INTERVIEW WITH SPIDER LANE OF ROXY MAE
Date: December 26, 2015
Interviewer: Terry Martinson
Photos: Flutterby Photography (third, fifth and sixth photos)
EARLIER THIS YEAR, I SANG MY PRAISES FOR THE SELF-TITLED FULL-LENGTH CRAFTED SO ELOQUENTLY BY COLUMBUS, OHIO’S ROXY MAE WHICH WAS RELEASED IN 2014. NOW, MANY MONTHS LATER AND ALMOST INTO 2016, THE ROXY MAE GANG HAVE A COUPLE OF NEW SINGLES OUT WITH “LIFE IN THE CITY” AND “DRESSED IN BLACK,” THE LATTER OF WHICH IS ACCOMPANIED BY A VERY NICE NEW VIDEO. WHAT FOLLOWS ARE A FEW COHERENT TRAINS OF THOUGHT I HAD WITH SPIDER LANE, THE CURRENT BASSIST, PART-TIME VOCALIST AND FORMER DRUMMER OF ROXY MAE. I’D LIKE TO THANK OLIVIER FOR LETTING ME ADD SOME MILEAGE TO THE SLEAZE ROXX AMEX ACCOUNT GETTING TO OHIO AND BACK TO HANG WITH SPIDER LANE…
Sleaze Roxx: So the new single dropped in October and lo and behold, you are singing lead on the track. Great new song by the way, but what gives? How did you get lead duties in lieu of Matt? Are you planning on vocalizing on future singles? Or like the LP, do you get to sing a time or two on each release?
Spider Lane: You know, it just kind of happened. We recorded two songs for this [“Dressed In Black” and “I Dare Ya”, the latter of which Matt sings on] and we racked our brains trying to figure out which one should be the single. We eventually decided “Dressed In Black” was the one, but I was nervous. It was definitely weird, since Matt has always been, and to me, still is, the voice of Roxy Mae. To put out our first video with someone else singing… but it’s honestly worked out really well. The video got around 1,000 hits in a few days.
We’re keeping everything equal, but we now have three capable lead vocalists, as Heidi (drums) has a hell of a voice, too. Now, when we write, we mess with the songs and see whose voice sounds best on it, and that’s how we decide. There’s no kind of rivalry or anything. We all want to do what’s best for the songs.
Sleaze Roxx: “I Dare Ya” is a dinger of course too, right in line with everything else I’ve heard. Are you diggin’ it? How did that song and “Dressed In Black” come about? Do you all write collaboratively? Or is it a one person thing?
Spider Lane: Those two happened to be mine. I normally come up with a skeleton of a song and bring it to Matt and Heidi and we build on it from there. Matt did a brilliant solo on “Dressed In Black” where he used a pedal called a Super Shifter for that super high note at the end of the solo. Matt and I were collaborating before I joined. I gave him the intro riff for “I Want You” and he finished the song, and Matt gave me the first complete quarter or so of “Remedy” and I finished it. Matt definitely writes, too, but he’s a little more secretive about what he’s working on. He sits on his songs a little longer to make sure he likes them before bringing them in. We’re all our own biggest critics when it comes to writing.
Sleaze Roxx: In the past, I see you played drums on some Roxy cuts from the outstanding long play and now you are playing bass. Are you a prodigy or just filling voids? What do you prefer to play?
Spider Lane: I was waiting for this question. I play a bit of everything. I loved playing drums on the full length because I think drums articulate the “vibe” of the song more than anything else. I started playing bass out of necessity — as pretty much every bass player does — because every band seems to need one. However, there can be 20 guitar players in a band, but there’s still only one bassist! I prefer to sing. I would prefer to play bass, too, if I could afford better gear. Sadly, used bass gear doesn’t lose its value like guitar gear does, meaning I should probably be playing the lottery.
Sleaze Roxx: Who endorses Spider Lane? Who does Spider Lane want to endorse him?
