Tag Archives: garagepunk

The Jackets Interview

Strange to say I hadn’t heard of The Jackets before Matt from Voodoo Rhythm Records, a cool garage rock’n’roll  label out of Bern, Switzerland, sent me a promo of their recently released album Queen of the Pill. But yeah,  as soon as I slapped that baby on was I ever mightily impressed!!! The Jackets deliver such a powerful punch of intense and stylish garage punk that  immediately draws you, hook line and sinker. And then later when I heard from Chris Rosales, The Jacket’s drummer, that they toured the US and Canada a couple years ago was I ever bummed!  They played Montreal and I didn’t know it!  Kicking myself, I feel I’ve missed out on what must have been an incredible, crazy and memorable live performance! Well now I am so thrilled that I know them and get to experience their sheer exuberant and maddening garage tunes, and maybe I’ll be lucky if they come back this way again so I can experience their killer live show – as you can see from the photos borrowed for this interview.   I hope if you don’t know them you will do yourself a favor and check them out and then love them like I do!

– Samia ♥

What’s the story of how you all first met and formed The Jackets?

Chris Rosales: I met Jackie at a show I played (Lightning Beat-Man) in Zürich in the late ‘90s. We started a relationship and one of our goals as a couple was to start a great Rock and Roll band. We started writing songs together and rehearsing with just guitar and drums, which was our original idea for the band. Eventually we wanted a fatter sound so I asked one of my favourite bass players here in Bern to play with us, Severin Erni from a band called Tight Finks. We had our fist show in January of 2008. We had good bookings right away. Our fist shows were actually a tour with the French band Magnetix from Bordeaux. The calendar started filling up fast and we even booked a studio to do our first LP after that Summer. This was a bit too fast for Severin. He was about to start a family and wasn’t really prepared to start a new Rock and Roll adventure so he agreed to finish all our bookings we had so far and to play on the record but he couldn’t go on with us after that. We met Sam as a promoter at a small countryside club that we played at. Severin left on the train after the gig and Jackie and I stayed up all night drinking and talking to Sam. To make a long story short, Sam became our bass player a month later. He even plays a little guitar on our first LP but didn’t start playing shows until January of 2009. Jackie and I are no longer romantically linked but we are the best of friends, confidants and partners in crime!

Describe what it’s like being a Swiss garage band…What’s the culture like in Switzerland…Is it easy for a band like yourselves to work on your art? 
What’s the garage music scene like’s there?

Chris Rosales: Well, we aren’t a Swiss Garage band. We are a band that is based in Switzerland. We spend most of our time outside of Switzerland and lately outside of Europe a bit. The National Arts Council in Switzerland is very happy to have Swiss bands go outside of Switzerland to play and we get a certain amount of subvention from the State which we are grateful for! I think this is unique to most of Europe besides France. I have also heard that Canada gives money to bands and artists as well. Switzerland is a small, traditional country with not much experience in the music world but things have been changing for the last thirty years. Bands like Yellow and The Young Gods broke internationally as well as others from the hard rock genre. But Switzerland is famous in the underground Garage Rock and Roll scene because of Voodoo Rhythm Records and Reverend Beat-Man. In this scene, all of Europe has heard of Switzerland and Bern is probably one of the Garage Underground capitals in Europe. There is a Punk, Ska, Rockabilly, Garage and noise scene here because of the influence of Voodoo Rhythm Records and Beat-Man.


Jack Torera, you have such a powerful voice… who are some of your influences?

Jack Torera: I developed my voice basically on stage playing live with bands over many years. I never really had an idol  or a certain style that I wanted to achieve, I couldn’t do that anyways. Of course I like strong female singers like Nina Hagen, Patty Smith or Janis Joplin, mainly because the have a very unique voice and style. I like voices that have personality and don’t sound like everybody else or are perfectly trained.

Who came up with The Jacket’s unique style, makeup, look and outfits?

Jack Torera: The make-up comes from a character I also play in my One-Woman-Plays called Jack Torera, my alter ego. I also do costumes and we were looking for a simple outfit that is comfortable to wear (and wash!) and that is timeless and recognizable as The Jackets.

The Jackets Queen of the Pill

What brought you to Voodoo Rhythm Records and getting King Khan to produce and Jim Diamond to mix and master you record Queen of the Pill? 

