Humpers frontman Scott "Deluxe" Drake is wondering if maybe folks
have the wrong impression of him. "From reviews I've read of us, people seem to
think I sit around all day drinking whiskey and listening to the New York
Dolls," he says.
It's easy to see how someone might get the wrong
impression. Take a listen to the Humpers' Plastique Valentine due out
next month, and you'll find (Johnny) Thunderous guitars, contemptuous, funny
lyrics, and the pure rock 'n' roll fire that only the best bar bands
Little do most people know that Drake is actually a hard-working
family man who took off three months from the job to be with his newborn son.
Most fans would also be hard pressed to tell you that Drake digs not only the
MC5 and the Stooges, but also the Fall, or that he cites Roxy Music as an early
Not that those personal tidbits are revealed on
Plastique Valentine. "In my everyday life I'm a pretty quiet, soft
spoken guy," says Drake. "So it's my therapy I guess to unleash lyrically."
The new album has little sympathy for former lovers and uptight
angst-sters. In addition to the explosive title track, Plastique
Valentine also features rocking kiss-offs like "Make-Up" ("It must take a
lot of make-up to make a mess like you") and "With A Whip" ("You've got your
sorrow and you've got your rage, another nerd in a gilded cage"). Backing
Drake's meaty vocals are the tight combo of Billy Burks and Mark Lee on guitar,
Mitch Cartwright on bass, and Jimi Silveroli on drums (with occasional help on
keys from Andy Kaulkin)...
This album marks the Humpers' second outing for Epitaph
Records, and it follows last year's fantastic Live Forever or Die
Trying. "People have a really bizarre perception of what Epitaph is all
about," Drake says, noting the flack from fans that his band got for signing to
the mega-indie. "I guess I did, too, before I got on the label. You imagine,
well they have the Offspring and Rancid-- these people are all millionaires,
it's a fancy thing. I mean yeah, [owner] Brett [Gurewitz] has lots of money,
but the people that work there are just normal freaks."
Drake says that
talking with those "normal freaks" convinced him that signing to Epitaph was a
sound idea. "I knew several people that were already on the label, and people
that worked there. And I asked everybody I knew, 'What's the deal with this
place?' Everybody was like, 'Oh, it's great, they treat you great.' I couldn't
find anybody with anything bad to say. That's pretty rare at any
Drake says the band has been grateful for the increased tour
support (now "people know we're coming when we go there") and album sales.
Live Forever sold a respectable 35,000 copies, which the label claims is
fivefold more than the Humpers' previous three albums on Sympathy for the
Record Industry and the Yugoslavian label Listen Loudest.
importantly, signing to Epitaph paired the Humpers with producer Sally Browder.
Browder, who has also worked with Wayne Kramer, has done an incredible job of
capturing the band's renowned live chops in the studio. "It's just a matter of
knowing where to put the microphone," says Drake, explaining Browder's skills.
"Should the amp be in a big open room or a little room? Or should the mic be an
inch away from the amp or ten inches away?"
Drake admits that he himself
knows little about recording. "That's just [Sally's] expertise."
says that he and the rest of the Humpers are already planning their next
release, on which the production duties may be handled in part by Brett
Gurewitz himself. That album is (very tentatively) slated for February 1998.
"We want to keep [recording an album] every year," says Drake. "Keep it fresh