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Aloha Poprock Interview with Tim Boykin

1.- First of all, let me tell you that, in Shame Idols and in Lolas, you are one of the best creators of melodies, bridges and chorus that has appeared in the last years.
Your last albums and “Something you oughta know” (2004) get closer more and more to the sound of The Beatles and The Byrds. Are this your principal influences as songwriter?

Well, first thanks for your kind words! As far as the Beatles / Byrds thing goes, I do love that jet age folk rock sound. I've wanted to get a very dense, saturated guitar and vocal sound while at the same time trying to have it clear and clean. I love the Byrds, Searchers, etc. The crazy thing about the Beatles, there's almost nothing they
didn't do during the brief time they were together! They did nasty funk, metal, angelic pop, R'n'B, folk, blues, prog, they did it all!

2.- In your music there is a lot of bubblegum, with catchy hooks and festive rhythms. Do you like bubblegum 60’s, the music of Buddah Records?

Yeah!! Ohio Express! 1910 Fruitgum. All that wonderful Kasenetz & Katz stuff!! And also the Archies and Tommy Roe.

3.- Before you formed Shame Idols and Lolas, you were in a group called Carnival Season. What kind of music did you play at that time?

Carnival Season was right after I graduated from High School. I had been hanging around the punk / hardcore scene, but I've always had sort of a contrary nature, so Carnival Season tended to sort of challenge, or go against the flow of what was considered acceptable or cool by regional indie standards. We started out doing kind of psychedelic 60s punk, we managed to release one 7" EP during that phase, but by the time we did our two releases on What Goes On label, we had sort of moved into more of a 70s glam/hard rock/pop phase. We were sort of considered trouble makers around here. (laughs) There would be polls in local publications where we'd be voted both "best" and "worst" local band! (laughs)

4.- With Bryan Price and Jesse Diego Shuttle you created Shame Idols and firmed a contract with Frontier, recording two excellents Lps, “I got time” (1995) and “Rocket Cat” (1997), two albums produced by Conrad Uno.
“I got time” is, without losing your masterly sense of melody and harmonies, more punk-pop and ramonesque bubblegum than “Rocket Cat”, where you spread your compositions to propositios more power-pop, fusing wisely melody and energy. Which of the two albums do you prefer and how was your experience of working with Conrad?

Of the 2 albums, I prefer the production on I Got Time, because it's punchier, But I like the songwriting better on Rocket Cat. Those were crazy, fun sessions. Both albums were recorded VERY quickly, the first one is pretty much what we sounded like live. We tried to sort of get a little more production happening with Rocket Cat, but we still only had 8 days to finish!  I Got Time was recorded and mixed in 5 days. Conrad was awesome to work with. I wanted to work with him because of the stuff he had done with Supersnazz, Fastbacks, Bum, etc. I loved that stuff! Conrad is a smart, funny, soft-spoken guy who loves baseball and golf. And his gal Emily Bishton is awesome. She's a traditional country and western singer with incredible range. She sang the really high spooky science fiction vocal on the the song "Not In The Way" on I Got Time.
5.- The artwork of Jaime Hernandez in that albums was wonderful. Why doesn’t he collaborate with you in Lolas?

Having Jaime Hernandez do those cover was a huge honor for me! He and his brother Gilbert were big heros of mine, so it was like having George C. Scott come to your birthday party! (laughs) I met Jaime out in L.A. a couple of times, he was awesome. We talked about doing more stuff, but I wanted to try different things and not be in the same mold. But I'll always feel really good about Jaime doing those covers!

6.- After “Rocket Cat” you decided to break up The Shame Idols. Which was the cause for this split?

Frontier went under, so there were no more recording budgets from them. We had been touring and trying to get something going, but it was tough, and when the label folded, it kind of demoralized the band. We were playing showcases, trying to get other labels interested, but we were meeting these lawyers and A&R guys, and it was all really creepy business. These people aren't interested in music, they just wanna make a fast dollar and for some reason they wanna exploit musicians. From our end, there was some drug use starting to happen among a couple of the guys, and that was affecting our confidence. Anyway, I had found a great studio in our area, Denial Labs which is owned by Daniel Farris, and we cut a 4 song demo there, we did "Skating Rink," "Don't You Wanna," "Lamp Of Love," and "Goodbye Rose." Those recordings ended up on Ballerina Breakout. That album started out to be the 3rd Shame Idols record. I decided to produce it myself. Once we had drums and bass down, I just took it from there, overdubbing vocals, guitars, keyboards. While I was doing that, the other guys just kind of lost interest and quit. When I shopped it to Jeremy at Jam, he said "this is really a whole new thing. Why not call it something new, make a fresh start?" I was totally into that. So I named it the Lolas, after my girlfiend's dog, Lola.

