Oregon’s The Quick & Easy Boys are back with their second full-length album, Red Light Rabbit, which fuses many musical styles, including country and rock. The result is a high energy album that is fun to listen to and will definitely get you up and dancing. Red Light Rabbit blasts open with “Foster I…,” a fast tempo track that immediately draws the listener into the mood of the album with menacing guitar and exploding drums. “Black Panther” is a mid-tempo track with bouncy drum work and a mid-song guitar solo that demands attention. Kicking in at full speed, the title track combines edgy guitar and confronting lyrics.
By the middle of the album, with songs like “The Letter” and “Senorita,” you begin to hear a theme running through the lyrics; crazy, salacious women. Bassist and co-frontman Sean Badders explained the reason behind the theme and allowed us a brief glimpse into the band’s creative process.
Q: Growth-wise, how does this second album differ from the first? How is it similar?
A: This album is different from our first one in that we really tried to make it represent our live sound, which is power-trio rock and roll. On the first album, we had lots of overdubs and guest musicians contribute keys, woodwinds, vocals, and percussion. It was a lot of fun and we definitely wanted to fill out those songs, but on Red Light Rabbit we wanted to showcase what we can do as just a three-piece, as well as make a more cohesive rock and roll album. Though we still change up song styles, much like we did on Bad Decisions With Good People.
Q: What important lessons did the band learn while recording this second album?
A: While recording this album we learned a lot, both in recording techniques, as well as how to handle frustration in the studio. Jeremy Wilson, who recorded and engineered the album, was a great help in getting the best vocal performances, out of both Jimmy and myself. He taught us about phrasing and delivery that we lacked on the first album. Most importantly, however, was learning to ultimately trust our gut and not be afraid to completely scrap something if we weren’t 100%. We’ve produced both albums ourselves, and we all trust each other to know what is best for the band, but spending ten hours a day, all summer, in the studio can make even the most disciplined stray from the course.
Q: Your music is a mixture of rock, funk, country, and soul. Who are the most important artists that first influenced you guys?
A: Our initial influences while growing up are varied, but now we probably share 90% of the same influences. Jimmy is a total shredder on the guitar, with a heavy Band of Gypsies influence, as well as Funkadelic, Bowie, Zappa, Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughn … I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting. Mike grew up really digging Chad Sexton from 311, who is a beast of a drummer. Goetz also grew up going to lots of Phish, Widespread Panic, and other jam band shows, and you can tell in his ability to get the dance party started that the groove is in his blood. He can also throw down some mean hip-hop beats. For myself, I grew up on bands like Rancid, NOFX, Screeching Weasel, Less Than Jake, etc. Lots of punk rock and third wave ska. From there, I worked backwards in time to the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers, as well as oldies from the ‘5os and ‘60s, with a big Motown and Stax influence.
Q: Crazy, dangerous, salacious women seem to be a theme of a few of the songs on this album – Why is that?
A: I guess I have two theories on why most/all the songs on this album are about crazy, dangerous, salacious women. The first is that while writing the songs, I was going through a tough break-up, but Jimmy was in the thralls of enjoying his relationship. We were both writing about what we knew and what we were going through, and even though our songs are on different ends of the spectrum we still are writing about the same thing. I was saying this girl is dangerous and crazy in a bad way, while Jim was saying she is crazy and dangerous in a good way. My second theory, and I can only speak for myself, was that we were trying to write rock/pop songs, and most of the best pop songs ever written are about love, so why not write about something universal and timeless? We aren’t a political band or anything like that, so we are going to write what we know.
Q: How did you go about choosing songs for this album?
A: We chose the songs based on what we felt would make a good, cohesive pop album, but still showcase our musicianship and eclectic nature as a band. Some bands will record thirty songs and then pick the best to put on an album. We are always writing songs and editing every day, so by the time we enter the studio and start paying money, we know what songs we are going to record. Plus, we recorded all the songs on an 8-track prior to even entering the studio, so we knew exactly what we wanted and didn’t have to waste as much time and money.
Q: Who wrote most of the songs?
A: Songs are written in one of three ways. The first is that we all jam and improvise in practice until we hit a groove that moves us, then we throw on some scratch vocals to get a melody, and Jimmy and/or myself will write lyrics and shape the song. The second is that Jimmy and I will get together as just a duo and come up with a song, or help each other finish incomplete songs we have written. And the third way is when he or I come to practice with a song fully written.
A: “Daggers” is placed at the end because we thought it would be a nice wind down track to an aggressive album, plus the end of the song picks up really fast and heavy, so the contrast would be a great way to put an exclamation point on the record. We aren’t afraid to change up styles and keep the listener guessing. That is why one of my favorite bands ever is Ween; They do what they want, how they want. It’s exciting when you don’t know what is coming next.
Q: What’s the ultimate direction for the band?
A: The ultimate direction for us is to keep playing shows, recording albums, and eventually destroy the universe. We love each other and love playing music, so it just makes sense for us to do what we do. We try to make good albums with catchy songs, and hopefully that translates to people coming to our shows where they can really see us shine. We want people to come out to our shows and feel free to get wild and weird and totally lose themselves in the dance party. It’s a judgment-free zone where hipsters, hippies and whoever can unite through the power of song and dance.
Q: What kind of projects is the band working on now?
A: Right now we are getting ready to head out on another national tour behind Red Light Rabbit. We did a summer run and now we are going back out from September ’til mid October. Aside from that, we are always writing new songs and already have enough for a new album, but we haven’t even thought about recording or anything yet.
For more on The Quick & Easy Boys: www.thequickandeasyboys.com