While veteran New Jersey punk
band Electric Frankenstein recently pulled into Vancouver
for a poorly publicized gig at the Piccadilly Pub, the lucky
fans who DID get to witness the foursome splinter the stage
with their razorblade snarl, breakneck drums and bludgeoning
guitars included VV and Hotel of The Kills. Sal Canzonieri,
EF’s knarly rhythm guitarist, shares some deep thoughts on
their 13th album “Burn Bright, Burn Fast”,
recorded during their 13th year as a band.
um, I stole your guitar string at that show but afterwards I
got all paranoid that you keep those sorts of things...It
wasn't, like, fixable, was it? I only stole it 'cause I
thought it was broken...
Ha, no, I have no need to keep a broken guitar string; they
are annoying ‘cause they get tangled up around your feet
when on stage. You can keep it no problem. Once it's broken
there is no use for it.
What’s the song “Burn Bright Burn Fast” about?
It's really about Elliott Smith.
way! Elliot Smith was very fascinating and his story is so
really love his music, it immediately connects to your heart
if you have had a hard life, like I have had. He used to
live in NYC when EF first started, we saw him around,
usually when Jon Spencer was at our shows. He used to walk
around the city by himself listening to tapes. His music was
very deep and for real and he rocked! The last time I saw
him play live was in the month before he died. I had tons of
weird visions, they were more than dreams the day he died
and for weeks after. It was like he was talking to me about
everything. As far as I am concerned, he didn't do it.
You’ve said this is the best EF album you guys have ever
done...is that due to experience? Lessons learned?
Well, due both those things, by now after 15 years of EF
existing, we are able to produce our own records to sounds
like we want them to sound without needing outside help, and
we can do it quicker and better too. We learned a lot over
the years from recording.
Anything you can pass on to young grasshoppers?
Well, that the instruments that we record with have to be
the best vintage equipment so that it sounds amazing in tone
no matter what kind of mics you use, and to make the drums
loud and clear so that the songs have a strong groove. Then
split the bass signals so that it is clear and defined and
also fat and thundering in each signal. The guitars should
be layered in pieces to develop a giant wall of guitar sound
that destroys you! Then, we make the vocals loud and with
depth and presence. Then it is easy to mix the songs, cause
all the material was recorded loud and clear and intense,
there is no "fixing it in the mix. We also work out the
order of the songs and mix them in the order that the songs
are going to be on the album so that we can feel out how the
record is flowing, we work the songs like a DJ does, so that
there is an up and down of emotions, we tease the listener
and play with their feelings.
said you used a 56 track recording sound? What’s that?
56 tracks means there are 56 separate mikes used on each
song, like 56 different instrument/vocals all layered in
together to make a giant sound. It' s not unheard of it you
are Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, but it has never been
done for a regular Punk band. We wanted to go past this
boring lo-fi emo thing and kick Punk up the stairs a bit to
see how huge we could make the songs sound while still
keeping them raw and powerful and the same time. That was
the ART of making this record!
can’t believe you do a cover of The Cars. I mean I was a
nutty fan of them when I was a little kid “You Might Think”.
But I wouldn’t really think you guys would be into them…
Well, who could escape that "Candy-O" song back in the 80s
when it was first around? It was everywhere. We wanted to do
something from the 1980s that was well written, as all Cars
songs are, but not too serious, so that we could do a good
re-write of the style of the song, we did like a heavy metal
version of it. Kinda like if Heart did the song, heh heh.
you guys play any road games while you’re in the van,
Games, no, we talk a lot about things…
Well, we sometimes talked about how certain labels are set
up to rip bands off, how contracts are worded to do that as
well. Also, we listen to either tons of 70s hard rock like
Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Mott the Hoople, Alice Cooper, and
stuff like Motorhead, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and also
tons of punk like Black Flag, Damned, Dead Boys, Buzzcocks,
Sex Pistols, Ramones, etc. The only non-Rock that we listen
to still. We really love KOOL KEITH, there is no one better
so why bother listening to another rap/hip hop artist? Most
of us on the road are always reciting whole passages from
old films we saw and also funny stuff from Exploitation
films, especially Pulp Fiction, I'm Gonna Get Ya
Sucka. Friday, stuff like that.
guys have wicked artwork on your covers. What does this one
The cover was done by the amazing Basil Gogos, who did
covers for Rob Zombie and The Misfits and also during the
1960s he did the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland
that an original piece custom made for EF? Have you met that
What's he like?
Yes, this was an original piece that I commission Basil to
do for me. I have met him many times; I have known him for
the last 10 years or more. He is a very kind and generous
person that loves his work and is very nice to talk to.
Just like you!