Kool Kat of the Week: Liza Colby Has a Lust for Live Music

Posted on: Oct 25th, 2017 By:

Photo credit: Evan McKnight.

By Geoff Slade
Contributing Writer

The Liza Colby Sound has been playing loud, driving guitar rock with a groove since 2009, but they will perform in Atlanta for the first time on Thurs. Oct. 26 at Star Bar.

Think The Black Keys on Prozac (they seem to be enjoying themselves). In addition to Liza, the “Sound” also includes Tom McCaffrey on guitar, Alec Morton on bass and C.P. Roth on drums (original guitarist Adam Roth passed away in 2015). And between them they boast an eclectic and pedigreed resume that includes working with Ozzy, Jim Carroll, Joey Ramone, Gloria Gaynor and as Denis Leary’s backing band. They are awesome and fun and if you don’t love the music they make, well, then you don’t like rock ‘n’ roll.

But once the show starts, they could turn into lizard people, and I doubt anyone would notice. Liza Colby is the type of performer adjectives like “soulful and sultry” were put together to describe in the first place. She sounds like Aretha and moves with Mick’s menacing sexuality (Without Jagger’s goofiness. You know what I’m talking about). A sweaty, sexy cross between Tina and Prince, maybe?

And if it’s sexist to describe women in these terms nowadays (and it probably is), I apologize, but check this out. Better yet, in her own words: “When I sing, I want it to be badass, feminine, empowering, and ooze sexuality.” She nails it across the board.

This is not to say this band coasts on the seductive charisma of its eponymous front(wo)man. Their songs are pure hard rocking soul treasures. Singable, danceable, and definitely memorable. Check them out Thursday, and tell your friends about your new favorite band on Friday.

A consummate Kool Kat, Liza herself took some time last week to talk with us about music, her band, and why she does what she does.

ATLRetro: First off, I saw an INTERVIEW in which you said Tina Turner and Iggy Pop were huge influences for you. Could Tina have fronted The Stooges? Would that be anything like The Liza Colby Sound?

Liza Colby: I’m sure she could have. But the two are such radical, powerful forces unto themselves that the separation is what’s so inspiring. The contrast rather than the composite. What’s similar is the intense, high energy, shows. They were both a spectacle. And if people see from our live performance the punk rock rawness, and chaos of Iggy and the Stooges and the soul, femininity and bad ass-ness of Tina that I have pulled as my influence then I’m stoked.

It looks like you are in the middle of a tour. Are you on the road a lot?

We are! Not nearly enough. I love being on the road! We played Philly last night and we’re headed to Pittsburgh now. I am literally writing this in the van. It’s taking me a titsch longer than usual because I get car sick.

I know New York City is home now, but is that where you are from originally? How about the rest of the band?

Born in Mass, Raised in CT. Alec Morton (Bass) DC, Charly (Drums) Philly, grew up in Princeton, NJ, Tom (Guitar) Philly. Northeast band through and through. 

Does being based there influence the music you make?

Absolutely. The common thread is the grit, toughness and tightness that comes with the east coast. Maybe it’s the brutally cold winters mixed with the sweltering summers. The extremes. The convenience and accessibility of getting around the Northeast. The attitude. Leather jackets. The come in, kick ass, and leave mentality. And the pride of being a NYC band.

How did you come together with such a kickass band? Seriously, these guys have worked with everybody!

My husband was a friend of our original guitarist, Adam Roth. Adam brought in his brother Charly and bassist Alec who had already been working together as a unit in various bands and projects. And we just clicked. Yeah all of them had amazing resumes but this was just all our vibes lining up.

Tragically Adam passed almost two years ago and it was a terrible year trying to recover. Charly and Alec brought in guitarist Robbie Mangano (Ghost of a Sabre Toothed Tiger, Band From Utopia) who really helped us find our footing again. And then Charly found Tom McCaffery and he just completed the sound, fit us to a tee. The well of talent in NYC is so deep, but still we’re very lucky to have gotten through this.

Which song should we link to right here for anyone unfamiliar with The Liza Colby Sound? Why this song?

