Kicking off the year 2023 The Jackets have a released a monster of a single. The “Pie in the Sky”/ “Misery Of Man 7” is a testament as to why this group leads the pack when it comes to rock n’ roll. This record perfectly builds off the successes of The Jackets previous two records and comes out via their new label Wild Noise Records. Those paying attention are aware The Jackets are one the most dynamic bands around. Their blistering garage punk is second to none. It’s a mix of freakbeat with mod influenced garage punk tinged psychedelia. This approach is refreshing and not tamed by restrained mediocrity. Rather this is the music that seems to effortlessly breath of life rock n’ roll music.
Since this single’s arrival it has found a near permanent home on my turntable. It has been playing nearly nonstop with the volume level in the red—I’m sure much to the joy of my neighbors. The A side’s “Pie In The Sky” boasts certain and captivating brilliance. Theme wise “Pie In The Sky” invokes a nod toward the wandering nature of the Damned’s “Stranger of the Town.’ That said there is a clear distinction with The Jackets fuzz heavy psychedelia as apposed to the former’s goth infused punk.
Furthermore, the instrumental quality for “Pie In The Sky” shows of a certain maturity in style while not sacrificing The Jackets definitive edge. This tracks captures a certain playful and electrifying nature. Played loud enough and under the right influences it ought to make one move recklessly about. So, boost your receivers and properly experience “Pie In The Sky.”
“Misery Of Man” makes for a perfect follow up to “Pie In The Sky.” This song is wrapped in a fuzz driven blanket. Lyrically, this track warns of the different maddening stages of falling into love. To do this it celebrates a moody and haunting provocativeness. This beautifully coincides with a pounding backbeat propping up an enveloping psychedelic theme. Thus giving sound to the absorbing turbulence of this passion driven emotion.
If there was a record meant to show the importance of rock n’ roll, this single is it. The Jackets have long been delivering solid and exciting material. This record continues their legacy by ferociously blending fuzzed out freakbeat with the defiance of proto-punk sensibilities. It’s music that is vibrant, sincere and above all relevant. If this is a preamble to more material coming out soon, I am ready for it. This is the top shelf stuff and is needed. Now, waste no more time and pick this up!
The Sex Organs are on a mission to bring sex back to rock n’ roll. Since 2014, they have blazed a trail of garage punk mayhem across Europe. In doing so they have wiped out the confines of complacency by spreading —in their own words— “sexcitement” across the land. They are Jackie Torera (The Jackets) and Bone (The Anomalys). The Sex Organs provide a performance that can only be from outer space. They dress the part by presenting themselves as a giant fuzzy alien looking reproductive organs on stage — aka a vagina with teeth and penis with an enormous protruding eye.
Musically, they play with a primitive set up made up with a stand up drum kit and electric guitar, complete with lyrics about humanity sexual condition. Their style mixes the savage nature of garage rock with the intensity of punk. Think of it along the lines of The Cramps, Bo Diddly and The Mummies, but with the additives of trash driven rock n’ roll.
To share their garage punk infused “sexcitment” with the people of earth, The Sex Organs play numerous clubs across Europe. They have also made appearances at garage rock festivals and even museums. Some of their more notably shows include at Funtastic Dracula Carnival and Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival.
Their exploits don’t stop at touring. The Sex Organs were even banned from Dracula’s Bran Castle in Transylvania in 2017. Originally they were set to play with Hombre Lobo, Dead Elvis and Thee Gravemen. Unfortunately several days before the show, the castle’s manager felt an appearance from The Sex Organs would tarnish Romania’s famous cultural site. Ironically this is a cultural site that also proudly displays iron spiked chastity belts and other charming torture devices—some complete with graphics. (The full story can be found on Facebook)
Apart from relentlessly gigging The Sex Organs have also released a full lengthIntergalactic Sex TouristsLP and theFuck The Human Raceand I Hate Underpants singles. The former two records were released with Voodoo Rhythm Records. While the I Hate Underpants 7″ was put out via their own label Orgastic Records, established in 2021. Rumor even has it that a new record is on the way.
Life as The Sex Organs is certainly not boring. They are cult favorites in the garage rock circuit and have remained tirelessly creative even as the world seemed to lull during the Covid 19 Pandemic. To learn more about The Sex Organs plans for world domination I caught up with Bone and Jackie and asked them about the origins of The Sex Organs, playing Festival Dracula Carnival, starting their own label, staying creative during covid lockdowns and more!
