Giving a drunken middle finger to all forms of restrictive classification, singer Matt Caughthran, guitarist Joby Ford, bassist James Tweedy and drummer Jorma Vik are looking to be the new dirty, unshaven and eyeliner-free face of rock. And with the release of their self-titled major label debut, the L.A. bred rockers don't plan to offer any apologies for it.
“It's definitely a record that goes into a lot of different areas and different styles, but it's still tied together,” says Ford of their newest album. “We definitely wanted to make sure we didn't repeat ourselves, because we didn't think we could make our first record [2003's also self-titled album] any better. We'd grown as people and we wanted our music to reflect that.”
Older fans of the Bronx's gritty style will be happy to learn they can withhold all sell-out slurs for the time being, with the band having preserved its hardcore and metal roots on tracks like lead single “Shitty Future.” The band also used this opportunity to further explore everything else that was great about the last 30 years of rock, with tracks like “White Guilt” and “Dirty Leaves” seeing the band show a melodic flair without losing sight of their signature rawness.
“It's definitely one of my favorite songs on the album, because it's not what you'd expect to hear,” Ford says of the latter track, which showcases a more soulful, crooning side of Caughthran's vocals.
Explaining how the song materialized, Ford says, “I think a lot of it came from being on the road for two and a half years. Screaming, yelling, thrashing, you get tired. Towards the end of our touring cycle for the last record, none of us were even listening to heavy music. And we all like so many different styles of music in the first place, we just started gravitating to something that was a little more soothing, rather than abrasive.”
While them having the ability to write songs that don't sound like an aural hangover being muffled by a heroin overdose may come as a surprise, Ford is no stranger to the softer side of music as a classically trained cellist and pianist. Coming from a musical family where training in two classical instruments was required, it was only so long before Ford had the proverbial eye-opening first contact with rock as a child. Recalling his discovery of MTV, he says, “It's what every boy wants, buy a motorcycle, shoot guns, drink beer and play rock 'n' roll.”
Needless to say, it was love at first sight for Ford.
“The thing about playing guitar for me was being able to be creative rather than having to sit there and pour over somebody else's pieces of music, learning theory, basically everything that's not profitable. But in hindsight, it's given me a full foundation for what music is now,” he says of making the jump from Mozart to Maiden.
Caughthran, on the other hand, had quite the opposite introduction to the idea of being in a band. “I always listened to music as a kid, it was just something that I always loved. When it came time to take the next step into being in a band, it was because of my lack of ability to play an instrument that I ended up singing,” he says with a laugh. “Once that happened, I was like, this is the only thing I ever want to do.”
And if things keep going like they do for the group, Caughthran's aspiration may not be so far off. Maybe the future's not looking so bad after all.
The Bronx's self-titled album is currently available. The Bronx will perform Aug. 9 at the Roxy, in West Hollywood. For more information visit, www.thebronxxx.com.