Fronted by Sam James Velde--once singer of LA's Bluebird and co-founder of Cold Sweat Records, which deployed records by Devendra Banhart, Lavender Diamond and pre-No Age trio Wives from the same mighty mailing address--and reinforced with several members of saga-song heavy band Ancestors, Night Horse reaches back to that loud 'n' lewd moment when anyone who wasn't a guitar god was at least in a guitar army. The council of ultimate elders--T. Lizzy, B. Sabbath, S. Lord Baltimore and F. Frazetta, too--must heartily approve. Their newest, Perdition Hymns, is out now on Tee Pee. They'll perform for free with Nails and Lecherous Gaze (whose t-shirt designs will one day spur a congressional investigation) at Alex's this Sunday.
OC Weekly: When was the last time you performed in a graveyard or mortuary? What happened?
Sam James Velde (vocals): I performed sans Night Horse in a mortuary out in West Covina on Halloween 2004--performing the entire Love It It To Death record by The Alice Cooper Group in its entirety dressed as a druid with Alice Cooper make up on with a bunch of good friends. People went nuts. Afterward a total weird gangster dance party erupted--and not a bunch of people being posers but straight-up gangsters! It was rad and kinda scary. Partying with dead people around is OK. Trust. I just didn't wanna step on someone shoes and become a dead person.
What was the most rewarding experience you ever had putting a total stranger on the guest list?
I haven't had one with Night Horse. Don't think we've done that yet really. We need to--gotta keep things weird. When I was in Bluebird, we opened for Fugazi in L.A. and had extra spots, so I went outside and found two kids who really wanted to come to the show but it was sold out, so I put 'em on. They were so stoked. Made my day. Years later I would meet one of them again. It was cool and super rewarding because it meant a lot to that person still to this day. I've been thinking lately I should start putting Kate Moss on the guest list, just in case one day she walks by and goes, "Who's playing tonight? Oh Night Horse! Let's go check 'em out." Worth a shot, right? I need to meet her. Serious.
What's the scariest thing you ever climbed on and then jumped off? What happened?
I jumped off a 70-foot bridge over the Deschutes River in eastern Oregon with a bunch of friends during a rafting and camping trip one summer. Just as we jumped, my friend grabbed my shoulder because he's a big wuss and was scared. I landed wrong and almost broke my leg. I could barely swim to shore, and had to walk with crutches for a week. I had to medicate with a bottle of Jack Daniels the rest of the way down the river and the next couple days. Guess it wasn't that bad.
What was the last time someone else in Night Horse delivered such intense ripping that you lost track of what you were doing and turned to stare in shock?
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Everytime we play someone in the band is doing it. I think the last show we did it was our drummer Jamie Miller. He's just a machine--well, a machine with a good soul. He was kicking ass. I didn't necessarily lose track--it just reminded me to rise to the occasion no matter what else was going on around the band. Not to mention he was wearing juggalo face paint. TCTP.
Which city--like Birmingham, Detroit or Sydney--has historically put out the best hard rock bands? And which city besides LA would Night Horse be happiest in?
Detroit is the "go to" city, man. Not only did the MC5, Stooges, Rationals, Laughing Hyenas, Negative Approach, Alice Cooper, White Stripes and etc., etc, come out out of there, but you got the whole Funkadelic/Parliament connection and Motown Records. Seriously, who can touch that? I'd feel very comfortable in a city that embraced rock music like that--and just music in general--let alone being associated with such an amazing lineage and legacy. But the winters would suck! I'd buy a warm coat. Hit it and quit it. Let's go! Rama lama fa fa!
NIGHT HORSE WITH NAILS AND LECHEROUS GAZE AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH. SUN., 9 PM. FREE. 21+. ALEXSBAR.COM.