The Only Way Out Is Through: Streamlined DTES plays V Club 3.22

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photo: LA Watson

Lexington, Ky.-based progressive rock band Dream The Electric Sleep (L-R: Chris Tackett, Matt Page, Joey Waters) will perform at The V Club Friday.

Reposted from The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

It’s been two years since Dream The Electric Sleep released its debut album, Lost and Gone Forever, for free, out of nowhere, to critical acclaim. The Lexington-based progressive rock band’s stunning 14-song concept record about the life of an eastern Kentucky coal mining family would not be easy to duplicate.

So, live, and in the studio, Matt Page, Chris Tackett and Joey Waters would move on in a new direction, continuing to see where their diverse musical influences take them.

“When we finished the first record, sometimes you just kind of know that you have something special on your hands, and you just cross your fingers and hope for the best,” bassist Chris Tackett said.

“Nobody knew who we were; we weren’t anyone. We hadn’t recorded anything and we’d never played any shows. So it was just really important for us to just get the music out there and let people hear it. We thought we’d achieved something pretty damn special.

“It’s been nice to get the good response; we’ll take it.”

After downsizing into a three-piece a few months ago, the guys in DTES were challenged with recreating live, the richly layered sound (think Pink Floyd meets Muse) found on the debut record.

“It was a definite transition,” singer-guitarist Matt Page said. “We were trying to figure out how to fill up the space, since the album that we wrote was fairly lush with keyboard parts, acoustic guitars, and harmonies.

“We sort of debated whether we wanted another guitar player, or someone that can do keyboards, but nothing really worked out. So at this point we’re a three-piece. We’re trying to work [arrangements] with samples, and applying the stuff we need to, as opposed to finding another member.

“So we worked hard at figuring out ways to sort of beef up the sound again, and I think we’ve finally got to that point. Last year was sort of us testing stuff out live while we were writing new material. But it’s kind of nice that the three of us gelled, and work together so well. We’re all pretty happy with where we’re at.”

Dream The Electric Sleep performs Friday at The V Club in Huntington with John Lancaster and Horseburner.

“Even though the three-piece, live, with the material from [Lost and Gone Forever] at certain points was maybe a little thinner than the album was obviously, because there’s not five or six guys on stage playing,” drummer Joey Waters added. “It made us a little less muddy live. So, from that standpoint it was a good thing.”

Tackett, who’d came on around the time the band was finishing the debut album, said writing as a three-piece has had its benefits.

“This record we’re getting ready to record was written as a collaboration between the three of us, as opposed to the last record, where I kind of stepped in and helped finish the album. This one, we all worked together on. So it does sound a little bit different. I wouldn’t say it’s anything drastic, but it sounds more like a real band.”

Tackett, with years of experience being in bands as diverse as Chum, The Heptanes, and Hyatari, said Dream The Electric Sleep is bringing everything together as a three-piece.

“As far as doing the three-piece thing, my role in it, like Matt mentioned, we’ve really experimented with some effects and different techniques to fill up some space, especially in trying to mimic the older songs. But the new material, I think, since it was kind of hashed out in a room with the three of us, it sounds a little more natural live.”

Page said Tackett’s sonic tendencies and sensibilities were more integral this time around, and that each member’s influences make the band what it is.

“This album, Chris’ influence and sound have really helped to shape that. Like, I don’t listen to anything like what Chris listens to, and I don’t know that Joey listens to anything that I do, so we all have our feet in different musical genres. It’s an extraordinarily exciting thing for me.”

“These guys have been really cool about letting that sort of influence leak into this band,” Tackett added. “I certainly wouldn’t say it’s taken over or anything like that, but there’s definitely some Hyatari-type elements that we employ from time to time. They’ve been really gracious with letting me express that side.

“It is a weird style, and it’s kind of like, my style, so it’s cool that they let me include that in this project. I personally think it makes for a really unique sound with Matt’s harmonies and writing. We do incorporate some of that Hyatari-type slower, doomy, dissonant stuff, and it works!”

