A Bonfire In The Hills – Los Tentakills interview
Los Tentakills appear to have been formed from a serious of random interactions in deepest, unexplored space (writes Andy Wood). A freakish explosion of garage fuzz, rock ‘n’ roll twang and psychedelic rumblings in an as yet unexplained cosmic occurrence. Landed in Glasgow they made their way back to one another to form a band with the express intent of bringing and fun and confusion to the world of music. Knowing little of their earthly origins but intrigued by their fine, fine music I shall let Los Tentakills speak for themselves.
Who are Los Tentakills? Please introduce yourselves and tell us a little about how you came together.
Al: Los Tentakills are the greatest band in ancient unborn space, comprised of Al Hotchkiss, Grant Canyon, Celina Ozymandias, Jackson Marlette and James T. McKay. Upon meeting each other on a government course for wayward youths who had languished too long on Job Seekers Allowance Al and grant discovered that they both suffer from a strain of rockabilly pneumonia and psychedelic flu and quickly began composing wild ‘n’ trashy psychedelic rock ‘n’ songs.
The two then crossed paths with the mighty Jackson “El Tentakill” Marlette through Grant’s sister. Not only did they discover that they loved him like a brother but they also found in him a fellow sufferer of the rockabilly pneumonia and psychedelic flu and perhaps the best drummer in all of the land.
Like Running Bear and White Dove before them Al and Celina were married and she joined Los Tentakills as resident bass guru and righteous witch-doctor woman.
Last, but not least, is the hulking rock ‘n’ roller and neon demon that is the insatiable James T. McKay, master of the percussive arts and electric jug. Together we are a hatred and boredom killing machine.
What are your influences, musical or otherwise?
Al: Fun, laughter, 13th Floor Elevators, The MC5 and YOU!
Celina: All of the above! Also, Link Wray, Bo Diddley, Los Saicos, Bonniwell Music Machine, The Seeds, Chocolate Watchband, Love and The Electric Prunes. We essentially like pretty much any kind of fuzzy garage twangin’ from the 60s, toss in some rockabilly, some psychedelia, and a bit of blues, folk and soul and you’ve got our special recipe. Also, we all read quite a lot so there’s no doubt some of our favourite authors/stories etc shape/influence us greatly. On a side note, we have been known to jam to the names of people we know or have met if they are in some way melodically pleasing. There are multiple occurrences of this, and you could be next.
What inspired the name?
All hail Cthulhu!
What has been the best response to Los Tentakills?
Celina: For me, it’s been seeing people coming up to us after shows and having a laugh saying how fun it was. People have always felt the energy we put out there, and I think “fun” and “energy” come up a lot in post-gig sweaty discussions. I can’t pinpoint a personal best response to us, but seeing people happy and letting loose at a gig – and then seeing them show up to more gigs – is a wonderful, inspiring part of what we do.
And the worst?
Grant: Generally, the worst kind of experience is being forced to play alongside bands with whom we share no common ground nor an ability to enjoy each other’s music. It’s not good for morale, and it generally just confuses people who have shown up to hear one band in particular. If I had to pinpoint our worst reaction I’d say it was playing with a European disco/metal band who tried far too hard to “Mach Schau”. Our guitars went out of tune but we cared not, we just wanted to get the hell off that stage. I believe we replied to the shout “TUNE UP!” with “FUCK OFF!”
For someone who has yet to witness you play how would you describe yourselves?
Grant: To someone yet to brush shoulders with Los Tentakills, I would describe our sound as a psychedelic foghorn luring all freaks and social misfits in our direction. We enjoy the unpredictable, and I seriously doubt we have ever played two shows alike. Also, we play loud, and you’re just going to have to deal with it.
Describe your ideal gig?
Jackson: A bonfire in the hills.
What does the future hold for Los Tentakills?
Celina: Hopefully everything. We’d very much like to tour (Europe, the States, etc.), but right now we’re financially challenged, not only as a band but as individuals and that’s tough. We are looking forward to our ‘debut’ album launch sometime in the next few months and cannot wait to get more things on the go.
Anything else you’d like to add?
When a house is on fire, what is the first course of action? To alert the neighbours? Call the Fire Brigade? Try to put it out? But, brothers and sisters, there are some fires which are unquenchable. Some fires will never be put out. The fire of Los Tentakills is one such fire. Brothers and sisters, the fires of rock ‘n’ roll, the fires of psychedelia, the fires of passion and feeling and emotion and love will never be put out. And it is that fire that Los Tentakills will forever stoke.
Lost Tentakills appear at the Cool Cat Club on Saturday (16th) alongside the Creeping Ivies, The Fnords and Bobby Stickah. 8.00 pm, Beat Generator Live, Dundee.