Our new single “Cryin'” off our soon to be released EP DRAW (November 17) It hits hard and get’s right to the point. It’s a blues-based rocker with soul for days and a killer riff.

Photo credit: Johan Vipper Delancey.

You’re playing Star Bar this Thursday. Are Atlanta crowds any different from rock fans elsewhere?

We are indeed! And the show is FREE! Soooooo you’re basically losing money if you don’t come. First time playing in Atlanta and we’ll be there with our soul mates/pharmacists The Sweet Things who booked the show with their label Spaghetty Town Records. So many of the best bands these days are coming out of ATL so they must be doing something right down there. Also anyone who knows anything tells me that Star Bar is the coolest spot in town, so we’re totally stoked.

Did you grow up performing music?

I did. My mom, dad, brother and I are all professional musicians. Performing and music are the foundation of my existence. My mom tells this story of me at a pre-verbal age performing on the coffee table in front of her and my dad to jazz a la mode. Musta been a trip.

What is your favorite thing about performing live?

Live music presents a shared moment that exists purely on the energy that the audience, and performer have at that specific time, good or bad and then it’s gone. If you weren’t there, sorry, you missed it. There is something really special about that. And a great performance is one of the highest highs you’ll ever feel. 

When did you first realize you wanted to do this for a living?

I was around 16, I had been writing and really enjoyed the process. By 18 when I went to college not for music (get ready cause this was actually my major) but for recreation and leisure, I realized that I had ventured too far off the reservation. Music was the only thing I wanted to do and that has been the focus ever since.

Photo credit: James Hartley.

When did you first realize you COULD do this for a living?

It was always a feasible option thanks to watching my parents. My brother and I saw that it was possible. And it’s a long hard road. But my mom at one point said something along the lines of:

This is a really hard business and road to take. But if you can’t live without it then you have to go for it.

Your confidence radiates from the stage. What advice would you give young musicians regarding owning their sound and style?

Keep on doing it. Put in the time (the amount is open-ended) and that is both simultaneously daunting and exciting. Be true to yourself no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. I have always liked what I like, when I like it, and sometimes I feel like I’m alone. It’s all subjective. The practice is to block out the noise and comparisons, and if you can develop a forget mechanism, you are nice. You are not as good as your best day and you’re not as bad as your worst. And create, and create, and create. 

Which is more important to you as a musician, creating or performing?

Those two are not exclusive. I don’t think you can have one without the other. The objective is to create an immersive experience for an audience. Make a space out of a non space.

Photo credit: James Hartley.

You seem to enjoy your work (the entire band does), but it is clearly work. How do you and the others bring such fresh energy and excitement to your shows after the better part of a decade?

It all takes work. Doesn’t matter what you do. We love what we do. We love music and rock and each other. Luck of the draw and we got lucky. The shows are the easy part, we are all gig whores!

Are you working on anything new?

Oh yeah, always! I love the hustle and grind. We are in the process of recording and writing our next record that will be out in 2018. I’m finishing up the sophomore EP for my other project The Gold Setting. And I have a few more seeds planted and pots on the stove. I have been in creative overdrive! 

And finally, I read that your voice has appeared on SESAME STREET! How did that come about?

Charly Roth (drummer) has been working with them for years and asked me to be the voice for the letter “Q” song. Not gonna lie SO MUCH FUN!

Thanks, Liza! We’ll see you Thursday at Star Bar with The Sweet Things and Night Terrors. And like she said, it’s a free show, so get there early! Doors at 7, show starts at 8.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kool Kat of the Week: Darcy Malone & The Tangle Swoop in from the Big Easy and Get Scandalous with a Night of Sizzlin’ Rock ‘n’ Soul at Smith’s Olde Bar

Posted on: Mar 1st, 2016 By:
Darcy High Res

Photo by Sharon Pye

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Genre-bending Atlanta newcomers, Darcy Malone & The Tangle hail from the Big Easy, and plan to dish out rockin’ soul at Smith’s Olde Bar this Saturday, March 5! It’ll be a night of sizzlin’ rock ‘n’ roll chock full of New Orleans nostalgia twisted with a bit ‘o jazz, pop-rock and everything in between! Janglin’ it up with The Tangle will be indie folksy pop chanteuse Joanna Duff and Athens rock quartet, Southern Bred Co.! Doors at 9 pm.

