Schnockered’s Swan Song

SchnockeredMainImage5

JG: J.Grimaldi - vocals, guitars; MAX: Dr. C – drums, vocals;
SALT: Eric Salt – guitars, vocals;
ANDERSON: Eric Anderson - bass, vocals; also featuring
SF: Sean Foley - Misc. Instruments, vocals

Reunion concerts hold a endearing place in the hearts of audiophiles around the globe. Think the Stones, Zeppelin, Destiny’s Child. Then… think BIGGER!

Yes, it’s true. The beer slurping, glass breaking, table flipping sounds of Boston’s premier party band, Schnockered, is set to relive the glory days of yore for one night only. Adoring fans are already packing their station wagons, icing their road sodas, and stretching out their vintage Schnockered T’s in preparation for the pilgrimage to the Precinct Bar in Somerville, MA on June 22nd.

And just when you think it can’t get better it does just that. The  boys have spent some serious time at the studio (Q Division) putting together their 3rd recording set to release the night of the event. This recording promises to be as raucous and entertaining as anything they’d released in the 90′s.

I had the chance to sit with the band and chat about how Schnockered came to be, why the attraction to big American cars, and how many chords are too many.

Enjoy!

 

Greg Coutu – So, hmmm… Schnockered. The name surely fits the style and vibe of your music but what led you to it and how does it describe the essence of the music and the band?

JG: The name came from a friend of ours from when Max and I were living in Chicago. She was quite the character, who used it all the time and in a very funny way, whether she was drunk or not.

SALT: Something led Max and J. to Chicago. If they didn’t drink away the Subaru, they might still be there.

JG: When Max and I were on an acoustic tour for my former band Second Balcony Jump, this friend flew down from Chicago to meet us in New Orleans. We thought it would be funny to make a T-shirt for her, while drinking on Bourbon Street with the iron-on letters “SCHNOCKERED”. It was such a big hit on the street, and so hilarious to see her walking around drunk that we thought we would get into the T-shirt business when we got back to Boston.

ANDERSON: I have no idea.

JG: This was 1997, just before online everything and e-commerce really started taking off – when we starting thinking, what is the easiest way to sell T-shirts? Bands sell T-shirts. Lets start a band to sell these T-shirts. We’ll make the songs simple and catchy, and sing about drinking, smoking and fooling around…that should sell a lot of T-shirts. From SCHNOCKERED the T-shirt to SCHNOCKERED the band.

Greg - Tell us a little bit about the band members. How did you all come together? Were there members who came and went? What is your relationship after all these years?

JG: Salt and I grew up together and have been in cover and original bands since High School and summers during the first couple of years of college.

SALT: J. and I were in a cover band in high school called Mirror Image. We Coverdaled “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake. The drummer is now in Rascal Flatts.

ANDERSON: I played drums for SALT, SALT knew J., SCHNOCKERED needed a bass player. I figured since I didn’t know how to play bass, I should join. Plus, I needed to develop my drinking problem.

JG: During College, Max and I were in a punk band called The Meenies. After college, Salt and I formed Stepmother Nature. I think it was 1994 when I started another band, Second Balcony Jump and Salt continued with Stepmother Nature and brought on Eric Anderson as the drummer. In 1997 (see above) SCHNOCKERED started as Max on drums and vocals, a girl named Stacy on bass and myself on guitar and vocals. When we thought we could be getting good, we brought in the serious music consultants/heavy hitters to join the fun…Salt and Anderson. Foley joined when he could as all-purpose player: Vocals, Keys, Trumpet, etc. We have all been close friends for some 20 years. It really could be any activity that keeps us together, but it just happens to be easiest to get together and play music and have a few drinks.

MAX: I thought you guys found Anderson as a baby, left in a basket on the side of Route 1 in Saugus…he had so much hair back then.

Greg - I’ve heard there’s a strict approval process, led by one band member in particular, for getting a song from a ghost-of-an-idea to the mixing board. Can you tell us what the criteria are for a song to be blessed as something that can be considered “worthy of the effort”?

SALT: CARS, BOOZE, WOMEN

JG: Max seems to have 5 criteria to judge a song in its infancy. It would usually go something like this…I would start playing a song and Max would immediately say one or more of the following: “too serious”, “too many chords”, “too many minor chords” or “girls can’t dance to it” or “I can’t play that drunk”

ANDERSON: Have you heard the songs? What Criteria?

MAX: Perfect summary. I think this interview is done.

SF: No Comment

Greg - There was a lot of traveling and a lot of partying that took place in Schnockered’s past. Can you tell us of some of the adventures that remain closest to your hearts… and livers?

MAX: Grimaldi started the “tradition” where he doused the crowd in cheap champagne one night, which led to every show after that for years, having the crowd throwing beers at us. We started throwing drinks at them, and finally Anderson throwing a shot glass at me and Grimaldi’s hollow body Gibson being filled with beer at the end of a show.

ANDERSON: Old ladies in Bikini’s, blue shag carpet, vomit, the opening scene from Casino

SALT: J. Running offstage mid-song and puking behind the Bikini Lounge in Vegas. Gave me a chance to play a longer guitar solo.