Nixbeat:The Sex Organs started as an idea between Bone and Jackie before the Funtastic DraculaCarnival in Benidorm, Spain. What inspired you to form The Sex Organs?
Jackie: I was talking to an actor that played a vagina in a theatre peace (like a naturalistic one in skin color) and I immediately had this image in my head and said: if I’d be a vagina on stage, I would be a big black hairy triangle with teeth. And Bone knows a DJ called Kutlul, which means Cuntdick. Then we thought there must already exist a band dressed as sex organs and googled it… The Sex Organs! It didn’t exist and so we knew we had to do it…
NixBeat: Self-described as intergalactic sex n’ roll from outer space, your music comes across asblending primitive garage with elements of punk rock. What are you drawing from foryour sound?
Jackie: I guess from our music path… we always played in garage bands, we love the DIY culture of punk and garage, dressing funny, continue the culture and make something new and authentic with it. (We like to entertain, have fun ourselves, tour, build things (costumes, merch, videos), write good music and lyrics… be part of that huge rock n’ roll community and family around the world.)
Bone: Music wise, I would say we draw from bands like The Cramps and The Gories and the like. My very first garage band from the end of the 90’s was also a duo with me on guitar and Claudia Hek on drums. So I guess I’ve been developing the duo sound for a long time. Experimenting a lot with vintage echo machines and cheap guitars.
NixBeat: In an interview published by internationaltimes.it on February 12, 2022, you stated thatperforming and playing live is essential to music itself. In which you cite drawing fromboth of your creative backgrounds to create a way to live and express yourselves throughrock n’ roll DIY culture. What inspires your unique performances?
Bone: We both have a background in theatre and performance art. We love to design and create costumes. It’s been amazing to combine this with music. Ever since I was a little kid I was into dress-up parties and still am. Of course the first time I saw the Mummies perform my young mind was blown and I knew where I had to go…
NixBeat: On February 7, 2017, The Sex Organs releasedIntergalactic Sex Tourists via VoodooRhythm Records. The album plays out as though listening to a kind of raunchy OrsonWells-like radio broadcast about the Sex Organs invasion and the subsequent corruptingmoral panic of Earth. What were your drawing from to create this album?
Jackie: As The Sex Organs look a bit different than human sex organs. We always imagined that they are from outer space. The story around the band is as important as everything else… it’s our inspiration and it’s an on going story. The Sex Organs make new encounters and experiences on planet earth… so it was the next obvious step to tell that story on this first record.
Bone: I’m really into radio plays since a long time. I collect these records with especially horror, science fiction and raunchy stories. Also in my early Hip Hop days I was always drawn to songs with a skit in it. It leaves so much to the imagination. I love that. In garage this is very well used by bands like The Brentwoods , The Bassholesor LightningBeatman.
NixBeat: On April 23, 2021 The Sex Organs released the “I Hate Underpants”/”Where Is My Dildo7”. What’s the story behind the track “Where’s My Dildo?”
Bone: I used to work a long time in a bar in Amsterdam and a certain part of the clientele would always refer to Bo Diddly as Bo Dildo whenever the man’s genius music was played. So I thought we could turn this pretty lame joke to our advantage and turn it into a homage with appropriate lyrics for our band. (I think we heard that referenced Bo Diddely’s song while dancing and started to sing funny sentences to it…)
NixBeat: During the height of the pandemic in 2020 The Sex Organs work on the Claymationmusic video for “I Hate Underpants.” What was that process like?
Jackie: We wanted to show how sex organs have to deal with underpants. So we first thought of gigantic underpants… and then quickly knew that we have to scale down everything and work with animated puppets. We both like to build things and I’m also a film maker. So we just started without having a clue and it became a huge project of course but, we learned a lot, had some fun and it was the perfect project during corona.
Bone: The process was very meticulous and nerve-wrecking. We had never done a stop motion video before so we didn’t really know where we were getting ourselves into. It is unbelievable how much work goes into it. And especially when you realise that the tiniest details are of the utmost importance. The result is completely satisfying though . It makes it all worth it.
NixBeat: To release the “I Hate Underpants”/”Where Is My Dildo 7” The Sex Organs startedOrgastic Records. Are you using this label as a beach head to invade Earth and if so, howis that going?
