Yes most members of Livids have been in some super fantastic bands in the past. Truthfully, when investing your hard earned beans on some vinyl, does this really matter to you? The fact is the proof has to be in the pudding you got in front of you. Livids not only delivers the evidence quite adequately but also rams that pudding straight down your craw! Fun, fast, melodic Rock ‘N’ Roll punk out of Brooklyn NY that leaves a scorch marks like an 88 mile an hour DeLorean ran over your face! Here’s hoping they get a chance to unleash the fury on the rest of America soon, because we can certainly use more bands like this here. No politics, no preaching, no agendas, just a good time. The way rock n roll music is supposed to be!
Interview by Jay Castro
Who’s answering the questions here?
Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Jami Wolf – Guitar/vocals
Gregory Collins – Drums
Joi Lacour – Bass
Eric Davidson – Vocals
Daniel Kelley - Guitar
With all of you having such impressive resumes (New Bomb Turks, Zodiac Killers, Complaints, Paper Bags, Radio 4) how did you all come together for this project?
Daniel: I had moved to NYC about two years ago from San Francisco and before I left I was playing in something ridiculous like 3 bands at the same time. Coming to New York I didn’t have anything lined up in terms of a band so I started asking around. Adam Caine (Radio Reelers, Paper Bags) and my friend Mike Longshot both told me to get in touch with their old pal Jami Wolf, and told me we gotta start a band! So after a few days of being in my new city I got in touch with Jami. We met up for some beers and just shot the shit for a while talking about music and boom! Next thing I know we’re in a rehearsal spot with a drummer, a bassist, and Mr. Eric Davidson. Eric, myself, and Jami have always been the core members and we’ve had a revolving door of drummers and bassists, but in the past year we have solidified our lineup with Greg and Joi.
Eric: I moved to Brooklyn from Columbus, OH, in about 2004. I’d known Jami from Shop Fronts shows. They’d been done for maybe a year and a half, and I saw her at a local bar in early 2011, we were chatting, she mentioned that her and Alessandra (Shop Fronts bassist) were thinking of starting a new band, and I was like, “Can I join?!” Jami seemed kinda surprised, maybe because I hadn’t played in a band since the Turks, or started something in NYC yet. I never really thought I’d get in another band, but Jami and I were becoming good pals, Alessandra is an awesome, gal, and I figured it’d most likely be a trashy band that could get going quickly, it’d be fun and not too serious. But as things went on, and especially once Joi and Greg joined up, things just got stronger musically, and it’s weird thinking this lineup has already been together more than a year. But that’s it! If I ever do something else, it’s going to be a Lou Reed thing where I hire ringers to come in and play exactly what I tell them!!! Oh wait, that would require money…(har, har).
What influences did you have in mind when starting the Livids?
Daniel: Our influences are really over the place in the band, but one thing we can definitely agree on is that we all enjoy ice cold light beer!
Eric: What he said. The influences weren’t that all over the place – essentially we all seemed to make quick reference jokes to Killed By Death-style forgotten punk, some be-booted Oi! and pub rock from the mid-70s, and modern garage-poonk combos. But mainly, yes, cold light beer.
Living in Brooklyn New York with so much going on it that city, do you find other, non-musical influences seeping into the Livids music?
Daniel: Definitely, but I’m not sure I would credit the city for my other non-musical influences. We’re all big into movies and books, and I think a lot of that has a big influence on me personally.
Eric: I’ve noticed things seeping into my pants lately, and I’m getting a little worried… But yes, I think the general always-hustling-for-rent-money mood, and running all over town on trains, and knowing that on any given night I could go saunter through The Met, The Whitney, MOMA, et al, or see another scuzzy band at 4 different bars in 4 different corners of the 5 boroughs makes for a constant nagging feeling that there’s fun to be had, so we may as well throw our gloves in the ring. It ain’t perfect by any means, and I can already hear the distant echoing mantra that “all the cool clubs are closing.” But there are a million things to influence/inspire you, even just some pizza joint, the view of the Statue of Liberty from Red Hook, the animatronic puking guy at Coney Island, or whatever. Anyway, every town has it’s cool inspiring stuff…
You named Little Richard as an influence. One of my absolute favorites as well! Do you find it vital for musicians playing any form of rock to visit the roots?
Do you feel Rock ‘N’ Roll can still be a vital and influential force for kids in such a disposable age?
Daniel: Yeah, I do think that Rock ‘N’ Roll is still a very vital and influential force for the “kids”. Nowadays everything is so much more accessible, for better or worse, and it’s just so much easier than it used to be to find out about lesser known music. It’s so easy to find great music, both new and old, that I don’t see how it can’t still be an influential force to kids and adults alike.
