As Part of our You Can't
Kill Rock n Roll series we are bringing you some of our past articles on
artists we consider part of the "Best of the New Breed"! So if you missed
your chance to discover these artists the first time we wrote about them,
here is your second opportunity!
This feature was originally
published on antimusic.com in October 1999 as the Artist of the Month.
Neurotica's Living in Dog Years was also named the Album of the year by
Rocknworld in 1999.
The Ride of Your Life!
Neurotica is one of the best hard rock
bands I have heard in the 90's. They have blended the best of metal
with the alternative sound of the 90's to make a sound that is purely explosive.
For this months special I have an Interview with Kelly Shaefer of Neurotica,
a review of their new CD "Living in Dog Years", plus you'll be able to
hear tracks off the new album.
| Review | Sounds
Kelly Shaefer of Neurotica speaks with antiGUY
Hi there cats and kittens. It is I antiGUY
with another interview for you. This month I got to chat with Kelly
Shaefer of Neurotica. Who is Neurotica? If you ask that question
you must have been living under a rock last month, because I personally
made sure they were all over antiMUSIC for the release of their second
album, Living in Dog Years. If you haven't run out and bought the album
yet do it right after reading this interview. Why because it kicks ass,
and then next year when these guys are HUGE, you can say “Hey I've was
into them before they got famous.” Ok enough with my rambling
lets get on with the interview.
antiGUY: Kelly first
off thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know Neurotica is
in over drive right now and talking to someone like me is not high on your
priority list. Ok, on with the good news. They put me in charge of
selecting the Artist of the Month for antiMUSIC and Rocknworld. Congrats,
Neurotica is my choice for the month of November. Technically, since you
were artist of the month last year at Rocknworld you don't qualify, but
I'm in charge now so I say you earned it with Living in Dog Years.
I've been playing
the album constantly for the past month. I know many bands put all
the great material that they have been playing for years on their debut,
and then throw together 10 songs for the follow up record. One listen to
Living in Dog years and it is apparent that that wasn't the case with Neurotica.
Where all the songs written for this album? Or did you have some stuff
left over from Seed?
Kelly: Well we have always been pretty
lucrative when it comes to song writing, we have a lot of tunes like probably
close to 100 so the hardest part for us is to trim it all down to an albums
length, for example the title track is a song that was 5 years old, when
we showed it to our producer, he really liked it and he changed it up a
bit, and rearranged a few things and it came out really great. the rest
of the songs were written in between the recording of “seed” and the new
one, we rehearse while we are home 4 days a week so we get a lot done.
antiGUY: You knew
you couldn't get away from the Brian Johnson questions. The story I heard
was he discovered you guys and then produced your debut album Seed.
How did you hook up with Brian?
Kelly: Brian found us in a little club
here in Florida, dug the vibe we were throwing and hooked us up with nmg
ent. and they checked out the demos we had, and then Brian gave us a song
called “deadly sin” it sounded very much like an ac/dc tune, he asked
us to sort of make into a Neurotica song, so we went to practice that night
and tuned way down and rewrote it to suit us, went into the studio the
next day and recorded it, and that is the version that you hear on seed,
Brian was really pleased and the deal was done, he decided to produce the
record as well, which was a HUGE honor.
antiGUY: Was he easy
to work with? AC/DC and Neurotica have some similarities but you guys have
a much more alternative influenced sound.
Brian is one of the finest people you will ever meet, a true icon in the
sense that he does not act like the icon he is, he was extremely helpful
with my vocals, and it was very inspiring to look through the glass in
the studio and have him coaching me, after being a big fan for so many
years. there are few things we have in common musically, between us and
ac/dc, but I think what he saw was a live aggression, and energy that is
a lot like an ac/dc big rock sound, and I think that was the key for him
being involved with Neurotica
antiGUY: Kelly, ok
bro, spill. Let here some stories about wild parties and wilder women while
hangin with Brian.
Kelly: Actually do have an interesting
story, new years 1998 Brian threw a big party at his house and he has a
pub in his house and we all sat around and got hammered on new years and
we had tons of champagne, the 12 o clock hour came around and we turned
on the radio station here in Tampa, and the last song they played was
back in black, and the first song the new year was our first single from
“seed”, easy speak. we had a truly memorable evening.
antiGUY: I have to
ask this. You guys landed a distribution deal with K-Tel after your old
distributor folded. Does that mean well see late night TV ads for LDY and
Kelly: haha no man, k-tel is sort of synonymous
with that sort of ronco vibe hahah, but as you know they are one of the
largest dist. in the business, and so far all is well, they are making
it available, the problem is record stores need to get it in and keep it
in you know, people cannot buy it if it is not there. so if you are in
a record store and they do not have it, tell them to order it!!!
antiGUY: On the new
album you guys have a different sound from Seed. LDY sounds years a head
of Seed. Was this deliberate change in direction?
