Grab your guitars and load the old van; we’re getting ready to hit the open road. Bring your cameras and plenty of film, road maps are a must and don’t forget your friends. Welcome to the world of Limbeck.
Their latest album, Hi, Everything’s Great saw release on Doghouse Records and the guys couldn’t be happier. Their album springs American nostalgia; in a world focused on the new, Limbeck aren’t afraid to go to the old for inspiration. Using the good old days and the many things we overlook in everyday life, Limbeck crafts music from everything and anything; resulting in their imprint of “pop-rock with a dash of country twang.”
Patrick and Robb were kind enough to take a few extra passengers through their journey, so buckle your seatbelt and grab that camera; we’re going along for the ride.
[Interview with Robb MacLean and Patrick Carrie]
David: For the readers out there not familiar with your sound or music, how can you guys best describe it to them?
Patrick: As simple as this question sounds, the answer is everything but. We generally have come to describing our music as pop-rock with a dash of country twang. We’re not too country, but the average pop-rock listener would most likely see us as being kind of “rootsy”.
David: Robb, is it true that many of the lyrics you write are transpired from the photographs you take? Explain how you get lyrical inspiration from your photography?
Robb: Yep. It’s not always necessary, but I do like to do that. Photos you take are usually really nostalgic, good and bad. If I look at one that I’ve taken that reminds me of something that happened, it’s easier for me to write a complete, coherent song. There’s also been a time or two when I’ve written a song and then tried to take a picture of what was around me at the time, like for the song “In Ohio on Some Steps.” It’s not my favorite picture in the world, but I like it because it reminds me of that morning. I might just be way too into nostalgia!
David: In recording “Hi, Everything’s Great”, you guys didn’t use top of the line equipment for all the songs, you opted to use older equipment and older models. Why was this?
Patrick: Well, we’ve never been fans of the Mesa Boogie dual rectifier, or the Marshall JCM 2000 … all those new hi-tech amps. They didn’t do it for us… So we spent way too much money on a bunch of Fender amps from the 60’s and 70’s that gave us such great, natural tones, and when you’d crank ‘em, it would be the tubes working really hard, pushing the speakers really loud, instead of some bad pedal to do it for you. We were all really happy with how the guitars sounded on the record, and the bass too. Justin used a cool old Vox bass amp… and Matt used a whole room full of kick drums and snares to get some neat sounds.
Robb: It’s not like we were going for a lo-fi sound or anything, and it wasn’t a new idea or anything. The truth is new amps by Mesa Boogie, Marshall AND Fender just can’t compete with the old Fender/Marshall/Vox/Gibson/Sears/Alamo/Voice/you-name-it amps for our style of music (if we were a metal band it would be a different story.) They don’t make them the same way these days. The ones that are older than I am have 10 times more character. Each one sounds a bit different, even if they are the same model.
David: You guys have also incorporated the lap steel guitar, banjo, organ, and even the cowbell to your sound on the new CD. How did using all these new instruments come about?
Patrick: They were just kind of there, so it seemed like the right thing to do … actually it was a little more planned for some of the instruments. We had a friend Chris from the band Melee fly out to play some piano and organ parts here and there on the record. He’s an incredible player, and we had some great late night jams with him in the studio. There was an old 1950’s all-original Fender lap steel guitar that appeared in the studio one day, and we were looking for an instrument to tie together a melody at the end of one of our songs, so we tried some parts out with it, and we were very excited about it. We still are. The banjo was also just sitting around the studio. The cowbell … it’s the kind of thing you kind of hear before you actually put it on a song. You’ll be listening to the song and say, “Hey Matt, did you put cowbell on the bridge of this song? Cause I can totally hear it” after he denies doing it, that’s the sign it’s a must.
Robb: Sometimes it’s less musically motivated and more because of stuff like the Saturday Night Live sketch where Blue Oyster Cult’s producing a record with Christopher Walken telling them they need more cowbell. That’s not the real reason that Matt played a cowbell in ‘Gamblin’ Man’ but it would be a damn good reason if it was.
David: How have things changed for the band since signing with Doghouse Records after being a do-it-yourself band for years?
Patrick: Well, first off, Doghouse Records is an incredible label, with an amazing staff of people that really care about their bands, and really love the music. So it’s a great feeling to have such a strong force behind us. It’s a feeling we’re not used to, but we love every minute of it. Plus they have pretty kick ass barbeques. Doghouse is allowing us to be where we want to be; they’re with us every step of the way making sure everything is going smooth and how we want it to. We made a record that we’re very proud of, and now we’re touring as much as possible, and they’re helping to spread the word, and keep us out there. It’s incredible. Incredible is definitely the word for them.
