As promised, here’s the interview with Christian D and the Hangovers frontman Christian DeArmond. I first met Christian in the Twitterverse – then eventually in person while he and the band were playing a gig at The Cadillac Lounge. Performing with powerhouse vocals and driving guitar riffs, Christian D has a charismatic, compelling and – I won’t lie to ya – sexy stage presence. Recently, I fired over a bunch of questions over email – and here’s what he had to say:
LWMC: Hey, Christian – thanks for coming onboard to do this interview for cowbell. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to take it from the angle of folks who may not be all that familiar with you and your music.
CD: Perfect, since most people aren’t familiar with me at all…
LWMC: Your music has been described as rockabilly, cow punk and “psychobilly.” How would you describe the kind of music you play – and does it even matter?
CD: All those genres are quite tight in my view, and none of those really fit what I do, but people like labels so they know what to expect. Lately we’ve been described as Americana, which is at least more openly defined.
I’d like it to sound like Nick Cave and Joe Strummer in a knife fight at Johnny Cash’s house… but it doesn’t really matter to me, anyway… Rock and Roll works, because, in my eyes, that’s pretty wide open. I try to avoid narrow definitions…people can call it whatever they want. I just want them to listen and give it a chance.
LWMC: How long have you been playing with the Hangovers? Who are your main influences? Any previous forays into other music styles?
CD: The first live shows were in April, 2008 so the band probably started in late 2007, I’d guess. My main influences would be Elvis, The Cramps, The Clash, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave. Not sure if you’d necessarily hear that in the songs though…
LWMC: Who’ve you got playing in the band with you right now?
CD: Right now it’s Mack Black on bass, he’s been around the longest, he was on the first EP. Tim Kelley on drums, he’s been around for a while now and currently Jesse James Dale from Buzz Deluxe on guitar… he’s been in and out a couple of times depending on how busy he is with his own band. He produced the first couple of releases too. You can check them out at http://www.buzzdeluxe.com/
LWMC: I hear you’re a big fan of The Cramps, Nick Cave and Elvis. Have any current favourite bands/singers?
CD: Current singers – I’ve been in love with Bloodshot Bill for about 8 or 9 years now – the stuff he does with his voice is incredible. And his shows are great – he’s a complete wild man, thrashing away by himself onstage. It’s mesmerizing.
LWMC: With songs like “Vampire Rocker,” I’m guessing you’re also horror fan. What are some of your fave horror movies? Do you have a favourite vampire character or actor?
CD: Actually, I’m not that much of a horror fan, more so when I was in my teens. That song was sort of an extended metaphor that grew into something of its own… the vampires took it over. It’s basically just raging sexuality with some bloodsucking thrown in on top.
Near Dark had some bearing on the imagery – that might be my favourite vampire flick. Favourite vampire character – gotta be Dracula, really. I loved the Coppola movie. Gary Oldman and Tom Waits unleashed and completely over the top? That’s entertainment.
LWMC: Last year, you released solo EP Beat Up Guitars. What was that experience like, recording and performing that record? Was it strange, or even a bit intimidating, being up onstage alone without the band backing you up?
CD: Recording it was really fun and relaxed, it was just me and Mario (“Rockin’ Rio”) Pietrangeli working in his Downtown Sound Studios before he moved it out to Hamilton. I think we did the recording in about four or five sessions. Great guy to work with, we’re old friends and have played together quite a bit. We were just kinda hanging out drinking beer and figuring out how I could make a record by myself.
Playing a solo show is whole other thing. It’s not something I do often, and it’s pretty nerve-wracking. I feel really exposed without a wall of sound behind me. On the other hand, I think it’s important to challenge yourself, so I’ll make myself do it every now and then.
LWMC: You’re in the process of putting together a live record with the band, and you recently recorded a gig you guys played at 3030 Dundas St. West in Toronto. What inspired you to do a live recording? Got a working title?
CD: I’ve wanted to do a live record forever, basically. The first MC5 record was live, and I always thought debuting with a live record was such a ballsy move. And I love live bootlegs, they give you such a sense of time and place. I think that’s really cool.
It’s easier than it’s ever been to record live now, so the time is right. Working title? 3030 Live and Raw, maybe.
LWMC: Any upcoming gigs?
CD: I’m always looking… know anyone that needs some rock and roll?
LWMC: Anything else folks should know?
CD: That’s wide open… I’ve not much to say though…
LWMC: Thanks, Christian!
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Christian D’s solo gigs and gigs with the Hangovers. In the meantime, check out a vid: