Rock 'N' Roll Soldiers
'All Hail, The New Soldiers of Fortune'
Brothers and sisters, do we not yearn for some real kind of kick? Where be the greasy kids with dirty jokes, tight jeans, air-guitar magnetism, and scribbled directions to the party? Well DO look now, as the ROCK’N’ROLL SOLDIERS are stomping on a nearby stage, cataclysmically crooning out tales of girls forgotten, parents waved bye-bye, and a quick shift into fifth down the road to oblivion. Y’know – KICKS!
Foot hiked and rarin’ to buck, stands 6’3” singer/guitarist Marty Larson-Xu, a dandy fop with dance steps and scarves snazzier than any in Steven Tyler’s oeuvre. He is backed by a band that simply slays, with no irony baloney (if maybe a little ham on their rye). Begun as they were barely gripping their high school diplomas, it was obvious this Eugene, OR quad-piece possessed raw rock smarts beyond their years. Groovy grave-robbing rockers (“Dead Man’s March,” “Soldier’s Fortune”) get smooched by acoustic-led shufflers (“Three Goddamns,” “Shut Your Eyes”).
Strong songwriting for sure proves these guys must’ve jumped straight out their mum’s gut clutching the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St. in one hand and the MC5’s High Times in the other, with their dirty toenails painted pink.
Constant prodding from Gearhead Records finally led to The High School Sessions EP. Armed with this fresh arsenal of songs, the band began playing more around the west coast, sharing stages with the Donnas, Hunches, New Bomb Turks, Kill Radio, and more, sharpening their slinky glam punk. Taking a quick break from touring, the Soldiers hit the studio once again to record The Weak Blame the Strong EP, which absolutely bleeds with hard-won chops.
East West Records has now stepped in to scrunch up those two vinyl-only Gearhead EPs into 'The Two EPs CD'. Throw it in your stereo and leave your tired notions of rock’s demise in the dust. Too young to care, the Rock’n’Roll Soldiers slam shots down on their scratched Stones’ CDs, wink and nod to their classic punk faves, and point the whole crowd out the door and towards the grand ballroom of ass-shake ecstasy down at the end of lonely street.
Chatting recently with the lead singer himself, Marty Larson-Xu, I first wondered if it was true that they had named the band well before they even had any songs to sing! "Yeah, we had no songs at all when we dubbed ourselves 'Rock n Roll Soldiers.' Oliver and I were sitting in class one day in 7th grade and the name just came to us. It is the name of one of the tours of a favorite band of ours called Radio Birdman."
You claim to be these 'Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers,' but what does that
really entail having to live up to? "Ha. Shit I don't know ... I guess people probably see us as extremely cocky and arrogant with a name like that, so we really gotta bring it live. And that's what we do."
How long did it finally take you to introduce your home town of
Eugene to punk rock? "Well, Eugene has actually always had a pretty good underground punk scene. On the outside it appears to be a town full of hippies and jam bands, but really there are a lot of kids that are into punk and rock. We have been playing Eugene since we were 14, so I guess it took awhile nonetheless for people to warm up to us ... as we were terrible!"
Tell us more about that infamous day when you tried to create your
own stage pyrotechnics with missile canisters! "Yeah, that was a glorious day. It was an outdoor show on the University of Oregon campus. Back when we were younger we hardly ever played shows, at one point we played like two shows in two years. So when we did have a show we really wanted to make it an event. We went to an army surplus store and bought these missile cannisters and filled them with rags soaked in gasoline. We lit 'em up on each side of us for the set, but at one point I knocked them over so there were these flaming canisters rolling around with smoke going everywhere!"
How does the self-proclaimed 'Worst band in the world' get to be
where you are now?! "I guess any band that stays together for 9 years is bound to get somewhere. We always thought we were good even when we sucked absolute ass, so our level of confidence really hasn't changed. For all we know we might still be the worst band in the world. But we really don't care! We did have band practice five days a week during high school. Lots of fighting. Quite a bit of high school binge drinking. Sunny D and Vodka. Thats about it."
Is there to be a debut album out soon ... and if so, is there a name
set aside for its title? "Yeah, we have an album comin' out in January on Atlantic Records. We wanna call it So Many Musicians to Kill, but I'm just waiting for them to say 'no' to the title though. We'll see what happens."
What's the cheesiest '80s song that you would LOVE to cover as a
band, if you were given the chance?! "Obviously, 'C'mon Feel The Noise'!"
Finally, describe the bands musical attitude in three words "Gi-Normous-Cocks!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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