Happy Rock The Cam: I was able to catch Lords of Altamont live in Stuttgart and even more happy Rock The Cam: here is an
interview with Jake Cavaliere from Lords of Altamont
RTC: Who are you?
Jake: Jake Cavaliere from the Lords Of Altamont
RTC: What is your job in the band?
Jake: Organ, Scream into a mic
RTC: Where are you from?
Jake: Los Angeles
RTC: How old are you?
RTC: Can you name some cool spots (record shop/ bar/ concert venue) from the town you are from?
Jake: Everything is gone, swallowed up by gentrification in Los Angeles. Record stores keep popping up. Sick City, Permanent Records, Gimme Gimme, Rockaway Records, all in the Los Angeles area.
Picking up an instrument
RTC: What made you start playing music?
Jake: I had the haircut!
RTC: Did your parents support you with your music?
Jake: They were somewhat, mostly unaware. Although my mother used to drive my friends and I to hardcore punk shows when we were 13. We could go to Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach Ca. just about every weekend.
Jake’s band history
RTC: In which bands did you play before and you are still in?
Jake: From the beginning?…Eastern Green (was my first band), The Witch Doctors (L.A.), The Gallows (L.A.), The Fuzztones, The Untamed Youth, The Go-Nuts, The Finks, The Bomboras, The Lords Of Altamont, The Morlocks, The Chelsea Smiles, The black Honey Cult, The Sonics.
Currently the Bomboras have re-formed after 20 plus years. We are recording and performing here and there. Been playing in The Sonics for over three years. That has been exciting, especially because I brought my piano teacher Sonics records and said. „I wanna play like this!“
The Lords are still playing these days, we tour often I suppose. I think we are going to record soon.
I have to make this a headline: Farfisa
RTC: Let me know how it happened that you are on stage with a Farfisa organ?
Jake: Farfisa was the first organ I ever owned. It sounded right, it looked right, they are sturdy. I often say I’m going to have one burned with me when I die…take it to your grave has new meaning.
I do like other organs like Hammond and Vox, but Farfisa is just me. I like Wurli pianos too, they break too often to perform live for a period of time.
RTC: Looks like the organ is having a hard time. Is it still the first one or did that 1st already die due to the action on stage?
Jake: Haha, it enjoys a hard time! I have probably owned 40 plus Farfisa organs. I bought many in the 80’s when everyone decide to do digital.
Playing em like that definitely requires some repairs which you can’t always find parts. I have lots of extra parts.
Labels and records
RTC: Sympathy for the record industry, what a legendary label. For me it was like a band on SFTRI is beaten to the knight (can you say so in English?). How did that happen?
Jake: Long Gone John gave us our first opportunity by releasing To Hell With The Lords. He was very enthusiastic and cool about it. This was a fun period. Haven’t talked to him in a very long time, hope he is still rockin. And yes, it was exciting for us to be a part of the Sympathy roster.
RTC: How do you pick the record labels (or do they pick you)?
Jake: Some come to us, some we seek out. Just depends the on the deal. I prefer to have a proactive label that doesn’t try to micromanage the band.
We have been censored before and it really pissed me off. Never again!
RTC: What do you expect from a label?
Jake: We expect a label to be involved with sales and marketing. We ask the label to keep the release in circulation, unless we are doing a limited run release. To be honest I think I am going to release Lords albums on our mini label we have been using for some time. Hard Ride is our own small run label.
RTC: Are you involved in the artwork?
Jake: I usually hand draw or sketch on a bar napkin, then Chris Kro makes it come to life.
RTC: Do you decide (or the label) how much records and in which edition it will be pressed?
Jake: Labels usually press whatever the market will bear. We take a lot of stock to sell on tours.
On the road again?
RTC: What do you like more, touring or recording?
Jake: I like touring under good circumstances, but after tour extensively for 28 years I do get a little bit tired. Sometimes I feel like I’m chasing my tail sometimes. Recording is fun, but I don’t ever feel completely satisfied. I feel like it recording could use little more time and effort. I just run out of money after a while. We were lucky to have great Lords supporters for the recording of the last album, we crowd funded the album. we had great results.
RTC: Are there differences between touring in USA/ South America/ Asia and Europe?
Jake: I never toured Asia. Last offer we had was canceled due to personal obligations. Europe always seems to be the most supportive and respectful of musicians. The States is a bit of joke, the distance between venues and the saturation of music really makes it less pleasant. Europe has great history and many countries to travel through. My guess European bands want to come to the US and US bands want to come to Europe. Grass is always greener. Mexico and South America are excellent, wild and extra supportive. We love it.
Talking about skin art
RTC: What was your first tattoo?
Jake: Pizz skull. Check out Pizz the artists. I originally wanted Brother Ratfink, the tattooer told me I was too skinny for it. Bummer…someday
RTC: And your last one?
Jake: Most recent tattoo is a quote from „some new kinda kick“ from the Cramps. It says „life is short filled with stuff“! That sums it up for me.
Tattoo – Music and living
RTC: Can you make a living of being a musician or in-between tours, do you have other jobs?
Jake: I tattoo, I love it. I can live on royalties and touring for sure. It just means being away from my home for extended periods. Now I’m getting older I feel like I’m missing out on part of my life by never being at home. Tattooing is a very free spirited career like music. It suits me great.
