If you thought last week was it for the live music insanity in Cleveland, I have some news for you ... it goes on. Tomorrow has Akron/Family at the Rock Hall (for FREE), Thursday sees The Walkmen at the Beachland, Friday sees great shows just about everywhere in town, and Saturday brings us the hardest rocking line-up of the week: Austin's Lions with openers The Hot Rails.
Most folks here in town know Lions because of the inclusion of one of their tracks ("Metal Heavy Lady") on Guitar Hero 3, and a few more might recollect some previous appearances that have gone down in local rock lore. For those that don't yet know the band, think of a continuum from Alice Cooper to Black Mountain, with Lions clearly more similar to the former. Lead vocalist Matt Drenik recently took a few moments to answer my now-familiar questionnaire, which I've posted below. Check them out - Matt's got some of the best answers to these questions I've seen yet!
1) What are your influences on the forthcoming album, and how is it different from No Generation? In particular, I'm interested in sources of inspiration other than other bands/musicians? I mean, is there a certain type of art or artist, idea, spirit, etc.
When No Generation was being made and came out, we are a band without a real identity. I think we felt as if we came from some underground generation that had been lost. All of a sudden the world changed. Everything became power and money (maybe it always was) and young bands rose up and frankly we thought that nobody was saying anything relevant to us. Nobody was speaking to us or for us. MTV died. Real World and reality TV owned. Indie rock (whatever that means) was dialed in and nobody was really listening to anything that had power or real spirit. And so we wrote about that. We wanted soul. We thought that people deserved that out of the bands that they go to see. We wanted to define something, but in the end, there was nothing to be defined.
The new record takes shape in a much more defined place. The spirit of the band is more open and free. We spent 8 months together in a small rehearsal room in South Austin writing song after song. We're no longer concerned with the lack of spirit or depth in modern rock n roll. It is what it is. We're an undefined band that feels like we can do whatever we want to do. We're self-sustained. We're blood to each other. When you tour so much you start to lose things back home. Friends disappear, jobs disappear, and eventually your old reality disappears. You're left with the guys in the van, the sweat and soul of a band, and the idea of something bigger and better. You start to believe in that because there is nothing else to believe in. I feel that this new record expresses that feeling.
2) How has your inclusion on Guitar Hero changed things for the band?
It's a video game. Kids love it and of course it turned them on to the band. But eventually the buzz wears off and you have to continue to prove yourself to a generation of people that so quickly forget. They debate how easy our song is online. It rules. I love how opinionated people are of a song that we recorded above a bar in South Austin with a budget of $100. Metal Heavy Lady. I have to post the lyrics because kids keep fucking them up when they post them.
3) If you were asked by a younger musician about to embark on his/her first tour, what advice would you give him/her?
Patience. It takes years to truly matter. And forget Ego. You can be better. No matter what anyone says. There's always a band better than you. There's always going to be a better song than yours. Get some soul, get in the van, and get your audience. The world doesn't need another quick shot band like Panic at the Disco. You probably won't make a lot of money at first. Just enjoy being away, seeing the country, meeting people, getting drunk and not having to stick around the next day (you've got a show somewhere else!) .. All those kids you went to high school with have real jobs and real problems. Your biggest problem that day might be figuring out how to get to the van by noon for call. Learn how to fix your van. Lower your expectations. Play like a motherfucker.
4) Any pre- or post-show rituals you have found yourselves following over the years?
It's a place of art, can do no wrong, crank it up, fuck my song. nice and easy.
5) Any favorite artists/songs out there you'd love to cover, but just haven't done it yet?
Joy Division. There's been some brief discussion of covering something off synchronicity.
6) Last but not least, any memorable Cleveland experiences?
Um, hotel party at Holiday Inn after a beachland show. Hot Rails were there. Ken threw beer on everyone. Madness ensued. Do the math.
Be sure to check out Lions at the Beachland Tavern on Saturday, July 25. The show starts around 9, with opening duties going to local heroes The Hot Rails.
2 years ago