David: Your 2001 release “This Chapter Is Called Titles” and brand new release, “Hi, Everything’s Great” were produced by Ed Rose of the Get Up Kids and Coalesce fame. How is the experience in working with Ed for years?
Patrick: Ed is an incredible person. We’ve recorded nearly everything with him since meeting and making our first record with him. Not only is he an amazing producer and engineer, but he’s the best to hang out with and get tours of the Lawrence (Kansas) and Kansas City areas among others. He knows all the best restaurants, a ton of crazy stories about everything, he has a great collection of amps and gear, a perfect musical ear, and his wife was nice enough to let us borrow her car for the time we were there so we didn’t have to drive our gigantic enormous van everywhere.
David: Speaking of that large van, you guys are big on traveling and seeing the country. Talk a little bit about touring and the opportunity to travel the open roads.
Patrick: We love touring. We love seeing new places. We love going someplace, and not knowing what’s around the next corner. It’s the best thing ever, hanging around with three of your best friends, driving around the country and playing music. It’s completely amazing. When we’re on tour, sometimes it’s very surreal to look around and realize exactly what you’re doing. It’s just too perfect.
Robb: Yep. It’s cool to meet people from other places too and stay at their houses and hang with their cats and dogs and be friends with them the next time you come through town. Also be friends with them on Friendster (I’m just kidding … ok, I was actually telling the truth, but I don’t like Friendster, I just don’t want to deny my friendship with someone when I get the friend request, so I make them my friend. Now all I do is get annoyed if anyone sends me messages via Friendster instead of regular email or calling me on the phone.)
David: On to friendships then, you guys are pretty tight with Adam and John from the band Home Grown. You and Home Grown even joined forces and put out one of your early releases on a split CD titled “Connection” on Adam Lohrbach’s Utility Records label. How did that friendship all come together years ago?
Patrick: Basically, we befriended them quite a long time ago, not through music, but through bad jobs. Bad jobs that you had to drive really far, and stand around on a corner while holding a sign pointing to a new housing development that needed some attention. As far as the CD, we consider the “Connection” EP to be our first real demo as a band.
Robb: Yeah, we don’t really include that in our discography since it’s a demo quality recording, and so far removed from what we’ve been up to in the last couple years.
David: Robb, when recording “This Chapter is Called Titles” you lost your voice and things looked down for the band. How did that bad experience eventually end up helping the band?
Robb: I didn’t really think of it as such a huge thing. I mean, it was a drag since we were so close to finishing the record. It worked out to our advantage though, because we went home for a couple weeks and got to listen to it with new ears and work out some changes that we might not have picked out before, had we just stayed and mixed it.
David: There was quite a gap for you guys between full length releases. During the time after releasing “This Chapter Is Called Titles” and “Hi, Everything’s Great”, how did you guys mature and progress as a band?
Patrick: Well, it took about three years between the two records… so we had a lot of time to think stuff out. I can definitely say our taste in music has changed a LOT. In the time that we had to make this record, it’s been very noticeable to see a given band put out a great record, and do very well in all areas … and then immediately a handful of bands will pop up and do the same thing and everyone buys into it. There’s no value for originality when every record label around can have their own version of a given band, and profit off of it. It’s pretty sickening. So basically, we got a bunch of Bob Dylan records, and Johnny Cash records… listening to bands like Big Star, the olds 97’s, The Eagles, and stuff like that. It’s all incredibly great driving music. So it was the soundtrack to our touring. Back then artists would have time to develop and progress, so there was no need for them to jump on the bandwagon and put out the same record as everyone else to keep afloat. We took note of that and we wrote what felt right, and what felt good. So our end product is a record that we’re very proud of.
Robb: When I started becoming broke from touring and paying rent at the same time, I got into a lot of music that I never thought I would ever like back in high school, because I would listen to what I could get for 35 cents at thrift stores. I’ve never been one to scour thrift stores that often, but I like them, and they’re a great place to buy records that you’ve never heard before. If you get one or two that you hate, they were only 35 cents or so, so it’s no big deal. So now I even like John Cougar Mellancamp and the boss. I’m still easing into the boss, I’m not 100% in the Bruce Springsteen club yet, but I like the idea that I’m listening to “the boss.” There’s nothing more American than “Born in the USA.” but, of course, if I pulled up to a stop light blasting it, I would probably get embarrassed and turn it down a bit.
