the BOMBSHELLS, based in Los AngelesSnotty Punk Rock SoundOut In The Desert

 

In Los Angeles wimmelt es nach wie vor von guten erstklassigen Punkrock-Bands, die wie fuer das Third Generation Nation geschaffen sind. Mit den Bombshells – die ihre erste CD Anfang 2004 voellig unabhaengig auf ihrem eigenen Label rausgebracht haben – wird hoffentlich auch bald in unseren Breitengarden eine Band bekannter werden, die ihren Songs strikt nach dem klassischen rotzigen ´77er-Prinzip spielt. Verdient haben es Sänger Miguel Hell, Gitarrist Brian Michaels, Bassist Kelly Pearlstein und Drummer Vince Mann alle male. Lest dazu auch die viel versprechende CD-Review von mir unter Reviews > Herbst 2004 > A bis C.

 

Give the readers some idea of the climate the band was born in and how that influenced the music. Where is the band based?

Miguel: I formed The Bombshells in 1997 while I was in another band called The Choice. We couldn't play gigs very often because the guitarist was also in a band called Schleprock which toured every Summer. I got sick of turning down gigs because of him so I formed Miguel Hell and The Bombshells. I had already written a bunch of songs.  The songs weren't good for The Choice because they were an Oi band. My songs were anthemic punk, "77 style", it was what I listened to, not the contemporary modern punk, so I saved all my songs for my band. I was also bored with the punk scene in Los Angeles. No one was playing mid-tempo punk. I listened to Chelsea and Stiff Little Fingers. I thought that was what needed to be done. My songs weren't just a wall of noise, it was guitar leads and bass mixed in with melodies and textures. I admit I loved DRI and MDC but I just didn't want to play that style.

As far as the lineup goes Kelly started playing bass with me in 1999. We tried various guitarists and drummers but they didn't work out. In 2001 I was living on the streets and the band was in pieces. Kelly stepped up and kept things going by bringing in Brian on guitar and Vince on drums. 

 

Could you please introduce yourself with some personal detail words to our readers? I´m sure, none of our readers know you pretty well.

Miguel: I've been a punk since I was 13 years old. I never new anything else, I'm just a punk and can't help it. Alienation was the driving force for me to become a punk,  people had always clowned me when I was young. Then one day the local drug dealer I use to score weed from opened my eyes to societies abuses. He went on to introduce me to punk rock. I was shocked to find how punk music could be played so fast. I also related to all the subjects of punk rock. Punks didn't fall in love, punks didn't drive fancy cars. We didn't have all that good stuff. We just did crimes, smoked pot and rode skate boards. This lifestyle carries over into the idea of The Bombshells. We're just regular working class trying to survive. We rock and live the life-style. We have no major agenda and no written manifesto. We just want to have a good time. For us music is a party mixed in with some current events. Overall we want it to still be fun. Its about good times and Saturday nights. With a lot of sex, drugs and rock and roll!

 

Do you have played in any bands before?

Miguel: The Officials was my first band. We were the premier Los Angeles street punk band circa 1989 -1992. I was in the Choice from 1991 -1999 we were the premier LA Oi band. I was also in The Generators in 1999 for their German tour and I played on their "99" record. 

Vince: I played for Lockup on Geffen Records and about a dozen other LA bands.

Kelly: I played for LA punk bands No Consent, Nothing Yet and 18 pills My first band was Counter Culture. I've played nothing but punk. 

Brian: I'm originally from Detroit. I played in a bunch of underground bands, but mostly I played with who ever had free beer.

 

From which part of Los Angeles are you coming from?

Kelly: The band is now split around Hollywood, Venice Beach, South Central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

 

In your info sheet, I read, that you evolved from "The Hellhouse", in the downtown area of Los Angeles. Could you tell me something more about "The Hellhouse"? Never heard of it before.

Miguel: The Hellhouse was the place that I lived in from 1999. When I was in Germany I learned that people turned their own homes into clubs. I was lucky enough to have a big enough place to house bands on the road and local bands. I wanted to create an epicenter for artists, punks and free thinkers. At first I kept The Hell House private, then I opened it up with charging at the door. I had bands like The Daggers and The Aborted. Go Betty Go had their first gig at The Hell House. Shelter made a video there. The Hell House was for underground and up and coming bands, anyone could play as long as they were punk. I turned down many bands that weren't punk from all over the world. It was a cool speakeasy for punk. The Hell House ended in 2001 when the police were after me and I had to flee. They had a warrant for me for assault from fighting in bars. I had skipped bail and the bounty hunter found me so I abandoned The Hell House. Later I got busted for drinking beer on the beach, they dragged me in and I spent 2 months in prison.

