INTERVIEW WITH CARL SPACKLER OF LA CHINGA
Date: June 5, 2016
Interviewer: Metal Mike
LA CHINGA ARE A POWER TRIO BORNE OUT OF THE SOFT UNDERBELLY OF VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA. THEIR CURRENT ALBUM ‘FREEWHEELIN” WAS RELEASED ON APRIL 1, 2016 VIA SMALL STONE RECORDINGS. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH LA CHINGA HOT OFF A GIG ON JUNE 4, 2016 AND BASSIST/SINGER CARL SPACKLER WAS READY TO CHAT. THE NAME CARL SPACKLER COMES RIGHT FROM BILL MURRAY’S CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE ‘CADDYSHACK’ IF THAT GIVES YOU ANY INDICATION OF HOW THE INTERVIEW IS GOING TO GO!
Metal Mike: According to Urbandictonary.com, La Chinga essentially means a middle finger to the establishment. How did you come up with your band name?
Carl Spackler: We wrote the song “La Chinga” for our first gig, and at the time, we were going under a different moniker… After the gig, people kept screaming ‘La Chinga!’at us, so we went with it and changed the name of the band right there — like five minutes after the gig! To me, the phrase La Chinga is a celebration of joy and exuberance. That’s how I hear it and anytime you are throwing the bird to the ‘Man’ as well, it feels good… but it has many meanings, good and bad, and I really dig that. When I wrote the song, I had no idea what it meant. I just thought it sounded cool. Destiny really. Super glad it didn’t turn to mean like stale bread or something.
La Chinga live at Lana Lou’s singing La Chinga
Metal Mike: Your bio says your influences are UFO, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, etc. I’ve heard ‘Freewheelin’’ a few times, and sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes hard to find those influences on the album. Do you agree in that regard and why?
Carl Spackler: Yes. I hear the influences, but we sound like us I think. I mean if you are playing hard rock, AC/DC, Zep, Sabbath, James Gang, ZZ Top, etc… — these are the bedrock of the whole thing for us, the foundation of it all for us, so for sure they are in there. Wouldn’t have it any other way. That said though, we have been playing music for a long time now and have written so many songs that I do think we have our own sound and feel. We draw from many wells. The reviews we have on the new LP have us compared to Black Sabbath, power pop, T. Rex, Cinderella, country… Someone said I sing like David Bowie. I don’t hear that at all. Someone said I sound like Lemmy. This was before they both died. Rest in peace super heroes! I am often really puzzled by the comparisons, but it is really flattering. I mean I love both of those guys!
Metal Mike: Are you trying to modernize that classic sound? I hear several newer, contemporary influences as well…. What is your take?
Carl Spackler: We are modern guys. Ha! Not really. I mean, I think most of the last decade in music has been terrible. I know I sound like an old man yelling ‘Get off my lawn!’ but very little of what is popular, I dig. For sure, there are records that come out now I love, but other than a few other weirdos like us, very few people check them out it seems like. Cool music has gone underground again and that is awesome in a way. Maybe, it will break through to the mainstream, but the modern world leaves me puzzled mainly. The modern bands I am into sound like old bands for the most part. The current bands I dig — Uncle Acid, Kadavar, Sir Admiral Cloudsley Shovell, Graveyard — there are a lot. I think those bands are great, and the whole scene is very cool, but I bet if I was at their house, they would have a lot of the same records as me. I don’t feel like they have influenced us, but maybe I am wrong. I think we have ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and some ’90s in our music for sure. The punk-a-rolla scene in the ’90s had some killer bands and records! The Humpers, The Hellacopters, New Bomb Turks — high energy rock! Love that stuff! I think that we bring some of that to the current scene, and frankly I think people dig it. I can’t always get down with a 20 minute jam…. Sometimes yeah, but not the whole set dudes! Zzzzz…. What contemporary influence do you hear?
Metal Mike: Two immediately come to mind. Monster Truck from Hamilton, Ontario [Canada] and The Last Vegas from Chicago, Illinois [USA]. Do you pay attention to modern trends in hard rock or do you just do your own thing? What new albums do you look forward to?
Carl Spackler: Monster Truck influenced? No… Monster Magnet yes! I heard Monster Truck on the radio once. Thought it was pretty cool. I should check them out. The Last Vegas, same thing really — I will check them out. I do pay attention a bit to modern trends, but not as much as I used to. We mainly do our own thing — too much crap bands, not enough diamonds these days — but I do find some… The Biters are coo. I love Guida! There is a band called Dr. Boogie who seem right up my alley with their Cheap Trick/Faces vibe! The Golden Grass make sweet sunshine rock music, and this band from Italy called Killer Boogie do the stoner thing right to my ears. Sweden has a ton of rippers — Gin Lady, Brutus, Witchcraft… So yeah, I guess I do have my ears open. New albums I am looking forward too? I think Axl and Angus should make a record… Just don’t let Axl use any keyboards or guys with chicken buckets on their heads… I’m sure this will be heresy to some, but Axl has got them playing “Touch Too Much!’
Metal Mike: La Chinga has been around for a few years now. Can you give us an idea of your back story?
Carl Spackler: I had a great gig booked but no band… so I called up the two best players in town I knew and ‘Pow! Dynamite!’ We knew after the first jam we had chemistry. A couple of the videos on YouTube are recordings of that very first jam. Never felt that before in all the bands I have been in. Never looked back since.
Metal Mike: Every band that’s been around for a while has some odd stories. Any highlights or horror stories from the road?
