“Scarecrow Close” by Big John Bates

This Thursday (Oct 18th), Vancouver rocker Big John Bates will be in town with his new band featuring Brandy Bones (up-right bass/cello/vocals), JT Massacre (percussion) and Khadijah (tuba, organ). The groups latest record Battered Bones was just released this past September and features a gritty, more blues/western influenced sound than Bate’s previous work. I recently had the chance to ask John a few questions about the new musical direction and his trip to St.John’s.

Is this your first time in town?

Indeed it is. I just wish we were staying longer.

St.John’s is a long ways away from Vancouver. We don’t get a lot of bands just passing through so we’re glad to hear you’re coming to town. What made you decide to put St.John’s on your tour schedule?

We were offered our first opportunity to play there and took it immediately. It’s a city and coast I want to see and I know we have some fans there because I’ve met lots of them who have travelled to our shows.

I’ve just been listening to some songs from your new album Battered Bones. It’s very different from the rockabilly type stuff you used to do with The Voodoo Dollz. Is the new album a big departure for you stylistically?

Yes it is very different and Brandy is also has a big influence. The rockabilly/burlesque phase, AKA the Voodoo Dollz Years of my career ended in 2010. Like the metal I wrote and played with Annihilator it was part of a journey that helped me get to where we are now. We are still playing around with roots style music but this new stuff is pretty intense!

I hear hints of Dick Dale, The Cramps and Tom Waits in your music. Who would you cite as influences?

In the past the Cramps were a huge influence, in this incarnation of the band we are more interested in bands like 16 Horsepower, Jay Munly, even a little Jack White with darker topics and deadlier instruments.

Anything in particular you hope to experience while in St.John’s?

I want to see the buildings, hangout with people and try the local liquor. The first time we play anywhere I try to get an overall feel for a place so I can think about it and figure out which way to jump the next time we are there. See ya soon!

Don’t miss Big John Bates live at CBTG’s this Thursday (Oct 18th). You can also listen to and download Battered Bones and more albums by Big John Btes at the links below.