Kelly: We really wanted to focus on the
songs more with our producer and really have him pick them apart and sort
of remodel what we had when it was time to record the new one. and once
we got started, we really started finding other places that the arrangements
could go, which caused me to sing in a different way, which was great,
we really owe the change in our sound to the guidance of Doug kaye, he
was “key” in taking what we were as a band and evolving into a very chiseled
hard rock band, and for that we are grateful.
antiGUY: LDY has
a real “Live” feel to it. How was it recorded? Lots of different tracks?
Cut live in the studio then over dubbed?
started by recording all of the drums live, so we would play the tune until
we got a perfect drum track, and after that we sorted through what we had
as scratch tracks to see what had the “live “vibe, and we layered from
there, most of the guitar tracking pound for pound was done it one shot,
they may have run through it 4 or 5 times, but inevitably we found one
of those to keep as a whole track, instead of pieces.
the story behind Living in Dog Years?
Kelly: it is sort of symbolic of where
my head was/ is and probably always will be, moving through a lot
of mind blowing life scenarios, at 7 times the pace you know
what I mean, I felt like I was going through 7 times as much resistance
per year, as one should , hahaha so that is sort of the meaning behind
the tune. I am sure we have all felt like we were “living in dog years”
at some point.
antiGUY: What is
the “Ride of your life?”
Kelly: Ride of your life was one of the
last tunes, actually it was the last tune written for l.i.d.y. and lyrically
it involves my experience with sounds and music while under the influence
of “ecstasy” , now of course, this is not for everyone, but I find it really
amazing, once or twice a year. you hear things in a VERY different way,
and for me it was a true journey, and so “ride of your life” was born,
“fall into a carousel of, unimagined flight” I highly recommend that “mature”
people experience that at least once in there life time, in a controlled
environment of course.
antiGUY: How is the
Kelly: We have a long road ahead of us
to turn people onto the sounds were peddling, and we are up against, giant
releases here at the end of the year, but we are getting really amazing
reviews, and responses from the Florida dates that we have done in the
last 2 weeks, have been overwhelming, so we look forward to a lot of touring
this coming new year, and we hope everyone goes out and picks it up, you
see our sound is a little different than what is currently at the top of
the heap, so it is quite ok with us that we do not hop on any of this trendiness
that is going on right now in music, we will stick to what we are doing
and continue to explore sounds and songs in our pursuit of a killer time
antiGUY: Any tour
Kelly: yes we should be out there for most
of next year, hopping on tours that become available to us, and staying
out on our own if we have to, just to keep visiting towns again and again
till they are sick of us. hahaha
antiGUY: A little
bird told me that you guys got some major label interest. When you land
the big deal, are you planning on doing a new album, or releasing the best
tracks from seed and Living in Dog Years?
Kelly: well anything can happen, although
I do not believe that would be the case, we will be/have been showcasing
for some majors, and I think once we get out on the road in Dec, we will
do some more, and yes we hope to find a nice home at one of the finer majors.
right now we just wanna play and turn people on to Neurotica, any way we
antiGUY: I find it
hard to classify your music. I hear a lot of different styles there. Who
are you main influences?
Kelly: We are all lovers of all kinds of
music, from jazz, to cannibal corpse, and I think I am really influenced
by moods, than I am music or other bands, I have a visual equivalent, for
every riff I write on guitar, I
do not play live, but while I and the
other guys are writing, I feel riffs and moods happening, and I try to
find others that fit that particular feeling, sometimes it may be the “garbage
can” riff, or the manic depressive riff, or something along those lines,
and I enjoy that kind of writing, I don't think anybody can say that they
are not influenced by anybody's music, that is sort of an insult to the
teachers i.e.: zeppelin, Sabbath etc. Of course my metal background has
thrown a nice little twist on songs like the hidden track “frightening”
antiGUY: What do
you think of the music scene right now in general? Do you like the stuff
Kelly: I think the music that is being
made today is some of the finest ever made, and at the same time some of
the biggest loads of s$#@ are all over the radio, and I guess it will always
be that way, that sort of yin and yang with music! But I am proud to be
a part of music right now at the end of the millennium, I think it will
be interesting to see how it all turns out. who stays/ who goes.
antiGUY: Ok if you
could land the gig as an opening act for a “Big Star” who would you most
want it to be?
