Bang Camaro – Interview
Bang Camaro rocks my balls off. And then rocks so hard I grow a new pair bigger and badder than the last. From 80’s rock riffs to lyrics that were literally made for singing along, Bang Camaro has successfully created a new spin on a genre long since established. From 12 year old gamers to my dad (who, at one time told me that White Snake was “the gods of metal”), Bang Camaro’s offer of a good time entices just about everyone. Maybe not Aunt Judy who hates anything but Bing Crosby Christmas Specials on 78s, but everyone else, for sure. Fucking Aunt Judy. That chick SUCKS. I got a chance to speak to co-founder Alex Necochea about all kinds of stupid, nerdy shit. Here goes:
Racket Jonathan: Have you ever been concerned that there are people with an Ewok fetish?
Bang Camaro Alex: Have I been concerned with it? No, not at all. Do I believe it exists? Yes, definitely. If we’re talking about weird shit, I think Bryn the other day was talking about turning our next video into a breast-feeding fetish.
RJ: Yes. I’ve seen different numbers and seen different pictures as to the amount of people in the band, but how many people are in Bang Camaro currently?
BCA: Well it really depends on the day of the week. Today it is probably three, but hopefully by the end of the week I can get that number up to twelve for our show in New York City.
RJ: Is it kind of a pain in the ass getting everyone together for shows?
BCA: Yeah, definitely. We’ve been off the road for a little while now so everybody has kind of gone back to their everyday lives. A lot of guys have day jobs, and girlfriends, and wives, and things like that. So the logistics around getting people to a rehearsal is difficult enough, getting them to shows, especially when they are out of town, tends to be a little more hairy, but usually when we get into something where we’re on the road for an extended period of time it gets a little easier because they have nothing else to do.
RJ: Who in the band would you say has the most boring life?
BCA: Probably me. I spend a lot of hours staring at my computer just trying to figure out how to get people to come to rehearsals or to get them to show up at the show. And believe me, that’s not exciting. There’s nothing glamorous about it.
RJ: Oh, no I completely agree, trying to run Racket and organize who’s doing what is a pain in the ass, too. I can only imagine getting people to do shit at the same time.
BCA: Yeah, fortunately because of our numbers those duties kind of get spread around, mostly between Bryn Bennett, who’s our co-founder and the lead guitarist and myself, as well as members of our management team. Some of our other vocalists are pretty good at corralling people and trying to get them into the same room, or at least booking hotels for us.
RJ: What would you say is the biggest misconception about Bang Camaro?
BCA: I think from the get-go it’s been that, whether or not we’re a joke. When we first started out we were playing here in Boston which was pretty heavy in the hipster/indie rock and we were bringing back this kind of this hard rock revivalist kind of sound. Not only were we doing it with like four guitarists we were packing the stage with anywhere between 12 and 20 people. For a really long time questions were like, “Are you guys fucking joking?” and the answer is, “No! We are not a joke!” We definitely take a lot of liberties in our music in terms of we having our own inside jokes and we like to have a lot of fun, but really, Bang Camaro is not a joke, we take what we do quite seriously.
RJ: I’m actually kind of surprised, are you from Boston?
BCA: Yeah I currently reside in Boston, I’m not originally from here, I grew up in central Pennsylvania.
RJ: Okay cause I was thinking that that wasn’t very much of a Boston accent.
BCA: Ha ha, no we don’t have that many tried and true Boston guys in the band, a lot of us are transplants who live here in the city for anywhere between 15 to 3 years. We had a couple of guys who were grown local but they don’t have the thick Boston accent you’d expect.
RJ: What is the biggest drawback in terms of writing songs when you have that many people in the band?
BCA: Probably getting to the eleventh hour when we’re in the recording studio and we get a couple of guys who cross their arms and refuse to sing a line or two because they think it’s too over the top or too ridiculous. Then at that point it kind of turns into this debate on whether or not we’re going to say, “She deceives me” or “lick it up”. We get into some pretty serious debates over some pretty silly lyrics.
RJ: Is it easier to divvy up all the groupies?
BCA: You mean the underage male gamers that come to our show? We haven’t had that problem in getting that worked out at all. Usually a couple of guys will just hand out and talk video games with them, and some of us will come up with elaborate schemes that involve pantsing them. But if you can come up with any great ideas that would entice more attractive, single women to come to our shows I’m all over it.
RJ: I am actually a little surprised that it would be underage dudes versus late thirties early forties women with like, White Snake shirts.
