On the Record

Back when Johnny Cash ruled the airwaves and Ennio Morricone made soundtracks for movies, Brent Amaker and his band, The Rodeo, were mere zygotes in their parents’ eyes. But their “beer-swillin’, foot-tappin’, shit-kickin’ country-and-western” music—straight from Seattle—is the antithesis of every wannabe hipster band turning up the reverb. Here’s what Amaker, performing at the Doll Hut (107 S. Adams St., Anaheim) Friday has to say about that.

On the genre the band plays: “I hear [the term “country punk”] thrown around a lot, but I like to think we play Western music. Punk rock is about attitude. Hank Williams had that, and so did Iggy Pop. The common theme with those guys is that they did whatever the fuck they wanted. We travel 24/7 dressed as cowboys, we play Western music, and we do whatever the fuck we want.”

On Johnny Cash: “Johnny Cash is dead. Every time I walk into a shitty bar wearing my black cowboy outfits, some douche throws ‘Ring of Fire’ on the jukebox. If I hear ‘Ring of Fire’ one more time, I’m gonna have to smack somebody.” From a Nov. 8 Heard Mentality post.


Mexican alt-rock band Torreblanca performed on Nov. 6 in Santa Ana as part of the Calacas/El Centro Cultural de Mexico-organized, eighth annual Noche de Altares. Singer/songwriter Juan Manuel Torreblanca, who is the lead vocalist and pianist in the band, talked about their debut album and being Stateside.

On the lead track of his EP, Defensa: “It’s sort of a meditation on loyalty and treason. . . . We all want to be the heroes of our stories, but if we don’t pay attention to ourselves, we might do wrong sometimes, and if we do, then there’s no good in trying to justify our actions. There’s nothing we can say in our defense except ‘I’m sorry.’ Then take it as it comes.”

On touring on this side of the border: “I have been noticing that things are so much more vivid here. I guess that may be because the nostalgia of not being there at home, in Mexico, makes people cherish them more, and then they try to make it more beautiful, more spectacular! And they do!” From a Nov. 5 post by Gabriel San Roman.


Fronted by Sam James Velde—once singer of LA’s Bluebird and co-founder of Cold Sweat RecordsNight Horse reach back to that loud-and-lewd moment when anyone who wasn’t a guitar god was at least in a guitar army. Their newest, Perdition Hymns, is out now on Tee Pee.

On performing with tombstones: “I performed sans Night Horse in a mortuary out in West Covina on Halloween 2004—performing the entire Love It to Death record by the Alice Cooper Group [while] dressed as a druid, with Alice Cooper makeup on, with a bunch of good friends. People went nuts. Afterward, a totally weird gangster dance party erupted—and not a bunch of people being poseurs, but straight-up gangsters! It was rad and kinda scary. Partying with dead people around is okay. Trust. I just didn’t wanna step on someone’s shoes and become a dead person.”

On jumping off high structures: “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 Daniel’s the rest of the way down the river and the next couple of days. Guess it wasn’t that bad.” From a Nov. 4 post by Chris Ziegler.


This column appeared in print as “That’s What He Said.”


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