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Soledad Brothers

May 15th, 2005 · post by anon · Make a comment

Soledad Bros

(Honesty, Music & The blues

The Soledad Blues)

J. Strange

The Spitz will never be a likely venue for the energetic force of punk rock but thankfully the blues festival in April brought with it the inflammable talents of The Soledad Brothers: Johnny Walker (guitar, vocals & harmonica), Oliver Henry (guitar, saxophone & vocals) and Ben Swank (drums & percussion). The three piece, originating from Michigan, USA, has had several sensationalist breaks from giving Jack White slide lessons to being graced with a John Peel seal of approval. But underlying all this rubbish is an honest Rock ‘n’ Roll band who loves to play music. “We’re always gonna have trouble being placed. We’re not garage punk, we’re not standard blues. No one really knows what to do with us.” says a frustrated Swank. The Spitz is hardly a venue for getting a good sweaty rock on “Can you stop jumping around, I canny see the stage properly!” barks an angry Scotsman. Can you even hear it? Through the stroking of his chin, I think he missed the point.

Detroit’s music scene has always been vital, but like everything in life there is a reason. The racial tensions, riots and the closures of its industries has created, as a by product, some of the most lively, honest music makers in the western world and music scenes full of vivacity. “It’s not so much a racial thing. It’s a class thing.” states Swank. Thunder continues “We come from towns that are really blue collar and all the fucking factories got shut down and moved out, so everyone has serious economic problems… Unemployment in Detroit is like 50%… 50%! In Toledo it’s around 25%” Henry: “And if they close the car plant there (Toledo) then that’s another 2000 jobs gone and it’s gonna be even worse…When you grow up as a blue collared kid and your family all work blue collared jobs, you don’t really see yourself doing much more, so you don’t really mind throwing yourself into something you love because its easy to see you’re never gonna make lots of money anyway. You’ve got nothing really to loose and at least it’s something that matters to you.”

They have recently gone from intermediate independent label Estrus, to Sanctuary. As with Household Name in London there seems to be camaraderie between the bands on the intermediate label, how was it when you moved to the bigger label estrus? Henry joins “It was never so much a label thing. The camaraderie happens with bands as long as you have the same spirit. We were cool, some Estrus bands, In the Red bands, bands on big labels. I think it’s like that with the whole garage punk or die thing, but we never really had that attitude… But we’re still tight with a lot of those people because we happen to share a lot of the same spirit in a lot of things but with us it’s never been linked by a label.”

Soledad Brothers have just finished their next album, ‘Dark Horses’. “We just recorded it in Bordeaux in a studio cabin kind of setting. We just mastered it the other day. It’s our most cohesive album, yet at the same time it’s very well rounded. We’ve got more rock songs than the last one but some of it is really dark and psychedelic. Somehow it’s cohesive and to us it’s a really good rock record, it’s not garagey or punk, it’s a good rock n’ roll album that we’re really proud of. The good thing about doing it independent for a while is you get enough time to evolve and experiment and develop a sound. If you get confined to a big label too soon you don’t get enough space very early on.”

Soledad brothers release Dark Horses on Loop in the UK in late Aug/Sep

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