Jackie: We were into going through the whole process of making and releasing a record ,and selling it ourselves on bandcamp as we were not able to tour during Corona. It has been a very insightful experience. We will release small projects on our label, but for albums we will work with other labels.
NixBeat: Ever since Covid 19 germinated the Earth, Bandcamp has risen to the occasion to providedirect payments to bands on the first Friday of the month. I’ve noticed that The SexOrgans have been releasing new shirts and posters designed by Bone as well as specialedition action figures. How has the Bandcamp Fridays helped fund The Sex Organssurvive the Covid Pandemic?
Jackie: It was incredibly important to have a platform to sell our merch to pay for our record and some running band costs. I think people liked, that the money would go directly to the bands… so you get cool merch and support the band.
NixBeat: What prompted you to create the action figures and since they have sold out, will we eversee another round of them?
Bone: Doesn’t anyone wants an action figure of themselves??? We knew this would be a big seller. You only have to look at every other franchise on the planet. Before we made the actual costumes we already made prototypes of the costumes on two Ken and Barbie dolls that we bought in a thrift store. Lets see when the next batch will be born. I’m sure there will be more where that came from…
NixBeat: On October 29, 2021 The Sex Organs returned to play Funtastic Dracula CarnivalWelcome Party. Other acts included Teen Cobra plus DJ’s spinning until 6AM. What wasit like to return to Funtastic Dracula after the world shut down due to the Covid 19Pandemic?
Bone: It was absolutely ecstatic!!! Of course everybody had a little catching up to do. We played as the first band that night. Then came Teen Cobra and Finale ended the night. It was pretty much a dancing, pogoing crazy crowd from the get go. Really FUN!
NixBeat: On May 20, 2022 The Sex Organs played Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival in Valence, France.Also on the bill were Black Mambas, Tommy and The Commies, Bad Mojos, TheScaners, Thee Gunlocks, La Flingue and Nester Donuts. What was it like to play BombYour Brain Fuzztival?
Bone: Two nights of mayhem in Valence. Lots of old friends and a bunch of new ones. Super cool line up. There seemed to be a contest of naked men going on… never seen so many men play naked on stage in one festival. Super nutty after parties including one where the guitar player of the Mamba’s ended up in the garden two stories down after he dropped his phone of the balcony and couldn’t get back up. Had to be rescued with a leader etc… the usual.
Nixbeat: In conjunction with playing Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival, The Sex Organs contributed thetrack “I Wanna Be Your Pussy” to the Bomb Your Brain- Best of Bastard CompilationVol. 1 (February 14, 2022) via Pigme Records. How did you get involved with thisrelease?
Bone:Goret the drummer from Thee Gunlocks who organised the festival also put out this fantastic compilation. So when he wrote to us if we wanted to donate a song to this comp. and saw the rest of the bands involved we immediately agreed upon that. Afterwards I asked him if I could DJ the festival since I liked the line up so much. At first we were not supposed to actually play but when the Briefs cancelled their tour I offer to play with the Sex Organs.
NixBeat: Do The Sex Organs have plans to release more material in the near future?
Bone: We sure do but unfortunately the pressing plants won’t let us…. gdmnd. For now we are concentrating on a new album that we will record with Lo Spider this summer.
NixBeat: Do The Sex Organs have plans to play the United States? If you do, where would youlike to play?
Bone: Yes of course we would love to play the States. Everywhere where we won’t be run out of town in tar and feathers. We’d love to play the Mosswood Meltdown in San Fransisco presented by John Waters. Portland with The Cyclops. New Orleans with Mr.Quintron and Miss Pussycat. San Diego with the Schizophonics. Memphis, Gonerfest. Detroit with Dan Kroha. Chicago with the Delilahs crew. Get Weird, New York City etc etc etc…. It would be great to see all our friends again in the States!
NixBeat: What’s next for the Sex Organs?
Bone: For now we are concentrating on a new album that we will record in Toulouse with LoSpider this summer after playing the Montesquiou on the Rocks festival.
