What do you do when you can create a fuzzed out amalgamation of Black Sabbath and the best kinds of alternative rock? Why, release a bunch of records and tour as if your life depended on it of course! That is precisely what California X are up to. Having just released Nights In The Dark, their sophomore record, and fresh from a jaunt across the US, the group got high on e-cigs and hung out with Overblown. Talk turned to cats, Hawkwind, and Tony Iommi.
Hey guys. Where are you? Good times?
We just got back to Western Mass on Sunday after our US tour. We had a rough final night. Our transmission died at 4am on our drive home after 3 weeks on the road. Good times up until that point.
The new record Nights in the Dark sees you expanding on the blueprint set out on your debut album. Was it a conscious decision to explore and develop your sound?
Lemmy wrote the self-titled on his own over a few years and and Nights in the Dark was written with the idea of putting out a full-length. The lineup is stable now and we were able to incorporate some new elements on the album. It was both conscious and a natural progression. We’re able to go into some territory that wouldn’t have made sense before.
In our review of the new record, Overblown described your sound as somewhat akin to “J Mascis jerking off Tony Iommi”! How do you feel about that description?
That’s a vulgar way to put it, but we do love Black Sabbath and I think heavy rock from that era had a big influence on the new record. I don’t get the Mascis thing.
One of the songs on your new record is called “Hadley, MA”. What is so special about Hadley?
We all live here now and have been watching a lot of X-Files. There’s nothing like a night drive down Rocky Hill Rd.
Who is Ayla from “Ayla’s Song”?
Ayla is our roommate Bryan’s cat. She came into Zack’s room while Skyrim was on pause and he was writing the song. This song is for Ayla.
The artwork for “Nights in the Dark” is pretty unusual. Who is the artist and why did you choose that particular painting?
All of the art on the new record is by our drummer, Cole Lanier. We really wanted something like the cover of “Warrior on the Edge of Time” (Hawkwind’s third LP – ed) and Cole decided to give it a try. I think it was the first time he had ever tried to paint and we loved it.
Your music has been warmly received by the music press. Is that something that matters to you?
It’s useful and it’s always nice to be warmly received, but we’ve received interesting and not wholly positive reception for Night in the Dark. We like what we did, and reviews do matter, so we’ll take it from there. Press is largely repetitive and we’re not scrutinizing over it, while thankful for any coverage at all.
What is the most unusual place you’ve played a show?
One of the best shows on this tour was in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was totally unexpected and great. We had a day off between Denton, TX and Tempe, AZ and we got a Facebook message offering us a show. We had no idea what to expect. What we got was a wild show and a great place to stay. We made some awesome friends that night.
Nights In The Dark was released January 13th via Don Giovanni.