Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats Haunt Our Eyes and Ears
courtesy of the band
If a serial killer education emporium like the Museum of Death in Hollywood played background music for lingering visitors, it would probably sound a lot like British cult quartet Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. With the dichotomy of murderous lyrics, fuzzed guitars translated through P90 pickups and girl group harmonies, rock lovers can't help but be attracted to Uncle Acid's creepy, throwback sound.
In tandem with the band's release of their fourth full-length album The Night Creeper via Rise Above Records, Uncle Acid descended upon the U.S. again for another tour, with their final destination being hosted at The Observatory in Santa Ana on Friday with Ruby the Hatchet and Ecstatic Vision.
The band knows how to haunt your eyes as well as your ears with music videos that incorporate blood-curdling film noir clips from decades past, most recently being "Melody Lane." According to founder Kevin Starrs, the insidious old cinematic clips are a distinct concept included in the band's imagery since he conceived the group in 2009.
Starrs spoke with the Weekly about the role of film, getting mixed up as an "occult band" and their reunion with the Southern California music scene.
OC Weekly (Rachael Mattice): So are you from Cambridge originally? Did you enjoy growing up around a big university town?
Kevin Starrs: I'm originally from Glasgow in Scotland, but moved around a lot, so Cambridge was just another place to me. It's a nice town but not really a lot going on there especially if you're a musician. The university runs Cambridge, so they take their studies very seriously there. Music is just a distraction.
You're on another U.S. tour and just released a new record but are still mid-way. How is the momentum?
It's going great. It took a few shows to get going as we hadn't played live in a year and we have a new bass player, but the shows have been really killer.
I read that your press coverage is deliberately limited, is it because you get sick of journalists or want to keep an air of mystery about the band?
At this level, we're often dealing with journalists who don't take their role too seriously and don't bother with research of any kind, which is obviously very frustrating because you're just repeating answers that can be easily found with a quick Google search. Questions such as, 'How did you get your band name?'; 'When did you form?' It makes for a painful experience for everyone.
I wouldn't say our press is deliberately limited though. Most of the major rock magazines have no time for us. That's fine with us anyway, we've proved you can sell albums and sell out tours without them ever writing about you. If the music is good, people will find out about you in the end.
You founded this band yourself and wrote the music and materials on your own. Is that primarily the case with "The Night Creeper" too or did the other members contribute? I wrote everything on my own except the track "The Night Creeper" which I co-wrote with our old bass player Dean Millar. I just find it easier to be isolated and work in my own space when creating. Watching some of your music videos, film plays a strong role in your music and imagery. What about using these old film images in your videos is more enticing to you than creating something more 100 percent original?
We have tried shooting footage in the past for videos and it simply didn't fit in with our sound, so we scrapped it. With modern cameras, you don't get the same feeling as you do with old film footage. Our band is supposed to be the audio equivalent of a shitty old low budget B-movie. It's a certain trashy aesthetic that we have. You can't get that quality from modern digital cameras. If we had the budget to use old cameras and film stock and create our own fucked up videos, then we would definitely do it.
It seems like some people get cult and occult mixed up. Do you find yourself having to explain the difference a lot? I'm sure it doesn't always help that you tour with some occult centered bands.
It's just a general lack of knowledge and you're right, it comes up a lot. If you're a journalist and you don't know or can't be bothered to look up the difference between occult and cult, then you should maybe consider doing something else with your time. We've just made an album about police corruption, mass murder and media manipulation, yet it gets called 'occult'. It makes no sense to me. Who we tour with should have no bearing on that. I do wonder what people hear when they listen to music sometimes. Thank fuck it doesn't matter anyway.
When you toured and stopped in L.A. last year, you sold out both shows. Coming back to Southern California, whether its L.A. or Orange County, why do you think the fan base in this area is so attracted to your music?
Last time we were in L.A., our guitar player Yotam was rushed to hospital with a massive stomach ulcer and probably shouldn't have played either show. To be honest, I can't remember how crazy the fans were. We got a great response though, so it will be great to go back with all of us at full fitness.
Your Santa Ana, Calif. stop is the last one on the tour. How do you prepare to make sure you go out with a bang?
We've never played OC before so it will be extra special for us anyway. Maybe we'll blow up our amps at the end.
Plans for after this tour wraps up?
We have a few days off in L.A. and then we head back to Europe for six weeks. We'll be in Australia after that.
Have you been to the Museum of Death in Hollywood yet?
Yes! It was one of the first places we visited last time.
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