Friday, November 18, 2016

Interview: Turbo Shokk and Hair Replacement Metal

Over the years, many movements have come and gone.

Turbo Shokk has arrived and they're bringing their perfected version of hair metal to the masses.

Normally this intro would be a bit bigger, but our new friends are rather long winded, so let's just let them go at it.

Glacially Musical: Thank you for taking some time for me today. The word on the street is that Turbo Shokk is the real hair metal and everything else is just false metal. How did you become the first hair metal band?

Michael Arcane (drums): Whoa whoa whoa, you got it all wrong. We didn’t invent hair metal, we just perfected it, and are bringing it back. Like, I didn’t invent the grilled cheese sandwich either, but I did perfect it. The secret ingredient? Lots and lots of butter. Same as Turbo Shokk.

Razor O'Shea (guitar): You're close--we're the first Hair REPLACEMENT metal band. We make hard rockin' music for balding people. Every riff I write is like support group catharsis in audio form. 


Stack Manley (vocals): People want to throw these labels around--hair this, glam that, true, false whatever. We know what we're about, OK? This is just rock 'n' roll. Maybe we rock harder, play louder, and look better than all the rest but hey--you don't blame the tiger cuz it's the one got the stripes, do you?

Razor: [whispering] Hey, I thought we were going with Hair Replacement Metal.

Stack: [whispering] No, come on man, that's not even a thing.

Razor: [whispering] We could make it a thing.

Stack: [whispering] We're not making that a thing.

Razor: [whispering] So you just leave me here with my dick in the wind on this one?

Stack: [whispering] Listen to yourself, man.

GM: Obviously, your influences wouldn't include Poison, Motley Crue, etc., so where did Turbo Shokk come from?

Razor: Stack and I grew up together in rural Fartus, Nebraska. Loving music, we'd stay up late and watch the Jack Paar show, hanging on every note of his Tonight Show band; it was the only band we'd ever known to exist at that point, because our town was actually a commune of sorts where music and dancing were outlawed and everyone spoke Esperanto, but they fucked it up real badly. To this day I still have to correct myself--I often say "Mi estas vidota" rather than "Mi estas vidita" when I'm clearly talking about something that happened in the past, not the future. 

Ugh. Either way, we knew deep in our hearts that we could make music waaaay heavier than Jack Paar's band did, so in 1987 we moved to Los Angeles. It didn't take long to find a couple like-minded souls--Mike Hachenbalz on keyboard, lead guitarist Snor Schnurrbart, and Michael Arcane on drums. 

We recorded a demo in early 1988, but shortly after, Snor OD'd on a speedball and Mike Hachenbalz...I don't really want to get into it because it hits Stack so hard. I'll just say he tried to get way too radical and leave it at that. A lot has happened in the intervening 28 years, but we're back on top and ready to rock.

Stack: It's OK, Razor. Mike Hachenbalz just had so much to give to the world. It's just a shame to realize we're gonna go the rest of our days without Mike Hachenbalz.

Razor: Yeah.
GM: What IS hair metal?

Stack: That's just it man, it doesn't really exist. Hair is on your head...and well, other parts of your body too. I know that. But it doesn't have anything to do with music. How could it?

Arcane: I have hair, and I play metal. I let the fans decide how to do that math.

Razor: Ethically, Hair metal can be best described as the necessary destruction of blues music; I like to refer to it as "the yellows." 

Jazz and blues music early in their lifespan were necessarily pure, but as time passed they were perverted and twisted into a bland mess. So much of hair metal is rooted in the blues--song structures, pentatonic guitar runs, you name it, that in order for the blues to once again become a vital force in the world of music, white people had to play blues ('yellows') with distorted guitars while screaming about how much pussy they got and how fun partying is. 

Doing this created a great gulf of difference between this newfound "Hair Metal" music and that of the original bluesmen.  

Arcane: Nerd alert.

Stack: Whoa hold on...actually I just remembered something. I was watching one of those edumacational tv shows and I learned--and I'm totally serious--that your nails are made of the same shit as your hair. 

I'm not kidding. I know you think it's bullshit, but I'm pretty sure they don't make shit up on those shows. Do you see where I'm going with this? Try to keep up. You could totally make a guitar pick out of hair if you could figure out how to make it hard like your fingernails. 

