The Detroit Rocks

Posted by Miriam On January - 12 - 20113,224 views

The Detroit Rocks; when you hear the name, you may think it’s a band from the USA. But what a surprise, it’s a rockabilly band from Germany. They play, as they call it themselves, electrified rockabilly, a mix between garage rock, B-movie soundtracks and 50’s rockabilly.
The band members are Oll Haberecht (vocals and guitar), Tiptop Foster (bass and vocals) and Mr. Pape (drums and vocals). After the EP release and tour in 2009 ‘White trash on speed” they’ve now released their first longplayer called “Detroit rocks are terrified” (this album is already reviewed earlier on Rockabilly-online).
Time to ask some questions about this band. 

Tell us how you got together in this band.
(Oll) Tiptop and me knew from a lot of Gigs in the past. We both were bass players in different bands but we had to use the same amps – most of the time I played with Tiptops gear;-)
He always laughed about my 70th style suits with colorfull ties but he said “yes” when I ask him to start a rock´n´roll band with me on vocals and guitar – without hearing me before on a sixstring. The only problem was to find a drummer…
(Tiptop) Let me tell you something about drummers and cologne – it’s an odd story but if you look for a brilliant drummer in cologne you have to check the carnival or the gay scene.
I personally did not know any good drummer who isn’t active in either of both scenes. When we met our drummer, he was able to hold 5 Kölsch and play an accurate drum roll at the same time. So we asked him if he like to join our electrified rockabilly trio. 

How did you come to the name Detroit Rocks?
(Tiptop) In our last radio-interview this question was asked 5 times. 
(Oll) It’s the title of a famous book. It’s about the search of the band The Detroit Rocks for their bandname, it’s also about the searches for true love and combats the forces of evil… Did we really say this on the radio?

Did you all write the songs yourselves on the EP and the new long player?
(Oll) Yes. We write a lot of songs and want to show them! On gigs we also play a few covers of songs that we like.
(Tiptop) Yes, but we only record our own stuff. We do not record any cover tunes because we don’t call ourselves “Detroit Baseballs” 😉

I understand that Oll and Tiptop build their own gear, like clones and copies of old valve amps and stomp boxes; will you tell us something about this?
(Tiptop) As you know we recorded the whole lp live in a soldier’s room of a cologne fort from 1815. Our rehearsal room is situated nearby. This room is very huge and with awesome acoustics. So we brought the whole studio to that room and recorded all tunes there, because we wanted to do it as they did it in the past. We are not into digital stuff and modern tools. Same with our equipment. I started a couple of years ago with the restoration of old amps and upgrading old stomp boxes circuits from the 60s and 70s with electronic parts from old 50s radios. Mostly overdrives, fuzzes, booster and compressors. After touring around 10 years with my main bass it was fucked-up and as a matter of course I rebuild the bass exactly but optimized all the tiny little stuff which was bugging me all the time. And because of some british punk attitude I painted it british racing green! ‘Dezenz ist Schwäche!’.
When we start with THE DETROIT ROCKS I build also some stomp boxes for Oll and so he started to work on these subject too. You can hear the most of the stuff on the record.
Meanwhile he build his own valve combo based on a 50s Bandmaster combo which was slightly optimized. The combo was finished during the recording, so you can hear it only on a few tunes. On the other tunes Oll used a 1964 all-original Bandmaster.
But he can tell you more about this.
(Oll) Two years ago I saw the 64 blond Bandmaster on the homepage of a my favourite guitarshop and I bought it at the same day. The owner let me play it with his  301 tapeecho. It is the sound I was searching for and I sold my other amps. There is nothing about a vintage non-mastervolume amp.
To have a alternative for smaller Gigs I built a Tweed Bandmaster 57 Clone with the help of Roger Schult a very good German engineer. The good thing on a self build amp is: you can tune the hell out of it without destroying a original sainthood. So it get a “Superswitch” and a better bassreaction for a creamier poweramp tupe overdrive.
You can hear the old Bandmaster with a 65 Fender rever tank on all rythm guitars on the album and the Tweed boosted with one of my overdrive boxes on the solos.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
(Oll) I saw a lot of gigs in the past and the most impressive was the show of Luther Allison – a great Bluesplayer who died a few years ago. I was 15 or 16 years old. In one song he started to walk through the audience and “preached” the blues with his guitarsolo. When he came in front of me he looked into my eyes for just a second and played this note on his Les Paul. For me it was like this Bluesbrothers scene in the church. I saw the light! That´s the truth.
(Tiptop) Terry Richardson and Matias Faldbakken (- a really nice guy, completely different to what you would expect from his writing attitude, btw I had some vodkas with him together in cologne). Both are real artists who don’t give a shit on conventions. Let me tell you what isn’t inspiration: A band which covers only famous tunes and spend more time on the finish of their double bass. Sorry, but I don’t want to spend 10 bucks for listening to a band playing a 1:1 copy of old rockabilly tunes, I already have in perfect quality at home on vinyl.  

Who are your favourite artists?
(TipTop)I like rockabilly bands who answer: “Tom Waits”. I love Tom Waits! And I love Cash and Vincent too! During  Christmas time I listened a lot to old vinyl from The Nerves, Beatles stuff, Sly Stone and Thelonious Monk. I think one of the main issues of the scene is, that they only listen to a few (for sure: very good) albums, but there is even more. Personally I can having fun listening to Electric Six ‘Gay Bar’ and still play an awesome rockabilly show.
(Oll) I believe it is not astonishing to say: Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats, Reverend Horton Heat, Stevie Ray Vaughn and certainly all the old heroes from Gene to Eddie, Chuck Berry and the King. Brian Robertson was a great influence for me. Hear him on Thin Lizzy – Live and dangerous and Motörhead- another perfect day! 

Do you like other music styles too, other than rockabilly?
(Tiptop) Sure! Every artist is influenced by another artist. If he denies this, the chance he’s an asshole is at around 99,999%. There’s a lot good music behind the rockabilly curtain!
(Oll) Sure!

What do you want to achieve?
(Tiptop) When I started at the age of 7 playing trumpet I wanted to play with the animal in the Muppet Show Band. Today I would do Katy Perry also because she did the Muppet Show!
Until that I wanted to do some bands with THE DETROIT ROCKS plus tiny BIGband and also I would love to show cologne some electrified rockabilly with really good performed burlesque. I don’t know why but cologne is a bit novercal about that.
(Oll) I want our music on vinyl! And lots of great gigs, also in the Netherlands and Belgium.

How do you see yourself in 10 years?
(Tiptop) More beard, less hair.
(Oll) Start making jokes about Tiptops hair – a payback for my nice suits.

Is there anything you would like to tell?
(Oll) Don´t drink and drive!
(Tiptop) Read more good books, watch less shitty tv and ähm..meet us at our shows.

More info: www.detroitrocks.de

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