If bands were able to have a sort of home court advantage, then the home court for The Angel Sluts would be Murphy’s. This Wednesday night (September 21), they will be playing there with Huntsville, Alabama’s Daikaiju, and Cincinnati, Ohio’s Ampline. The band has had a busy year, spending most of the summer on the road in support of their 7” Suesie was a Nihilist released back in June on Fat Sandwich Records. Recently, I spoke with the band’s singer Harry Koniditsiotis about the band:
MRC: You’re the last man standing from the original line up. What has sort of changed about the Angel Sluts since the days of you guys starting out, and you having a bit of a younger line up now?
HK: Actually, it has kind of gone a bit full circle. The line up has gotten more older people in it now. Shane (Essary), the original guitar player joined us for the last two tours, in that respect there is still that sort of original vibe in it. Then, the last few months Matt (Burns formerly of The Six String Jets) and Ben (Abney) have been playing guitar, which are the original replacements for Shane. Now I’m kind of happier with the line up, because there is more people in their 30s. Crews (Baggett) is the last man standing out of the young guys. He’s 22, 23. I think Ben and Luke are pushing 30. Of course Matt and I are both 28.
MRC: As members began to leave The Angel Sluts, what made you decide to keep the band going anyways?
HK: People keep wanting to put records out by us. We have two more 7”s coming out. One at the end of this year, and one at the beginning of next year. We just constantly keep getting offers to play and go on tour. There’s that whole thing, that has us just keep on going. There is kind of a brotherhood thing too. The fact that so many of the original guys have kind of come back in. Now it kind of made it feel more like what we were originally all about. This last tour we just got off of was great! We definitely had the old vibe back. The fact that we had Shane and Ben playing guitar, which is the first time we had the two of them playing together. We had the first and second guitar player. But at the same time, we were playing new and old stuff, which was on the last record we just put out and the stuff that’s going to be on the new records.
MRC: The Angel Sluts have a fairly large following locally. How do people in other towns typically respond to you?
HK: Oddly enough, a lot of them react the same way. I think, for lack of a better way to say it, our reputation has followed us. People come to our shows and they know what to do. Even when we play towns for the first time, it’s about making an impression. We try to get people moving and get their asses shaking and drinking. I think we do a pretty good job at that. We’ve played new towns, where I don’t think many people knew who we were, and we basically just won them over. I think we are a really good live band. We’re pretty interactive and pretty energetic, and I think the crowd picks up on that. Honestly, you have to win over the girls who want to dance. In some cities, there is definitely a lot more kids who want to slam dance, and in some cities there are crowds who want to boogie and aren’t so much into teenage angst.
MRC: The Angel Sluts typically play dive bars in Memphis, but when you go out of town, you will sometimes play nicer venues. How do The Angel Sluts translate to that environment?
HK: Really well. This last year, there have been a couple of venues we’ve walked into and thought, “I don’t know,” then it all came through really well. I think, once again, our reputation has caught up to us. I think a lot of people come out because they want to drink and have a good time, and people know that we’re all about drinking and having a good time. What’s funny is that with the bigger, nicer venues, you get treated nicer. More free drinks, better pay, and free food. I can get used to how the other half live. You know, bottled PBR rather than just draft PBR. It’s like, we’ve made it!
MRC: Any memorable shows from the Angel Slut’s years on the road?
HK: The small towns are always fun, because the people are just starved. We’ll play on a Monday night. Everyone talks about how they had to be at work the next morning, but they were still out getting fucked up at 1 and 2 in the morning. The small towns are always great. In Quincy, Illinois they were determined to have an after party for us at 4:30 in the morning. Everyone is passed out except for one guy screaming Misfits songs and playing drums along with it. My favorite tour story is when we played in Pittsburgh. Our show had gotten cancelled at the last minute, and we were just calling around bars looking for a place to play. This one bar was having a rockabilly night, so we were like, “We’re from Memphis. We’ll come play your rockabilly night, but we’re not really a rockabilly band.” The show ended up going over great! We were like that breath of fresh air. People had been watching so many rockabilly bands all night and they just wanted to hear some rock and roll. So after the night, the guy who ended up putting on that show, brought us back to his three story house overlooking a cliff. It was like, holy crap, here we were thinking we were going to need to find a place to play, and didn’t have a show on a Saturday night. Then suddenly, we play this really huge show, got payed, and got put up in this really swanky house. There are always beautiful moments like that.
In Montgomery, Alabama there was a barbecue shop next to this venue we played. The guy who owned it basically wanted to prove his barbecue was as good as Memphis barbecue, so every time we played he would just load us up with racks and racks of ribs. One time he gave us like five racks of ribs, and three chickens, all this brisket and pulled pork. We’re all back at the hotel room at 4 am eating barbecue. I think for the most part people have been pretty friendly, except for maybe during the last tour, when we were in Carbondale and some hippie kid tried to steal some merch. Shane and I started screaming at him, and I think he almost crapped his pants.
MRC: The Angel Sluts are getting close to hitting the ten year mark. Can we expect another ten?
HK: We hit the ten year mark in the fall of 2013. We started in 2003. I think our first show was in November. We’re planning to do a west coast tour in the spring, and we have two records coming out. It’s gonna keep going for a little while at least.
MRC: You also do Five and Dime recording. Do you have a preference between recording your own bands versus other bands?
HK: I like recording other bands much better to be honest. It’s a lot more fun. I like working with bands in general. It sort of satisfies a degree of artistic creativity to put a thumbprint on another band. You can’t possibly be in 100 bands that do 100 different styles, but it’s fun to work with. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with bands who’s music I actually like. I just recorded The Piss Shivers from Tuscaloosa last week, and it was a good session. Those guys rock and it was a lot of fun to do. I recently recorded The Glory Holes and Secret People. I’m gonna be recording Kill, Baby…Kill! soon from Anniston. I don’t know, it’s definitely one of those things, where it’s always been word of mouth because I’m too lazy to do advertising, but at the same time it’s turned out pretty well. I always get bands I like and would actually want to work with. I’ve just lucked out that way. I guess the main thing is that it kind of comes down to being able to be the fifth or sixth person in the band for a minute, where I’m able to add my two cents and satisfy something creatively for different styles and different genres that I normally wouldn’t be involved in.
MRC: If someone wants to record with you, how would they go about it?
HK: They can just call me up, or e-mail or Facebook me. Of course, My Space, Friendster, and Make Out Club are the best ways to get ahold of me.
Things should kick off Wednesday around 10:00pm at Murphy’s. The cover is $5, and the show is 21 and up. Click this link for the 5 and Dime Facebook page, if you would like to contact Harry about recording.