So, getting back to the music for a second. ‘Resurrect’, off the first album (Transmaniacon, 2004). I do love that song, and it hit me as the RTX version of ‘Rocket Queen’, because it finishes this great album, and it’s an epic!
I don’t know what to say. That’s a good thing to take away from it.
In fact, I think the reason why I thought of talking about it is because the solo in that song reminds me of C.C. Deville. A lot. Which is great, because he’s one of my favourite solo dudes.
Yeah, actually Brian met C.C. Deville not too long ago, at the Rainbow Room. He was there with his girlfriend. I don’t know, for some reason, and he met C.C. Deville. He was stoked.
That is brilliant. Because I do have this romantic image of L.A. in the eighties. Because I was only born in 1980, so I can distance myself from what must have had good and bad points at the time. But the whole Rainbow Room thing, that whole era, I just think is brilliant.
I wasn’t there either. It’s before my time, out here, but I felt as a teenager growing up… there’s just so much imagery, and the songs are so huge, and they were just all over the radio. It was it; that was rock. Big radio, and all the pictures… magazines. I used to tear out pictures, you know, put them all over the wall. It felt – what you’re saying – it felt cool as shit.
And it was so emotional as well. A lot of the current emo stuff is totally biting that sound, it’s just a bit less sexy.
Yeah, it’s not sexy at all. It’s kinda timid in a way, it’s a little too tame. Those dudes, no matter what kind of voice they have… whether it be like Axl Rose, or Bret Michaels, Ronnie James Dio… all those dudes just had voices that could just push, push, like push you up above the fuckin’ stars, sky high. It was just so insane. But emo, it’s like nobody even tries. It’s not about how well you execute, it’s the emotion behind it, and just try. If that’s what you’re feeling, you need to push. And I don’t care if you sound as good as Ronnie James Dio or Axl Rose, just let me hear you give something.
So what do you reckon to people like Andrew W.K.? Because I like the dude, and he doesn’t have a great voice, but he’s going for it.
I love Andrew. Andrew’s an old friend of mine.
Yeah, before I moved out here, I was out here with him when he was recording his very first record. Andrew’s a special dude, he’s a freak. Freak, freak, freak. Stone cold freak. In a good way. That’s what he is, he’s great. He does what he does, and he doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a shit.
And that’s why he’s so cool. Because I remember when I first got I Get Wet (his full-length debut, 2001). I first read about it in The Face. And I was, like, ‘why am I first hearing about this metal dude in The Face, there must be something wrong’.
Something’s gone wrong, yeah!
And it rocked so much! And I just thought ‘this is fantastic!’
Yep, it rocks. Totally. And he’s such a great… just a great composer.
And he’s insanely enthusiastic as well…
Yeah, well that occasionally… I swear to God, it’s like ‘down, boy’. Occasionally I’m like ‘God damn it’. But it’s great. It’s him. It’s who he is.
Cool. Because I heard this song, it was him doing a song about Wolf Eyes. I think it was called ‘What Kind of Band’, and I started of with him shouting ‘WOLF EYES RULE’, and then it started. And I thought ‘that sums him up’, really. Because it’s innocent, and it’s brilliant at the same time.
Yeah, yeah. He’s… he’s… yeah. Yes. I agree with all of that. I don’t know what to say, I totally agree with you. I’m a huge fan. He’s a good guy.
I kind of got the same feeling when I heard Transmaniacon as well. And it took me a while to realise the Blue Öyster Cult reference.
Well it was definitely a reference, but it was also just… when the record first came out, I did interviews and people were all ‘Trans.. maniac. Trans… maniac-on’, and they were like ‘is that the devil’s skulls? Are you a maniac?’ and these types of things, and I was all like ‘it’s not what the word means, it’s how you say it’. And it really got jammed up at first. And just saying the word ‘transmaniacon’ (pronounced trans-man-I-acon), and it’s just such a badass word, transmaniacon. But ‘trans-mania-con’ is such a gay word. So I was, like, oh god, now I’ve fucked that one up too! So I got ‘Rat-X’ instead of ‘Ratz’, I got ‘trans-mania-con’… I don’t know. But it all comes out in the wash. There’s just so much going on in the world anyway, you don’t have enough time to figure out how to say a word. It’s okay.
That is one thing I did pronounce straight away, so I’m quite pleased with myself about that. Anyway, I’ve been on this big run of getting seventies and eighties records in, and I only got a record player about a year ago, so I thought I’d get some Blue Öyster Cult, and that’s when it clicked. Because I just thought you came up with the word.
No, it was also a book. It was a science fiction book. I forget who wrote it.* I have it somewhere. It’s not a great book, but…
…But it’s got a good name.
