Tonight Dax Riggs debuts his brand-new LP, Say Goodnight to the World, for Houston ears at Walter's On Washington. The record is his first full-length release since 2007's We Sing of Only Blood or Love and more than worthy follow-up, tempering Love's death rattles with softer tones at certain turns.
Live and on his recordings Riggs channels Roky Erickson, Julian Cope, Black Sabbath and the jungle boogie of rock's first wise men. You can go a few months without listening to him, then find yourself in ensconced in everything from his early metallic Acid Bath stuff to his Deadboy & Elephantmen work and his solo albums for weeks on end. He's like the best ear infection you could ever have.
Rocks Off talked to Riggs this week about the new album, its very pronounced Stooges and Deep Purple bent and glam desolation to which he whole-heartedly agreed. This also marks the second time during the course of an interview where we started campaigning for everyone to own the Stooges' Fun House box set.
Thankfully, we cut that out of the final copy.
Rocks Off: What are the audiences like at these shows? Are they mostly solo fans, or Acid Bath and Deadboy folks?
Dax Riggs: It's pretty much equally half and half. The people who have gotten into what I have done lately are the most rabid. Not to say that the people who dug the early stuff don't come around, but I don't think those are the people coming to the shows. People that are there know what they are coming to hear. It's the newer people, Deadboy & Elephantmen and on. Those people are the norm.
RO: There are so many little influences going on in the new record. We hear Townes Van Zandt, Roy Orbison, Deep Purple, Johnny Cash and you even cover "Heartbreak Hotel." What all went into this new album?
DR: That's a lot of it. I am very much into original rock and roll, rockabilly, and proto-metal. Deep Purple, Sabbath. Pretty much anything before that first wave of heavy metal and then I also like The Stooges, Roky & the Aliens. I also like a lot of Everly Brothers and Buck Owens.
The new Julian Cope I like that a lot. I recently just discovered him and I feel like there is a little parallel between the music that we are doing. Like you were saying, there are little elements of Deep Purple and the older stuff, but it's wrapped up in kind of Stooge-y musical vibe.
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RO: If you could use one song to sell anyone on the new album, what would you use?
DR: I'm really bad with that, but I guess the song "Say Goodnight to the World." It kinda has this doomy African vibe. There's also a part of me that likes the big Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill stuff and that translates back to the "Thin White Duke" period of David Bowie.
There is a little bit of that on "Say Goodnight," but it goes back and forth between a glam vibe, and also a very big roots music vibe.