ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 9, 1992
By Steve Newton
Those practical jokers in Bootsauce really got me good. There I was, sitting quietly in my bedroom 10 minutes after a not-so-quiet run-through of the band’s new CD, Bull, when out of the silence flies this freaky phone message from a deranged lady who’s threatening to kill me—and worse!
Thinking it’s a call coming through on my own answering machine, I frantically search around for my cordless receiver before realizing the whole thing is just a delayed poke in the cranium from those zany Bootsaucers.
What a bunch o’ nuts!
“That’s a crazy chick who’s been infatuated with our bass player for eight years,” confides guitarist Pere Fume. “She gets ahold of his phone number no matter how often he changes it, calls him up, and leaves these huge messages on his machine. She threatens him and says she’s in love with him and wants to marry him and wants to kill him.”
From the back-cover photo on Bull, it appears that the unidentified phone fiend isn’t the only wacko running around Montreal these days. That shot’s a black-and-white snap of the four Bootsauce boys snuggled up in a claw-foot bathtub, smoking and reading the paper, with what looks like chocolate sauce squeezed all over their pale flesh.
“That was shot in my bathtub in Montreal,” comments Fume matter-of-factly. “This photographer from Los Angeles flew up and did these photos; it was kind of her idea. We all got naked and sat in there, and it had this kind of weird, hilarious atmosphere to it. I mean, when you really think about it, it’s completely hilarious. Even if you don’t think about it, it’s hilarious.”
The Bootsauce boys like to have a good time, there’s no doubt about that. When Fume and singer Drew Ling visited the Georgia Straight office for this interview, they needed no coaxing at all to put on funny pink hats and pose with the art-department types, who put up wacky “Welcome Bootsauce” banners for the occasion.
But the recording of Bull wasn’t all fun ’n’ games and playtime in the tub. It required doing some hard studio time and eating bad dinners in the more remote areas of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
“I kind of compare it to giving birth,” says Ling of the recording process. “It’s ‘no pain, no gain,’ as the saying goes. It’s very time-consuming and there are a lot of details you have to deal with, especially for Pere, who deals with a lot of the [computer] programming.”
“Recording is very painful,” injects Fume. “You have this paranoia deep down that you don’t know if you’re gonna be able to live with it the rest of your life. You might try something new in the studio and a week later, after it’s been mastered, you might hate it.”
When some bands are preparing to enter the studio, the first thing they do is hire a producer to help carry them through the trials and tribulations of recording. But Bootsauce doesn’t play that way. Aside from three songs that were co-produced by outsiders, the band produced Bull by itself.
“All our songs are fully finished by the time we even meet any producers,” says Ling. “I mean, people tend to use producers as co-writers; they go in with half-finished songs and then they do ’em. But 95 percent of what we do is finished.”
Bootsauce didn’t turn down a little studio help from the likes of Mike Howe and Lemmy Kilminster, though, when the singers from Metal Church and Motorhead were touring in the vicinity of the band’s Rhode Island studio. Bootsauce manager Steve Ship got the word out to the two metalheads that their presence in the studio would be appreciated.
“Steve said, ‘I’ll give you 10 bucks and a bottle of Jack,’ ” recalls Fume, “so we had this total rock star night in the studio with Jack Daniels and tons of crazy shit goin’ on.”
Some of that craziness can be heard on “Touching Cloth”, a tune that follows The Brown Album’s “Catastrophe Seas” in the bathroom-humour vein the band is fond of. Bootsauce had its first chance to preview some of that wilder material on a U.K. tour with the Cult late last year, but Fume claims that the prospect of opening for Ian Astbury and company was a daunting one—no thanks to former Mountain drummer Corky Laing, who is now an A&R rep for Bootsauce’s label, PolyGram.
“Corky was saying, ‘Man, if they don’t like you over there they’ll throw piss bombs,’ and it just basically scared the piss out of us. So we had a really nervous plane ride over there, but then when we got there the kids—who had never really heard us that much—got a feel for what we were about. By the end of our sets they were applauding, which was cool.”
“That’s why we have to go back and just do the club thing,” pipes in Ling. “We made an impact, and now we have to go and finish ’em off.”
Making an impact is also what Bootsauce’s current Bare Back Romp Tour is all about, and it brings the band to the Town Pump for a four-night stand this Wednesday to Saturday (April 15 to 18).
“A lot of these newer bands are one-hit wonders,” says Ling, “because they didn’t come up at their own speed and they didn’t get a good base. People will buy them straight off the top, but if they don’t have their own real fans who are always there, then forget it. That’s what we’re trying to do on this tour: bring it back down to the street level, to our real fans.”