Darcy Malone & The Tangle [Darcy Malone (lead vocals); Jagon Eldrige (sax-keys); Chris Boye (guitar-vocals); Glenn Newbauer (guitar); Craig Toomey (bass-vocals); and Billy Schell (drums)] began dishing out their brand of swampy rock ‘n’ soul in 2013. With a debut album releasing at the end of the month (STILL LIFE), produced by Rick Nelson (The Afghan Whigs), the sky seems to be the limit for this group of rockin’ riff-raff. Darcy, daughter of New Orleans’ own Dave Malone (The Radiators) has been peddlin’ tunes as long as she can remember and plans to take the world by storm, one gig at a time, she says.

ATLRetro caught up with Darcy for a quick interview about the history of The Tangle; the band’s rockin’ retro influences; and their debut album, STILL LIFE! And while you’re takin’ a gander at our little Q&A with Darcy, check out the band at Gasa Gasa here (June 27, 2015).

ATLRetro: With a band name like Darcy Malone & The Tangle, it sure sounds like you guys are up to no good, which of course we can’t help but like! Can you tell our readers about The Tangle and how you and your fellas got together as a group?

Darcy Malone: Well, there’s no fun unless you’re up to- a little bit of – no good right? But those are probably stories for another time. Ha! The name “The Tangle” actually refers to our backgrounds as musicians. We all hail from different backgrounds and influences making our sound become a “tangle of genres,” which I think is how we have such a unique style and sound especially for a band out of New Orleans. As for how we became a group, there are several stories behind that. Chris and I started playing music together in 2003 and that turned into a relationship, which turned into a marriage. We evacuated to Austin after Katrina and came back and gathered up these dudes, and it finally became what we’d been trying to create for years. Many of us had history together. And some we met over Craigslist. Believe it or not, that’s how we met Craig. Ha!

Photo by Jerry Moran (L-R: Glen Newbauer, Billy Schell, Craig Toomey, Darcy Malone, Chris Boye, Jagon Eldridge)

Photo by Sharon Pye (L-R: Glen Newbauer, Billy Schell, Craig Toomey, Darcy Malone, Chris Boye, Jagon Eldridge)

Hailing from the Big Easy and the land of jazz and “swamp rock,” it must have been amazing being surrounded by layers upon layers of musical history. Can you tell our readers about your musical upbringing and what stirred you to share your love of music?

Growing up in NOLA, you are around not only jazz and swamp rock but lots of funk, blues, jams, etc. I personally grew up right in the middle of it. I came from a musical family known for their contributions to the New Orleans music scene. My dad being from the Radiators [one of the most successful rock bands out of NOLA] influenced me very heavily. I was singing all the time. Went to many gigs at places where kids maybe shouldn’t be, with both my dad and mom. And music was just in our blood. There wasn’t a day we lived without it. There was no way in hell I wasn’t gonna be a musician of some sort. And as a result I met many different types of players and performers and got to perform in many different styles. I think this really shaped up the type of singer and songwriter I am today for sure. I got to be around some pretty amazing musicians. And I studied every move, every note, every style, EVERYTHING.

Being the child of a musician is an opportunity that most don’t get the chance to experience. What was it like growing up in a house full of music?

It was definitely not your typical childhood. It was really nice to have holidays with guitars out and singing songs, but I also went to a lot of gigs at festivals, sometimes in clubs, and sometimes on the road. It was fun to get to stay in a hotel room and eat room service and see cool music and meet cool people. I remember going with my dad to Memphis when he was recording one of his albums and getting to go to Graceland and Sun Studios. For a kid who was my age at that time, it may not have been first choice to do, but I was beyond ecstatic. I think I learned a lot about good music 12743799_10153925485543684_8832102441247908944_nearly. I knew at 5 who the Beatles were and my first big concert at 8 was Elvis Costello and the Attractions. I feel really lucky to have been taught early on about the good stuff. It, of course, did have its downs, too. If I wasn’t able to go on the road, it meant I was home and dad wasn’t. So that part of it was a bit if a bummer. But he was young, single and living the rock star life. With me and Chris both being in this band, we hope to take our son to as much as we possibly can!

