14 August 2012

"Truth is truth. Roll with it." The LEFT LANE CRUiSER VS JAMES LEG Super Sessions: An Interview About Painkillers.

LLC @ Facebook // James Leg @ Facebook // Alive Records // iTunes- LLC & James Leg // Amazon - LLC & James Leg

Left Lane Cruiser and James Leg have released a snarling little cur dog (balls intact) of a party album called Painkillers. Ten wicked cover songs. Mama told Papa...This is the summers rock n' blues wigout, man...got to boogie! 

Painkillers is the soundtrack of a beer and Scotch-sodden county-line joint. It vibrates with dirty, 'stonesy, grinder blues. My classic rock. Hell fire, not only do they cover Seger's Come To Papa, but they have the brass to do  Zep's When The Levee BreaksTrying to breath new life into half these war horses, let alone a song like Red Rooster would be an undertaking for any band but Team Leg-LLC fatten it up, wring it's neck and kill that chicken like Scott H Biram would kill that chicken. 

These guys start out by throwing down a heavy super-rockin' cover of Junior Kimbrough's Sad Days And Lonely Nights that gets hotter'n a she-wolf in a pepper-patch on fire.  From there it's on to Hound Dog Taylor, Hooker, 'Stones, Taj Mahal, and that Robert Johnson guy.  You know it takes some skills to cover Hendrix and them and not sound like a shitty wanna-be cover band. An imitator. A pretender. But this road-seasoned trio, backed by Painkillers engineer Jim Diamond on bass (Yes! The return of bass!) and Harmonica Shah (on guesswhat) makes a fat and burly yet lean and tough racket that testifies to the almighty raw power of rock and blues. 

In a perfect world, y'all would be rollin' downtown blasting Painkillers from your Camaro's and Kustom vans, bumpin' it at every beach picnic and kegger in the woods around the world.  Rockin' Painkillers as you sit on the bonfire-lit tailgate of your girlfriends stank ol' F150, down by the river surrounded by all your friendsJames Leg's organ like a soulful siren, his voice a south Texas hail storm. Joe's slide guitar a backwoods whip saw, Brenn's buttcentric drum grooves hunchin' on Jim Diamond's fat bass throbber as the sound howls through the humid hot night. I could carry on but look, this stuff right here is what your kids'll be diggin' in some Nuggets box set of the future. 

I got ahold of Brenn and Joe aka Dr. Freddy J IV and Dr. Sausage Paw from Left Lane Cruiser and Rightous Reverend Doctor of the organ Mr. James Leg to see how those  Painkillers went down:

How'd this album come about? Did y'all jam on the road and think Hmm...we should do something with this?

James Leg: We've toured together many times over the last several years....and have played together on stage as well as in the studio for Left Lane Cruiser's last release, "Junkyard Speedball"...so it was just a matter of time till we wound up in the studio for a collaboration.

Brenn: Yeah, every time we've jammed with John (aka James Leg - His Government name is John -rs.)  its been great. We fit together great, so it only made sense to do it on tape. Now we just gotta do an original album together.

Joe: We have definitely had some epic jam sessions with John on the road, both in the states and overseas. I have always dug the way John plays the keys, never heard anybody play 'em like that, nasty but soulful.

What was the process of weeding out? How many songs did you start with and how hard was it to cull it down to ten? Did you record other songs that didn't make the cut?

James: We prolly started out with around ten additional possible songs. Before we went to Detroit to lay it all down, we got together in Fort Wayne for a couple days and ran through several tracks to see what felt best. There were a couple that we recorded that didn't make the record. Also, a couple of the tracks on the record were last minute choices in the studio. 

Brenn: Some of them we had planned just didn't seem as fitting after a few whiskeys`.

Joe: We wanted a good mix of blues and classic rock. We also wanted to stay away from tunes we cover live so people could hear something new. There were some songs that didnt make the record but might be released down the road.

Who's idea was it to cover Bob Seger's Come To Poppa? You got taste, dude. Even if people don't care for Seger (my brotherinlaw swears he lives a Seger-free existence) you cannot deny that Come To Poppa is Thee Seger Jam. 

James: I'm a member of The Church of Bob Seger. Especially and specifically the first several records...when he sounded more like Detroit than L.A, though I can get into that shit as well. We toyed with the idea of doing "Ramblin Gamblin Man"...but its been done a few times and done well...in fact recently by Jim Diamond's band, Seger Liberation Army..."Come To Poppa" seemed like a lil bit of a deeper cut...and apropo...pritty sure i've said those words in conversation.

Joe: Seger rules! John picked that one so he deserves the credit. That slowed down version is sick, good call Rick. 
I like to take forty-fives and slow 'em down to thirty-three rpm -rs)

What's the story behind the Painkillers album title?

James: Hehe...again, apropo of those four days we were tracking....I think we were goin through a litre of Jameson a day as well.. (not sure if that ought to be common knowledge...Brenn?Joe?)

Brenn: Truth is truth. Roll with it.

Joe: Its a party record and we were partying when we recorded it. 

What was the recording process for this like? Where/when and how long did it take to record?

James: Easy...and loads of fun. Like I say, we've all the four of us worked together several times so it was easy to lock-in and groove...made it a lot of fun to just be playin' these songs together in the same room with good sounds. I believe we cut the most of it in four days last December, then Brenn and Joe went back in January for a couple days and polished it off. We tried not to overthink it or make the process so long or meticulous that all the spontinaity and soul was lost. Most of the record was all live and got in one or two takes..

 Brenn: Like John said, little to no preperation to keep it spontaneous, and not mimicking the original versions note for note. You put the four of of us in a room together with plenty of whiskey, and a bottle of pills, grooves are gonna flow easily. I think we were all on the same wavelength with where it was going, so that made it easy.

Joe: Recording was a blast. We did it at Jim's studio (Ghetto Recorders) in Detroit, a block away from Tiger Stadium. We just went in there everyday, got tore up and let it rip. 

One last question: 

What's next? Whats on your schedule for the next 3 months?

Brenn: Well, right now Joe and I are fine tuning the songs for the new album. Figure on recording it in the next couple of months. Tonight we are opening for Helmet and The Toadies at big fest up in Michigan. We got Muddy Roots comin up at the end of the month, back to Europe in Sept/Oct, and then we are headed down south for a quick run in Nov. Keepin' busy on the road, but really focusing on getting LLC's new album finished up.

James: Just got off a four month straight tour in June...gonna sit (relatively) still for a few minutes. I'm in the early stages of writing/recording a couple of records right now...not sure at the moment what name will be on 'em, James Leg or Black Diamond Heavies,.... that will depend on the material and schedule. Other than the Muddy Roots Festival at the end of August, I plan to do no shows till around January or so. Even the devil got to put it in park and kick back sometimes.

Now doubt Left Lane Cruiser and/or James Leg will be coming to a town near you at some point. If y'all wanna see a serious live show played by dudes that play like it might be their last show you got to get out the house and go out of your way to see these guys. Give them your money. You know you need the orange vinyl

No comments: