Saturday nights are about Heaven, dying and getting there, prayer meetings for everlasting salvation. There are those that think otherwise. That this is it, the endgame, Heaven on earth and an everlasting life comes with burning with the devil and turning with vamps. A night of death and rebirth, pleasure and despair.
“Dead end soul for a dead end girl. Don’t cry to me, oh baby” – Glenn Danzig with the Misfits, a life changer for Harford County native Brandon David of the Pipe Smoking Rabbits, sings through the radio, tales of sex, murder and not, lament. The Pipes are idling, revving, singing along “..Don’t cry to me oh baby…dead end girl for a dead end guy..” The Pipes are dead end souls, and there’s no crying on the PSR new self titled album.
Its a no-holds-barred, no ballads, six fast and punked out proverbial pedal to the metal hard driving songs. Perfect in your car on a Saturday night. “The radio, turn it up”, David commands, “Don’t come around if you’re afraid of the dead”. Pulling out with “Have a Fit”, tires spinning, stones flying, fishtailing. Full throttle. Hot, summer night, blacktop steaming. Heat breezing through the open windows, cruising Rte 1. Speed induced hallucinatory mirages. Not psychedelic, but crack addled, hard rock candy to nail the steering wheel, or something.
In the red, “Sail this Ship” accelerates further, until a downshift, a transition and wondrous psych riff they drive almost to intoxication. Live, I’ve seen them ride that signature garage riff to the vanishing point with a naked girl on a Harley in the desert. Throttle back up, on the highway, death eating buzzards to the right, hazy horizon in front of us. “I kill thoughts like dead end friends,” pipes through the stereo.
“Blacktop death queen, nineteen seventies Sadie, twenty one, Sadie got her gun. Make out late night. Blood red night light, blacktop death queen…” – surreal edged X-ene vocals, to punked Haight trash come through the speakers from Pipes dual vocalist and dancing, tambourined, Jacque Bisker. She’s known as “Jax.”
“I Look Like You Did When You Died ” is the ‘fits send up, with a resounding kiss off, and celebratory rave up. Saturday night, a night for love, or a night for revenge and blood letting. And hope for redemption and survival, bliss, or at least another night to live through and forget…. “Sun rays kiss souls to save. The wrong idea to fear”.
The PSR are a hard driving band on and off record. They are led by charismatic Brandon David, delivering growling lead vocals on most of the songs, ripping on guitar, and the forceful, tight rhythm of guitarist Nate Wilmoth and bassist Matt Graham, and Erik Wisler delivering a nonstop beat of infectious hard rock. This band’s as powerful and sexy as a ’70 440 Dodge Challenger. Green flags waving, Black Flags raising, bloody sabbaths, riot girls. They spread spray paint, wild gifts and adult books.
Off the record they are self employed, owners and involved in independently owned local businesses. They can tell themselves they’re outta here to hit the road. Working class dudes ‘scaping and IT stuff. Trying to survive depressionary times, providing money to put back in their passion, the Rabbits. Chatted with Brandon David…
DP – The songs, how do they come about?
BD – They are all original. I started PSR in my basement…I would play guitar/drums/and sing on songs and make demos…one day I let Nate hear a few songs I had completed…he liked them and then we started writing the songs together.
DP – ..and “Blacktop Death..
BD – haha, Black Top Death Queen was the 2nd song I ever wrote for this project, was one of the two I let Nate hear when I tried to get him to join.
DP – You and Nate… the rest of the Rabbits?
BD – When we first started out we had this cool girl named Cheryl playing drums for us, then we started playing with one of my friends from middle school named Erik, one night we asked him to come over and jam with us and we have been playing with him ever since. He’s sort of our secret weapon. I met our bassist, Matt at one of Guy’s (Sean Wallis-One Watt Sun) shows when he was in Conowingo…the rabbits played that night and afterwards this dood named Matt came up to me and said he would like to jam with us sometime. We didn’t have a bassist at the time and didn’t plan on getting one…later I found out that Nate and Matt knew each other so we tried him out and it clicked. Matt really rounded out our sound. We needed that.
