On the eve of their debut UK Tour, TrashPit caught up with Tory, lead singer and guitarist for US band The Black Mollys - a power pop hybrid of everything that is good about bands such as American Hi Fi, Everclear and Lit. TrashPit is in big guitar, hook laden heaven!!
Can you give us over here in the UK a quick run down of the band's history such as how you guys hooked up (being from either side of the US) and what we can expect for the UK shows?
The band was started in LA and soon moved to Kansas City. I think LA is great place to visit but not to live and survive as a band. There may have been a time in the USA when you needed to be in LA, New York or a big city but that's over and there are places in the middle of the states that actually get excited to see bands and hear new music and they are way closer to each other also. LA is a wasteland for wanna-bes and has beens. I love the weather though, I'm sitting in Laguna Beach right now as I type this! The Black Mollys played some shows with Randi's band Supermint and we became fans of each others and the timing just worked out perfectly for us to hook up and play together. My goal in playing live has always been to entertain everyone there! No matter what it takes! People go out to have a drink and forget about the crappy job and bitchy girlfriend or boyfriend at home so it's our job to make sure they forget about that! I live for that hour or so we get to play, most of the time it makes it worth all the crap you go through to get the chance to play! So three guys that live and love to play music and make people smile for a minute is something to look forward to if you ask me!
The band has had several line-ups but has the vision and feel stayed essentially the same as it's your songs?
I think it's been great playing with different people, it keeps things fresh and exciting for me. I think everyone brings a little new life to the band and it's really cool not to just get stuck in the same old routine all the time, sometimes it's a little scary, like not having any rehearsal before a tour, which I'm sure Rob our UK bassist knows all about, but I've been really lucky with the guys I've played with and that they are all amazing players....so far! haha
Your biog hits things right on the nail by mentioning you have great timeless hooks but there's a great modern day feel there too. Are you always watchful of what's happening around you or do you think if you do something with passion and have the ability to write big choruses then it's gonna sound relevant and viable?
I love to listen to a lot of new music! Obviously my favourite stuff is fun, big, catchy stuff but I've got to a place where I'm just writing what I want and hopefully that comes through when people listen. Without a label trying to shape us into some crap that they think somebody wants to hear it's a lot easier to do what you want and if people get it then it seems a lot more real to me.
I would have thought the band's sound was custom made for US Radio - have you had much luck or is it such a huge monster to crack?
The downfall of not having a major label deal is radio is pretty much told what to play by consultants that are obviously paid to play the crap they suggest. The radio here in the states is a fucking mess! I couldn't agree more and I know our fans call the stations to request it a lot and get told they cant play it. We've played big shows where DJ's tell us they wish they could play us but can't! It's Clear (Channel!!) to me that it's a big monopoly and very few Indie bands get any help from commercial radio. We even have friends that work for stations and can't get anything done!
How did you hook up with Michael Wagener to work on the new CD? How much of an effect did his input have?
What a dream come true for me! We have a mutual friend in Chandler Limited (high end studio gear) founder Wade Goeke. I met Michael in San Fransisco and he
offered to mix a couple of songs as a favor to Wade. We went to Nashville the next week with the whole CD already recorded and he started mixing and really
liked the songs and said, "Hey if you have any more stuff I would love to mix it!" I had the hard drive right there and said, "Here's a whole CD!" so that was really cool. When I wrote all the stuff for this CD I was thinking I really wanted a big arena rock sound and who could I have gotten that would have been better for that vision?!
You've toured with some great names in the past - any cool stories or artists that you hit it off with well?
Just a couple of months ago we toured with Winger and I had a cold and was having some problems with my voice. Kip Winger came on our bus and gave me a bunch of tea and asked what time we played that night and said he would come to the club early to give me a vocal lesson so I could save my voice even with a cold. I didn't think he would actually show up that night, but he did. He walked in the back door and grabbed me and started showing me all these crazy vocal exercises very loudly - I'm pretty sure everyone backstage seeing this thought we were both insane!!! ha ha, but I thought that was really cool of him - thanks Kip! Before we did that tour some people kind of laughed about touring with Winger but they could not be a cooler bunch of guys and for sure are all monster players that play so good every night it's insane. Great band, great guys.
Which bands do you both enjoy listening to today?
I love The Backyard Babies! One of my all time fave bands. There's so many though, I just got The Fratellis CD and that's great. Rob and I were talking about Damone, they are amazing too. The Beatles are my all time fave band though so I probably listen to them on a daily basis. Very different but I've been listening to Rufus Wainwright a lot lately too - such a cool voice.
Randi has toured the UK before but what are you expecting from the upcoming trip and what would you like to see or do?
From what I get from Randi he enjoyed most of his time there, I have a large list of must do things! I've never seen a castle, that would be cool. Going to Abbey Road and having a pint with our friends that work there will be great! I just want to lay down in Studio Two and soak that in for a while! I have heard of a wonderful place called Ye Old Axe that I should probably check out! If we have time Liverpool would be amazing or Air Studios in London. So much cool music history I don't know where to start!
How do crowds differ across the US? Particularly places like Hollywood compared to smaller areas?
I touched on this a little earlier but the crowds in Hollywood are pretty much other band guys trying to promote a show they are paying to play! They wanna tell you about how they are the best band in Hollywood and blow every other band away... I'm like,"Dude, call me when you play outside of California and you find out you suck!"...ha, best band in Hollywood, that always makes me laugh. I dont blame people in LA for being jaded, you're bombarded with that shit all the time, every band can't be the best band in Hollywood! People in smaller towns appreciate seeing a good band since they aren't beaten about the head and shoulders with crap every night and you can actually get paid instead of crappy Promoters conning you into paying them to cover a lack of abilty to promote 100 bands a month.
Do you hope to get a UK release for the new album or are you pushing people towards downloads, etc?
I think it's available in the UK through Plastichead Distro and of course you can get it at the shows along wih the awesome new UK tour shirts!
Anything else you wanna add...................
If you want to get away for a couple hours and be forced to smile and have fun come see The Black Mollys! Oh, and also check out Million Dollar Reload who are out on the road with us! I've been listening to that CD a lot and it's just great rawk and roll! I know they're gonna kick ass and I look forward to watching them a lot in the next month in both the UK and the USA!
The Black Mollys are on tour in the UK from May 25th until June 5th, 2008.