Ready for another kick ass San Fran band?! This is not only a band that plays rock n roll music because they absolutely love it, but they also are on a mission to strengthen SF’s music scene by uniting bands via their ‘Not Dead Yet Fest’. A band after my own heart. Badass Band 92 is Down and Outlaws.
I first heard of Down and Outlaws via another music media site, the rad folks at Blind Blind Tiger had them as a resident band a few months back and I knew I had to catch these guys live. Luckily, those same folks brought the band down to play with them, along with a couple other badass bands, at a festival-like birthday celebration for Deus Ex Machina in Venice. I knew I had to make it for their set. Clearly, since I’m writing this, I was not disappointed. Within a couple songs it was made very clear to me (and the audience) that these guys love playing rock n roll and they are damn good at it. Live they are powerfully energetic and their dirty, bluesy rock n roll will nearly literally rattle your bones.
They currently have an EP available titled Backwards from the Dead. All six tracks are absolutely solid and flow together seamlessly. A couple I’d recommend you take a listen to right off the bat?
1. “Burning Off”- The fat bass lines and thundering drums will get (and keep) your toes tapping. This combined with wailing vocals, filthy guitar and a catchy chorus, “Pray to God and sing ‘em a song, nobody’s gonna sing along. Nobody’s gonna sing along.” is pure rock n roll gold.
2. On the flip side, turn your ear onto a slower track “Truth be Told”. This slower guitar driven track, with its ringing vocals, punchy drums and twangy bass will definitely get under your skin. The choral harmonies pour out, “I just wanted you to know, I’m not better on my own. But truth be told, I’m already all alone.” The song builds to a radical guitar solo climax and ends hauntingly with the line, “Well, you left me on my own.” driving this one right to your core.
Down and Outlaws is made up of: Peter Danzig, Kyle Luck, Chris Danzig and Jon Carr. The guys were in LA for a week following the show I caught them at and were kind enough to take some time to talk to BBB. So read on to discover how their creative process works, why it was important for them to have a well thought out band name and what they are doing to bring together SF’s music community! SEE THEM LIVE AT THE VIPER ROOM THIS TUESDAY, APRIL 8Th!
When and why did you start playing music?
Jon- I started playing drums when I was in second grade. Apparently, via stories I was told, I would hit things with sticks all the time when I was a kid. I remember getting a cardboard box and drumming along to Dookie. I put in the cassette tape and remember thinking I was nailing it the entire time. My parents told me if I played in the school band, just on snare for an entire year that they would give me a drum set. So I did it and they stuck to their word. They bought me a drum set and I eventually started lessons. Eventually I started picking up other instruments because I had other friends who played music, so I dabbled it whatever I could so I could play. I didn’t care what I played as long as I could do it. Eventually, I got back to playing drums. I never really stopped, its been my favorite instrument form the beginning and now it’s the thing.
Peter- I didn’t play music. I started when I was 18. Everything I did before was kind of trying to figure out some way to find the release or expression that music does for me via playing with other people. So, I started sharing songs with Chris, my brother, when I was 18 and that was it.
Chris- I played piano for like a minute when I was five or six, but I always wanted to play bass. My dad had a huge sound system, and when the bass came in on “Whole lotta love” I knew I wanted to do that. I never wanted to be a lead guitarist, I loved the feel of the bass. I had to play piano for a couple years to learn theory then I just started playing bass.
Kyle- Growing up I was in a group of friends that was very sports oriented, so I was always playing sports. I was always very, very subpar at those things. I started listening to music in sixth grade, which is kind of late as far as most people I know. I was listening to The Offspring, Foo Fighters, and that kind of stuff. I heard AFI, “Last Kiss” and I was like, “I wanna play guitar!” It clicked that I could be good at that and not sports. That was it. The energy I got from that, just learning it in the first place, was frustrating, but I stuck with it. It was simply because I was trying to find my own thing.
How did you guys meet?
Peter- Chris and I are brothers.
Chris- I’ve known him since he was born.
Peter- So we’ve known each other for a minute. Then we rented a practice space from Kyle. I kind of half forgot that I had a class with Jon at SF State. Jon and Kyle had been buddies for years.
Chris- We were in a band before, and they were in a band before. When that all ended this kind of mashed together. We all liked the same kind of stuff and had the same goals/vision.
Jon- I met Kyle when I moved to SF because I was living with his best friend from High School. He invited me to a poker game one night where I met Kyle. I had just ended a band in Santa Barbara where I grew up, and Kyle was playing music and they were talking about needing a new singer for their band. So I started playing music with Kyle. That same year Peter and I met in a Ceramics class and he was one of the only two people I talked to at that time. Everyone else was just odd.
Peter- I don’t think I actually ever said anything.
Jon- I don’t think you did either.
Peter- He just kept fucking being there.
Jon- We kept in contact via Facebook, and we ran into each other at The Page one night and he told me he just started playing music with his brother.
Peter- That’s when I wanted to use you.
Jon- Exactly. So, Kyle and I had to give up a show because one of our members couldn’t play that night and I was like, “Oh, I ran into Peter last weekend, we could give them the show.” And we did. When I saw them play that the first time I met Chris.
Why the name Down and Outlaws?
Peter- We felt like it described our music, or at least what we wanted our music to be like at the time. That’s pretty much it and I still think it does.
Kyle- I like the idea of really rallying behind your band name. I like being a part of a band and a brand. It’s important to me to have a well thought out band name.
