Foxy Shazam Wants to Leave a Legacy
Alex Nauth and I can't seem to make it work. The Foxy Shazam horn player and I have been attempting to link up for the better part of a month, barely missing the other's phone calls as the Cincinnati, Ohio-based glam rock band bounces between U.S. and Canadian tour dates. When we finally do land our eventual conversation, it revolves around the theme of what it means to be a rock band in 2014 -- something that holds much more weight than it implies.
Steven King/Foxy Shazam
If nothing else, that's exactly what Foxy Shazam is: They're an unapologetic, brash, over-the-top rock band in an era in which the term "rock band" alone is enough to cause niche-based, hyper-hyphenated genre splitting, at best. and elicit cringing at its worst. On their latest release, Gonzo, the band's scaled back their approach to a degree, letting songwriting show through rather than just showmanship. Having worked on the record with Steve Albini, of Big Black and Nirvana-producing fame, there's a new side of Foxy Shazam that Nauth and his bandmates have unearthed, yielding surprising results and a fresh future for the band.
Up on the Sun: What did Steve Albini bring to the table for Foxy Shazam as a producer and as a creative? What did he motivate you guys to do, or how did he alter your approach?
Alex Nauth: He's one of the smartest men I've ever met in my life, and just really down to earth. One of the best parts about working with him is just his ethic, his whole ethos about how he works with a band, the role he expects a band to bring into his studio. It's, "You do your part and I do my part," and he does it so well. He captured real sounds honestly and beautifully, but at the same time it requires the band to be prepared. He's not there to hold your hand and that was the best part for us. We knew how we wanted to sound, and he was just the right guy.
What's one moment from the recording process with Steve that stands out to you?
One of the best memories I have of Steve -- it was pretty close to when we first started with him -- but we always just joke about random, horribly weird or gross things, and we love farts. Somehow, we got onto the conversation of farting underwater and if there was any way to fart underwater and it to be released. Steve came in and heard this conversation and very seriously, no smiling, no joke, sat down and drew a diagram with a two-liter bottle and PVC pipe with how you could capture and release a fart from underwater. Scientifically accurate, he did it within five minutes and he sat it down next to us like, "This is how you do it." Pretty amazing.