Track by Track is written by the Artist to give us a little insight into their latest work. Today we feature Indonesian Junk from Rum Bar Records.I’ve listened to this excellent album on repeat for over a week , these guys are killing it. This is all about rock n roll .
from Rum Bar Records:
Big hooks and big riffs is what Indonesian Junk is all about. Hailing from the land of Lenny, Squiggy, and the Crusher this Milwaukee ménage à trois take the best elements of glam, punk, power pop, and heavy metal, while ditching the fluff to crank out 10 tuff street-pop shakers. They’re both sleazy and sincere, pairing their hymns of damaged love with dangerous guitar heroics beyond the proficiency of mere mortals on their full length debut, brought to you by Rum Bar Records.
Indonesian Junk founder Daniel James is mostly known for his work in Ramma Lamma and Chinese Telephones, touring the continent and beyond for the past decade as well as having filled in with the likes of Nikki Sudden, Kepi Ghoulie, Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band, Kurt Baker, and Direct Hit. Enlisting the help of drummer David Barootian and bassist Johnny Cyanide last year, they quickly recorded their debut 45 “Crimes” and took their unpredictably wild live show on the road. Now they’re back with ten more cuts of sick power-pop jams with an emphasis on the power. They’ll get stuck in your head faster than a switchblade. Indonesian Junk is goin’ around!
For fans of Stiv Bators, Hanoi Rocks, Cheap Trick, UFO, Only Ones, The Knack, Alice Cooper, Exploding Hearts, Biters, etc.
From founder Daniel James…
Stylistically I’m trying to combine my favorite elements of glam, punk, power pop, garage, and heavy metal. The songs are hooky, catchy, and earnest and have a take no prisoners, balls to the wall punk / metal approach. Our shows have been described as “unpredictable” and that’s probably a good descripton. It’s not uncommon for my guitar to wind up broken by the end of our sets as I’ve been known to whip it with a belt, ride it like a surfboard, throw it across the room, throw cinderblocks at it, etc.
My lyrics can get kinda wussy. What can I say? I’m a sensitive dude and when I’m feelin’ down in the dumps and heartbroken, I like to write songs about it to help me get out of the funk. Sometimes I like to write fun silly songs about outerspace, and prehistoric monsters that wanna dance with you, and ESP and stuff though too.
I like big heavy guitars too with big riffy hooks, and bitchin’ solos. Yeah.
released February 5, 2016
Produced, engineered, and mixed by Daniel James at Truth on the Booth
Mastered by Matthew Melton at Fuzz City
Daniel James “Gang” – Guitar, Lead Vox
David Barootian – Drums
Johnny Cyanide – Bass
“Shake It With You”
I think this one is equally influenced by Godzilla and Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows. The premise is pretty simple. I’m a gigantic lizard monster that has been trapped underneath the earth’s surface for 100,000 years and have recently been freed by a nuclear blast that was foretold in ancient prophecies many millennia ago. Now I’ve busted out, I want to dance with you, and that is what we are gonna do. You and I a pair of rock n’ roll monsters dancing the nuclear holocaust away. The dancey riff started as a little finger picking thing I came up with when I was going through a phase where I was drinking too much robitussin and thinking I was Peter Greene.
I love how Marc Bolan wrote lyrics that were like, “You’ve got the universe reclining in your hair,” and “the way you flip your hip it always makes me weak,” and stuff. This is my attempt at writing a similar love song, but I definitely don’t have that magic that Marc’s got. Instead my song is just like, “Hey. I think you’re pretty. Ughhhh……..” If the chorus doesn’t make it obvious, Indonesia is the name of the girl I’m singing about. I gave Johnny writing credit on this one ’cause he came up with that super cool bass line that drives the third verse home.
“Shelly, Shelly (Don’t Break My Heart)”
Contrary to popular belief, the Shelly in this song isn’t Rachael from Pussy Collector / Iron Pizza’s mom. I actually named this song after Shelly Marsh of South Park fame. Lyrically this is some wussy ass emo stuff. It’s about being scared ’cause you know you’re falling in love with someone, and you know how bad getting your heart broken hurts and you never wanna put yourself through that kind of hell again. To add at least a little bit of bad assery to this live journal entry of wussdom I contrasted the lyrics with some tuff as hell guitar playing and made sure the tune had at least three solos.