BCA: Well yeah, we can generally draw a line down the center of the crowd of people who come to see us. Mostly when we’re playing out of town, outside of the Boston/New York area, we’ll play to a younger crowd that has generally discovered us through playing games like Rock Band and Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero, and you know sometimes there tends to be this younger generation of kids who more often than not tend to fall on the male side. But then again we do have that set where you know, closer to the Boston area we do tend to get that older crowd and we start playing in the over 21 clubs. And a lot of those people want to see the band for like Motley Crue and Def Leppard and Skid Row and Warrant and Winger and wanted to see all those band in their heyday and are just coming up to us after shows and thanking us for bringing that sound back. So we’re not worried about our older set of groupies but they usually tend to be more well-behaved or married.
RJ: What mid-80’s cock-rock band is your favorite?
BCA: Like real cock-rock? I’d probably have to go with Skid Row, I mean, those guys were definitely singing about girls, drugs, booze, fucking, and being really dumb people fucking up.
RJ: Dude I’ll never forget being in like the 7th grade and jerking off to the Warrant “Cherry Pie” video.
BCA: Yeah, was Bobby Brown in the video? She’s hot.
RJ: She was so hot.
BCA: Yeah I remember her in that video. I don’t remember so much about the rest of the song, but I remember her in the video.
RJ: You should get her for your breast-feeding video.
BCA: I think she’d be into it.
RJ: Yeah, she’d probably get a little resurgence in popularity.
BCA: Well, that’s what we’re all looking for. Yeah we were just talking to Scott Bacula, from Quantum Leap, about appearing in our video, and he was really into the idea.
RJ: I’d be so stoked, Quantum Leap was the shit!
BCA: Across the board in the band we’ve all loved Quantum Leaps and I’ve been pretty much revisiting the entire series on DVD in the last couple of weeks. So we’ve been throwing around ideas for an upcoming video and one of them was why don’t we recreate an episode of Quantum Leap or create our own episode of Quantum Leap and then the conversation turned towards Scott Bacula and then our movie director put out a call to his agent and when he was done playing tennis, he apparently was flattered and kind of seemed into it.
RJ: The ending of the entire series I thought it sucked. Were you pissed or were you okay with it?
BCA: At the time I was really fucked up because I thought Quantum Leap was starting to get really good, and at the time I didn’t really understand what the hell that last episode was all about and it wasn’t until recently when I was reading about it that apparently the show was cancelled after all the filming was done. So that episode wasn’t supposed to be the last episode of Quantum Leap. So they just kind of worked with what they had and the show never went on…. Bummer.
RJ: I was so pissed…
BCA: Yeah I was pretty bummed out too. I just actually saw an episode again for the first time in like 15 years, and it made a little bit more sense to me, but still…
RJ: I think I was like 14 when that thing ended and I was like, “Fuck Dr. Sam Beckett, fuck Al and fuck Ziggy. I never want to see Dean Stockwell and shit again!”
BCA: Well I’m gonna do my best to see what happens and see if we can get Sam Beckett and Al back into a video and see if we can continue the story. If that doesn’t work I’m told that they are actually revamping the series, with new actors and the whole thing… stay tuned I guess.
RJ: Here we go, what we’ll do is we’ll have Sam Beckett slide into the chick from Warrant and then she’ll breast feed while Al is fiddling with Ziggy off to the side.
RJ: There’s your video right there.
BCA: Well, depending on what we decide what to do in a video like that I doubt we could get it past the MTV censors.
RJ: Fucking MTV. Does anyone actually watch MTV anymore?
BCA: Uh, I don’t know at all. Even my little sister says she’s had it with the reality shows.
RJ: What is the worst music you’ve heard your sister listen to so far?
BCA: Oh wow, well I’ll start with the best thing I’ve heard my sister listen to recently, and that was The Plain White T’s, but then she had all these CD’s of these really contemporary screamo bands and she would put one after another into the van’s CD player and we’d get to the point where I’d ask her what we were listening to and she couldn’t be sure without having to pop out the CD and look at it. So I don’t know if that tells you, but man, I love my sister very much.
RJ: It just seems like a lot of effort to write lyrics that no one is going to understand.
BCA: Yeah exactly. I mean, I don’t listen to Bright Eyes music either, there’s just something really annoying when he gets into his little whiney, “I wrote this song because I have feelings” sort of thing, I just have to tune out.
RJ: I think feelings are overrated.
BCA: Absolutely, I think I definitely get to that point and that’s a pretty huge reason why Bang Camaro started off with a minimalist lyrical approach. We just wanted to sing about having a good time.
RJ: Good good, that fucking needs to happen some more! Are you guys stoked or pissed off that people mostly know you from video games?
