16 Feb ROCKING OUT WITH THEM EVILS
Hailing from Huntington Beach, CA, Them Evils are definitely one of the hottest bands in the nouveau classic rock scene right now. You may have caught them at many of their headlining shows or on tour with other bands including The Pretty Reckless, Zakk Sabbath, 10 Years, Red Sun Rising, and Holy White Hounds. Their latest EP, Rollin’ Stoned And Livin’ Free was released last May, and two of the six songs have been featured on the top new rock charts of iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Slacker; to name a few. They are currently touring with Pop Evil and they put on one hell of a show. The band is comprised of Jordan Griffin on vocals/guitar, Jake Massanari on bass, and David Delaney II on drums. We had the chance to interview the guys in their RV just before they rocked the house last week at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA. The guys, along with their tour manager, Mike, were very welcoming. The booze started flowing and we got to talking.
Rock Documented: First off, welcome back to Lancaster! You were here last year just after the release of Rollin’ Stoned and Livin’ Free. It’s been about nine months, how have things changed since you were here last time?
Jordan: How haven’t things changed? We could write an entire book about the shit our band has gone through in the last year. So, where do we begin? The day was March 1, 2018, the skies were blue. No, I’m just kidding, energy was low.
Jake: A hole bunch of good things.
David: The music video for “Got me Rockin’” blew up a little bit which was nice.
Jordan: I get videos from old ladies at the gym working out just like, “I saw your music video!” I’m like, “That’s really cool,” you know.
David: Our PR guy, Ed [Bunker], has been doing a great job of getting that stuff out there.
Jordan: I mean, we’ve just been writing, we’ve been doing.
David: We didn’t do a tour in the fall, so we’ve just been writing for the 4-5 months we had at home.
Jake: We’ve done some weekend stints
David: Preparing for this tour as well
Jake: We’ve done like three little weekenders with Steel Panther since then, some headhunting stuff. This is our longest run in over a year, since that last tour, so like 9 months. So it’s nice to be back out on the road.
Jordan: And it still feels kinda short, it’s only a month.
Jake: That tour was almost 3 months so anything less that just feels short now. Like we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs as a band. Not just between the three of us but with the team we have and things changing and music industry bullshit. So, it’s been hectic, so I’d say we’re more mature now, but we still act like we’re five.
RD: Well I guess the big highlight on your tour was Shiprocked, it looks as though you guys survived! With two feature performances, including one on the Deck Stage, what was this experience like for you as performers?
Jake: It was pretty “deck-tic.” The whole thing was like…it was raining a lot the morning we were supposed to play [David: Worst weather in Shiprocked history, I think] and we’re trying to get ready to set up and they’re like, “Yep’s shows still going.” Everything on stage is covered in tarp. We’re like, “Really, we’re going to just like go up there and start plugging in our gear in the rain?” And they’re just like, “Yep, we’re going with it.” And we’re like, “Alright.” No one’s going to be here, the deck was empty, and we were supposed to play in like 15 minutes. We were just kinda somber about it. We were stoked to be there, but it was just like “Damn, we’re like not getting the full Shiprocked experience” because no one is out and the sun’s not out. Then, the second we plugged into soundcheck, it was just like people flocked in. People were die hards on that boat, man. So, we played and it was probably one of the best sets we’ve ever played as a band— at least energy and fun-wise. I had dozen’s of problems going on; my guitar kept falling off the strap, I was tripping all over the place.
Jordan: I was freezing cold. Usually cold weather messes with my voice so I was just like, “Great, can’t wait for this.” But it worked out really well.
David: That was the best time. I wanted to get off the boat because I don’t know how much the partying could have kept going.
Jordan: Oh, it could have kept going.
Jake: It certainly could have, C’mon David. Well, for him. He’s usually not the partier in the band, it’s us two, but on the boat, he was the one [David: I was the nomad] that was coming back to the room at 6 in the morning every night. And it’s him [Jordan] and I that are in bed and it’s usually him and I like half naked crawling into the room at 5 am.
Jordan: He came into the room, it was like 6:30 in the morning with his pants on inside-out and backward and I was like, alright, let’s hear it.
RD: And as fans?
Jordan: We had a really good time, it was better than we had ever anticipated.
David: We saw so many familiar faces too. Fans from across the country, people that we’ve done interviews with in the past— it was just really shocking.
Jake: We knew way more people then we anticipated. And we saw way more people with our merch then we thought. We walked out on the deck, someone’s wearing our shirt ,and some lady walks by, doesn’t see him and I and is just like, “Yeah!” and hold up our koozie and we’re just like, “Oh, sweet.”
David: They were really welcoming.
Jordan: We have this guy on there, Dave, that comes to all of our local shows and he was just promoting us on the entire boat.
David: People thought he was a member of our band.
Jordan: He’s just like the coolest fucking dude
David: “You’re Dave right? With Them Evils.” “No, Dave’s the drummer.” “No, you’re wheelchair Dave, you’re with them, you’re with the crew.” It was really cool.
Jake: Yea, it was a lot of fun
Jordan: He’s a rad dude.
RD: Any crazy boat stories?
Jake: How PG-13/R do you want to get?
Dave: Do you want to talk about the musical chairs?
Jake: That was pretty crazy. I’d say the craziest for me was jumping in the pool in the middle of our set.
RD: That was on your recap video.
David: There’s a lot more footage then what you just saw.
Jake: Then, they asked us to host a musical chairs event and that was just, don’t give us alcohol and tell us to host something where people are all hammered.
