|ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS SHAKY DEViLLE
MUSiC CiTY ROCKSHAKEY DEVILLE – the Nashville-based power trio with a need for speed (rhythm, not drugs) – is quickly gaining a reputation along the East Coast and throughout the Midwest for their raw, raucous live shows and primal rock n roll sound. After honing their act and sound in countless clubs and pubs (including Nashville’s EXIT/IN and ARLENES GROCERY STORE in New York City) the blue-collared troubadours have released their self-titled debut CD – a balls-to-the-wall stomper punctuated by lead singer-guitarist MSB DEVILLE’s howls and growls, JOHNNY FOODSTAMP’s slamming bass and TODD SLOCUM’s maniacal drumming. “If you don’t put all that you’ve got into a show then it’s going to come across that way.” says front man DEVILLE “We get up there and we just dive right into it. It’s a high octane show that is all natural. There aren’t any special moves on stage or anything like that.”
MSB DEViLLE OF SHAKY DEViLLE
TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR SELF-TiTLED DEBUT CD
TOURiNG THE COUNTRY
AND GiViNG iT EVERYTHiNG THEY'VE GOT
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with MSB DEVILLE of SHAKY DEVILLE over the phone. Here is how it went.
The CD is great! Thanks! One of the songs that’s on the CD wasn’t supposed to be there. We were in a rush to have this CD ready for the road and we were all excited about putting it on there anyway.
How come you guys didn’t want it on this one?
It was supposed to go on the second CD. It’ll fit a lot better on the second CD. We’re in the middle of recording the second CD right now so it’s really heavy on my brain.
That’s pretty quick. You’ve got this one released and you’ve got a second one in the pocket pretty much.
I pretty much write all of the time and a song has to go through a lot in order for us to play it. They’ve got to be pretty good songs and we’ve got about three CDs worth of material at the moment. The ones that you hear on the CD are the ones that are ready to go.
It sounds kind of neat to be able to put songs out hand over fist like that. Talk about how the writing process works for you.
I come up with a basic riff and work from there. All of the songs are really story oriented. A few of the songs we were able to kind of slash and burn like ALABAMA 10 which is more of a guitar song. The songs come from a basic riff and JAKE and I will go through it and work on it for a while. It gets to a point where we are comfortable with it and we start playing it live. It takes a little while to get some of these songs going. I don’t have to meditate or anything.
So now that all of the work that has gone into making the CD is behind you and it’s out there for people to hear, how do you feel about the finished work?
I feel great about it. It’s taken on so many faces ever since the beginning of SHAKY DEVILLE. You search for the right sound and the right guys who are going to understand where you are going and with TODD and JOHNNY, it’s just natural. It comes so easily. It’s crazy. The sound I was always going for with SHAKY DEVILLE was stripped down, hard-nosed rock n roll. That is the sound that always gets me going and that’s what we all kind of grew up on.
That’s a real rock n roll name – SHAKY DEVILLE. Where does it come from?
My dad gave me a ’76 Cadillac Coup de Ville before he retired and moved to Florida. It was the best car I ever had. After a while you can’t afford to fix something like that. That thing was like a big ass canoe. After a while when you’d stop at a stop sign, it would bounce back and forth and when you went around a corner it would bounce from side to side and a couple of things would go on in the back seat which was pretty big and I just started calling it the ‘Shaky Deville’.
Talk about how music began for you?
When I was growing up, I would listen to my grandfather play old traditional Irish songs on the accordion. My dad played saxophone when I was very young. I barely remember it but I do remember it. I’m the youngest of six and the next one up from me is about four or five years older. Growing up – at any point in the house you would have Irish traditional music playing or JIMI HENDRIX, AC/DC, DAVID BOWIE or disco. There was so much music everywhere. I was the only one that ever played an instrument other than my father. It was always there. Music is very natural to people. It’s there already. You’ve just got to follow a road to it and I think that I followed about seven to eight different roads to get to it because I loved it. I got into playing drums with a lot of different punk bands. The more I played, the more I pursued my own music. I was writing constantly and the stuff that I was writing wasn’t punk. I picked the guitar up again and went with it and now I’ve got SHAKY DEVILLE.