David: You guys recently were able to tour with label mates The All-American Rejects. How was that experience and were there any really funny or wild moments from the tour you could share with us?
Patrick: The experience was amazing. It was definitely one of the best tours we’ve ever been on. They’re the sweetest guys, and an awesome band. They treated us like kings. We made some really great friends for life now. We hope to keep meeting up with them in the future. It’s hard to pick one funny moment … but when we got back into the US from Canada, we all went to Dirk & Emily’s house (the owners of Doghouse) in Toledo for a gigantic BBQ. It was a crazy day of playing with all the dogs (I think they have 4 of ’em), watching Super Troopers, playing baseball, and making s’mores … not to mention the incredible BBQ.
Later in the night, Justin from our band and Tyson from the Rejects decided it would be fun to light off this big firework called “Halley’s Comet”. It’s supposed to go 300 feet in the air, or something ridiculous like that. The only problem the stick to launch it off was broken … so Justin runs to find a stick from a tree, while Ty grabs some duct tape from inside. They end up taping a branch onto the rocket… and putting it right in the middle of the yard to light it off… They light it once … and nothing happens. So they light it again … and it slowly takes off … and it ends up that the stick is waaaay too heavy, so the rocket drifts up towards the roof, and then explodes. So basically, we almost lit the Doghouse Records house on fire. It was funny.
David: Along any band’s journey there are people or bands that really help you out. Who are some of the people or bands that have really helped Limbeck out along the way?
Patrick: Well although we just came in contact with them… everyone at Doghouse Records (Dirk, Emily, Sheffield, Dave, Laura) has been so amazing to us. Also, the All American Rejects for being way too damn good to us. An incredible promoter from up north, Eric Fanali, has treated us very well, and definitely helped us out more than his fair share. Our good buddy Nick Celi from Tucson … and everyone in Kansas, Ed Rose, Ron Hayes & the Black Lodge, Sean & Burton @ Bearpress and Mr. Greg Franklin. This is turning into a weird kind of thank you list, so perhaps I’ll stop here before I get gushy.
David: The album is out in stores, what’s next for Limbeck?
Patrick: First off trying to replace the words “incredible” and “amazing” with other words, because I now noticed that I use them too much. Touring like mad is next for us. Playing the songs off our new record for people to hear, and hopefully like. To be out in the world and meet people and see new places. And then somewhere in there work on some new songs … what about you Robb?
Robb: I’ve already replaced those words with “ridiculous” and “rediculously.”
San Diego’s Best Dancers: An interview with Allweather
San Diego’s rich punk history continues its next chapter with Allweather
San Diego’s alternative music history will forever be intertwined with punk’s mainstream rise through the 90s. While Los Angeles and the Bay Area took much of the attention, San Diego quietly produced a few bands that would ultimately rise to the top of mainstream punk. Now more than 20 years later, San Diego continues to produce as many excellent bands as it does excellent burrito joints. We are unsure whether it has anything to do with the sunny locale, or the food, or the proximity to coastal bliss, but San Diego punk is thriving. But don’t just take our word for it, just listen to the current crop of punk bands that call the area home.
Allweather are one of the newest on the scene, but their members have a long history amongst Southern California’s punk underground. They’ve just released their debut full-length Through the Floor; 10 songs of hard-hitting, melodic punk that at times throws it back to Lifetime’s emotionally charged output.
We spoke to Allweather guitarist and vocalist Tim Putnam.
Thanks for taking the time guys- new full-length in the books- how does everyone feel?
We are so stoked that this thing is finally out. It took about a year and a half to put this all together, what with full-time jobs and other adult-y obligations; but now we’re ready to share it with the world and it feels awesome. Definitely a labor of love with this one.
I really enjoyed the record. You’ve gotten some great feedback?
Everyone has been super receptive. Maybe they’re just being nice and telling us what we want to hear. But if so, they’re doing a great job! They’re saying some nice things!
I spent the first few listens trying to figure out that “sound”— because the album got me like a record did so many years ago. It took a few good listens but to me, it reminds me of Lifetime’s Hello Bastards and Jersey’s Best Dancers. At least that’s how it made me feel. I love those two records and I felt the same when I listened to yours. What are your thoughts on the different interpretations of the record or how it can make people feel many different things?
