Guns N’ Roses. I was in grade school, and had a passing interest in music – just whatever my folks listened to or what was on the radio. Then my dad bought Use Your Illusion I (either trying to find “Knockn’ on Heaven’s Door” , or “November Rain”) and hated the rest of it. So I got a hold of it, and that was the beginning of the end. They swore!
Who were your heroes growing up?
Musically, it’s run the gamut over the years, from GnR (see above), to Bowie, Ginger Wildheart, Johnny Thunders, Stiv Bators, Keith Richards & the Micks (Jagger and Taylor)… Michael Jackson and the Beach Boys when I was younger… I don’t know that they really count as heroes, but I sure as hell looked up to them (and still do).
Otherwise… Fuck, I don’t know. I was honestly a pretty apathetic kid for the most part. I don’t remember caring about or being inspired by anyone enough that I would call them a hero. I mean, soldiers and firefighters and whatnot fit the bill, but I can’t honestly say that I cared while I was growing up.
What was your first instrument?
The first instrument I learned to play was the piano (not counting kazoos or whatever), but I was just borrowing my folks’. The first instrument that was MINE, was a trumpet. Which was great, because when I got hassled by some older kids after band practice one sunny afternoon, I was able to smash them in the face with it and run off. Don’t know what happened to it… Might’ve been a rental actually? Next was a horrible blue (with black stripes?) Jackson guitar… sounded and played like crap, but man did I have fun with it. It got lost when my folks moved while I was in college, which I’m still pissed about.
What was your first rock concert and what was its impact on you?
Technically the Beach Boys when I was like 5, but I was just along for the ride with my folks. My first show with friends… Probably either Pantera, Alanis Morissette (I know), or Smashing Pumpkins/Garbage? I’m honestly not sure. And probably the biggest impact on me was Pumpkins/Garbage – because Garbage opened and put on a killer show, and the Pumpkins went on and were lifeless and boring, even though I liked them more. That firmly cemented the importance of “the show” rather than just playing.
Elementary/middle school… I think my first song was a catchy track titled “Field Trip to Hell.” It came naturally, but that doesn’t mean I was any good at it. I definitely have to work harder at it these days (for the most part – sometimes I get in the groove and it just spills out, which is really the best feeling this side of sex but I still don’t know if I’m any good at it.
How did you guys choose the songs for the debut EP?
‘Cause they kick ass. Why else? Honestly, while PLS was becoming 3 Parts Dead, there was a lot of bullshit going on for JC and myself (the PLS remnants). Once we started playing with Fitz and Ramon, we were all just having so much fun, and these songs sort of happened, and we were just so stoked on them that we put them out right away. I mean, we had been playing together for maybe 2 months when we went into the studio.
Any plans to release a full-length follow-up?
Definitely. We’ve been writing since we put out the EP, and are looking forward to showing everyone what we’ve been working on. We’ll get into the studio soon, but we’ve been keeping busy playing out around the country in the meantime. Fingers crossed for late spring/early summer.
Would you consider recording one cover to bring more attention to the band like VH did and, if so, what might be strong candidates for you guys to do?
I’d love to, but that’s definitely a secondary priority to writing our own tracks. We do some live covers, both obscure tracks and more popular ones. I guess if we were gonna do a cover for attention we’d have to pick some top 40 track that we all abhor. But I’d rather do something by the Wildhearts, or the Stones, or the Distillers, or… You know, something else that really speaks to me as a fan and we can just have fun playing. But that kinda defeats the “pop appeal” aspect of it. Maybe doing “Do You Love Me” (a la the Heartbreakers cover) would be a good middle ground.
As 3PD you’ve already shared the stage with a number of luminaries as a solid opener, what’s the secret?
We never thought we were a “local band”, and we never acted like one, and so those opportunities have always just kind of fallen into our laps. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we work our asses off to pursue them, write (we think) catchy tunes, and have managed to get a ton of support from some really amazing friends and fans that have helped push us to that next level.
If you could go out on tour with any band this year who would it be and why?
Haha, why, do you know someone looking for an opener? Seriously though, that’s a tough question to answer. As a fan, I’d love to hit the road with the Wildhearts, or the Supersuckers, or any of those bands that never seems to leave my cd player. As a professional musician, I’d probably want to hit the road with someone like Nickelback, or Hinder, that’s packing shows, to get in front of some new faces that would dig what we do but might not hear us otherwise.
I hear Motley Crue is doing a “farewell” tour, so maybe that’s the sweet spot in the middle… Nikki Sixx, if you’re reading this – give me a call if you need an opener!
Your new record as Wood Shampoo is a greatest hit of sorts; must be great to get 17 songs off your chest?
If feels like we just won the WBA title against Mike Tyson and we even have the bite marks to prove it. We took some of the best songs we had written in the last couple of years that no one has ever heard and a few new cuts as well and we started up the band’s Lear and headed up to Gateway Mastering Studios in Maine to see the master himself, Bob Ludwig. After Bob performed his magic, we were all systems go.
It seems so few records these days have a sense of humor unless it’s tied in with a band’s gimmick overtly, where does Wood Shampoo fit in that spectrum?