Now that would be hair metal! Right?

Razor: Are you talking like an infomercial or NOVA?

Stack: Infomercial man, come on. 'Info' is right in the name.

Razor: Couldn't you just play the guitar with your fingernails then?

Stack: ...holy shit!

Razor: I'm doin' it!

GM: How did Turbo Shokk come to create hair metal and expose all the fakers? Thank you for that by the way.

Razor: Exposing the fakers is pretty rudimentary--we simply take a blood sample from the subject in question, swab it in a Petri dish, then hit it with a blowtorch. 

If there is an explosive reaction and the subject splits in half, revealing an alien life form that then attacks all nearby life, I think it's pretty clear we've spotted an impostor. 

Arcane: We’re not here to diss all the other bands trying to rock hard and party. The only fakers out there are anyone who forgot how to rock and party. 

But it’s OK, we have that cure.  Slip Get Radical into your CD player, strap in, and rock hard. Wear loose fitting pants, because they’re about to get real tight.

GM: What are the five most important albums of all time?

Stack: Turbo Shokk - Get Radical, Turbo Shokk - Get Radical, Turbo Shokk - Get Radical, Turbo Shokk - Get Radical, and Stack Manley - STACK'D

That last one hasn't happened yet, but you did say of ALL TIME, so I guess that includes the future.

Razor: Important to me and important to the world of music are very different things. If you're talking about me, I'd say Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness, Soundgarden - Superunknown, Danzig - II Lucifuge, Faith No More - King for a Day Fool for a Lifetime, and Metallica - ...And Justice for All.

Michael Arcane: If you ask me the first album was pretty important, because without it all other albums after it wouldn’t exist. But then again I don’t even know what the first album was, so how important could it really be? 

These are the trying questions of our time, man.

GM: Why do you wear lipstick?

Razor: Huh?

Arcane: I wear lipstick every night, and it comes in all shades, whatever color she happens to be wearing. On my neck, on my collar, and places you ain’t allowed to see without a backstage pass, pal.

Stack: Why does everyone ask this? For the last time, it isn't lipstick - it's lip balm and I wear it because it feels good. 

Livin' wild and ridin' free does have its drawbacks, and chapped lips can be one of them. I've been thinking of hitting some of these companies up with a new line of chapstick for men, so we don't have to justify our masculinity simply because we want supple, healthy lips. 

Maybe we'd call it MANLeY STICK...or STACK'S STICK! Yeah...hold on a sec while I take some notes down. STACK'S STICK - A real man's stick to put on your lips. 

Available in flavors like ROCKIN' RHUBARB.

Razor: Maybe I could make some Razor O'Shea Butter to go with it.

GM: Would you be willing to fight Steel Panther if I could set it up?

Arcane: I’m a lover, not a fighter. Unless they’re all guys, because I’m not really into that.

Razor: War of Words and A Small Deadly Space are the only Fight I'm interested in. 

Stack: I don't know man...now don't think we ain't down for a scrap, 'cuz Lord knows we've had our share out on those mean streets. 

But the thing is, I've already got some strikes against me and I don't need Johnny Law to come calling--not when things are heatin' up for the band. It's true though, I've had my share of run-ins with "the law." ROCKING TOO HARD--strike ONE. PLAYING TOO LOUD--strike TWO. LOVIN' THEM LADIES TOO GOOD? 

Well, that one ain't illegal...YET. So I figure I got one more strike and I ain't ready to be out just yet.

Razor: Don't forget GETTING TOO RADICAL.

Stack: Why would you do that?

Arcane: Jesus, man.

Razor: You've got to come to terms with it one day Stack!

Stack: This is bullshit. [Walks away]

Arcane: You knew how he was gonna--

Razor: [interrupts] That was almost 30 years ago now!

Arcane: It's not just that simple for him!

Razor: I know you see him backstage talking to women, right? Not just going in for the kill. He actually talks to them! 

It not good, it's not right! I've kept my mouth shut about it for too long. Maybe this wasn't the best place to bring it up, but--

Arcane: [yelling] You never know the best time or place for anything!