Clean freak, not the cook
RTC: When being at home, are you the one to cook?
The one to clean the toilets?
Jake: Ha, never been asked this before. We share duties around the house. I am a clean freak…
My girlfriend is a great cook, I stay out of her way! I am grateful we have a little system that works. I hope she is ok with it.
RTC: What gear do you have?
Jake: Music? Everything I need. It got a little carried away for a while. I opened a guitar store for about 7 years. That kind of simmered the obsession of buying gear I don’t need. Now I am down to bare bones. Few Leslies, few Farfisas, backline in Europe and LA….I don’t kiss and tell
First and last and…
RTC:What was your first record (Music) you bought?
Jake: I don’t remember the first exact work I bought personally. But I do remember my first rock n roll album as a kid. KISS destroyer, very important record for me at five years old. I know as a pre-teen I bought a lot of crap. My older brother bought all the cool stuff. Around 12-13 years old I started buying punk rock albums. I was like every kid at that age, skateboards and punk rock.
RTC: And the last one?
Jake: I bought an originally pressing „Back In The USA“ by MC5. I’m trying avoid repressings or re-issues. It’s kinda cool when you have an album that literally came out of the pressing plant on that exact year the band was working. I’m not trying to be cool with all the right records, I just really feel something a little deeper when it’s original and survived all this time. I released I have probably 200 garage comps on vinyl. I feel I need to buy the actually albums from the bands that are on the comps.
RTC: Are you a music collector?
Jake: Mostly…I’m no Howie Pyro or Mike Stax.
RTC: How do you sort your records/ CDs?
Jake: Wow, that was a situation in our house recently. We went alphabetical for the first time. I’m having a hard time with it.
Used go by genre, era, and geography. I can’t find shit now! haha
RTC: And what was your first gig you went?
Jake: Kiss 1977 Los Angeles Forum
RTC: Perhaps you still know that one special concert when you thought; wow this is it, my musical orgasm ;-)
Jake: When I started seeing all the garage revival bands in the 80’s That really did it for me.
Tell Tale Hearts, Crawdaddys, The Fuzztones, I felt a connection with these bands.
RTC: When on tour, do you have time to catch something of the towns you are playing (sightseeing…)?
Jake: Sometimes, if we have a day or two off, I’ve spent so much time in Europe over the years I manage to catch something cool every time.
RTC: Which country you would like to play but it did not happen till now (and why)?
Jake: Still waiting on Japan.
RTC: What do you do the whole tour day (when not on stage)?
Jake: Sleep, complain, read, complain. Ponder the meaning of life
RTC: Do you do any sports?
Jake: Beer, wine, karate kicks on stage! ha
RTC: How do you take care of your voice?
Jake: I don’t, that’s always a huge issue on tour. I fuck myself up pretty good, People smoking in my face doesn’t help either.
I’m not a really singer, respect to all the badass vocalist out there because it’s not easy when you are playing smokey clubs, yelling and screaming every night with little rest for months at a time. The older I get the harder.
Best, best and heros
RTC: Best song in which you were involved?
Jake: Hmm, not sure. You decide that one.
RTC: Best song which you would like to have written which is out there?
Jake: Dirt, The Stooges. Sexy, dirty, and swampy.
RTC: Which artist do you look up to (and why)?
Jake: Cramps, Lux and Ivy. Two great people that contributed to rock n roll in more ways than anyone that followed.
Excellent clever song writing, great show, great concept, always keeps you on your toes! They brought Charlie Feathers, Rollings Stones, Stooges, The Dolls, rolled into one badass outfit and called it the Cramps. Those two lived what they performed and wrote about. The real deal!
RTC: Which bands did influence you?
Jake: Cramps, Rollings Stones, MC5, Kiss, Stooges, any band on Back from the grave comps.
Questions about the essence of life
RTC: What is a dream of you but until now you did not had the guts (opportunity) to do it?
Jake: Dunno, I don’t think much about what I’ve never done. I usually just do it if I am feeling it. Not always the best choices in life.
RTC: 666 – What does it mean for you?
Jake: Well that whole 666 thing was part of a play on words from that Pretty Things song Midnight to 6
I remember living more like that song when I was younger. But 666 now is kinda funny to me.
I guess you have to believe in organized religion to believe in that. Not sure where I sit with all that.
RTC: Some friendly name-dropping of bands the world should look into?
Jake: No one needs my help… I may just discourage people from seeking out these Kats
It’s so easy to find music these days, one click on the phone and you find what took the rest of years to search out from record store to record store.
RTC: If you die, what would you like to have in your hand in that moment?
Jake: my girl
RTC: You have won the jackpot, you can have a jam-session with whomever you want, whom would you pick?
Jake: I think I have hit it a few times, The Sonics, The Cramps! Now and then Ivy would have me soundcheck in behalf of Lux. Those are great memories.
RTC: You are a lucky bastard, another jackpot, what would you do if somebody would pay you one month holiday?
Jake: Sit on a beach somewhere I guess.
The god question
RTC: Imagine you are God and you are able to set up a festival of your choice, name me the five headliners (even dead people or dissolved bands)
1: 13th Floor Elevators (original)
2: The Beatles (late sixties era)
3: The Spacemen 3 (original)
4: MC5 (original band)
5: Howlin Wolf & Willie Dixon
6. Dead Boys (original)