Eric: Yeah, it kind of amazes me when you meet a young music “fan” who only knows about the 13 latest “blog bands.” Like, if you’re savvy enough to troll 25 blogs, your Twitter, Facebook, Vine, your emails and texts, and whatever other fuckin’ brand new social network site every morning before you take a proper dump, how did you NOT stumble on Little Richard or the Saints or the Stooges at some point. I have zero patience for people who claim to like music but don’t know, seriously, 1,000 bands, because it would take you about 9,000 seconds to look up 1,000 bands, which if my math is right, most people could do before the age of 14. “When I was a kid” (he says in gravely old man voice), it took me 17 years to find my first Saints LP. 99 cents, sealed, at a mall closeout!!
Although, I should add that all that creepy aggregating shit that goes one, where clicking on a few things directs you to sites and sounds you “should” like probably leads to people stumbling on the same kind of shit over and over again. Pretty weird, when you think about it. We play Pandora at my job, and Queen pops up on every single station.
You guys have been releasing a steady stream of 7” s on Oops Baby, Slovenly, Twistworthy, and Goodbye Boozy labels. What made you guys go with these particular record labels?
Daniel: Well we went into the studio with our pal Phil Palazzolo and recorded a whooping 15 songs in about 2 days at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn. Everything went really smoothly and we were really excited about how the songs came out, but we weren’t entirely sure what would do with them all. We started asking labels we liked to see if they were interested in doing a single, and we ended up getting responses from people who wanted to do stuff with us. So we ended up doing a bunch of singles with some really awesome labels and we couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.
Eric: A few labels wanted to do a whole LP, which seems to be a trend, I think, as I think stores are getting a bit reluctant to order every 7” that comes down the pike. So what’d we do? We figured a ton of 7”s would be the best idea. Ha! But seriously, it was just nice that cool labels we liked asked us, and we thought getting a bunch of tunes out there on different labels from all over (even Goodbye Boozy in Italy) would maybe help spread the word in a fun fashion. We just all love singles too.
Is it difficult working in a city as large as New York to get noticed and get your name out?
Daniel: I’m from Los Angeles and I lived in San Francisco for a good while too, and I really don’t think it’s any different being a band here than it is in a big city in California. The only difference to me is that on any given night there could be 5 really awesome shows going on at the same time. So, it can be tough competing with other shows sometimes, but all in all I don’t think it’s any different than anywhere else except for maybe Boise, Idaho. It’s probably totally awesome being in one of the 3 bands in Boise!
Eric: Yeah, sometimes it’s annoying how no matter how hard you plan, there is always another cool show or movie or something going on the same night you’re playing. I considered skipping a Livids show the other night to go see OBN IIIs! Otherwise, we are not really into the whole, “We wanna get noticed and get big” vibe. We’ve all been in numerous bands of moderate “success,” so for now, we just want to try to write some fun songs, get good local gigs going, and maybe do a few regional shows. Well, technically this is Joi’s first real “working band,” but she’s young and hot shit, so she’ll get her chance at that brass ring. Expect her to soon be the bassist in Savages or something.
You recently opened up for The Hives in New York? How was that experience? Was that one of the biggest audiences the Livids have played for?
Daniel: Opening for The Hives was really fun. We showed up to load in and they were in tuxedos with top hats doing a meet greet with a bunch of people from their fan club. It was kind of surreal to say the least. They were really nice guys and they were cool enough to all come up to us and introduce themselves. It was definitely the biggest show Livids has played. Although we played the Fat Wreck Chords showcase in Austin and there was a pretty big crowd for that. Still though, playing a sold out show at a place like Irving Plaza was pretty rad. Plus Handsome Dick Manitoba was there!
Eric: Yeah, it was great! I’ve known the Hives for awhile, and they are super swell fellows. They genuinely love what they do, nice guys, the whole 9 yards. And I thought we played great that night, the Hives were a ball, and the crowd was really active and nutty (screw the people who say NYC crowds are stiff and spoiled. They’re just going to see stiff, spoiled bands.) So, yeah, a great night all-around!
50 years ago people used to buy music and get their water free; now people pay for water and get their music free. How do you think this affects the music industry?
Daniel: Obviously it turned the industry on its head. I think there are a lot of positives and negatives to take from the current state of the “music industry”. While music has become so much more accessible it sure is hard to make any sort of living off it. As Billy Bones from The Skulls would say, “punk rock does not pay the bills.”
Eric: The cat is out of the bag, and everyone is out of litter, so the shit is flyin’, pal!
Where can people hear the band or purchase Livids music or merch?
Daniel: You can listen to us on our Facebook page and our Bandcamp page. If you want to buy singles and such you can do that through the various labels that have put our singles.
What’s next for the mighty Livids?Eric: We should have some t-shirts and records, future shows. Oh, and we will play at them too, with crazed opening acts, and you- should you want to travel to them, will have the night of your lives.