We have a new writer who loves rock, his name is WAPS and he is going to be filling this blog with awesome rock tracks, artists, and interviews. First up, we are featuring his interview with Orange County rockers Them Evils!
Orange County rockers Them Evils snagged an opening slot on Pop Evil’s Winter Tour, which hit Lancaster Pennsylvania’s Chameleon Club February 5th. David, Jake and Jordan were gracious enough to sit down and chat with us before rockin’ the house.
Every time I tell someone about you, they always want to know, how did you guys come up with your band name?
Jordan: My mom and I were driving through Temecula, Arizona and she was doing talk-to-text on her phone to my uncle and it autocorrect to Them Evils, of all things. Then she said, “there’s your band name.” Here we are!
Quite a way to name the band! You just played on the ShipRocked cruise, and you only had two shows the entire six day cruise. Can you talk a bit about that experience and what you did in your off time?
David: Our shows were the first two days, so we partied for the last four days. We had no real responsibilities after that.
Jake: Wild, it was nuts-butts. “Interesting” would be a good word to describe it.
I would guess in general, the crowd is not full of your average cruise-goers?
Them Evils, unanimously: NO.
Jake: Everyone’s there to fuckin’ party and listen rock ’n’ roll; it’s great.
David: And it’s people that go year after year too, so everybody kind of knows and is on the same page except for the bands that haven’t been there before.
Jake: Yeah and we were kind of like, “what kind of merch should we bring, towels?”
Oh, beach towels would have been great! Or visors, for when they’re out sunning, maybe?
David: Yeah, but being toward the bottom of the billing, we were limited to what items would could bring, whereas the headliner might be able to bring unlimited stuff to sell.
Speaking of [stuff to sell], last time I caught you guys, you were selling a signed drumhead you drew a design on. Is that a nightly thing?
David: Yeah! We do one every night, but Jake is the artsy guy that draws them up.
Jake: I forget sometimes and it’s like, 20 minutes before doors and I’m like, “FUCK!” and then I have to rush it and it doesn’t look as good as if it’s preemptive.
You’ve always got a cool designs for your logos and merch…who do you work with on designing it?
Jake: A lot of random people. We come up with the concept and then just post on Facebook or something like, “hey, we’re looking for graphic design artists. The guy we have been working with is killing it, but we’re looking for something different like this…” And you know, some dude I met eight years ago at a concert in San Diego is like, “hey dude, I do graphic design. Here’s what it looks like.” But most of it’s usually just based around our logo, which was designed by Matt Wilkins.
The tour you’re currently on with Pop Evil seems rigorous with not many days off in between shows. What do you guys actually do on your days off?
Jake: Well, last night we went to Applebee’s. They have a different drink special for $1 every month. This month is hurricanes! David’s like, “I can’t afford to do it tonight, man” and I’m like, “I got you, man. I had four, he had two. BOOM. My bill was $6.”
Hurricanes amidst a polar vortex, I like it!
David: And chips and salsa with beer cheese dip!
Jake, you also played some gigs in another band, Frankie + The Studs, opening for The B-52’s at the legendary Fillmore San Francisco. Can you share about the experience of filling with another band?
Jake: My buddy Anthony, their guitar player, has been one of my friends for like, 13 years. We grew up in [Las] Vegas together so when he called me up and asked if I’d be down to fill in for two shows, I flew up to Los Angeles to practice with them for a few days prior and it was awesome. As cool as it was and as much fun as hanging with them all was, it made me appreciate being in this band a lot more. I only mean that as in, after having this dynamic; all I’ve known for the past four years, it was weird to not look behind the drum kit and see David or get on stage and see Jordan when I looked over. I still hate them, but you know—I missed them.
Sounds like a good time! So you’d do it again, sometime?
Jake: I was supposed to fill in for them again, but then their original bassist changed his plans and I didn’t have to. But yeah, whenever they would need me, as long as it doesn’t interrupt this shit we’re doing here; I love playing with Anthony, he’s one of my best friends.
David, Jordan, have either of you filled in for other bands before? Do you feel the same as Jake?
