The Lochness Mobsters
“I like to call it ‘nature fart’… It’s like putting nature through a fart. A natural sound coming from a funny source.” -Taylor Lumpkin
Brooks Lumpkin – Drums and Vocals
Taylor Lumpkin – Guitar and Vocals
Mike Chavez – Bass, Harmonica and Vocals
I’m going to be honest: The Lochness Mobsters are the first artists I wanted to spotlight because they are my absolute favorite Lake Charles band. These guys are funky, rocking, and really light up a room with their music and their personalities. They are the perfect example of how a power trio should work; their sound is tight and cohesive, yet they prominently display their individual influences and strengths. They seamlessly move between punk rock, alternative rock, funk, country, and even bluegrass roots without missing a beat. They have a confidence about them that at times translates into a sort of absurd humor.
“The Jam” from That Baby Must Die EP
I got to chat with guys after their set at Luna Live this past weekend. It’s a lengthy read, but well worth it, so get comfy:
How did you guys start playing music together?
Taylor: Me and Brooks started playing music and we’ve always wanted to play with Mike.
Brooks: We kind of suckered him in with that “Butt Plug Fantago” song.
Mike: Basically, they wrote the song and they recorded it-
Taylor: We wanted to get him to play on it.
Mike: But I heard the song and I was just like, “I have to be part of this band.” And actually, I started off on guitar and Taylor was on bass.
Taylor: That’s how we played music and then since this band started we just switched instruments.
What caused the switch?
Taylor: We just dug the sound more.
Mike: It was a lot more natural.
Brooks: Taylor plays a lot of funk and stuff and Mike plays a lot more country and rock kind of stuff and whenever we switched around it was a lot easier for us to form our ideas together. It worked a lot easier that way.
How long ago have you guys been playing together?
Brooks: It’s been since about 2008. Taylor and I wrote a couple of songs and then we just kind of floated in. Actually, the “Butt Plug” song, me and mike were singing rockabilly songs at work and that’s when the song was actually written; then Taylor and I transposed it.
Obviously you guys (Brooks and Taylor) have known each other for a while.
Taylor: I’ve known this kid for a minute.
Brooks: He actually got me to play drums. He was playing guitar so I was like, “Oh there’s a drum set here?” And then, sure enough, he taught me. He taught me how to start off on the drums.
How long have you been playing guitar?
Taylor: Since the band, or probably like six months before the band. But, I’ve played bass since like the sixth or fifth grade and took bass lessons with Trip Wamsley, he’s really fucking good. I still like bass, but I play guitar now.
What are your biggest music influences?
Taylor: I like garage music like almost kind of punk rock stuff like The Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees; we all love The Strange Boys. We’re super bonerfied by them.
Mike: I really like the Rolling Stones and I really like the Strange Boys and a lot of that old country stuff like Buck Owens and stuff like that. It’s pretty much all I listen to.
Brooks: I’m just ridiculously influenced by The Doors. And I really like The Growlers because it’s a mixture of garage and that weird psychedelic sound. And a lot of 50’s rock like The Zombies and Gerry and the Pacemakers. And a lot of stuff like that; a lot of 50’s stuff.
Who would be your biggest non-musical influences?
Taylor: I don’t know, Creed’s pretty good; their b-sides are great.
Brooks: Pearl Jam!
Taylor: Our biggest non-musical influence would be uhh, Pink. I don’t want to sound like Pink and that’s about it.
Mike: I play U2 all the time actually, you know.
Brooks: Two out of three ain’t so bad.
Mike: I dig the entire “Joshua Tree” album. Released in 1987 by an aspiring rock band by the name of U2.
Taylor: Led by fucking fireman Bono.
Mike: Actually I’d say it was led by the Edge, man. He’s got the cowboy hat and the effects pedals.
What outside of music, any other art form or anything, has influenced you.
Taylor: I’m super into skateboarding and art. I like a lot of psychedelic stuff like Alex Grey and Nick Blinko, he’s a schizophrenic weirdo-like morbid artist. But I just like (pause) stuff that can’t be put into a sentence I guess.
Brooks: I’m heavily influenced by Bill Cosby.
Bill Cosby, of course. He’s got all those sweaters.
Brooks: It’s all the sweaters, it really is. It’s the colors that form on his shirt I guess.
Mike: I live for October. It is-
Mike: Yea, the month. It’s the end of baseball, the beginning of basketball and the middle of football. So I’d say I guess sports is pretty much my- yea, I live for October. When October comes around I am glued to the tv.
So, I know you guys are working on a new album; how’s that coming along?
Taylor: We’re recording it with Josh Selph and Fletcher Granger. They’re super cool and really fun to work with. The album’s going great. We wrote the songs and finished writing about six months ago. It’s coming along, it’s about halfway done I’d say.
Brooks: And they’re really easy to work with. They’re very relaxed and it makes it easy that way and especially the fact that they have the knowledge from Full Sail [University], they went to Full Sail so they really work all the mechanics and are like “Hey, let’s try this out” versus just “Let’s record this album,” you know? So there’s a lot of experimentation that’s in there too so it’ll be kind of wicked or something. Whatever the surfer kids are saying.
Taylor: Mondo chillin’.
