The Humpers Want To Be Your Valentine (Yeah, Sure)

New album, Plastique Valentine due in Feb.

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

breathe.

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

live influence.

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

business."

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.

Perhaps most

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."

The singer

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

that way."