The Heart Attacks
Dave (Rhythym Guitars), Tuk (Lead guitars), Chase (Lead Vocals), Paulie (bass), Brad (drums)
"We're a gang of pirate gypsy crackhead smart-mouthed snot-nosed rock & roll misfits," snaps Chase, lead singer for The Heart Attacks, Atlanta's eminent scuzz rock quintet. Confident, energetic and downright bonkers, the men behind the Lars (Rancid, Bastards) Frederiksen-produced Hellbound And Heartless have already put their lives on the line for rock & roll glory. But more on that shortly.
Sounding like the bastard child of Stiv Bators out in front of the Dead Damned Sham Band, the crazed abandon of The Heart Attacks - also counting lead guitarist Tuk, rhythm guitarist Dave, bassist Paulie, and drummer Brad - have converted attendees into disciples at sweaty shows from Boston to Florida in 2005 and 2006. In fact, it was this swagger and take no prisoners aesthetic, coupled with a timeless high energy sound with tinges of punk and late '70s rock that made Rancid frontman and Hellcat Records founder Tim Armstrong fall in love with the group and subsequently sign the band.
"When he first saw us, Tim said he thought we looked like a gang or something," the singer laughs. "And we sort of are. We're all like 20 or 21 and we make terrible decisions. We do some of the most ridiculous shit. We're pretty reckless. We act without regard, like we're 13 or something."
It's that youthful recklessness that launches Hellbound And Heartless in the form of the snarling, unforgettable, machine-gunning "You Oughtta' Know By Know." Unfolding to disclose the chaotic, attitudinal charms of "Summer of Hate," the dozen song cycle sounds as if it could easily be the soundtrack for barroom brawls finds punk subject matter expert Frederiksen exhibiting depth as a producer working outside of his staple genre.
Case in point is the piano-touched, handclap-fostered glam-abilly "Eyes," which wraps with an unforeseen albeit welcome sax solo. Elsewhere, on the punked-out doo-wop of "Tearstained Letters," rock icon Joan Jett lends her patented growl. Engineered by Michael Rosen (Green Day) and drawing on everything from the Dead Boys and Radio Birdman to D. Generation, 50's music, Thin Lizzy and Rose Tattoo, this is a disc of enduring rock and roll.
If the group's a cover of "Travelin' Band," first comes on like a piss-take, the brash, white trash, CCR-on-meth homage to John Fogerty is dead serious. "Creedence is one of my all time favorites," Chase confesses. "I've heard that John Fogerty is uptight about shit, and he's a picky dude. But I love that song, I think we do it justice and I hope he's into it."
For The Heart Attacks, risking upsetting the applecart has yielded uncanny results for the group. In fact, the fiery Hellbound And Heartless was the end result of what began out of shit luck and a "what the fuck" attitude. In preparation for a supposed confirmation on the 2005 Warped Tour that later fell through, the group obtained a 1970's bus that they knew nothing about and quit their jobs. True bad-asses, four of five Heart Attacks are legally bound to the state of Georgia, but make no bones about risking it on the road. "We got the bus an oil change and figured it would be a reliable vehicle," says the singer - whose bandmates often call Teenage Haircut. "Isn't that fucking ridiculous?"
Homeless and jobless, the band went for it just the same, setting up a pirate bar in the parking lot of the Warped Tour that wound up becoming the ideal networking place. "We sold beer to people - everyone, kids, whatever - for a dollar. And we didn't ID 'em. That was really badass. Plus we sold shots of cheap rot gut whiskey for a dollar a piece and through that we made friends with a bunch of the bands. That helped us make it around from stop to stop, which is pretty funny because the bus made it all the way to California and none of us had a bus license."
One night early in the tour, Armstrong came upon The Heart Attacks' bar and they slipped him their CD. "We never thought Tim would listen to it," Chase says. "Then, as the tour rolled on, Tim - who was into us - found out that we were doing something with another label. He was like, "Why don't you do something with us?" A few weeks later - once we got the scheduling all worked out - I got a call from Lars and he was really excited. And that's obviously carried forward because the record turned out really awesome."
Those within an earshot of the blistering guitar stomp of "Runnin' With A Gang" or the menacing, smug "Fast Times Attached" - a song Chase wrote when he was merely sixteen - would be hard pressed not to concur. For the frontman, holding onto the track that long - despite the fact he claims to write about four tunes a week - is all about knowing what works. "I know when a song is classic, and if it's good I'll hold onto it," Chase insists with deadpan cool. "In my brain and in the brains of everyone else, they never get old. And the proof is in the fact that the kids out there now the kids go fucking crazy for that song."
Perhaps it's that - for all of their apparent mouthing off - fans in ATL found themselves lured by The Heart Attacks' facility to back up their shit-talk with an exhilarating live show long before they ever recorded a lick. Earning a diverse following ranging from thug hardcore dudes to trendy good girl prom queens with their chaotic riffs and onstage bedlam, the long haired, tattoo-smothered Heart Attacks profess to "love our shit loud and dumb."
Dumb as foxes, that is. Cocky as they are capable, this five-piece - as mentioned before - is willing to risk everything in the name of rock. When their bus broke down in Indio, where they left it to rot, The Heart Attacks lived out of a Ryder truck for a spell. "We'd all take our turns riding in the back with the door down. You'd open the door and three of the guys in our band would be just passed out from the heat and fumes. And there is no way to look cool out there when you're sweating that bad. We just looked like a bunch of scrappy, moldy dudes. Not to mention, we probably could have killed ourselves."
It wouldn't be the first time these proud Georgia sons - so loyal to their home city that one of them has the area code "404" on his neck - cheated death. Brad was shot three times during a midtown Atlanta robbery while Paulie - known as "The Nasty" in ATL - wound up in emergency room twice during a two week stretch. Describing one of the incidents, the vocalist explains, "he was beat up with bricks by a gang of white thug kids in Cabbagetown while at gunpoint after a bunch of us and our friends broke a pool cue over the face of an accomplice of theirs."
In keeping with their careless, exhilarating lifestyle, one has to ask about that moniker. Could it really be that in the fifty-plus year history of rock & roll, no one else has plucked that name as their own? "We don't really care if someone else has our name," Chase fires back. "When you hear our shit, you'll know who THE Heart Attacks are. We steal anything we can from anybody and worry about it later."
Hellbound And Heartless
- No: #80485
- US Rel. Date: 10/24/2006
- EU Rel. Date: 10/23/2006
- Type: Full