[Arcane and Razor arguing]

Razor: Fuck this, man, I'm outta here.

Arcane: Goddamnit.

[Tape stops while Stack and Razor are retrieved and calmed]

GM: I really dug your album. How long did it take you to write this masterpiece of Mascarpone?

Stack: Look, I don't really worry about time. I worry about what feels right. When it feels right. You can't fake this stuff and you can't force it either. 

Luckily, when it comes to hard rock masterpieces, we're like the goddamn golden goose, layin' eggs of solid gold rock at will. Does that answer your question?

Razor: About two months, though I take umbrage at the thought that there's any cheese involved in this record whatsoever.

Michael Arcane: Yeah writing it was a pretty fast process. Recording it all, on the other hand...I was beginning to think the Chinese would adopt Democracy before we finished this thing.

Razor: I'm glad you came up with a totally original quip for the delay. There are so many ways to have described it.

GM: What distortion pedal created the dulcet tones of Danbo?

Razor: I don't know what Danbo is, but if you're asking what gear did I use, I ran a Gibson Les Paul Custom through an ENGL Powerball, no pedals, no effects. For bass, an old Hartke stack. 

Michael Arcane: Like “Book em Danbo?” Is that a Hawaii 5-O reference?  I mean don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Selleck but I don’t know what he has to do with the album.

Razor: Well, Selleck's capital 'M' Mustache.

Stack: Yeah, it gave Snor's a run for its money.

Razor: I'm sure that my mustache played some part in the recording process.

Arcane: Of course it did.

Razor: OK then, I'll amend my original statement--Les Paul, Mustache, ENGL.

Stack: It's too bad about Charlotte though.

GM: Who is Charlotte?

Razor: ...

Stack: Charlotte, North Carolina.

Arcane: Yeah, just before our--

Razor: [interrupts] Hey hey, I've told you guys I can handle it. Let me tell the goddamn story. So we finish tracking our parts for the album and decide to go on a mini-tour to unwind. 

Everything's going great, and we're nearing the end of it, then we get to goddamn Charlotte, North Carolina. The show was great, everyone loved it, and the backstage scene was shaping up to be pretty good, and out of the corner of my eye I see the most beautiful woman I've ever seen--

Stack: Come on.

Razor: Ehh, ok so most beautiful on the east coast. 

Stack: What were we just talking about in there? Being honest with ourselves. It's a hell of a thing for you to come down on me for Mike Hachenbalz if you're out here trying to pull some shit like this.

Razor: Ok, so it was the most beautiful I had seen that day, and--

Stack: [glares at Razor]

Razor: Ok, sorry, you're right. I'm sorry. It was definitely a woman. Either way, she stole my mustache. 

Arcane: [chuckles under his breath]

Razor: Stole it! And two days before the photo shoot for the album! There's no way to grow back a mustache of that stature and gravity in TWO DAYS. It was seriously--

Stack: [interrupts] It was definitely bad. So bad. 

Razor: You know the story of Samson and Delilah? It was that, except unlike Samson, I regained my ability to rock, but just without a mustache. 

Musically, I can still crush an army single-handedly with the jawbone of my Gibson ass, so to speak. And ENGL. So yeah, to clarify, my gear was a Les Paul, my mustache and an ENGL Powerball for this album.
   
GM: What don't I know that I should about Turbo Shokk and, presumably, plans for World Domination?

Razor: In the interest of making world domination easier, we're all big supporters of the space program. We all donate to NASA and have vested interests in Tesla and Spacex. 

We're hoping that a mass migration to Mars will happen in our lifetime, because the less people on earth there are, the easier it will be to conquer it.

Michael Arcane: I have an island lair that I’ve built, but my lawyer advises that I not talk about it. But shout out to the ladies, we're hiring go-go dancers to work the catwalk around the ICBM platform. 

Hit me up on Facebook.

Stack: Everything you need to know about us you can learn by buying Get Radical and putting it immediately in the nearest stereo. 

Also, you may have to hit 'play.' Sometimes the things will just start playing automatically when you put the CD in, but it seems to depend. 

It's apparently also available as a "download" but computers are for nerds so I don't know about that.

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