“People always tell us that what we’re doing isn’t popular – like, ‘Why are you doing it?’ But I don’t think any of us really care,” says Conor Behrle, guitarist for the Hollywood glitter-rock brigade Hammered Satin, sitting at Yahoo Music with his platform-soled, leather-sheathed, rivet-studded, bell-bottomed bandmates. “To me, I just love plugging my guitar in and playing really loud. That’s just the best feeling.”
Hammered Satin call what they do “junkshop glam,” and their Facebook bio cites such far-out and fabulous interests as “Sniggin Piggin satin couture, alter egos, interplanetary space-crafts, optical illusions, Friday nights at the Vine Bar in Hollywood and Lady Starlight’s English Disco in New York, Chemin de Fer jeans and mirrored sunglasses, tennis dates, feather boas, thunder and lightning shows, dapper dandyism, astral projections, witty repartee, dancing all night in platform snakeskin boots, the Rainbow Room at Biba, rhinestone palm trees and geckos, Packard-driving ‘30s gangsters, and inherent star quality.”
While what they do is not exactly in step with what’s going on in popular music today, they clearly wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There are a lot of bands out there now that feel like they have to sound like a band that’s already popular,” gripes bassist Dan Sandvick. “I’ve been in a lot of those bands, and after a while you just get sick of it and you almost want to piss people off. You should be in a band because you wanna be different from other people. I think we’re all kind rebellious in nature, so it’s fun for us. I’d personally rather be in a band that gets out on a limb, because it’s so boring to try to sound like what you’re ‘supposed’ to sound like.”
So what’s does “junkshop glam” sound like? Allow rooster-haired frontman Noah Wallace to explain:
“Basically back in the ‘70s, when people were imitating David Bowie, the Sweet, Mott the Hoople, there were a lot bands – all over Europe especially, like Pantherman. A lot of wacky groups. And it became this thing, this style, for record collectors. That term came about from [Lush/Felt/Jesus & Mary Chain member] Phil King, because he released a compilation of these obscure junkshop glam 45s… I found about it from an old Bomp magazine. It had a list of groups like Iron Virgin and Chicory Tip. Then I went out and found all the records,” Wallace recalls, citing such vinyl compilations finds as Boobs, Velvet Tinmine, and Glitter From the Litter Bin. “To me, that’s just the ultimate style of pop music.”
Now, glam fans like the Hammered Satin boys are finding their glittery tribe, and bringing this ultimate style back with a modern twist. “I think there is movement, and I think we’re definitely a part of it. There’s a handful of bands around the world that are doing this,” says Wallace, citing acts like Creem Circus, Dr. Boogie, the Biters, the Cry, and Faz Waltz. Adds Behrle: “It’s a tight-knit group, and with the Internet now, everyone finds out about each other. It’s like a gang, almost. But not like a tough gang! Like a feather boa type of gang.”
But Hammered Satin want to make it clear that the music they do has nothing in common with the 1980s’ hair bands often ascribed the “glam-metal” tag. ‘Those bands got pretty cheesy and tacky towards the end [of that era], especially with the misogynistic, male-chauvinist, butt-rock, ‘80s hair-band stuff,” laughs Wallace. “I do not want anyone to be confused and think that’s what we’re about. Maybe ‘junkshop glam’ will catch on [as a term], and that will be better way to describe us.”
Come enter the junkshop with Hammered Satin’s exclusive Rising performances in the Yahoo Music studio.