DP – Jax?
BD – I went to a fashion show by Monster Lou and Jax was one of the models…I contacted her the next day hehe
DP – Speaking of bands and relationships!…are you heartbroken about Thurston and Kim?
BD – Are you implying that is gonna happen to us? Haha I dunno man. It is sad. I love Sonic Youth. I hope they can still be in SY together after breaking up.
DP – dream on man, about SY lol! I see Brandon and Jax forever. Influences…other stuff that ruined you?
BD – Misfits, the Cramps, Nirvana, and Black Sabbath. As far as leads go I really admire J Mascis from Dinosaur jr..I love the guitar sounds Polvo get…I like how Greg Ginn from Black Flag plays.
DP – Ahh, I hear you nodding to Masic’s guitar sound on “The Most”, hardcore dinosaur (lol), nice. You do have his new “Heavy Blanket”?
BD – I haven’t picked up the Heavy Blanket record yet but I’ve been listening to it online..to me there is no better lead guitarist..I think Hendrix would be way stoked on J Mascis.
DP – Congrats on being on the HarCo dudes produced Maryland compilation “The Youth are Getting Restless” Series!
BD – Thanks man! We’re pretty excited to be apart of it. Maryland has some great bands and maybe this will put a spotlight on them. Stoked that our friends Trashkanistan and 96 Ghosts are on there as well, Harford County on the rise.
DP – yeh, planning on writing a piece on that, gonna be a great series of comps.
DP – Some Harco history with Ellis, Betty Sue Aside…
BD – Yes, Brian Ellis recorded the Betty Sue Aside record. Our guitarist Nate was actually in Betty Sue Aside…I used to be in a fast hardcore band called “A Warm Gun”, we got on this rad German label and did some touring. So we have roots in the DIY hardcore punk scene…we carried those ethics over to PSR. Brian recorded and mixed the Pipe Smoking Rabbits record…Lion City Studios mastered it. I’ve been friends with Brian for years so whenever I wanna do some recording I call him up. We like to keep everything local if we can. A great company out of Baltimore called Pizza Party does our shirts and patches.
DP – Brian sez he was advocating putting your vocals higher in the mix…
BD – The vocals are low cause we like them to blend in with the music like another instrument. I think the first time I heard vocals mixed like that was on a record called “rusty” by a band called “Rodan”. Still one of my favorite records.
DP – I see a soft side to Brandon David, you post alot of Bryan Adams?
BD – haha nah man, it’s RYAN ADAMS, not bryan adams..i am a big fan of Ryan Adams, this guy puts out so much music..he does country, punk, metal, folk, rock…and it’s all pretty genius material to me… and he somehow roped in Mandy Moore. This is a guy that’s operating on another level.
DP – I like the artwork, psych, like Steppenwolf psych..
BD – Jax did all the artwork. She’s a pretty artsy girl.
DP – indeed.
DP – And its on Dead Radio Music, yer label…hows that work?. like the name, I’m basically stuck on sports talk, lol.
BD – Well, I’ve been wanting to start a record label for a while now…this just seemed like the perfect opportunity…I don’t really like anything on the radio at this point so the name seemed appropriate…Jax and I have been doing all the label stuff together and it’s a ton of work. but it’s satisfying once you get a release totally done. We plan to put out more local bands in the future. ..have our eye on a couple actually.
DP – Any advise for kidz trying to get gigs, bands starting out,
BD – My advice would be to book your own shows, email and call some local venues and ask them if they have any slots open or if they have any open days you could book a show on. Steer clear of whole selling ticket thing…alot of bands get ripped off doing that kinda thing and time could be spent better. You’re hassling your friends and alot of times you’ll get put on shows that don’t really make sense to fans…you gotta think about what people would be stoked on. Control every aspect you can. DIY. Have a complete vision for what you want to happen.
DP – Thanks…any parting thoughts…shots?
BD – download the new ep over at http://pipesmokingrabbits.bandcamp.com/
like us over at http://facebook.com/pipesmokingrabbits, come check us out at a show, support local music..alot of great local bands around right now!