(This interview is between Edward Dinsley and The Bad Larrys)
[E] Your debut album, "Hodads" sounds amazing! How did you hook up with Pete Lyman?
Davis: Pete Lyman was actually recommended by Chris Karn, a friend of my who is also my sales rep at Vintage King in LA. I had been working on this weird little instrumental project in my attic called “The Ivory Moans” at the time and really wanted to put something out independently that sounded great. It kinda had this blacksploitation/spy feel to it. This was years ago and the first time I had worked with Pete. We have continued working together for anything I put out.
[E] You have a very distinctive sound. The surf element definitely gives you an edge. Why surf?
Davis: Well I think everybody in the band had this love for western music, whether it be heavy psych nuggets, spaghetti western zingers, or just straight up garage rock. A lot of that shares surf rhythms and vibe overall if you pick it apart. It just oozes cool and vibes really well between all of us musically.
Jaret: I think it was the original idea, to play mostly surf stuff, when I had walked into the band. I had a bunch of more psych-garage sounding riffs or progressions and they all worked together really nicely and naturally. Now, if we’re not playing surf, the tones are still there and that is where all the vibe hangs on. Spring reverb and light echo with Fender guitars with whammy bars is all edge.
[E] There is a voice mail clip at the start of "Bottom of the Bag"-who is that? Where is it from?
Davis: That’s actually a friend of my brother, Adam, named Albert. Albert got drunk and wouldn’t leave the bar so Adam left him there and went all the way back to Delaware without him. Adam’s phone died and when he woke up his friend had called him crying and begging for a ride. We thought it was hilarious and a good Philly reference, but the song is also about friends you have to babysit while drunk.
Jaret: Damn, I thought that was Adam the whole time! Sounds like Dave locked him out haha.
[E] What is the local music scene like in Philly? Who are your favorite bands to play with?
Davis: The local scene is has a lot of industrial music, psych and garage music, there’s also a lot of alternative and post punk sorts of bands too. The thing that Philly always has had in spades are killer jazz, hip hop, and RnB bands, although that’s not necessarily our “scene”, it’d be ill representation of Philadelphia not to give those bands a big nod because those musicians are killer.
Well most the bands we have played with in Philly we honestly haven’t gotten the chance to play with again. Half the band just moved to Philly and we rehearse and record out here, but we all just started playing venues in Philly together last year so we’re pretty new.
Jaret: Lot’s of cool dude bands but mostly everyone we’ve met has been warm and receptive to our shit. Matt Kelly rules, always tons of fun to play with that dude and his rotating lineup. Tough Shits are the shit.
[E] Who are your main influences individually and as a band?
Davis: I really like the pulpy, greasy, and extremely edgy rock and roll bands/performers: Chuck Berry, Link Wray, The Sonics, Bo Diddly, Howlin Wolf, The Cramps, Personal And the Pizzas, Shannon and the Clams, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Elmore James, Roy Orbison to name a few. Y’know, rockin music either from or inspired by the mid to late 50’s/early 60s? Compilation albums are also huge for me too along with a lot of punk and proto punk lately. I could sit and name hundreds of artists, but I won’t. They’re my little secrets. I also love reading a lot of cultish mystery/horror and beatnik novels and watching Netflix and b movies alike. Traditional tattoo art and flash paintings have a huge influence on my aesthetics also.
Jaret: The band’s influence is definitely a good, harmonious blend of all of our tastes. I’m into a whole wacky slew of shit but all of my influence from this band comes from King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and especially FUZZ, CFM, and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. Ballsy guitars and fast pacing.
[E] Did you record live off the floor in the studio?
Davis: Yeah, we used very minimal overdubs some vocals and guitar solos here and there. The main thing we needed overdubs for was aux percussion.
[E] How do you get your sound? What kind of gear do you use?
Davis: I would say it’s a healthy combination of using mostly analog signal paths before we get into the computer. I work at a studio in Philly called Drowning Fish where I have a ton of analog gear dating back to the forties, and a four track ampex that we had restored that was supposedly Kieth Richards’. I also use mostly vintage microphones and amps. I think the main thing that gives us our sound is taking risks while recording live and committing to decisions that cannot be undone. Like sure, smash this snare through an old compressor on the way in, fuck it. We usually take a Memphis approach of bringing things into the red.
Jaret: The guitars are my old Jaguar, and Sean’s American Strat through a ‘69 Fender Bandmaster Reverb, a ‘69 Super Reverb, a ‘66 Dual Showman with 2x15s, an old Roland Space Echo, and a ‘66 Fender Reverb Unit. Not too many pedals for the album, all the fuzz was a Death by Audio Fuzz War, a bit of Boss Blues Driver/OCD boost and amps all pushing past breakup. I think we used one of Davis’ old Gretsch’s for the right channel guitar in Deep Space Radio?
[E] We have lots of waves up here on Vancouver Island. Any tour plans as of yet?
Davis: We’re all trying to work it out scheduling wise, if we were able to get signed and get some more support we’d probably be touring more and sooner. That said we do have a lot of regional east coast dates, but working things out independently just takes a little extra time. I actually have a friend in Vancouver who wants us to make it out there, Vancouver to San Diego LETS DO IT! We all want to quit our jobs so....
[E] A 7 inch with select tracks would be a welcome release. Are you planning to make any vinyl pressings in this format or otherwise?
THE ENTIRE BAND: We do have 100 tapes on the way from Wiener Records!! Vinyl is super expensive, so we’re looking for somebody who wants to support us before we make that plunge. The whole band reallllllly wants to get this pressed so talk to us!
The Bad Larrys