 

Exist a story behind your band name?

Miguel: I came up with the band name when I was thinking about remnants of war, destruction and aftermath. I imagined destroyed buildings with bullet casings lying around. I was thinking of bullet shells but wanted bigger bullets. Then I thought of missiles but missile shells didn't sound good so I picked The Bombshells. It had a rock and roll feel and it rhymed with Miguel Hell.

 

What are your day jobs? And how old are you?

Miguel: We are all in our early thirties. I'm chronicly unemployed, don't know why, I just don't really fit into the workplace.

Vince: I'm a Sculptor and a multi-media artist.

Kelly: I've always been an artist working is special effects. I started by creating blood and guts for horror movies, doing makeup, creating monsters. Now I'm directing other sculptors in the toy industry. I also travel to China often to direct other sculptors.

Brian: I work in surgery. I sling blood and guts from the bodies to the trash.

 

On your website I saw, that you are playing very often in Las Vegas. What is so good to play there?

Kelly: Its Sin City man! Las Vegas parties all night, you can drink for 24 hours straight.  We also like to play with another band from Las Vegas called The Peccadilloes. Also, Los Angeles is not a great town play in, especially for punkers. LA people are jaded, maybe even ourselves, but they fold they're arms and dare you to entertain them. There are too many shitty bands in LA. People get force fed so much shit they don't know what is good. They like to hate you before they like you. You really got to impress them.

Vince: We find that playing at outside venues gets us a better reception. Playing in other areas also gets us more fans. Plus the people in Vegas appreciate when bands visit them, they just want to fucking party and rock out!

 

What musicians really motivated you to learn your instrument and start a band? What was the first concert you went to?

Miguel: I started to play punk because most of it was easy to play. But after awhile I felt like most bands didn't give me what I wanted out of music. So I decided to create the music myself. I was very motivated by The Stiff Little Fingers. My first concert was The Drunk Injuns and Final Conflict in 1988 at Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach.

Vince: Aerosmith was my first concert but Neal Peart from Rush was my inspiration to start play drums.

Kelly: One of my first records was a Beach Blvd  punk compilation. It had The Crowd and Rik L  Rik. It was my inspiration to get into punk. From there it was the Ramones and the Pistols. I had one brother who played drums and another who played guitar so I filled the last void and picked up the bass.

Brian: I started to play guitar when I was 10 years old to make noise and piss off my Father because I hated him. At first I just beat the guitar on the wall but eventually I taught myself some notes after going through 3 or 4 guitars. My older brother took me to my first concert which was Iggy Pop in Detroit. I liked how Iggy was able to sing some melodies and still say Fuck You to everyone. He laid himself out for people to spit on him and throw shit at him. Most people in Detroit hated him, he had guts, I respected him and he inspired me to do whatever I wanted. I'll never forget that show.

 

Our fanzine featuring lots of the Orange County and Huntington Beach Scene. In the past we have stories and interviews about bands like the Stitches, the Crowd, Smogtown, Smut Peddlers or the Broken Bottles. What do you think, where do you stand? Have you got a lot to do with those bands? Or what are your views on those scenes today?

Miguel: We've played with The Stitches and The Crowd, both bands are cool and are real party animals, we all drink beer and party. They're much older than us. I've known Pete from The Stitches since he was in Corrupted Ideals, we used to play gigs together but I haven't seen them in awhile.

 

Where/how often did you practice? Did you share the rehearsal room with any other band?

Vince: We rehearse in The San Fernando Valley which is about 10 minutes North of LA.  We have a warehouse that we can use 24 hours a day. The place gets really hot because the Valley is like a desert and we have no ventilation. So we tend to drink a lot of beer while we play. The good thing is that nobody is around to mess with us. We can play as loud as we want and can also make rough recordings of new songs. We play only twice a week because Miguel usually throws his voice out from screaming too much. Plus the rehearsals often turn into a party. The only other musicians that use the warehouse are a couple of drummers. 

 

Name one famous non-punk person you would consider "punk" and explain why you believe they deserve this distinction.

Miguel: Timothy Leary was cool. He was a thought man, he tuned in and dropped out. But...Huey Newton was more punk. He was a black radical who got fed up with segregation so he armed himself and did something about it.

Kelly: Pee Wee Herman is a punk, he likes to jerk off in public.

 

Let´s talk about your great first self-titled CD on your own label. Did you not get any offers from record labels before you put it out on your own for a serious signing?

