An interview with JACK CORAY of RUMBLE CLUB
By Billy Bad Breaks
Billy Bad Breaks. I have seen RUMBLE CLUB more times than I can remember and even now I struggle to define their sound as belonging to one genre or another. A mix of influences can either be great or a horrible mess, in this case it is great! Jack, how would you describe your sound?
Jack Coray. We are a Rockabilly band, but I don’t think we are really traditional. I think there are 2 kinds of Rockabilly; neo-Rockabilly bands like The Reverend Horton Heat, and the type that is focused on being really traditional sounding. We are not Psychobilly for sure; I just feel we are not traditional Rockabilly.
BBB. I hope you don’t mind the vocal comparison to Johnny Cash? You sound like him without trying to copy him.
JC. About every interview and review of the CDs compare me to him, which is a compliment, but like you say, I am not trying to mimic him.
BBB. Recently you told me that after a show an audience member once asked if you really talked with that deep baritone voice as he thought it was some kind of “effect.” That has to make you laugh!
JC. Yea it was up in Toledo Ohio. This walks up sorta eyeing me all serious. I said Howdy and talked to him for a minute or two. Than he said “I just had to make sure you were for real”, I was like what do you mean, he said “I thought maybe you were using some kind of effect on your voice to make it sound like that” I laughed and said well what do you think? He said “Yes your for real”.
BBB. You are an excellent guitar player, did you take lessons?
JC. Yeah, I started on violin at 6, which was when I got a bit of classical training. I came from a family of musicians and artists. My grandfather was a big influence on me; he played a lot of songs by Chet Atkins and Hank Williams on a 1956 Gretsch Electric. I picked up the guitar at age 11 and started taking lessons and reading music. I played my first show when I was 12.
BBB. Why the change in the band line-up since your last album?
JC. Bones went off to finish school and start his life as a Veterinarian, and Tim quit because of a job and a woman. Chewy has been in the band for quite a long time now and actually Kyle started filling in for Bones about a year ago. Mark just joined us back in January.
BBB. You must be difficult to work with, ha, ha!
JC. I’m the kind of guy that will do anything for my band members; we’re like a family and I’m the older brother. We have a good time working together but I do take the band business seriously. I know what I want and I am very organized when it comes to the music. I give my guys free range to bring their style and talents to the table.
BBB. Do you ever get writer’s block where you cannot think of anything new?
JC. You know I haven’t experienced that yet. I imagine it could happen, but so far.. uhhhh,…darn! I can’t think of anything else to say!
BBB. What made you decide to write another album?
JC. I like misery and pain! Laughing! No I’m just crazy I suppose and I just can’t help myself.
BBB. You write a lot of songs with a real story line in them besides a damn good tune. I am curious about your inspiration on “The Bad In Me.” What is “Sam Joe Harvey” about?
JC. Andrew Hill Burt is my Great, Great, Grandfather and he was the Salt Lake City Marshal. He was born in Scotland and I am very proud of my Scottish heritage. My wife has done extensive genealogy research on the Coray family, which was originally Cory until two brothers had a dispute over which side of the Revolutionary War they stood for and parted ways. One renamed himself to Coray and the other Corey. Anyway getting back to the Same Joe Harvey topic.... I think the most interesting thing is how the people in the city just went crazy when Harvey murdered Marsha Burt. They grabbed Harvey, and just strung him up right there with no trial. Then they paraded his body up and down the street; it was quite a mob scene! The other interesting thing is his burial. They buried Harvey outside the cemetery and some workers accidentally dug him up, and they found his body was already a skeleton in just 2 months time. I think some kind of foul play was going on there. I inherited Burt’s pistol; It's a .41 caliber black powder cartridge derringer and I still have the original bullets that were loaded in the gun when he died!
BBB. “Lyndsay’s Car” is hysterical, what is the dirt on that song?
JC. I wrote that after she wrecked her SL65 for the 2nd time. That just cracked me up and I got the idea to write something more on the comical side. I think these Hollywood Divas are just really funny and it amazes me how people are so curious about all their partying and antics.
BBB. One of my favorite songs is “Vampire Girls From Outer Space”…
JC. Not too much to say about “Vampire Girls”. It's just a fun sorta Surf meets the Cramps sounding song. There's not much meaning behind it; I imagined a B movie when I wrote it. You know one of those old black and white movies where you can see the strings holding up the space ship. I love those old B movies so it just seemed natural to write a B song!
BBB. The song “Old Punks” seems is very sad and perhaps a little introspective?
