What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I grew up in a small town so radio was my window to the world. Hearing rock and roll was just mind-blowing… oh, so there’s all this happening outside my hometown! Otherworldly! Hearing the Ramones and seeing all these images of them in the streets of New York. That’s where I need to be. Starting your own band was only a logical step from that. There was no question about it, I just had to play in a band and I’ve done just that ever since the age of 13. I’m sure the rest of us could share a similar story.
The Flaming Sideburns started out as a fun project in 1995. All of us had been playing in other bands previously but we weren’t getting anywhere so why not have some fun instead? The fun part was that people bought it and all of a sudden we were making records and touring the world. However, the original line-up split up in 2001 after Hallelujah Rock’n’rollah album, which I still consider our pinnacle. The band continued but it was only last year when the original five got back together. Now all we have to do is to record an album that rivals Hallelujah! It’s long overdue.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Soulshaking is a just a taste of things to come, a rather classic rock and roll tune for the Sideburns. We started recording the new album last spring and will continue later this year. We are looking forward to release more singles in a few months time and the album should come out in 2020.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
The Sonics, Iggy and the Stooges, Roky Erickson, Little Richard, Slade… that’s the kind of stuff all of us like. But not only that, we are music fans and always digging deeper, anything from delta blues on. Other than that I love seeing the world, getting to know likeminded people in new cities and exploring new cultures.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
It’s rock and roll with a little bit of rhythm’n’blues thrown in. It’s not punk but I’d like to think our attitude is. Whatever you do, do it your own way and don’t jump on any bandwagon. And when you’re playing rock it needs to roll too, I guess that sets us apart from many of our contemporaries.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Not thinking about it too much I’ll just list the first three that come to mind. The first album by Roky Erickson and the Aliens, also known as “The Evil One”. The Nuggets compilation, it’s a real door opener and so versatile I’ll never get tired of it. And then there’s Kick Out the Jams by MC5 — I still need to figure out how is that sound even possible. As for movies, here’s three: Apocalypse. Now!, Fargo and The Warriors — saw the Warriors again on a big screen recently, it’s just so good. Books: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, Psychotic Reactions and the Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs, and The Freak Brothers Omnibus by Gilbert Shelton.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Two sides of the beast but I believe we are at our best in a small club on a good night. When you play in front of an excited audience for 90 minutes, or more, you tend to reach the state of euphoria. Then anything can happen and will happen. So yes, playing live, definitely.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
It took us 5-6 years of touring to get some international recognition — it’s even longer way to the top from Helsinki — but eventually we managed to get a deal in the US and ended up touring there. One night we took the stage in a joint in Lower East Side and there was some trouble with the gear. At the end of the show Eduardo, our singer, pretty much destroyed everything on stage. There’s some rock and roll for you! Our label wasn’t as convinced and we hardly ever heard of them since. Oh well, that might’ve been our 15 minutes but the label is long gone and we are still here.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
La Bruta! An instrumental tune with just one phrase, La Bruta, meaning the ugly in Spanish. It always gets the audience going and there has been bars, festivals, magazines and what not named after it in different parts of the world. It probably took five minutes to write but the song has a real legacy already.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Looking forward to 2020 as it’s gonna be our 25th anniversary. There should be a new album and some re-issues coming out, not to mention plenty more of touring. Looking forward to see you all out there!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Q: How come none of you have a decent pair of sideburns?
A: Now there’s a good question! I guess we haven’t been blessed with facial hair thick enough. Before we had the name, we had a logo: Elvis with his sideburns on flames. Hence the name. Only later I realised that the name is in the tradition of 60 garage punk bands, you know, like The Electric Prunes, Chocolate Watchband, Moving Sidewalks, Stereo Shoestring, The Roamin’ Togas… The Flaming Sideburns could’ve been a band from 1966 who only ever recorded one single and ended up on some obscure acid punk compilation years later. So it fits us perfectly.
Photo credits: Aki Roukala (1st one), Neil Smith (2nd one)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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