Lee kindly sent me his new vinyl – Live Like Lions - which I reviewed recently. He kindly sent it over from the USA to UK free of charge. That's what a cool guy he actually is. Lee has kindly agreed an interview with me. I know he has a lot of fans on the blog.
So let's get down to it.
Q1 – Hi Lee. Firstly, thanks for doing this and taking the time to talk to us at Sludgelord. We really appreciate it and are massive fans of your music especially Shock Radar.
A: Thank you
Q2 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc...
A: Shock Radar started up around 2006. I had talked to drummer Richard Drouin about playing some shows in a heavy rock band with progressive leanings. We share the same musical influences more or less.
Q3 – How would yourselves describe your sound.
A: From what bloggers and people in the audience tell me, we are heavy riff-rock and my voice is a mix between Chris Cornell and Trent Reznor. I like both those guys, so I’ll take that.
Q4 – Which bands influence you on your music.
A: Black Sabbath is a prominent influence every band member must worship equally.
Q5 – Is the band a full time project or do you have full time jobs to contend with.
Q6 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music.
A: I generally write the songs on guitar and bring them to the band to mess with. The formula has changed over the years depending on the players and material. For the early stuff, we wrote like a band. The last EP- “Systematic”, was a free for all experiment between various musicians from all different kinds of scenes. We got one dude from the hard core band- Ink and Dagger on the same track as one of the Maroon 5. It made for an interesting result.
Q7 – You have received a whole load of praise for your music. That must of took you by surprise. Are you happy with the response you have got so far.
A: I get the Chris Cornell/Trent Reznor comment a lot, which I don’t intentionally go for, but like I said, I’ll take that as a compliment.
Q8 – What has been the reception like to your live gigs. Has it all been good responses. Any major live highlights so far.
A: Some shows better than others. It’s unpredictable. Most people like the weirder songs in odd time signatures. We’ve had some amazing, high energy live shows, and some disastrously wasted ones. We have fun nevertheless.
Q9 – Do you get many gigs in your home town. Or do you have to travel around a lot.
A: We play mostly in NY. All of us have toured in other bands, and it can be a pain in the ass. When the time is right to tour, I’ll tour.
Q10 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.
A: My family prefers I sing soft acoustic lullabies like Simon and Garfunkel. My friends like the wall to wall distorted guitar rock. I’ve done both. I enjoy making electronic music as well. I don’t believe in having one sound forever. That would be boring and unimaginative.
Q11 – When you started the band what were your original hopes and dreams for the band.
A: I had been a drummer in a lot of different bands, all different styles. I was doing the hired gun thing for years. I was going to shows almost every night, most singers weren’t inspiring. I thought to myself- I can do that.. cooler.
Q12 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner Rock/Hard Rock
I have a very large record collection that’s my primary source of listening pleasure. I do check out all the new bands reviewed on blogs. If I like what I hear, I buy the record. I don’t like spotify or streaming music. I can hear the difference between streaming music and a record. There’s a missing ingredient. I get why people prefer the convenience, I prefer big floppy records to spin.
Q14 – What is your view of bands and blogs giving away music for free. Lot of bands and people have different perspectives.
A: You have to now. All bands have to. It’s all part of the evolution, or devolution of the music industry.
Q15 – Now I know you write for a lot of blogs like Heavy Planet, Stoner Rock. How did you get involved in blogging.
A: I’ve always been a writer. I got into journalism at a young age. Reading Lester Bangs articles made me want to write. I was always involved in zines and school newspapers, then I studied art history journalism in college. Any kind of lyrical songwriter better be a good writer, or the music’s going to suck. They go together.
Q16 – What advice or words of wisdom would you give to upcoming bands and musicians who are about to start a Sludge/Doom/Stoner Rock Band.
A: Make vinyl. Buy Vinyl. Support your local music scene.
Q17 – What are your views of blogs such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?
A: I don’t think I’ve made mainstream-magazine music. Even a song like “Millionaire”, which was closest to a pop song, has lyrics about death, the loss of a family member, and abstract musical arrangements.
Q18- What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about. (Please say full length record. Make me a happy man.)
A: I’ve made full length records. One of the more popular ones was entitled: Shark Shirt Motherfucker. For some reason, I always sold the Eps and singles, and gave away the Lps free. I don’t know why. I will be remastering that one, and others over the year.
Q19 – I have to thank you for sending over the Vinyl for Live Like Lions. I love the album cover. How did you releasing that on vinyl come about.
A: I collaborated with Michael Zinn on the layout and artwork. We did a photo shoot in the woods. It was his idea to morph my face into a lion on the cover. It fits the meaning of the song.
Q20 – Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans (like me – LOL)
A: Read The Sludgelord.
Well thanks for the interview and kind words Lee. Am a massive fan of your work. And will be for many years to come.
Check Shock Radar from the links below.
Check out my fave track - Generator - to see why I am a massive fan of this great band.