Interview for Teenage Kicks
By Michael Cronin

Adam Becvare moved to Chicago from Brisbane Australia around the age of three. He got into rock ‘n’ roll at an early age and soon started learning to play guitar. Initially he was drawn to heavy yet melodic metal, but soon discovered the joys of punk rock. After years of playing in bands of various genres, the first incarnation of his signature band The Lust Killers was born in 1992 with Adam providing vocals and guitars as well as his own songs.
After LK1 petered out, Adam moved to San Francisco and joined forces with American Heartbreak. After a few years in the trenches with Heartbreak, however, Adam longed to be writing and performing songs of his own creation again. He hooked up with Heartbreak guitar tech Chuck Worthy, a Bay Area native and former Swingin’ Utters bassist and in the summer of 2001 the “Revised Standard Version” of The LustKillers was (re)born. The current line-up was solidified with the addition of Joe Selby, another Bay Area native on guitar. A la Spinal Tap, the band has had a revolving line-up of drummers, the most current of which has yet to be named.

Adam also played a major role in the resurrection of Lords of the New Church, one of his all-time favorite bands as well as one of his major influences. He plays and sings on the LNC album Hang On, which is largely unavailable as it was only sold on the band’s 2003 European tour.

Recently Adam joined the Black Halos as a guitarist. Their new album, cheekily titled Chinese Democracy (you snooze you lose Mr. Rose!), will be released this spring, after which the band will resume extensive touring. In between Halos duties, Adam promises The Lust Killers will be back to rock your world.

After hearing about the band for some time, I finally saw The Lust Killers perform for the first time at Force of Habit record store last June. The pristinely black clad lads rocked the house with a spectacular nearly two-hour set of trashy, pop-tinged, rock ‘n’ roll originals and covers of a similar nature, all the while cracking wise and consuming an inordinate amount of beer and gum. The next time they came around for a concentrated burst of LK action (the band plays more in a week than most bands play in a year), we cornered them in Adam’s tiny, yet quaint, Nob Hill hotel room (he has since moved back to Chicago) for this interview.

TEENAGE KICKS: When did you first start getting into rock ‘n’ roll?
ADAM: My mother’s younger brother was a complete degenerate spoiled brat. I mean, he even got sent to military school. Well, he used to just throw rock at me all the time. You name it and I heard it when I was growing up. I loved The Stones. I didn’t care for Zeppelin a whole lot. The Beatles were fantastic songwriters, but I wasn’t really into them because they weren’t a live rock ‘n’ roll band. I mean, they weren’t really known for their live performances.
CHUCK: Except for that whole
Ed Sullivan fiasco!

TEENAGE KICKS: What was the first record you bought yourself?
ADAM: Probably Kiss Destroyer or Ted Nugent Free For All.
JOE: My older sister flung all of her cast-off records at me too. I got the Monkees and all the Led Zeppelin records that nobody liked. Then she went fundamentalist Christian and got rid of all her devil records. So I got a lot of Black Sabbath records too.
CHUCK: I freaked out over the Kiss Alive record when I was a kid. Just this big explosion with them on the cover.
Purple Rain was probably the first thing I bought with my own money though. I listen to it to this day. And when I do, I pull out my white frilly pirate shirt and I ride my motorcycle until I run out of gas. Then I lay there naked in the street, until I’m picked up by the police - not Sting and the rest of the guys - but actual cops.

TEENAGE KICKS: What was your first band?
ADAM: I think we were called The Juicy Fiancées.
TEENAGE KICKS: When was this?
ADAM: I know the first songs we learned were “Clash City Rockers” and “Sonic Reducer.”

TEENAGE KICKS: So it was a punk band?
ADAM: Well, the only bands you could get into at that time were metal bands, so I had to learn these metal albums. The only guys who could teach me how to play were older though and they were all punks. I’d go over there and have to learn this Iron Maiden or Judas Priest song. They’d go, “OK, I’m going to teach you to play that, but I want you to go home and listen to this.” They gave me everything from The Damned and The Clash to Dead Boys and Dolls. That kind of got me going.

