like four or five tornadoes going on stage. Yes, we have BROKEN stages before. There was one time we were playing The Knitting Factory in Boise, and it was one of those platform stages where it’s a bunch of those small, raised platforms, and our guitar pedal boards were bouncing up and down on the stage. We came off of that show and our knees hurt. So if you want to see a band that sounds good and is visually appealing, come see us.
How does your creative process typically work?
If I could tell you that, we would have more hits on the radio. I don’t know. It’s one of those things that just hits you. There will be days where I’ll write six or seven really good songs, and there will be a day where I don’t write anything. It’s all a matter of where you are, what you’re doing, what you’re seeing, what part of the country you’re in, etc. I write seasonally, so I tend to write a lot more in Spring or Summer. I’ll bring it to the guys and they’ll throw together their parts, we will come together like nuclear fusion and produce magic. That’s how it works.
Biggest break or greatest opportunity so far?
Definitely, signing on with our current producer. His name is John Ryan and he owns a company called ‘Chicago Kid Productions’ and he has produced Styx, Leonard Skynyrd, Carlos Santana, and recently worked on the business end with Cheap Trick. Which is awesome, we got to go backstage at one of their shows and they have so many hot girls there, it’s ridiculous. But yeah, he is the man with the plan. He helps us get where we are going more efficiently, faster, safer…no, actually we have had more injuries playing shows since we signed on with him!
What are you working on now and what can we expect from you this year?
We are going to make and album and keep touring. It will be the most epic album we have ever released. We have written 60-70 songs so far and I am hoping to get up to 100. That’s almost a detriment though, picking which songs make it and getting it off the ground. We are going to space, or at least that’s on the agenda, I would love to play a concert in space.
Why should people listen to your band? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?
“Be humble, grateful and charm their socks off” and I have this motto I try to live by, its, “Let every tour and every show be twice as good as the last and half as good as the next.”
If you had a opportunity to change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
It would be more of a fair-share operation. I would love to have all artists be in control of the record labels. If there was an organization that was created by artists, for artists, that wasn’t controlled by people who went to Harvard Law or Harvard Business school, that would be an improvement. I am not hating on the record companies at all because they do what they do and they have been around for almost a hundred years now, there is a reason for that. Can you imagine talking to a million people every day? Because that is the type of stuff they do. As an indie act, the only way to blow up is to be with a record label, but there is a catch there, you have to have already created an expansive fan base for yourself so there is a platform by which they can use their assets and not blow you off. There is one thing that I believe they are not proficient at, that they should be, which is pulling up a band from scratch.
You are currently on tour, any favorite cities or venues so far?
Ohhh yes! We have tons of fun in Florida and we get hurt in Florida. St. Petersburg is one of the biggest shows we have ever played, at this place called JNS Live (?) and it is a massive, outdoor area place. There had to be about a thousand people there. I made a picture of the crowd a background on my phone, I could look at it all day! Another time, we were in Jacksonville, and on the way out, there were these metal stairs you have to get down to the loading area, I am talking two flights of stairs. I see our guitar player laying face down on the landing with people around him. I am like “Uh Oh!” and fight my way through the paramedics, fire fighters and police officers, and they are like, “Yeah, he face planted from the top landing to the middle landing on a metal staircase!” He was not conscious or responsive, and then all the sudden he gets up like he’s fine. I am like, “Dude, are you serious? You should definitely be in the hospital right now!” and he says, “Yeah, I am fine, I’m going to the van, see you tomorrow.” So Candlebox, the band we are touring with right now, whenever they see him they call him ‘Face plant’.
One song you never get tired of.
‘Satellite’ by Cherry Monroe.
Best live show you have ever gone to.
2006. San Bernardino. Epic night. 30,000 people. About 75 degrees. 2 bands playing. Motley Crue walks onstage to a thunderous applause and the crowds roars and the alcohol starts flowing. You definitely start hearing lighters clicking as people are lighting up their various devices and then they played an amazing set. Then, the crowd goes silent, and about 15 minutes later, who walks on stage? How about Steven Tyler and Aerosmith! Oh my god, I will never forget that night. That was my favorite concert and they played every song I wanted to hear except ‘Walk This Way’.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
Cooking food and eating it. I am a chef of sorts. I make sushi. I am a vegetarian of sorts, but I eat fish, so I am always coming up with creative ways to distract myself from the fact that I love meat. Burgers are the best thing in the world, but travelling on the road, you realize how quickly those make you feel bad. So yeah cooking food, driving a car, and seeing shows. Music is really everything I do.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
I would be Papa Smurf. He is spreading his seed worldwide. Oh wait, no, Sonic the Hedgehog! He has those lightning powers and he can run real fast. Man, if you crossed the DNA of Sonic and Papa Smurf, that’s me, I am all over that shit.
My guitars. My guitars are like my children, so if I tell you which on is my favorite, they will get mad at me so I am just going to say that any one of my guitars. I could never give them up.
Best prank you have ever pulled?
One time I hid my guitar players Gamecube and he is addicted to video games hardcore, like I am pretty sure if there was a group he would be in it, like Video Games Anonymous. So I hid it for like three days, and I didn’t tell him that I did it. I feel bad about it now, and he hated me for it for about six months. It was the best prank because he remembers it to this day. Whenever we get into an argument, he always brings it up with, “Oh yeah dude? Well you hid my Gamecube!”
What kind of jobs did you have before you were in the music industry?
I have been lucky actually, I have been in this industry my whole life. My first job was getting paid to go around the country when I was 13 playing bass in a band that was put together by the creators of Devo and I went and played their songs with a couple of other kids in front of large crowds. At that moment I decided I was going to be a touring musician, even if it killed me.
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