After fantastic gig at Rockabilly Rave I simply had to squeeze few things out of Javier the guitarist-singer or Rip'Em Ups. Their energetic stage show blows your socks or something else off...and only thing you can do is scream!!!!
By the way Watts was playing Pat Capocci's guitar at Rockabilly Rave. I wonder how he let anyone touch it? :)
Check it yourself:
Rip'Em Ups is not ordinary rockabilly band, what makes you different from others? You don't have bull fiddle, but you do have got five members and sax.
- We are different because we are not really a rockabilly band at all. We play rock'n'roll in a late 50's early 60's style. At least that's what we like to tell ourselves. We had an upright when we started, but the plan was always to switch to an electric bass. (Edgar has a very nice vintage Silvertone by the way). All of our influences for the most part opted for an E-bass so naturally we did too.
Where it all started and when? Have the band members changed? How did you become singer? Why two guitars? Did you always have sax player?
- There have been minimal changes in members. The previous guitar player left due to family obligations and Marco the sax player joined little later. But it's basically been the same line-up since day one. As far as why I became the singer is still a mystery. I think maybe because I write the songs, and so it was just a natural progression to have me do it. And of course no one else wanted to do it. So I said fuck it, why not. As for two guitars, we wanted a really heavy sound and that is why we added the extra guitar. It just gives us a rawer fuller sound. And then when Marco (sax) came around it just kind of all came together. We would also love to add a piano as well at some point.
Is is more difficult to get booked five member band than trio for example?
- Well, like I said in the previous question, we want to add a piano, so we might even be six soon. But I think if the music is where it should be, then people can see that. And hopefully there's enough demand so that we are able to get booked anywhere, regardless of how many members we have.
You play mostly own songs, what covers you have at gig list and why these certain songs? Who writes the songs, you or is it co-work?
- We play covers from our influences. So there's some Link Wray, Little Richard, Wailers etc. all rolled up in there. We can get really obscure with our covers or whatever. But we try to only please ourselves with covers, and don't do a cover just because it's rare. Although in practice we play anything from New York Dolls to Slayer. Lol. And although I primarily write the songs, they come together and get arranged in rehearsal for the most part.
Evey one who has interviewed you mentions the energy? Where does that come from?
- Good drugs, lol just kidding. We just love to play and go out there, and let it all out. We don't choreograph our moves or any of that. We think that's lame and for boy bands. We're a rugged rock'n'roll band. Haha.
Is the chemistry between band members important, or is it enough if you just get along and practice enough?
- Chemistry is definitely important, but you also have to come prepared. People are taking flights and paying lots of money for weekenders. And the last thing we want to do is give them a shitty performance. I think promoters now know that we are utter professionals. We may be fuck ups, but we're professional fuck ups ;)
Tell what are the band members strengths? What do they bring to the band?
- Everyone takes their job very seriously, but we don't take ourselves too serious. Most of us hang out even when it's not band related, and we're just about having fun with it.
What other interests do you have beside music?
- I'm a huge Los Angeles Dodgers fan. That's baseball for those of you that don't know. I yell at the TV like a fuckin' madman. It's a sight for sure. Edgar (bass) is also a huge fan, but also builds cars and bikes. I love old furniture and have been collecting it for many years. Santos (drums) is a barber Marco loves to eat good food, and Watts barricades himself in a cave and just practices all the time.
How do you see LA rockabilly scene nowadays compared what it used to be?
- The main difference for me is all the new faces. A lot of the older crowd doesn't come out as much anymore. Some have moved on to other scenes. Some just have had too many kids. It's tough but being in a band certainly makes you go out, whether you want to or not. But we love hanging out, especially at the bar.
Does American gigs and crowd differ from European?
- They do differ quite a bit. European crowds get into it much more. They just don't care about what people think and really get into the music. We played the D-day festival at the Cruise Inn in Amsterdam a few years back and we had a slam pit going. I was blown away, but loving it.
Is there lot of competition between bands?
