Graham Clise on the new Lecherous Gaze record, One Fifteen, and bitch slapping Nazis

By Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor

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They’re proud of being weirdos. They’re obsessive players, and despite their burnout steez, they work pretty damn hard. Lecherous Gaze put out a new record this week, and it offers another bluesy step towards definitive classic rock, another roll of the twelve-sided die towards the Gaze being the sonic embodiment of the dude that sold you trips in high school. Fantasy art legend Frank Frazetta provided the record’s artwork – they have never been more overt in their extraterrestrialism, and on our initial listens, we’ve been compelled to hook the lava lamp back up and tune in, turn on, and drop out.

Gaze guitarist Graham Clise is a busy dude (see UB #14 for evidence of this), but he found time to yack to us about his favourite bands, his favourite films, the power of love, and the importance of smashing Nazis.

 

Where was the new album done, and how did you fit it in when you seem to have been on the road non-stop for four years?
We recorded it in Oakland, California at Ear Hammer studios with our friend Greg Wilkinson. I think the dude’s done near 10 releases for us between Gaze and Annihilation Time over the years, so we know how each other work pretty damn well by now! As far as cranking out the album, I’ve got pretty much severe OCD when it comes to working on music. Any time I spent not on tour was used writing the album. We had a jam space down the road from our pad where we all lived together. We’d jam three nights a week for hours until really late at night. Also I set up a home studio where we must have made three demos of the album before we ever hit the real studio. Hundreds of hours went into it. I’d sit in my room playing guitar for like eight hours sometimes. The sun would be coming up before I’d even realize it! We did a fair amount of touring all over the world, and always on our own tours. All that coupled with the fact that everyone involved are complete weirdos, which really seems to come out in the tunes. It’s definitely the most proud I’ve ever been of a recording!

There’s a new vibe coming through on the first track we sampled. How has this evolved and what was the primary influence on the sound of One Fifteen?
We’ve pretty much got the same influences on this one we’ve always had for years. English and American seventies bands mostly, like Pink Fairies, Chuck Berry, BÖC, The Damned, The Rutz, The Pistols, Arthur Lee, Amboy Dukes, Hendrix. You can hear little snippets of influence here and there, but we never really tried to sound like anything specific or consciously went in any predetermined direction. That whole writing in the style of ____ thing is a bit boring if you ask me. The songs just sorta come out how they are, really.

There is a bit of sci-fi tinge to the lyrics/artwork – who have you been reading, what have you been watching?
Getting a real Frank Frazetta piece for our album cover was shocking! Still can’t believe it. I’ve loved his stuff from the first time I saw Fire And Ice at like age six. It’s cool joining the list of many bands I love that have had his artwork . Nazareth, for one, wow! Not to mention all the great sci-fi movies he’s done. As for the lyrics – all the Gaze records have a subtle sci-fi theme goin’ on, but this one is pretty full on. It’s all based on old movies and UFO lore. Movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still, War Of The Worlds, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Earth Dies Screaming. You know, your typical apocalyptic alien movies of the fifties and sixties.

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Is it true you are moving to Australia for love?
Yep, it’s true! I met a wonderful gal on our last tour out here and the rest was history. I packed up, moved out of Oakland and now I’ve been living in Melbourne for the past three months. We’re getting hitched. Still not sure how a goofy bastard like myself managed to swing through one night and snap up the best girl in town. Pretty smooth move on my part! She plays in a rippin’ band called Miss Destiny.

Sucker punching Nazis: sweet or nah?
Definitely sweet, and I’ll tell you why I think so… I remember back when I was a kid first going to punk gigs in the nineties in Southern California, Nazis were everywhere. Every gig you went to, they’d be there. Actual whole gangs of them. They were some seriously bad dudes. Not your average dip shit white trash kid in a bomber jacket who spray paints swastikas on walls, these guys were hardened criminals. They were full grown men who’d done hard time in prison, often carried guns, many had committed murders and were looking for any excuse to fight. I’d been jumped twice by Nazis, and to be honest along with most of my other friends, we were scared shitless to stand up to those guys. They could just show up wherever they wanted and felt pretty comfortable doing so because everyone was to scared to do shit. Over time they started to disappear. Lots of them ether went to prison for long periods of time, died, or went on to being rockabilly or biker douches. Suddenly they were very outnumbered, and people started kicking their asses when they would come around. It would only take a couple ass kickings before they would re-evaluate what they’d been doing. Eventually they’d realise being a Nazi was more of a pain in the ass than it was worth, so they’d fuck off. I feel like the same is true today. As much as I value free speech and the right to believe whatever the hell you want no matter how fucked, I gotta say, I’m really glad people sucker punch Nazis.

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