If the best garage bands of any era and the snarl of punk were distilled into one person, for my money, that person would be Mark Sultan, who rocks The Earl this Thursday August 18 with openers Rod Hamdallah and Paralyzer. His bands (Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, Mind Controls, et al) provide the perfect YouTube rabbit hole for the uninitiated and fans alike. This is pure, old fashioned rock music, unadorned, except with good-natured menace.
Mark began billing himself BBQ and playing as one-man band in 2000. If you’re a fan, you may know him best from The King Khan & BBQ Show, which he formed a few years later with former Spaceshits band mate Khan.
The quintessential Kool Kat of the Week, Sultan took a break from his solo North American tour over the weekend to answer a few questions.
ATLRetro: Hey, Mark! Thanks for taking a few minutes from the road to chat withus. You’re in Texas right now, right? How’s the tour going so far?
Mark Sultan: Good, but for some whiny folks who just don’t “get it.”
According to your tour schedule, you play in Brooklyn the night after this week’s Earl show, and in Montreal (your hometown) the night after that. Will each of these shows be completely different? How about the crowds?
Each show is different in that I play each show from my heart. Sometimes things just change, for good or bad. I’m an honest person. It’s my show, but I play for the moment.
You’ve been in tons of bands but also toured extensively as a solo artist (here he is in a Russian bookstore), often (usually? always?) as a “one-man band.” Is this the format of your current tour?
I mean, I have had many ‘band’ bands, but ya, being a one-man band certainly allows for more travel. Yes, this is how I am touring.
The spectacle is undeniably badass (check this out). You clearly don’t NEED a drummer on stage, or anyone else for that matter, but is that the only reason you don’t have one?
For this particular thing, I feel the limitations of the set-up dictate the style. And I like the style. It’s just extreme rock n roll. With frills, come problems.
Do you record this way?
Depends what I am recording. If I wanna record this ‘band’, ya, I record live off the floor. But I also do full band recordings, where I am playing traditionally. I’ve done many things.
Are you currently working on any new music? Anything we can hear soon?
I am just solidifying my studio/record label Chompazoid back in the Berlin area. I will be self-releasing lots of stuff. Recording a bunch of stuff. Always do.
Are you performing career-spanning set lists on this tour?
Not really. I may slide a few old tunes in here and there, but it’s not a major concern.
That’s me. That’s my one-man band. But some clubs bill me as “Mark Sultan.”
How did you hook up with Atlanta kindred spirits Black Lips? Are you guys close? Any plans to collaborate in the future?
My other band, The King Khan & BBQ Show, are big pals, toured with them in 2006 [?]. When none of us were “known,” we recorded together and toured as The Almighty Defenders. We’re brothers. I may record them at Chompazoid later this year.
Say someone reading this is unfamiliar with your music, what song would you suggest they hear first?
No idea. What I have learned is that my idea of rock n roll is completely different than most folks who like shit like Black Keys, so I don’t really care if you listen or not. Especially in this age of Internet big-mouths.
Name three bands about which you could confidently say, “If you like them, you should check me out.” Better yet, “If you like them, you’ll HATE me!”
I only own three T-shirts in life: one International Artists, one Link Wray, one Heartbreakers. Add a Falcons album, and that’s a decent cross section. I hate Dion, Blueshammer. I hate the plastic version of real shit.
No. That’s just stupid?
Thanks again for taking the time to chat. Anything else you want to mention?
Sorry about the rushed answers. I’m on my way out the door to the next town!
Check out Mark and openers Rod Hamdallah and Paralyzer this Thursday August 18, 9pm at The Earl. Tickets are $10.