Deathtrap America

Deathtrap America
The Whisky A Go Go
West Hollywood, CA
By Victoria Joyce

It’s June Gloom in So Cal and that means cool muggy evenings. Perfect for night in a crowded club.  We can look great and our clothes don’t stick. The only bite is, like everywhere else in LA, summer starting means air conditioning –  blasting no matter the time or temp. It’s eleven o’clock at night and the Whisky A Go Go is as cold as a refrigerator. Brrr.

But we’re out for the evening to see ex-pat, J.T. Locke, who is venturing back to Hollywood from Portland, OR to play a gig at the Whisky.  Got a nice turnout too. “Hey you guys are great! Nobody in Hollywood ever comes out on a Wednesday night!” Locke was delighted and accurate. 

His new band, Deathtrap America is as shaved down as his head. Just him and the Missus ala original White Stripes; a guitar and drums. But with a Goth-Punk spin.

And it works. J.T. Locke is a damn fine musician, mixing it up with swirling, soaring psychedelic solos and funky monkey wa-wa then back to short fast choppy punk licks and riffs. He is also an excellent songwriter – singing his songs with a falsetto talky-Punk thing, kinda David Byrne-ish. The Mohawk is on his head and a Euro-Military jacket effect equals Taxi Driver plus Sgt. Pepper. Smart and scary.

We like it when the Punk & Metal anger & energy are lightly packed with Pop fun and Goth elegance.  And that Amanda, the aforementioned Mrs. Locke, clad in a black romper and striped knee socks plays the drums with a liquid grace and lots of hair-flips of her waist-length raven locks. Heh, heh, locks! Get it?

Around ten, Deathtrap America took the stage and opened with  “Deathtrap America.” Coincidence? We don’t think so!  “This is a song about the Music Industry and how they love to love you.” Or did he use a different word?

“Who needs a tie?” J.T. started a strip tease but never finished it throwing his necktie to the fans. Announcing from the stage “We’re back in town on July 29th at the Viper.” That will be their third LA show this year and it’s only June. Are you moving back to Hollywood? Had enough of Portlandia?

Big finish with the lovely “Everything and Everyone,” dedicated to “everyone who thinks their cool.” Hey, are you talking about ME?

After the show – on the sidewalk in front of the Whisky – where musicians race to shift equipment – we got the scoop form J.T., “We fired the rest of the band a few months ago and since then we’ve been non-stop! We’ve on tour with Wednesday 13 thru the end of June.”

Locke’s previous rock life was in Locke N Load – a nifty rock band with his brother. ‘Bout five years ago they got just a teensy bit fed up with LA and moved to Portland.

Us: How’s the scene up there? Him: “Pretty good. Mostly Indie Bands. But this (Hollywood) is where is happening.” There was a sigh and an eye roll with that admission of surrender. If you want to rock – Hollywood is still Ground Zero.

But here’s Deathtrap’s good news; “In September we have a residence at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip opening for Steel Panther.” Lovely. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.