That’s awesome that you say that. I honestly love everything Dr. Dan Yemin has been involved with: Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Armalite, Paint it Black. Contrasting dark vocal delivery and lyrical themes with more melodic/upbeat instrumentation is something I think we try to emulate from those bands. I’m hoping that makes for a record that everyone can take something away from, whether you want to just bop around to some pop punk songs or delve deeper into the bummer-ass lyrical content and see what exactly this dude is yelling about.
Who produced it and how did the writing and recording go?
So, that gets a little messy. The majority of engineering was done by our lead guitarist, Tony Estrada, who was our guitarist at the beginning of this recording quest. Tony left the band in the process of recording the record so Todd Allen, of Paper Street Cuts fame, stepped in to engineer what was left of the project. Mixing and mastering was done by Paul Miner at Buzzbomb Studios. All music was written collectively by the band.
It’s a personal record- songs about day-to-day life, ups and downs?
For the most part, I’m a fairly upbeat kind of guy. That’s because I have music as an outlet to compartmentalize any sad or angry thought I might have. This record is a collection of all our anger and sadness for the last two years. That’s pretty heavy. We’ve got songs about heartbreak, death of friends, and questioning the purpose of human existence. More ups than downs I guess.
You guys are relatively new as a band. Can you share with us a little Allweather history and how you got started?
I’ve known Aaron and Manny since we were teenagers. We all grew up about an hour and a half east of San Diego in a small town called El Centro, California. It’s basically the default decision when you’re old enough to move from El Centro to San Diego because it’s a larger city close to home. Aaron, Manny and I all ended up in San Diego by this logic and all played in bands together when we were younger in El Centro and just decided to jam to see what might come out. And Allweather was born. Tyson is the newest addition to the family, having joined our ranks on lead guitar almost a year ago, and the dude is a prodigy. He brings a lot of songwriting to the table and is going to be huge in shaping what Allweather is going to sound like moving forward.
What got you all into into punk and the music that became Allweather?
I think coming of age in the late 90s/early 2000s, punk was somewhat accessible. At least gateway-punk. It was very easy to get into Green Day and Blink-182 by seeing them on MTV, then hop on the internet and get sucked into the rabbit hole that is punk rock. Before you know it you’re on Limewire giving your computer AIDS so you can pirate “Maxwell Murder” at 20 kbps. 2 days later you listen to it and you’re like “Welp, I guess I’m a punk now.” Also, growing up in a small town like El Centro, you were just bored and had to entertain yourself. You started garage bands and booked backyard shows because it was something to do.
Let’s talk about the stop-motion video for “Life Vest”- looked like a fun video, but it looked like a lot of work. How was that to shoot? Why stop-motion?
Almost 1000 individual photos. 18 hours straight of shooting. For a 2-minute music video. SO WORTH IT. We had about a hundred dollars to spend on the video and stop motion seemed like a good way to add some class to our cardboard-prop-level budget. Luckily, Tyson took the reigns, figured out the math behind the whole thing and hopped in the director’s chair. All in all, we’re super proud of the finished product.
The vinyl/CD is out through Paper Street Cuts- how did you guys connect with Paper Street Cuts?
I’ve been playing local shows with Todd of Paper Street Cuts in San Diego for the last 9 years. In that time, Todd has become a real friend of mine and the band’s. This year Todd started making handmade lathe cut records for limited release through his label, Paper Street Cuts. No… like he cuts his own records. By hand. WHAT? Not to mention he’s an incredible human being. So, when Todd approached us about having our record be the first LP available through Paper Street Cuts, we jumped on it.
You had a record release show June 14. What are you guys up to next- back on the road?
We are going to be heading out for a West Coast USA tour at the end of July. It’s our first time touring and we’re pumped. More info on that shortly.
What are some of the things I should check out next time I’m in San Diego- food, music- cool record stores?
San Diego is the self-proclaimed burrito capital of the world. But it’s true. Best burritos anywhere. And where do you go to get one? Throw a rock in any direction and you’ll probably hit a taco shop. Some of our favorites though are Colima’s, Roberto’s, Rigaberto’s, Alberto’s…basically anything with the -berto’s suffix will be a win. For live music, our headquarters is Tower Bar in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Honorable mention goes to Til Two Club, the Casbah, and Soda Bar. Tons of rad record stores but our recs go to Red Brontosaurus Records and Re-Animated Records.
The Down and Dirty: An interview with The Aggrolites
We chat to “dirty reggae” kings The Aggrolites about their new record Reggae Now!