Waters seconded Tackett’s increasing influence in DTES.

“I’ve always played with a really aggressive style, but I’ve never enjoyed playing metal, per se. I like listening to it, and that’s mainly what I’m listening to right now. Chris let me fill in on drums for Hyatari, and that was one of the coolest shows I’ve ever played. So he’s definitely been an influence on me as far as getting back into heavy music again.

“In Dream The Electric Sleep I hit as hard as I want, and really get the demons out. At the same time, I’m able to play that aggressive style but be in a band that’s more accessible to a wider audience. Matt and Chris are good at reining it in and making it sound like Dream The Electric Sleep.”

“Joey and Chris have kind of melded together,” Page said matter-of-factly, describing the rhythm section.

Page said it’s the experimentation and openness that makes DTES what it is.

“It’s really fun to work with two other musicians of high caliber that are also willing to take somebody more like me, who’s going to be more like a singer-songwriter, and put Hyatari riffs and thundering drums behind it, and come up with a sound that’s surprising to me. That’s why it’s so exciting.

Looking ahead to recording 11 new songs and 80 or so minutes worth of material with Jay Groves at Sneak Attack in Lexington, Page said he hopes the recording will be as much of a natural, creative process as the songwriting.

“I’m hoping that comes across when we start recording the album, that this is a step forward, sonically. I want to make sure we capture that as opposed to us setting up a bunch of microphones and crossing our fingers and hoping we get the sound we want.

“I’d rather go into a studio and work with a professional and get that sound, then take those tracks and kind of sculpt them outside of the studio session, in our rehearsal space, and start experimenting with amps, guitars, keyboards and vocals, all that.

“So I think that’s the process, at least at this point,” the singer and guitarist said. “To be honest, the recording process for us isn’t going to be recording something that’s already finished. It’s going to be us creating as we record.”

The guys said they’re looking forward to playing RosFest, a big prog rock festival held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in May.

“It’s a pretty big deal for us,” Page said. “People from all over the world fly in for this festival and they’re super stoked to be there, and they’re music aficionados, and they already knew about us, which was also weird to have people know who you are but you’ve never played for them before.

“These people-- the fans, the organizers, have been extremely supportive; they want us there. So I think it’s going to be a really positive experience for us.”

Page said 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for Dream The Electric Sleep.

“We’re playing shows, we’re playing new material, we’ve got the festival coming up, which is a really big deal, and we’re gonna be in the studio trying to finish an album.

“It’s gonna be a crazy six months I think.”


Dream The Electric Sleep, John Lancaster, Horseburner

WHERE: The V Club, 741 6th Ave., Huntington
WHEN: 10 p.m., Friday, March 22
COST: $5
INFO: http://www.vclublive.com/, (304) 781-0680
ONLINE: http://www.dreamtheelectricsleep.com/


Bishops Make Next Move With "Feel Alive" EP

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photo: Jordan Hudkins

Right where they belong: Tucker Riggleman and Paul Cogle have found a new home for their creative output in Bishops. After releasing their debut full-length in 2012, the duo returns with a new EP, Feel Alive, released in March.

Before The Demon Beat, before Prison Book Club, Tucker Riggleman was kicking around Shepherdstown area bars and coffee shops playing solo acoustic shows, singing his own songs. Late nights at Shepherd University, playing music and sharing songs with PBC band mate and The Fox Hunt’s John R. Miller helped Riggleman come into his own as a performer.

The Demon Beat would emerge as one of the region’s better bands, and Riggleman would later share singing and songwriting duties in Prison Book Club, the Shepherdstown-based alt-country band, with his good friend Miller. But it was only after teaming up with veteran musician and engineer Paul Cogle (Vox Populi, Alt 40, Fabled Sons, Black Blizzard) to record some demos that Riggleman’s songwriting efforts would emerge as his own band.

