Christian D and the Hangovers

Christian D and The Hangovers.
Interview by Christopher Duda-Sugarbuzzsnowcountry

Moss hanging down towards the frog encrusted steamy pavement…. beckoning you to enter the fog…a creaking finger begging you to cross the line. A voodoo talisman with one tooth.. inviting you closer with his large protruding eyeballs. Flames flicker and dance on top the twanging stretching guitar strings as magical fingers beckon the flames to run higher higher higher towards the purple sky. Like the god of hellfire….immerging from the parting smoke a well worn pair of shit kicking cowboy boots…ready to stomp on your pencil necked geek styling chicken dance. From the parting lips of the sundrenched leather monster comes biblical proportion allocution. Get ready for the barnyard shindig….poppa’s gonna bring ya home kickin’ and screamin….

1… How influential were The Cramps and why?

Hugely influential to me. Why- because they are just about perfect in my book- sexy, trashy, raw. Everything that rock and roll should be.

The first time I heard them in high school was a real eye opener- the perfect blend of rockabilly and punk. I don’t think anyone has ever done it better. We covered Cornfed Dames on our first full length, and I’m sure we’ll record another one soon. We do a bunch of Cramps covers live when we’re playing longer shows. Or covers of Cramps covers, which I tend to like better than the originals.

2… Why do old punks always revert back to playing rockabilly?

Probably because it’s a lot of the same basic raw rock and roll vibe, but without so much yelling….

3… Was the 80′s wave of Retro Rockabilly influential to any degree. i.e. The Stray Cats..The Bop Cats (keeping that Canadian Quota up there!)

Yeah, for sure – that’s when I started hearing it as a current cool music, instead of just what I enjoyed on the oldies radio channels I grew up with. I thought the Stray Cats and the Bop Cats were fantastic, and of course the Cramps and also Teenage Head, who had a lot of rockabilly influences. Another really cool Canadian band was the Razorbacks. They put out 2 albums in the late 80′s.

4…. How supportive is the Toronto scene.

Toronto has been really good to me. There’s a fair sized scene for rockabilly, roots and alt-country. I’ve been here about 10 years now, and have met a lot of cool people, in the bands and on the dance floors, and smoking behind the clubs.

5… My friend kept telling me to check out your band. I never remembered the name of the band. In my feeble brain I kept thinking it had some sacrilegious connotations. Dead Christian and The Hangovers, Or Pontus Pilate and the Four Nails and The Hangovers etc etc.. I have asked this question of other rockabilly bands … but I will do this time with a twist.. a) Do you have a song about a cat in your repertoire and what is the rockabilly’s fascination with cats…what about Dogs! b) If Jesus were alive today and fronting a rockabilly band what would possible choices for band names be.

Dead Christian and the Hangovers might actually be better… I may have to use that sometime!

a) I have no songs about cats. Or cars. That’s been done to death so I leave it for everyone else. Friends of mine, Buzz Deluxe, do have two songs about their dogs… maybe that’s the next step in rockabilly’s evolution.

b) If Jesus had a rockabilly band? If I was in it I’d suggest Screaming Jesus and Christians on Sticks.

6. Top 5-10 rockabilly guitarists.

That’s hard. How about Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins as the originators. Setzer for neo-rockabilly. Current guys I love? Paul Pigat, Danny Bartley from the Royal Crowns and Toronto’s Alistair Christl is one of my favourites.

7. If Wanda Jackson offered fellatio would you appease her….

She’d probably see that as sacrilegious…but I would never say no to Wanda….

She’s a sweet lady. I had to close a show after her in Montreal once. It was rough being on the side of the stage watching her do encore after encore thinking “Fuck me- we’ve got to follow that?”

13. Was Toronto always your home town and do you have a musical past history?

Toronto’s been home for about 10 years now. I’m from the east coast. Bounced around New Brunswick and Nova Scotia a fair bit as a kid. Musical past? Yeah, I’ve been doing this a long time. Nothing really noteworthy though. My former band was kind of a rockabilly/ country outfit called Real Gone based out of T.O. Before that, various small time bands in Halifax, that no one ever heard of…which is probably a good thing. There are a couple of songs from my 90′s band Wake over on the website.

14. Is The Horseshoe one of your favourite place to play in the city? Are you excited at the reopening of the El Mocambo?

The Horseshoe is a pretty great room – I love that stage. I’m really excited about the re-opening of the El Mocambo. Saw a show there a few weeks ago, it’s going to be a great room.

My favourite place to play in Toronto is probably the Cadillac Lounge. That place felt like home to me the first time I walked in. The owner, Sam Grosso, is one of the guys now rebuilding the El Mo- he really knows his rock and roll!

15. I am hoping to see Nick Cave in Tennessee in March. Is that a city you aspire to play or have you? and do you have aspirations to play or crack The States?

I’ve never played the U.S. but would love to get down there. I’ve got a friend/ former guitar player in Austin, so that’s probably the first place I’ll head when I get a chance. I’d start out couch-surfing and build out from there.
16. Do you have many tattoos and if so what? Do you prefer the standard rockabilly Sailor Jerry tattoos?

Yeah I’ve got a few. My fave is a Shure 55 mic on my arm. And as a side note to the tattoo thing, I’m in this book called Musical Ink which I think is coming out in the spring. Here’s a facebook page for it:

I need more ink, but the bank accounts are depleted with buying music gear and making payments on the van…

17. When do you plan to release your next cd?

Good question! Can’t really say though. Lately I’ve been sticking to digital only e.p.s and singles. I’m finding less people seem to want a physical product. I’ll probably wait until the end of 2013 and then wrap up two years worth of stuff into one cd for those that still like that.

18. Any suggestions for upcoming rockabilly wannabe’s?

There’s hundreds of bands that basically sound the same. Try to find your own unique sound. Also – no one needs another song about fucking cars!

19.Was Elvis really The King?

IN my personal opinion- hell yeah! In historical terms of taking rock and roll to being the pop culture phenomenon that it is /was? Probably, yeah. No one else did it. Great voice, look, performances. If he had have been a songwriter too, he might have been unstoppable. And maybe wouldn’t have ended up in Hollywood singing fucking dreck.

20. Was Esquierta ever on your radar? 

Yeah, though not until long after Little Richard. Another guy lost to the history of rock and roll. Esquierta vs. Little Richard- who was really better? Who knows? For whatever reason, probably having to do at least somewhat with luck, and drive, Little Richard was the one that got to make records and a have career.

21. Would you play a European Rockabilly festival if invited?

What’s the pay? Seriously though yeah, for sure. Though I’m not sure I’m rockabilly enough for those crowds. I wouldn’t call this a rockabilly band, though that was the initial intention.

I just can’t write like that all the time. I did this radio interview awhile back, and the guy said he always thought of the Hangovers as more of a rock and roll band. I thought that was kind of perfect, my influences are pretty wide but in the end it’s all rock and roll.

I really don’t know how to label the music, which is probably a real bitch when it comes to marketing. I feel like a perpetual outsider most of the time.

22. Parting thoughts and rants..Insert here!…….

Parting thoughts- What I’m trying to do is actually just sound the most like myself as I can. I don’t really care if that’s rockabilly, rock and roll, Americana or whatever. You know how there’s bands you can hear one verse of and immediately know who it is? That’s what I’m striving for. That’s about the best you can do, I think.