Superlatives begin to run dry when talking about Cincinnati's Foxy Shazam, who open for Hole tomorrow night at House of Blues. Foxy is a stadium-sized band playing clubs and mid-sized theaters, threatening to burst each venue at the seams during any minute of their hour-long sets.
With this year's self-titled third album, the Shazam keeps making their case to be rock and roll's next biggest band. On 2008's Introducing, they laid down speed-infused Queen and Meat Loaf musical workouts. Foxy Shazam easily quadruples Introducing in terms of hooks, wide-screen theatrics and a dash of R&B here and there. The vocal hysterics of lead singer Eric Sean Nally seal Foxy's glam-rock deal - every song is an anthem-in-waiting, and each could either be a set opener or a devastating encore capper.
Live, Nally rewrites the rules for what a modern-rock lead singer should do, with his Freddie Mercury squeal and stage antics, which during a March run through SXSW and other Texas stops included ingesting lit cigarettes and aerobics. Rocks Off talked to Nally at a recent tour stop and asked him exactly what a Foxy Shazam is, what's behind their sound and details on his songwriting gig for Meat Loaf's new album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear.
Foxy Shazam, "Dangerous Man"
Rocks Off: The first time we saw you guys was at SXSW this year and you were opening up for Hole. That night you ate three lit cigarettes...
Eric Sean Nally: Well it's definitely an occasional thing. Especially on this tour, with the size of the venues, there is always a fire marshal around. But that just kind of tempts me more.
RO: That's not the only thing Foxy Shazam does live. You guys jump around a lot too. If you ever got hurt, would you still muscle through it with crutches?
ESN: We're just kind of natural-born entertainers. It's in our blood. We just can't help ourselves.
RO: What's it like touring with Hole? Do you get a good response from Courtney about the band?
ESN: It's really fun. I love being attached to things with a rich history. [Hole] definitely has a rich history. It's cool just to be a part of it. I never really talk to much fellow musicians about each others music though. I always feel weird talking with other musicians about their music. I don't know why, though.
RO: How did the name Foxy Shazam come about?
ESN: I went to an all-black high school, and it was just a line that they would all say if you had cool shoes. They would say "Foxy Shazam!" My high-school days were one of the most inspirational times of my life. I never heard Foxy Shazam anywhere else though.
Foxy Shazam, "Oh Lord"
RO: So Foxy Shazam was your first big band?
ESN: Yeah, first big thing I did. I mean I bummed around in the basement with a couple of friends too. We started Foxy Shazam when I was really young.
RO: How did you get the hook-up writing for Meat Loaf on his new album?
ESN: That was something my manager saw, that they were putting out feelers to get some new artists and writers for the new album. My manager got ahold of them and they checked out my stuff and they loved it.
They flew me out to L.A. and they were recording with Rob Cavallo, doing the record at Meat's house. I just stayed there for two weeks writing for Meat. That's where I met one of my closest friends, Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) out there working for Meat.
It's awesome working with Meat and I am heavily-inspired by him. He's somebody I had listened to for a long time, so it was really fun just to be near him. He's one of those that are fun to be attached to.
RO: What's up next for the band?
ESN: The new record just came out, so this next summer and even into the winter we will be supporting and touring behind it, but we are always writing and always at it. The best time to write your next record is before the first one even comes out.
We are going to shoot for some bigger supporting tours, nothing in the books yet. We got Lollapalooza and we are Reading in the UK.
RO: What's the overseas reception for Foxy Shazam?
ESN: In Europe it seems that audiences understand what we are doing, more than out here. Our stuff is harder to digest out here.
RO: In Europe, glam-rock was sort of embedded in everyone from childhood...
ESN: I feel like we will pick up a lot faster over there than here, and a lot of times that makes it easier for things to be digested back here. By the time things kick off in Europe and they get a hold of it, things can catch a fire back here.
With Hole, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 6, at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, 888-402-5837 or www.hob.com/houston.
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