Chris Rosales: I have known Beat-Man of Voodoo Rhythm Records for over twenty years and King Khan is also an old friend that I met in the 1990’s touring Europe in one of Beat-Man’s bands. So we are all friends and associates. After our last record, we wanted to work with someone who could produce us. Make us work harder but in a fun way and we decided to go to Berlin and do a few songs with King Khan and it worked really well so we decided to go back and do a whole LP. Jim Diamond has been writing us for years about doing something but we never met personally so it never happened. By accident we met on on airport shuttle in Spain at Asturias Airport and started talking. He asked again if we ever want to do something he would like to work with us. After the Berlin session we decided to send him a few songs to test mix and the rest is history!

As a band who are some of your inspirations?

Chris Rosales: We like a lot of different things. Theatre, Painting, Movies, so we find inspiration in more than just music. Our musical inspirations are endless but a few who I could list would be The Cramps, The Monks, The Music Machine, The MC5, The Stooges and The Kinks.


Your videos are loads of fun! Can you talk about what are your favorite ones and why you like them and how you made them?

Chris Rosales: Videos are a lot of work! Jackie is a film maker and went to film school in Zürich so we have an advantage technically. We have had great experiences and we are lucky to have worked with some really great film people. We made “Wasting My Time” all by ourselves in the south of France with a tripod and the three of us taking turns holding the camera. One was a film compilation (You Better) while we were on tour taken by our driver. Two were major productions (Freak Out & Keep Yourself Alive) with budgets and a professional crew. The last one (Losers Lullaby) was a professionally shot with one camera person and a set assistant. I think they all have their own personalities. I don’t really have a favourite but I always like the newest one!

You’ve been around since 2008 so how has your style and sound changed over the years?

Chris Rosales: I think our song writing has developed a lot. We are still attempting the same things but I think we are way more successful at them now. And that goes for our recordings as well. We are just getting better at it, or making better decisions now. But if you listen to our first record (Stuck Inside 2009) and then our second (Way Out 2012) there is a big change. We have just refined the “Way Out” sound for the last 7 years.


What are some of the most outstanding moments for your band – greatest shows, or experiences that really stand out?

Chris Rosales: Playing Funtastic Dracula Festival in 2013 which really put us in the spotlight here in Europe. Also the two tours of the USA in 2017 and 2018 were very important for us as far as exposure in another continent. The Jackets have had so many great moments (for me personally). I am really lucky and really grateful that I can do this crazy job.

What’s on the horizon for the Jackets with your upcoming release of Queen of the Pill record?

Chris Rosales: Well, We are on tour at the moment in Switzerland and as I write this (June 2019), we are on the way to Spain to tour. We will be coming to the rest of Europe (France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, etc.) starting in October.


Any plans to tour North America?

Chris Rosales: Yes, we are thinking about coming early Spring 2020 but maybe just the North West/ South West USA and then maybe Mexico. But we would like to come back to Canada. You know we played Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke in 2017?

Does the band have any special messages for the audience?
Chris Rosales: Give Pizza Chance!

Queen of the Pill - The Jackets

I can’t get enough of Priors

Priors..if you don’t know them…well, you should!  An early 80s sounding punk band from Montreal, they have this unbelievably reckoning force of pure mad intense energy. Super emotive melodic, fast-paced,  their songs hit you hard, like being smashed in the face! Signature catchy  guitar hooks  sound like being attacked by a swarm of bees. They present as biting, discordant and dark sounding, with recurrent weird hyper hopping beats, like you’re dancing in a sick and twisted alternate reality. Their music has head spinning swirly amusement park rides written all over it. I heard these guys open for Mark Sultan back in October at bar L’Escogriffe.  They are as amazing live as they are on record.  Singer Chance answered some questions I had about the band…


How did you guys meet and form a band?

I (chance) had a bunch of bedroom demos and was looking to put something together. I had mentioned to seb while we were on tour with Sonic Avenues that I wanted to get something started and wondered if he’d wanna be involved. He was into it so I pushed further and looked for a drummer. I had just started hanging out with Drew and asked him if he’d wanna play….he seemed very into it and had some friends he thought would also be down. Enter Alan and Stuart! I had met al once at a show and I had no idea who the long haired kid was (stu). He had already learned the songs so I was very in love with him from the get go.

How do ideas for songs come to you?

I work very hard on songs in my spare bedroom and anything I think fits or is worth a shit I send to the boys and we transfer them into loud songs from originally being very different sounding.

Priors b/wWhat are some of your favorite venues for playing shows and why? Any memorable stories in particular?

I like to play at l’esco and Brasserie Beaubien currently. Barfly is a fun one too (we played our first show there). Outside of the city I like to play This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton and Call the Office in my hometown of London Ontario.

