Listening to Bullets And Octane’s forthcoming second album, ‘In The Mouth Of The Young’, you’d be forgiven for thinking them to be the kind of guys who’d drink your whisky, screw your girlfriend and ride off on your motorbike if you turned your back on them for a second.
After all, this Orange County quartet play lean, mean, full-throttle punk rock n’ roll like it’s in their blood; however, in person, they’re very friendly and approachable!
They recently visited the UK for the first time, supporting fellow OC rockers Avenged Sevenfold, and I caught up with Gene Louis (vocals) and Brent Clawson (bass) before the London Astoria show.
So, how’s the tour going so far?
GENE: It’s been going great, man, it’s our first time here…the kids seem to love it, there’s a lot of people who know the words to our songs, the shows have all been amazing with regard to the energy from the crowd. It’s like, we’ve just come over from the States; we’re a bit jetlagged, trying to figure out where the hell we are [laughs], so to get up onstage and see how great the crowds are, it’s like “Fuck, we’re on, let’s do it!”
How did this tour (and the previous one with Social Distortion) come about? Are you guys old friends?
BRENT: Yeah, it’s been going on for about three months now, and basically we all kinda knew each other because we’re all from the same neighbourhood and play the same genres of music, so it worked out that way pretty well.
How well known would you say you are in the States?
G: It would be the same as, uh…Christianity! [mass laughter]
Ha ha, quote of the year already!
B: It’s going pretty well actually – this is our first year of really hardcore touring; we’ve been touring our first CD [2004’s ‘Revelry’] for a while, so this year we’re gonna be touring the new record, and it’s coming right along, city to city. Every time we come back, it’s like the same people along with a load of new people; the word’s spread, it’s getting out there…it’s been really good.
I noticed that you have a Myspace page; has the internet helped you to get heard?
G: Oh yeah – it’s like, Myspace is the biggest thing for any company these days, it’s a great tool for meeting new bands and fans and, uh, women! [more laughter]
You’ve been described as ‘Social Distortion meets Guns N’ Roses’ – would you say that’s accurate, and are there any other particular bands that have really influenced you?
You sometimes remind me of the Supersuckers…
G: You know, that’s a great thing, because I hear a lot of different opinions from different people about what we sound like – and that’s cool, because we don’t really wanna get pigeonholed as just one kind of band…we’re influenced by a lot of old rock n’ roll, a lot of jazz, some old punk rock…it’s like, we all come from different types of backgrounds, but together we’re Bullets And Octane, so that’s cool.
You’ve got a very decadent sound, so I have to ask: can you guys hold your own in the partying stakes?
G: Well, yeah, on this trip it’s got to the point where if I’m not sleeping, I’m drinking! Usually I’m drinking so I can fall asleep, cos I’ve got this fucking jetlag…other than that though, people here seem to buy us a lot of drinks; it’s like [does brilliant British accent] “Come do a shot, mate!”, so you do shots of Jager, got some Jack Daniels in there too…and the next thing I know, I’m on the floor!
B: Funny story – one night when we were on tour in America with Avenged, we went to a bar with them after the show, and our drummer was so hammered that he started pissing all over the bar, and this bar brawl broke out…it was like a scene out of ‘Roadhouse’!
Haha! – You seem to tour a lot – would you say that you’re more of a live band than a studio band?
G: Both, man, they’re both great experiences…on the one hand, you wanna get out there, you wanna play, get dirty, enjoy it night by night…but when you’re in a creative mood, being in the studio is amazing too.
B: We learned to play in a studio; the first songs we wrote were on an 8-track recorder in a storage shed…that was before we had a full band, when it was just us two writing songs – so, you know, the studio environment has kinda become part of us.
What are Bullets And Octane’s plans for the near future, after this UK tour ends?
G: After this, we go back to the United States and we do our own tour there during April, supporting our new record coming out…that’ll last about five weeks, see where it takes us, then we’ll probably go back to the studio and do some more recording. But for now, we just hope to get back to the States alive, take things a day at a time!
‘In The Mouth Of The Young’ is released in late April. Check www.bullets-and-octane.com for more info.