Tuk Smith of Atlanta’s The Biters — also of Poison Arrows fame — is unapologetically transfixed on the fairer charms of huge 70’s pop sounds, making a honest case for bringing back big guitars, big amps and black leather jackets. While glam and power pop often filters into much of today’s rock music, there is also not much of it that is a straight-up take on that classic sound period. On All Chewed Up, the band’s recent EP, The Biters are getting plenty of praise for keeping it real. Indie Rock Reviews says, [The Biters] “take us back to an era of American rock n’ roll when guitar riffs were bold and it was all about the hook and a great beat, think Tom Petty’s “American Girl” meets The Clash”. The band visits Milwaukee tonight (one of their favorite tour stops) for a show at Quarters Rock n Roll Palace.
Name your top three power pop influences. It’s obvious that the genre has a heavy lean on your sound…
‘Power pop’ is such a blanket term. It can mean a lot of things and a lot of people think of polka dots and Rickenbacker guitars. That’s not what I think, when I think of power pop. As far as the ’79 style of power pop, The Beat — that first album is a classic. As far as 70’s AM Gold-style power pop, Cheap Trick’s first three records are great. As far as traditional power pop, there are so many 60’s pop groups that are great, but the early Beatles stuff reigns supreme. They had all the hooks and melodies before it was a genre.
Where are you at with your new album — any good press, shows, etc. that you want to share?
The new EP has had great press and the tours have been great — besides a couple of pseudo record collector dorks who are obsessed with the latest beach party and pizza punk band on blogs talking about our haircuts, it’s been A+ feedback. Maybe if I wore a donkey suit and played children’s nursery rhymes disguised as Ramones songs recorded in a basement on an 8-track, they’d like it.
There’s a video of you standing in front of a Marshall stack in a black leather jacket — are you consciously going for that iconic rock look?
In the video, I’m wearing my leather jacket that I wear on a daily basis and that’s my amp. If I had a flannel shirt and a Fender combo amp, I would have used that. Yes, I like bands that look like bands, sometimes, and having an iconic look is missing in rock ‘n roll today. We’re just doing our thing.
Milwaukee currently has a lot of great garage and power pop bands — same story in Atlanta, where you’re from?
I wish Atlanta had more punk, garage and rock ‘n roll!!! There are some great bands in Atlanta — GG King, Gentleman Jesse, The Booze, The Howlies, Knaves Grave, Customers, etc., but for some reason, the post-modern ironic 90’s stuff is getting the attention. I call it ‘autistic indie’…
We need details on your Milwaukee show:
The Milwaukee show is going to be great! It’s at Quarters Rock n Roll Palace. I’ve never played there! We are stoked! It’s got a bunch of cool bands on it!
The Biters play Quarters Rock n Roll Palace [900 W. Center] tonight with The Booze. 9 p.m. 21+