Chris- Especially now in the Internet age. You want a name that you’re proud of and that people will get quickly. You might as well make it something you believe in.
How does your creative process typically work?
Peter- It can go a couple different ways. Somebody brings something to the table and we all dissect it and add to it.
Jon- Keyword: All.
Peter- Yeah, everybody writes the songs and it comes from all different places. It could be me writing a verse/chorus, Chris and Kyle coming up with a riff or Jon. The last song we wrote Jon came up with the strum pattern. Its just somebody starting the conversation. It takes forever, I fucking hate it, but it works.
Talk about what you guys are trying to do in the SF music scene.
Kyle- SF has a scene, but its pretty spread out and it hasn’t really evolved.
Peter- There is a shitload of good music up there but it doesn’t spread as much as you would think. I don’t know if Clique-y is the word; that sounds negative. I don’t know if it’s the way the city is laid out or what but it’s harder to break into it if you’re new and you care about having it go further that SF.
Kyle- Yeah, so many just stay within that seven by seven square.
Jon- Yeah, its kind of frozen in time. Its easy for bands to go, “We have all this success here, why would we go anywhere else? We have all of our friends here, why would we leave and have that new experience.” We are trying to break out of that. We are lucky that when we come down here to LA, we have a lot of friends that we’ve made because we put ourselves out there. You’re growing and making new friends.
Chris- Its been awesome how nice people have been. We met you randomly three days ago and here we are. Its nice and it makes it worth it to us to branch out to LA. When we come down we get shows and people ask us back. Its different, but it gets better and better every time we come down.
Kyle- That being said, we are trying to make moves to unite the SF community. We wanna make our home a little more homely. There are plenty of amazing artists and musicians up there and we want to get them all together.
Peter- We are trying to host our own mini festivals up there to grow the community. Our first one is called ‘Not Dead Yet Fest’ and its on June 7th at Thee Parkside. We have a lineup of bands that are doing well up there and we have a few from here that are going to come up and do it.
Jon- The philosophy behind it is that the scene is not dead yet. We are trying to unite everybody. We are all still here. We are all still doing what we’ve been doing, trying to make music in SF. It’s like a charity. We are raising awareness for local music.
Aside from that, what is going on with you guys the rest of this year?
Peter- We haven’t released our first album yet, just an EP. We don’t want to put out something that is rushed. We told ourselves that we would write X amount of songs and then we would actually put it out. We are hoping to record at the end of spring or summer.
Kyle- Beyond that we come down here about every 4-6 weeks for shows.
Chris- And plenty of SF shows. There may also be a video on the horizon.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Jon- Eliminate fake Facebook ‘likes’. Some bands have hundreds of thousands of ‘Likes’ but nobody shows up to their shows.
Chris- I would eliminate that with all the social media.
Jon- Yeah, more fake likes actually hinders your reach. A lot of them come from other countries, and then your posts are targeted to them. It just doesn’t help anyone and it’s frustrating that people care about that number when its completely fabricated.
Kyle- I don’t like feeling afraid or hesitant about major labels. I keep hearing stories of bands getting picked up, they have all this momentum and then their album gets shelved. Then they have to break up. That is terrifying to me. I would make it more of a friendly business.
One song you never get tired of listening to.
Peter- “Crimson and Clover”- Tommy James and The Shondelles
Chris- “The Way we Get By” – Spoon
Kyle- “Nutshell”- Alice in Chains
Jon- “I hope that I don’t fall in love with you”- Tom Waits
Best live show you have ever gone to?
Peter- Reignwolf, he’s prolific.
Jon- Local Natives at the Fox Theatre. They put on such a dramatic performance, the stage lighting was beautiful.
Chris- The first time I saw Sleepy Sun. They are an SF band, but I saw them when I was living in Chicago. They happened to be in town at some tiny venue on a Monday night. I went in not knowing anything about them. It was dark, dim red lighting, there was no one there, and I was like, “Oh my God I’m seeing The Doors in 1967.” I went in with no expectations and they blew me away.
Kyle- I have like three that I can’t decide between. One was Pearl Jam in 2006 at the Bill Graham Civic Center in SF. I did have high expectations, and songs I didn’t even like on their records, I ended up liking after I saw them live. They showed me there are more to bands than recordings. Another was Queen with Paul Rodgers, that was pretty phenomenal. The caliber of musicianship was rad. The last one is Sigur Ros at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. It started raining at the most climactic point in their last song. It was amazing.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related?
Kyle- Disc golf. I’m an avid disc golfer. I wake up at 6am every Saturday to get there before everybody else. I’ve been playing for 13 years.
Peter- I go to the dog park by myself. I don’t own a dog. I also have a giant, Econoline 350 with no windows that I drive to the dog park, by myself. There is also a cage in the back of the van.
Chris- I really like watching weird movies. I also used to work in Journalism so reading, writing, and movies are what I do in my spare time. Some people like Romantic Comedies and stuff but I like to spend my time watching like some crazy David Lynch movie. I also like hiking, walking, and I don’t have a van that I drive around.
Jon- I do a couple different forms of art. Sculpture was my major in college. I like to build things. I build furniture and tinker with things at my house.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Chris- Harry Potter
Peter- David Bowie
Kyle- John Proctor from The Crucible
Jon- Sal from On The Road
If you ran BBB, who are some bands you would feature?
Down Dirty Shake, Great White Buffalo, Jesus Sons, The She’s, Strange Vine, and Shakey Graves.
Video via BlindBlingTiger.com:
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