Spider Lane: We recently scored endorsements from a few companies including SIT Strings and Big Bends Nut Sauce [guitar cleaning/maintenance products]. I was once endorsed by Spector basses, but that kind of fizzled out after I had a LOT of electronic issues with the bass I’d gotten from them. There’s no bad blood between me and Spector or anything. Who would I want to be endorsed by? Definitely Acoustic amps — my dream rig is a few Acoustic 8x10s with matching heads. I’d take them over Ampeg any day. It drives other bass players crazy when I say that. Other than that, Red Bull and Tanqueray.
Sleaze Roxx: Heidi is an epic drummer of course and certainly easy on the eyes [Interviewer’s note: I cursed whoever edited the “Dressed In Black” video a handful of times] and Matt is the quintessential rock star. What’s it like being book ended by such pedigree?
Spider Lane: Heidi’s such a doll, ain’t she? It’s honestly intimidating for me, because I definitely think I’m the least attractive in the band, so I just overdo it with stage presence to make up for it. I’m fine with being remembered as the crazy guy.
Sleaze Roxx: Speaking to lineage, any previous efforts from yourself? The rest of the Mae clan?
Spider Lane: I’m not sure I understand this question. What have I done previously is how I interpret this. I was in a band called Switchblade Scarlett for awhile, we did two tours and played the Rocklahoma Festival twice. After that, I was in a band called NDZ that did a tour and two albums, and we were way more pop-influenced than Roxy or Switchblade. Heidi was in a band called Street Foxx, and also the Godz for awhile, and some of her playing is on the Godz’s ‘From The Vaults’ albums. She did the South Texas Rock Fest with them, too. Matt has pretty much made Roxy Mae his life, and he’s done very well building them up before I joined. I wouldn’t have agreed to guest drum for any other non-major band at the time, and still wouldn’t.
Sleaze Roxx: Speaking to the LP, which I think is stellar by the way, what are your favorites from it? What’s a live favorite? Is there one you’d prefer not to hear/play again? Nice cover tunes by the way — why those? Do you crack out any others? What one would you like to do?
Spider Lane: Hmm. I still love “Drinkin’ Smokin’” and not just because I sang on it. That intro riff is so pissed off, it’s just killer. “Bring Me Down” is another one. The first time I saw Roxy in 2011, they opened with that and I said, “God damn! These guys are awesome.” Actually, at that show, when Matt first walked in, I thought, “This guy looks like a fucking asshole.” Little did I know that he’d soon be one of my best friends. Also, he’s not an asshole at all, he’s way friendlier than I am. As for ones I’m not that into, “Keep Rockin’” is up there. That’s a really weird one. I’m not sure what we were thinking there.
The cover songs existed before I was in, even as a studio drummer. I honestly don’t know why those — they just kind of happened. I’m not sure if there are any cover songs I’d be really into. I can’t think of any. I’d love to do the “rock goes pop” thing and take a radio pop song and do it up. We actually used to do a cover of “Mean” by Taylor Swift, which was pretty cool.
Sleaze Roxx: Future musical plans? Singles club? An EP? Long play?
Spider Lane: Definitely another full length. Aside from the new single, we’ve got around 15 songs kicking around, and by next year, it will probably be closer to 30, so we’ll have plenty to choose from. Other than that, getting some worth it shows outside of Ohio. Through our online store, we’ve sold more CDs and what not overseas than we have here — mostly to Spain, Italy, Japan, and Australia. It’d be a dream to get to some of those places.
Sleaze Roxx: Any plans on getting the band on the road? Maybe some west coast dates?
Spider Lane: We were actually just contacted by the Viper Room, who wanted to set up a show, but sadly, I don’t think we’ll have the means to do that for a little while. Touring can seriously wreck a band if the shows aren’t guaranteed to be good, so we’re more focused on getting good shows [both crowd and pay wise] where we can, rather than blow it all on a tour that accomplishes nothing.
Sleaze Roxx: What band/performer would you like Roxy Mae to play with? What’s a favorite that you have?
