“He was a really cool guy. I’m so glad we got a chance to tour with him.” Mickey Finn says over his beer as we bond over Alice Cooper before Finn’s band takes the stage. That was the first time I met Mickey, a real down to Earth cat, yet very serious about horror movies, live undead chicks, and rock & roll. Finn is the lead singer of horror psychobilly band Cold Blue Rebels, who is entering the studio again this month to record new tracks and to do a few shows in Los Angeles around Halloween.
With two previous albums behind them, “Blood, Guts, and Rock & Roll” and “Love of the Undead” (all on Horror High Records) the Cold Blue Rebels have been on tour with Wednesday 13, played the Sunset Strip Music Festival, and headlined at the Whisky A Go Go in L.A. Blending horror with old school rockabilly and mixing in a little punk attitude, CBR is a band to watch. Bringing everything they have to give and leaving it on the stage when they are done, this band pays their dues and yours too. With an image of rock when it was still cool, dark denim and leather jackets (splashed with blood of course), Gretsch guitars, stand up basses, and horror makeup, CBR understand where rock music was, is, and where it will be in the future from a traditional sense and substance in mind. Be prepared when going to a CBR show, you will witness a real “Shock & Roll” experience like no other. Everything you think you knew up to that point was all filler, and no killer!
Since that first time that I met Finn I’ve made it point to catch up with him everytime CBR plays Houston. Is it his swinging band that croons old fashioned rock music that drives me to the show? Maybe. Or is it because of the horror makeup and macabre atmosphere in the songs? Possibly. Maybe it is just the idea that Mickey Finn is a really cool guy and I’m glad that I got the chance to see a tour with him! Hell yeah, that’s it! Nailed it!
Renfield Rasputin: Tell us how you brought the Cold Blue Rebels together and chose the psychobilly path.
Mickey Finn: In 2006 I reunited with an old Hollywood friend Danny Dangerous. My band, Jetboy, had played shows with the Zeros, Danny’s band, and so we both had similar history in the punk and glam rock scenes. We found we were both big time Oldie Rock & Roll fans as well as Psychobilly fans. So, after talking about it for a short while, and with my wife Angelic egging us on us on, I finally challenged Danny to go out and buy an upright bass and learn how to play it and I would start a Psychobilly band with him! He did and so we did!
R.R.: Well I’m really into what you are doing with the throwback to musical rock roots, and even the art on the disc, booklet, and the cover of your debut looking like an old EC Comic. How has that inspiration worked on some of the younger fans?
M.F.: We decided early on we were definitely going in the direction of a theatrical horror band with zombies the preferred topic of choice! We were lucky to work with David Frizell (dafrizell.com) through our label Horror High Records, who did a great job on our debut CD cover art and booklet. I think the band over all appeals to young and old and everything in between. If you’re a bit weird, have a sense of humor, and love good Rock n Roll we got something for you!
R.R.: The majority of the songs are written by Danny and yourself. Do you find it more difficult when another person enters the writing process or are the two of you on the same mindset?
M.F.: Danny and I came up with some of the best tracks we’ve done to date, but Joe is also a great writer and Al Diablo seals the deal with his ideas, I love writing with all the guys there all great players and great singers, sometimes Danny, Joe, and I will work acoustically and get together rough idea, it usually flows really fast, we can have a batch of songs in a few sessions like this then we get in rehearsal and hash them out. Nothing shocking here when you got good chemistry its easy!
R.R.: Do you find it more difficult, considering your past band, to write songs that speed the music up, write melodies that make the music swing?
M.F.: No there’s no difference really Rock n Roll is all similar in structure, and I think I always had a bit of a twang to my voice as well as little rockabilly. Listen to the track Rock n Roller on Jetboy Damned Nation record, you’ll see what I mean. The roots of music is what it all goes back to. Blues, Country, Hillbilly, Bluegrass, ROCK N ROLL!!
R.R.: Do you have a specific song topic in mind when you start writing?
M.F.: Yes a lot of the time, most of the time, I start with a song title or at least a topic and theme. Sometimes a melody and lyric phrase will just pop into my head from Know where,…From beyond I guess.
R.R.: So CBR has tackled and mastered the topics of zombies, Satan, and serial killers. Is there a horror genre that you feel doesn’t fit the CBR mold such as vampires or witches? Is there a horror realm that CBR remains in or is there more area that they just haven’t gone to yet.
M.F.: Not really, I’m not opposed to a Vampire song there are some amazing Vamp movies I love, I just think they kinda played it out, we’ll see there’s so much creepy content to write about I love it all everything CREEPY! My birthday is on Halloween so everything in that realm will always be with us! Alot of the stories in the songs are inspired by movies of course, I love a good scary story so I try to tell complete tales and paint a gruesome picture!