Carl Spackler: We just came back from tour of Europe and we had this old punker driving the bus, who couldn’t drive very well… Everyday, he would crash into something. We called him ’Mad Manel’ after Mad Max… Sweetest guy, but Jesus, the dents and scrapes he put on that van! We were looking for parking for like an hour in this city — couldn’t find anywhere. Finally, he found an underground garage and he starts driving towards it. We all yell ‘Manel! We are too big for this place! It won’t fit!’ He says in broken English:‘No problem, no problem!’ Bang! We run right into the cement roof of the garage! Massive dent in the bus — we all go flying, luggage, bodies, gear! Wasn’t even close! Like we were way too big. Just gales of laughter after we all got up off the floor of the van! Later, we are stuck in traffic in Madrid [Spain] and Manel says, “Do you have a bottle?” He has to pee and he really has to go. There is nowhere for him to pee so we give him a bottle. ‘Sure Manel, here you go.’ He jumps out of the driver’s seat and proceeds to pee all over the bus, my suitcase, the drummer’s leg. He is spraying it everywhere! No pee goes in the bottle at all. Once again, not even close… “No problem’ he says! No problem. That guy left a trail of carnage behind him. I thought after one bad scene, we were all gonna be in some Spanish jail rotting forever… I swear Interpol is looking for him! Weirdly enough, it was so exciting and he was such a riot, we will probably hire him again!
Metal Mike: You have been identified by some reviewers as “stoner rock.” I frankly don’t hear that so much on ‘Freewheelin’’. These days, how you’re branded often reflects who your audience becomes. How would you identify your music and do you agree with the tag “stoner rock”?
Carl Spackler: Yeah we have some ‘psychedelic’ moments I guess so that and the fact we have riffs, we get the ‘stoner’ tag, so I get it. Doesn’t bother me. The ‘stoner’ scene is cool. Those people/fans really support their bands, buy records, go to gigs, so we are happy to have them at our gigs, but I don’t think we are wholly ‘stoner’ so I agree with you there. Like any movement, people like to have a label for it. I mean, when I was a kid it was called ‘acid rock.’ Any time you have a wizard like Ben (Yardley) on the guitar using his spaceship pedal board, people are going to trip out. We are a rock band. That’s the tag I think. We play hard rock, which is a funny thing to be in these days because it doesn’t seem like there are too many of us.
Metal Mike: What was your experience recording ‘Freewheelin’?’ Usually, every band has some funny studio stories. Do you have any to share?
Carl Spackler: Recording is always fun. We try to go for a vibe and capture some majic. The other guys always make fun of me cuz I always want to record on a full moon or have a seance or some voodoo, get all mystical n’ shit before we cut a take. They just want to have a beer and a laugh — somehow the two forces collide. On the new record, nothing too funny really, just Jason (Solyom) our drummer and I arguing about which Scorpions album is the best! Me screaming that ‘Lonesome Crow’ is genius and him sayin’ that ‘Virgin Killer’ is the one. I think he might be right… He hated the last song on our record “The Dawn Of Man.” He didn’t think it should be on the album. It’s a lot of people’s favourite song from the reviews we got. If Jason has his way, the next album will sound like ’80s KISS!
Metal Mike: What are your favourite songs to play live off the new album? How is it being received in the club scene?
Carl Spackler: I love playing “Stoned Grease White Lightnin’” live. I sing it better now than the album version. Took me awhile to figure that one out and it’s cool people dance when we play it live. I don’t want a mosh pit at our gigs. Grab a girl fellas, or whatever your preference, and shake your ass! I’m not into bumping into sweaty guys when I go to gigs. Let’s party, not fight people.
The vibe on the tour was so great! People really get off on “The Mother Of All Snakeheads.” That seems to whip them into a rock and roll fury! And we had a crowd in Spain singing our riff for “K.I.W.” back to us after we played the song! Like a soccer chant or something, which was mind blowing for us!
Metal Mike: I have noticed in Canada that there are many bands that hit it big regionally, but even with touring, not so much nationally. Is that because a national tour is so expensive and the country is so big? What’s your take on that?
Carl Spackler: We go where we are wanted. Right now, Europe has been calling which has been very sweet, short drives, hotels, food, drinks and most importantly audiences! We can play a Monday night somewhere over there and it will be packed with rockers! Tough to do that right now in Canada. We are hoping that maybe after the next record, we will have a demand large enough to go and play our homeland, but right now we just don’t get the same offers we do in Europe. Hopefully that changes. It’s been a challenge to get any attention in Canada. We struggle to get noticed here. Someone said it’s because we don’t sound Canadian — not sure what that means? Are we supposed to sing about maple syrup, hockey and funerals? Or have a guy in a toque with a fiddle and a sweater? Fuck that.
Metal Mike: So following up on the success of ‘Freewheelin’ — what’s next for La Chinga?
Carl Spackler: Well we have lots of gigs coming up. We are playing some outdoor festivals this summer, which are always a blast! And hopefully another tour of Europe soon — maybe South America as well.
We have a video for “Gone Gypsy” coming out, which from the shoot we just did, was deranged mayhem. Hopefully, we have captured the insanity of that day, without incriminating anyone too badly. And we are trying to get album #3 in the can this summer! Got a lot of new songs written. Very excited to make it happen sooner than later.
Metal Mike: Finally, anything else you want to talk about? Promote? Kick to the next level that Sleaze Roxx readers need to know?
Carl Spackler: We are honored to be in Sleaze Roxx. We are fans. I think the first time I got on a computer, I googled The Four Horsemen, Zodiac Mindwarp or Circus Of Power, and up popped your awesome website! So thank you for this! We are hoping to connect with any like-minded, brain damaged individuals that are into high energy hard rock who might dig what we do!
Canadian Stoner/Hard Rock band La Chinga From the album “Freewheelin’ ” (Releases 25th March 2016) https://www.facebook.com/La-Chinga-389979744359207/?fref=ts http://www.smallstone.com/ http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/freewheelin