What started out as a simple “Tuesday Night Jam” in a punk rock club within the underbelly of Vegas, has since mushroomed into being one of the most stellar acts on the L.V. Strip. The Sin City Sinners perform 4-5 “TWO HOUR” shows per week, jam-packed with an assortment of well-known covers & rock originals, often graced by celebrity guest appearances (ranging from music icons to adult film stars). This collaboration is considered to be the “hybrid” of the Las Vegas music scene, & they thrive upon producing a rowdy, fun, energetic, LIVE ROCK performance which falls on the brink of insanity…something which the popular showbands have never seen the likes of before. Their influences range from The Beatles, to Kiss, to The Ramones, & their sound consists of catchy, psychedelic formations on guitar paired by metaphorical lyrics of the most CLEVER sensations. SCS has just finished releasing their debut CD “Exile on Fremont Street” (Anti Star Records) & it captures the essence of this refined act in a whimsical homage to unconventional ROCK’N’ROLL.
“When I started playing music…a band was all about the music you played ON STAGE, & then you recorded it.” says Todd Kerns, the blue-collar entertainer & melodic voice of the group. “Getting up on stage is a release & celebration…& if I’m a good musician, I should be able to do my job, regardless of what the circumstances are.” This attitude not only holds true for him, but the other musicians in the band as well. Brent Muscat (former Faster Pussycat & L.A. Guns guitarist) showcases his screams & squeals on the strings, & has richly evolved since the days of the “three chord” song. His trippy techniques would surprise many professionals in the industry, & his passion for “taking the band to the next level” is a driving force behind much of the group’s success. Bass player, Michael Ellis, is trained in rockabilly & jazz – so he has a very “inventive connection” with the songwriting…not to mention his ability to throw in a deep, punchy set of vocals on tracks like “Gotta Girl”. Michael’s powerhouse, throaty voice would give many frontmen a run for their money & he (quite simply) “dazzled” me. Todd describes drummer, Rob Cournoyer, as a “force of nature” which can barely be contained. He is consistent in his energy level throughout the CD, demonstrating significant impact on each song. His style is youthful & aggressive, blending solidly with the magic created between the guitars.
BOE: You also produced this album. Was it a challenge to not only perform, but produce the music as well?
TODD KERNS: There’s obviously something very rewarding about a recording & making a record. You ultimately have goals in mind, & you’re going to attain this. BUT, you forget that it’s a lot of hard work & there’s a lot of “unattainable frustration” that comes with…what you hear in your head, & what you’re trying to get “on tape”. It’s obviously challenging, & luckily the guys are such GREAT players, & we were basically working on a framework of songs that we all really cared about. Your expectations are always high & you want it to be great. I am happy with this!
BOE: You have an edgy, unapologetic form of lyricism. Where do the inspirations come from for the lyrics to the songs?
TODD KERNS: Um, you know…I’ve always felt like the lyrics, that I’ve written, have always been the way I “talk”…the way I would “tell a story”. It’s all based upon things that have happened to me…& (I think) that most things that have happened to me, or to you, or to anybody…are fairly universal experiences. Things that we’ve ALL been through, you know…heartbreak, or career woes…we could all tell stories.
BOE: What does the band love most about performing?
TODD KERNS: Performing is not a “job”. It’s the most fun in the world! Kinda’ like…if you REALLY LOVE doing something, it’s hard to look at it as work. So, playing “LIVE” is fun…& it’s supposed to be fun. You sort of lose that as a professional musician…over the years. We thrive on the challenge of playing in a “club scene”, & pride ourselves on being minimalistic in producing a GREAT LIVE SHOW! Never let them see you sweat…the audience is “KING”.
I could not get over the “clarity” in production of this album. It’s crisp & concise, making you feel as though you’re standing right in the studio with the band. Todd Kerns moves easily through the transition of notes, exhibiting a raspy “sex appeal” with each line that he belts out. The vivid harmonies articulate the wealth of influences that the band members have, & were often concurrent with forms used by rock conglomerates like “The Beatles”. The album carried a steady momentum of various sonic styles, which is TRULY REFRESHING – when so many albums begin with a STRONG START, & then just disintegrate right before your very ears. “Exile on Fremont Street” contains all of the elements that good rock‘n’roll should display…heavy riffs, prominent drum kicks, catchy lyrics, & surprising spins throughout the music. The album does have some “explicit” content (so it may not be for everybody), but personally I find the comical undertones highly invigorating & very relatable. The close-out of the CD includes a quick run of “Viva Las Vegas”, suitable when you’re known as THE SIN CITY SINNERS.
What’s next on the band’s agenda? The members are anticipating “things to come”, but they want their career to take a natural course, by keeping a genuine connection with the songs & a love for the music. “It was never about the money.” says Todd Kerns, “It was never about anything…other than the fact that we enjoyed playing & having a good time.” The Sinners have accomplished so much in only two years, & know what they want to do…they just don’t want to lose the spontaneity of it all. On February 13th, SCS taped a ‘LIVE’ DVD entitled “Goin’ to Vegas” – so fans around the world could experience their epic show. They are also considering filming some webisodes (to be aired on their site) to capture the intensity of being “LIVE” entertainers.
I highly recommend purchasing “Exile on Fremont Street”. It’s Cheap Trick meets The Beach Boys meets Kiss, & encompasses a HUGE dimension of musical realms. The Sin City Sinners’ dirty, little grooves & booming sound make for one album that will shine as bright as the streaming lights of Vegas itself.
BPatoine – March, 2010