Today, I had the privilege to talk with Jake Cavaliere, lead vocalist for The Lords of Altamont. The Lords are a rock and roll band from Los Angeles, California. The band mixes the sounds of ’60’s garage and psychedelic rock, American punk rock, British rhythm and blues and glam combined with B-movie biker exploitation imagery. I’ve been a fan of these guys since their debut album. They have a brand new album coming out called “The Wild Sounds Of The Lords Of Altamont”. If you haven’t heard these guys before…you gotta check ’em out. Cool stuff with a great rock and punk vibe. We recently reviewed their new album, which you can read here. So without further delay, Here’s the interview with Jake!
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or
Jake: October 6th launches a 20 date tour in Europe that supports our sixth release. We just
released a single from the album, “going downtown”. November, another short run in
Europe and March as well. New video for the single should be out anytime. And new
label for the Lords, Heavy Psych Sounds out of Rome!
XS ROCK: How long has the The Lords Of Altamont been together now?
Jake: We have been kicking for 18 years now.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Jake: Its funny because motives and ideas change through the course of 18 years, I have tried to
keep the band on track for all this time, but I guarantee what makes tick has changed a
bit. Answering the question, back in 98 we were a little tired of only catering to the surf
revival music scene and really wanted change. We loved playing surf (previous band Bomboras) but also had a big variety of musical taste. When that finally dissolved a
couple of us decided to make that change. We wanted to play whatever we liked (louder,
harder, tough) without being pigeon holed..either way that is bound to happen.
XS ROCK: What’s your music background?
Jake: Been playing music since 1988, simply was a fan of garage punk and psychedelic. I
wanted to be a part of it. I play organ (vox, hammond, farfisa), not many people did back
then. I just wanted to be like Jerry Roslie (the sonics), or Allen Price (the animals). I
joined my first band around 88, and spiraled into many other similar projects with other
bands. I started with Eastern Green (san diego), quickly joined The Witch Doctors soon
after, and then The Fuzztones. That turned into The Finks, later turning into the
Bomboras, then eventually turned into the Lords. There was few side projects that had
gone on between, like the Go-Nuts, The Chelsea Smiles, The Gallows, The Untamed
Youth, Black Honey Cult. Now I try to stick to one band…my true love, The Lords.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Jake: I hope people feel like their blasting down the highway on a hot desert night riding
chopper as fast as it will go! Grease in your hair, bugs in teeth flying!
I’ve never had a cared for politics in music, One it quickly becomes dated, and Two it
doesn’t take you away from the fucked reality we live! The closest I have come to
politics in music is a new song called “revolution” (never heard a title like that before).
And thats my point, whats the point?! Lets have some fun, shit will always hit fan, we
can address that after the party!
I finally reach the point, sexy drugs and rock n roll is tried and true!
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Jake: Tour cities and countries we haven’t before, become inducted in the Rock N Roll hall of
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Jake: That’s tough, this band should not have lasted this long. We outlived the five year plan!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Jake: I love performing live to people that want to be apart of the show, it means a lot to me.
You never know what is going to happen from night to night, I love that. Apparently
agents and labels need new records to keep us out on the road! Haha
XS ROCK: What are some of your songs about?
Jake: Mental illness (personal), salty relationships, drugs, booze, mean woman, great women,
bikes, cars, little bit of the shitty past, drugs, bar fights, street fights.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Jake: Haha, too many to write, this would become a novel. One of the funnier ones was in
Geneva Switzerland, our tour manger was trying to pull away from the venue that we
performed that night while dodging hundreds of dance party goers. The rock club ended
and the disco began. These people started punching the van, our T.M. gets out to force
people out of the way. The band is sitting in the van witnessing all this as he gets
pummeled by five dudes. I jump out to help only making it worse, now we are full on
battling “lord of the rings style” two against thirty plus dance club thugs (whatever that
means). Rest of the crew and band gets out to help, this rumble is going on for some time
and people on both ends were getting bloody. Finally security arrives with a huge canister
of mace and hoses everyone down. After all said, everyone was fine. One of my teeth pushed
through my bottom lip. I looked like a platypus the next day with a huge bloody hole in my
lip and nice black eye. Rest of the guys were great. We’ve had lotsa great times as band, got
into a lot of trouble. Some things are best left for the tell all book! Haha
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Jake: I guess its not strange but people ALWAYS try to steal our clothes. Or they offer up
services for various articles of clothes. Our cuts are treated like they are sewn to our
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Jake: For sure! Maybe they weren’t too excited about the name of this band, but they appear to
be proud of what we do. If would have become an accountant or a construction worker I
would have killed myself by now. I never did well with working for the man, they saw
that, they new it was going to be different with me.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Jake: Other peoples songs, haha! Umm I like The Split, Action, 495, I really do like em all.
I’m really enjoying the new ones, their fresh to us, we get to experience crowd reaction.
One I really like off the new album is “death on the highway”, gets us going!
Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
MC5, The Sonics, The Crampss, so much energy coming from those guys! I’m so drawn
to that subculture of pre-punk punk! There were so many bands that weren’t the Beatles,
that weren’t the Rolling Stones that came off fucked up in a good way. Kids discovering
music and recording it back in the 60’s created some of the coolest music we will ever
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Jake: It would have loved to have supported the MC5 back in their hey-day, back when they
truly did “Kick Out The Jams”!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Jake: I think spreading the word of the Lords, being accepted in a world of killer musicians and
talent is killer!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Jake: Selling shoes (Spinal Tap). I tattoo between touring, I love it.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Jake: I use a Farfisa organ and a Leslie. Dani (guitar), uses a Guild S-100, custom build small
box Marshall clone, and AC30, various hand built pedals…FUZZ very important to the
Lords. Rob (bass), SVT classic, and Rickenbacker 2001 & 2003, and a special secret
weapon overdrive. Steven (drums), has a custom three piece kit we had made by a Los
Angeles drum builder, and a Black Beauty snare.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Jake: I feel with social media and shit labels it has exploded, there is so much music out there!
I like it, and hate that music provider companies exist (spotify and iTunes etc).
Everything we all worked our asses off to collect is now at anyones finger tips, type a
name and press click, everything you can imagine! On the other hand music is back in
the hands of the people, and not controlled by these shitty “suits” that tell you weather
you can perform your art or not! “No kid you suck, don’t send me anymore demos!”
Now we can do whatever we want and throw it on the internet for the world to decide if it
sucks or not. That is a good thing! Anyway, there is so much good music out there, its
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Jake: Not sure. I’m actually really easy to get along with as long as everything goes my way!
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Jake: The pretentious answer or the fun one? Fun one: fucking good times, a party!
Pretentious answer: A little bit of Cramps stirred in with a taste of Deadboys, and a hint
of Stooges on top.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Jake: Check out the new record on Heavy Psych Sounds, we are proud! Always a huge thanks
for supporting over the years. You are why we love this!
XS ROCK: Thanks again Jake for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Jake: Thanks! Appreciated