Mojo Rib Interview with Lead Singer
Interview by Keith McDonald
Mojo Rib, an LA based hard rock outfit, has been making some noise in an
otherwise lame music scene. The band prides itself on attitude driven
rock 'n' roll. Now it's always easy to
compare some new band coming out into it's own to a band from a few
years or even a few decades ago. One thing is for sure
though, with the noise and attitude that this band delivers, it's only a
matter of time before something big happens. I had the opportunity to
speak with lead singer Jay who gave me some insight on his band. You can
check out their website at www.mojorib.com
for more information.
How would you describe your music?
Mojo Rib is the 21st-century edition of the good 'ol American party
rawk; the stuff that makes you wanna get laid, tailgate with your
buddies, or miss first period at school because you were too busy
smoking weed in the parking lot. We are high-octane and 100% irony-free.
me about your album.
It's balls-to-the-wall, bro -- if you've ever found yourself wailing
along in the car to "Stranglehold", then this is the record
for you, definitely. Every track on the album was quality-tested for
maximum overdrive - then recorded over a long, hot summer to get as much
sweat and stank into it as possible. What we ended up with is a tailgate
party for the ears.
As far as the production team goes, we couldn't have been luckier. We
recorded at a place called Groovetree Studios in Venice. Matt &
Jason, the owners, were looking for a project to use as a kind of resume
piece for the studio -- thanks to their tireless efforts, we ended up
with an inexpensive record that sounds like a million bucks. I'd
encourage anyone who's looking to record to ring them up www.groovetree.com.
If you can't find our CD in your local record shop, you can buy it
online at CD Baby and Amazon - it's cheaper that way, anyway!
I see you have been compared to a Roth-era Van Halen. How do you
feel about that?
Hell yeah, what could be better? I don't think it applies in terms of
our sound, but it sure as hell does in terms of the attitude - Mojo Rib
is a party, and everyone is invited.
What do you think about 'nu-metal' and the bands from that
I think there's room for everybody - if that's your trip, cool. But
as a fan, I'm glad the whole rap-rock thing is all but dead and buried.
For me, the mold for metal begins and ends with Priest & Maiden -
great songs, great playing, and real, sing-able melodies. As far as new
heavy metal goes, right now I'm spinning High On Fire, Fireball
Ministry, Monster Magnet and Nebula.
How is the LA scene nowadays?
Like a lot of towns, its been the land of the tribute bands for the
last few years - this is pretty much the only way the club owners make a
buck these days, which is a shame. Bookers are more interested in
"draw" than in nurturing a scene, and as a result, things are
pretty mercenary. A band brings its crowd to the show, they leave, then
the next band does the same thing - not much support from band-to-band.
Fortunately, that seems to be changing now; there's a small group of
bands like us in town that are playing the RAWK, and we're slowly
finding each other and our audience. Obviously, the solution is for us
to gang up and put on our own shows - and thanks to the internet and
digital distribution, we no longer need to be beholden to anyone for our
success. With some ingenuity and hard work, it's possible to be captain
of your own ship, which is what we're working toward.
It seems Mojo Rib is based on crunchy guitars, hooks and big
harmonies. Do you agree and is that the idea?
Sure, but not in a cheesedick retro-'80s sense. We're coming more
from the space of meat-n-taters rawk like AC/DC, Bad Company, dope-era
Aerosmith, etc. You gotta have the meaty guitars and the rhythm you can
sit your ass down on - but it all starts with the song. If you can't
break a tune down to a voice and one guitar around a campfire, you've
Do you think good-time rock 'n' roll is missing from today's music
and a band like Mojo Rib can deliver that to fans?
That's the mission, my friend. The whole alt-rock "we don't want
to be rock stars" trip was, is, and always will be bullshit. Nobody
gets into this to not have their work heard. Our aim is to reach as many
people as possible without compromising what we do - no apologies.
Who would you classify as your influences and how does the
songwriting process come about?
We're a pretty eclectic group, but I'd say our common ground is stuff
like AC/DC, VH, Nugent, Aerosmith, Supersuckers, Nashville Pussy, etc.
But the thing that makes it unique is where our tastes differ - I'm as
much into Johnny Cash as I am Johnny Thunders, and the rest of the guys
are just as diverse. It makes for an interesting and volatile mix…
As far as songwriting goes, it's collaborative - someone brings in a
riff, someone will add another part and we throw it into the blender.
Sometimes I'll bring in a complete song, and the guys will spice it up.
Of course, all the best songs are written in 5 minutes…
How energetic is a Mojo Rib live show and what can fans expect?
Dude, our shows are like a revival meeting colliding with NASCAR. I
love looking out there and seeing folks who you can tell just got off a
lousy work week - by the end of the show, they're drunk and their skirts
& shirts are over their heads.
How much, and where, has the band been touring?
Is it difficult? So far, we're left coast only, but hopefully not for
long. The South and Northeast would be bitchin', because rock 'n roll
never goes out of style there. We're also looking into doing something
in Europe this summer, we'll see if it works out. If there's a gig, a
burrito, and a floor to sleep on, I'm in!
It seems the band has quite a buzz going around. How did this
happen and how important is that?
For a band like us, who are pretty much doing it all ourselves - from
the label to publicity and booking - "the buzz" is everything,
and you gotta take responsibility for it. Basically, I am a pimping
machine for this band 24/7; sooner or later, if you're lucky, it starts
to snowball. But you have to be relentless.
Who is in the band and how did you guys come across each
It's the time-honored five-piece lineup - myself on vox, Drew Simon
and Joe Favazza on guitars, Michael White on bass and the dangerous
David Avery on drums. Drew and I originally started off doing rock songs
as an acoustic duo, but once we discovered electricity, we never looked
back. After we got Joey in the band, we got even more focused on taking
rock 'n roll to its next evolutionary stage. With Mike and D'Avery
pounding out righteous rhythm, we've just about reached hard rock
Has radio given any support to the material? How difficult is it
to get radio's attention?
Strangely, the most radio and media attention we've gotten has come
from the UK and Germany. Maybe that's not so odd, though - there's a
real pub culture over there, they like their rock 'n roll with balls and
a wink. So Internet radio has been really kind to us in those places -
especially Andii Wax at TotalRock.com (a fucking kickass station, which
you should all listen to).
Radio in America is a little dicer - formats on commercial radio are
so regimented. Live shows, the Internet, and word-of-mouth are the
things that are going to break us more than radio. If radio picks up on
it, great. If not, no sweat - as long as we kick ass live and people
leave with a mile-wide smile, we're doing our job.
What lies ahead for the band?
Like our friend Tony Montana said in Scarface, "The world…and
everything that's in it."
Rib CD Review