BCA: No, not at all actually, I get that question every so often and even when I’m at shows where I’m meeting kids who are seeing us for the first time and they’ll apologize to me for not knowing our name outside of Rock Band, and I think that’s how it should be, I think it’s great that these games exist and that they’re popular enough to revitalize new music and old music for new fans. It doesn’t disappoint me in the least.
RJ: I remember we got the first CD of yours when it came out, before Guitar Hero came out, or at least before I was aware of Guitar Hero 2, and I got it and then, saw that you were on GH2, and I was like, “Shit, hell yeah! I’ve got that CD.” And then I found out that everybody knew of it and I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was.
BCA: Sorry dude…
RJ: It’s alright; I often find out that I’m not as cool as I think I am.
BCA: Oh man, that’s the story of my life.
RJ: So when you’re not rocking out with a dozen other guys what do you generally do with yourself?
BCA: Um… I drink a lot… I try to get as much sleep as possible. I run up egregious phone bills… ha ha… no seriously I spend pretty much all of my waking hours on Bang Camaro. Whether it’s conspiring with our managers to figure out where our next step is going to be, booking tours with our booking agent, to organizing rehearsals, to trying to come up with whole new guitar riffs… it’s pretty much all encompassing. It’s all Bang Camaro, all the time for me.
RJ: Nice, now is Bang Camaro a certain kind of sex-mobile, or is it just some random name you guys came up with?
BCA: Ha ha ha, it’s both… originally the name Bang Camaro actually came from our guitar player Brent, years ago when Brent and I would get together and drink Jack Daniels and ask each other what would make you cool. We would talk about traveling the country in Brent’s van and recording hot riffs. Playing that style of music, growing mustaches and calling ourselves Bang Camaro. Or if you’d like the other story, I met Brandon our bass player and Dave at a Black Flag concert and we all figured out that we were dating the same girl and she happened to drive a Camaro.
RJ: Were there any other names in the running or was that pretty much it?
BCA: No, it was Bang Camaro from the beginning. Never looked back.
RJ: Who has been the most interesting act you’ve played with in terms of “I never thought I would play with these people, ever”?
BCA: There have been a few actually. We once played after a group of bikini clad girls, I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of the band but they were pretty fucking awesome. We once opened up for Slaughter in Milwaukee and I never in a million years thought I would get the opportunity to get to play on a big festival stage like that in front of thousands and thousands of Slaughter fans, much less, right afterwards when we got off stage Slaughter asked us, the entire band, I think there were about 20 of us there, to get on stage and sing. It was pretty awesome.
RJ: With so many people do you guys have the most fucked up tour rider ever?
BCA: We did initially, we had things like, 2 bottles of Jack Daniels, Vanilla Stoli, and a goat. And we realized that we were paying for all of that anyways so we stripped it down to pretty much just a case of water, a case of sugar-free Red Bull and some pita chips.
RJ: I love pita chips.
BCA: That’s the thing about the rider that you don’t necessarily understand going into it. Like you wait all these years to get a rider from the booking agents but what happens is that whatever you ask for, it just comes out of it from your bottom line, you literally end up having to pay for it yourself. So you make the money and put it into your gas tank or hotel room or whatever rather than just drinking our faces off.
RJ: Got it. Well do you have anything to add, do you have any questions that you’ve never been asked but you’ve always wanted to talk about?
BCA: Yeah I’ve pretty much been asked every question I’ve ever been interested in answering. I would like to mention that our second album, Bang Camaro 2, is in stores now across the country, available at Best Buy, Target, and wherever else you buy records. And it would be really cool if people are interested in discovering more about Bang Camaro that they go and check us out. Aside from that we also have our latest single, “Revolution” is being featured in the upcoming Sims 3 game which is being put out by EA games. We were real fortunate to sign a publishing deal with their publishing arm called Artwork where they have been really supportive and they are going to be placing a lot of our music in their upcoming games.
RJ: Do you guys get free games?
BCA: That’s a really good question. The last time we were out in LA, Kyle, a guy who works there at EA invited us to come to the EA offices the morning after our show and he said he could load us up with as much free shit as we wanted. Unfortunately we stayed up all night and managed to sleep through it, so no, we didn’t get any free games.
RJ: That sucks, I love free shit.
BCA: Yeah, well we were dumb about it.
RJ: Well, that’s it for me.
BCA: Alright! And you guys are located on the west coast right?
RJ: Yeah we’re in San Dimas, where Bill and Ted are from.
BCA: Ah yeah!
–Jonathan “The Emperor” Yost