- I'm sure for some people, but not us. We don't really worry about what anyone else is doing. We certainly respect other bands, but we just concentrate on what's good for The Rip'em Ups. But you do have to be confident enough to get up there and do your thing. And maybe for some people that competition just might be the drive they need.
What does having a band or being in band mean to you? Does it make life easier or harder? Is it passion, joy or mental illness?
- Easier? Lol... You must be joking. It's tough and demanding once you start getting busy. And sometimes the balance is a challenge. But if you're doing it for the right reasons then you make it work. And it's definitely a mixture of more than just passion, joy and or mental illness. But I'll take it all because it means a lot to me. I fuckin' love it. Nothing beats being onstage rockin' out. But then again I'm a simple man. Haha.
What is bad and what is good gig?
- Only thing that will make it bad for us is if we are not clicking together. We are very rhythmic players and the song is more about the feel and vibe it puts out. It can be one chord and totally floor you . So we all have to be on the same page to make it work. But luckily for the most part we are. We all pretty much know our roles and do it to the fullest.
Where have you been traveling with the band so far?
- We have been all over Europe. England, Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the list goes on and on. But there's always more and more places you wanna get to play in. Would love to go to Sweden, Finland and France. Three countries we have yet to visit but really wanna play. Oh and Russia!
You recently got record deal with Rhythm Bomb records? How did that happen?
- Ralph from Rhythm Bomb approached us after our show at the Rave. He really liked what he heard and we liked what he had to say. So he pretty much bribed us with warm German beer. But all jokes aside we like what Rhythm Bomb is about and like the fact that they concentrate on promoting their bands and not the bands promoting the label. Some labels want notoriety when it should be working on the sole promotion of their acts. And we don't want any part of that. So Rhythm Bomb just felt like a natural fit for The Rip'em Ups.
Where in Europe your future gigs will be? Are you having a tour next year?
- There's definitely stuff in the works. But you know how promoters like to be hush hush about everything. So I guess you'll just have to wait and see for that one.
What record you have out and where do we get them in Europe?
- As of right now we have had a four song 45 e.p. on Indian Hill Records. That is now sold out. But we are going into the studio hopefully as early as October to record a full length record for Rhythm Bomb. So stay tuned for that!
I have found you guys down to earth and easy going. What is your opinion, why do you think some people cannot handle the success, it goes straight to their head?
- You want me to psychoanalyze musicians in the rockin, scene? Lol. How much time you got? But serious, who the hell knows. Like I said before we don't have illusions of grandeur, and we don't like to take ourselves that serious. Cuz it really isn't that serious truth be told. We just love it and love to have fun with it. We like to mingle with the crowd and enjoy meeting new people from all over the world. We've made some really good friends at every festival we've attended. So watch out cuz our posse is growing. Hahaha.
What is essential for successful band?
- I don't know. I'll let you know if I ever join one. I guess you just have to be persistent and try and not piss everyone off. Practice practice practice. Write decent songs and go up and have a good time with your performances, cuz believe me the crowd knows the difference. So like I said I'll let you know ;)
Do you have people who have helped you to get this far? Or is it just hard work and not giving up when the things get tough?
- I like promoters who take chances in booking a band no one has ever heard of. But they book you anyway and give you a decent spot. Then the rest is up to us to deliver. Some promoters like to live in the past and go with who they think will sell the most tickets. But after a while people want new blood and if you're too close minded as a promoter your days are numbered. So we've been lucky in that sense
I know you have practiced hard to get where you are now. I see you guys as one of the hottest bands at the moment. How do you feel about that? You have already played at biggest weekenders in Europe. Do you have goals or musical ambitions for the future?
- Well first I wanna say thank you for that. Honestly we don't pay attention to any of that. We just wanna get up and play and get a drink at the bar afterwards. And if people dig it, well that's like an added bonus for us. And even more so if they buy us a drink!
...And if you are going to Viva Las Vegas this year Rip'Em Ups has got two gigs there: Wednesday at pre-party and Rhythm Bomb showcase on Sunday!!!