JC. I wrote that because I've lost a handful of my old Punk buddies to drugs. I grew up in Sandy Utah and lived in SLC. If you've ever seen that movie SLC Punks, I knew most of the guys that story was based on. Most of them are dead now, but there are a few left. I'm not going to call myself an SLC-Punk because those guys were the real deal, you know, living on the street, or crashing at other peoples apartments. I was a musician playing in a Punk band, so I hung out with a lot of punks at shows we were playing. That song is about a true experience that happened to me. Just getting that phone call and hearing the bad news about another friend that just couldn't stop doing the drugs. And it's also about looking back at those times and remembering how much fun we all had, and in part it's about some of those SLC punks and how wild they were. SLC had a really great scene for a while. We had all the best punk bands coming through town because SLC was the only city out in the middle of that big desert between Denver and LA so pretty much any band on tour would schedule a gig in SLC. It was great while it lasted, then it was like somebody through a switch and it all came to a grinding halt.
BBB. I love the new band logo and record sleeve. Who designed them?
JC. An artist named “Billy Kidd”. He lives in Russia. SuzyQ found his art online and I contacted him immediately. I love what he did for us. He has a very cool style.
BBB. What label is “The Bad In Me” released on?
JC. We signed a deal with Wolverine Records in Germany. They are pressing the record and handling worldwide distribution for us. Sascha at Wolverine is a very cool guy with a lot of experience. I think he’s been at it for sixteen years.
BBB. Why did you choose this song as the album title?
JC. Well, I think that song sort of sums up the attitude of the entire album. It’s a confession of sins and it’s honest. I think we all have some bad in us and we know it, so I think our fans will be able to relate to this song. This album, in comparison to the first two, gets into some deeper topics such as betrayal and death. I wanted to take the writing a little further than I had in the past and demonstrate that there is more to what we do than just songs about cars.
BBB. How long did it take you to write this album?
JC. I wrote the songs over a period of 6 months. Some took days or even weeks, some only took minutes. The instrumental was written in the studio. I was going to do something with an old song I’d written years ago for a Gothic band I was in, but it just didn’t work. I sat down and that rhythm for “Pasos Largos” just came to me. Bones is playing bass on that one. I suppose that’s the last song he ever recorded with Rumble Club.
BBB. Why did you record it in your own studio?
JC. The first one Rides Tonight was recorded in a very nice studio here in Kentucky. It set me back thousands of dollars, plus we had to rush to try to keep it within a certain budget. Having my own recording setup gives me the freedom to experiment and try things I wouldn’t have had the time for in a professional studio. We do send it out for professional mastering to give it that final touch.
BBB. Do you ever get dismayed when you travel a long way to a show and only a few people turn up or the venue refuses to pay you?
JC. I’ve been very lucky at least in the area of pay. I’ve never had a venue refuse to pay me. These days we usually have a good crowd, but a small turnout is inevitable when you are on tour. Sometimes the odds are just against you. I just roll with the punches and play the show as best I can. We try to keep it professional no matter what the situation is.
BBB. How long can Rumble Club keep going?
JC. Well we’re going to keep going as long as it makes sense to keep it going. With this new release we’re already seeing some more doors open up such as touring Europe. It’s basically up to me to keep it going and right now I’m still having fun with it. I’m sure Rumble Club will be around for a while.
BBB. What would make you close the band down?
JC. When the bookers stop calling and the emails stop showing up in my inbox with “Booking” in the subject line. I’ll have to take that as a hint. It’s just a matter of if we are still wanted we’ll continue on. Oh also if I kick the bucket, I’m planning on quitting the band with no notice at all!
BBB. Would you like to record with any other artist if they offered you the chance?
JC. We have been on a few compilations most recently “Ride The Pale Horse”. I have used several guest musicians on my albums. I’m always interested in collaborating with other artists.
BBB. Any plans to tour to promote this record?
JC. Yes, we are working with Wolverine Records and Stahl Entertainment to do a tour in Europe in January 2010. We did a US tour in April this year. There is some talk of us doing a package tour with a European band in both Europe and the US next year.
BBB. How would you like Rumble Club to be remembered?
JC. I hope those that came to the shows will remember us by our performance. We are just laid back guys wanting to connect to the audience and play our songs. I hope that people will continue to enjoy our recordings for years to come.
BBB. If you had to pick one Rumble Club song as your favorite – which one would it be and why?
JC. Well it’s hard for me to pick one. If it’s ok I’ll choose two. “The Killer” because it was the first one I wrote for Rumble Club, and “Sam Joe Harvey” because it goes beyond the boundaries of the ‘Billy genre and is connected to my family.
BBB. What is your favorite song of all time?
JC. Hmmm well man I love so many forms of music, Jazz, Country, Punk, Classical Jack - it’s very hard to pick just one. I guess I’d have to go with Freight Train recorded by Chet Atkins. My Grandpa played that one on his Gretsch when I was a pup and I still listen to it from time to time.