David: It ends up with Jake being blindfolded in the last seat to be straddled by the two remaining contestants and he has an inflatable penis strapped around him.
Jake: Yea, I have a photo of it. That was probably for me the craziest. David, what about you?
David: Well, Jake and I ended up doing karaoke on one of the shows. I guess Jake had been forced into doing karaoke by the DJ.
Jake: No, it was just some random dude who was like, “Yo, we’re doing Bohemian Rhapsody” And we’re like, “No, we’re not, that’s a horrible song to have to sing.”
David: And so Jake was like, “Oh man I have to do this by myself,” and then I appeared out of nowhere and so we duetted it together.
Jake: The DJ was like, “And closing off the night for everyone is Them Evils doing Bohemian Rhapsody” and I’m the only one in the band there. I’m like, “What the fuck?” and then David, out of nowhere, is just like, “Hey, whats up?”
David: Yea, with a wine bottle strapped to my side. And then it ended up us getting naked on stage singing Bohemian Rhapsody. It was good times.
RD: For the past couple of weeks you’ve been touring with Pop Evil. Musically you have more of the self-proclaimed “classic rock with a modern roll” vibe versus Pop Evil’s more mainstream sound. How do you think the experience of touring with Pop Evil will influence your future music or performances?
Jordan: Um, I’m super into their stage presence and how they interact with the crowd so I think that is definitely going to inspire me. But musically I’m kinda just stuck in my own way, I’m just going to make classic rock. I mean, I listen to their choruses, they have great choruses and I could definitely pick up on something like that, but I’m picky.
RD: “Got Me Rockin” received a lot of media attention but it looks as though your latest single, “Practice What You Preach” has also had great success. How does it feel to have two big singles on one EP?
David: Thank you Ed [Bunker]. It’s awesome. It’s really cool with “Practice What You Preach” ’cause that was the song that we didn’t expect to be as popular as the rest of the group of songs. It was sorta like we put it out there, but then you look at the viewings of each song and “Practice What You Preach” was right up there, surpassing “Untold” and stuff.
Jake: We had “Untold,” obviously, that’s been around for a while, but we remastered it and everything and put it on the new EP. Then that had traction, and we pushed “Got Me Rockin’” more than anything. But under all of our streaming platforms, “Practice What You Preach” had no push behind it at all and it was still second, so it was kinda crazy. That means people were actually digging into the EP and finding a song that they liked rather than clicking what was popular. So, that was really cool to see that starting to gain some traction that way.
David: It’s also sort of a different sound compared to the rest of our songs.
Jordan: The lyrics mean more too. It’s not just about fucking and partying, it’s emotional. Not Emo, but…
Jake: It has lyrical depth.
RD: You guys are awesome at the “balls out rock n roll” that got you where you are now. Where do you see your music progressing from here?
Jordan; It’s going to change. We’re super open minded, we just want to appeal to everyone, we just want everyone to love our music. We want to inspire everyone.
Jake: We don’t want to have just one niche of people, older people, or younger people, or just girls, or just guys, or older guys; we want like every single person that exists on this earth at our shows.
Jordan: Definitely want to stick with the classic rock vein and still have that inspire our music but at some point we have to evolve as a band and not just play fuckin’ AC/DC riffs, you know.
David: Maybe add a little alternative direction to it. Mash it up, see how it comes out.
RD: Do you guys to acoustic stuff at all?
David: I mean we do acoustic shows for radio sometimes.
Jake: And on the festivals that we’ve done, the whole festival run that we did last year we did acoustic shows every day too. It’s good, it goes over well, people always seem to really like it I just think it’s not really our vibe.
David: It takes us out of our comfort zone a little.
Jordan: I think if we do a full length though, which we’ll be doing, there’s definitely going to be an acoustic or a ballad on there. I want to write one at least.
RD: When can we look forward to the release of an LP?
Jordan: This year, hopefully.
Jake: In fact, when we get home we have like, we’re out till the end of February, and then we have two little hometown shows, Vegas and Orange County. Then, we spent all of March finishing writing, and the plan is that we go into the studio early April and just see what happens. So, hopefully by the end of the year.
We wrapped things up just before the start of the opener. When Them Evils finally took the stage the Club was nearly full. Leading off with “Put Your Love On Me” from their first self-titled EP, they quickly caught the attention of the packed house. Their intensity was infectious and everyone in the crowd started moving to the beat. They kept it hot with “Untold” and “She Got Nothin’,” and it didn’t take long for Jake to climb up on the speaker and light up the bass. Recognizing the song, much of he crowd sang along to “Practice What You Preach” and their performance was perfection. Jordan even jumped down into the pit and serenaded the audience.
Just when you thought the energy couldn’t get any higher, they broke into a killer cover of Gary Glitter’s “Rock And Roll Part II.” This wrangled in the audience even more, fists in the air as they shouted, “Hey!” Appropriately, this led into “She Got Me Rockin’,” where Jake climbed down onto the floor and blew the minds of the onlookers. The energy carried through to a kick-ass cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” Lastly, keeping with the classic rock vibe, they closed out the set with their own “Have One On Me” as Jake hung from the rafters above the crowd.
Overall, Them Evils put on one hell of a show and definitely lit the stage on fire! Their energy was contagious, their acoustics were spot on, and the structure of their set was well-designed. You definitely need to check out Them Evils while their still on tour. But if you missed it, you have to check out their music, for you will not be disappointed!
You can still catch the last leg of this tour with Pop Evil. Tickets can be purchased at themevils.com
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