The Strafing Run: Having a Psychic Conversation of 20 Questions with Charles Rowell of the Crocodiles

Great poster done for the show by our friend Corey

Crocodiles show poster by Corey Brickley.

Dayum.

Sometimes, life is actually pretty great.

I’m talking Cheezeburger great. Hulk bodyslamming Andre great. High Times quality great.

Seeing the Crocodiles rock faces off at a hookah lounge with a hundred other freaks is great.

Yes, Crocodiles came to little ole State College, Pa to play a wild show at Chronic Town Hookah lounge, thanks to Mr. Jeff and SOMA. Swiss Alps and Flashback Forward opened up the show. Swiss Alps, joined by Devin from Dead Channel, played a great set as usual. They’re one of my favorite local bands at the moment. Right after they played, Crocodiles took the stage and proceeded to rock many a face with songs off their new release, Endless Flowers.

Despite being troubled by microphone problems, Crocodiles put on a powerful show. They mostly played songs from the new album, which was fine with the audience, because the new album is great. Brandon Welchez jumped around the stage while he and Charles Rowell shredded through song after song, short on banter and long on guitars backed by a drummer, keyboard and throbbing wall of sound. When Welchez’s mic got iffy, Crocodiles treated the crowd to a prolonged jam or two while the staff scrambled to get the microphone back up. Everyone in the venue was moving, dancing, shaking by the end of a show that ended all too soon. Damn though, it was great fun while it lasted.

After the show, I got to chat up Rowell, one half of the Crocodiles core. I wanted to interview him then and there, but he was pretty worn out from the show, slumped over the bar of the lounge, trying to stay awake. He was still nice enough to chat with me a bit about the tour, and what he was listening to lately (Kindness, Friends, Soft Pack, Plateaus, the new Kurt Vile). He also agreed to answer some questions if I shot him an email. Well I did, and he answered. I think you’ll enjoy the results. I came up with 20 questions, and damned if he didn’t answer every single one. Yeah, I think that’s pretty great.

THE BOMBER JACKET: So let’s start at the beginning. How did you two decide to be the Crocodiles? Do Crocodiles have any personal significance for either of you?

Charles Rowell: We used to date. Well, we used to shag at parties but that got boring somehow, so we decided to make music together. It seemed like the less messy option of spending time together!

Besides yourselves, what’s your favorite band named after an animal?

The Monkees.

So you guys are on tour now. (Thanks for coming to play in State College, by the way!) How’s the tour going so far? Any interesting stories?

Financially the tour hasn’t been doing well, so we have taken the liberty of converting the merchandise area into a kissing booth for the desperate and lonely to come and get nice strawberry suck jobs on their necks. It puts gas in the tank!

Chronic Town is obviously a smaller venue. In general, what types of venues do you prefer to play in, and why?

We play porn theaters, hookah lounges, motorcycle funerals, zoo lavatories, concert halls, halfway houses. We’re silly!

You did a big tour in Europe not too long ago. Any good stories from treking all over Europe?

Same thing as always–naked men and beer!

I understand fans bring you gifts at some of the shows. What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten from a fan so far on this tour?

A self portrait designed in pig’s blood.

I’m told you’ve been known to dabble in weed from time to time. In your opinion, what stop on your tour had the best smoke so far?

Dabble? Ha ha. California baby baby.

Do you ever play shows high? If so, how do you think it affects the show for you?

Every single night, playboy. It gives us the effect that more people are actually in the audience and that they are actually listening to what we’re doing.

In your opinion, will marijuana ever be legal in America?

Probably not.

The new album, Endless Flowers, is great. What do you feel is the main difference between the new album and your previous ones?

The main difference is that these songs were written while blindfolded.

So, the album cover. What up with that?

It’s a photograph of our friend. He is walking down the stairs to get some milk from the kitchen and to put his flowers in a vase.

I want to go into a little detail on some of the songs. Tell me about “My Surfing Lucifer.” Where did the title come from, and what can you tell us about the song itself?

I suppose Kenneth Anger had something to do with it? It’s an homage in the first person, to all the serial killers and cult evangelists back in San Diego.

Have you ever been surfing? If so, how did it go?

I am allergic to the sun.

Tell us about the track “Sunday (Psychic conversation #9),” and what the other eight psychic conversations were like?

The other eight conversations were published in a poetry book of ours last year.

“Electric Death Song.” I feel like there has to be a cool story behind this song. Could you tell us a little about it?

Nope, no story.

The title track, “Endless Flowers,” has a classic rock ‘n’ roll sound.  What are some of your favorite rock ‘n’ roll albums?

The Damned – Black Album, Slade – Old New Borrowed Blue, Roxy Music – Country Life.

Which track off the new album is your favorite at the moment?

“No Black Clouds For Dee Dee.”

I really enjoyed the acoustic songs you guys did for the Amazing Breakfast show. Especially “My Surfing Lucifer,” which sounds so different with just the two acoustic guitars. Any thoughts of doing either a whole acoustic album, or a special release, b-sides thing where you do acoustic versions of all the songs on one of your albums?

We will probably end up releasing anything we can to keep our business afloat. Once the little Crocodiles are born we’re gonna start handing out blow jobs in Central Park to keep going.

How sick are you guys of getting compared to the Jesus and Mary Chain?

Shut up.

How has the blogosphere and the digital music age influenced your band?

No influence.

What would you most like our readers to know about your band?

That we’re hard and hairy.

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