Yeah. Its got a great name.
Is there anything you particularly want to say to the people in England?
Just don’t be afraid of guitars, you know? I don’t know, it’s been a while since I’ve been over there, but rock ’n’ roll has gotta have guitars, dude.
English people are very apologetic. When they talk about British rock bands, and they say Oasis was the best, I think ‘Oasis?!’ Every American band rocks more than them!
You know what? I gotta tell you a funny thing. Oasis opened up for Royal Trux on their first American tour. They opened up for us in Virginia Beach (laughs). I remember I was like ‘this band is gonna be fucking huge’, I just remember thinking that. And it just kind of encapsulated a real pop sensibility. You know, what people love about British rock ‘n’ roll. It’s pop. It’s different. I don’t know, I love pop music, but I love rock music. And we play rock music. but I would like the rock music to become popular!
Definitely. Because there are loads of cool American band out there. I don’t know if you’ve heard Captain Ahab. They’re a duo, and they did an album a couple of years ago, that I think they call ‘ravesploitation’, so it’s like their take on rave. But you can tell it; a couple of metal dudes, because the energy’s there from metal, and the dynamics. I think they got famous in America because they had a song on Snakes on a Plane. They did the song for that.
I like that movie. I’m gonna check that out, definitely.
And they were on The Office. I don’t know if you watch that…
Yeah, I love The Office.
Well Michael Scott was having a party on his own, and he played this song called ‘Girls Gone Wild’. It’s a bit of a small reference, but that was Captain Ahab.
Okay, I wanna find that. I wanna check it out. Captain Ahab, I’m gonna look that up, it sounds good.
There are bands that really excite me at this moment in time, for different reasons, but totally. Because you’ve got you, Andrew W.K., Wolf Eyes, Captain Ahab, and it’s all different stuff, but it’s all brilliant. And it doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out there right now.
That’s great, I love that. I’m glad we could do that, like, give you something like that. It’s never a conscious decision, like, ‘we can’t sound like anything else’. We love so much different music, and we use all of it when we’re playing. I guess it’s just the chemistry that makes it so it doesn’t sound like anything else. And it means we’re doing a good job of being a band. Not just as songwriters, we have the chemistry of a band on record, which is really important. It; not just good songs, it’s special chemistry.
And it’s your own sound, which is great. Because I have this problem with bands that are just retro, whereas you get this sound from the past, but you make it so modern at the same time. And that’s why it works, for me anyway.
I would hope it does. A lot of people maybe just dismiss it because they hear one sound, or something that reminds them of something from the past and all of a sudden it becomes retro to them. But there’s nothing retro about RTX. The only thing that’s retro about RTX is just the fact that our influences are far and wide and many and diverse and these types of things. And the influences are most definitely things that have come before us. They certainly couldn’t have come from the future.
I don’t know what goes on. I have been really, really indulging this stuff that I grew up with and jut loving, and just like ‘fuck yeah!’ I remember being on the bus, on the way to school with my Walkman on, and just fucking listening to Mötley Crüe and being like ‘FUCK!’ And then on the weekday you’d go see a Bad Brains show, ‘cause they’re fucking great too. Just going back and listening to a lot of the stuff that gave me a lot of fucking energy, growing up. There’s tons of other stuff, but that was just the real mainstream stuff that was going on at the time, that you couldn’t avoid. It was just everywhere, and it just was great.
I think there’s a bit of a gap nowadays, because you’ve got bands who are really heavy, like Converge, and then you’ve got bands who want to be popular, who sound very MTV. So you don’t really get anybody between those poles, who rock, but don’t sound like grindcore or death metal.
It’s something that goes on with RTX that’s kinda gone on my whole musical life, where we definitely have some things in common with that, but we’re not like them, and we always have a hard time pairing up with bands on tours. Because of the fact that we stand alone, but we’re also part of all the best gangs too. We’re part of all the best gangs, but we haven’t drawn blood for any one particular gang, you know what I mean?
I think that sums it up really, because I remember when I first read about Royal Trux, and this will have been quite late on. It’ll have been about ’96, ’97, when I started buying Kerrang! and things like that. And I just thought ‘that is the coolest-looking band’. And now,I get your albums and I think ‘this is still the coolest-looking band’. And even though there’s only one person from Royal Trux in RTX, and it’s just a lot of new people, I still think ‘goddamn! Very cool’.
Yeah. We are. We’re pretty fucking cool. (laughs) I love it, that’s all I can say.
Thank you very much for your time.
No, thanks for all the great questions and the great references, it was great.
* It was apparently John Shirley.