JG: Forgot about that intermission. Yes, probably the 1999 Winter West Coast tour. Classic SCHNOCKERED. Max and I flew one-way to LA to buy a “Big American Car” – a song I was working on at the time, and what we were going to use as our touring vehicle. Max had $3,000 in cash in his pants as we were driving around in our rented white mini-van and surf shirts. Here we were, 2 late 20′s white kids looking for an Old Caddy, Lincoln or Delta 88 in rough neighborhoods. We were thinking we would get rolled, but everyone was avoiding us like the plague…probably looked like FBI. We would pull up to a gas station and ask guys to sell their cars to us right there in Venice Beach or El Segundo or wherever we saw one. The irony of looking all around for 2 days, trying to get an authentic old car, is that we bought the car, a Cherry Red 1974 Eldorado convertible on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Since it was a convertible, the rule was, if it didn’t fit in the trunk, we don’t need it. When we pulled up in the Caddy at LAX to pick up Salt and Anderson, the look on their face was just classic. We drove straight to Vegas for our first show of the tour at the Bikini lounge…

MAX: Yeah, on that tour, I’ll never forget the best party I ever went to in my life in San Francisco after the show with the local band we ended up on the bill with at… what was the name of that place near Haight-Ashbury?

JG: Boomerang – is not there anymore

MAX: …Anyway, the band was called M headphone, and it was a Valentines Day party. J. and I walked in and they had hot girls taking turns in a kissing booth for a dollar. People were hammered and kissing and hooking up with multiple people all over the place. So, at some point, I went into the kitchen to pour myself a drink, and facing me across the kitchen counter, was a guy bent over, getting his bare ass paddy wacked by two hot girls. I was like, “What’s going on, man”. He didn’t answer. I never found out if you had to pay for that. I lost J., and I never made it back to the Rockin’ Moroccan’s place.

JG: The party was near Mission and 24th. I went to El Farlito.

SALT: Where the hell was I?

Greg - What is it like getting back together in the studio after all these years? Are you all as energized as you were when you first got together or has life put its two cents in and slowed you all down a bit?

ANDERSON: Exactly the same. I am still wondering why I’m here.

JG: It has been great. It feels the same when we are together, except now it’s just more expensive. We now go out for fresh fish and linguini with clams and a few nice bottles of wine after a recording session or a show instead of $1 beers and chicken wings at Hooters or a HiFi slice.

SALT: We didn’t slow down but life sure did speed up.

MAX: Nothing has changed…we just recorded songs from 15 years ago and still sat around drinking with our friends with the same shenanigans, we’ve just gotten fatter, slower and more bills to pay.

Greg - Name your favorite Schnockered song. Who or what was it about and why does it hold the top spot for you?

SALT: Vodka Lemonade. Pure Grimaldi genius!

MAX: Purple Tight Pants. Three words, two chords, one verse. Can play it fine after doing multiple shots on stage and being hit with a shot glass.

ANDERSON: Cherry Pie Recorded by Warrant

JG: Purple Tight Pants – not so much my favorite song, as to what it represented for the band in a nutshell. Max just gave one of the 4 chord songs the axe and so as Heather Burke walked by in her Purple tight Pants, I turned to him and said what about this one, its only 2 chords. PTP was born and the SCHNOCKERED style was cemented. Don’t give a shit, just enough.

MAX: By the way I remember it, you spontaneous busted PTP out your ass in it’s entirety. It was one of your typical throw away moments. You were about to go onto something else, when I said something like, “That! Play that again!” And you rolled your eyes at me, thinking it wasn’t “musical” enough or something. You literally have shit out, and probably flushed, more hits than Hall & Oates. You should just friggin thank me, that I saved a few.

JG: I’ll guess I’ll take that as a compliment? And yes, thank you. You’re the best.

MAX: Thank you.

Greg - If the members of Schnockered were to have one last adventure – all expenses paid to anywhere in the world for two months – where would you go, what would you do, and why?

SALT: Afghanistan. Those boys need some rock that doesn’t shoot bullets at them!

JG: Almost the same distance as Afghanistan, we are planning to make our last stand, our sweet 16, in Australia and New Zealand next winter (It’s summer there). The plan is to tour beer and wine festivals, if possible, with our good friend Brian Lamb (of Slot Machine and Deep Purple Helmet fame) and his band. Brian moved there with his Aussie wife several years ago and has been lobbying to get us down there. This year we’re going! All expenses paid? Sure, we’ll take it…who’s buying?

ANDERSON: Over the river to Boston. We never really got to play the big city.

Greg - Tell the readers all about your upcoming cd/album/whatever-it’s-called-these-days and let them know how they can be a part of your highly anticipated release party.

SALT: Bring women, because if we do our wives get uneasy.

JG: The new release is our 3rd “effort” and is a collection of songs that we never played live, only played a few times or played often, but never recorded and were eventually generally shot down by one member or another (see criteria above). It will also have a few bonus tracks – studio versions of some Live@The Abbey favorites.

ANDERSON: Are we really going to release this?

JG: Please join us for the CD release party at Precinct in Union Square, Somerville, MA on June 22, 2013 at 8pm. We plan to do 2 sets and have special guests during intermissions. Cover charge gets you a free CD!

Thank you, Schnockered!

Greg Coutu – Circle One One

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Learn more about Schnockered at… http://www.reverbnation.com/provinggroundmusic and check out the event info at https://www.facebook.com/events/613225332027428/?fref=ts