Meeting up with Saint Motel
It is not often you see a gaming trophy being hoisted onto the stage of the Viper Room. Staring deep into the eyes of a dead deer, I asked the young man standing in front of me again, "You said you shot this yourself?" Lead singer A/J Jackson just smiled at me and joined his band mates, lugging some small trees on stage. With the addition of smoke and soft lighting, Saint Motel had turned the Viper Room into a forest glen at twilight. As they emerged from the mists, the band members dressed the part of young princes in matching white button-down shirts and jeans. I almost expected a white steed to show up half-way through the show. As soon as the music started, though, it was clear: handsome faces and whimsical trappings aside—these boys could rock.
Jackson, who resembles a young Alex Kapranos, wooed the crowd with a warm and comforting voice, projecting an earnestness to melt any cynic's heart. Jackson was backed up by his wild-man guitarist, A. Sharp, who howled mercilessly on his guitar while shamelessly flirting with the crowd; and, giving balance to the universe, bassist Dak, who masterfully provided a backbone to the music as he shuffled from right to left like a leaf caught in the pull of a breeze. Drummer Greg Erwin whipped himself into a frenzy, beating his drums with the ferocity of a man with his hands on fire; his playing gave life blood to the bouncy garage rock that radiated from the stage.
Saint Motel's music pulled away the inhibitions of its listeners, making the crowd forget they ever had a purpose in life other than shaking their booties on the dance floor. However, when I tried asking them about their music, I found myself surrounded by wiseacres. When asked about the political nature of their single, "Dear Dictator" or what "Do Everything Now" is truly about, the answer was always the same: "What does it mean to you?" Try as I might, I could not get one single straight answer from these cheeky fellows.
What inspires you to write songs?
"God and our wildest dreams," A/J answered with an impish grin.
Why did you bother joining a band?
"We have the same taste in music ... and women," Erwin replied.
Well what about your influences growing up?
A/J answered, "I was strongly influenced by Enya and Raffi--in pre-school."
Why do you all dress in white shirts?
"They're not white! They're vintage pit-stain," smiled A.Sharp.
Interviewing Saint Motel was like trying to get a straight answer from the Marx Brothers; or a bunch of seals.
But who says rock n roll should be serious? Haven't we had enough swaggering pseudo-philosophers populating the airwaves? Saint Motel is a band which lets you enjoy the here and now, and leave life's big scary questions until tomorrow. They play tonight at the Spaceland.
This post is by Molly Bergen