By Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
As an outfit that channels all the crackle and hiss of searing rock and roll with a soul sensibility and a little cowboy char, Night Beats are a trio who consistently put out face melting, high octane burners with a dizzying drawl. While bands in similar veins channel nostalgia, directionless grunge or casual indifference, Night Beats takes more responsibility. Hitting on multiple creative cylinders to go further than just the sonic scorch – they inject a message and weightiness that many of their compatriots lack – Night Beats does it without the pretentious edge that anchors down so many other endeavors. With third studio album Who Sold My Generation making the rounds, vocalist and guitarist Danny Lee took a moment to give BoC insight on the album and dole out a few pearls.
I just ordered The Night Beats special at a diner – how does the server describe it?
Danny Lee: Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese on the side, and something with onion in it.
What did your parents have on the car radio growing up?
Danny Lee: The Doors, Moody Blues and maybe Notorious B.I.G.
Who Sold My Generation stands apart in the Night Beats catalogue for a handful of reasons – you recorded in Echo Park with the help of Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, there’s a political edge present, you’ve got Jakob now – did anything unexpected or surprising come out of this marriage of circumstance?
Danny Lee: We always expect the unexpected so nothing out of the unordinary. I will say this, I’ve had the honor of meeting some amazing people coming out to our shows. I met Sterling Roscoe Roswell at our gig in London. That was crazy for me.
You’ve established that as a title, ‘Who Sold My Generation’ is the expression of an opinion. Can you pinpoint a catalyst for when this feeling of disquiet for American music and politics started to take root?
Danny Lee: Its been a growing problem since as far as I took notice. Maybe with Bush being elected. But you have human trash like Trump now being grown from the belly of a broken system for years in the making.
As far as gear goes, does anybody have a pet instrument they harbor a secret relationship with?
Danny Lee: Pet instrument? I don’t understand.. I love playing drums and piano. I wouldn’t called it a secret relationship. They all know I get around.
How would you compare Who Sold My Generation to Sonic Bloom, message-wise and musically?
Danny Lee: Generation maybe has more direction with literal issues. But I’ve been saying these kinds of things since the beginning. Musically its maybe more rhythmic then Bloom. But it’s tough to say.
What concert would you attend or relive if you had the opportunity?
Danny Lee: James Brown at the Apollo. Sam Cooke at Harlem Square Club.
As an Arizona native, I’ve always personally related to the way Night Beats conveys the solitary and somewhat mystical feel of the desert and the stoicism; are there any other philosophies you suspect might come to make themselves known in the essence of your sound?
Danny Lee: That’s well put. Thank you for understanding that. The work of Dali is a world I pull inspiration from. Also certain film makers. I love films by Paul Thomas Anderson. Tarantino is genius too. I’m always looking for inspiration in every artform. Or even the more mundane things in life.
The album is out, touring is done – what happens now? Perhaps a Christmas record?
Danny Lee: We’ll see what Santa delivers. We’re working on new things daily.
Last but not least – If I stumbled in on you with book and beer in hand – which are they?
Danny Lee: Maybe some Vonnegut, or this Sam Phillips book I’m working on. I’ll be drinking whiskey however.