Hurtling back toward the planet Earth are fuzzy primitive garage duo The Sex Organs. The third rock from the sun hasn’t been the same since they released their phenomenally outrageous LP Intergalactic Sex Tourists through Voodoo Rhythm Records in 2017. It was a record that shook the fabric of decent society to it’s core. Unfortunately, over the last fours years, the Earth has seemed to lull into an era of un-sexiness. This is largely thanks to a pandemic that has wrought devastation to it’s four corners. Thankfully, The Sex Organs are back with their new 7” via their own label Orgtastic Records ,and they are here to stimulate the desperate lives of a post-covid world.
The A-side of this single does just that. This track is called “I Hate Underpants.” It’s a simple, fast and in your face. Possibly unabashed raw garage punk at it’s finest. This tune laments everything wrong with underpants. Whether it be because they never fit or even when these undergarments crawl up your ass. Clearly The Sex Organs hate them, and you the reader should too.
The B-side of this record is “Where’s My Dildo.” This song boasts the definitive reverberating vocals of thanks to miss Vagenta Dentata (Jackie Torea). Plus, it also invokes a nod to a Bo Diddly tune— who is aptly referenced in this song —thanks to the rhythm and bluesy riffs. “Where’s My Dildo” has a catchy chorus to sing along to. So reader, beware, soon you will have a song to help you find your lost your dildo — whether you have one, or not.
Fans of The Jackets or The Anomalys will find the Sex Organs next in line on their playlist. This particular record blends the simplicity of hardcore punk sensibilities with the sensationalized rhythm of primordial garage rock n’ roll. This is music not to be played at the highest volume level possible. For within these grooves are enlightened sexcitment message of the intergalactic Sex Organs ,and it’s not to be ignored. So drop the needle on this wax, and succumb to the urges to to get down, get dirty, hate your underwear and find your dido. Now pick it up.
For over 30 years Reverend Beat-Man has practiced and preached the gospel of blues trash. His gospel is not limited by the decadence of sex and drugs; rather it’s a philosophy that celebrates rock n’ roll and how it bridges cultural divides to connect people in a worldwide community. For Beat-Man, rock n’ roll music provides the same power of belonging that helped break down walls for American black and white teenagers in the mid-20th century. Furthermore, he believes that rock n’ roll is not just for the fashion rockers or mods. It’s for people who see that rock n roll was and still is a relevant, worldwide music revolution. Beat-Man says, “It’s a music for old and young, for black and white, for everybody and it’s not polka or Mozart. It’s now music.”
Throughout his life, Beat-Man has been a lifelong devotee to the musical world. As a musician his relentless touring and out of this world performances leave a mark on all who witness them. Not only that, but he also runs his own label for like-minded music fanatics. Beat-Man founded Voodoo Rhythm Records in 1992 and has since then provided a home for the strange and risky music not likely to air on the pop-centric controlled radio stations of the world. Some impressive and unique acts to be found on Voodoo Rhythm Records include The Jackets,The Sex Organs, ET Explore Me, The Giant Robots,and The Devils.
His passion for the weird and obscure also fuels his record collecting. Armed with a storied library of records, Beat-Man occasionally DJ;s at bars and venues. His sets vary from Rhythm & Blues groovers to music more on the eclectic side. He hopes that his selections of music will introduce inspiring sounds to patrons looking to explore music through another dimension. “I know people want to party and they want to dance, drink and get wasted, fuck on the toilette.” Beat-Man says, ““I’ve had that so many times I want something different. So, I make strange music DJ sets.” During these DJ nights, one can hear bands such as The Shags, Yoko Ono, Free Jazz or even Talk records from the 1920’s. When not DJing venues, Beat-Man posts his sets on his Mixcloud.
Beat-Man’s talents for music really shines when he performs, such as playing as a solo artist, with the Monsters, collaborating with NicoleIsobel Garcia and more recently recording with the one-time project Reverend Beat-Man and The New Wave. With The New Wave, Beat-Man released the one time album Blues Trash in 2018 through Voodoo Rhythm Records.
Blues Trash combines many different sounds and genres within its grooves. Some tracks betray recognizable notions of primitive garage punk. Other songs carry styles invoking a distinct layering of darkness with the emotional heaviness of the real folk-blues.
The process for recording the new record provided a challenge for the musicians involved. Prior to recording, Beat-Man had all the songs written and ready to go. All he needed to complete the project was a backing band. To complete this album, he assembled a group comprised of some of his favorite musicians. They were Mario Batkovic, a classically trained accordionist, the drummer Julian Sartrius, and the multi-instrumentalist Resli Burri.