After recruiting Demon Beat singer-guitarist Adam Meisterhans and PBC drummer Andrew Ford, Bishops, birthed out of Cogle’s Falling Waters studio, released its debut self-titled full-length in 2012.

Bishops will release its new EP, Feel Alive, digitally March 5, and will perform at Gene’s Beer Garden in Morgantown Saturday, March 23. WVRockscene caught up with Riggleman and Cogle for Spotlight West Virginia to learn more about the project and the new EP, which finds Riggleman and Cogle striking out on their own...

WVRockscene: The new EP, Feel Alive, how excited are you two about the material and getting it out to fans and friends? From original demos and rehearsals to now, how has Bishops progressed? 

Tucker Riggleman: I think it’s safe to say that we’re really excited about the new EP. I think it’s a logical step forward for us. A couple of the songs started as demos where I played everything, then I brought them to Paul and he added his magic. It’s a lot of fun to be able to bring in a song and have someone else hear something that they think can add to the vibe of the whole thing, and then mix it all together to get the finished product. I’m particularly stoked on this batch of songs because they’re kind of all over the place stylistically.

There are a couple slow building acoustic/folk rock types of songs that get pretty triumphant at the end, there is a 70’s punk rock sounding song, a straight up rocker, and one that is just me and a guitar. What I love about what we’ve been able to do as a band, is that we can combine these different influences and it doesn’t seem too jagged or out of place. It makes sense that it’s one band making all that noise.

Paul Cogle: Yeah the EP is a really cool jam! We do stretch out a little more on this release which has been a lot of fun. Tucker’s writing is top notch and one of my favorite songs (“Let go”) is on it.

rockscene: How did Bishops get hatched originally? Tucker how encouraging and/or awesome has it been having Paul as a musical partner for your songwriting efforts?

Cogle: Tucker is an awesome guy with a heart of gold. The best thing that’s come from Bishops for me is an excellent friendship. Yeah, Bishops began after a lot of email pestering by me, I initially wanted to record The Demon Beat but our schedules never worked out. Tucker finally came to the studio to record some demos – and we just hit it off so Bishops evolved from there.

I think we hear things the same way. We love things that are over-the-top full of distortion and reverb but still melt when the song is as sweet and pure as a single voice and guitar.

Riggleman: Paul is definitely a musical brother of mine. It’s so comfortable to work with him. He’s a great musician and person, but he is also an excellent engineer/producer in the way he can get certain things out of you, or maybe put you in a position to look at the song a different way and follow it down that path a little bit to see if there’s something awesome you can get out of it.

Basically, the band wouldn’t have happened without Paul’s encouragement. Originally, Paul had me come over last year to demo some songs I had lying around. I was clueless about what should be done with these songs; I just knew I wanted to get them down for posterity’s sake. Once we listened to the demos, I think we decided to get together and try to rock them out a bit, which resulted in the debut full-length. I am still very proud of that record.

rockscene: Tucker, given your past solo efforts, how has being in The Demon Beat and Prison Book Club expanded your own songwriting sensibilities? What’s rubbed off on you, if anything, being in these other bands?

Riggleman: I would like to think I’ve got a lot of the boneheaded youthful mistakes out of the way (i.e. booking a show in New York City on Super Bowl Sunday at a bar with no TV) and can focus on efficiently writing, recording, and playing shows. Doing everything on your own tends to lead to a lot of trial and error, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I’m just glad I got those parts out of the way when I was 21, and not now when I’m 26.

But it’s not just the mistakes you learn from, but also the good things. For instance, we now have the luxury of knowing which places will be good for us to play, and which ones we should skip. The Demon Beat and PBC made a lot of friends over the years (as have Paul’s previous bands) and we’re lucky that a handful of them continue to follow our other projects. I think it’s just like anything else, you learn more as you go.

rockscene: Just like The Demon Beat, with Adam Meisterhans recording, with Bishops, Cogle can handle production duties. How important and/or convenient is it to be able to control the means of production in both bands?

