Bullets and Octane
'The Fast and The Musically Furious!'
Southern California based Bullets and Octane and its four musically gifted members serve up an unrelenting, combustible hybrid of gritty, punk-influenced hard rock. While it may have you singing along, make no mistake - this is punch to the throat rock with an in your face attitude. The band’s name says it all, it’s their aggressive sound and high-energy style that resonates with their fervent fans and ignites a trail of new ones wherever they go.
Singer Gene Louis and bassist Brent Clawson are longtime St. Louis friends who’ve been playing together since they were kids. They moved to Orange County, California and started a band with Gene playing drums. Gene’s a drummer you ask? Yes. His father was a big band drummer and Dixieland jazz star, and he’d been a music teacher in the Midwest where he taught another legend, Dave Weckl. “As long as I can remember I was playing Dixieland jazz on the road with my dad,” says Gene, who is named after two of the world’s most influential drummer’s, Gene Krupa and Louis Belson.
When their singer quit Gene knew it was either back to St. Louis or take over the front-man position…and St. Louis was not an option. To replace his role as drummer, Gene recruited long time St. Louis friend Ty Smith, who at the time was playing with seminal punk rock acts Guttermouth and The Vandals. Then came guitarist and fellow Missourian James Daniel who they knew from years past. In 2004, Bullets and Octane released The Revelry on the indie label Ares Records. Fans loved it, and it complemented their live show with no-holds barred, anthemic verse-chorus explosions.
In the Mouth of the Young, the band’s RCA debut, was produced by Page Hamilton of Helmet fame and mixed by underground icon Ken Andrews of Failure. Page and Ken were able to build upon Bullets and Octane’s “leftfield” perspective and take it to new heights. Fiery and fearless, In the Mouth of the Young boasts twelve hard hitting rock songs loaded with grit and imperfect urgency.
Chatting recently with Ty Smith, and paying mention to the fact that their bio states that their RCA debut was built upon their "leftfield" perspectives, I asked him to explain this theory furtehr. "I would say that this album was built on our experiences together as a band and as individual musicians. It takes a lot of hard work, second guessing and revising until we’re ready to projectile vomit shards of our own fried brains all over the mixing board. In short it was more fun than a nude Easter egg hunt."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "It’s rock and roll. Please don’t think too hard on who we sound like or what horrid genre we fit into. If you need to know what or who we sound like then get on a computer and download a song off of our website and make your own assumption. www.bullets-and-octane.com. You know what you like and I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. But regardless, you’re going to love it. Get it?"
Your album title 'In The Mouth Of The Young' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "In the Mouth of the Young is just an ideal that in some cases children have no chance in life because of the environment in which they were born. I’m not saying that this is a cycle that cannot be broken but I’m reminded of it every time I see a moo-moo clad recipient of the mother of the year award beating her child in line at wal mart for touching the plethora of gum located near the check out. It bums me out but at the same time I get a kick out of it. There are other hidden meanings behind the title and album cover but I won’t ruin it for those who might imagine more than we had in mind."
And, for the record, just where does the highly-charged band name originate? "This would go back to the early days of bullets and octane. There was this guy who tried out for the guitar slot in the band and he had mentioned the name bullets and octane. We said that sounds great. So we had a name at last! And a fine name it is wouldn’t you agree, dear reader? Anyway, our new guitar plucking friend made a trip to las vegas to do a drug deal and was never heard from again. And so his legacy lives on in the name bullets and octane. As does his mysterious story since I think in all I’ve told it at least 50 times and know that I’ll tell it many more times in the future."
If there was one track on 'In The Mouth ...' that truly encapsulated B&O at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "I look at it as more of a body of work than individual songs. No one song will ever define the peak performance on this record as a band or in lyrical content because the whole album is pretty eclectic in style and mood. Also we grow more and more everyday as musicians …and alcoholics."
Noting the provocative artwork for this CD, who is the girl on the front, is that her baby, ... and just what was she looking at as she stares off into space on the back cover?! "That would be Ms. Sandman on the cover. That’s her real last name by the way. I’m not sure what she was staring at on the back but I can only assume that it was something disturbing. Anyway, she’s a model we found through suicidegirls.com. We took one look at her and said ‘she’s the one’ with probably more than just one meaning by that statement. The baby is actually a latex dummy. It costs a lot more than you would think to have a live new born baby on a photo shoot so we opted for the pasty little creature you see on the album. I think it turned out a little bit creepier that way too. It has a very unhealthy sheen to it."
If I came across a signed copy of your indie label debut 'Revelry' and put it up on Ebay, how much do you think I would get for it?! "I think you may have to pay out of your own pocket to get someone to take it. There is no real good way to answer that question without sounding a little full of yourself so in all honesty I think you may get a cool mil for it."
Just for fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks, please let us know:
'Going Blind' - OK, if you were about to go blind, what is one of the last things you would wish to see? "Okay let’s have some fun then. I’ll give you the beauty queens fictitious answer. World peace and an end to world hunger. And maybe a flying car."
'Last Mistake' - What was the last mistake you made ... and have you yet rectified it?! "I’m infallible. I merely make interesting choices in life and if you disagree with them then that’s your opinion."
'Bathroom Floor' - When was the last time you slept on the bathroom floor due to too much alcohol in your system?! "Five minutes before I started this interview. I’m still picking tasty bits of a urinal cake out of my teeth. Don’t ask…!"
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Close your eyes by Lita Ford and ozzy. Because it makes me sad knowing that it will never happen and I’m going for an emo vibe. Pardon me. I have to go crap in my mouth for even writing emo."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I knew you would ask this question. I can’t say that I’ve ever met a penguin to base my opinion on but I would imagine that they are very personable and have the ability to read minds just as I do …!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Bullets and Octane's new CD, just answer this easy question: Bullets and Octane played their very first New Year’s Eve show in which year ... and in which venue?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 1st with your answer and the subject title 'BULLETS AND OCTANE SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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