Kelly: well we would be proud to open for
anyone pretty much, but if I had MY choice, I would love to tour with “Mike
Patton” he and Chris Cornell are my favorite singers around today, I think
Mike Patton is one the most amazing, diverse, and talented singers EVER!
and Chris Cornell is our generations “Robert Plant”, I would love to do
some shows with AC/DC of course and we hope to see that happen in the near
future, also Perry Farrel, he is brilliant and I would love to tour with
him, just to soak up some of his insight!
antiGUY: Most people
expect me to be real obnoxious with these interviews. But so far I've interviewed
cool people, whose music I really like and that side of me doesn't come
out. With that said, what was the most embarrassing experience you've had
since you started out in music?
Kelly: Well, it would probably be when
I was with “ATHEIST” I had to put together another lineup for the 3rd atheist
record and the guys that played on the “elements” record, mainly the drummer
was different, so we had a week to rehearse some really hard music, before
going to do a 42 date European tour, and our first show was in Holland,
and at that point ATHEIST was pretty popular overseas, and we had not yet
been to Europe, so there were a lot of kids that were looking forward to
seeing us live, and we were always known as a technical band, and we started
our set playing a song called “mother man” and we lost it and had a train
wreck on stage, man it was really embarrassing, I felt so bad cause those
kids wanted to see the original ATHEIST and I came over with all these
new guys, and well it was not a good feeling. by the end of the tour all
was working well, but those kids there in Holland I am sure were disappointed
antiGUY: Where do
you hope to see Neurotica 5 years from now.
Kelly: getting your address to send you
guys your platinum copy of all of our records, you guys are on this band
early and for that we are grateful and WILL NEVER FORGET ROCKNWORLD AND
antiMUSIC actually I will be happy to travel the world and make music,
and enjoy my stay this time around!
- Living in Dog Years.
I never heard of these guys before coming
to antiMUSIC. That changed real quick. Our managing editor, Keavin, loves
to blast Neurotica’s debut album Seed at full
volume in the office. I admit I was hooked from the first note.
Who are these guys and why haven't I heard
of them? They are a killer heavy rock band from Florida. They had a lucky
break when none other than Brain Johnson of AC/DC discovered them.
Johnson got them a record deal and produced the bands debut. The result
was critically acclaimed and set Neurotica up as one of the hottest heavy
bands of the 90’s. But then bad luck hit, their indy label’s distribution
company went under, so just as radio was picking up the single and word
was spreading the CD stopped dead in it’s tracks. That didn’t discourage
these guys. They went back into the studio and recorded their follow-up
which I am reviewing right here.
Think of how many bands had a kick ass
debut album. Only to release a pile of s*** for a second record. Good thing
for Neurotica that didn’t happen to them. Point of fact, Living
in Dog years blows Seed away.
Although Brain Johnson wasn't on hand this time as producer, this is an
album he could be proud of.
Note for note this album rocks, I would
go so far as to call it one of the best heavy metal records of the 90’s.
The riff heavy tunes and full throttle vocals don't slow down one bit.
From the opening number, Ride of your Life ,
to the equally aggressive Those Dayz These Dayz,
Neurotica has found their niche and have stuck with it. The title track
is one of those songs that just gets stuck in your head and won’t go away.
Down and dirty guitar riffs by Shawn Bowen and Louis Polito, with an agro
rhythm section courtesy of G.J.Gosman (Drums) and Migwell Przybyl
(Bass), topped by theover the top vocals of Kelly Shaefer make Neurotica
THE BAND to contend with for the Gold. Not one wasted second can be found
here. If the major labels have any brains we will watch these guys
go far. Their days as independents are numbered and rightly so.
Living in Dogs years is in stores this
week. Go get your copy today, hell
click here to order it online (It's even on sale). Don't trust me?
Need some encouragement, download the MP3 for the first single, "Ride
of your Life" Check
out the rest of the songs in Real Audio at the Neurotica Web site
Did I hype this enough? Seriously this
CD kicks! Be the first on your block to discover this band before all the
posers jump on the band wagon.
MP3's of a couple of the singles and Real
Audio of all the songs are available at the Neurotica home page - Neurotica.net