Spider Lane: I always say I’d love to open for One Direction [laughs]. As far as a good fit for us, I’d love to do a tour with Pop Evil, Halestorm, Buckcherry or Papa Roach. They are sort of our “peers” genre-wise, and I think they would “get” us, as would their fans.
Sleaze Roxx: Who else musically in Columbus is as cool as you? Matt? Roxy Mae? Who should we be looking out for? Listening to?
Spider Lane: That’s a tough one. There are a few really fantastic Ohio bands that we’ve played with. Bobaflex is the most obvious. They’re great guys and ferociously tight live. Perfectly Damaged from Mansfield, Dr. Dreadful from Akron — those are my personal favorites. Both Rachel and Hatter from Dr. Dreadful were in the “Dressed In Black” video.
Rapid fire, bonus round!
Sleaze Roxx: What size shoe you runnin’?
Spider Lane: Normally 12 in shoes, 13 in most boots.
Sleaze Roxx: Favorite kicks?
Spider Lane: Used to be TUKs, but now it’s the leather Chucks.
Sleaze Roxx: Chuck Taylor?
Spider Lane: Fuck yeah.
Sleaze Roxx: Doc Martin?
Spider Lane: I love my 14-eyes.
Sleaze Roxx: Celebrity crush?
Spider Lane: Eve Hewson.
Sleaze Roxx: Musical idol(s)?
Spider Lane: Green Day.
Sleaze Roxx: Favorite record?
Spider Lane: Highschool Lockers’ “Never Ending Party.” Great band from Italy.
Sleaze Roxx: Favorite band past/present?
Spider Lane: It’s been Green Day since I picked up a guitar. Sonic Surf City (from Sweden) are a close second.
Sleaze Roxx: What are you driving?
Spider Lane: 2009 Chevy Trailblazer. Wine red.
Sleaze Roxx: What would you rather be driving?
Spider Lane: Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
Sleaze Roxx: Cats or dogs?
Spider Lane: Dogs, but if you ever want to get married, you’d better start liking cats.
Sleaze Roxx: Favorite food?
Spider Lane: Fried clams.
Sleaze Roxx: Drink?
Spider Lane: TOP Soda from Cameroon.
Sleaze Roxx: I’m a Steelers fanatic. Do you do football?
Spider Lane: Nope, not at all.
Sleaze Roxx: Being in Ohio there are many to pick from… If not football anything sporty?
Spider Lane: I watch cricket matches here and there.
Sleaze Roxx: Dress right or left?
Spider Lane: Typically left.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s with the handle? Spider Lane?
Spider Lane: It was a combination of a bunch of things. When I was just getting into high school, the few bassists at my school were obsessed with a technique we called “spider bass,” where you play with all eight of your non-thumbs in bass runs. I ended up being able to do it really well, so a few people started calling me Spider. Later, I saw NOFX with this amazing band called the Loved Ones opening, and their bass player had the greatest bass tone I’ve ever heard, and still holds that record. His name was Michael “Spider” Cotterman. He quit shortly after, sadly, but that cemented it for me. I was Spider. The last name actually came from a cartoon called Danny Phantom. There was this rocker ghost chick on the show, Ember McLane or something, and I liked it, so Lane it was. I identify as Spider now. If the few people who know my real name say it, normally I won’t even turn around. My birth name is still on my driver’s license, etc, but it really just isn’t who I am. So, to anyone who reads this, hi, I’m Spider, nobody else, so don’t fucking ask. We cool?
Sleaze Roxx: Can I get one of those “Electric Yellow Vintage Cartoon Tee’s” in an XL?
Spider Lane: I will definitely check! We only have a couple of them left, but I’ll see.
Sleaze Roxx: Thank you kindly for letting me chat you up, it was a treat for sure. Best of luck on the new single and of course the future releases as well. Keep me and the rest of the world posted on what’s next as I know I am anxiously awaiting the future.
Spider Lane: For sure, thanks for having me.
Thank you to Terry Martinson for doing the interview!