I found a vinyl of The Record Company a couple of years ago in some minuscule record store in Silverlake, Los Angeles. I fell instantly in love. Raw and righteous bluesy rock, the likes of which are rarely heard here in the twentyteens, assailed my earballs. I went home and played it on repeat, annoying my neighbours by singing along enthusiastically as it blasted on my cheapass speakers, off my balcony and out into the valley.
Just a few weeks later I saw the post on their website I’d been waiting for: the boys were playing back in their hometown. They were booked at some mad little LA street party festival thing just down the road from where I was working. I didn’t read the fine print; didn’t need to. There was no way I was missing them. I talked my way out of work early and raced down just in time for their afternoon set. Upon arrival I was surprised by a few things.
The first surprise was a large hairy man wearing nothing but a black leather thong wrapping his arm tenderly around my shoulders as I entered the gates and escorting me through the throng.
“The second surprise was a stall selling giant fist dildos.”
In front of this stall stood another similarly clad giant man, tied to a timber scaffold, being whipped with gusto by a friend. By the time I reached the stage, beer in hand, I’d figured out this was no normal music festival. It was way better. I managed to catch the tail end of what seemed to have been a killer set by GayC/DC. I caught their sequinned guitar pic. Could my afternoon even get more awesome?
Yes. Yes it could.
The Los Angeles-based trio – Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals) and Marc Cazorla (drums, piano, vocals) were a billion times better live. Chris was wearing a full leg plaster and was spinning on it like a broken windup doll, while still managing to rip his raw, balls-out riffs.
After unleashing its Concord Records debut album, Give It Back to You, in 2016 and being nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album, The Record Company seem to have really established themselves. But back then all I knew was that this was one of my Shows To Always Remember. When I heard they were coming to Australia, I couldn’t help but try catch up with Chris for Do Shit Magazine, to talk musical injuries, zombie outbreaks and what makes them keep doing the shit they do so well!
Words by Daryl Jones, pics by Jacob Blickenstaff
DSM: For most people having a full leg plaster would be excuse enough not to play a show. Do you guys really love playing live as much as it seems when you see a TRC show, or just really needed the cash back then?
TRC: We really love playing music that much.
“We have never cancelled a show.”
I broke my finger (the one that holds the pick) last year onstage by pointing up and smashing it into a light rig. I looked down and it was pointing slightly in the wrong direction, popped it back in joint and finished the set, and then we did the encore. Now I wouldn’t suggest behavior like that, as the finger still aches to this day, but hey we finished the show and it works just fine. I then taped the finger up each night and we finished the tour. Works fine now, looks a little wonky but hey, rock n roll. Also, as my Dad always said, “no brain, no pain”.
DSM: If there was a zombie outbreak and you were on stage when the virus spread so your only weapons were your instruments, who do you think would be the most effective zombie killer?
TRC: Marc and Alex would definitely survive longer, given there was a clean exit, as they are more fleet of foot.
“As far as hand to head zombie combat though I would be the best armed I believe.”
Drumsticks are not good weapons against zombies so that puts Marc at a disadvantage. The bass is twice as heavy as a guitar so it would be like wielding some medieval Ax. My guitars are pretty light so I could do some good zombie fighting damage for a second or two before being overtaken by the undead.
DSM: People see you on some big stages these days, opening for music royalty, playing on TV, almost getting Grammys and travelling the world kickin’ all sorts of ass, but you’ve been playing together since 2011, and probably annoying your families learning your instruments since you were tiny humans. For most musicians there’s a fuckload of relative failure before the success. What kept you pursuing your musical passion rather than getting a real job for all those years?
TRC: Every time I ever wanted to quit, which was often because I did fail and fail and fail over and over, I would just never be able to bring myself to do it. I love creating music, being in a band, and performing. We all do.
“If you give up on what you love don’t you regret it for the rest of your life? Or something like that? I guess we all decided we’d either sail on or go down with the ship. So it goes.”
DSM: What’s better, playing shows or having sex?