In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with THE CHRIS ROLLING SQUAD. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it ?
-The feeling we did the best we can ! Honestly, back then we couldn’t have done better, we gave us to the max ! Now, there’re some songs we’ve improved because of live shows we’ve played since. But really I’m proud of this record and really grateful to the people who were involved into it ! These 12 songs has already built incredible memories that no one will ever be ever able to take from us !
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you ?
-Well “Rolling” ain’t my real name, this comes from the days I had a website about underground culture, B-movies, Rock n’ Roll records and other obscurs stuff, I wanted a cool name for my site and I borrowed “Rolling Bastards” from a bikers gang ! As I was signing all the reviews and chronicles “Chris Rolling” I kept the name ! First it started as a solo project but I wasn’t on real keen to use my name, choosing “Band” would have sucked, “Crew” was already taken and to be honest would have sucked too 😀 , I was reading a book about a “Death Squad” in South America and I thought “yeah” this is it, “Squad” sounds really good ! “Band” sounded like a bunch of guys playing boring Blues Rock, “Crew” like buddies who are here to hang out and party, “Squad” sounds like “these guys aren’t here to kidding” (even if we joke very often on stage) and it’s exactly the kind of stuff that would have turn me on when I was a teenager.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing ?
-It means the world ! Anyone who’s crazy enough to get on stage loves being appreciated by people, but don’t get me wrong, we do it for ourselves first, it has to shake us before no matter what, I’m not writing, playing or whatever in hoping or thinking it’s gonna please someone, I need to love it first and after that if someone else is loving it, it’s heaven !!! I always feel blessed when people come to see us after a show and saying they truly loved what they’ve heard and seen, for those who wouldn’t like what we do I’m open to any criticism as long as it’s honest and not made to hurt on purpose (well if such a thing happens someday, this person will lose his time anyway, it needs a lot, lot, lot more to hurt my feelings !), it happened once or twice here in France some drunk clowns who complained in saying “you should play slower shit” or “you should sing in French”, it made us laugh ! But really you’ve got no idea how grateful we are to people who like what we do, if someone is having good time because of us, what can we say ? Thank you so very much !!!
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band ?
-Mmmmmmm not really easy to answer that one, but obviously we’ll not getting on stage with with flip flops and Hawaiian shirts 😀 ! Generally we are the same on stage or off stage, we don’t dress up or wearing costumes, the worst we do sometimes is to wear a t-shirt of our band 😀 but that’s all, we mostly have the same kind of tight jeans and black t-shirt or at least a leather jacket if it’s cold 😀 (except Thib, he’s never get cold 😀 !) ! And to answer to the 2nd part of the question, I’d say we don’t wanna give an “impression” to our fans, to me it would be like playing a role and we definitely don’t do that ! As I said before, we got used to joke on stage, it’s because we’re funny guys….…………………..sometimes……………. but not always and at other moments you’ll see us doing angry faces and being rageous, just because we believe in what we play and sing and we got several numbers with very aggressive music and lyrics and we’re not playing a role ! So, really, if we had to give an “impression” to people it would be the one of a right, honest and fucked up Rock n’ Roll band, we truly love this music and we’re not here to cheat about anything, no make-up, no sampling, no showing off, no fancy things !
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album ?
-For this one we got to say a huge thank to Stan W-Decker !!! He’s a master of his art and a super nice and reliable guy, he works with many labels and famous bands, he can do anything you want, from progressive stuff to death metal, punk, hard rock and so on, in the past he did some artworks for bands from our area, that’s why we dared to ask him if he eventually would be interested to make the design of Spitfire ! He said yes and made a hell of a job !!! He asked what kind of thing we would like and two or three examples then later he sent me a first sample in black and white and it was perfect, we didn’t ask him to change anything (I’ll always remember that day cause we got it two hours before we left to our first German shows !!!) and then he put colors in it and made complete artworks for both Vinyl and digipak CD, which are slightly different by the way, and it looks super cool !!! To me at the end it’s the perfect mix of three records “Ted Nugent – Weekend warriors”, “Ramones – Road to ruin” and “The Hellacopters – By the grace of god” (the 7” not the album, it’s important 😀 !) ! So yes it was vital to us to get the right art work, again, not to impress people first but because it’s a part of who we are, we’re also love old comic books and I think it goes well with the music ! It’s always about the right balance, if tomorrow I hear a great death metal band but if on stage they wear flip flops and Hawaiian shirts with a zebra at the beach as their LP cover…………………I’ll be quite suspicious 😀 !
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too ?
