Black Pistol Fire Add Madness To The Good Vibes


BLACK PISTOL FIRE play The Constellation Room Nov. 16, Troubadour Nov. 18, The Casbah Nov. 19; photo Charles Regan

Deadbeat Graffiti is the latest release by the wild and stimulating rock duo Black Pistol Fire who will be playing The Constellation Room Nov. 16, Troubadour Nov. 18 and The Casbah Nov. 19. Melodic, and at times soulful, and at times frantic, Black Pistol Fire should be on your radar if they aren’t already.

Concert Guide Live talked to drummer Eric Owen about the California music scene, the new album, the story behind the name and more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: I imagine you must have played in Southern California before –
ERIC OWEN: We played recently at a semi-private show in Mission Viejo, but it’s been about 2 ½ years since we played a proper show in Southern California. We’re pretty excited to get back.

CGL: What do you look forward to when coming out here to play?
EO: Some of the best music coming out now is happening there – the whole kind of garage, psychedelic scene is pretty amazing. What Burger Records is doing, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall. A lot of good vibes out there and great music.

CGL: What sort of setlist will you be playing, which songs from the new album?
EO: You know that changes night to night. But the couple that are seemingly getting played every single night would be “Lost Cause” which is the new single, a song called “Bully” and a song called “Speak Of the Devil”. Those three are getting played every single night. And we’ve been rotating a bunch of other ones sort of in and out like “Blue Dream”, “Yet Again”, “Fever Breaks”, and “Eastside Racket”.

CGL: What’s one of your favorite songs to play live?
EO: I like playing “Bully” because it’s got that soft chorus then sort of soft verse then that chorus hits so, so hard. If someone hasn’t heard it before, it might take them by surprise. I like that aspect.

CGL: When did you realize you wanted to be in a band and play in front of people?
EO: I think it was watching music videos as a pre-teen. Seeing bands like Nirvana and Weezer. And then the music station we had in Canada growing up used to play a lot of concerts. Seeing those crowds, the way they reacted to a band was something appealing that I didn’t know if it could ever be possible necessarily, but it was something very attractive and looked like a lot of fun and emotional.

CGL: What do you like to do right before you go onstage; do you get a little nervous?
EO: It depends. If everything is sounding good in soundcheck and if everything’s going well on the technical side of things, that definitely takes away some of the nervousness.

There’s a different feeling, of course, when you’re about to go on as opposed to just practicing. It’s kind of a feeling of excitement. Both Kevin and myself stretch and try to loosen up a bit. It’s a pretty physical show so we try to just be quiet and warm up for the madness that’s about to happen.

CGL: How did the band end up being a duo?
EO: Just over the course of several years, it ended up being a lot of trial and error with different people and us just clicking and working and here we are.

CGL: What’s the story behind the band name?
EO: Years ago, we were trying to figure out a name and Kevin read it somewhere that in firefighting there’s a term called a black fire which means it’s something that can’t be put out. No matter how much water or anything you do, the fire can’t be contained, and you have to let it run its course. It’s kind of a powerful word and image. And then going through a bunch of other words and so on and so forth we eventually went from black fire to black pistol fire. You got a color or shade, a weapon and element. A powerful image there.

CGL: Do the two of you write the songs together or is Kevin (McKeown-guitar/vocals) the primary songwriter?
EO: No, Kevin does the primary, for sure. He is the pilot, the captain, the creative genius behind the whole operation.

CGL: How did you gravitate to playing the drums?
EO: I think it was watching Dave Grohl of Nirvana. And then two of my friends in elementary school – one was playing guitar and the other was playing bass and they didn’t have a drummer. I heard they were jamming and I thought that would be my in. I could try to learn to play the drums and I eventually did. I think we learned three or four songs over the course of a couple of years – they were mostly Nirvana songs and one Stone Temple Pilot song – and probably not done very well. But we learned them any way and that’s how it came to be.

CGL: What is one of the most memorable moments you’ve had while touring?
EO: The one that sticks out most to me is last October in Monterrey, Mexico, there was a pretty big festival and we knew there was going to be a good amount of people there, we thought we had some fans in Mexico.

Then playing the set and seeing the crowd of several thousand people just growing and swelling and having it be crazy by the end. Then to not really be able to go out in the crowd because you’re getting your picture taken. It was just surreal and strange but interesting. Something we hadn’t really felt before or since for that matter. It was a whole different world down there which is cool. It’s pandemonium.