The rest of the band were not privy to the material before recording. Beat-Man wanted them to feel it out as they went along. “I wanted to see what they do with what I give them,” Beat-Man says, “I gave ourselves two or three takes, but first I played it with my guitar only. I explained them what’s going on in this song and told them the feeling that you have to get if you hear that song.”
Songs like “I’ve Had Enough” and “Then We All Gonna Die” stand out on the album. “I’ve Had Enough” is a kind of political song. Beat-Man was influenced by being fed up with the constant bombarded of ads from politicians and insurance companies trying to sell him something. Beat-Man says, “One day I just had enough. After over 53 years living in such a profit-oriented community as we are living in, one day you just see this is all a big lie.”
“Then We All Gonna Die” is a song Beat-Man spent 15 years writing and re-writing. It’s meant to be a kind of hymn sung from the perspective of Sensenmann. In the song, Sensenmann sings about what their victims did wrong in their lives. The mood of the song is heavy, with a kind of apocalyptic tone , mixing with a folk-blues trash feel.
To promote Blues Trash and Baile Bruja Muerto—an album he worked on with Nicole Isobel Garcia—Beat-Man embarked on several tours between 2018 and 2019. Beat-Man is no stranger to hitting the road to perform. His dedication to his music has taken him beyond the snowy mountains of Switzerland and all over the word. He says, “I want to explore, I want to see the world and the connections we all people have with each other.” Historically the Swiss are known for remaining isolated; however Beat-Man seeks to move past the limitations of national borders and meet others who are like-minded.
In April 2018, Beat-Man played Slovenly Recordings Debauch-A-Reno, as well as touring the United States. On April 22nd, 2018 Beat-Man and Isabel Nicole Garcia graced Salt Lake City, Utah. Beat-Man appreciated that Salt Lake City was kind of familiar to his home country. “I first thought, ‘I’m in Switzerland.’ It’s all very clean and people are pretty organized—even the homeless looked kinda healthy.” He says, “It’s small and probably everybody knows everybody. I like that. It opens your own horizon in your musical taste if you know people from the electro or hardcore or art scene.”
The show itself was a welcome surprise. The Garage On Beck had a pleasant feel of authenticity for Beat-Man. He says, “It was a club what the European American Fans try to rebuild in Europe but mostly fail.” However, what struck him most about the show was the opening acts, Jacob T. Skeen and Los YaYaz. “There were two opening bands. First there was a One Man band, that was fucking amazing— very unique sound and great songs” says Beat-Man. “Then the garage fuck ups from Los YaYaz . They were super cool. Just like garage punk has to be. They are terrible on the instruments and they love rock n’ roll.”
The remainder of 2018 was busy with gigs and touring. This constant playing extended into 2019 when Beat-Man found himself playing with psychobilly outfit The Monsters for another Slovenly Recordings event. This time for the We’re Loud Festival in Vietnam. The Monsters are bit different from the New Wave or his collaboration with Nicole Isobel Garcia. They are a trash rock n’ roll band, with a primitive-bluesy, yet with sonic-splitting abrasive sound. Think of them boasting a wild, caveman stomp psychobilly style, but with definitive blues trash flair.
The festival was a hit. Although rock n’ roll was admittedly not as popular in Vietnam, there were many local acts to play the festival. They included hardcore and metal bands from Vietnam and Indonesia. “This was a blast.” Beat-Man says, “Pete from Slovenly tried to attract as many local persons as possible.”
After a brief tour in Japan with The Cavemen, Beat-Man was back in Switzerland. Not long after, the Covid 19 pandemic began occurring worldwide and lockdowns began happening in cities all over. Keenly aware of the worsening pandemic in Italy, the Swiss government quickly acknowledged that without a cure for the virus, measures needed to be taken. On March 19, 2020, a lockdown order was issued for the Swiss population.
While the population was ordered to be sheltered, the Swiss National TV began reaching out to local musicians to participate in the Living Room Showcase series. Beat-Man says, “It was a job from the Swiss National TV, they told me and many other Pop Starlets and mainstream Artists in Switzerland to contribute 15-minute showcases from the living room.” What the Swiss National TV did not quite appreciate was that Beat-Man isn’t necessarily cut from the same cloth as his mainstream counterparts.
