Just days after bringing you The Birds Of Satan‘s official album stream, we now have word from Taylor Hawkins himself about the band’s dynamics and what is in their immediate future.
Since the band’s first announcement in March, there has been speculation on many things: Where did this come from, who is involved, and when will they tour? We now have answers to all of those questions, straight from the mouth of Taylor Hawkins.
According to him, The Birds Of Satan formed out of the drummer’s longing for a new project. After touring with various incarnations of Chevy Metal and finding himself in a time crunch, Hawkins gathered his cover-bandmates Mick Murphy and Wiley Hodgden for some studio time. “I really only had a week to put down this record and I wanted to do it really quickly,” Hawkins said. “So I had been playing with these guys [Chevy Metal] and I just said, ‘You want to help me make a record?’ and they were like, ‘Yeah. Fuck yea.’ So we did it really quick and Dave Grohl came for a couple songs, Pat Smear came in on a song. It was all just us having some fun with friends in the studio.”
The album is a departure from the sound achieved in previous releases under the Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders name. Hawkins attributes this to his new bandmates, namely Mick Murphy who brought a strong classic rock and metal influence to the table. While the Coattail Riders succeeded with strong arrangements and production, the Birds Of Satan stand strong with their powerful, unrefined instrumentation.
With few overdubs, it would seem that a live tour would make the most sense moving on with the band. However, given the freshness of the group and the need for Hawkins to carry vocal duties on top of drumming, that might not be their next move. “We’re starting to play a little bit live in a rehearsal room and it’s gettin’ there. We’re still far from being anything I’d want to play in front of people,” he admits.
Still, the seven song debut is enough on its own to satisfy fans, tour or no tour. You can listen to it below and check out our full interview with Taylor.
How did The Birds Of Satan form? Was it a deliberate move from Chevy Metal or did it just kind of happen?
Yeah, it was kind of a deliberate move, I suppose. It was basically… I had this cover band called Chevy Metal and I just didn’t have a lot of time and I wanted to make a record. I had been kind of fucking around with songs, and I had another band called the Coattail Riders but those guys have all kind of moved on, and not everybody is available at times. I really only had a week to put down this record and I wanted to do it really quickly. So I had been playing with these guys – with Wiley [Hodgden], the bass player for years, and Mick [Murphy] the guitar player – and it was easy. I just said, “You want to help me make a record?” and they were like, “Yeah. Fuck yea.” So we did it really quick, and Dave Grohl came for a couple songs, Pat Smear came in on a song. It was all just us having some fun with friends in the studio.
I was actually going to ask about The Coattail Riders and how this band might be different from that or even the Foo Fighters – just the dynamic in general?
Well, I mean they’re all different. The difference with the Coattail Riders is not much, other than it’s just different people. Musically, this is a little more raw. With The Coattail Riders, especially that last record that we made, it was really well organized and well produced. Everything was in its right place, you know? It was just a really produced record. We spent three or four months on that record and the Birds Of Satan record was done in one week. We recorded all the tracks live, with minimal overdubs except for vocals, so it has a different kind of feel. It’s a little more raw. It’s a little heavier due to the fact that Mick, our guitar player, is a metal shredder. That’s what he’s in to and that’s what we get, you know?
Yeah, that’s another thing I wanted to know about: The guitar element on the record. With The Coattail Riders, there was never a guitar presence as strong as this. For lack of a better word, it’s kind of Van Halen-esque. Who brought that influence to the table?
That’s all Mick. He goes for the guitar solos and I just tell him to do whatever the fuck he wants. And that’s his favorite guitar player, well one of them. Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, among others; some of the more 70s classic rock too. He likes Scorpions and Ratt, you know, he’s a metal guy. He’s a hard rock guy so that influence was definitely going to be there.
And how did you get mixed up with him? I know Wiley is a longtime friend of yours but what about Mick?
Well he kind of came out of… The guy John Lousteau who produced this record, he’s our engineer at our studio, and he’s from Tennessee… So two or three of my buddies had moved out here – one of them being Nick Raskulinecz who produced a couple Foo Fighters records – and another guy they grew up with, who was in a band with Nick when they moved out here, was Mick. So through Lou (Lousteau) and Nick, I was introduced to Mick. We just needed a guitar player for Chevy Metal and he was perfect. He’s great.
Yeah, he brings a lot of fun to it. There have been two or three or four versions of Chevy Metal – me and Wiley always being the constant – and Dave joins us every once in a while. But really, the guitar player kind of defines, to a certain degree, where we’re gonna go. Since Mick has joined the band, we’ve definitely been more metal. Chris Shiflett was the guitar player in Chevy Metal for like a year or two, and he definitely likes all that stuff, so he brought some of that in too. We really kinda owe it to Shiflett for steering us in that direction.
So when you guys are writing, how does that go? Is it kind of a group effort or do you each bring something different to the table?
It usually starts with simple songs idea that I have, then I bring ’em to Mick, or Dave, or even Wiley, and they kind of fuck ’em up so to speak. They kind of turn them into something else and help me put them together. And after that’s done, it’s everybody’s song. So it’s a group effort, for sure.
Do you guys have tour plans?
Well… Not as of yet, but we’re gonna try. We’re gonna try to do some shows. I don’t imagine it being super duper expensive but I imagine that if we can get this sounding good, then we’ll do some touring. We just gotta get good. We’re starting to play a little bit live in a rehearsal room and it’s gettin’ there. We’re still far from being anything I’d want to play in front of people. The music is difficult for me because I have to play drums and sing.
Well if you guys were to do some live shows, how would you beef up the set, since the album only has seven songs?
We would probably do some choice Coattail Rider songs and then probably do some covers. Cause that’s what we are, we’re a cover band. Do some Van Halen songs, a couple Ratt songs, some Sabbath. We’d make it a fun set. I think it could be really fun if we can get it together.
I definitely agree. I thought it was an awesome album. You guys did great.
Aw thank you so much. You really like it?
I really do, yeah.
Was the first song hard to understand, to begin with?
At first I didn’t know it was all one song. It was a pleasant surprise.
If those tour plans ever come to fruition, you know we’ll bring you all the details. The Birds Of Satan’s self-titled album is out on the 15th and you can pre-order it through their official store or on iTunes.