Interview with Adam Becvare
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
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
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
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'
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 mp3.com discoveries way
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
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 LustKillers website
LustKillers at Myspace