The world needs more bands like Los Angeles (Bell Gardens, specifically) boys The Black Mambas. Their brand of filthy, unruly rockabilly-tinged punk checks all the right boxes for those who feel that rock & roll is just too fucking safe nowadays.
These guys recall the days when Little Richard was leaping off of his piano stool, when Jay Hawkins was Screaming', and when fellow Bell Gardens rocker Eddie Cochran was regaling the Summertime Blues. Throw in the influence of more contemporary hellraisers like Lemmy, Eddie Spaghetti and Speedo (Rocket From the Crypt), and you have a refreshingly riotous rock & roll troupe.
They play Alex's Bar this week, so singer Michael Price spoke to us about what we can expect.
L.A. WEEKLY: When and how did the band form, and what was the mission — what were you looking to do?
MICHAEL PRICE: The band formed ages ago, before we were even let into bars. We used to play and then have to split right after. It's all different now. Our ethos is still the same: Make sure that wherever we go, we will always lay everything to ruin.
Describe the sound. Who are the main influences?
There's too many influences to list. Although we mainly rely on each other.
What do you write about? What inspires you?
In terms of lyrics, I write from experience. What inspires me is that we use our music to reach a broader audience, hoping to connect with them. We want people to come have good times at our shows. Feel some thrills when they listen to our music.
What do you think of the current state of rock & roll, in L.A. and beyond?
I think L.A. has a great rock & roll scene that is well represented all around. It's great for the global scene in general. The promoters in Amsterdam as well as in London are doing a fantastic job keeping [rock & roll] alive. I wish U.S. promoters would take one out of their page.
What recorded output have you released so far?
We have two albums up for grabs — a self-titled album from Wild Records (2013), and a second album titled Moderation recently came out on Disconnected Records (2017). Plus a single (Wild Records, 2012) and a split 45 from No Front Teeth Records (2017) with the U.K. band Suicide Generation.
What are the best and worst shows you've played, and why?
We've had plenty of great shows. The latest one I can recall happened on our last European tour in Kortrijk, Belgium. The turnout for a small town was amazing. The crowd was singing our tunes and screaming for more. Everyone was soaked in beer. It was what a show should be. The worst one might have been a mistake booking. It was this weird dance-music festival in Mexico — we were completely out of our element.
The world is going to shit and tearing itself in half — what should we do about it?
What else can we do? Just take a step back and really look at ourselves and who we are. There's no shortage of problems we need to face straight on. Challenge the status quo, always.
What can we expect from the Alex's Bar set?
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Same as you would any other Black Mambas show: quality rock & roll.
When that show is done, what have you got coming up?
We're always planning our next move. As of now we have a weekender planned in Tokyo: Back from the Grave presents Monsters Ball. We're also having a couple of tracks featured on a compilation, out soon through Dirty Water Records.
The Black Mambas play with Poison Boys, Belsen Bop, Situations and DJ Johnny Witmer at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Alex's Bar.