Veteran Danish multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/rocker Thomas Stubgaard (The Lingertones, The Hitchcocks) has teamed up with New Trocaderos’ songwriter/producer Michael Chaney to bring fans this debut release featuring 10 original RnR ass-kickers. Rock ‘n’ Roll when done right is a glorious thing. It can give you goosebumps, it can get you dancing, it can put all your dreams at your fingertips. So today I need you to give this a listen, because this rock ‘n’ roll needs to be played loud. So don’t delay , don’t go visit blogs that are no longer relevant , you are hanging at 50THIRDAND3RD and we are the cool kids bringing you the best new shit out there , you dig?
The 50THIRDAND3RD Interview With – Tommy and The Rockets
Q. For those unfamiliar with your music, can you can you give us a little of your history?
Thomas: Michael Chaney and I first started writing together in 2015. At first, we had set our sights on releasing a single, but it soon became evident we’d have enough material for a full-length. We spent a good portion of late 2015/early 2016 writing and recording the songs that are on Beer and Fun and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Before Tommy and The Rockets, I drummed in a Copenhagen horror-punk act called The Hitchcocks, and before that I sang and played guitar in The Play-Offs. I’ve also had stints as a bass player in other bands, so I felt ready to tackle doing most all the instruments for Tommy and The Rockets.
Michael: Yeah, Tommy emailed out of the clear blue in 2015 after hearing The New Trocaderos. I guess he liked the lyrics I’d written. He said he had a bunch of riffs and melodies that needed lyrics. I loved the snippets he sent, and lyrics came easily. I think “Take My Advice” and “Time To Rock” were the first two songs written. We were having fun. It was getting exciting. Tommy’s demos were killer and pretty soon we realized the songs could be released. I asked Brad Marino and Geoff Palmer from The Connection and New Trocaderos to pitch in. Brad’s played drums on all the Rockets’ tunes now, and Geoff’s done studio tech stuff, recording Brad and mixing the LP. Kris “Fingers” Rodgers, the King of Keys, who has his own band, The Dirty Gems, plus plays in The Connection, The New Trocs, and Kurt Baker’s band, agreed to play piano and organ. He kills it with every note he plays. The New England Mafia is what Little Steven Van Zandt calls those guys. So Tommy brings the magic and those guys round out the sound. The same ingredients were used on the new EP, Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrecking Machine. Except Tommy’s buddy Ben Hove mixed and mastered it.
Q. Who would you list as your musical influence?
Thomas: The number #1 band for me has always been The Ramones. Period. I started listening to them at age 10 and they’re still the band I turn to for inspiration. I’d say Bon Scott era AC/DC is a close second. Besides those two bands there’s: Joan Jett, Rockpile, Airbourne, Dave Edmunds, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Muffs, Psychotic Youth, The Raveonettes, Shakin’ Stevens And The Sunsets, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Yum Yums, Caroline And The Treats, The Connection, etc.
Michael: For me, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, The Stones, Dylan, The Kinks, and Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds come to mind immediately.
Q. What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you since you started up?
Thomas: Being able to release music and to make people happy. To have the opportunity to work with like-minded people. It’s hard to find people in Denmark with the same taste in music. Tommy and The Rockets is very much a niche genre here, so getting to work with people from other parts of the world has been cool. Also, having the opportunity to get new friendships through your music is cool.
Michael: The magic of turning a wisp of an idea into a balls out rock ‘n’ roll song.
Q. What are your hopes and dreams as a musician for the next few years?
Thomas: To continue to release music and hopefully to tour. A tour of Europe is on the agenda, and who knows, maybe even the US at some point if I get lucky.
Michael: To keep working with Tommy and with The Trocs to make more records.
Q. What are some of your favorite albums from the past few years?
Thomas: Oh boy, there’s too many to name really, but some those that stand out are: Airbourne (Runnin’ Wild), The Yum Yums (Whatever Rhymes With Baby), The Connection (New England’s Newest Hit Makers), Virgin Suicide (Virgin Suicide), The Beatophonics (The Beatophonics), The New Trocaderos (Thrills & Chills), The Dahlmanns (Girl Band—which, by the way, was written by Michael Chaney, my songwriting partner), Heavy Tiger (Saigon Kiss), The Raveonettes (In And Out Of Control), The Biters (Electric Blood), Caroline And The Treats (Bad All Over), etc.
Michael: I tend not to keep up as much with current stuff. I hear what’s on the Underground Garage, but otherwise, mostly I listen to The Connection, The Dahlmanns, Palmyra Delran, Nick Piunti, and The Kurt Baker Band.
Q. Do you see any real use for social media, or is it all just a pain in the ass to keep up with?
Thomas: I’ve been kinda reluctant towards the whole social media thing, but I’m starting to soften up a bit 🙂 I use Facebook quite a lot, mostly for music related stuff though.
Michael: I see social media as invaluable to independent musicians. If you record a good song, without a label deal and for relatively little money a musician can get lucky via Bandcamp, Facebook, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and Instagram. If nothing else, you’ll connect with people all over the world who share your taste in music. You also connect with reviewers, those hard-core guys who thrive on turning people on to great powerpop and rock ‘n roll. Guys like Lord Rutledge, John Borack, Jeff Raskin, Alan Haber, The Cat at RadioFreeAmericana, the great Bill Kelly (of WFMU and Little Steven’s Underground Garage), Richard Rossi, Lee Realgone, all the good folks at 50Thirdand3rd, of course. And many others.
Q. What kind of gear are you all loading up in the van for your tour?
Thomas: As I mentioned earlier, there may be a Spanish tour at some point in the near future, but since I don’t have a full band (yet) it’s a little tricky. I’ve been thinking about getting an Eastwood RD Artist if the tour comes to fruition. I’m currently using an old ESP for nearly all my recordings, but it won’t cut it when it comes to playing live.
Michael: I don’t play or sing, which is a blessing for all, believe me. I have a deal with all the people I write songs for, and with, that no demo I send them will ever see the light of day. But when I’m writing songs, I strum an Eric Clapton Blackie model Strat I got in ’96 or so.
Q. Do you pay attention to reviews or comments from people about your music or do you just turn that noise off?
Thomas: So far, it’s been smooth sailing. It’s been nothing but rave reviews and kind words, so I see no reason to turn it off. I suppose I might think differently if people were hostile, but it’s been nothing but a pleasant ride.
Michael: As Tommy says, so far, we’ve seen nothing but praise. So what’s not to like.
Q. If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?
Thomas: USA, Spain, and Japan! I’m dying to go. Booking agents, take note!
Q. Can music save the mortal soul or is it just a good backbeat to your life?
Thomas: Definitely a soul saver.
Michael: It’s indispensable to a happy life, IMO. No matter what I’m doing, I always have songs playing in my head.
Q. Any last thoughts for your fans?
Thomas: More female fans please 😉
Michael: If you haven’t done so already, check out Tommy and The Rockets, The New Trocaderos, The Connection, The Kurt Baker Band, and Kris Rodgers and The Dirty Gems on Bandcamp.