Mike Stax (vocals)
Anja Stax (bass,vocals)
Marc Schroeder (guitar)
Chris Marsteller (guitar)
Mike Kamoo (drums)
1998 LP ‘Love’s Dead Leaves’ (Get Hip)
2004 CD ‘Paraphernalia’(UT Records)
2010 LP ‘Red Dissolving Rays of Light’ (Bomp! Records)
2012 7” ‘If You Could Read Your Mind’ (split single with Clinic) (UT Records)
2015 LP ‘Inside Out Your
01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?
The band first formed in 1996. There were a lot of lineup changes early on. Anja arrived from England in 1999 after leaving the Diaboliks, Marc joined in 2000, Chris around 2002, and Mike Kamoo in 2005, so we’ve had the same lineup now for ten years, which means we’ve developed a genuine bond as friends and chemistry as musicians.
02. What influences do the band members have in common?
Between us, I’m sure thousands of influences can be factored into the equation, but there are many that are common to all of us, primarily the Pretty Things, Love, the Yardbirds, the Who, the Kinks, the Outsiders, Q65, the 13th Floor Elevators, MC5—you know, the GOOD stuff!
03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?
The Schitzophonics are the best band to emerge from the San Diego area in a long time. They’re like a super high-energy cocktail of early MC5, the Sonics, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Little Richard.
The Neumans from Orange County – archetypal 60s garage, Vox amps and black roll-necks, great music and great people. We love them.
04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?
The scene in Southern California has been undergoing a resurgence in the last few years with the appearance of bands like the Mystic Braves, the Allah La’s, the Sound Reasons and the aforementioned Schitzophonics and the Neumans as well as the return of the Unclaimed, who kicked off the entire West Coast garage revival scene in 1979-80. There’s also the all-girl garage band the Rosalyns (which includes Anja) and the Diddley Daddies (with Mike on bass). We see a lot more younger people at our shows now, which is really encouraging as it means the scene is regenerating rather than growing stale and grey.
There are also a few DJ clubs but it’s mainly about the bands and live music, a bit different from the European 60s scene. The scene is also a good mix so you have your Garage/Freakbeat people along with Scooterists, Mods and Punk Rock kids wanting a good time.
05. How would you describe the style you play?
06. What are your live shows like?
Whether we’re playing to five people or 1,500 people, there’s a certain level of intensity we’re trying to bring to every show we play. The goal is to connect with the audience, engage them with our music, and hopefully have them leave the venue with our songs still ringing in their heads. We feel that, along with memorable songs, a band needs to bring some visual excitement to the stage. We’re never going to just stand there staring blankly at the floor, we’re going to be looking sharp, moving around and trying to grab your attention any way we can.
07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?
I listed our main influences back in question #2. We do have a few covers that we’ll throw into our set list, according to our mood on the night: “Alexander” and “LSD” by the Pretty Things, “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators, “My Time” by the Golden Dawn, “All in Your Mind” by Stray, “I Unseen” by the Misunderstood, and even “New Rose” by the Damned, if we’re feeling particularly amped-up and anarchic.
We despise mediocrity in all its forms, bands who spend more time on their ‘look’ than their songs, musicians who use technology as a musical crutch, and people who are always chasing the next trend instead of trying to stake out something original of their own.
08. What are your main influences outside of music?
Mike Stax:”I’m a voracious reader. Kingsley Amis, Graham Greene, Ross Macdonald, John Le Carre, Lawrence Durrell, L.P. Davies, and Phil K. Dick are a few of my favourite writers and a constant source of inspiration.”
Anja: Also reading a ton but as far as other influences go I am always drawn to design and architecture. Obviously fashion, which I still continue to make and work on with my clothes label here in So Cal (I used to be part of Babzotica Boutique back when I lived in the 90s in London). And my friends!
Marc: Family, friends and surfing. Very simple.
Mike: Any art form that inspires and appeals to my senses.
Chris: Which do you mean sex or drugs? (Sorry. Spinal Tap moment = Poor attempt at being clever). Well… I suppose the only true answer would be life, right?
09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?
All of the band members contribute to the songwriting. Generally, one person will bring a riff, a chord progression or a basic song structure into the practice room; then we all put our heads together and shape it into a full-fledged song. I (Mike) come up with all of the lyrics and most of the vocal melodies. The songs are mostly drawn from personal experiences or observations of the world around us. Sometimes I get inspiration from historical events or personalities. For example, we just wrote a song called “Miss Clara Regrets,” which is all about the 1920s movie actress Clara Bow. It’s going to come out soon on a single on Dirty Water Records.
