We all remember the British Invasion—yeah. That glorious time when our friends from across the pond gave us the gift that keeps on giving: rock. But, we’re blessed with even more ambitious and talented bands as rock ‘n’ roll seeps to the underground scene, overshadowed by pop and hip hop. That’s right. Another British band is heading over to the States to provide another dose of heavy guitar chords, hardcore melodies, and catchy tunes. Granted, this band is more of a melting pot of metal, rock, and subdivisions of the two beloved genres, they’re just what the doctor has ordered.

Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats have risen from rock ‘n’ roll’s premature burial and are out for vengeance as they make the trek around the U.S., Europe, and Australia in the next three months. And with their fifth album, The Night Creeper, out after their five-year anniversary, they’ve got a nice clutch on the rock/metal scenes across the globe. Kevin “Uncle Acid” Starrs (lead guitar/vocals/organ), Yotam Rubinger (guitar/backing vocals), and Itamar Rubinger (drums) are packing their DVDs and loading their instruments for another head-banging tour. Uncle Acid himself gave me the details of what makes the band tick.

The tour starts in September—are you preparing for it yet?

            Yeah—yeah! We’re just sort of figuring out the logistics, backline, all that sort of boring stuff that you have to do to get ready for it. But we’ve not started rehearsing for it yet. That will be happening next week; we’ll start rehearsing setlists and stuff like that. So, yeah, we’re just getting ready to get going, really.

Have you come up with a certain setlist yet, or will you just kind of keep each night open for some wiggle room?

            Yeah, we’ve got quite a large number of songs and we’ll sort of figure it out from there and maybe change it up each night, maybe drop a couple of songs, put other ones in there. It depends on the audience’s reaction to things, so I think it’s gonna be good! Because we’ve got a new album, I’m not sure how many tracks to play from that album yet, it’ll just sort of depend on how it goes down, really.

Are hoping to play a lot of new tracks?

            Ah, we probably wouldn’t play more than four or five tracks from the new album just because a lot of people haven’t, wouldn’t have heard it or really have had enough time to digest the new album because it’s getting released I think the fourth of September and the tour starts not long after that, so people won’t be that familiar with it yet, so we don’t want to bombard them with stuff that they haven’t heard.

That’s understandable—you want your audiences to be singing along. And they’ll get a little taste of what’s new, live. But you guys are from England, does the country support doom metal, or stoner rock?

            Yeah, I guess so. I suppose there is a scene here, but it tends to… I think it’s more accepted in Europe and in the States as well. There seems to be more of a demand for it. I dunno, it’s sort of a weird one, actually. But yeah, there is some kind of a scene here that appreciates this sort of music. Rock music isn’t mainstream anymore, which could be a good thing, because we’re back down to the underground. But everyone just follows America’s lead, so whatever Americans are listening to, this country would just want to follow that. We’ve become just like a mini America in some ways. But luckily, our fans in America they understand that there is good music out there.

            I mean, there are still huge rock festivals in the summer all over Europe, so there is still a demand for it, but it’s just not as big as what hip hop and all that kind of stuff is. That’s just really taken over all of the world, I suppose.

I totally get it—my heart belongs to rock. But back to your tour, are there any venues you’re really looking forward to play?

            I was looking at some of the venues quite recently, and looking at some of the architecture and there are a lot of old theaters and things like that. I think the one in L.A. looked pretty interesting. It’s kind of an old ‘40s theater—it looks pretty cool. But I don’t think we’ve played in any of these venues before, so we’re kind of taking a step up, so it’ll be good to play in all of them, really, and see what they sound like.

You’re into the whole historical aspect of the buildings—does that coincide with the band’s interest in vintage instruments?

            Yeah, we do use some vintage equipment, but also some modern equipment. We’re not really prejudiced against new stuff—if it’s starting to get good, then we use it. But I think we’re pretty open-minded to other stuff, too.

Well, it seems to work! What kind of vintage equipment do you use?

            Uhm, old guitar amps… On the new album, we were using an old Fender Tweed with a 1950s whatever it was… Our other guitar player, he uses a Fender Princeton amp from like the ‘60s. There are certain things we can use—the older stuff. But I know me personally, I use newer guitars just because I don’t feel that precious about them. I can take them out on the road and if I smash it up a little bit, it doesn’t really bother me too much. And a lot of the new guitars can actually play pretty good alone.

Would you say that the newer guitars are more durable, or are the older ones simply more expensive?

            Probably not [more durable]. It’s just because a lot of the older ones are more expensive and you’re sort of almost afraid to take them anywhere, or afraid to use them just because of the price, whereas with the new guitar, it’s a little bit cheaper and you don’t bother as much with getting it scratched up.

Fair point—I mean, I have a few guitars at home and I’m still careful with them, but they aren’t old or anything.

            Oh yeah? See—you can still get new guitars that are really good!

Totally! But to complement the older instruments, do you use older recording equipment?

            Ah, again, it’s kind of a mix. In one album, it was mostly recorded in vintage equipment, so we were in there for three days and we just recorded the basic guitars, drums, the backing tracks, all live in the one room, with everybody in there. And it was with all of these analog compressors and vintage microphones, and things like that. But once we had them, I took the songs away to my home studio and I was using digital equipment—keyboards, and digital interfaces and stuff like that. So it’s a good mix. If it sounds good, it’d be silly not to use it.

Exactly—and, like I said before, it’s been working well for you. What recording technique do you prefer? Do you have a preference?