What are your aspirations as a band/musicians?

I’d like to play full time and sell records and quit my job. I’d like to make records while not on tour and die happy.


What are some of the festivals you played? What was fun, what was not?

We played Up Here festival this year which was a complete shit show. A few of us did mushy on the drive up there. We got real friggled that weekend for surely.

Touring: Where have you gone? Where are you going?

We’ve been through a lot of Ontario. We’ve been out east as far as Halifax. We’d like to play all over though. We’re going to Europe in May and we’re really looking forward to that!


Growing up what kind of music/bands did you listen to?

I liked a lot of really melodic music. I grew up on Nirvana – by the late 90’s was very into Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World. Then I started doing a lot of drugs and experimenting with pretty much any music I could get my hands on.

What’s your earliest musical experience memory?

Going to watch my mom jam with her band when I was around 4 years old. She’d always bring me along and I’d play with the other kids outside but I was very taken with the music experience. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Priors at bar

How would you qualify your experience playing live?

I’d qualify it as awesome. We have a lot of fun and I think the crowd comes along for that ride a lot of the time. We like to play.

What songs do you enjoy playing the most?

The newest song I’ve written is always my favourite song to play.

Tell us about your newest record, New Pleasure… How long did it take to make? Who came up with the artwork/look and sound? How does it differ from your first record?

It took me probably around two months of demoing, tho a few of the songs were written pretty early on (Got In Me, New Pleasure, Heartstrings). We worked on the whole thing for as long as it took to write to fine tune I’d say. We only jam once a week so it takes a little longer than we’d like I think to get the ideas finished. We were in studio for two days and it took about a month to mix (I am an asshole that overthought everything). The artwork was done by our friend (Sweet) Dave O’Connor. He’s done the art for most of the music I’ve written. He’s an incredible artist.

As for being different from the first one – we did the first one really quickly and didn’t have a distinct sound in mind when we were recording it. It was a mixture of how we sound live and how I was demoing at the time (vocally at least) but we did it to tape and I really liked how it turned out. We’re a better band now. We’re bigger sounding but also I think we know what kinda band we are now.

Priors - New Pleasure

Priors band

The Almighty King Khan communes…

Anyone who’s been to a King Khan and the Shrines show knows all about the sheer cathartic energy, the wild and crazy exuberant antics onstage and the adoring crowd as they worship the almighty King Khan and his sensational Shrines in all their fantasmic musical glory, as they spread their wicked voodoo charms, in their whacked out glittery caped costumes.  It’s a soul-filled, garage-y, horn smattering love-fest of spiritual liberation, excitation, and sexhalation. While on his latest tour, the multifaceted man about town, King Khan, kindly finds time to answer some questions:


What lives inside the mind, heart and soul of King Khan and the Shrines?

I really feel like what we do is some kind of spiritual service especially in such a corrupt world nothing can soothe the mind and soul more than soul music. If the intentions are holy and it provides the proper opiate that both alleviates pain and exposes hypocrisy then we have a true catalyst for change which is precisely what rock n roll really is… breaking all sexual and social boundaries…. Little Richard was nothing but an Indian deity!

 Where do you get your flashy and sexy outfits?

King KhanMy wife makes all the uniforms, i guess she understands my body the best after 17 years of marriage. She seems to control how much i expose myself to the world.

 Can you describe the journey that you are taking us on?

Well it is basically trying to find your own path of illumination. This can only begin when you are spiritually liberated and start to learn the tools to control your destiny. Once that path is found, everything falls into place…. order out of chaos…. the light shines thru and your visions become crystalized and begin forming….  the dance of reality is what my mentor and guru Jodorowsky calls it.

 Who or what inspires you to do the things you do?

Its hard to say, everything inspires me, i am very passionate about the things i do and i think people feel that and see that my intentions are good and dont revolve around trying to get rich or climb a bullshit social ladder. AS much as i feel like a receptor for divine information from the cosmos, i also feel like a 12 year old boy who wants to make jokes and laugh all the time. That childishness is something i cherish deeply and share very profoundly with most of my closest musical brothers and sisters, especially Mark Sultan, him and I have been giggling all the way to the bank for a long ass time.

I love your crazy hilarious videos. Who comes up with the stories and ideas for them?

I do all the story writing for the videos. I have a wonderful team in Berlin called the HYLAS brothers…. whenever i gave them a script they always made all of it come true, even when i wanted Jesus squirting red wine out of his eyes and shooting white bread out of his hands…. they literally make my dreams come true.