We read that you draw personal inspiration from soul singers and ‘60s girl groups. What is it exactly about them that inspire you?

There is something so raw about someone like Ronnie Spector, or Darlene Love. And for me, it’s not just the girl groups of the ‘60s, but a lot of the girls then like Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Dusty Springfield, Bonnie Bramlett. They sang with effortless soul. And it was gut-wrenching and so amazing it could make you cry or get massive goosebumps. They didn’t do it with lots of vocal trills or 100% perfect pitch. They did it with flaws and guts. It was real raw emotion that came straight from the heart. That’s the type of singer I always want to be.

Who would you say are your top three most influential retro musicians/singers? And what is it about them that inspires you?

Only three???!! Tina Turner – she can out-sing any dude, moves like a tornado and is just one badass mama. Cyndi Lauper – Quirky, sings from the gut and doesn’t give a “you know what” what anyone thinks about it. Her voice is and will always be unbelievable. Ronnie Spector– had a distinctive voice that literally made a song, and did it effortlessly and with style. Honorable mentions of course are Janis Joplin, Bette Midler, Donny Hathaway and Elvis Costello.

Your sound has been described as being influenced by pop/rock, new wave, soul, R&B and more. How would you describe your sound to our readers?

You just did! It literally is a “tangle of genres”! We don’t conform to one standard genre. Music fulfills a mood. There’s something on our record for everyone.

darcy_malone_vertical liveCan you tell our readers a little about your debut album, STILL LIFE, produced by Rick Nelson (Afghan Whigs), which is set to be released on March 25? And how can we get our hands on it?

The title track is about being yourself. Don’t live the still and stale life of what people think you should be like or look like. Be yourself and you’ll always be happy and in control. This record really is a piece of work that we are very proud of. And we couldn’t have done it without Rick’s ear and guidance. I just simply cannot wait for everyone to hear it. The release is at legendary Tipitina’s in New Orleans on Saturday March 26.  Then it will be available in record stores, online via iTunes, Amazon etc., and of course on our website. We are also going to have vinyl soon! So be on the lookout for that!

The band has been around since 2013. Which venue would you say is your favorite so far, and if you could play anywhere you’d like, where would that be?

Favorite New Orleans venue so far has been Tipitina’s. It’s a classically wonderful place to play. Out of town, The Nick in Birmingham has been my fave – such great people and such a cool venue. I want to play everywhere! There’s no limitation to that!

If you could put together a dream line-up of musicians to play with [still around or not], who would it be?

Oh man…..such a great question. I’ve had so many fantasies about this. Combining both around and not? Well let’s say the obvious…The Beatles, along with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Blondie, The Pixies, Cyndi Lauper, Alabama Shakes and us. And that’s just one stage ’cause this is a festival right? Man, what a weird and awesome lineup!

Anything scandalous planned for your shakin’ shindig at Smith’s Olde Bar on March 5?

We’ve always got a fun bag of tricks involved, but you will just have to come to the show to see them!

Photo by Jerry Moran (L-R: Jagon Eldridge, Glen Newbauer, Billy Schell, Darcy Malone, Craig Toomey, Chris Boye)

Photo by Jerry Moran (L-R: Jagon Eldridge, Glen Newbauer, Billy Schell, Darcy Malone, Craig Toomey, Chris Boye)

What’s next for Darcy Malone & The Tangle?

More records? National tours? We are ready for it all! In the meantime we will keep playing and writing and trying to live the dream.

Anything else you’re dying to tell ATLRetro readers about yourself? The Tangle?

This will be my first venture to Atlanta! I’m a crazy dancer, and I’m so ready to shake it with you guys. Come talk to us at the show! We love making new friends!

Photos provided by Darcy Malone & The Tangle and used with permission.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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