AND THEIR DEBUT CD
& HIP ROCK'
MARCH 29, 2008
INTERVIEWS ALL CRAZY|
'SMACKED IN THE FACE'We live in a time where there is nothing to celebrate. The war in Iraq is now five years old, the country is knee deep in a recession that analysts say will only get worse, and a week ago, I was reading about this binary star that is about to supernova, and guess who is in the way of it's gamma ray blast? These are not the times to be shaking ones ass, but one listen to ALL CRAZY's debut CD 'SEX DRUGS & HIP-ROCK' will have you doing just that, with their blend of guitar driven rock n' roll with rap lyrics, the craziest bass lines and get this - violins!!! In an age where the world seems to be coming apart at a frightening rate, it is inspiring to see the members of ALL CRAZY come together and make it happen despite the fact that each of them comes from a different place, socially, racially, and musically. But then again, what else would you expect from a band based out of the 'City of Brotherly Love'? "Any clashes we may have (within the band) are mostly musical." assures violinist ADAM SERLIN (a.k.a. SKINNY) "We don't really have any cultural clashes. Our families are all very close now so we call everything the ALL CRAZY family; the fans, friends, the band. It's become a big movement where everyone is hanging out and having fun."
WILD BILL AND SKINNY FROM ALL CRAZY
TALK TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR CD 'SEX, DRUGS & HIP-HOP'
FINDING THEIR SOUND,
AND GETTING FOLKS TO TAKE THEIR SHIRTS OFF
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with singer/guitarist BILLY POUNDS (WILD BILL) and violinist ADAM SERLIN(SKINNY) of ALL CRAZY. Here is how it went.
How are things going?
WILD BILL: We're pretty busy.
SKINNY: We just played a show last night in Philly. Last Saturday, we were in New York City, and now we're getting ready to hit the studio to start working on our second album this Saturday.
How old is this album (SEX, DRUGS & HIP-ROCK) that I've got now?
WILD BILL: It's about a year old.
And you guys are already starting on the second one?
WILD BILL: Yeah, we're moving quick!
And you guys started out in 2005, right?
SKINNY: It might've been 2006, I believe.
WILD BILL: It sort of started out in 2005, and then we sort of had everything established in 2006.
So how did this league of extraordinary gentlemen come together? How did it all begin?
WILD BILL: The "league" started a long time ago.
SKINNY: Me and WILD BILL were playing music together since we were fifteen, and playing in the bars in Philly. We had another band that broke up when we were in college. I ended up down in North Carolina, and BILL, you can say how you met everyone up in Philly.
WILD BILL: We spent to years in depression, trying to find some band memebers. I went to the University here and I met some of the other guys in the band at a local studio and things just kind of clicked. We were open to doing something different,and here we are today.
SKINNY: Our other vocalist, BIG SOUP (KENNETH WORLEY) owns a barbershop and MARQUISE FORDHAM ("DIMES") was a jazz drummer that was on tour and had come back to Philly. He (MARQUISE) went and get his hair cut at the shop and they started talking and SOUP always dreamed about being in a band, and they were looking for musicians to link up with. So, it just kind of came together.
Explain the image that's on the front cover.
WILD BILL: Thats the 'mental hospital' dude.
SKINNY: That's our little mascot. A tattoo artist drew that for us.
WILD BILL: The guy is in a strait jacket, with the blood coming out. He's in a dark hallway somewhere. The image is a little dark, and there are some dark spots on the album, but the album is pretty-
SKINNY: It's an upbeat party album, but that guy is kind of lovable to us. He's a lovable cartoon chracter, and on the back of the album, you'll notice that he chewed his way out of the strait jacket.
WILD BILL: He escaped.
Well, I was looking at the inner flap of the CD and I figured that any band that has an LP of PARALLEL LINES was a band that I wanted to interview.
So BILL, how did things begin for you musically?
WILD BILL: I've been playing music for a long time. Since I was ten. I never took lessons, I just picked it up myself. As far as musical influences go, I've gotta put GUNS N' ROSES up there. They are one of my biggest influences. Vocally, SPRINGSTEEN is probably one of my biggest influences.
SKINNY: A man born to the wrong generation.
WILD BILL: Yeah, I was made for the 80's. But I was made in the eighties though.
Well, you missed out. How about you SKINNY?
SKINNY: Aw man! I started way back in the second grade. I went to a school where my teacher was a violin player. She made the entire class learn how to play the violin for a year. Gradually, all of my classmates dropped off, and I kept playing and by the time I was in high school, I was in all of these classical orchestras and I got pretty bored with it.
WILD BILL: Then he met me and he started rockin'.
