Bass Drum Of Death On Why Not To Take Shots Before Dinner
Bass Drum of Death, the brain child of John Barrett, has the power to fire up a rowdy garage-rock crowd and the ability to impress critics with a sound that is far from sloppy. Rip This, which just dropped last month via Innovative Leisure, is the band’s first proper studio album produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s Jacob Portrait. What started as a solo project, acting as the punk antithesis to a friend’s ukelele band, Bass Drum of Death has solidified a place among fuzzed-out rockers and is certainly a must-see live act. Barrett let us in on making this new record, some of his biggest pet peeves and what is worth getting stupid drunk.
by: Shannon Kurlander
Congrats on your new album, Rip This, which just came out! Tell us about the process this time around.
Basically the writing was pretty much the same as before, in my little make shift studio space trying to bang out some demos, only this time I knew I these weren’t going to be the final versions. Basically we had a little leeway and were able to change some stuff in the studio. I actually did this one in the studio, which was different than the first two.
Now what’s the story behind the video “Left For Dead”? It was definitely a bold and dramatic choice.
We wanted a kind of Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho sort of vibe. It definitely came out pretty intense. I wasn’t expecting it to come out that intense.
One of my favorite songs on the new album is “Lose My Mind”. What is your biggest pet peeve? Something that totally makes you lose your mind.
When I was living at my old house in Oxford, we had a Brita filter with water, because we lived in the country and the water from the tap was not very good. For some reason every one of our roommates would leave the water up on the counter all the time so it would be room temperature water. I just wanted cold water without having to put ice in it or anything, just cold water. They would always leave it near empty and on the counter. It’s super first world problems but it’s just one of those things where I would bring it up all the time but nothing would ever help. It kind of got worse but I think they were just doing that to f*** with me.
So you were living in Oxford, Mississippi but where are you living now?
I kind of don’t live anywhere. I’m in Oxford now but I have stuff in storage here and stuff in storage in New York. I’m kind of in between tours right now.
Since you have been touring so relentlessly, do you have any crazy tour stories?
We pretty much keep it together except when Ole Miss plays football. For whatever reason on those days, especially when we win, everything gets kind of thrown out and we’ll get really wasted and stupid. We were playing a show in Ithaca and Ole Miss was playing Alabama and ended beating Alabama…we ended up immediately taking shots without dinner and long-story-short it was pretty much the most hung-over drive any of us have ever had.
With long drives like that on tour, do you have any songs that help you power through the journey?
Been listening to “Club Going Up On A Tuesday” by ILoveMakonnen. Everyone else hates it but I play it all the time.
Lastly, I want to ask you about the origins of the moniker Bass Drum of Death. When I invite my friends to a Bass Drum of Death show they assume I’m taking them to some hardcore metal show. Do you get that often? That you’re not what they expected?
All the time. People think we’re a metal band or a dubstep DJ. Sometimes I wish I would have thought about it a little bit more beforehand but at the same time I think it’s a cool name that grabs people’s attention. My thing is if anyone’s put off by simply the name of our band, I don’t really care that much if you listen to the music or not. Me and a buddy of mine were recording stuff solo in kind of the same way, just using two microphones and random percussion. His project was based around a ukelele and he called his project Dent May and The Magnificent Ukulele and I was doing more blues-punk one-man-band with a bass drum, playing guitar and singing so I’ll make a name opposite of that: John Barrett’s Bass Drum of Death.