TEENAGE KICKS: I know you had a death rock or Goth band called The Wake.
ADAM: I did that after I came back from L.A. Everyone out there that played guitar was a shred god. I had no interest in shredding at all. It didn’t make any sense to me. So I moved back to Chicago.
There was a real cool Goth scene in Chicago at that time. The Wake was very Sisters of Mercy with a drum machine and everything. I liked the agitated aspect of the early Sisters stuff and I wanted to get more agitated with it. Our bass player wanted to go slower and darker though. That lasted for about two years. We did really well.

TEENAGE KICKS: What was the first incarnation of The Lust Killers like compared to now?
ADAM: It was more rockabilly, well not really rockabilly, but more of that approach. We still do some of those old songs, like “Not At All.”
I went into Goth, because I was against the whole shredding thing. It’s kind of the same story. When grunge took over, I was so anti anti grunge. I started pomping my hair. I had a huge pompadour. People were like, “what the fuck is that?!” They had no clue. I just wanted to bring back rock ‘n’ roll and do something fresh and charged up against what grunge was doing.
I was probably a bit more preachy with my vocals then too. It was more like telling a story than actually singing anything, kind of like Jim Carol. He’s a big inspiration to me. He’s a survivor. He’s still around.

TEENAGE KICKS: When did you come to San Francisco?
ADAM: ’97.

TEENAGE KICKS: When did you join American Heartbreak?
ADAM: ’98.

TEENAGE KICKS: How long were you in that band?
ADAM: Three years. There wasn’t anyone else in the scene that could play well enough and had the same influences. I never thought they sounded a lot like their influences though.
I kind of joined up with the intentions of seeing where things went in a year. By the end of the year we had an album. So I thought, OK, let’s see where this goes in another year. We toured Europe. Let’s see where this goes next year. We went back to Europe again.

TEENAGE KICKS: They do better in Europe than they do here.
ADAM: Absolutely. They don’t really do anything here. That’s what really bummed me out, because I like to play. I mean if someone called us up tonight and said, “Hey, do you want to come play a party?” I’d probably go and do it, like a dumb-ass. Heartbreak’s not like that. But on tour, I could handle it because we were playing out every night.
They never let me bring in any songs though and that was my #1 request when I joined the band. They told me, “Yeah sure, we’ll work them in.”
CHUCK: His second request was a pack of mint gum.
ADAM: Yeah, no mint gum in the band. It was really hard. I remember some days when I didn’t think I’d make it through the night.

TEENAGE KICKS: Chuck, you were Heartbreak’s guitar tech?
CHUCK: Yeah, I teched with them for a long time. I was roommates with Lance. Billy’s a friend of mine. I liked Mike a lot. I knew Eric from the scene. Adam and I became friends right away. I really like the songs on Postcards from Hell a lot too. It was kind of a no-brainer.
I didn’t get paid, but it was better than sitting home and not getting paid! I never got involved in any of the inner politics or anything. I just did it to go to shows.
ADAM: That’s kind of why I teamed up with him, so I could step outside of the politics and inner dealings of the band. He didn’t take anything person-ally. He was like a brother.
CHUCK: Plus I’m an amazing lover!
ADAM: All night long!

TEENAGE KICKS: He says you
were always trying to get him in trouble onstage and off. Any stories there?
CHUCK: There was this honey incident. We were backstage at Slim’s this one time. The band was all reading Motley Crue’s The Dirt at the time. They were always talking about how great all these things in the book were. “Nikki Sixx did this. Nikki Sixx did that.” Meanwhile, Adam and I have a girl trapped in the corner and we’re pouring honey all over her. They’re like, “Guys, guys, guys, don’t do that in here!” So while their reading and bragging about all the stuff Motley Crue did, we’re over in the corner doing it - covering an 18-year-old-girl in honey out of instinct. Anyway, they’re like, “Guys get out! That stuff’s not cool backstage. That stuff’s not cool!”
So Adam and I walk out and this girl starts screaming! We’re just going to run away from her now, because she’s so pissed. We’re coming up the stairs and there’s a security person coming down. He’s like, “What’s going on down here?” Adam says, “There’s a girl downstairs who got honey all over the place. She’s causing a bunch of trouble and I’m pretty sure she’s underage.”
So they tossed her out. She had to take the bus home covered in honey in the rain. Saying it out loud, it sounds kind of cruel. But you know what? She still e-mails us and wants to meet up.