Vince: We knew that we wanted to avoid major labels. With the labels there's a chance of being shelved. We believed with the use of the internet we could market our CD ourselves. My past label experience made me not trust them. Besides, we wanted full choice of what we produced. We all new the sound we wanted and how to get it. We had an engineer named Stress who understood us and how to get our sound down.  We were focused and recorded everything quickly. Being prepared saved us money. Most of the tracks are first takes. We finished laying all the drums and bass in 8 hours. Stress mixed it the way we liked it and we were finished. We intend to work with him on our next release.

Kelly: Yeah, we weren't going to beg a label and then be ripped off by them. We just said fuck it and did it ourselves, the funny thing is that after we've put our CD out we've been approached by a few. So far have they have nothing to offer us that we haven't done on our own. They only want a big ass cut of the money.

 

Could you please explain some of the lyrics with some short notes, especially "Shes Coming", "Paranoia" (my fave!, you know...) and "Falling Down".

Miguel: “She's coming” is about having sex and the cat and mouse game of dating. “Paranoia” is a song I wrote when the police were after me and I was being bounty hunted at The Hell House. I thought they were watching me and they were! “Falling Down” is about being homeless and losing everything, being on the street, life, its really autobiographical. Almost all my lyrics are drawn from life experiences

 

If you get the chance to play on a tribute - sampler. Which band did you like to choice?

Miguel: Sham 69, the album “That's Life” is a favorite. It's a hit after hit concept album. I don't know of anything else like it. The Crass also, they were so different from other bands. They wrote smart, intellectual lyrics and were just fucking noisy.

Kelly: The Business, in my opinion they were the leaders of the oi movement. They were always the strongest voice in the movement and they paved the way for others.

Brian: We play a couple covers as treats to for the fans. They piss themselves when we rock out some early Devo or The Kinks or some Elvis Costello. It keeps it fun and helps to pull non-punkers in with something they may recognize.

 

In general, what do you see wrong with music today?

Miguel: Pop music is a bore. I don't listen to it, its beyond me. It doesn't  move me, it's too boring.

Vince: Punk has changed to what the corporations decide to push on us. Its hot topic and packaged into the corporation's interpretation.

Kelly: There used to be a sincerity and possession in bands of the past. At gigs there used to be real anger and true heartache in the kids eyes. That was possession! All the old bands had it. The new bands play dress up wanna be's. Its just not punk rock anymore, there's no sincerity. The lyrics are meaningless. It's hard for me to consider them as punk, all they got is a look. When I look out at the crowds of kids I don't see the angst.

 

Did it happen to you, that you were in the past banned from a club and not allowed to play?

Brian: Yeah from a lot of clubs, we're blacklisted! Mostly for breaking things. Many clubs wont deal with us or if they do we have to bring our own equipment. The clubs that do have us usually keep a number of stage hands next to the stage to keep track of their gear. Miguel is infamous for breaking microphone stands. Some clubs have tried bringing in boxes of new stands just for him but they just crumble within minutes. We've had to made an extra heavy duty mike stand out of 3 inch drum hardware, and he still breaks it apart at every show! It really sucks when he accidently hits us with it, I have gauges in my guitars from him.

 

Ever spend a night in jail?

Yup, too many, next question please.

 

A question, only for the guitarplayers: what was the last time at a show, that a string tears apart?

Brian: I break strings at every show and every rehearsal. The joke is that I single handedly keep the string companies in business. I always play hard, even at home. I believe a guitar is just a tool to be pounded on and twisted to achieve your will. My guitar tech Mark from Westside guitars thinks I'm crazy. I've had him fix up all my guitars with graphite nuts at the neck and polished titanium string saddles at the bridge and I still break strings two at a time. I never play a show without 3 backup guitars. 

 

Here is one for your drummer: Who many sticks do you use during a live-set?

Vince: If I'm good I use 2 if I'm really drunk I use one.

 

What is the stupidest dress - style out of punk rock?

Miguel: The modern look of punk today is a joke. Its baggy pants and hip hop influenced. Just watch most music videos and you'll see the whole base ball cap turned thing going on.

Kelly: There's a real gay look right now of black and hot pink. I'm afraid we're going to regress back to the eighties when long hairs looked like chicks. But it may be a good thing, we'll just have more people to beat up.

 

How is life in your street where you live?

Miguel: It ain't easy. We live in working class areas consisting of urban blight and the normal struggles of mankind.

 

What is your fave word, that you use very often for writing songs? Any explanation?

