Exposure: The Elvis Suicide
- Ryan Drever
- 25 August 2009
The Elvis Suicide - Laura Was Right
The Elvis Suicide are a Glaswegian trio, mixing the balls-out swagger of old school rock 'n' roll with the raw intensity and power-chord prowess of punk to bring about a whirlwind of blistering energy that would make any of those genre's fallen heroes proud. It clearly doesn't sound obviously Glaswegian, but the band don't sound like a covers band either, with their furiously paced rock jams wearing their own heart - and no doubt booze, blood and spit - on their sleeves.
Having recently generated positive feedback with the release of seven-track EP Sweethearts, and even more recently chucking most of the line-up in favour of members sporting ridiculous stage names, it's anyone's guess where they'll go from here. But, if by this point you're salivating at the thought, here's a few words from guitarist/vocalist, Chris Devotion to keep you going in the meantime.
How did you first start writing and performing?
As soon as I was able to pick out Nirvana songs on my old acoustic guitar when i was around 15, I realised that the magic in those songs were not directly related to 'technical' ability on guitar, so I thought I would have a go. Of course, those first songs were rubbish, but they seemed to be better than my friends' attempts at the same time, as at least they had melody and structure.
Had you been in bands before?
I used to be a guitar player in a band, but we broke up because I went to a festival with the singer. The reformed Pixies were playing, and he didn't go and see them. You can't be in a band with someone who won't see the Pixies - it's a deal breaker - so I thought "I'd better form a new band", and after auditioning loads of rubbish 'rawk' singers I ended up fronting the band as well.
I understand there have been some recent line-up changes. Why the need for a change? How did the new line-up come together?
For a variety of reasons the previous line up could not commit to the band fully, so they had to go. No hard feelings, but I wouldn't waste their time and most importantly waste the time of anyone who comes to see my band. The new guys had been to see The Elvis Suicide before and I knew them socially. As soon as I announced I was looking for people they called straight away. Once I got them in a rehearsal room it took about five minutes to realise that they were the guys. The School of Science (bass) is a mix of Paul McCartney and Hooky - which is alright by me. While Go-Go Pop (drums) is a real heavy hitter, and a natural musician. I always subscribe to the view that the drummer has to be the best musician in a band and unlike most 'heavy' drummers, he can make it swing. That's why I'm so glad to have them on board. They understand 'rock' is nothing without the 'roll'.
What do you look for in a record or a performance?
Passion. So many records these days are over-produced. It's not technology's fault - because great records can be made in modern studios - but it's a seductive idea to be able to 'fix' things in the studio, but inevitably you reduce everything to a homogeneous mush. I feel you need to get the sound of the band and your love for the music across. It's the same with live performance, except you have to prove yourself every night If I play a good gig the night before, I enjoy it that night, but after that it's irrelevant. I see so many bands that turn up like they are doing you a favour, but if someone takes time out of their life and pays some of their hard-earned cash to see your band then it's your duty to give them the best show you possibly can.
What do you try to achieve in writing your music and playing shows?
I just try to write songs and play songs that I would want to hear, I love rock and roll, and I hate seeing self-indulgent bands.
What do you hope people with take from the live experience?
I hope they have a good time. While the songs do have subtleties and depth - sometimes - if people want to look for it, the most important thing is that they come away feeling better from seeing us.
Do you think the essence of rock 'n' roll or even punk is still alive today, or dreadfully diluted?
There are a lot of good bands out there, but, like all art you sometimes have to wade through a lot of crap to get to it. A lot of bands who purport to be punk or rock 'n'nroll, are just missing the point and rehashing the surface elements, while usually committing the cardinal sin for any band - to be forgettable.
We get called a punk band a lot and I love loud short songs. Two of my favourite bands are The Clash and Ramones, but it's funny because whenever we play a punk show they think we are too 'indie' and not 'punk' enough, and when we play on an indie bill we get told we are too punk. I prefer the term 'rock and roll band' as it doesn't have as narrow a connotation, but you know someone will always try and pigeonhole you, particularly in the Glasgow music scene. It seems here that your choice of image is either a fey art-school fop or a yobbish oik. Well I like football and art galleries, I can discuss politics and comic books and I like a whole lot of music, and I hope The Elvis Suicide represent all of that.
Is there anyone you'd love to work/share a stage with?
Wow...that's a long list and it will change every day but at the moment: James Murphy from LCD sound system (cause his records sound amazing), Steve Van Zandt from the E-street band, Euroboy from Turbonegro, Steve Albini (like pretty every other guitar band) and I assume every singer dreams of hearing Emmylou Harris harmonise with them and I am no different.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Play shows, kick ass, take names
Name one track of yours that you feel sums you up
'Laura Was Right', from our EP Sweethearts. I love old 50's songs that are innocent on the surface but are actually about sex, so I thought that I would write a song that sounds like it's about something dirty but is actually innocent. 'Laura Was Right' is really about me reading an article about music and agreeing with it.
The Elvis Suicide play the 13th Note in Glasgow on Sep 24 w/ Le Reno Amps