Any favorites?

Sleepwalker video for moon duo is one of my faves, I lay a cult leader/aeorbic instructor…. its really funny.


You must have traveled all of the world spreading your glorious music. Which places have you like the most and why?   

Mark Sultan and I drank fresh cobra blood and spinal cord in a vicious cocktail in Jakarta, i love that place. Playing the Sydney opera house was also pretty crazy cuz we got to hang with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson for a few days and do Tai Chi with them. Spain is always wild and fun, Berlin too…. i feel very fortunate to have traveled the world over and over again with the people i love the most.

Where do your wildest fans live?

Berlin, Spain, USA, Oakland, all over i guess.

King Khan Black Power Tarot

Tell me about your wondrous Black Power Tarot cards.  What went into creating them? Did you design the cards?

I designed them based on a dream i had of Jodo and i hanging out and him asking me to show him a card that is weird. I woke up knowing exactly what i had to do. When i told him my idea Jodo really loved it and gave me his blessings. Michael Eaton, the artist,who does lots of stuff for Game Of Thrones, reached out to me and i filled him up with the vision. Then every card was sent to Jodo to be approved, and that’s when happiness began!!!!

How did you get involved with Alejandro Jodorowsky? Did you meet him? 

His son Adan, who was the kid in Santa Sangre, played bass while i played guitar and sang a Charlie Feathers tune at a buddy of mine’s wedding. Afterwards we met and i told him that i had been studying his fathers teachings for a long time. He told me he loved my music and would love to send me to meet Jodo. I felt i wasn’t ready to meet him at that time and waited a few years till i felt strong enough and then it happened. Jodo invited me to his home in Paris, gave me my first deck of the Tarot de Marseilles, taught me personally and finally I got to be one of his spiritual warriors.

What’s your favorite film of his?  Can you related to any of the characters in his films?

That is tough, i love Holy Mountain and El Topo equally. I love that each of his films are like a ritual, with the intention to mutate the collective soul, to teach all of us something profound, hilarious, surrealistic and mind blowing. The world needs more things like that to save our souls and keep us laughing till it hurts.

What’s the story behind the William S. Burroughs “Let Me Hang you” record?

Let me Hang youThat was a gift given to me by Hal Willner. Hal was Lou reed’s best friend and producer and i met him and Lou at the same time and became close buddies. A few years back Hal wrote me that he had a surprise for me, he sent me seven tracks of William S. Burroughs reading the most unspeakable parts of Naked Lunch. My mouth dropped, i made the music for all the tracks and one of them even made Hal cry! WSB has always been one of the biggest catalysts of change in my life, i read Naked Lunch when i was 14 years old and it mutated my brain and turned me into a absolute freak worshiper.

What do you think William S. Burroughs would say today if he heard that record?  

I think he would love it…. and maybe fly me to Tangiers and feed me the black meat and eventually I would turn into a fez wearing mug wup juice drinking queer or maybe not.

Having just played Burger Boogaloo, what was it like meeting John Waters?

Meeting John Waters was a dream come true… i think his films inspired me just as much as all the r&b and garage punk and teenage bubble gum rock n roll i grew up on with the Spaceshits. When john introduced the King Khan and BBQ Show, he was blown away and gave us the best compliment ever… he called us the love child of gorgeous george, liberace and bunker hill!!!! This year he introduced the shrines and i got to hang with him a lot. It’s amazing that he can still whip out a sentence and have the whole room open mouthed in awe at how offensive he can be…. i cherish that in people very much.

Did you get to meet Traci Lords? 

Not only did i get to meet her, but i kissed her hand and just that act alone completes a circle of orgasmic energy that was created in 1999 when i found a tape of hers in my wife’s VHS collection and of course I am gonna marry a woman who can watch hours of Sun Ra with me and then enjoy some of Traci’s finest performances…. especially Cry Baby!!!! I think Traci is one of my super feminist dream goddesses, what she single-handedly did to turn the porn world upside down and empower herself could only be masterminded by a TRUE BANDIT QUEEN of the highest order of filth and i mean that with the utmost respect and admiration. I am trying to get her and Willie Nelson to sing a duet of this country song i wrote with my daughter Saba Lou who is 15 called “you’re only as good as the woman you love”.

So, being chosen by John B. Smith, founding member of The Invaders, to do the soundtrack of The Invaders film, was a wonderful experience for you…. Can you describe how you felt, what that meant for you, and how you tackled the project with the feelings you had? Have you always been interested in Black Power and such subversive groups?