R.R.: On you first album you did a Lieber/Stoller cover. Are there any other songs that you would like to cover that you feel fit CBR and maybe still blow fans minds? (I’m thinking of Bobby Bare’s “Marie Laveau” at the moment)
M.F.: Actually we will be back in the studio in a couple weeks to record a new single with a B-side. The B-side is “Kiss Me Deadly” by Generation X, so you can look for these 2 new tracks on a limited edition Vinyl and for download online on itunes.
R.R.: Tell us how a song that is not horror related, like “Whip Me One More Time” (which is one of CBR’s best by the way) ends up on a CBR album?
M.F.: Our influences run deep, and as much as we love the monster side of Horror, there are other strange and evil topics to cover also, SEX should always be an element in Rock & Roll, and of course for us it has to be nasty, and kinky!
R.R.: (Laughs) Okay, yeah, you’re right! No arguement there. (Laughs)
R.R. When you are picking out a horror movie to watch, surely it will inspire a future song for you; so what are the characteristics in the horror that you prefer?
M.F.: I love high quality horror, of course the classic’s, and my wife and I have a huge collection of zombie gore, and B- Movies, I also love the old Godzilla Japanese movies ever since I was a kid. Evil Dead 2 is one of me all time favorites. I really love to be truly sacred and freaked out by a movie and usually it takes Exorcism and supernatural them stuff for that, also the Rob Zombie movies are soo creepy, theres just something about creepy country out back people!
R.R.: (Laughs) I represent that remark!
R.R.: No, I get it and I agree. But you’ve been in the music business since the late 1980’s, while some artists are taking to recording and distributing their own albums via their websites, some still seek out smaller labels. What are your thoughts on how the music business has changed?
M.F.: It’s all different now, I think the need for a record lable at all is becoming lees and less, with digital technology and online networking all the tools most artists need anymore, but honestly I done have a clue where its all headed or where it will be in a few years, we’ll just have to wait and see, I could really care less, we are doing our own thing our own way at our own pace. We have to keep it fun and enjoyable or it’s not worth it.
R.R.: What’s helped this change?
M.F.: The Internet and digital recording technology.
R.R.: It’s made it easier for people to have their own home studios I guess. What about the music itself? What are your thoughts on how the music itself has changed?
M.F.: There’s less live raw vibe music being created, and frankly too many bands just don’t sound good in a live setting, I find that a bit sad and phony.
R.R.: I agree with you and that is what I appreciate about CBR, you guys sound as just as good as your records but yet still have that down and dirty feel that many bands lack live. Not like the old days of Iggy and the Stooges or New York Dolls. But let’s talk about putting out new releases. Crowd funding is becoming popular in the artistic world. Would you ever consider CBR using crowd funded project to release material?
M.F.: Possibly, but probably not, I’m not against it but fuck, we’re grown men, we can raise our own money for music projects and what not.
R.R.: Well said sir. On that topic of doing it yourself, I’ve spoken to you after you’ve dug your bus out of a snowstorm and through other ups and downs on the road. Tell us why it is important for people to buy albums and go out to shows to support their favorite acts?
M.F.: Because we work hard and give up much of our lives to create the art you love and touring for most bands at the club level just barley breaks even most of the time. Leaving a band no choice but to tour relentlessly to try to survive, only to be broke asses when you’re in between records and tours. Life on the road is tiring, dangerous, and brutal physically, and mentally. Missing your loved ones is never easy.
R.R.: So, Halloween is coming up. Any plans?
M.F.: I will be in the studio with CBR, and we are playing a select few shows in Arizona, LA, and Las Vegas, Then I plan to be back home in Hawaii with my wife for my birthday on the 31st.
R.R.: Only Mickey Finn would have a Halloween birthday! So it’s like your song “Pumpkin King” says… “I was born on Halloween, to rock this world like you’ve never seen!” Well happy early, man! So, what is going on with the band right now?
M.F.: We are gearing up for next year, we worked hard for 4 years and needed a break, but 2015 we plan on getting out across the US again on tour and hopefully more new music.
R.R.: Looking forward to it. Anything else that you want to say to the CBR fans? You have the mic!
M.F.: Keep Creepy and rock till the grave and beyond!!
Check and the Cold Blue Rebels on Facebook and Twitter as well as their website coldbluerebels.com for merchandise, news, and tour dates.
Catch the Cold Blue Rebels as they will be playing at the Whisky A Go-Go on Thursday Oct. 30th.
Renfield Rasputin can tell you no lies and can’t keep his hands to himself.