Interview with Adam Becvare
By Vil Vodka

In mid-2000, I started picking up issues of Hit List, a bi-monthly punk zine founded by Jeff Bale of MRR fame. Compared with Maximum Rocknroll, Hit List's balance of coverage was more on the line with snotty punknroll and garage and less on political punk and hardcore. Which was perfect for one of the zine's writers and record reviewers, Adam X (a man brave enough to put the debut from TSAR in his top ten more than once). He, along with members of the Sonic Thrills, were also the first people I knew to praise publicly the energy and excitement of the Hives debut album - months before any radio station spun the band into rotation. With these certifications, I followed Adam's reviews and recommendations religiously, shaping my mp3 collection accordingly.

It was shortly after reading Adam's work for Hit List for the first time that I discovered that he was also the guitarist for one of my favorite new bands, American Heartbreak. Based in San Francisco, American Heartbreak was a trash-pop band featuring former members of Jetboy and Bay City Rollers. Their debut CD Postcards From Hell were among my favorite albums of 2000. A year later, I found out some more exciting and surprising news about Adam; he was the brother of Aaron Becvare, a talented and enigmatic gentleman from Scottsdale that I was currently writing new material with in a short lived band called Billion Dollar Bastards. At one of our sessions I had the pleasure of meeting Adam, who was visiting for a few weeks while taking a break from a life-long project he founded called The LustKillers (imagine the darker side of the of the Lords meets the harder upbeat side of Specimen and Bauhaus). I offered to buy beer that night and Adam suggested Tecate, a cerveza that can be found on a typical Black Halos rider many years later. Since that night I have kept track more closely on Adam's musical travels with periodical updates from Aaron.

In fact I remember the call I got from Aaron a few years ago about how his brother drove up to Vancouver and snatched the gig replacing Rich Jones in The Black Halos. That seemed to happened almost simultaneously with the events that led Adam to convince Brian James that he was the most dedicated Lords of the New Church fan on Earth and that he should be considered to be among the new resurrected line-up. He earned that gig as well.

If there is any type of musician that I respect highly, it is one who keep busy and keep dreams alive without any compromise. That, my friends, is Adam Becvare in a nutshell.

I had a chance to ask Adam a few questions during his last visit with his family here in Scottsdale over Strawberry Kiwi Chicken and cocktails at Jamie Monistat's Wok Star bar. Here is what we discussed.

Vil: You have been spending much time lately with the band you founded, The LustKillers. Before we talk about them, what is the current status of the Black Halos and Lords of The New Church?
Adam: Whilst on tour last March for "We Are Not Alone", The Black Halos' Van/Trailer and every thing in it was stolen in Montreal. The band had been clawing its way out of debt forever but now our weapons to fight back with are gone. We quickly regrouped after the robbery to honor our European Spring Tour commitments but the loss and debt at this point seems too great to overcome. We were hoping for support from Acetate Records to tour for their release of the album here. Regarding the Lords, Bri is very keen and persistent on getting up some new tunes. We're writing lots of ideas and looking for appropriate situations to record.

Vil: Some still see Brian James primarily as the former guitarist of The Damned, but technically he has spent far more time playing guitar for the Lords. With Stiv's passing over 18 years ago, is this now Brian's band?

Adam: Yes, indeed. I think Brian is really intent on continuing Stiv's good word but as I said he's more motivated by new material and possibilities. I think its because the past is the past and he knows I can do the old stuff justice while moving forward.

Vil: How has the overseas reception of the new Lords been? We are talking about a band that had a level of commercial success in England back in the mid 80s. Compare, if you can, to commercially successful bands here in America that have re-united without their original lead singer.

Adam: Good question. When we did the 2003 EuroTour there was a lot of curiosity and justifiable resentment. The Lords was Stiv's philosophical vision but it was Brian and Dave Tregunna's musically. Brian and Dave missed playing their old songs. On tour with them, fans would be there pre-show to meet the band and give me trouble. "You're not Stiv" type stuff. I never said I was and elected to play guitar while singing, so right off the bat no one expected me to climb the rafters and hang myself. I can sing the piss out of those songs live and I did. Since I was 12, those songs helped make me who I am today. So not only did I sing them, I meant every word. Each night of the tour, every fan that gave me trouble was right there after the set buying my booze and thanking me for being myself and doing them justice.

