Q&A w/ Lindsay bass player in Thick Shakes
Q: How did Thick Shakes form? What musical projects were you folks in before starting this project?
A: We are all a bunch of amateurs when it comes to band stuff, save for Tim, who played bass for the Specific Heats a few years back. This is my first band, ever. I was teaching myself to play bass in my bedroom, but was getting bored with that and dying to play with others. As a show goer and occasional organizer, I had a few failed attempts at starting a band with other people (I played bass for one night in Royalty in Exile, onstage forgetting everything I’d practiced during the one week I’d known about the show) – finally my “oh, let me just do it myself” mentality kicked in. Tim and I have been dating since 2006 – we decided we could at least count on each other, so we set out trying to find a drummer, with me playing some crude bass lines and Tim trying out guitar. The trick was trying to find someone who was committed enough to practice regularly, but was patient enough to put up with us learning to play. After burning through two drummers (one too experienced, the other not enough), we found ourselves facing a show booked a month away, with our material half-baked and no one to drum. But immediately, my best friend, Matt, who had only played in his high school marching band, told me he was in – we didn’t miss one practice, he clicked immediately, and with six panicked nights of practice a week for the month leading up to it, we played that first show in June.
Q: You just released your debut EP Ooh Mommy, tell us about the process of creating and distributing the record.
A: We did the whole thing in a weekend, and it was a ball. Jerry MacDonald recorded us at the Shop in Weymouth, he is a good friend of ours who understands our tastes. We showed up to his studio and he pulled out a box of homemade telephone mics. He had a way of making us sound like I hoped we sound but wasn’t sure, and brought out new things too. He gets a kind of sadistic grin on his face when figuring out how to coax things into even fuzzier and messier places. Some people warned us that recording is a grueling process that will make us hate our music and each other, but I suspect I might have found a loophole in doing this with my boyfriend and best friend. No drama, just pizza.
As for distribution, it’s streaming online at thickshakes.net, and we’re putting up a download soon. Our friends started a label in Texas called Snugglehound Records, and they are putting out the eight songs on cassette; later in the spring, they’re also putting out a 7” with three of the songs.
Q: What is the most flattering/unflattering musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?
A: People have been pretty kind, and we are honest in our ambitions. I think we’re more interested in talking to your hips than your head. Two people told us we sound like Thee Headcoats, and we revere Billy Childish, so that was a great compliment. We’ve also heard the Sonics, and I’ll take that too, though we’re just a trio. Two people said early Who, so that was cool. We’re just too new to have gotten bad reviews and we haven’t tricked anyone who likes fancy music into listening to us.
Q: Your sound is rooted in mid 60’s garage and r&b, at what point did you first start listening to music from this era? and what are some lesser known bands from that era that you are inspired by?
A: Tim says his tastes for that stuff happened around college while playing with the Heats, but he grew up listening to the Box Tops with his dad in the car, so this stuff goes way back, and I’d agree. When your parents grew up with those influences, it’s hard to not absorb them as well, unless the opposite happens and you revolt. The three of us listen to the Nuggets comps to death; we cover Cuby & the Blizzards from the British collection, which is the first song I ever learned to sing and play at once. It’s stuff like the chunky, fuzzy leads from The Downliners Sect or this great song by Wimple Witch called “Save My Soul” that I’m thinking of when I write.
We love the Monks; our record shelf is full of the Grassroots, New Colony Six, the Lovin’ Spoonful… Tim’s tastes are more psych/pop: the Millennium, the Free Design and the Great Society. Matt has been listening to a lot of old 50s and 60s records – I hear the Big Bopper and Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs every time I’m at his place. We also like a lot of the 80s/90s garage punk revivalist stuff, so the Mummies, the Oblivians. I think we started a band because we wanted to sound like the Coachwhips, and we don’t at all, but we love anything John Dwyer touches one way or another – Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees also.
Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?
A: I think of this every time we book a show ourselves, and this Saturday at PA’s, Tim’s birthday show, couldn’t be more on the mark in terms of bands we love in a place where we love to play. This is pretty much the email I sent to Tony when I pitched this show to him; I love the dim light and rec room feel. I first saw the Beat Awfuls play at PA’s maybe two or three years ago, and it really made me want to get my act together in terms of starting a band. I got to know Hands and Knees when I went to see what was one of their first ever shows with Hallelujah the Hills, and I liked them so much I asked them to play just about every show I organized after that. Spoilsport is a bunch of brilliant, multitalented people who play raunchy, surfy garage punk.
In terms of a show that does not already exist, the Black Clouds are savage; we played with them once and will again in April for Record Hospital Fest. We are probably easy listening compared to them, but my number one down-the-line wish list band is Tunnel of Love. If you gave me the Black Clouds, Tunnel of Love and then restored Zack to the Turpentine Brothers, that would be the jackpot.