David: They’re a band called Well Hung Heart out of Orange County. They needed a drummer because they were opening up for The Vandals, so it was a big show for them. And it was special for me because The Vandals was one of my first shows. I came up in rap and punk and to see Josh Freese on drums was unreal, that guy’s a hero of mine. Like [Jake] was saying, it’s fun to do that kind of stuff because it takes you out of your comfort zone and it really does make you appreciate your own band dynamic more.
Jordan: When I’m at work, sometimes I’ll just jump in and jam on a cover song.
Work? What else do you do besides front Them Evils?
Jake: THIS. HE DOES THIS.
Jordan: Once or twice a month I’ll pick up a bartending shift just for fun and we’ll jam some Jimi Hendrix or Stone Temple Pilots, play a little guitar. It’s a good time. But yeah, this is my primary focus/priority.
With the success you’ve had, I don’t think you’ll have to resort to bartending anytime soon! Allison Hagendorf added the latest single “Practice What You Preach” to Spotify’s Rock Hard playlist and it was featured in other popular rock lists as on Pandora, Amazon and GooglePlay as well.
Jake: She’s the queen of rock ’n’ roll, dude. It’s awesome.
David: She’s been so cool. We’d run into her at the Danny Wimmer festivals all the time and just the fact she knew who we were right off the bat just goes to show how in touch with the bands she is and how down-to-earth.
As far as those online playlists and radio adds, do you think it’s more important to be featured on those?
Jake: 100% important. Absolutely it is.
More so than say, the Billboard charts?
Jake: To a certain extent, yeah. There’s bands that get mainstream/Billboard recognition, but if Billboard’s not pushing the song, it doesn’t matter. Like, you can get Billboard to premiere your video, but if they aren’t actively posting about it and promoting to their wide audience, you just get to say that’s on your resume.
David: And we’ve charted on Billboard before, so it is on our resume.
Jake: If Alli or someone puts us on one of the top streaming rock ’n’ roll playlists? That’s HUGE for us. When you look at the breakdown in numbers of people adding it to their own playlists from hearing it, that’s 50% of it and it’s super beneficial for us in those areas. …but if you have Billboard pushing you? Fuck yeah.
Your last effort, Rollin’ Stoned and Livin’ Free was released last May and I heard you’re currently sitting on another single. Do you guys have another EP planned, or maybe a full-length?
David: I think we’re gonna do a full-length, that’s been the plan for a while. Because we didn’t tour last fall, we sat around for five months and ended up getting a lot of demos written up. We contemplated releasing the new single before this tour, but decided sit on it and see if it could develop further. We ultimately went with “Practice What You Preach” off the EP for the current single because it was already doing so well.
What would you consider adding to this new song? Horns, keys…?
David: Yeah, we’re open to that. Find a keyboardist, or even—Jake, you can pull the Wolfmother dual bassist-keyboard thing.
Jake: I played keyboards in a band once. They kicked me out.
Isn’t that stereotypical that if there’s someone pulling double-duty for keyboard, it’s the bassist?
Jake: YES. But not in this case. I’m the least-talented one in the band, so it won’t be me doing dual-anything.
Not that you need to do anything else, though. You’re like a flea on a hot brick, always jumping around on stage!
Jake: Yeah, I listen to House of Pain a lot, so I want everyone to know I came to get down.
David: I’m tryin’ to learn piano right now, though. My dad’s a realtor.
Jordan: “My dad’s a realtor, so I’m learning piano!” What the hell?
David: No, dude. Seriously! He’s a realtor, and he got me a piano that was left in one of the houses he had on the market, so I’m trying to learn it. Maybe I could play on the new song, then.
That’s impressive! Do you guys get to hang out with headliners when you’re on tour, like Pop Evil right now or when you toured with The Pretty Reckless? Taylor [Momsen] looks kind of intimidating!
Them Evils in unison: NO WAY!!
Jordan: Taylor’s so cool.
Jake: She has so much to deal with, like not just band fans, but also real paparazzi. And she handles it all so well, dude. She’s just a rock ’n’ roll chick that’s down to hang out and drink. They were all so nice to us and would invite us out every night to drink with them.