Cogle: The only way to get the best possible recordings are for people to feel one hundred percent comfortable and I’ve always wanted to have a place where friends could come, relax, jam, and record – and for the most part I have achieved that. It’s a private studio. I’ll only work with friends. I’ve never recorded someone I do not have a personal friendship with. It’s also really, really cool to be able to send Adam or Jordan [Hudkins] a mix to get their opinion.

Riggleman: I think the familiarity makes all the difference. Try as they might, some producer at a costly studio somewhere is not going to know your music or what you’re going for better than your band mate and friend. It’s just really convenient to not have to/ rush in the studio and be able to build things up the way we do.

We have a pretty good process down, but it’s still spontaneous enough to catch those unexpected moments. For instance, the last track on the EP, a song called “Easy,” is just a guitar and me. I was playing it for Paul and he kind of snuck over and pressed record. Those are the kinds of takes I think you can only get while recording in an environment such as the one we have at Paul’s studio.

rockscene: Tucker you’re still running Big Bullet Records, which just released a winter sampler. How frustrating and/or necessary and/or awesome is it to be able to cut out the middlemen and run a label DIY?

Riggleman: You know what? It’s gotten a heck of a lot less frustrating once I decided to stick to digital releases for the most part: less overhead, less worrying about pressing deadlines. Everything is just so flooded these days, and I watched it happen from BBR’s inception up until now.

I think we have a small group of folks who diligently check out what we do as a group, and that’s really all you can ask for these days. With every band and label in the world putting things on Bandcamp for free, if you can get just a few people who actually care to click on your link then you’re doing okay.

rockscene: You’ve got this show 3.23 at Gene’s with your friends Billy Matheny and Tyler Grady in Goodwolf, looking forward to the show?

Riggleman: I am really stoked on this one. I’ve only ever stepped foot inside of Gene’s once in my life, and it was awesome. The intimacy and potential for rowdy rock behavior definitely increases in smaller spaces like Gene’s, especially when the shows are free.

Billy and Tyler are two of my favorite musical people, and we are very excited and honored to share a bill with them. There are so many talented musicians in our state. I can only hope that anytime any West Virginia bands get noticed even the slightest that the outside world gets turned on to all of the state’s awesome music.

Cogle: The first time I met Tyler he was opening for Bishops and he just totally blew me away. Love his work! Billy and his group are top notch people (and friends from way back) so this is gonna be one of my favorite shows – I’m so looking forward to it!


Bishops w/Billy Matheny & the Frustrations, Goodwolf

WHERE: Gene’s Beer Garden, 461 Wilson Ave., Morgantown (304) 292-1147
WHEN: 9 p.m., Saturday March 23
COST: Free
ONLINE: www.facebook.com/bishopswv


CD Review: "III"

ARTIST: Whiskey Daredevils

Cleveland's resident cowpunks, the Whiskey Daredevils, return with ten new songs worth of "no frills rock n' roll" on III, ironically the band's eighth release (the first with new bassist Sugar Wildman) and arguably their best to date.

Since welcoming ultra-badass lead guitarist Gary Siperko on, before Introducing the Whiskey Daredevils, the Daredevils have continued to rapidly congeal its own lovelorn, maybe drug-fueled but definitely super fun version of rockabilly. Singer Greg Miller and drummer Leo Love continue to move the band forward, as they did in the 90's with The Cowslingers, which later begat the Daredevils.

"Swim The Lake of Fire" is maybe the hardest rockin' Daredevils song yet. "Corina" is to III what "Ida Jane" was to the Greatest Hits CD. Seems like so many years have past just since that release, but just highlights how the band has progressed through alternately distorted & twangy garage rock, through a more country flavor (Golden Age of Country Punk) on the last couple releases.

"Never Again" is an old school sounding Daredevils ballad that fans will come to love.

Whether you're traveling Route 66, living some sketchy life, falling in love with women you really shouldn't, or singing along with the band at the Empty Glass, the Daredevils are always a good time. This really could be their best CD.