It’s been a long time between records for Los Angeles reggae band The Aggrolites. 8 years to be exact. After countless albums and endless days on the road, the band felt like it was the right time to step away from the grind of writing, recording, touring. But the extended break between records meant the band just had time to get some air, recuperate and find the charge that would ignite that next spark. That next spark ended up becoming Reggae Now!, a collection of the band’s signature “dirty reggae” sound, packed with life-affirming songs about hope and positivity. And while the album isn’t afraid to challenge and question the current landscape we find ourselves in, it doesn’t shy away from having a good time.
The record has received some lavish praise, with noted filmmaker, DJ, and Big Audio Dynamite co-founder Don Letts saying; “Their tunes perfectly echo the human chemistry you can hear in those early Jamaican productions. The band’s old-school analog sound totally captures the spirit of the music I grew up on“. While Specials vocalist/guitarist Lynval Golding has said; “This is THE album.“
It’s easy to say that one of the most influential bands of modern American reggae is back. But the truth is, they never left. In between stops of their current North American tour, we had a chance to chat with vocalist and guitarist Jesse Wagner about Reggae Now!, how it feels to have written the record on their own time, and the significance of reggae music in America.
Congrats on the new record; how does feel now that it’s out?
It feels awesome. We are beyond stoked to see how positive the vibes are coming from all the fans old and new.
It was a long time between records- 8 years. It was the right time to take a break after 2011?
We felt so. We were going hard on the road for a good decade. I think 250 days a year can wear anyone out. We never quit though. We just needed some time to do our own thing with our families and friends back at home.
How did Reggae Now! come together- was there a spark that got you guys back into the writing process?
It just felt like the right time. We had talked about it for a while and when it happened it just worked.
Was this the first time you had the chance to write and record an album without the pressure of label deadlines? How did it feel that you could just write Reggae Now! on your own time- the way you want to 100%?
Yes it was. And it felt really chill and relaxing knowing that time was on our side. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
How did you connect and end up working with Pirates Press Records? It seems like a great fit- plus their roster of artists is incredible.
I’ve known Skippy for a long time now and have been a fan of what he has been doing with Pirates Press for years. Playing the style of music we play isn’t necessarily an easy target to market. We knew Skippy and Pirates Press would know exactly what to do with our album and are all grateful for them.
For those who may not be too familiar with the Aggrolites- share with us a little bit of your history and how the band came to be?
We’ve been around since 2002. We all pretty much come from the same scene in Los Angeles and all have the same love and passion for old school Jamaican music. With that passion, the band has managed to keep it going ever since.
How has the tour been so far? You guys are hitting cities all across the US until August; how is touring and getting to meet and perform for the fans now than, say, back in 2002?
It’s been an amazing run so far. If anything, things are getting better. I think with the internet it’s easier for people to find out about certain genres of music. We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback.
I love the video for “Pound for Pound”- where did you shoot it? How was it?
It was filmed in the San Fernando Valley at an equipment rental spot called Zio. Our friend Josh Rousch was the director and mastermind behind the whole thing. We had a blast filming it. So much fun and we were stoked to have some Aggro fans involved in the video also. That was a first.
Let’s talk about reggae- because it’s such an important genre of music (in my view) and I think some people only see it in one color. But there’s a lot of history and culture- how did you discover reggae and what are some of the most important aspects of the music and culture to you and the band?
I found out about reggae probably like the majority of the American youth from the early 1990s; punk rock and Two-Tone. The thing that got me stuck on it was how tuff of a sound it is, but at the same time so beautiful. It is by far the most interesting music I’ve ever gotten into. I love how they sang about social issues going down on their small Island, but how powerful the lyrics would be in relating to people all over the world.
Reggae, and ska and rocksteady seem to have a close relationship with punk. You guys have toured with and are close to many punk bands; what is it about the two genres that make sense and connects?
I believed it all goes back to the late 1960s when reggae became popular with the working class in the UK. It’s music for the people. Songs about struggle and overcoming it. Very rebellious music also. I believe Don Letts said it best that reggae was the soundtrack to the punk rock scene throughout the late 1970s.
How important do you think music of good vibes is in today’s world? I think maybe the world could use a little more Reggae Now.
I thank you for saying that and agree 100%. We’ve always said we are “Feel Good” music. Sometimes it’s nice to just play a record and have a good time. Especially in this day and age. There is a lot of corruption going on and hopefully, we can ease people’s minds from negativity with our album.
The Aggrolites’ new album, Reggae Now!, is available via Pirates Press Records.