TEENAGE KICKS: When did you decide to start up The Lust Killers again?
ADAM: We went to a Coyote Shivers show. Chuck’s like, “This is great! This is just pure rock ‘n’ roll.” I’m like, “You like this stuff? I’ve got some songs for you. Let’s put together a little band.” We were sending so much time together anyway.
CHUCK: He gave me this tape. I got into it right away and started having him show me the bass lines.
ADAM: I was doing both Heartbreak and Lust Killers for six months. Billy was in both too for a while.

TEENAGE KICKS: When was your first show?
ADAM: The first full- fledged Lust Killers show was at Bottom of the Hill with The Flipsides and Slender. Later we got Clint from Slender.
CHUCK: We tried out drummers for eight months. We tried out all these drummers and there was only one good one that showed up. We were practicing in a maintenance closet in his garage. There was barely enough room for his drum set and Adam and I played our instruments like they were uprights, sitting on our amps, up against the wall.
Then Greg from Swingin’ Utters, who’s a really good friend of mine, wanted to try out. He goes, “Let me try out. I have a practice space.” So we started playing with him. That’s right around the time we lost Billy. Our third show was Billy’s last show.
ADAM: I still don’t recall how Clint got in the band.
CHUCK: Greg was looking to get out of his space, because he was sharing it with these guys who were literally leaving syringes on his snare drum. He just wanted to get out of there. Clint really wanted to start
playing with us and he had a room downstairs. We liked Clint, so we just moved downstairs.
ADAM: The whole thing with the band ever since I put it together again, I just wanted to find guys I liked being around. When we were looking for drummers a priority was to find someone that we could be serious with but also have fun and
be complete clowns.
But all we did with Clint was drink. When Joe started sitting in and rehearsing, it just felt completely natural.

TEENAGE KICKS: When did you come into the band Joe?
JOE: I was playing bass in a band called Three Years Down. When that band combusted, I was desperate to try and do something else, so I just hassled these guys relentlessly.

TEENAGE KICKS: You’re also in Fracas, right?
JOE: Yes. I play bass in Fracas.

TEENAGE KICKS: Any Fracas stories to tell?
JOE: Every single show with Fracas is a story! I mean, in theory we play music, but it’s more like chaos theater. We get up and play really loud and shit breaks. Sometimes the shit that breaks is attached to the people in the band!
Last time we played, people in the audience were throwing full cans of beer at us. I got hit four times. But that’s part of the reason I’m in that band. I like that kind of ridiculous punk rock thing.

TEENAGE KICKS: How did the Lords of the New Church resurrection come about? Were you trying to go for the opening slot?
ADAM: Yeah, originally. When Devorah told me that Lords were going to get back together, I thought, that’s not a good idea but I love them and that would be a
pretty good target audience for what we do.
Brian James heard some of The Lust Killers stuff,really rough old stuff like “Swamp Love,” and he was really into it. Then he called me up and said, “There’s been a change of plans. We want you to sing.”
Later, I got a call from Dave Treguna. He told me they wanted to record some stuff in Brighton. He had big hopes about getting
Lords back together. He more or less told me that he thought I might be the missing piece to solving the difference in what the new material would sound like
compared to the old.
I still didn’t think this was a very good idea, but these were guys that I really looked up to, so I went out there and recorded with them. I cut guitar and vocals for ten songs in ten days. But it’s nothing but a big blur of hash and Guinness and Bordeaux.

TEENAGE KICKS: Were you happy with the record at all?
ADAM: No. The second vocalist laid his tracks in L.A. They had him just yelling over the top of what I was singing. Once they added the second vocals to it, I just didn’t like the dynamic or where it was going. Brian also wanted me to sing a lot of the songs a lot sweeter than the delivery that I thought was right. He wanted me to sing them kind of sweet, almost crooning, and then have the second singer yell over the top, so there’d be this dynamic. That’s exactly what he got, but not in a good way.

TEENAGE KICKS: I heard they put your Lords guitar up at the Hard Rock Café.
ADAM: Yeah. It’s the closest guitar to the bar in Chicago. It’s right across from the Guinness, on the outside of the staircase landing.