Antique Scream had already been around for a few years when the band left Phoenix for Seattle after signing a record deal with an indie called Concealed Records.
"We signed to them because they were supposedly shopping one of our songs to a fucking car commercial, and we were supposed to get a hundred grand out of it," says frontman Chris Rutledge of the band's early 2009 move. "Yeah, so that didn't happen. And obviously we could have really used the cash. So really all they did was press a four-song EP for us, which I could have done myself for a lot cheaper."
So the guitarist/vocalist and his bandmates, bassist Stu Lasswell and drummer Bill Fees, once again struck out on their own, alternating between three months on the road and three months "rearranging products on grocery shelves."
Along the way, Antique Scream has released a handful of albums, including the live Banging and Mashing in the U.K. and the current Wet With Sweat. Rutledge was also named by the Phoenix New Times as one of city's top guitarists, just months before the band left town. Meanwhile, critics have been comparing him to everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain.
"Yeah, it's mainly a physical thing really," says the long-haired, bearded Rutledge of the Cobain comparison. "I mean, I like [Nirvana] and all, but musically we're not really grungy. We're more late '60s. Hendrix and Sabbath are what we always hear after we play, Queens of the Stone Age, too."
It's easy to pick up traces of all three in Antique Scream's music, although the guitarist says it's really Sabbath that everyone in the band listens to.
"Some of the newer songs we're playing are definitely a lot heavier than anything that's recorded right now," he says.
The band will make its fourth trek through Colorado next week, with another planned for September.
"Colorado Springs is actually a pretty kick-ass town to play," says Rutledge, who doesn't seem like the type to pander. "That's what I notice about Colorado in general. They seem to actually enjoy live music, unlike when you head over to Manhattan."
Now experienced road warriors, the trio has also learned what not to do on tour. That includes venturing east during what Rutledge refers to as the "crappy parts of the year."
"We try to avoid it, because we do sleep in the van most of the time. So winter touring is a nightmare, as we found out on our first tour."
Though perhaps not as much of a nightmare as their van breakdown in a Nevada ghost town called Tonopah, where the band spent a few days at the Clown Motel, which Rutledge says has a little clown painting on each door and a "horrifying, life-sized clown statue" in the lobby.
"It straight-up looked like a Rob Zombie movie, and there's a graveyard pretty much in the parking lot. We walked around in there because we were bored. They had a brief plague in the town around 1910, and then they had a mine fire there or some shit, and most of the graves don't even have names on them. They were really shallow. I honestly though we might die there.
"We are not really lucky guys," concludes Rutledge, "but I guess we're lucky enough to have not gotten killed there."
I miss you, Lenny! My family and I thank you for all the special times…
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