Fans of unpretentious rock ’n’ roll had a lot to celebrate when the fourth album by Los Angeles firebrands the Bronx entered the world. The record—their first in five years—was released last Tuesday, and it finds the band at the height of their powers. Which is kind of a big deal, considering how their much-lauded mariachi side project El Bronx eclipsed the rock band’s trajectory.
While IV is certainly a gift to anyone who feels there’s been a real dearth in quality, unbridled, rock fury, the Bronx are just getting started. Guitarist Joby J. Ford says the often discussed but never-materialized five-record vinyl box set of all of the band’s full-length releases will finally see the light of day this summer. In addition to the band’s four full-length releases, Ford says there will be EP tracks (like the import-only La Muerte Viva, issued by the British label Wichita Recordings in 2003), B-sides (including cover versions of songs by the Gun Club, Ride and Charles Manson) and other unheard curiosities that will make people yell “Hell, yeah” or “What the hell was that?”
“It’s all about timing,” says Ford. “There are going to be 25 unreleased songs. Let me tell you what going through old tapes and hard drives is like. There are some songs that...” he pauses. “I used to do a lot of drugs, Jason. [Laughter.] We pulled up one song where Jorma [Vik, drummer] is playing pots and pans, there’s more reverb on it that you’ve ever heard in your life and I think Matt [Caughthran, singer] might be asleep, singing. I was like, 'What the fuck were we thinking? This is awesome!’ That was our ’70s. But the whole process has been really exciting.”
While the record will carry the logo of the band’s White Drugs imprint, Ford says the label itself is winding down. “The last thing that any of us [in the band] need to do right now is put out records,” he says. “We get hit up a lot about it, and I’ll be the first person to say, ‘There’s no way I can do your band justice at this point in time. With two bands, two kids and touring and recording heavily in both bands, trust me: You don’t want to be on this label.’ I know what it’s like to be on a label that didn’t do anything, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.” Fans can also expect some sweet packaging courtesy of Ford, who is in charge of both bands’ visual identity.
In addition to the box set, Bronx obsessives have plenty to look forward to this year. The band’s resident human drum-engine Jorma Vik can be heard propelling Afraid Of Heights, the new album from slacker-pop wunderkinds Wavves. MenWhoBeatWomenAndTheWomenWhoLoveThem, Ford’s immersion into vintage synthesizers with producer Michael Beinhorn (Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers) might release some music later this year. There is also talk about the creation of a proposed coffee-table book detailing the Bronx's first 10 years together. Frontman Matt Caughthran jokes, “I’m going to be making a garage-rock record where I play all the instruments, but that’s not gonna be good.” Caughthran hopes he and Ford will have the time to make the follow-up to the 2006 debut from their long-dormant punk band, the Drips. Then, Ford matter-of-factly announces another project he’s working on.
“I’m working on an elevator music record,” he says. “Straight up.”
You gonna issue it under your name?
He pauses and exhales. “Probably not. It’s going to be called Future Shores. I’m in negotiations with a very insane African-American fellow to sing on it. That’s all I can tell you right now.” Alt
Check out our interview with the Bronx’s Joby Ford and Matt Caughthran in AP 296, on sale now.