My father told me he saw the Black Panthers speak in the Univ. of Montreal in the 60s and gave me the Autobiography of Malcolm X when I was 12 years old. I was raised to love Black Power and learned at an early age that black power meant “All Power to all People!” The fact that this film actual tells a new side of civil rights blew my mind, I had no idea that MLK embraced a militant group and was impressed by their incredible work in organizing the youth of Memphis, getting all the kids to drop their gang colors and fight for Black Power. MLK was always painted as the peaceful one and Malcolm X was the tyrant, this was total bullshit. They both were radical in there own ways. It was the greatest honor for me to be chosen by John B. Smith, the man who had secret meetings with Dr. King and helped organize the poor people’s campaign. During the two years of working on this soundtrack John B. adopted Prichard Smith, The Director, and I like real family.  

Had you heard about The Invaders Black Power organization before all this?

I had no idea about the Invaders, i feel like it was the powers that be that tried to erase there existence. Luckily Prichard was from Memphis and his mother told him about the invaders long ago when he was a kid.

Did you have an opportunity to watch the film and decide what tracks you wanted write and where to place them?  Or was it a different sort of process?  Describe the process.

I basically was given carte blanche. They sent me the film with no music and i got to put what i wanted where I wanted. Since it was about Memphis, Prichard and our record collector buddy Andrew Macullogh wanted to use a lot of our favorite soul comp called “Chains and Black Exhaust”…. I also wanted to put some real Black Power Free Jazz into it so I used some amazing tracks by Philip Kelan Cohran and The Art Ensemble of Chicago. 

How has this whole experience changed you, and the way you write?

It gave me a reason to start writing more about getting involved…. I choose to stay away from heavy politics in my music by choice. Music is a spiritual thing for me, and also a strong opiate… I prefer making music for those purposes, but now i also try and throw some serious issues into them. 

How did Ian Svenonius  and Jack Oblivian get involved in the project?

I got Ian involved cuz I love his writing and we are very good friends and always talked about collaborating, this was the perfect thing to get together for. Ian is a super genius! Prichard got Jack involved in the beginning of the film and he provided a couple of tunes with his new band The Sheiks.  

What did you grow up listening to as a kid? Did you live in a musical household?  When did you passion for music start?

My dad used to book very big Indian classical music legends when i was a little kid. My mom used to put headphones on her belly before i was born and make me listen to Indian classical music in the womb. That’s why my brain is paisley inside, haha. My parents loved music and made me learn guitar when i was 12. They were very supportive of my weird musical taste and let me discover all the music i wanted to so I guess my passion from music was pre-natal.

Do you believe in some sort of afterlife?  What do you believe happens when you die?

I believe in the universal soul, a place in the stars where all our spirituality comes from. Humans are 20% magma and 80% water…. the magma in us wants to return to the sun our holy mother, just like the planet earth whose blood is magma and wants to rise and go back to mama sun. All spirituality wants to erupt and go back to space. The moon is our bloodless sister which we are tethered to so that we are reminded of the cycle of the days.

What are some of your all-time favorite movies?

There are way too many to mention…. but here are some films that changed my life….

Holy Mountain and El Topo by Jodorowsky
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song by Melvin Van Peebles
Black Orpheus from  Brazil
Three Cabellreos by Disney
Naked Lunch and Dead Ringers by Cronenburg
Psycho and Vertigo and Birds by Hitchcock
Spirits of the Dead: Toby Dammit episode by Fellini
Taxidriver, Meanstreets, American Boy and Goodfellas by Scorcese
Space is the Place and Joyful Noise by Sun Ra
and The Third Man and Touch of Evil by Orson Welles

In the film you did the music for and acted in – Back to Nothing – was this the first film you acted in?  Did you enjoy playing the character Pontius?

Actually Miron Zownir the director wrote that part for me! I did a bunch of films as a teenager with Mishka Gollner aka T.T. Rogers, as well as some low budget films with German film maker Iris Cuntze…. Hombre Fatal! I loved playing Pontius, but filming with Miron can be torture, but only in the best way!

Have there been other soundtracks besides The Invaders and Back to Nothing that you did for films?

The first major motion picture i scored was Schwarze Schafe by Oliver Rihs in 2005…. its a great German black comedy…. The Invaders and Back To Nothing were the other two major films I have done.

If Hollywood discovered you and wanted to hire you full-time to create soundtracks for super grossing films, would you quit touring and do this full time?

Probably not…. i love doing ALL of those things. Touring and making rock n roll is my service to the world, to heal their ills with my opiate….