10. What’s your favorite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?
Mike: “My Desolation” is my current favorite, because it’s a lot of fun to sing live. Favourite song by another artist? “Can’t Stand the Pain” by the Pretty Things – I never tire of that song.
Anja: I like “Miss Clara Regrets” right now; it’s back to the basics and super tribal, really fun to play. Also “My Desolation” for its intensity. By another artist, wow, so many….let’s say top three are MC5 – “Lookin’ At You,” Rupert’s People – “Dream In My Mind” and 13th Floor Elevators – “Slip Inside This House.”
Marc: My favorite song right now from the Loons is “As the Raven Flies”. Probably one of my favorite songs of all time is “Signed DC” by Love. Also “Bo’s Bounce” by Bo Diddley.
Mike: I’m really enjoying ‘Miss Clara Regrets’ at the moment. ‘Dead End Street’ by the Kinks is high on the list currently.
Chris: “Heyday”, and of course, ALL of The Misunderstood set we’re doing with Glenn! What great songs! What’s your favorite song by another artist? I apologize, but this is an impossible question to answer. How do you think I fell for music in the first place?
11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?
I think the current underground scene is in a reasonably healthy state at the moment, and, yes, we actively participate whenever possible. Of course the scene is clogged up with a lot of mediocre bands, narcissists and bandwagon jumpers, but that’s always been the case. There are also some great bands who are contributing with some potentially timeless music – I hope we’re one of them. Luckily we have a few great life clubs/club owners here who genuinely support bands for the love of the music.
12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?
It’s always been a challenge getting the media over here in the States to give us any attention. Too often they write us off as some kind of ‘60s revival act, because we dress a certain way and utilize vintage equipment and instruments. It’s only in recent years that they’ve begun to take us seriously and realize we’re creating music that is new and reflective of our own personalities, not some kind of nostalgia trip or historical reenactment.
13. How often do you rehearse? Play live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?
We rehearse about once a week. As we rehearse at Mike Kamoo’s recording studio, Earthling, we can record as often as we want—whenever we feel inspired. Our new album, Inside Out Your Mind will be released on May 27. We play live about twice a month on average. We have a couple of exciting upcoming shows: first our album release party on May 28 in San Diego, then of course our set at Le Beat Bespoke in London on April 3.
14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?
There’s not an active national music press in the States like there is in the UK, so the only media coverage most bands get is either through zines and blogs or in the local media. It’s only in the last two or three years that the local media has begun give us any significant coverage. We appreciate all we get because it really does make a difference.
15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?
Mike: Nothing mainstream. But I like quite a lot of underground bands from around the world including the Sadies, the Schitzophonics, the Higher State, the Beat Pack, Los Grys Grys, Clinic, the Flowers of Evil, the Royal Flairs and the Maharajas.
Anja: I really like Clinic, The Sadies, Fogbound, the now defunct Soundtrack Of Our Lives, plus the bands we already mentioned from here in California.
Marc: Graham Day and cohorts Allan and Wolf have continued for 30+ years with a singular vision of quality rock ‘n’ roll. I think they sound about as good today as they ever have. Gives me hope.
Mike: Deerhunter, Tame Impala, Caribou, and Viet Cong
Chris: Another difficult question to answer without proper discussion. I will say… I’ve always liked The Church. Not sure if that qualifies as current or mainstream or underground (I think they’ve been all the above), but nevertheless they’ve been making good records for 35+ years.
16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?
Mike: I’d like to record with Dave Hassinger at RCA Hollywood in 1966 – with Jack Nitzsche helping out with the arrangements. Why? Aftermath, Between the Buttons, and “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night.”
Anja: For a treat I would love to record with Liam at Toe-Rag again; good times! Jorge from Dr. Explosion is also doing some great work, someone get us back to Spain fast 😉
Marc: I would love to record with Kim Fowley, a great supporter of the Loons. Unfortunately we lost our chance. Liam at Toe-Rag would be cool; I love the sounds from that studio.
Mike: Jorge Explosion – Circo Perrotti. I heard the Fogbound recordings and would like to see what’s going on over there!
Chris: Holy Sh*t! Is time travel possible?
17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?
Our goal is to keep getting better – write better songs, make better records, play better gigs, and reach as many people with our music as we possibly can. In the immediate future, we’re looking forward to collaborating again with our friend Glenn Campbell of the Misunderstood, and to bringing our music to London for Le Beat Bespoke.
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