CD Review: "Disenchanted"

CD: Disenchanted
ARTIST: Sweet Life

The next time bands like KTB, The Sword, or Valient Thorr come to play a show in West Virginia, we suggest they investigate the possibility of having Sweet Life open for them.

These Morgantown & Pittsburgh-based stoner rock dudes-- Jason McCarty, Nick Leombruno, Evan Devine, Mike Roberts-- over the course of seven songs and barely over 20 minutes on their debut EP Disenchanted, actually give reason to be excited to hear more from these guys.

By the time you've heard "Rock n' Roll III" and the first single, "Black Babylon," (see Geoff Hoskinson's killer video for that) you'll be hooked on "The Sweet Life," as we'll refer to the band from here on out. "Cop Dad," 65 punk rock seconds in length, is an early nominee for best song title of 2013.

Sweet Life - "Black Babylon" from Geoff Hoskinson on Vimeo.

Mixed by Ryan Hizer, mastered by Dave Klug, and with art provided by the aforementioned Hoskinson, Disenchanted is super impressive.

Despite there being only seven songs on the EP, there's enough on display here to make this actually one of the more exciting releases to come out of the "WVRockscene" in 2013. We'll stay tuned and look for these guys to get put on some awesome shows.


CD Review: "Unmacho"

CD: Unmacho
ARTIST: Rozwell Kid

Never considered yourself a van man? Get ready to reassess your life situation.

Whether he’s suggesting totally gross/genius menu items to fast food chains or pestering Marc Maron on Twitter, hilariously juxtaposing and attributing lyrics to songs on Facebook, or, returning with his band’s sophomore full-length, Jordan Hudkins is always entertaining.

On the recently released Unmacho, Hudkins, now, along with full-time writing buds Adam Meisterhans, Andrew LaCara, Devin Donnelly, and Sean Hallock, returns with ten songs worth of new and improved grungy, noisy, super-catchy power-pop, exploring the depths of the band’s get-in-the-van ideology, only now, with essentially three front dudes leading The Demon Beat drummer’s emerging side project.

Not only do you have Hudkins, Meisterhans, and LaCara (remember The Resonators?) but a short, star-studded, red carpet lineup of area musicians (Brian Spragg, Ryan Hizer, Bud Carroll, Dylan Balliett) appear on Unmacho, making it, as far as local releases go, pretty darn studly.

From the cacophonous jam at the intro of “Bonehead” (“Oh wow, oh wow/I really fucked up now,” Hudkins sings) through the first single and band’s super-charged anthem “Van Man,” to the shredding outro on “Rozwell Man,” (“Get in the van. I don’t have a plan,” Hudkins sings repeatedly) Unmacho is a delightful romp indeed.

Standout tracks include “Lipstick,” “Gumshoe,” and the swaggering “Afterparty,” (based on actual events?) you should definitely check out those if you’re reading this and never listened to RK.

It seemed silly to think a few years ago that of the handful of promising acts birthed out of Shepherdstown, RK would be or could be where it is today. Hudkins, with help from his friends now in Rozwell Kid, have emerged as more than just a drummer’s side project. Now, these dudes have fans and online stalkers all their own.

Where The Rozwell Kid LP may have, for some, fondly evoked The Blue Album, maybe Unmacho is like Pinkerton-- a better band, bigger guitars and killer solos (hear the title track,) better backing vocals/harmonies, and just a better, live energy captured on a better record. A more experimental bent is on display, from the noise jams to reverse cymbals to synth-type hits and other studio tom foolery. Kudos, again, to Dave Klug in Pittsburgh for his studio efforts.

It’s exciting to see how far Hudkins has taken Rozwell Kid, looking back on it from the Jude Universer days. As he and his band approach Rozwell manhood, it’s commendable that Hudkins, now, along with his friends, on a record so highly anticipated, did not disappoint.

--- Rozwell Kid performs in a very special Sunday rock show 3.10 at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown with Pat Pat and Dangerous Ponies.