Our motto is simple: we have nothing to lose, so let’s have so fun for crying out loud and try to put a smile on our fan’s faces. Life’s tough enough, so we want to give everyone an outlet to escape from that. Anything goes in our writing: from sexy girls, vampires, aliens, the crazy world of the stock market, dead rock stars, crack, cover girls, gambling – you name it, we probably have a song about it and if we don’t, then we will for the next album.
Do you think being from New York gives you some sense of entitlement when it comes to rocking (hard)?
That’s an interesting question. Would you be able to make that a multiple choice question and give me a wink when I am near the right answer (that used to work for me in my high school French class)? I think there is so much top-shelf quality homegrown music here thrown in with the greatest bands in the world always stopping by to make NYC an extremely competitive market. You just cannot survive in front of the NYC fans unless you are at your best because they will not settle for anything less. They’ll take you out in stretchers if you’re off your game – they’re that sledgehammer tough. Even my own family throws rotten tomatoes at me in those cases, so use your imagination.
Every track on the disc was picked by a panel of experts in the field using our proprietary analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. In other words, we like all the cuts. That being said, some of the ones that stand out for us are Wanna Be A Dead Rock Star, Top of the World, She’s So Fine, Cover Girl, Where’s the Party Earthling?, You Suck (Mr. Vampire), Ticker Tape, One More Chance, and of course our title track Crack, Crack Heart Attack. They just have a certain je ne sais quoi. They are packed full of radio friendly hooks on every level and that’s how we like them. You’re lucky enough to get one or two on an album and here you are getting a lifetime supply. Go to our website, WOODSHAMPOO.net and hear them for yourselves and you be the judge and leave us a comment while you’re at it. We like to read them at breakfast.
I would say the cut that’s our least favorite is Three Cheers because it doesn’t fit into the format as well for this album, but we put it on there due to popular demand. It’s like early Bruce Springsteen meets Lou Reed and they decide to take a walk on the wild side. There’s great sax on that one from Frankie Tee.
What’s the story behind Crack, Crack Heart Attack the tune? I understand the CIA was involved?
What I’m about to tell you is the absolute truth (writer’s note: be aware Murph Daniels is currently wired up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and has been connected to a Delco car battery by a couple of independent contractors who work for a nameless agency. They are also wearing cheap suits.). We were in the studio and one of my producers, who also happens to be a guitarist on the record, Eddie Martinez, asked me to play him the day’s songs I had written for the session. Turns out nothing caught his ear that day and we just don’t waste our time with a song that doesn’t make that first cut, so he suggested a song I had done on a Murph Daniels’ solo record that he really loved, but thought we could do it much better now. That song was Crack, Crack Heart Attack and everyone at the session knocked in out of the ballpark that day. On a crazy side note, when I get a bad headache, I have found if I play this song really loud in the car, it will cure me after a play or two. Try it for yourself, I’m not kidding. JJ Cale had been an inspiration for me with the writing of this song because I thought if he could have a hit with the song Cocaine then why couldn’t someone have a hit song with the drug crack. He just passed away and will be missed.
Well, without getting into the budget, because the accountants are watching me 24/7, it’s really quite simple. You don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on studio costs, so why not get the greatest musicians alive to come down and do it right in one or two takes. Co-producers and guitarists Tommy Byrnes and Eddie Martinez are masters at their craft. They also put a crack (excuse the pun) team together. We not only captured Wood Shampoo at its prime, but had fun doing it. I called up Gateway Mastering and sent them the tracks and Bob Ludwig and team thought it was something they could definitely work with. They brought out sounds from the mix I had never even heard before. Bob is a genius and just an all around great guy. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned from working with him. And let’s not forget our fifth Beatle, Rich Gibbons. He was our engineer and mixer on most of the tracks and always had Wood Shampoo’s back. Rich fits in so great and I think part of the reason is that he is a Senior Producer at The Howard Stern Show and with that job comes a great sense of humor.
How does the writing process work for you and how do you know or feel a song is complete and ready for recording?
I usually hear or read something that catches my attention and knocks me off my feet. I then use that phrase as a building block for the rest of the song. Other times I come up with a catchy riff first and the lyrics follow somehow as I play the riff over and over again on guitar. I take the songs to my producers, which usually is Tommy, and they continue the process. Inspirations for some of my songs have been from hearing someone saying “you suck” to their parent and wanting to find a funny way to use it in a song which turned out to be You Suck (Mr. Vampire), to having my best friend ask me for years if he could have my guitars when I die and that one later turned into My Best Friend Died (and Left Me His Guitar).
What’s the first album you ever bought and the first you ever tossed out in a disappointment (if any?)?
I think the first album I ever bought was Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.” I was truly amazed by the musicianship. I think I probably traded the albums I didn’t like for the ones I wanted at a local store so I never actually would throw one out.
Gun, or billy club, to your head: what are your favorite three albums of all time?
I’m a huge music fan and I really love a mix of everything from Talking Heads, The Clash, Guns N’ Roses, Elvis Costello, Nirvana, Otis Redding, James Brown, Johnny Hallyday, The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, The Jam, Al Green, Joe Williams, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Roy Orbison, Hoodoo Gurus, Moby Grape, Toots Thielemans, and Johnny Hallyday. Stop me when I pass three okay?
If you had put out a Wood Shampoo double-live opus in the 70’s, what would it have been called and how were sales?
I think we would have called it “Wood Shampoo: One Lump or Two?” and it would have been a limited sold-out run of one million copies in blood red vinyl.