-I think at the end being on Youtube and Facebook is maybe be a plus, but in what proportions ? Honestly I got no clue, but personally I rather to see bands videos than one with a puppy farting on a couch ! One thing I’m sure, it’s that, it broke the magic, it’s the saddest side of internet ! Ok, now some are gonna think I’m an old piece of shit, and maybe I am but………………………..let’s face the reality, we got now +/-20 years of hindsight with the world wide web and it’s clear than the fact people can be able to get instantly any record, movie or book has destroyed everything, why ? Because waiting, searching, giving of your time, energy and money, to ear what’s on the new record of a band you like, to see the new Clint Eastwood’s movie or read Stephen King’s last book all of that was a part of the magic, we had to use our imagination, we were able to built fantasies, that was the beauty of art and it will never coming back ! It’s the big down side of the web and globally of most of technology, every time someone creates a new thing supposed to help and/or change our life the right way that strangely years later we see it’s the opposite that happened ! I’m not living in the past but am I nostalgic ? Yes sometimes I am, I’m still buying records and books in shops, less and less cause there’re less and less shops but I also check out things all the time on the web ! Concerning socializing with fans, if had to choose I really prefer to meet people in real, it’s cool to talk on messenger and stuff but it’s sometimes delicate, something can be quickly misunderstood ! Really if anyone wants to meet me or talk, the best way is to come to our shows, but I’ll always answer to any ask by mail ! And to end on a positive note, some good things that happened to us would have never happened without the web so social networks and stuff are maybe not that evil 😀 !
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?*
-Well, a community, I don’t know, what I know is that touring, playing shows with other bands, working with different kind of people, as sound engineers, designers, clubs owners, festivals organizers and so on allow us to meet a lot of great people (well, dickheads too but it’s a minority) and it helps to keep faith in humanity, believe me it ain’t an easy thing in the daily life 😀 ! So I guess that means I belong to something but I’m not sure to be able to put myself in a box, a category or a style, maybe people who know me would be in a better position than myself to say I belong to this or that ? It’s gonna sound weird but I rarely think about the meaning of my life, I personally don’t think that way, you know like “Why I’m here”, “what I’m supposed to do” that kind of things, I just follow my guts and I do things I want, things that make me happy ! I never ask permission, I don’t think “oh, am I gonna disappoint someone if I do that ?”. I know it may sound very selfish but it’s not, it’s just common sense to me.
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-I don’t know if there’s any scene of anything today ? I mean to me a “scene” was mainly something that has always been created by medias, you know like playing Punk Rock in New York City, Heavy Metal in London in the 70’s, Hard Rock on the Sunset strip, Thrash Metal in the Bay Area, Death Metal in Florida in the 80’s , or a mix of Punk and Black Sabbath in Seattle or Pop in Manchester in the 90’s, or being in a Scandinavian Rock n’ Roll band in the beginning of the 21st century and so on (I don’t talk about Australian scene or “Alternative” scene we had here in France and all the others)………………..but things were alive and I don’t see anything close to that kind of “scenes” these days ! I’m french and I’m living in France so I could only talk about where I live and my feelings (and maybe I’m wrong, it’s just my point of view, it doesn’t mean it’s true) but when it comes to Rock n’ Roll here, the most popular thing is“Metal” by far, many big festivals and stuff and thousand of bands but it’s super hard for most of them to built something because the lack of venues to play that style. we’re ain’t a Metal band and it’s not that easy for a band like us but it’s even worse for a Death Metal or a Hardcore band ! To compare, end of the 80’s/ beginning of the 90’s = Not a lot of bands and many clubs, bars everywhere and now = a lot of bands and really less venues of any kind, so it’s easy to see, it’s fucking very hard for the big majority of bands ! Add to that nobody’s buying records anymore, so it gives you an idea of the health of the scene ! And now what’s next, really I don’t know ? I see many small bands paying to tour (to open for big stuff), I hear and read many things about AI in music, I notice more and more laws concerning volume during shows and so on, so in my book it doesn’t look that good ! I’m not optimistic neither pessimistic, only facts matter in my eyes, so we’ll see !
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders ?
-Well, since we started until now it’s always been the same more or less, which means it’s up and down, sometimes 3 or 4 gigs in a row and after nothing for 3 weeks or a month, we played around 70 or 80 shows, some were absolutely magic and some others really awful but like any other bands under the radar. We mainly book shows on our own, lately we joined a little booking agency so we’ll see if it brings something……….or not, iif not we’ll change and we’ll find a better one ! Concerning gigs outside our borders we only played a couple of shows in Germany and it was amazing so we’d like to play in every possible places, we’re open to anything as long as we don’t have to pay for that !
What will the future bring?
-More shows for sure ! At this present moment we’re finalizing a demo with 15 new songs and we’ll be back in the studio to record our second album on September 30th , we’re going to shoot new videos as well ! So here’s more or less the program for the next few months, after that we’ll see, I’m not a fan of planning things on long term, I’m more focus on daily things, doing the best I can, that way you’ll never get disappointed whatever the result !