Killcode is a killer band from New York City that is really starting to make some headway. They routinely pack places like the Bowery Ballroom, Irving Plaza, and the Gramercy Theater, and at the time of this interview had just come off a wildly successful gig at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. I caught up with singer Tom Morrissey just before the 4th of July holiday and we talked about the debut album, tour plans, and my Philadelphia Eagles vs. his New York Giants. Check it out:
Amps: First of all Tom, anybody married, or have kids in the band?
Tom: We’re all married, we all have kids. Actually Pat’s a new dad, which is a testament to what we do. Because we love our music, but family comes first, and we want our music to hopefully provide for our families so they can have something extra in life.
Amps: Take me through your writing process.
Tom: I write most of the melodies and hooks, and the lyrics, and I’m really into older pop rock and R&B stuff, and Pat is a Melvins cat, and loves the sludge/stoner type of metal, and then you have Chas who’s more into the intricate guitar stuff, and then Eric is like a jukebox, and Rob is an animal! Everyone adds their two cents in and we mix it all up, and it’s Killcode. Anytime somebody has a way to make the song better we always explore that. Like on “Still Here”. The majority of that was done, and here comes Pat with that slide. Without it that song’s just not the same. He made it better, you know?
Amps: How was L.A., the Viper Room in particular?
Tom: It was awesome! It was more than we expected it would be. We knew we’d have a good gig and we have a decent fanbase out there from social networking, and some of us have been out there in previous bands, but we didn’t expect to be as embraced as well as we were,so it was a really great experience, and we’ll be back there soon based on that.
Amps: How do you manage to capture the rock essence, and the Southern thing, when you’re from New York?
Tom: It was kind of a happy accident. We are from New York City, and we are a city band, but at the same time we have this feel that connects with the South, so you hit the nail on the head in your write-up on us. Chas and me, our basic idea was to be more of a rock/metal band, but as we started writing songs, the classic rock influence started to show up, and then we got Pat, who developed this affection for the slide guitar, and we started changing a bit. I guess the classic rock part of our sound kind of morphed into a little bit of Southern rock. I mean, we all have an affection for that stuff, and it just kind of happened. The people seem to like it, though!
Amps: The song “Loose” off the record is hands-down my favorite. Where is that usually in the set?
Tom: Oddly enough that was one of the last songs written that just came together, and we weren’t even playing it live for the first six months-
Tom: (laughs) And then people started asking for it a lot, so don’t worry, NOW it’s in the set!!
Amps: “Trust” with Angelina DelCarmen is another great one. Did that start out as a duet?
Tom: Actually, no. It was something that Chas and I had written, and when we went back to it we really thought that lyrically, and musically it could work as a duet. And Angelina is a great singer in Charetta, a great band! So we asked her to do it, and it came out so good that we had to put it on this record.
Amps: What’s the craziest, most Spinal Tappy thing to happen to you guys on the road/at a show?
Tom: One straight out of the movie, in fact! We were playing a tattoo convention in Rhode Island and we were trying to get to the stage, it was an arena with all these different halls, and we just fucking couldn’t find the stage! Talk about a Spinal Tap moment! We had a pretty good laugh about it.
Amps: Anyone have any favorite teams?
Tom: Oh yeah! Pat and I are huge Giants fans, Chas is a huge Steelers fan. Unfortunately, Robbie’s a huge Jets fan (laughing). Yeah, we love football, man. In fact, we played a show, and the coach from the Steelers was there and Chas was freakin’ out!
Amps: Tom, we’re gonna have some very nasty conversations this season when you go up against my Eagles (laughing).
Amps: What do you do to unwind, away from the band?
Tom: I’m always writing, or going to shows. When I’m not doing that, I love to watch documentaries. I also play flag football, and I really love to spend time with my wife and kids. I’m really lucky in that my wife gets it, all our families do, really.
Amps: I can’t say I’m a fan of you playing this flag football, Tom. We don’t need you getting hurt and unable to perform!
Tom: Well, I’ll try to tone it down then.
Amps: What’s in your CD player/iPod?
Tom: I’m a big U2 fan, and a lot of classic rock. One newer band I really like is Muse. Their new record is great. They remind me of a big, epic Queen-type of band. The new Queens of the Stone Age is really good, too.
Amp: So, what’s next? Any plans to hit any other states?
Tom: Oh yeah. L.A. was just the start. We’re ready. Probably up and down the east coast first. We’ll go wherever people wanna hear us on the radio, and that seems to be who’s digging us most right now. We believe in going to the places that really want us there. And when we hit the Texas market, don’t worry, you’ll be the first guy I call.
Amps: Awesome, Tom! Hey, thanks a lot for talking with me. Best of luck with this new record!
Tom: You got it. Thanks for spreading the word about us. We’ll talk soon, brother.
Killcode’s self-titled debut is available now in stores on iTunes and amazon.com.