For a true performer, there is no separation between the stage and the street. They’re in performance mode no matter where you find them. Halfway through an interview with Them Sonsabitches, it’s no longer an interview, but more like a word association game or rehearsal for an improv troupe.
Them Sonsabitches—Scotty Roller, guitar and vocals, Jon Perry, guitar, Michael Young, drums, Greyson Beffa, keys, and Nate Alcorn, bass—are jokesters with quick tongues. Michael Young spelling his last name for the digital recorder quickly digresses to discussions of backstage trysts, and then to Jerry Sandusky. Perry’s proclamation that he likes Brussels sprouts morphs into musings on cannibalism and bath salts.
The natural ease with which they riff off of each other perhaps stems from the fact that Perry, Roller and Young have been playing in their other band, The Saddle Tramps, for more than a decade and the shtick just now comes out unconsciously. And, it might also be the reason that their latest foray into rock ’n’ roll with their self-titled album is so straight and to the point.
“There really is no angle to the music, it’s just flat rock ’n’ roll,” says Roller.
“I think that was our intention,” says Perry. “We just wanted to break away from the schtick or the act [of The Saddle Tramps] and just do something a little more satisfying musically.”
“When we took a break, we thought let’s take a different avenue,” says Young. “We had all been playing so long we were itching to do something different.”
As they talk about their new album, which was released on May 22, you get the feeling that they’re all proud and satisfied with how the final product turned out. But, as serious as they clearly are about their music, they can’t help but quickly fall back into joke mode.
“Our influences are early P.O.D and early Sugar Ray,” says Young, in a sarcastic voice meant to parody a musician engaged in an interview.
“I’m heavy into SWV—you know, Sisters With Voices,” adds Roller.
Alcorn, who had been sitting patiently the whole interview, brings things back down to earth.
“We’re really stoked about the record,” he says. “We recorded it at Beta Sounds Studios in Sparks. We are really excited about the sound we got.”
“I think that this record is the pinnacle for what I have done musically,” says Young. “The recording is right there. The songwriting was right there.”
Their first single from the album, “Can’t Let It Go,” is in rotation on AltNation on Sirius satellite radio, a fact the band is proud to announce. And, just as quick to make fun of. When Roller says, “We do have one single out playing on AltNation on Sirius satellite right now,” Young responds in a voice that can only be described as a gay-mobster-voice, “So if you want to get serious about radio you can listen to it!”
After years of performing on the road, the members of Them Sonsabitches seem happy to be taking on a more relaxed lineup of gigs. Their next shows are in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Aug. 3 and 4.
For the moment, they all seem happy to just sit on the final product of an album they all feel content about—or maybe not.
“I know I sound like every asshole musician who thinks their newest stuff is the greatest,” says Young, in all seriousness. “But, this is something we took time on. We went through the process and did it properly.”
“Nah, I think that the guitar should have been twice as loud,” says Roller in jest, just to be a son of a bitch.