Prior to the Beat-Man man’s performance played on air, he caught the interviewer by surprise. He suggested that the lockdowns caused by a virus could give humanity a chance to slow down and think about its collective future. “I had a live interview in front of my clip and I said that the virus is more a blessing that a punishment,” says Beat-Man. “Anyway the interviewer —I heard he is very famous in Switzerland— was very upset and as well the guy who placed me in the show.”
Beat-Man’s clip was allowed to play on National TV, but was then stopped after two minutes. Not to be deterred, Beat-Man then released the full clip online. That way everyone could see it. In the clip, Beat-Man performs in his living room, changes into various outfits and plays unique renditions of his material, including “I’ve Had Enough.”
Beat-Man, being fully aware of the wider implications of the pandemic, sees that Covid 19 is an extreme virus that can severely affect the elderly and those with health conditions. Unfortunately, the economic consequences of the shelter in place means businesses ,like Voodoo Rhythm Records brick and mortar shop, have to temporarily close their doors and musicians like Beat-Man’s performances are currently on hold. Needing to pay rent, Beat-Man’s ability to bring income is challenged. He says, “For me its financially very bad. I play about 200 shows a year, 70% of my income is because of my shows, and 30% is from the label.”
During the lockdown, there are ways to support the label, which include ordering records and merchandise online, through the Voodoo Rhythm Records Facebook Page, or donating here: https://voodoorhythm.ch/. Speaking of the support he has experienced from the wider rock n’ roll community, Beat-Man says, “Everywhere I go on this planet I see those people. It’s a good virus and it’s that virus we need at the moment.”
Not to be deterred by the setbacks caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, Beat-Man remains busy with his label. When things open up again, Voodoo Rhythm Records is expecting to release records by Bad Mojo’s, The Sex Organs and Trixie and The Trainwrecks. On May 14th, Voodoo Rhythm Records will cautiously open their doors. The idea is to start allowing a limited number of people at a time into to shop. For him, this is a hopeful sign that things will begin to return to a sense of normality.
The Jackets are arguably among of the most dynamic garage punk groups to come out of Bern, Switzerland. They are Jackie Brutsche aka Jack Torera (guitar vocals), Samuel Schmidiger (bass, backing vocals), and Chris Rosales (drums, backing vocals). Whether on stage or heard through their records, The Jackets revitalize the vital heartbeat needed to keep rock n’ roll alive. This is by their seemingly natural ability to effortlessly blend wild, primitive garage-punk with fuzzed out freakbeat influenced by notions of psychedelia. It’s the kind of music that not only shocks and awes, but also inspires.
Since 2008, The Jackets have released four albums, a single and have toured relentlessly throughout Europe and the United States. Their last two albums Shadows of Sound (2015) and Queen Of The Pill (2019) along with the Be Myself/Queen Of The Pill 7″ (2017) have come out via the infamous Voodoo Rhythm Records. Their latest album, Queen Of The Pill even included a collaboration with King Khan (King Khan and The Shrines and King Khan & the BBQ Show).
In February 2020, prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Jackets did a brief West Coast Tour. This tour started in Portland, Oregon and ended in their first ever show in Mexico City for the Born To Be Cheap Fourth Anniversary Party. After catching The Jackets in Portland on February 19th , I later caught up with Chris Rosales. We chatted about The Jacket’s recent North American Tour, Queen Of The Pill, the European Garage Rock Renaissance and life in Switzerland during Coronavirus Lockdown.
NixBeat: The USA West Coast/Mexico Tour was partly booked with Ugly Things and Born To Be Cheap. How did you get involved with them?
Chris Rosales: I’ve known Mike Stax (Ugly Things) since I was a teenager. I was involved with the first Garage Revival in Los Angeles (Greg Shaw’s Cavern Club, etc.) in the ‘80s and Mike was an “ace face” and major player. I met Anja Stax when she lived in London in the ‘90s so they were both a natural as go-to people for our last three California tours. Anja Stax can book a tour in 10 minutes! It’s incredible! Mike and Anja are the best, I can’t say enough about those two they are amazing people. Matt and Daneep from Born to be Cheap got a hold of us last year and asked us if we wanted to come and play in CDMX! We jumped at the idea. We basically built the USA tour around the Mexico shows. We didn’t know Matt and Daneep before we got to Mexico. Two more amazing people! That’s what I love about this scene – meeting so many cool people and then they are your friends for life!!