The Renfields on The Renfields!

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The picture above really does a good job capturing what The Fiend’s reaction might be when he’s again being starved for an extended period of time. Since there was so much good conversation with The Renfields for our Gazette piece, (and good pics via Mike Winland Studios,) we thought we’d put something a little special together on the band for its first show back in five months tonight at The Sound Factory, and why the band starves its mongoloid bassist…

Dr. Von Renfield IV: “I remember the very first show, seeing them, was at The Elbow Room. [To Vincent] I don’t know if you remember this one?”

Vincent: “I do.”

Dr. Von Renfield IV: “Yeah, it was a Dangerkat show, and we were playing with you guys, and I was like ‘Look at these jerks walking around in costumes!’ Then, you guys started playing, and I was like ‘Oh, this is kinda cool!’

“And you guys had, like, 3-minute long [movie sample] intros between each song, (laughter) and I was like ‘Oh no, I hate these guys!’ (laughter)

“My girlfriend just had to explain our band to her parents like a week ago.” (laughs) “She said it didn’t go over very well. She ran into the same thing, like ‘How do I explain that they wear costumes and are covered in blood, but they’re not some evil metal band?”

[Vincent, on Dr. Von Renfield IV]

“When he joined the band, we still had Herbert III, and we became friends because we always played with Dangerkat. He joined as Lucio on guitar. Then, the next practice, Herbert III quit. And we were like ‘OK, well you just bought that guitar and bought that amp but now, you’re the drummer!’” (laughter)

The Fiend: “First impression? Seeing their pictures on MySpace, and thinking, ‘What the hell is this [expletive]?’ (laughter) And then I listened to it, aaaaannnnnd, I loved it.

“The catchy tunes: just like with the radio when people turn it on and hear pop tunes-- it’s catchy! And that’s what people like; something that they hear, and then, hours later they’re doing something and all of a sudden, it creeps in your head, and you start bobbing your head. And that’s how The Renfields are, they’re catchy.”

“Then I wanted to play a show with them.

“And we got a show with them, somewhere near Beckley. And I remember pulling into the parking lot and seeing them, and thinking, ‘That has to be them!’” (laughter)

Vincent: “And we weren’t even in costume!”

The Fiend: “They were unmistakable.”

Dick Ramsses: “The first time I’d ever heard of them I was playing in [REDACTED] -- [Fiend] would talk about them often.

“The first time I ever saw them, we played with them at Fright Farm, and I remember thinking the same thing; ‘What the hell is this [expletive]?’ (band laughter)

“And I saw ‘em play, and for me too, it was “Machete a Go-Go,” I was like ‘Oh my god, this [expletive] is catchy!’

“Then, it was the half band, half set show in Huntington. We went out there, like hanging out, and I was like ‘Man, what happened to these guys?’”

Vincent: That night, I’d called [Fiend] the week before and said ‘Hey man let’s do The Jasons,’ it always happens like this, and he said ‘Yeah,’ and when we lost the bass player and it was just like with [Dr. Von Renfield IV] ‘OK you can be the fiend now.’”

Dick Ramsses: “That show was actually right after we’d quit playing with [REDACTED]

Fiend: “It was.”

Dick Ramsses: “Right after everything just went…”

The Fiend: “To Florida.” (laughs)

Dick Ramsses: “And we just kind of hung out, and I remember you talking about possibly joining The Renfields. And we actually sat in his dining room, and just messed around, we did an acoustic version of what was it, “Prom Night?”

The Fiend: “Probably.”

Dick Ramsses: “We were just jamming around on that, just for fun. And I was like, ‘Man if they need anyone else, I’ll do it.’”

The Fiend: “The band never had a second guitarist.”

Vincent [to Fiend]: “When you said [Dick Ramsses] wanted to join, I was like ‘YES!’”