SKINNY: Yeah, I got a little bored and then I got an electric violin and then I really started to love it - doing something different and taking it a little bit out of the box. I still use my classical training but I think I've wandered pretty far off the beaten path at this point in time.
With a band like ALL CRAZY, did you guys intentionally set out to do a 'rap-rock' thing or did that just happen naturally?
WILD BILL: It just happened. We definitely have a sound, but we don't try to go for anything like that. We weren't going for that rap-rock thing. It's just that we have a lot of rock elements and we have some natural hip-hop elements, from what people grew up with and the different backgrounds of the members of the band.
SKINNY: For some reason, it's the blend of people that's important to us. The five of us work well together as musicians, and then everyone is pretty open-minded and diverse. So, I don't think that we were intending to do the whole rap-rock thing. We all just met each other and it kind of happened.
How do people at your shows react to the music?
WILD BILL: I would have to say that the live shows are our biggest element. When you see us live, you can see the diversity in the crowd and there are people that listen to hip-hop primarily and there are people that listen to rock primarily and we just get the adrenaline pumping and we get everyone going crazy.
SKINNY: Our last show was at the BITTER END in New York and we always bring party buses with us on the road and it was the craziest combination. You have real inner city people dancing up on tables with real, suburban. dainty girls. Its just this crazy mix. Everyone is jumping around and taking their shirts off. Goodtimes!
WILD BILL: Everybody loves each other! We don't have any problems.
Tell me about the other bandmates. Who are they, and what do you feel that each of them brings to the table, musically,creatively, and personality-wise?
WILD BILL: GEOFF LYMAN (a.k.a. LIMBS) is the bass player. He is extremely solid. He's been playing for a long time and classically taught. He and our drummer MARQUISE play very well together.
SKINNY: MARQUISE is crazy. He's like ANIMAL from THE MUPPETS. He's just going crazy at shows, driving the energy. Our vocalist BIG SOUP is another guy who was always a Hip-Hop guy but for some reason always wanted to really be in a band. Now, he's taking full advantage of it. I'd say he's now, more of a vocalist. We turned him into a stage diving rock star. He's just a rock n roll character.
What all goes into writing songs for this band?
WILD BILL: A lot of times, SKINNY and I will try to come up with a melody and some sort of rhythm. We'll put it together and bring it to practice and everyone will build on it. The vocalist and I will work out different vocal patterns and SKINNY has a part in writing some of the lyrics.
SKINNY: It's a process by collaboration. By the end of practice a song turns into someting different. We write alot of our hooks together as a band.
How long did it take to make SEX DRUGS AND HIP-ROCK?
WILD BILL: A year.
SKINNY: A year in the studio.
On this album, are there any tracks that sort of stand out for you?
SKINNY: WRONG TIME is the song that we picked as our single because it showcases everything about the band. It's got these really big string arrangements, and a catchy modern rock hook that does have the hip-hop lyrics. The girls seem to really like that song and that pushes album sales.
WILD BILL: That's a good one! Then there's JUNGLE JUICE. People are drawn to that song. It's kind of a party song. The other one that we're proud of is the track called ONE SHOT. It's the last song on the album. In that one, we're talking about social problems in the inner city. It's a subject that's near and dear to us.
SKINNY: It strikes home with us because we work with juvenile delinquents in Philadelphia and some of the lyrics come directly from some of our experiences. The album as a whole is a fun, upbeat party album, but that song has more personal meaning to us.
You have this diverse group of people coming together to do this band. Are there ever any clashes?
WILD BILL: Not like you would probably think. We have some differences sometimes.
SKINNY: The clashes we have are mostly musical. We don't really have any cultural clashes. Our families are all very close now so we call everything the ALL CRAZY family; the fans, friends, the band. It's become a big movement where everyone is hanging out and having fun.
What would you like someone to come away with after hearing this CD, or going to see you live?
WILD BILL: After they see us live, I want them to feel like they were smacked in the face.
Geez that's mean!
WILD BILL: I don't want them to forget the live show.
SKINNY: Most albums have an overall arch or they'll take you from one place to another. The craziest thing about us is that because we have all of these influences, all of those things happen in one song. You'll have strings, and then all of a sudden there's hip-hop over it, there's rock in it, and guitar solos. I think every song on the album takes you on a completely different journey. I haven't heard many other bands do that right now. I think it's something that's really unique.
WILD BILL: We've gotten some criticism about the fact that there is a lot of diversity in what we do and how we dot it, but it comes together in a way where it has this pop sound to it.
SKINNY: So far, people have really been responding to it and there's been a lot of positive feedback so far.