We recorded a bunch of cover songs in this session and wanted to use at least one of them on the album. This one was written by Jayne County and was on her Blatantly Offensive EP. I wanna say it came out in ’77 but my math could be wrong. Jayne is one of the coolest figures from that whole CBGB scene and to the best of my knowledge was the first transgender rock n’ roll front person. I hope we did her song justice.
This song started off as kind of a silly love song. I really liked the hook, but I thought it stunk lyrically. I just couldn’t find the right consonants to go with the vowel sounds in my head. One day at practice I brought up that the song needed a cool three syllable girl’s name that wasn’t all hokey like “Peggy Sue” or “Mary Lou” or something. Johnny just blurted out “Little Malibu” and the song fell into place. He claims I shouldn’t give him writing credit, ’cause “It’s just a word, man,” even if his little word is the main hook of the song. After Johnny brought it all together, I scrapped the original second verse and decided to kill Little Malibu off just to mix things up a bit and add some drama to the tune.
“Out of Love”
Although I don’t mention it by name, this song was really inspired by this cool drinking spot my old friends and I used to hang out at called the Reservoir. It was a big fenced off mess on the top of a hill at edge of our shitty neighborhood that we would break into at night and get loaded until the sun came up. Eventually the neighborhood got revitalized or something and they bulldozed the Reservoir. Now it’s a park and yuppies play with their dogs and their kids and stuff up there. It used to be so cool.
This song’s also about doin’ it. I’ll spare you all the details on that part though.
God, I was depressed when I wrote this one. I couldn’t do anything except chug on that riff and chant, “I’m so alone. I’m so alone,” over and over again. Sometimes I’m afraid to play this one ’cause I get embarrassed thinking about how fucking low I was when I wrote that and exposing myself to the world. Eventually when I grew out of the funk I tried writing some verses for it, but I felt like the song worked best without any additional lyrical explanation. I think it’s more universal that way. Sometimes I imagine this song being sung by the Electric Spaceman from “Black Hole” while his spaceship is stranded inside of the anti-matter universe.
“You Messed Me Up”
I was concussed when I wrote this song. True story. I went to a show the night before and wound up at an after-party with some dudes from Midwest Beat and Beach Patrol. I had already been drinking all day and probably should have been in bed. I definitely shouldn’t have been smoking the reefer, which is something I normally never do anyway. This night I was way too drunk to remember that I don’t smoke pot though and had a couple tokes and the next thing I know I was zonked out of my brain. Eventually I realized that I was melting into the chair and then if I didn’t get up and use the bathroom right then and there I would probably pass out and piss myself in front of everyone all over Jeff from Beach Patrol’s couch. I hobbled to the bathroom and all my memory is kind of in flashes, but I definitely remember fainting and hitting my head on the bathroom sink. Matt and Kyle from Midwest Beat found me laying in a pool of blood and nursed me back to health. The whole next day I wasn’t sure if I was still drunk or suffering from permanent brain damage. Somehow I recorded this demo on my computer though, and it turned out awesome.
“I’m So Bad”
I wrote this song as part of a marathon weekend songwriting session that kind of was the impetus behind Indonesian Junk being a thing. It doesn’t really sound like it, but I kind of based the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/rave-up structure of the song off of a tune written by my friend Wendy Norton called “We All Know”. I originally tried writing some songs for a band her and I are in together called Ramma Lamma, but I thought nothing I came up with really fit with the type of stuff Ramma Lamma does. So, I just decided to keep the tunes and start a new band.
I wrote this song, “Indonesia”, and “Little Malibu” all in the same day. I was thinking Bowie when I wrote it, but when I brought it to Johnny and David they made it go in more of a heavy metal Stooges type direction I think. This is the second song I ever wrote with a capo in my life. I usually just tune my guitar weird live though ’cause it’s easier than carrying a capo around. Lyrically it’s about a spaceman fighting in a war against an army of psychic energy and he has to travel into the center of a black hole to attack them. He’s unsure of what awaits inside the black hole and is worried about leaving his wife and kids behind, who will most definitely be sold into slavery if he doesn’t make it back.