Interview: GospelbeacH

GospelbeacH are the Californian band (via Tampa) who blew our socks off on their recent UK tour. Their good friend Miranda Lee Richards was their support, and both artists played together each night. What a divine bill! GospelbeacH were formed from the ashes of Beechwood Sparks, (who recently reformed for a twentieth anniversary gig out in the Mojave desert) who themselves came together after The Tyde split. They recently released their adorable second album Another Summer of Love which has been receiving love worldwide.

On their first album Pacific Surf Line, along with heavenly, West Coast-tinged emotional anthems like Southern Girl, they also wrote a track called Mick Jones which is a tribute to the great Clash/Big Audio Dynamite/Carbon Silicon genius songsmith and guitarist. Brent Rademaker was able to take time out to speak to Americana UK about some of the music that he holds dear and that has influenced the GospelbeacH sound:

You closed your recent set at MOTH in London with ‘Mick Jones’ from your brilliant first album Pacific Surf Line. How much of an influence has Mick Jones been on you?
Major influence to be honest…Stay Free, Lost in the Supermarket, especially Hitsville UK…ever since I was 15.

Is Mick Jones aware of your homage?
I doubt it but I did hear that Paul Weller knows about our “In the City” reference!

What is it you like about Mick Jones?
I personally loved how up front he was about being into rock and roll and not playing it cool, long hair, jumps and his style…I mean really it’s his melodic sense and musicianship.

Do you have a favourite Mick Jones composition? The Clash or BAD?
So many really, the cool thing was his partnership with Joe Strummer and when they sang together!  Up In Heaven (Not Only Here) from Sandinista is a hidden classic and my fave!

It seems apparent that you have a love of British music as well as all your West Coast influences. On ‘In The Desert’ it sounds like you have transcribed The Jam’s ‘In The City’. ‘In the city, there’s a thousand things I want to say to you…’ Was that your intention? Was ‘In The city’ on your mind? Were/are you a fan of Paul Weller?
Sound Affects by the Jam came out right about the time my brother Darren and I started our very first band together and before that I wore out This Is a Modern World and All Mod Cons.

So would it be fair to say GospelbeacH’s sound is a bit like Laurel Canyon meets Ladbroke Grove, via Woking?
That’s funny, I always really loved bands who were good at reflecting their surroundings… that being said I think GospelbeacH evokes an image of the West Coast just as the Kinks are a band who paint a great picture of life in London.

Some of the chord progressions on ‘California Steamer’ are incredibly Clash like. Would you agree? Did you ever see The Clash?
I never got to see the Clash live but they were the first band that opened me up to different musical style rather than just punk and rock…I think the production is a lot more mellow…maybe live we get a little more punk…I am thrilled by the comparison…thank you.

What did/do you think of The Clash?
More important than the Stones to me.

Could you list five of your US influences and five of your UK influences, please?
Byrds, Petty, Everly Brothers, Neil Young, Dwight Twilley
Julian Cope, The Chameleons, Ian Matthews, Orange Juice, Rockpile

At your gig at MOTH you said you were gutted because you missed Julian Cope’s set at the Green Man Festival. (I love ‘Out of My Mind (on Cope and Reed)’.)  Please could you explain what you like about him? What’s your favourite Cope track/album?
His first solo LP World Shut Your Mouth is my absolute fave, Bandy’s First Jump, An Elegant Chaos that’s my fave: Metranil Vavin and all that, really cool. Julian was a bass player who became a frontman, so I’ve always looked upon him as a hero…it’s his melodic sense and song writing, Treason, Tiny Children…for those who don’t know those songs, you’re missing out.

Have you read any of Julian Cope’s books?
Head On and Repossessed basically, his story of the Teardrop Explodes and his solo career, GREAT BOOKS!

How has Lou Reed influenced your work?
Yes, his vocal style…it’s simple and straight forward. His first solo LP and Loaded are always on my turntable.

What’s your favourite Lou Reed album/track?
Rock and Roll…I wish I’d have written that song.

What are you reading at the moment?
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, I borrowed it from our cowboy bass player Ben.

Are there any books that have been a big influence on your life and your music/lyrics?
Honestly, I read a lot of cowboy and western poetry books that my cousin Chuck sends me…that gets into my lyrics every once in a while.

In 1988 in the UK there was ‘Another Summer of Love’. Did that era have any influence on you?
Like the baggy hippy Manchester thing? That was cool!

Were you making reference to 1967 and 2017 with the title of your album?
Not really, I was referencing how every new summer or new day is a chance to fall in love all over again…it just sounded cool.

Would you say there is a “second summer of love” scene in LA? When I think of GospelbeacH, I always think of Chris Robinson Brotherhood who perhaps in some ways share a similar ethos? What do you think about that?
We are all broke down old hippies who used to like Echo and the Bunnymen.

How was the 20th Anniversary gig with Beachwood Sparks and The Tyde at The Joshua Tree? Anything amusing or unusual happen?
The gig (Hearts on Fire) was magic…a big rainbow appeared as we all gathered and every band kicked ass…super fun, really isolated in a small roadhouse way off the beaten path of the over commercialised Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley area.

Is there a question I haven’t asked, that you would have liked me to ask, please?
These were great questions…THANK YOU!!

Thanks so much for chatting with Americana UK, Brent.

Author: Muff Fitzgerald

Muff Fitzgerald has worked as a roadie, publicist, broadcaster and journalist. Music makes his world go round and round and round. Somebody make it stop, please!

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