Radar Eyes: Peeking Under Shakes Gown

Radar Eyes: Peeking Under Shakes Gown


Chris Rolls is the mastermind behind the high-energy San Francisco music machine known as Shakes Gown.

Radar Eyes: Name, social security no., purpose for living, etc.

Shakes Gown: Chris Rolls, and my purpose is to procreate... or so I have been told...

RE: And you also record music, am I right?

SG: Yes, I record, produce, compose, perform and release music which I have been doing since junior high... but not in earnest since I moved to San Francisco in 1998.

RE: What do you call your current project, and what's it all about?

SG: I call it Shakes Gown. The project started after I left le Flange du Mal, and Fuckwolf. I rented a flat in Berlin for a month... I took an SK1, effects, 4-track and microphone and just started recording. My goal was to record three albums in 2008, which I did along with my writing partner Simon Phillips, who was also in Fuckwolf.

RE: Nice! You wanna guide us through each record?

SG: Sure. I will hold your hand.

RE: This ain't for me, Jack!

SG: Ha ha! Ok... so the first record is called Words Without Works. It was very inspired by Berlin. I recorded almost all the material in Berlin. Then I did a lot of overdubs upon my return to San Francisco. Erin Olivia Weber was there (of Garbaj Kaetz fame). She inspired one of my songs.

RE: I only have your first release, I can't wait to hear the others!

SG: The second is another 4-track project, an EP. It's just me fucking around with noise gear and synths... trying to write pop songs.

RE: That's the kind of sound I like!

SG: Then the third one is a giant studio album, Psychic Driver. It is done.

RE: Nice!

SG: Yes. I am very excited. It's very pop... very Gary Numan meets Dennis Wilson.

RE: Are you planning on releasing these albums?

SG: Well, the two 4-track albums I will release through KimoSciotic. Psychic Driver I want on a label... a big label that will get me sex and cocaine... or sex with cocaine... whichever.

RE: Will you be touring with Motley Crue?

SG: Fuck the Crue. I am not into the titty-cam thing. I mean, I like breasts... but you know... I have no idea how I will tour with this band.

RE: Hahahah... I was gonna say... too virtual for ya?

SG: I am just starting to rehearse a live band. Which has been interesting because of the way the songs are written. This has been a studio project so far. So now I have to transpose for a live situation... and reimagine the songs.

RE: It's not as easy as 1,2,3, let's rock... is it?

SG: Fuck no... not at all.

RE: Tell me about it...

SG: It has been difficult... plus I wanted to work with people outside the SF music scene...

RE: Do you have your band members in line or are you still forming?

SG: Still forming, but Simon is drumming, and we have Kevin from LSD and the Search for God on keys... and we may have another synth player. We need one. I am stupid... cannot sing and play at the same time... ha ha!

RE: Well, you are going to concentrate on vocals, right?

SG: Exactly. I mean that is what I did in le Flange du Mal.


SG: I like singing. It is fun...

RE: Whatever happened to the last La Flange Du Mal record?

SG: Fantastic question.

RE: I was really looking forward to that one!

SG: I just got a hard drive with all the original mixes, and so I am going to master it and release it... recording that album was hell... but that is a long, long story

RE: Your live shows were amazing.

SG: Yes, I was really upset when I had to disband le Flange. It started as just me and Chris Cones... and became something wonderful. Working with Liz Allbee and Jason changed my life...

RE: Yeah, they're ULTRA for sure...

SG: It taught me so much and provides much needed confidence.

RE: Yeah - important skills for swimmng upstream!

SG: So yeah, I have not performed live since 11/07 when Fuckwolf opened for Black Dice here in SF... so, I am really looking forward to it.

RE: When do ya think this will happen?

SG: The first show is with Bronze on Feb. 26... here in SF.

RE: Oh wow... that's right around the corner!

SG: Yeah man... and we are still missing members. Ha.

RE: I'll be right over...

SG: Maybe you could play tambourine? Or mouth harp...

RE: I've got my mouth full right now... Fried bananas. Do you guys plan on coming to Texas anytime soon?

SG: Well, let's see how the first show goes... then we'll talk about touring

RE: Uh huh...

SG: I really wanted Rob Spector from Bronze to play in Shakes Gown... he is my brother and the best... but he is busy with Bronze...

RE: San Francisco is for sure a hotbed of talent... I was glad to fuck it up over there for a little bit... Do you plan on making any videos for the Shakes Gown material?

SG: Oh yes, brother, it's on our MySpace page. It was directed by Kurt Keppler... who is amazing. The song is called "Pigeon's Flight."

RE: Ha! Crosshairs on human heads!

SG: But yes, I am very into video and would like to do as much as possible.

RE: Same here. Indian Jewelry is in the process of putting together a compilation of videos as we speak...

SG: Awesome! Man, I love Erika and Tex... great people.

RE: Yeah, for sure!

SG: But yes, the video is very "pro," but I love it. I am really into pushing my low-budget ideas into professional recording and video just to see where it goes... I mean, for the Psychic Driver album there were no songs written just a couple basslines and drums... so everything was written in studio almost by accident.

We took perhaps seven months to record it, and often I would just scrap what had been considered finished and redo everything. I knew in my head what I wanted even though there were no songs...

RE: Yeah... I hear ya on that one...

SG: Does that make sense?

RE: New tracks get old fast...

SG: Right, and I wanted tracks that would not get old. Tracks that sounded out of time... also, I do not want to sound like anything else happening in SF.

RE: Come to Houston and lick bayou dirt for awhile!

SG: Ha ha... well, I was actually just talking my friend Dave Wright about recording the next one in my home town, Tucson.

RE: So is there a release date for any of your albums yet?

SG: All three albums will be slowly released over the next three months.

RE: Excellent! Any final words?

SG: Make sure to sit in your orgone accumlator for two hours everyday... and never masturbate.


[See also www.futureblondes.blogspot.com]


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