Erin Rioux, a Brooklyn-based electronic artist, bridges pastiche with panty-dropping…
- Posted on Sep 1st 2010 2:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
As he prepared to enter the studio with guitarist Tim Armstrong -- his bandmate in both Rancid and Operation Ivy -- Freeman decided he needed a drummer that could play like DJ Bonebrake, the man who helped give X its signature sound. It was Armstrong, Freeman tells Spinner, who took that idea to its logical conclusion.
"'Why don't we just get DJ?'" Freeman remembers Armstrong asking. "Great idea!"
Having played with Freeman in the '90s punk band Auntie Christ, which also featured X vocalist Exene Cervenka, Bonebrake was happy to enlist in Devil's Brigade.
"He's a really good drummer and a really good guy," Freeman says. "He came in and said, 'How do you want me to do this?' I said, 'Just be DJ.'"
Recording their self-titled debut, which is out now via Hellcat, Devil's Brigade worked in a somewhat unconventional manner, tracking drums and guitar first and adding Freeman's bass -- upright, not electric -- later. The songs run the gamut from traditional punk and psychobilly to the funky 'Gentleman of the Road,' which features Bonebrake on vibraphone, an instrument he's used on numerous X songs.
"That was Tim's idea, because he produced the record," Freeman says. "DJ was like, 'I've got these vibes,' and Tim's like, 'Bring them in!' Tim's a really creative guy and fearless when it comes to trying stuff. That worked out really well, and DJ was so good at them. They really are an interesting instrument. It's really cool how it works. It's really cool -- they're metal keys and a motor oscillates almost like a Leslie organ thing."
"I've always been a fan of roots music, whether that be country or rockabilly or psychobilly," Freeman continues. "Growing up, X was a big influence, and [guitarist] Billy Zoom was a huge rockabilly influence. Other bands like the Blasters -- there's always been that influence. We like a lot of different kinds of music, and that's always come out in our records."
Devil's Brigade are currently on tour with Hellcat label mates Street Dogs.