Vil: You come from a musically sound family. Can you tell me about your brother and sisters…and if your parents were involved with music?

Adam: My parents thwarted us from music at every turn. I always remember music being my escape though right back to dancing on the kitchen table with my brother to the Jackson 5. My brother is a really gifted player and has helped my band LustKillers with basslines etc. Our younger sisters are primarily brilliant painters but perform as well. The youngest, Rachel, has a project called PalmFlower for which I am flattered to have named.

Vil: Your brother Aaron once told me you both bought your first guitars from Rick Nielsen’s shop in Rockford. Is that place still around?
Adam: Rick's dad, Ralph Nielsen, owned a shop on 7th street around the corner from my dad's house. My dad first brought me there when I demanded to get a guitar. Ralph tried to sell me this old brown-burst Greco "Ibanez" Iceman for $400. It was too ugly for me at the time. Now that guitar appears in Rick's Guitar Collection Book. ...oops.

Vil: You are originally from Chicago but much of your early musical career was experienced in San Francisco. Both cities have a rich rock 'n' roll and punk history. Can you compare the two music scenes?
Adam: Actually, I moved to Hollywood at age 17 at the end of summer after high school. I was out there for the whole "scene." Then I quit guitar and returned to Chicago to play with the industrial scene. Then I lived in NYC for nearly three years to play rock n roll again. Then I moved to SF and watched that scene slowly fold. None of the scenes compare to each other accept that each slowly faded away.

Vil: I loved reading your album reviews in Hit List many years ago. Do you still write? Were you invited to write for Brett Matthews' AMP?

Adam: I really loved writing for HIT LIST. I ended up doing some interviews as well. Opportunities to work with Brett went away when I left American Heartbreak, who were signed to his label. It's a shame how that happens. Brett and I were with each other every other lunch forever. I miss him.

Vil: Tell me about the Chicago line-up of The LustKillers. I see you have Erik Byrne from The Black Beauties playing with you. They were one of my favorite discoveries way back when.
Adam: The Chicago Chapter are good old guys that no longer get the opportunity to tour and rock. It's very fulfilling for me to see them enjoying themselves when we can do it. Actually got a show here August 31st at The Liars Club. Trouble is the Chicago Lineup (aka NC4) rarely get out and we rehearse above Liars Club. Not much gets done "living above the chemist" if you catch my drift. But its always great fun.

Vil: The LustKillers webpage lists many demos and 7" recordings. Any news about a full length album?

Adam: So far its just that 8 song Cd /LP titled Black Sugar Sessions out there. Every time Ive recorded the next batch of tunes, horrible shit has happened and we lose the tracks. Same thing happened just this summer. Beginning to feel jinxed and truly hoping to remedy that A-S-A-P. I got another forty songs arranged and ready.

Vil: You seem to be on the road more often than in the studio. Do you prefer the touring over writing & recording? Or has it just been difficult to get everyone focused on a new recording project?

Adam: I hate recording. Too many possibilities and too many chefs in the kitchen. But the real hatred stems from having to return and sit in the same room day after day. If I wanted that I would take a 9 to 5-er. I love touring because I thrive on stimulus and motion. Maybe If I were able to track in different studios to do different things Id be more inspired about it. And yes, it's extremely difficult to schedule recordings around others commitments.

Vil: Tell us about the rest of 2008 for you. Are you touring with any of your bands within the next few months?

Adam: Black Halos... if Acetate provides it. LustKillers are pulling a 10 day string of No-Cal shows Sept 25- Oct 5 and I am hoping to afford me the time there to track with drummer James. I have no control over The Lords' plans. They operate in their own time zone, man.... A myriad of Guinness, hash and Bordeaux ...but they know I'm ready anytime.

More info on Adam's musical ventures:

Official Black Halos website
Official LustKillers website

LustKillers at Myspace