NixBeat: This was the third North American Tour for the Jackets. How have you found the audiences reception to your gigs?
Chris Rosales: We are always blown away playing in the USA! I mean, this was the first time we did a tour exclusively on our own – not touring with another band. It was nice to see people know about us now and know our songs and come just for The Jackets. All the gigs were well attended and fun!
NixBeat: While traveling to Mexico, were you concerned about The United States strict immigration policies at its Southern Border?
Chris Rosales: No, not really. We were concerned more about the Mexican side. We were told that bringing guitars over might bring unwanted questions so we went over with nothing but our luggage and the promoter drove our guitars over. It was also relatively quiet at the border when we crossed over to Tijuana.
NixBeat: Seth Bovey’s book Five Years Ahead Of My Time: Garage Rock From The 1950’s To The Present suggests that Europe and particularly Switzerland are experiencing a kind of garage rock/underground music renaissance. Do think this is true and if so, why is there such a strong revival going on at the moment?
Chris Rosales: We were also surprised to see our name in that book! As far as a Garage Renaissance in Europe, it’s been going on for a while now. I, we have been asked this question many times and I really can’t put my finger on why this kind of music is more popular in Europe than in the USA. But it is. And particularly with younger people. It’s not a huge scene like the Metal scene or something but hundreds (Thousand?) of people go to festivals like Funtastic Dracula Carnival, Purple Weekend, Cosmic Trip, etc. Instead of wondering why, I am just enjoying it. It’s good for the bands – it’s what makes new bands form.
NixBeat: The Jackets tour started out in Portland where DJ Major Sean (Sean Cavanaugh) spun records for your show. Do you think having a DJ spinning set at gigs is important and what kind of difference does it make for you experience while performing at a venue?
Chris Rosales: It’s always better having a DJ spinning at gigs! It gets everyone in the mood for the live music and builds a great atmosphere in the club! It’s also great seeing what cool records the DJs have as well! A gig without a cool DJ is really missing something.
NixBeat: What kind of differences do you notice from your shows and experiences in the United States in comparison to when performing in Europe?
Chris Rosales: Like I said before, there are more people and younger people in Europe. In the States a Garage gig is filled with people around 50 years old (wink wink). In Europe it’s much more mixed and there are way more people.
NixBeat: Queen of the Pill was released in June of 2019. How would you describe the difference in sound and style between your previous album Shadows of Sound and Queen of the Pill?
Chris Rosales:Queen of the Pill is a more thought out album, in my opinion. We worked on the songs more, we worked on the mix longer. We cared more about what we wanted to say. Not to knock Shadows of Sound at all but we made that album in six months. Queen of the Pill was really a two-year project and that 7” that we released the year before was really a test of ideas about the direction we wanted to go with the full LP.
NixBeat: The video for “Losers Lullaby” features the Jackets performing in drag in a parking garage. What’s the inspiration behind this song and video?
Chris Rosales: The songwriting and the video idea are two separate things. The song is filled with the ultimate “put-downs”. Things you want to say to someone you hate! The video became a play on male and female roles in bands – Sam and I turn into girls and Jackie turns into a guy. At one point Jackie is the male singer of a girl band. That kind of thing.
NixBeat: The Jackets recently released the music video for Queen of the Pill track “Dreamer.” The video focuses on the perspective of a Gorilla and that of Jackie exploring the city of Bern, Switzerland. What’s the story behind this video?
Chris Rosales: The video for “Losers Lullaby” was professionally shot and we wanted the next video from the LP to be more DIY. On a sunny early Spring day, I got into a gorilla suit and Jackie and I set out into the countryside around the city of Bern to start filming something. The idea was wide open but there was a lyric from the song – “I had a meeting with my mind face to face, my evil half and little me, what a disgrace”. That gave us a thread of an idea. Jackie is the gorilla and the gorilla is Jackie. It’s a dream. The video took a long time to come to something that we were happy with. I think we shot it a year before it was released.
NixBeat: The track “What About You” features collaboration with King Khan doing guest vocals. What’s the story behind this track?
Chris Rosales: Well he produced the album and his personality is so strong that we wanted to get him to do something on it if at all possible. He arranged that bridge part of the song so we go him to do the vocal part himself and it’s great. He also sings on “Steam Queen” as well as playing the gong on “Floating Alice” and hand-clapping, etc. He was keen to do as much as we would let him!
