Though they've only been active as a band since 2009, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats are quickly gaining momentum as one of the more intriguing of the latest wave of stoner/psychedelic/doom/retro bands on the scene today. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Peter Pardo recently caught up with lead vocalist/guitarist/organist K.R. Starrs to talk about the history of the band, the latest CD Mind Control, and our current love for all things '70s.
SoT: For some, Uncle Acid & the Deatbeats is a fairly new name in the world of hard rock & metal. You guys formed just a few years ago-can you talk about the formation of the band, how you came together and created the style that you have?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): We formed because I was a bum with no hope of finding a job. I had a load of songs that I wanted to record so I put together some people to help out, and here we are!
SoT: How did you come up with the name of the band, and is any of you specifically Uncle Acid?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): I used to call myself Uncle Acid, but now the whole band is Uncle Acid and I go under K.R. Starrs, just for some added confusion. I guess our fans are the deadbeats. It goes quite nicely.
SoT: The music combines elements of hard rock, doom, psych, and pop. What are some of the bands musical influences?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): Neil Young, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, Electric Wizard, The Kinks...I could go on...
SoT: With 3 full lengths and 1 split under your belt, the band is quickly ammassing a nice catalog. Can you talk a little bit about the writing and recording process, and how easy (or difficult) it's been to crank out these releases in just a few short years?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): It's very easy. You cant sit with a guitar and say "I'm going to write a song today", you just have to wait for them to arrive in your mind and evetually they appear. Once I have a song, I demo it and send it to the other guys so they can learn their parts, then we'll run through them at rehersal and iron out any problems. Once we have it well rehearsed it becomes easy to just get in the studio and record. We'll play through the songs a couple of times and then pick the best take to start working on.
SoT: Mind Control is your latest for Rise Above/Metal Blade (a great place to be by the way!)-how has reaction been to this album so far, and are you happy with the end results?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): It's been perfect. People seem to really like the album, so thats always nice I suppose. Also, we've pushed away all the people that we needed to push away...the trend seekers and the underground 'kvlt' hipsters. We're much too popular for them now. We're too hyped up aparently. The only band that does next to nothing to promote itself yet still remains 'hyped'! I wonder how that works! It couldn't possibly be that a lot of people just like the music and it has nothing to do with hype all, could it?! Nah....
SoT: I love the 'Black Sabbath meets Beatles' elements that seem to permeate most of your material. What prompted the band to create music that combined the thunderous, classic heaviness of Sabbath with the pop hooks and quirkiness of the Fab Four?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): Abraxas. Light and dark. Good and evil. You can't have one without the other. It just seemed like the most natural thing to do. If you had some maniac stabbing people to death in a warzone, its not really that shocking. It just blends into the genreal horror of the environment. When someone does it in broad daylight on a busy street, it becomes a lot more sinister. We're the audio equivelent of that. Sunshine and death!
SoT: Valley of the Dolls and Mt. Abraxas are two of my personal favorites on the new CD-what are some of the tunes that you are most proud of?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): I do like Desert Ceremony quite a bit. It's got a good groove to it. Thats one of my favourites to play live actually. I like all of them though!
SoT: Has the band played any live shows at this point, and are there touring plans to support the new CD?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): Of course. We returned to live playing earlier this year and will continue all through the summer, playing festivals in europe and then tour in the autumn.
SoT: Between Rise Above, Nuclear Blast, and Transubstans, there seems to be a wealth of newer acts popping up on these labels who are specializing in heavy sounds from the '70s. What do you attribute this to?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): I don't know. People call it 'retro' and all this nonsense, but what is rock music supposed to sound like? Sabbath and the Stooges or Limp Bizkit? We're just playing rock music the way it should sound.
SoT: What are some current acts and releases that Uncle Acid & the Deatbeats are listening to and following these days?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): The new Blood Ceremony album, 'The Eldritch Dark' is absolutely brilliant. I'm tempted to say its their best yet, so I'd recommed everyone go buy that. I like the new Wolf People one too. Theres a lot of good music right now actually. People doing things the right way, for the right reasons.
SoT: Any last words you'd like to share with our readers and your fans?
K.R. Starrs (Uncle Acid): Thanks! We love you all!
(Click here to read our review of Mind Control)