Tonight Roky Moon & BOLT headline the Mink for a tour kick-off gig before heading through the Gulf and East Coasts to school foreign ears on what indie-glam is all about. Or at least show them how a ragtag band from Houston does it. On its first trip outside the Lone Star State, the band will be traveling through Louisiana, Georgia, up the coast to New York and Washington D.C. and back through the Midwest to Lansing, Mich. and Chicago before heading back home to Texas to play a handful of SXSW dates in Austin. No doubt they will astound the rest of the country the way they been astounding us since their first show at Walter's on Washington just about a year ago. Since then, the band won the Best New Artist award at the 2009 Houston Press Music Awards and played Daniel Johnston's backing band in the Catastrophic Theater's production of the biographical Johnston play Life Is Happy & Sad over at DiverseWorks. We talked with lead singer Mike Hardin, or Roky Moon as he is wont to be called onstage, about BOLT's plans for the rest of the year and got some surprising news concerning their project with the Catastrophic Theater. Hardin is a bear of a man and one of the nicest guys on the Houston scene. We don't normally use the term "precocious" for a grown man, but he fits the bill. He was also nice enough to list his Top 5 favorite glam songs to give you an idea of where the new BOLT material may be coming from.
Rocks Off: Tell us about the tour. The itinerary looks like a hell of a lot of fun...
Roky Moon: We are headed out to the East Coast. We are gonna get all the way up to New York, then pop across to Chicago and come down home. It will be our first tour as a band, and for some it will be a first time all around the country so we are all pretty excited. I am planning on playing tricks on people and we are gonna keep a video log the whole time.
RO: What's the status of the LP so far? It's been gestating for awhile.
RM: The best way to explain I guess would be to say the album is in limbo. We aren't sure yet what kind of album we are looking to do. I know when we get back from the tour we are going to finish something but I think what that will be is a beefed-up recording of the live set that we play now.
We want to have a real record of this time period, because once we get back we are going to begin to change the set around adding a bunch of new material and playing some new variations of some of the songs we play now.
RO: What kind of stuff has been influencing your work on the album so far?
RM: One of the things that influenced me the most was the time I spent working with Jason Nodler and the crew of Catastrophic during the play Life Is Happy & Sad. It gave me a really great perspective on how a musical works, not to mention it was my first paying gig doing something that was fun and not a regular job. My job was to come in and work on a musical with these folks and it really got my creative juices flowing.
So where I had written a bunch of songs before about drugs and being up all night, I have gotten to a place where the next batch of songs have a little bit more depth. I am also heavily influenced by the piano now and have switched from writing on the guitar to writing on the piano and so while the songs are still in the same vein I would say the next batch leans a lot heavier on the Queen side.
RO: What can you tell us about the upcoming hush-hush stage show you guys are putting on for the new album?
RM: Nothing. It is not real.
RO: OK. Then tell us the basic storyline of the Roky Moon play, if there was to be one...
OK, just to get this out there: The rock opera will not be happening this year because I recently received fantastic news that Catastrophic will be putting on my rock opera with Jason Nodler directing. This also means, though, that it is going to be pushed back to 2011.
The story is a love story between a man named Avory and a woman I call The Lioness. In an alternate world, the moon will come crashing into the planet and destroy it. Our main character Avory must find strength within himself and the love of his partner The Lioness to survive and get to the bottom of what is really happening. There are a ton of twists and backstory, but I will say this: If you like rock and roll and sci-fi, then this is gonna be right up your alley.
Pretty much all of the music is done and the script is coming along great thanks to Mr. John Mills-McCoin and Tim Dorsey. By the time this thing is released next year, the script should be in incredible shape considering how much time we will have to finish it.
RO: What's the plan for the next year?
RM: I think the plan for this year is to continue to grow as a band and get better. We will be touring again in the summer. We have been added to Summerfest in June, and I will be working hard all year on finishing the script and stage show for the rock opera. And lastly we will be getting an actual album done and out.
Roky's favorite glam-rockers after the break...
"Merry Christmas Everybody," Slade
Glam. Christmas. I don't get it, but the song is AMAZING! Impossible to turn down a huge English Christmastime staple that also happens to be a pretty amazing glam song.
"Out On The Street," Space Waltz
Alistair Riddell heard David Bowie and just could not resist. What you have here is someone taking a note straight from the book of David Bowie and catching a sound that was growing wildly and taking advantage of it. What wasn't expected was that he would create one of the best 70's glam songs of all time. A No. 1 hit in New Zealand (and nowhere else) this gem is a glam masterpiece that picks up where Ziggy Stardust left off and takes you on a real space adventure. Space adventures are way glam, folks.
"Blockbuster," The Sweet
It should be said here that while Marc Bolan is glam, no band pulled off the look and sound better in my opinion than Sweet. Catchy tunes with heavy blues influence and a very effeminate bass player helped them to pull this off. From the high-pitched vocal harmonies and the bluesy riffage, this is one of the most perfect examples of '70s glam rock you will find."20th Century Boy," T. Rex
T. Rex and Marc Bolan are glam and this is Bolan at his sexiest. Let us check the lyrics "I move like a cat, talk like a rat. Sting like a bee, babe I wanna be your man" Every girl in the crowd faints at once!
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"Moonage Daydream," David Bowie
Who didn't know this was coming? Come on folks, this is the ultimate glam song on the ultimate glam album. If you do not know "Moonage Daydream," crawl out from under your rock, punch yourself in the face and head down to your local record store and pick up The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.
Trust me, you will want to kick yourself in the mouth for not having already been all over this album. More importantly this particular track is everything that glam is. Flashy alien talk, delayed out vocals and guitar wails. You really feel like you are on an adventure when you listen to this one... an adventure covered in glitter! All the while David Bowie still manages to be sexy with his lyrics.