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Interview with Los Straitjackets
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
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Los Straitjackets, once a collective of bums jamming on Psycho Beach Party and Oddville, now strumming along with the likes of Dave Alvin, Mark Lindsay and Leigh Nash on their new Sing Along With Los Straitjackets cd. They took time away from the beach for an hour to talk with the poor, struggling writers at

[Ben Ohmart] Why are you guys masked? What's the origin of that?

Los Straitjackets When we first put the band together, we were looking for a unique way to present the band onstage. I happened to have a bag of masks that I'd purchased at a wrestling match in Mexico City. We tried them on and they looked fantastic. At our first gig, the idea was to come out wearing them for the first song or two, then take them off. But you know what? They felt GREAT!! So we've kept them ever since.

[Ben Ohmart] I read you stand as the most successful masked band in history. Guess you're making more money than The Residents then, eh? Or don't eyeballs count?

Los Straitjackets That would be... The most successful masked INSTRUMENTAL Rock & Roll Band. I have no idea how much money the Residents are making, so I can't comment on that.

[Ben Ohmart] How do you describe your music?

Los Straitjackets We've been described as everything from Classical to World Music to Garage to Post-Modern. We just think of it as "Instrumental Rock & Roll," with an emphasis on fun.

[Ben Ohmart] How'd you all first get together?

Los Straitjackets Eddie and Jimmy came over to my house with a guitar, an amp, and a snare drum. We took it from there.

[Ben Ohmart] You've been on tv shows and movies. What are you wanting to conquer next?

Los Straitjackets Cover of MAD Magazine, possibly a Saturday morning children's cartoon show. No interest in appearing in a Broadway play.

[Ben Ohmart] What was it like playing on Conan O'Brien's show 4 times? The guy must like you!

Los Straitjackets He seems to. Every time we do the show, he hangs out at rehearsal and asks us to show him our guitar parts. He's actually a very good guitarist himself.

[Ben Ohmart] How did you get involved with Psycho Beach Party?

Los Straitjackets The musical director was already planning on using some of our music in the film. When he found out we were actually going to be in town during the shoot, he immediately wanted us to appear in the Luau scene. It was a lot of fun, I like that movie.

[Ben Ohmart] Tell us about this latest album. How difficult was it getting so many class acts together for one disc?

Los Straitjackets Not difficult at all. We have a lot of good friends who are great singers. We recorded some of it in Nashville, and some of it in LA. There was generally somebody around, and available, in both cities.

[Ben Ohmart] Would you try a project like this again or do a sequel?

Los Straitjackets I don't see why not. We'll see how this one goes. Could be the start of something REALLY BIG.

[Ben Ohmart] Any juicy stories during the recording of Sing Along With Los Straitjackets? Or just some funny off-mic thingy.

Los Straitjackets I can't think of anything Juicy. I will say that I had no idea how versatile and talented Rev. Horton Heat is. He was messing around on the guitar in the studio, playing things I'd never heard him play before. His knowledge of music is quite impressive.

[Ben Ohmart] Your fall tour to promote the new album looks pretty rigorous. I guess you're all doing music full time now?

Los Straitjackets We've been full time since 1995. Who else would hire us?!?

[Ben Ohmart] What/Who do you do on your time off?

Los Straitjackets Time off?!? What time off?

[Ben Ohmart] What do you guys do on the tour bus?

Los Straitjackets We sleep mostly.

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Los Straitjackets - Damas y Caballeros! - Yep Rock Records (2001-04-29)
» Los Straitjackets - the velvet touch of Los Straitjackets - Cavalcade Records/yep roc records (2000-08-20)

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