Climbing Rose Mountain: Q&A with Screaming Females
by Xavier Veccia
The Screaming Females are coming to town. There’s probably a joke there that isn’t really funny or appropriate, but I’m not going to make it.
Instead, I’m just going to tell you that Screaming Females are what you always imagined rock to sound like. Like…Jimi Hendrix playing guitar with his teeth or Jack Black crowd surfing in School of Rock, the New Jersey trio scratches all the right itches when they shred.
With the group set to return to Columbus on Thursday, November 3, bassist King Mike spared us his time to talk about their current tour, what they’re listening to and the strangest thing to happen to him in our quaint capital city.
How’s the tour been going so far?
It’s been cool and fun. We’ve had Moor Mother on tour with us. It’s been rad watching Camae [Ayewa] do her thing every night. Yeah, been cool. [laughs]
How do you think their style meshes with yours? Do you think they fit well?
Yeah, I do. I think it might not be rock ‘n’ roll, but I think it’s just a similar energy and I think that it creates a really cool environment, a really different environment. Just a bunch of people slamming on guitar.
Have you found this current tour to be different to be different from your past tours at all?
No, pretty much the same. We’re just going around and playing in venues and doing our thing and rocking out and having a good time. [laughs] Yeah, I don’t know, we’ve been doing this a long time. We kind of operate as a unit and just drive to a city, load in, do a soundcheck and play a show. And then at the end of it, usually like one person is like oh that sucked. And then another two are like yeah, no, that was really good. And then we do it again the next day.
Have you been to Columbus before?
Yeah, we’ve been to Columbus roughly 1000 times.
Oh, roughly 1000?
Yeah, something like that. Or, like, 15. I don’t know.
How has Columbus treated you so far?
It’s been really cool. One time when we played in Columbus, we stayed at some guy’s house and he said his roommate wasn’t home but “be careful when he comes home because he’s really angry.” And then he pointed to his gigantic boots on the floor that were covered with blood and said, “Those are his boots. They’re covered with blood.” And then he tried to offer us beer from an empty keg about four or five times and then finally we went to sleep.
With a career as long as yours, how do you keep pushing forward and stay innovative?
I don’t know. I mean, when we started this band, we never decided we were going to do one thing; we didn’t start the band saying no, it’s going to be a surf rock band and then we just play surf rock. So we can just do whatever we want. And then that’s just kind of our plan forever–we’re gonna play whatever kind of music we want. We’re going to keep collaborating with each other and with our friends and, I don’t know, we just like to play music. So it kind of makes sense that we would be doing it for 11 years.
So what did you want to do on Rose Mountain and do you think you accomplished it?
On Rose Mountain, we were concentrating on writing more melodic songs–songs that were more focused on mainly the vocal melody. And I think we accomplished that. We’re very happy with that album. On the next one, maybe we’ll change it up a little bit. We’ll see what happens.
Are you guys already working on the next one?
Yeah, we got a bunch of stuff we’re working on. We’re going to record it sometime next year.
What have you guys been listening to lately?
Yesterday, we listened to Mos Def and Busta Rhymes. What else have we been listening to? We listened to Get a Grip by Aerosmith. That’s a really good one. We listened to Pure Disgust. We listen to all kind of stuff in the band. Marissa’s been playing us this podcast where people read from their high school journals. That’s a cool one.
How’d you end up covering Taylor Swift for A.V. Club?
It was on their list and we chose it. We were talking about maybe doing a Velvet Underground song and I just kind of felt like that was boring. We just decided to do a Taylor Swift song because people would click on it, just because it says “Taylor Swift.” And it worked. People have clicked on it a lot.