NixBeat: What are you drawing from for the song “Be Myself?”
Chris Rosales: You mean what is the song about? Well that’s a text collaboration between me, Jackie and King Khan so it’s all over the place. I guess it’s about defiance. I don’t wanna do this and I won’t do that and I don’t wanna be myself! That kind of thing. But it’s quite silly really if you read all the lyrics together. But it’s one of my favorite new Jackets songs for sure.
NixBeat: I have to ask this. My introduction to The Jackets was coming across the the music video for “Freak Out,” released in 2012. In the video The Jackets play a house party and it’s attendees to spasm out of control as if under as spell. The theme suggests a kind of “warning” against the dangers of rock n’ roll. What’s the inspiration behind “Freak Out?”
Chris Rosales: The “Freak Out” video from 2012 is a remake of various scenes from the 1936 film, “Reefer Madness” which was a morality tale attempting to teach young people about the dangers of marijuana. The original film from the thirties revolves around the melodramatic events that ensue when high-school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana—from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness from marijuana addiction. We just changed marijuana to rock and roll! This video was our first. It was professionally shot by Decoy Collective, who also did our video “Keep Yourself Alive”.
NixBeat: Now that The Jackets are back in Switzerland, how are you all coping with the outbreak of the Coronavirus?
Chris Rosales: We got really lucky with the tour. It started on the 15th of February so there were no lockdowns, curfews and cancellations until we got back to Europe. Well we are all confined to our apartments. Jackie and I are off work because our employers have closed during the lockdown (As of this writing Switzerland is on lockdown). It’s only been a week of this so I can’t really imagine how insane everything is going to get in the next weeks and months.
NixBeat: How has the Corona Virus Pandemic affected life, and particularly the music scene in Switzerland?
Chris Rosales: There are no gigs. Lot’s of bands had their tours cancelled. This is really hard on Record Labels in particular! Voodoo Rhythm is going through a particularly hard time. If you all would like to help you can donate here.
At long last The Jackets have released their fourth album, Queen of the Pill. It’s a brilliant record that shows off the logical evolution of the sound that made Way Out and Shadow of Sound great.
Queen of the Pill boasts the raw snarl of the fuzzed out garage-punk found in Way Out and combines it with Shadow of Sound’s refined freakbeat influenced garage-psych style. However, what sets Queen of the Pill apart from the previous records is The Stooges-esque proto-punk attitude twisting with elements of King Khan & The BBQ Show’s style, which should come as no surprise since King Khan was involved in this record’s production.
Every year I come out with a little list of my top albums that have been released throughout the year. During the highs and lows of 2017 I found myself constantly listening to these gems. It’s a healthy mix or power pop, garage rock and everything in-between. All articles were published by SLUG Magazine, Heatwave Magazine or exclusively here at nixbeat.com. Enjoy and happy new year!
Dirty Water Club & Weirdsville Present: The Jackets, The Bucky Rage and Fryd Chikin with DJ MR A & Miss A and DJ PJ @Nambucca 08/12/2017
This was a weekend like no other. Weirdsville/Dirty Water presented Londoners with the superb talents of Fryd Chikin, The Bucky Rage and The Jackets. For those uninitiated, travelling to Nambucca for this evening’s entertainment required the sheer determination to brave a night of temperatures dropping to bone chilling levels. Luckily, for the devout rock n’ rollers that lurk in the shadows, this club is constantly home to music that warms the soul… and drinks to dull the senses.
THE JACKETS BE MYSELF/QUEEN OF THE PILL Voodoo Rhythm Records Street: 06.30 The Jackets = The Seeds + King Khan and the BBQ Show + The Satelliters
Hailing from Bern, Switzerland, The Jackets are Jack Torera (aka Jackie Brutsche) on vox/lead guitar, Sam Schmidiger on bass and Chris Rosales on drums. With a combined love for The Seeds, The Music Machine, The Lyre and The Gravedigger V, The Jackets boast an exposition of untamed garage rock that is uniquely executed. It’s a style that is well refined, raw and carefully delivered. I would have thought it would have been hard to top their last record, but it’s not necessarily a surprise that this single breathes new life into their already vibrant sound.