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The Birds Of Satan

The Birds of SatanFree As A Bird

Taylor Hawkins might spend most of his time being drummer for one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, but when the Foo Fighters take a rest, he doesn’t sit still. PAUL McBRIDE speaks to the man himself. Taylor Hawkins’ new side project is classic rock-influenced trio, The Birds of Satan, whose self-titled debut album is unashamed in its straight-up approach to rock music.

“Wiley (Hodgden, bass/vocals) and Mick (Murphy, guitar) are a couple of buddies of mine,” the affable 42-year-oldsays of the band’s origins. “We play in a cover band called Chevy Metal; we play ‘70s and ‘80s rock from when we were kids. I just happened to be jamming with those guys and we always sound good together, and when it came to the time when I wanted to make a record, it felt good and I thought those guys could help me make the record really quickly. We did it and it was great. It sounds like we don’t give a fuck, but sometimes that sounds good, you know what I mean?

“We did all the music in four days, and then we did the vocals over a two-day period. At the time when I was making this record, I was listening to a lot of people’s first records – records made by bands who didn’t have a lot of time. I mean, listen to the first Black Sabbath record; that was recorded in two days. The first Led Zeppelin record was made in maybe a week or something. Van Halen’s first. All of those records were made in one day to a week. I like producing records, the layering process and everything, but that’s a whole other sort of trip, you know? There’s something about just getting in there and doing something quick that has a different energy. I like those type of records.”

No classic rock album is complete without a moment of rock grandeur or extended virtuosity, and it comes here in the form of nine-minute opener, The Ballad Of The Birds Of Satan.

“That took us half a day,” Hawkins says. “We wrote it and recorded it in half a day, and we did another song that day as well, so it happened fairly quickly. We all threw three or four ideas at each other, stuck it all together and it came out like that, which is totally bananas.

“We set out to make it that way; I wanted to have a track that goes a million places, has weird time signatures and is sort of a schizophrenic kind of song. It was absolutely what I had in mind. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but I knew I wanted to do something like that.”

Despite the desire for a rawer sound and the tight time-frame involved, the well-connected California native was able to call on some outside help to finish the album off.

“Dave (Grohl) helped me finish writing a bunch of the songs,” he says. “He was a big part of the first song; the first riff was a guitar riff he had, which we put stuff together with. He was a big part of a song called Wait ‘Til Tomorrow and another called Raspberries. Those were the three he played on, if I’m not mistaken. Pat (Smear) came in at the very end on Too Far Gone To See and played some guitar and things. This is the first record Wiley has ever even played on, so he’s hanging on by the skin of his teeth, but I like that energy.

“Mick is much more of a hard rock guitar player than anyone in my other band, The Coattail Riders, so it’s just a different feel. They could have made this record, and I probably would have liked it just as much, but it probably would have been very different. Either way, it was going to be made raw, and it would have been a lot cleaner with those guys. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, you know what I mean?”



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