David: Everyone thinks she has things handed to her, but she works so hard and earns all of it. And with Pop Evil, they’re just so welcoming, too. We did that week off the tour for Ship Rocked and they were so happy to have us back.
Jake: Yeah, they welcomed us back with open arms and said how much they missed us and how great it was to have us back.
Any other cool stories from other bands you’ve toured with, on Ship Rocked, maybe or other festivals?
Jake: Badflower. Dude, Jordan broke a string on stage and Badflower’s guitar player grabbed his guitar, gave it to him to play WHILE he re-strung Jordan’s side stage.
That is super cool, actually. What a great guy! Do you think it would be harder for you guys to do be a band, tour and interact like you do if you were introverted?
David: Oh, definitely. My first time playing on a stage was with these two and before that, I had not set foot on a stage—they had played gigs before. I’m so grateful for everything we’ve done and all we have so far; to touch someone like that with music.
In regard to your music reaching people, do you prefer to play festivals or club tours like you’re currently on?
Jordan: If I could play festivals EVERYDAY? I would do that.
David: Yeah, it’s different when you’re at a festival too, because they’re a few days and you play once. So when you’re done, it’s fun to wiggle around and hang out, catch other bands, and we even played a few acoustic sets at some.
Jake: The energy’s different for me, man. If we were packing clubs like we do back home in O.C. or Vegas every time we play a show? I prefer to play those club shows because sometimes there’s a barrier, but at festivals, it’s a BIG barrier and I feel so far away from everyone. I like the clubs where you can really pack them in and the people are into it, focused on the music and closer to you.
Differing opinions on that, but good reasons for all of them! What is your favorite song to play for a crowd and why?
Jordan: “Got Me Rockin’” because it’s riffy, it’s got solos in it and it’s the most taxing on my voice. Concentrating on playing it’s challenging and I really enjoy that. Every night I try to find a way to do it better or add some extra notes in it or make it cooler.
David: “Have One on Me” would be my favorite because of the way the drum parts are. Like in the choruses, just going nuts on the tom—like a punk rock tom snare groove—
Jake: —who’s Punk Rock Tom?
David: …and I feel like that song has the most energy, which is why we tend to play it last. It just gets me going.
Jake: I think for me, it wasn’t my favorite to start, but now it is and that’s “Practice What You Preach.” It just has a lot of sentimental value to me as far as how it was written when were in the studio with [former producer] Kato [Khandwala], before he passed. I remember being in the studio and him being like, “I like that, I like those bass parts. Keep doing that.” I don’t think it’s the most well-received live song sometimes, but it’s my favorite to play for that reason.
I know you guys all enjoyed your time with Kato, but who else would you love to work with?
Jordan: Mutt Lange, he produced ‘Back in Black,’ which is one of the best sonically produced albums ever. Dave Sardy—he produced Jet.
David: I’ll say Dave Grohl or Josh Homme—they’re my favorites.
Jake: I can’t decide—that’s so tough to pick!!
How about something easy to close out the interview, then…what’s your favorite tour snack; like, what do you have to eat on tour?
Jake: Oh, easy! Ass.
Jordan: Waffle House.
Jake: Smirnoff Ice. Oh, food? Waffle House, for sure.
David: I just get cheeseburgers all the time.
Jake: David’s actually on a hot sauce kick on this tour.
Hot sauce, really? Are you trying to be the next Joe Perry?
David: I would love to!
Jordan: Joe Perry has a hot sauce line?
Oh yeah, it’s a real thing.
Jordan: Like, Joe Perry from Aerosmith?
No, the other one.
David: I would love to do that, though and open my own restaurant.
After our interview, Them Evils proceeded to the stage, where they did a high-energy, audience-commanding set that saw an AC/DC cover, a crowd sing-a-long and their tour photographer taking video for the soon-to-be released “Practice What You Preach” video! Follow Them Evils on their socials so you don’t miss the video, check out the setlist as well as pictures of our interview and their performance, listed below this article.
Put Your Love on Me
She Got Nothin’
Practice What You Preach
Rock and Roll Part 2 (Gary Glitter)
Got Me Rockin’
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC)
Have One on Me