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INTERVIEWS THE TOWELS
NORAL SQUIZZ OF THE TOWELS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
GETTING OUT OF AKRON
MAKING WORTHWHILE MUSIC
ROCKIN' RED BACKDROPS
(IT'LL MAKE SENSE LATER!)
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSHIn today's pop music climate, it's not often that one finds music that takes them away on that proverbial Magic Carpet Ride. Pop music hasn't done that since the 70's with the likes of BOWIE, T-REX, ROXY MUSIC or BLONDIE. A listener these days has to look to the past. At least that's what ROCKWIRED thought until someone told us about THE TOWELS.
Their latest CD AMERICAN BEAUS is a Beatle-esque pop rock confection that reminds one of the days when pop music was sweet without being cotton-candy and stressed melodies instead of grunts. The proof of this can be heard in the standout tracks, SABRETOOTH LOVE, ONCE AGAIN and WEREWOLF MOON. However it's hard to ear mark a standout track from a spectacle such as this and popsmiths NORAL SQUIZZ and LEUSLEY ASCHBUDT like it that way. Incidentally, so does ROCKWIRED.
Guitarist/Songwriter NORAL SQUIZZ spoke with ROCKWIRED over the phone. Here is how it went.
So the three of you are from Akron?
And you didn't know each other there.
No we did. In fact the bass player (DENNIS DAVIS)and I played in an original band togethr back there. I went o high school with LEUSLEY.
Akron Ohio. The hometown of CHRISSIE HYNDE (of THE PRETENDERS)
Yeah, her brother still plays out in Kent at a place we used to play called JB's and he's in a band called THE NUMBERS BAND and he's been doing that for years and years.
I had no idea that her brother was in a band.
Yeah, he's a sax player. And don't forget DEVO
Wow! I guess I alway equated them with some sort of New York art scene. With the release of your CD AMERICAN BEAUS, what has changed for you since your previous CD THE COMPANY OF SPLENDID ARTISTS?
I would say that AMERICAN BEAUS is more pop and a little bit brighter with better production. That about sums it up. It's definitely more pop.
An are there any songs from this CD that stand out for you in particular?
I like the opening song ONCE AGAIN. Of course I would 'cause I wrote it. SABRETOOTH LOVE is another good one and TURN UP THE TELEVISION 'cause it's all about sex.
The best rock n roll always is.
If you're familiar with the other TOWELS recordings, we right songs about sex and stuff like that but we do it with either a little smile on it or at least sensually.
How many years have THE TOWELS been together?
Well, I would officially say, about 1999 or 2000. We started somewhere around there.
When was THE COMPANY OF SPLENDID ARTISTS released?
I think it was April or may of this past year
So AMERICAN BEAUS is right on the tail of it then.
How is songwriting broken down in the band?
Most of the songs are written by LEUSLEY and myself. DENNIS helped on one number. Usually it works like this; I come up withan idea, LEUSLEY and I will get together and hammer out and turn it into something. It could just be a guitar lick or a vocal phrase or something like that. Or sometimes LEUSLEY will come up with something like a guitar line that's really tasty and we'll get together and just plan it out from there.
What do you want someone to walk away with after hearing your music?
I'd like for them to be pleased with what they heard. We're trying to keep our stuff light and happy. We have some dark songs too but we'd like to keep it to where it's entertainment. We want it to be entertaining, like when the circus comes to town and then you wait for the next year for it to come back. I'd like for people to hear it and go "Wow! That was great! I wanna know what the next thing they're gonna do is."
I've listened to the CD and love it and can hear things in it, so to speak. What are the points of inspiration for the band?
I hear a little BEACH BOYS, but I'm just being pressumptuous. I even hear a little CHEAP TRICK on some of them.
You're right on the BEACH BOYS. I would definitely say English groups. We liked T-REX alot.
God I love T-REX!
-And DAVID BOWIE, IGGY POP, KING CRIMSON and ADRIAN BELEW. If you listen our CD GODZILLA CHRISTMAS, It's a 2-song CD and the second song is called SHE'S MY BABY. If you listen to that, you can definitely hear the ADRIAN BELEW influence. But the overall idea is to put out a nice product that sounds good, that's pleasing, that anyone could listen to. We don't say a lot of nasty things. We talk about sex but we don't say it. We paint images with the lyrics.
Are there any upcoming shows at all?
No, I haven't planned anything. All I've been doing since we've put this out is working on getting it out there to a large audience. We could play the LA club scene and all that and play the finest clubs but I'm notinterested in that. The most interesting thing to me is creating the music. If you're playing the LA club scene, it's just a rut. I have ahard time talking to club owners and their question is this, "How many people can you bring in?"
The "draw number" you mean.
The first thing I wanna say to them is "Wait a minute! Your club doesn't have it's own people? Maybe I don't want to play in your club."
So THE TOWELS, essentially is the three of you guys with extra players brought on for the purpose of recording?
At this point, DENNIS is no longer with us. DENNIS has become real political and is now one of thoseguys marching against the President and writing protest songs, kind of like BOB DYLAN. That's the kind of music he' into now and felt that he couldn't do both at once. He's alot more serious now and the music that he want's make now doesn't quite fit with our style of pop music.We're still about having fun, not standing on a soapbox and going, "You need to do this ...You need to do that." That's fine for anyone who ants to do that, but it's not for us.
It doesn't seem that way.
Yeah. We write songs about love, relationships and sex.
What are your thoughts on the current music scene?
Personally, I wouldn't buy music fromthe groups I'm seeing now. I listen to rock station and click through them like they are TV stations and go "Next...Next...Next." I'm not hearing anything that I'm caring for at this point. I couldn't even give you a name of a band that I'm totally behind. The last band that did anything for me was THE REMBRANDTS and I don't mean FRIENDS theme! I feel sorry for those guys. That song was big and it made them all of their money but they had tons of great material and not counting that song. I'm sorry they're stuck with that one. It's not horrid, but if you didn't hear it again, like STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, you wouldn't miss it.
I never understood the popularity. I wouldn't go out and buy the LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY theme song.
As far as new acts go, I like MAROON 5 all right. I like COLDPLAY, a little but they get a little sleepy for me. IGGY POP is still out there doing it. I love IGGY and DAVID BOWIE.
They'll never die.
IGGY was the original punk. People always say that the SEX PISTOLS were the first punk band. Listen to the first STOOGES album from 1969. The SEX PISTOLS didn't come along until 1976. IGGY's still coming out with good stuff and BOWIE's got a lot of imagination, which I like.
I think you're music's got a lot of imagination going for it too.
That's what I'm hoping that people will get. Right now, I'm working on a solo CD called AROUND MY WORLD. It's got eleven trackson it. Trying to get that done and promote this current CD at the same time. I'm the one who puts the CD covers together and getrs the order of the songs down. In doing that, I'm trying to create a journey with thses songs.
I'm actually quite fond of the artwork for AMERICAN BEAUS.
Thanks. That's me playing around with collages of old BARNUM AND BAILEY posters from 100 years ago.
I think it works well.
I like the red backdrop.
Red and rock n roll just goes together.
And black clothes. So basically I'm busy withthis new solo project and promoting this new TOWELS CD.
So THE TOWELS is a situation where anyone can walk away and do something else withour someone getting miffed.
Pretty much. LEUSLEY and I always wrote. Although DENNIS was a founding member, he only co wrote a couple of songs. I write all the time and LEUSLEY has been writing a lot. I'm a real motivated person. Supermotivated, I guess. I've got a lot of music inside of me and I'm just trying to get it out.
READ THE PREVIOUS ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE TOWELS HERE