This weekend there are several options out there for your musical entertainment. If you feel like getting out of midtown on Friday night (September 16) and heading into the University of Memphis area, one of your options is at The Daily Planet (3439 Park Ave.) where the Sin City Scoundrels, The Gloryholes, and Snagglepus will be playing. I e-mailed the Sin City Scoundrels a few questions, that their band members, Robbie House-vocals, guitar; Jon Fayette-bass, vocals, and Chris Hart-drums,vocals, all answered collaboratively.
MRC: How did the three of you come together to play as a band?
SSS: Back in October ’09, my former lead vocalist and I were looking for a drummer to join us for the short-term goal of playing a Halloween double kegger in Cooper-Young, and the long-term goal of playing in a psychobilly band. I ran into Chris and remembered him from the Rally Point (a now-defunct bar off of the highland strip, which was a favorite of ours), and he was game for giving it a shot. The vocalist didn’t stick around though, and the upright bassist he had brought in left with him. Chris and I were left standing. I was pushed into singing and playing rhythm guitar, and we also found a new bassist, as well as a lead guitarist.
After a few shows, we needed another line-up change. In particular, a new bass player that knew how to play bass. Enter Electric Jesus. Jon was already in an improvisational grindcore band with Chris that was slowly falling apart. With Jon in tow, we eventually phased out the lead guitarist as well, paring it down to the three hardcore and dedicated. Been going strong with this line-up since February 2010.
MRC: You guys tend to play a lot of shows at a lot of different types of venues. Do you have a venue you prefer and what is it that you like about that venue?
SSS: In the words of my drummer, we’re shameless whores. Playing a lot of different types of venues maximizes our range of experience and tightness as a band, and minimizes the likelihood of a particular crowd getting sick of us. Our favorite venue would vary depending on which band member you asked and when.
The Buccaneer is one of our favorite dive bars. Great staff, decent PA. Plug and go. The Daily Planet, formerly Reedmeister’s, is a far cry from what it used to be. Great new owner who’s done an awesome job renovating the building. It’s the place to go in the campus area if you want to get away from the frats. Loved playing the music room at Neil’s before the place was burnt to a crisp. Richard’s a great sound guy. Martin, who runs sound at Minglewood, gets my vote for best live sound engineer in Memphis. Gotta promote hard to get a crowd in there though if you’re a local or regional band. The Frame is a new house venue that we love because we have our most raucous, visceral shows there. And it’s all-ages. Jon doesn’t care where we play though. They’re just buildings to him.
MRC:Your music tends to float between many different genres. What is the songwriting process like for the Sin City Scoundrels? Are the differing genres due to different tastes in music from the band members?
SSS: Good question. We try to treat each song as its own individual entity, and we all like to experiment with new songwriting methods all the time. We would get bored if we had a single formula. Most of the earlier songs were the brainchild of an individual band member. Some of the newer songs are written out of our improvisational jams at practice. Some songs are written out of a desire to mix two or three genres or subgenres together, just to see what the results are. No matter who wrote what, we’re very egalatarian, and each band member contributes to each song in some way. We all have different specialties. Chris and I are prolific lyricists; Jon and I write the music, riffs, and sometimes co-write lyrics; and Jon and Chris come up with new rhythms and grooves all the time. And yes, we do have different influences and somewhat different tastes.
Jon is influenced by newer and Japanese artists, like the Pillows. He also likes Queens of the Stone Age and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And he loves some indie as well, like the Silversun Pickups.
Chris loves Grindcore and New Orleans Jazz. Somewhere between Stormtroopers of Death and Trombone Shorty.
I favor great songwriters over great singers and love musicians who break the mold. Prince, Frank Zappa, the Cramps, Django Reinhardt, etc. But I still love the hellfire of Jerry Lee Lewis. Chris and I are prolific lyricists; Jon and I write music, riffs, and sometimes co-write lyrics; and Jon and Chris come up with new rhythms all the time. We all have different specialties, but can easily bridge them.
MRC: You guys have recorded. Tell us a little bit about the record and when it is coming out?
SSS: We recorded it at Young Avenue Sound back in December 2010. We knocked out 16 songs in 8 hours because we decided it would capture our energy and stage show most accurately if we did a live-in-the-studio type of record. i.e.-Surfer Rosa by the Pixies. It’s been in the mixing process since, but the album’s almost finished. It’s gonna be called Huge in Japan. 10 to 12 of the 16 we recorded will be released on it. It should be available online and at our shows before the end of this year.
MRC: What can Memphis expect from the Sin City Scoundrels in the coming year?
SSS: To see a little less of us. We’ll be out on the road a lot more often, but we’ll still be playing our favorite spots in Memphis. Also expect things to get weirder musically. Also we’ll be offering a variety of merchandise in the next year. We’ve already brought in origami and pictures of our genitalia (any ladies interested in our junk, please e-mail us). But we’ll have shirts and albums out on the merch table soon for sure. And maybe even Scoundrels shotglasses. No matter what your vice is, we’ve got something for you.
The show starts at 10:00pm with a $5 cover. 18 and up.