7.- Later, you founded Lolas, recording three splendid Lps in Jam Records, full of fresh power-pop with irresistible melodies, energy, superb harmonies. Write us a short comentary about the following groups that your music bring us to our mind when we are listening your albums.

The Beatles:
My favorite Beatles song right now is "Hold Me Tight." That song's got it all! It rocks, it's got a nasty groove, and kick ass vocals!

The Byrds: I love those chiming guitars and Gregorian chant vocals!

The Who: To me, the Who are one of the most important groups ever. Their early singles are without peer. And I think Tommy is a profound work that will stand the test of time.

The Beach Boys: Love 'em. But I think that some people unjustly turn their nose up at The Beach Boys early singles, the surfing songs, the hot rod songs. I love that stuff! It makes me wanna go cruisin' for burgers! (laughs)

The Hollies: "Look Through Any Window" is definitely one of my all time favorite singles.

The Kinks:
Like the Who, the Kinks are a very important group for me. I sort of personally identify with Ray Davies. It's a conceit. But he represents sort of a personal archetype for me. I have dreams about Ray occasionally.

Ramones: I'll never forget getting home with the 1st Ramones album when I was 13 years old and hearing that soaring, burning sound come out of that stereo!!

The Raspberries: My girlfriend and I met at a card game and initially bonded over the Raspberries. I was (as usual) being disruptive and playing loud music while people were trying to play cards. She was there, being quiet and demure. When I stuck on "Go All The Way," she lit up like a lightbulb and said "OOH!! I LOVE THE RASPBERRIES!!" And we hit it off immediately....

The Shoes:
The truth is, I never heard the Shoes until a few years ago. I used to read about them magazines like Trouser Press and Cream many years ago, but I never heard them until we were asked to record a track for the Shoes tribute album. But Jeremy sent me a cassette with a bunch of their stuff on it, and I really dug it, great stuff. But when I read that the Lolas are 'very influenced by the Shoes' I kind of wince, ya know? Because it's not really true, even though I think they're great. Now, the Records, the Chords, Bram Tchaikovsky, yes, we are influenced by them.

7.- I love the harmonies, the bubblegum spirit and byrdesque guitars from “We’re going down to the boathouse”, the power-pop energy of “Master Cat”, the soaring harmonies of “Tim’s Mon”; “Dana The Chromiun Girl”, with a catchy hook, beatlesque bridge and vibrant riff, the same as “Jungle Girl”; “Something oughta know”, my personal favorite track in the album, is a pop gem of two minutes with a simple and brilliant melody, just like “Weird Daughter”, “They coming for you Barbara” or the ballad “Light up every doorway”.
“Something oughta know” is really an album that will delight to lovers of melody.
Are you satisfied with this work? What are your favorite songs in the album?

Thanks again for your kindness. To answer your questions, I am happy with this record, though of course I hope to improve a lot in the future. I've built a little studio in my house where I recorded it, this album was the "guinea pig." My two favorite songs on the album are "We're Going Down To The boathouse" and the last track, "Ingrid Has A Plan." "Ingrid" was fun to do because I love old heavy rock, like from the early 70s, and I wanted that track to sound like a super heavy British band from 1971! And I like "Boathouse" because it has such a happy vibe, like a kid's nursery rhyme about an excellent adventure.

8.- “Little Deedra” sounds a little like “Blockbuster” by The Sweet. Do you like The Sweet and the glam-rock in the 70’s (T. Rex, Slade, Mud..)?

Yes!! I love the British glam rock from the early 70s! Slade were awesome, and Bolan made so many great records, Gary Glitter, and The Sweet were one of the best bands of any period!

9.- Nowadays, what music do you listen to?

Right now, I'm on a heavy stoner rock kick, the doom, heavy, and desert rock bands like Acid King, Mr. PLow, Atomic Bitchwax, Masters Of Reality, and also old heavy bands like Cream, Mountain, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, and early ZZ Top. A lot of my power pop friends think I'm a very strange person! (laughs) That's OK, because I suppose I am!

10.-  Finally, in Aloha PopRock we recommend several of the best albums in the rock’s history. Can you tell us some of your favorites?

In no particular order:

  1. MC5 - Back In THe USA
  2. Soft Boys - A Can Of Bees
  3. The Move - Shazam!
  4. Hawkwind - Doremi Fasol Latido
  5. The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man
  6. Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action
  7. Liquor Giants - Every Other Day At A Time
  8. Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
  9. Yardbirds - For Your Love
10. The Kinks - Something Else From

And I could keep going, but I'll stop here.....