This is not the Sunset Strip, but Indianapolis’ American Bombshell will make you feel like it is. Earlier this year the Indy band hit Los Angeles to soak up the vibrancy that helps feed their gritty rock and roll sound. All of this stems from the Grammy Amplifier Contest they were recently involved with. I would not say they are the saints of bringing rock back to the forefront ( then again, listen to their music and you might be convinced otherwise), but their contribution to the rock scene in the Circle City is very impressive.
As rock and metal continues to follow a highly technical diagram to gain incentive within a fast pace and evolving genre with many sub genres, American Bombshell funnel a more primitive approach to rock that falls back to a time when it was gritty, sleazy, and bare-bones sonically dangerous. Founded by a group of guys well-known in the local scene—Jay Cee (vocals), Steve Boyles and Andrew “Nix” Nixon (guitars), Dustin Green (bass), and Jason Carr (drums)—their mission is simple: to play kick-ass rock and roll.
Amongst a persistent touring schedule (keep an eye on their page for constant updates) they will be opening for John 5 at The Vogue, March 6 and with Faster Pussycat at the Southport Bar and Grille, May 5.
The band took a minute to talk about their time on stage at the Whiskey, their latest video and the new album.
The band recently made a trip out to Los Angeles. Tell us the reason for the journey and what the experience was like and what were the highlights? What does the Grammy Amplifier award mean to the band?
We were flown out to LA to take part in a Music Business Immersion day put on by the folks at Grammy Amplifier as part of being a top 10 finalist. The Immersion day was a roundtable discussion with a variety of music professionals from the top of their fields. We learned a great deal about the ins and outs of the music industry of today. As part of the trip, we were able to score a gig at the world famous Whisky-A-Go-Go.
Knowing we were performing on the same stage so many other greats have been on was an incredible honor.
Being in the top 10 and the trip to LA were already more than we could ever have hoped for, so later finding out we had actually won out of more than 4000 entries was both exciting and humbling. We will find out which of the three prizes we won while we are in Austin for SXSW 2016.
You got invited back to the Whiskey the following night. How did that feel?
Surreal – we really weren’t expecting anyone to be there to see us at 11:45pm on a Tuesday – but it’s the Whisky, so fortunately there were a decent amount of people who came out just to experience the place. We were told we had a 30 minute set, so we packed every second of rock and roll possible into it. When we finished, the general manager approached us and asked why we stopped. We told her we were told we had been given a 30 minute set, and we always want to stay within the time out of respect for the other bands and venue staff. We were invited back to open for a touring act that Saturday, but we were flying out on Thursday so unfortunately couldn’t do the show. Their booking agent told us to let her know whenever we can make it back out that way.
I like how American Bombshell is getting national prestige while in Indy you guys have always been very accessible and averse to play any where. Is that part of an overall philosophy of the band or is it a subconscious ideology the group has followed?
Considering the style of music we play, we’re all about the live show. For us, it’s all about sweating it out on stages of any size. It’s where we come alive. Whether it’s in your face at the Mel, or 2000 miles away at the Whisky. The recent attention we’ve been getting is a result of hard work and keeping at it. It’s also about ‘right place, right time’ when the stars align. We have so much talent in our Indiana scene, it’s just a matter of time before the lottery again pays off and other acts will get in front of the right people.
The group recently released a video for “No Regrets.” Tell us a little about the song and the making of the video?
The song kind of sums up a bit about our attitude – play from the heart and soul, and leave nothing on the table. Have ‘No Regrets’ when all is said and done. The video was a blast to make – basically 5 guys in a room with a camera man rocking to the song over and over – then spliced together into what you see now. The goal was to be raw, stripped down, and full of energy – and I think we achieved just that.
What led to the group’s formation and why the leanings to a more traditional rock style? What did it take to develop the American Bombshell sound or was it immediate?
It was pretty immediate. With a writing process akin to “if it rocks, we use it”, things came together very quickly. I think each of us has an affinity for old school rock and roll, so the band scratches that itch.
There are many rock bands in the city but you all are taking a different path. What are your perceptions as to how people are reacting to this and how do you feel Indianapolis has shaped this band?
I think people really relate to something being presented in its purest form. We’re not really ‘trying’ to do anything in particular, just rocking out to a style of tunes we all dig, and when the pieces come together it seems to speak to others like it speaks to us.
You are gearing up to open for John 5 and the Creatures this weekend. Tell us a little about the show at the Vogue? Also, May 5, you will be opening up for Faster Pussycat. What will that be like?
The John 5 show should be a lot of fun – it’s an incredible line up, on a terrific stage, in a room with fantastic sound. Can’t ask for much more than that. We’ll also finally have some shirts available, as well as possibly some pre-release copies of our new CD for purchase! The Faster Pussycat show should be a lot of fun as well – Southport Bar and Grill – great sound, great staff, great food, and great music.
You are also starting to play more not just outside the city but out of state. What would you like to accomplish this year tour wise?
This year we would like to utilize all the benefits of the Grammy Amplifier contest to spread the word of American Bombshell, keep pushing to get more and more people out to shows, and slowly spread the music to a larger ever increasing audience. We have our first release “No Regrets” coming out very soon, and possibly find some time to put out another video or two.
What is going on with a debut album? Is anything in the works?
As I mentioned, the album is complete, and is at duplication right now. We hope to have some pre-release copies this Saturday at the John 5 show at the Vogue. We are also planning an actual release show in the near future, to celebrate the album and rock out with our friends and fans.
What other plans do you have this year?
I’d say we covered them all…to put our brand of stripped down pure rock and roll right where it belongs…in as many faces as possible!