Talk about the other members of SHAKY DEVILLE. What do you think each of them brings to the table both musically and personality-wise that makes it work?
All of us are blue-collar guys and that is the way we grew up so we have that in common. The other thing with us is that there is no bullshit. There is so much that you have to deal with – especially in music with egos and all that – and we just know what good music is and that is what brings us together. TODD SLOCUM is a pro. He can play anything on the drums and he knows more about recording than either of us do. JOHNNY FOODSTAMP is a jack-of-all-trades. That kid can pick up an instrument and play it onstage the next week. It doesn’t matter what it is. We also understand that people have the right to have their own point of view. We don’t always agree about everything but we think that you should be allowed to say what you want to say when you want to say it and that you shouldn’t be put down for saying it. We have that understanding. It’s different from a lot of the other bands that I’ve been in. In other bands, there was always some sort of drama one way or the other. In this band, we’ll have a few beers and play music all night. We just play music, write music and we have a blast.
How have people responded to the band live?
We get great responses. Everywhere we play we are always asked back. You can’t worry about where you are at or what the crowd is doing – especially if they have never heard of you before. If you don’t put all that you’ve got into a show then it’s going to come across that way. We get up there and we just dive right into it. It’s a high octane show that is all natural. There aren’t any special moves on stage or anything like that.
You guys are based in Nashville. How does the band fit in or not fit in to that city’s established sound?
We don’t and we do. There is a small underground scene that we do very well in and then there is the rest of Nashville which is really more of a corporation. There is a certain way of doing things here for a lot of musicians. A lot of them come here to play country and I wouldn’t know a lot about that. I never understood it. In putting this band together, I didn’t worry about the rest of Nashville. I just made sure that the people who came tried out and auditioned for the band wanted to be there for the band and interested in the music. I say that because it was weird putting these ads out and then I’d get all of these guys offering their services yet hadn’t listened to the music. Those are the guys that are on the corporate side of Nashville – a huge part of Nashville – and we are on the other side of it. The music scene – outside of the industry – is really budding. It’s getting better I think.
You guys have toured the Midwest and the east coast. What was the strangest show that you’ve ever done?
I don’t know about the strangest show but the strangest venue was ASBURY LANES in New Jersey. It’s a bowling alley with a stage in the middle – a kind of punk rock place – and that was great. The strangest place was this show in St. Louis. I can’t quite remember the name of the venue but it was so tiny that I couldn’t believe it. The guy who set up the show decided that he was going to set his band up that same day like six doors down and everyone in town knew him so we ended up playing to the bartender. As we played the bartender kept calling people on her cell phone held it in our direction and telling all of her friends to check us out. That was the strangest show but it was also one of the best. We never had so much fun playing to no one.
What songs off of the album stand out for you the most and why?
The ones that are from the heart or closer to me would be ‘PRAYERS’ and ‘LET’S ROLL’. ‘LET’S ROLL’ is about the passengers aboard Flight 93. Those passengers weren’t going to let that plane hit the White House and that was bad ass and heroic. It was purely American. ‘PRAYERS’ is about a soldier fighting his way past enemy lines. I’ve got two brothers in Special Forces and I’ve got one who is a Chief of the Coast Guard. Growing up on Military bases around the world you see what these guys do everyday and a lot of people don’t understand it because they are not around it. Those guys are heroes and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do if it wasn’t for them. It meant a lot for me to write those songs. We get really crazy reactions form those two songs no matter who we’re playing in front of.
For this forthcoming album, what kind of themes will you be exploring in your songs?
It’s pretty much the same stuff. Some songs are going to be stronger – in terms of content – than others. It’s gonna be straight ahead rock n roll infused with some blues and Irish sounds. Some songs are more Irish sounding than the next and some are going to be more bluesy than the next and some are just these powerful guitar riffs. We’re following the stuff that we grew up with and know the best.
What would you like someone to come away with after they’ve heard this CD?
Hopefully people are gunned up an excited by our sound. I hope that everyone –liberals, conservatives, hippies or whatever – will be able to listen to it and think it’s cool and not analyze everything to death but to just fucking rock.