Brooks: Burger mountain!
Mike: I think my favorite think about Josh is that he doesn’t let you really punch through. If you mess up you’ve got to go back and re-record.
Taylor: Yea, it’s discipline.
Mike: It’s something we’re not used to. It’s nice.
Is there anything about the songs that’s different from what you wrote for the That Baby Must Die EP?
Taylor: Yea we are-, we tap into like country, funk, punk, and surf. I think we are writing more…I don’t know, we still are kind of staying the same.
Brooks: But we do have a bit more story lines in our song. Like “Red Red Ed” is about some weird redneck superhero that saves everybody from something. That’s one of them.
Taylor: Yea and he rapes people.
Brooks: He also rapes people
Mike: That’s my favorite kind of superhero.
Brooks: Well I mean he is a country superhero. And we also like to throw in the nonsense. There’s a lot of nonsense that we just kind of like “huh, what was that?” and it doesn’t make sense but it’s gonna for you.
Are there any particular influences regarding your performances? When you perform it’s more than just playing your songs.
Brooks: It’s putting on a show.
It’s putting on a show and it’s getting the crowd involved. Do you have any particular influences or philosophies regarding that?
Mike: If I had to mix two things together about our live show it would be a mixture of The Grateful Dead and Monty Python.
Mike: You know because it’s like we’ve loved the Grateful Dead since we started and we try to jam out as much as we can. We’re obviously not like the Grateful Dead, but we like to play for a long time and try new things.
Brooks: We’ve all got a dark sense of humor; so, that morbid sense of humor really helps that part.
Taylor: I like to call it “nature fart” in the sense that nature is a true ass thing. You know, understand it but then fart about it. It’s like putting nature through a fart. A natural sound coming from a funny source.
That makes a lot of sense! You guys have anything else you want to add?
Mike: Yea I’d like to thank two people. Daniel Castro for all of his help, for all that he’s done for us. And also Zander Lampkin for helping us out a lot. Those two guys are kind of behind-the-scenes but those dudes help us out. And also, Ashes of Babylon, those guys are helping us out a lot. They’re the reason we’re going to have stickers.
Brooks: Yea, we’re going to have stickers soon. And we also have a couple of videos-
Taylor: And The Chuck Live motherfucker!
Brooks: Yea dude, The Chuck Live I’m really digging the fact that you’re starting this up.
Hopefully it works out.
Taylor: It’s just one more addition to what’s going on creatively in this town and that’s fucking awesome.
Thank you very much.
Brooks: We have a couple of videos that Daniel Castro videoed in Lafayette in one of our shows and with the help of Eric Dunn who does the Cajun Hell documentary; I also want to thank him because he’s helped us out with a couple shows and stuff. They collaborated and put together a video and audio that we’re going to be putting on Youtube soon or something like that. And most of the photography and stuff is all credited to Daniel Castro. He’s done a super awesome job for us and we really thank him for that for sure.
He does a lot around here.
Mike: He does and he doesn’t get any thanks either.
I saw him rocking out in the crowd earlier.
Mike: It’s good to see him without a camera.
Taylor: He’s always working no matter, if there’s the funnest thing. He looks at the funnest thing going on as like his real estate; like that’s when he needs to be taking pictures. So it’s good to see him just enjoying it.
What is, musically or otherwise, Lake Charles’ best kept secret?
Taylor: That’s a golden question.
Brooks: Uhh, glory holes.
Brooks: There’s one over at the I-10 beach I found at a port-o-potty and it just made me think. I had to stop for a second.
Taylor: I think honestly the music scene in Lake Charles. I mean it has a following so that’s fucking awesome. It’s awesome to see people come out and react to something. And, this needs to not just be downtown but the idea of what Lake Charles people, or just any human should go out and express themselves; not just work a desk job and pay a fucking bill and jack-off in front of the TV.
Mike: We’re kind of missing one thing about Lake Charles. There’s no “do it yourself”, like we used to play Prien Lake Park or we used to rent these places out. Basically it’s gotten to where we only play four bars and that’s it. I’d like to do something somewhere-that’s why Shake the Sun was so good, it was something different. They’ve got some stuff that we can do.
Taylor: We do need to get more active as a city.
Brooks: As a music scene, it all thrives on randomness.
Taylor: Happy Hippie is doing all ages, but they’re having a strict bit of a, almost a biased crowd that goes there.
Mike: There are sixteen year olds that don’t have anything to do.
Taylor: But you need places for sixteen year olds to go and freak out and have a good time.
Mike: Businesses used to make their bread-and-butter off of kids, bands too. Some guy who’s thirty five years old isn’t going to buy your t-shirt, but some sixteen year old will and that’s the truth.
Brooks: They’ll save all their milk money for that too.
Mike: They get free lunch anyway.
Thanks a lot to the guys for chatting with me. Check these guys at one of their upcoming shows:
Wednesday May 23, 2012 @ Red Eyed Fly (Austin, Texas) w/ TBA
Friday June 1 @ Happy Hippie Pizza w/ the Oddfellows
Friday June 22 @ Happy Hippie Pizza w/ Cousin Phelpy, Cussins
Saturday July 21 @ Artmosphere (Lafayette, Louisiana) w/ TBA