Brooklyn punks Obits come to Milwaukee on Oct. 6 to play the Cactus Club as part of a lengthy tour in support of the quartet’s third Sub Pop Records disc, "Beds & Bugs."
The record is an onslaught of guitar-fueled rock and roll straight out of the garage milieu, with hooks that’ll grab you and guitars that will slice you down the middle.
We were so smitten that we cornered guitarist Sohrab Habibion and asked him about the record, about the tour and, of course, about baseball.
Find out why Obits are checking the real estate ads when they get to Brew City ...
OnMilwaukee.com: I checked out the band's Facebook page today and found an Undertones video and an incredible Jimmy Smith documentary and immediately sensed kindred spirits. You guys have some pretty diverse tastes. Do you think that informs your music in an outward way?
Sohrab Habibion: It's hard to say how outward it is. We're big music fans and not all of what we like is rock 'n' roll. Those other influences definitely make their way into our songs, but probably in more subtle ways. That said, we will always be more on The Undertones side of the equation if only because none of us can play anything resembling what Jimmy Smith does.
OMC: Tell us a bit about the new record? You worked with a different producer than on the previous two, I think. Did that change the process or the vibe for you at all?
SH: The recording approach was not the same as on the first two albums. Most of "Bed & Bugs" was done just outside of Washington, D.C., with our friend Nikhil in his apartment. It's was very casual and comfortable, which suits us well as people and as a band.
For a few of the songs we used bits of recordings we'd done in our practice space or at home and then built on top of them. It was a fun way to experiment with the process a bit and also keep the overall sound of the album from being too monochromatic.
But Eli and Geoff, who worked on both "I Blame You" and "Moody, Standard and Poor" mixed the bulk of the new record, so
there's some continuity, as well.
OMC: The tour is going to be a pretty long one. Do you enjoy being on the road?
SH: Unless something unpleasant happens, we almost always have fun. We enjoy playing our music together, but that only happens for an hour every day, so the rest of the time is spent goofing around, napping, maybe sightseeing or searching for a decent place to eat. We're also all old enough and have been doing this long enough that we know how to recognize each other's needs for personal space or quiet time. It's crucial to know when its okay to be obnoxious and when it's time to shut up because silence in the van is golden. If anyone reading this has young children, it's pretty much the same deal, except we are simultaneously the screaming toddler and the sleep-deprived parent. It's not for everyone, that's for sure.
OMC: Have you been to Milwaukee before? Anything you're looking forward to here? Any memories of previous visits?
SH: Yes. It's a stellar town. You have good Indian food, strong coffee, the beautiful Oriental movie theater, excellent artists like Tom Stack, a history of top-shelf bands like Die Kreuzen and dis-, an impressive brewing tradition and you've produced Hall of Famers like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. We're all moving there when this tour is over.
OMC: I hear that Rick = baseball. Mets or Yankees?
SH: The Miracle Mets.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.