LA's Jesus Sons have come to save your tattered souls. Some folks spend their lives in front of the keyboard, type writer and Moleskins trying to write the great, all-American novel, story, tale, or whatever they want it to be. In that same vein, former member of The Spyrals' Brandon Wurtz, with Shannon Dean, Bert Hoover, Chance Welton, and Erik Lake have made the all-American sound. The Sons soak their chords from the dense and uptight urban environments to the riffs that rock the rusted biblebelt interstates the tie in the Southern salutes, to tightening up each coastal sea to shining sea. With a first to Jesus Sons' self-titled, the progeny of patriarchs, patriots and outlaws curate a western sound that instills envy in the hearts of all European sons. With their self-titled available January 28 from Mock Records, get in on the inside savior scheme here.
The messianic progeny make music more like rock and roll prodigies, on the opening number, “All These Furs”. The guitars are tried, tested, and aren't messing around with any sweet talk. Hitting up the honky-tonks, is the whiskey steeped “Who's Around” that makes the rounds while trying to round up a posse of a few good men, or just a few cool Sons. The sleaze and sure-fire sidewinder percussion and beer gut guitar rolls out the best transgressive romanticism, with the pick-up line invitational of, “I Wanna Be Your Man”. The bar room amour turns the table with the slow country western twang and turn instrumental desolation of, “You Put a Spell On Me”. Desperation and destitution never sounded so at home and comfortable, than on the soul grabbing, “Don't Wanna Die”.
The home on the range away from home living keeps on keeping on with, “Ain't Talkin' Homesick”. Jesus Sons take the down, out, and derelict situations and spin it around to be a debaucherous celebration of howls, hisses, and all the grimy attitudes they can muster up. “Out of Time” runs around, out of mind, out of place, hanging out anywhere they want in “the age of the young”. “Melt” provides an interlude instrumental moment where percussion mimics rattlers and the other dangers that lie in wait and lurk about the prairie. Bringing down the house, “Going Down” embodies the rollicking ride down the highway to perdition, with Brandon and the gang loving every moment. Closing up their self-titled, Jesus Sons consume themselves in the cautionary delights and rewrite their own Gospels according to their own bourbon soaked doctrines.
Brandon talks about the band's favorite cult flicks, the Velvet Underground song of their namesake, and weighing in on the San Francisco to LA exodus.
Tell us about what's the haps with the garage rockers in LA lately. It seems like you all get some of the Bay Area's rising stars often and always…maybe it's the industry access draw, I dunno.
We just moved to LA from San Francisco in April. This is a great place to play music, or do anything at all really if you're good at what you do. I can't speak for all of the many many artists, musicians and creative people that have been part of the mass exodus from SF to LA, but I know that I got pretty fed up with the way that city started to devalue most things interesting. In any case, I've had a lot more fun in LA in the last year. I feel like I just moved to California.
How did you all first join up as Jesus Sons?
Shannon and I met first at some local shows in SF. I was playing in a band there, The Spyrals. We started talking about putting our own band together on the side and it became my main focus pretty quickly. In the beginning we were playing with our good friends, Rob Good on bass and Ian McBrayer on drums who both later joined Warm Soda. We wrote the record pretty quick, even before we played our first show. Since moving to LA in April, Shannon and I picked up Bert Hoover, Erik Lake and Chance Welton on slide guitar, bass and drums. They are all my shining stars.
Would you say you all agreed on Jesus Sons because your big Denis Johnson fans or fans of the VU, a la the “and I feel like Jesus' son” lyric from “Heroin”?
'I feel just like Jesus' son' is one of the most incredible statements ever written. Thank you, Lou Reed. We wanted to pick a name that would stand out and also reference someone that influenced our sound. After coming up with a lot of other really great band names like “Bro Diddley” and “Blob Dylan” we all decided on Jesus Sons pretty quickly.
It seems like there is a Lou Reed-ian/James Osterberg thing happening with your song title approaches from “All These Furs”, “I Wanna Be Your Man”.
I don't think the title approaches were intentional, but that's nice of you to say. Now I wanna be your dog.
I dig the Jesus Sons r n r approach, you make the whole concept so fresh, regardless of the fact that it's been around since the Golden Olden days. What's the secret?
There are a lot of bands from the 1960's that were huge influences to us when we started. When we got together and began writing, it was important that we didn't re-hash what has already been done exactly. We never wanted to be a novelty band or some shit like that. We dove in to other genres like rhythm and blues, and soul and a lot of earlier music that influenced all of the rock and roll bands we loved from the mid to late 1960's. Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Everly Brothers, Carl Perkins, Wanda Jackson, Link Wray, The Coasters, Fred McDowell, Jimmy Reed, Wilson Pickett, Howlin' Wolf, Blind Willie McTell, Son House, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Alan Lomax recordings and a long long list of mostly earlier and earlier groups and players started to become our favorites instead of just that 60's and 70's music that we grew up listening to. It opened to the door to begin somewhere earlier than the Velvet Underground or Rolling Stones and start to understand where they got their sound from instead.
Favorite 60s motorcycle flicks?
Easy Rider obviously, Glory Stompers, Devil's Angels, The Born Losers, Pink Angels, The Jesus Trip, and the ultimate motorcycle movie, The Wild One. Not from the 60's, but essentially the script and premise for almost every motorcycle film made between 1953 and Easy Rider. Brando's character is the smoothest dude to ever exist.
Favorite 70s cult flicks of interest?
Bert loves Phantom of the Paradise because he has impeccable taste. A tall glass of wine and that film on repeat is what any lady can expect from a first date with him. Line up ladies, he's single. I'm a pretty huge fan of Switchblade Sisters. There are a ton of tough chicks in that movie and who doesn't love tough chicks? Death Race 2000 is the greatest. RIP David Carradine/Frankenstein.
Any words of foreword and warning that your listener's should know before indulging your upcoming self-titled?
This LP was written to put on for the good times. Whether you're on the road, out drinking, dancing, headed to church, playing pool, or enjoying your medical card freedom in the privacy of your own home. Most importantly, you should put this record on when you're getting frisky with that special someone, dump 'em out and have a bawl. Get that coke bottle clear vinyl before it's gone and get out there and shake it.
Jesus Sons' self-titled will be available January 28 from Mock Records.