Miguel: No favorites. Just whatever comes out honestly.

 

Seeing as there are millions of punk rock bands in the world today, some good, but mostly bad, what is it that sets the BOMBSHELLS apart from all the others? What do you think it is that makes you so darn special?

Vince: We're real punks in our thirties. We've been doing it a long time. It ain't a trend for us and we'll be punks after the band ends, no question about it.

Miguel: The drumming and guitar playing in The Bombshells is exceptional, no one denies that and it lifts the music. I'm a punk and not the best singer or worst but the others lift me up. We sing about our lives and what we relate to and not about what others want to hear. We could play any music but we choose old school punk and it shows.

Kelly: Its not just a show for us and we never know what will actually happen. We always ad-lib. We don't know if things will get out of control or not. But that's what a good punk show is all about. We never know if the club will shut us down after one song or if they'll just let us go and enjoy it, either way people don't forget us.

Brian: The thing I noticed the first time I played with The Bombshells was that they had the basic idea of what raw punk was. Its about loud nasty guitars, huge drums and a frontman that's fucking out of his mind, over the top but most important... genuine. Everything else just fills in behind those elements. The only thing that can fuck us up is taking ourselves too seriously and involving outside influences. Each of us knows our job and what we have to do. We just show up and let loose. But the most important thing about The Bombshells is that our music keeps the past alive for the old punkers as well as introduces it to the new. We laugh at people when someone says our shit has been done before. It's fucking funny that people are stupid enough to not realize that old school is what The Bombshells is about. Its also sad but most new punk bands don't even know where their roots are. Most are off on tangents that don't involve the basics of what punk really is. They've taken themselves out into a state of boring alternatives.

 

Please name one record in your collection that you're embarrassed to admit that you like and explain why you like it.

Miguel: I  have a Snoopy and the Royal Guardsmen record that I've had since I was a kid. Its stupid but I listen to it every 5 years or so. I cant let go of it!

Kelly: Hey I got that one too, lets re-do Snoopy and the Red Baron!!!

 

What is your favorite band story to tell?

Vince: My favorite is the 30 second show with Channel Three at the Martini Lounge in Hollywood…..

Miguel: Yeah, I was fighting with my girlfriend before the show and I was at the edge when I arrived. The bouncers pushed me around and kicked me out of the club before the show even started. The manager of the bar realized I was in The Bombshells and let me in the backdoor just as the band took the stage. I started breaking the mike stands as usual and the sound man shut off my microphone. I took what was left of the stand and started pummeling the monitors. The crowd became obsessed and took over. They ripped apart the entire front of the stage. Within seconds the eniter PA was in splinters. Brian and Vince miraculously finished the first song while I was getting chased down the street by the security guards. They chased me for blocks while the crowd helped the others get the drums and guitar amps out and loaded into the trucks. Then some punkers pulled out some knives and started chasing the guards, they ran screaming for their lives and everyone got away! No one paid the club for the PA and Channel Three got sent home without playing.

Kelly: The gig at the Green Door in San Gabriel. It was a stupid ass bar full of meatheads. Miguel got on stage in a fur coat and started thrashing. Some idiot from the crowd tried to pull down the PA speakers and Miguel kicked the guy in the face. The show ended and the whole crowd wanted to fight us. We had to fight back to back to get out alive. Fucking mess!

 

the BOMBSHELLS, Live On Stage

 

What do you know about Germany?

Miguel: I toured Germany with The Generators and had the best time of my life. We did the whole country including clubs like AK-47 and The American Café in Berlin. Germany is beautiful. It's got great beer, great hash and beautiful Scandinavian women.  I want to go back soon as possible!

 

Any closing comments you'd like to make?

Miguel: Thanks Ralf for taking time with us. We hope to make it to Germany for sure.  We also hope that in the near future our CD will be picked up by a local distributor and become more available in Germany.  We'd like to say that anyone can contact us if they want through our email or our PO box and we're currently writing new material for our next release.

 

CONTACT:

The BOMBSHELLS

P.O. Box 3361

Burbank CA 91508 – 3361

U.S.A.

Webpage: www.thebombshellswebsite.com

eMail Brian at: thebombshells@cs.com

 

INTERVIEW:
Ralf Real Shock ( August 2004 )

 

PS: Die Band sucht besonders in Deutschland einen Vertrieb, die ihre CD in ihr Programm aufnimmt. Bitte meldet Euch direkt bei Brian oder auch bei mir. Ich werde die Nachricht dann an die Band weiterleiten.