Warmduscher's Clams Baker Jr: 'Everyone is all over the place, but somehow it all comes together and works'
- David Pollock
- 7 November 2019
Frontman of the London post-punk band chats about names, new music and working with your heroes
'What does 'Warmduscher' mean?' echoes the artist known as Clams Baker Jr, who fronts the band of the same name. 'It's an old German insult which my friends there used to call me – it's like calling someone a wimp or a punk, like they take warm showers. Which is funny, because the word looks so macho. In fact, a lot of people think it must mean something dirty.' It's a name which represents the music they make, as most recently heard on this year's third album Tainted Lunch; dirty, macho Southern-style rock (Alabama 3 would be a good comparison), with a soulful, soft-centred heart.
Warmduscher are Clams' (Craig Higgins Jr) thing, although he used to share the band with Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family. Clams is originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but he's been in London for eleven years; Adamczewski was a fan of his previous group Black Daniel, and when his invite for them to play a 2014 New Year's party didn't come fast enough to beat the band's split, Clams and various Fat Whites members instead played an improvised set, giving birth to the earliest prototype version of Warmduscher.
After 2015's Khaki Tears and 2018's Whale City, Adamczewski left. 'He hates touring, for one, and he was also working hard with Fat White Family and Insecure Men,' says Clams. 'He had an epiphany, I guess, we had an argument, and he was honest that he couldn't do it anymore. We're all friends though, it's fine.' Keeping the connection to the south London scene going, Adamczewski's replacement was the Fat Whites' Adam J Harmer, while Clams and Warmduscher's Quinn Whalley (aka the Whiskerer) are also part of Sworn Virgin and the electronic group Paranoid London.
Recorded by producer Dan Carey, the new album was essentially a live recording, with each side made in a day, with a couple of days for subsequent overdubs. The album strays through garage rock, funk and disco; Clams, a smalltown boy, says he was 'a cassette boy' who grew up being taken to gigs by artists like James Brown in his youth. His influences range from Butthole Surfers to Parliament to gangsta rap to noise electronica, and two personal heroes appear on this album.
'It's just asking, man!' he says of how he got Iggy Pop and Kool Keith to guest. 'Iggy was playing us all the time on his 6 Music show, and I thought it would be amazing to get him to record an intro for us – so I asked his manager, wrote the words for him, and he did it over the phone. Kool Keith I had spoken to years ago, and he was up for doing it, but I couldn't afford him. I asked again this time and he was down for it, he's even doing a video for us! It's how this band works anyway, because everyone is all over the place, but somehow it all comes together and works.'
Warmduscher play alongside artists including Songhoy Blues, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) and the Pastels at the Great Western Festival, which takes place around various venues, Glasgow, Sat 23 Nov.
The Great Western
Multi-venue arts and music festival, showcasing a range of local and international talent across venues in Glasgow's West End.