            I would say… I mean, the older stuff does sound really, really good. It’s got a certain quality to it that you just can’t get using a digital equivalent, so if there is recording taped it adds real character to the songs. But I think the way we did it was perfect, because most of it is on tape and it’s through using old, analog stuff. But if you just use a little bit of digital stuff, here and there, it kind of seems to fit in quite nicely.

So, by using older instruments and technology, do you think that brings in some older fans to the mix?

            Yeah, I dunno. It’s kinda… Well, we get such a wide range of people who come to the shows. We get the older rock guys, and we get the metal heads, or hipsters, or the people that are into psychedelic music. So we get such a wide range of people, you know, young and old, it’s hard to sort of pinpoint where they all come from, really.

That’s understandable. And on your upcoming tour, there are two other bands accompanying you guys here in the States. Have you played with them before?

Nope! No, this’ll be the first time—I’ve never even met them, or anything, so it should be interesting.

Wait, what? Are you nervous about that at all?

            (Laughs) Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, I mean, very rarely do you meet any assholes on the road, or anything. And most people that tour are genuinely good people, so, yeah. I can’t foresee any problems we might have with them.

Oh, good. The less to worry about, the better. How did that get set up, if you’ve never spoken to them?

            It was just sort of through recommendations. Basically through all of the agents and everything—everybody putting their opinion into it like, “Check this band out,” or whatever. They just seemed like two bands that had a lot of fans and they both sound really good, so it just seemed like a perfect choice, really, for both bands.

Is that the same case with the band you’re touring with in Europe? Spiders?

            Ah, Spiders are quite different because I’ve seen them quite a few times live, playing with other bands and things like that. I’ve never really met them properly, but I know people that know them. They’re such a good band and I thought they’d be perfect for the tour. And luckily, they wanted to do it as well, so that was good.

Hey! That’s good luck. And you’ve got a new album out in September, The Night Creeper. In the band’s five years of existence, you’ve released five albums. Who does most of the songwriting?

            That’s me! (Laughs) For me, it’s just easier to work on my own and to just separate myself and go into my own little world and do it by myself. Just because it means that I don’t have to compromise. Although, on the new album, there’s a track which was co-written by our ex-bass player [Dean Millar]. He came in with a song and he just said, you know, “Do whatever you want with this,” and that was perfect for me, I could just do anything. And so I added a couple of riffs, and changed the melody slightly, or the lyrics, and that worked really well, so I’m open to collaborating more in the future, if it’s as easy as that.

If only everything could be that easy! But you mentioned it was your ex-bass player who wrote the track. Was he an ex then, or…?

            No, he was our bass player at the time. It was about a year or so ago, but he had to return back to New Zealand, where he’s from. I think he was sick of touring, and it was getting to be too much for him, so he wanted to go back and he was sick of London, as well. He just wanted to go back home to his family.

Sick of London—I wish I could say something like that!

            It’s a strange place, London.

Is it really?

            Yeah, it’s very, very expensive to live here. It’s nice—it’s got nice areas and things, but I think it’s a difficult place to live. If you don’t have any money, that is.

I get it—it sounds kind of like New York City. I know you haven’t even released your new album yet, but are you still working on new material?

            Yeah, always. I’ve always got songs brewing or working in the background, so yeah, there is ideas, but once we get on tour, it stops for me. It’s nearly impossible to write on the road. So, the next album will have to wait until we finish touring.

Okay—it’s got to be hectic while touring. But what do you do while on the road? When you’re not playing, that is.

            (Laughs) Oooh, I dunno. We, ah, we watch a lot of films when we travel, actually. We always bring loads of DVDs and tons of shit that we can watch. I think, once we get to the stadium, I love to just go and look around wherever we are and experience the new cultures and the different architecture and visit different monuments. It’s kind of good to just look around wherever you go.

It has to be awful being cooped up in a bus for I don’t know how long—if I could do what you guys did, I’d want to look around as much as possible!

            Yeah! The greatest thing about being in a band is just to have a few hours and go explore a new place. It’s just great.

Well, do you have any countries that you haven’t played in that you’re dying to see?

            I think Japan would be the main one for me. We actually we about to play at a festival there last year and it got canceled, like, a week before. And we had all our flights booked, the Visas—everything. And then the whole festival got canceled and we were all so disappointed because we were really looking forward to going to Japan. But hopefully one day we’ll be able to finally visit them.

The whole festival was canceled?

            (Laughs) Yeah, yeah… It was a metal festival and I’m not quite sure why it got canceled, but it was unfortunate, really.

Why is Japan you’re number one choice?

            I just sort of imagined it being like Blade Runner. Just sort of really futuristic and, I don’t know. It just sort of appeals to me because it’s so different to everywhere else.

That’s so true—I’ve seen so many commercials and pictures and it looks like a peak into the future. But you said before that you guys bring movies on the road. What kind?

            I’d say we do wind up watching a lot of horror. A lot of bad horror, some good horror. But yeah, just anything. All of us will bring like, 40 DVDs each, so we’ve always got something to watch.

It’s always best to keep busy.

            Yeah! Keep distracted, keeps you out of trouble, too!

Yeah! Especially since it’s a pretty lengthy tour. And I know this is far away, but what are you plans for after the tour?

            Uhm… Good question (laughs). Well, we’ve got a few dates in Australia in December and then next year, I guess there’s a chance we’ll probably return to the U.S. Do another tour in the spring and then, we’ll probably do all of the European festivals next summer. And then after that—God, who knows.

 

Don’t miss Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats’ performances at Webster Hall on Sept. 12 and at Union Transfer on Sept. 13. Their new album, The Night Creeper, is out now. For more information on these rockers, you can visit their site acidcoven.com.

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