*on booking shows…

The Fiend: “You can’t expect a response from every venue owner to every text, every e-mail, saying ‘Sure, this is my place of business, come on over, play a show!’ and, you know, some of the hardest places to get in, are sometimes the crappiest places to play.”

Vincent: “Yes, they are.”

The Fiend: “I don’t know why that is.”

Vincent: “[Fiend] books the shows. But it’s frustrating when you’ll want to play a show, and they have no idea you’ve been a band for ten years. And you just wanna say ‘LOOK at what we have been through!’”

*on starving The Fiend (Renfields intervention breaks out mid-interview)…

Dick Ramsses: “It’s always his own fault.”
Vincent: “Yeah!”
Dr. Von Renfield: “He really makes us do it.”
Dick Ramsses (to Fiend): “Quit making mistakes, and behave well, and you’ll get food.”
Vincent: “Here’s the key: don’t be who you are, and we won’t have to do what we do to you.”

The Fiend: “A lot of kids like us.”

Dr. Von Renfield: “When we played ShockaCon, there were little kids wearing Renfields shirts there. Like 6 and 7-year old kids.”

Dick Ramsses: “Kids are either really scared, or they love it.”

Vincent: “Just like Barney!” (band laughter)

EXTRA! EXTRA! The Renfields Get Animated!

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There was so much good quotage left over from our in-person interview with The Renfields that we thought we’d post it here! From first impressions, to winning fans, to recording and re-animating The Fiend, this special two-part mini-series, if nothing else, reminds you to go see Team Transylvania tonight at The Sound Factory with Miniature Giant and Calendars and Kerosene.

Now, The Renfields, on --

*The band’s undead origins…

Vincent Renfield: “I was in, just, a regular pop-punk band, and I always wanted to be in a gimmick band. I’ll call them a gimmick band, but when I was real young I heard KISS, and I remember sitting there with the LP that my brother gave me, and my mind changed from ‘What kind of music do I want to play?’ to ‘What will we wear?’ (band laughter) ‘What is our image?’ ‘What is our shtick?’

“I’d always wanted to do that.

“So I asked every person that I knew, and no one wanted to do it.

“So I started buying instruments; bass, a drum set.

“And then I would say, ‘You don’t know how to play, but if you want to be in a horror punk band with me, you can be Dr. Von Renfield, or Chester; whatever character you want to be, you can use the equipment, and we’ll learn how to play together.”

*Wearing costumes, winning fans…

Dick Ramsses-Renfield: “With this band, the appeal that catches everybody’s eyes is the costumes, and they’re like ‘This is stupid. What are these 30-year old guys doing dressed up like a bunch of idiots?’

“And then we play, and everyone-- well, I don’t want to say everyone,” (band hard laughter)-- “I guess not everybody’s a fan. But most people, yeah, when we start playing, it clicks in their heads; they get it.”

Vincent Renfield: “They want to hate us, because of the way that we look. They think that we’re going to try to get up there and be like, Danzig Jr. or something, and be tough guys. And so they’re instantly like, ‘Yeah, [expletive] these guys.’

“And then, we start making fun of ourselves, and horror punk in general.

“[Dick Ramsses] said it the other day, and it’s true: we’re not a horror punk band, we’re a parody of a horror punk band. We’re fans of what we do, but at the same time a lot of horror punk bands are dudes, just normal guys, trying to look scary.

“Our shtick is that we’re monsters that don’t know we’re scary.”

Dick Ramsses: “For me, personally, when we play a show, I don’t care if they like us as a band. I just hope they have a good time. They don’t have to like our music to have a good time watching us.”

Dr. Von Renfield IV: “I can’t tell you how many people have come up to us after a show and been like ‘You know, I normally hate your kind of music, I’m a fan of--’ what’s the band with the teddy bears?-- The Grateful Dead! ‘Yeah I’m a giant deadhead, but I had a great time tonight.’”

