Suedehead belts out get-happy songs that swing, despite the lyrics being more lovelorn than jubilant. The swirling, soulful uptempo tunes from the brain of British ex-pat Davey Warsop are shaped by influences like the Jam and Elvis Costello.The Orange County band's new single "Lying in Bed" is sure to sway some sympathetic foot shuffling.
With a nod to songwriting heroes like Holland-Dozier-Holland, responsible for Motown classics for the Supremes, the Four Tops and a gazillion others, Warsop pens modern soul for a new generation. But that's not to say Suedehead members are abandoning their roots. Made up of former members of Beat Union, The Distraction, TSOL, The Aggrolites and Hepcat, in homage the band added a soulified version of Fugazi's "Waiting Room" as the single's B-side.
See Also: Suedehead's Secret to Success
From the get go, Suedehead played shows with Social Distortion and Flogging Molly, and even earned a slot at Coachella. But now, Suedehead is taking a step back and playing smaller venues in hopes of growing their local fan base. The guys play an outdoor, daytime gig Saturday, April 6, at Slidebar. OC Weekly checked in with soul mates Warsop and guitarist Chris Bradley to see how things are shakin'.
OC Weekly (Arrissia Owen): Does the lack of much of a local Northern Soul scene make ambition challenging for a band like Suedehead?
Bradley: We want to play with like-minded individuals. It doesn't matter if they are the same style. I think depending what you're into there is something you can glean from Suedehead.
Warsop: I think people like different styles of music more than ever these days. When I was in school, you didn't cross those lines. Like in the '90s you couldn't like Nirvana and Metallica. But these days, you can. … We draw something from mod, powerpop, soul …
Bradley: But we don't want to be put in that box. Davey is a great songwriter. These songs could be played in a different way and they could be straight-up pop or punk songs. The way we do the instrumentation, the way they are arranged, they are on a soul tip, but they are essentially pop songs.
You guys have total control over the band and hold tight to your DIY ethic with your International Soul Rebel Society imprint. But if a label wanted to take over, would you be into that?
Bradley: We've had labels interested, but they want 360 deals. We're not down with that because then they want a say in everything you do. For us it's about doing our art. A label might want to do something a little different, but it's not worth changing to the point that you're making it something it's not.
Warsop: We've all had bands, and we've had some positive experiences or we wouldn't be playing music. But we've been victims of the music industry, too, which has changed in the last 10 years.
Bradley: I have a hard time believing we would ever be hands off.
Warsop: I watched a Belle and Sebastian documentary. It was about them recording their album If You're Feeling Sinister. Early on they were offered a lot of money from labels, but they turned it down. They had a point saying as soon as someone starts giving you money, they start controlling what you do. They signed with a smaller label.
At this point in my life, I know I am not hung up on fame or fortune. If you want to be famous, you go on a reality show–Pop Idol, American Idol or The Voice. If you want to be an artist, you do things a different way. This band isn't about becoming famous. We want to do things our way.
Suedehead perform with Plague Vendor at Slidebar, 122 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-2233; www.slidebarfullerton.com. Saturday, April 6, 2 p.m. All ages. Free.