Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stalking with the Jackalopes

(Interview is with lead vocalist Rev. Chad A. Wells)

Hell-o, whats up with the Jackalopes?

- We're currently in the middle of a big change. We recently had to let our long time guitarist, Ronnie Tinkham go.
We're in the middle of writing and demoing songs for the new album and recording the songs that are ready.
We've broken up and fallen to pieces several times since our inception and I'm just not willing to do that whole,
break up and reunite thing anymore. I will continue on with the project with entirely new members if I have to.
The Jackalopes continue to grow in spite of ourselves. We've been really selective with the shows we've played in the past year
and in spite of not touring this year, we continue to sell more and more CD's and gather more fans and friends.

To someone who hasn´t heard about you, how would you describe Jackalopes

- It's Rock N' Roll with a dark side. There are elements of punk, metal, rockabilly, psychobilly, psychedelia...
It straddles several genre lines. We're most often grouped in with "Horror Punk" bands and I'm happy to be there
but only as long as that's allowed to encompass more than just the same Michale Graves era Misfits cliches.
That stuff was great but it's really become the jump point for most Horror bands.
As long as your singer is mimicking Mike then you're in the club! Horror music for me starts back a little earlier... Could be my age.
I'm into my 30's now so I've been into this kind of music since the 70's.
Also, we don't just sing about graveyards and pumpkins. Our lyrics range from silly and nonsensical at times to really deep and harsh.
Also, our music isn't about false spookiness and mopiness. It's about having fun while chucking a Molotov cocktail at established morals,
ideals and religions.

What made you guys form the Jackalopes?

- A common love for alcohol, drugs, music, murder, violence...
Motorhead, Misfits, Ramones, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper... I had a band that was much more abrasive at the time
and I wanted a way to inject a spoonful of sugar into that project. I wanted to do a sort of serious without being boring,
mean and evil, satanic and spiteful, pop fueled punk band.

Biggest influences?

- I have a ton of influences from outside of The Jackalopes scope of influences...
As a band we're coming from a Motorhead, Misfits, Ramones, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Antiseen, Frankenstein Drag Queens place...
Although Rue Morgue magazine did catch a Hawkwind influence in a couple places and I thought it was great that they caught that...
I dig everything from Prince to Elvis, Frank Zappa, Yoko Ono, John Prine, Nick Cave, Hank Williams, Mike Patton...
I need music that is at once emotional without being pretentious as well as visceral and challenging.

The Jackalopes played with the legendary "the murder junkies", that must
have been quite an experience?

- Those guys are amazing. Merle Allin is the world's nicest outlaw. I am and was a huge GG Allin fan
and was crushed that I never got to play with him before he died but I got to play with his brother and Clayton from Antiseen on vocals...
Antiseen is a huge influence on The Jackalopes and myself so that ruled.
My clothing company, AartKult, just sponsored those guys on tour with Hank III and AssJack!
We did a rad Charles Manson tribute T-shirt for them.

Following the question above, best touring experience so far?

- We always had fun playing the Heavy Rebel Weekender in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
We did that 3 or 4 times... We loved playing in the jailhouse. The crowds were rabid there! White Trash Luaua was a best
and worst tour experience. It was like 30 degrees on top of a mountain in Virginia,
just above the place they filmed Dirty Dancing! A bunch of bands, camping, no facilities, not much of a road to speak of...
We were in the woods! I wrote a story about it that was published in the book "Gigs From Hell", published by Headpress from the UK.

I usually ask this question from everyone I interview, Favourite horror movies?

- All the old Universal flicks, especially Frankenstein.
I love too many to try to do a list here... I like really hardcore gross out stuff. Also anything by Jim Van Bebber.

What do you think about all the re-makes that hollywood is making?

- Well, most shouldn't be called remakes. They're taking a lot of liberties with things.
They should craft some new characters and give it a new name and a spin.
Nobody will mind if it's inspired by some other movie to do a remake and toy with the characters and memories
that certain people hold in such high esteem... It's sorta like me calling myself Elvis ya' know!?
No, I'm influenced by him, I'm not him... Your Texas Chainsaw Massacre was not the same Massacre!
Some of them are good on their own, but they're ruined by the fact that they're calling themselves this other thing...
That is sorta my problem with post-Danzig Misfits.

In a horror movie about The Jackalopes, who would play you?

- I get told I look like Elvis and Jack Black... JB's sorta short to play me.

Last one, what does the future hold for The Jackalopes?

- You never really know with us. The new material that will become our next album is heavier and darker than before.
I see us experimenting more... Pushing the boundaries of what people think Horror music is.
We're working in new members of the band right now and I'm sure their input will season things.
"Black Church A-Go Go" will be the next full length CD. There is also a retrospective/rarities and b-sides type thing planned with
Crypt of Blood Records. We will continue to be selective with our touring and playing out.
I make music to create art and not to be a dancing, painted monkey on the stage.
We'll still perform live but only if it's going to be a quality performance in a worthwhile setting.
I'm personally involved with numerous other projects. My experimental project Wulfkult will release a new CD very soon.
Some of the material dates back before The Jackalopes. I also am doing an old timey country project called The Hazard County Heathens
with my brother Gerede (of The Bang Tale), an ambient/black metal/ritual noise project called Glasyalabolas,
a guitar drone project called SunMelter, a new wave/death rock project called New Way Vendetta and several other interesting experiments.
I write for several magazines, most notably, International Tattoo Art...
I tattoo for a day job and I design album covers, posters, T-shirts and stuff for bands...
The Jackalopes are one of my biggest projects but it's just one of many things I do to keep my head from exploding.
Oh yeah! There will be a Jackalopes book project soonish as well!


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