*Vincent, on having Lucio back as hype wolf and to run samples…

“Lucio’s an important part. We needed him. He’s the dude that is obsessed with horror movies like I am. When he came on I was happy because, like, we all like horror movies and watch them, but I’m obsessed and he’s obsessed with them. So, maybe it’s not even a band thing, but we can talk about collecting VHS tapes and imported German stuff. (band laughter)

“I missed that.”

*on recording “GO!,” the new album, versus past efforts…

Vincent: “The reason we recorded in mono was, that was all we had. And I knew my guitar skills were limited at the time; I didn’t know how to sing and play the guitar at the same time. So, I was just trying to do what The Mummies did, what the Ramones did. And instead of making apologies for what I don’t have to offer, I would champion what I do have to offer.

“In my head though, when I wrote “Burning Revenge,” you can go back and listen to it and see what I was able to do with it. In my mind, it wasn’t a mono song, it was just, that’s what we had. Now, the version on [“GO!”] the way it is, and every song on the album, is the way it should be. When we recorded the CD and I sat down to listen to it, sure there were one or two things we wanted to go back and change, but I was like, happy with everything.

“So, every other album that was done in mono, it was like, ‘Well, that’s the best we could do,’ and some people dug it and some people didn’t dig it.’”

The Fiend: “I like how [Vincent] was talking about how he showed what he could offer. And what was cool was, how he proudly said, and the reason I was a fan was the things he said in the liner notes, like ‘Recorded in blood-curdling mono,’ and was proud of that.

I thought that was just humorous and kinda cool. Something else he said in another liner note; ‘If it sounds like it was recorded in a casket, it probably was,’” (band laughter)

Vincent: “And I still wanna celebrate that, but I don’t wanna hold back [Renfields] members who are capable of doing awesome things. I’m trying to get a custom made guitar that has just four strings, and instead of dots, just has the number of the frets, (hard band laughter) with just one pickup and one knob, because I want people to be like ‘What the [expletive] is that caveman [expletive]?’ (laughter)

“That’s what I’m interested in doing, because that’s what it was built on.”

Dick Ramsses: “We didn’t want to have an album put out and us not be happy with it. For so long-- and any band could say this-- they don’t want to just hand somebody something and say ‘Here’s our CD, BUT,’ and then go into some long explanation about what’s not good about it, or why they’re not happy with it.”

Vincent: “That’s been The Renfields, like, for years. (laughter)

“This record, because we’re not going to let it happen, there isn’t going to be one thing we’re not satisfied with. Not one thing will be anything less than what we want. The artwork, whatever length we had to go to, money-wise, we did it. We’re going to do that with the packaging, and a special little tour edition that’s already working.

“And luckily, with the recording, any little thing that we wanted to do, we can go back. We’ve talked about it; a lot of bands put out a CD that’s thrown together…”

The Fiend: “In a week.”

Vincent: “Yeah. We’ve done that enough. We recorded “Stalk and Slash [Splatterama] Part 2 in 13 hours. This has been almost 13 months.”

*on how recording “Porkchop,” re-animated the recording process…

The Fiend: “It just made sense.” (to work w/Eamon Hardiman)

Dick Ramsses: “That’s what started the whole recording process, too. We went in and were just going to do the ‘Porkchop’ theme and two other songs, just to have. And then we got in there and it was like ‘[expletive] it, let’s do an album.’”

The Fiend: “We didn’t have the money, but we just made it happen. We were like ‘If we don’t do it, we’re never going to.’”

Dick Ramsses: (laughs) “YEAH!”

Vincent: “When [Dr. Von Renfield] and I drove down to show him the song, and all we had was the rough guitar mix, so we sang it to him, like, played it on the stereo and sang it to him, and he teared up.”

Dr. Von Renfield IV: “That’s the only time I’ve ever seen Eamon show emotion.” (hard band laughter)

*Dick Ramsses, on keeping The Renfields going…

“I’m not going anywhere. I don’t know about the rest of the guys. I think I was telling [Vincent] and I told [Fiend] the other day; I’m gonna go with this for as long as I can. This has been a lot of fun.”