Talking Glazin’ with Jacuzzi Boys’ Danny Gonzalez

By | August 25th, 2011 | No Comments
Jacuzzi Boys

Jacuzzi Boys: Danny Gonzalez (left), Diego Monasterios (back), Gabriel Alcala.

So far, it’s been a very good year for the Jacuzzi Boys. The Miami-based rockers boarded the Carnival Imagination for that unlikely confluence of Captain’s Dinner, Captain Morgan, and indie rock known as the Bruise Cruise Festival, released a 12″ on Jack White’s Third Man records, toured through more than 25 different U.S. cities, signed to Sub Pop sister label Hardly Art, and recorded their second LP, Glazin’, on a consul custom built for Sly Stone. That last highlight, Glazin’, also got the Boys a mostly positive review in SPIN magazine, which is currently streaming the album in its entirety.

BUT — and I’m sure we can all agree — all of those accomplishments and accolades pale in comparison to the band’s next big moment: playing Churchill’s on Saturday night. Ahead of the show, the release party for the new album with the Jameses, Snakehole, and Loose Stools also on the bill, I spoke to Jacuzzi Boys bassist Danny Gonzalez about getting love, getting pigeon-holed, and getting in the van.

It’s been a really good year for the band. Are you guys feeling really positive right now?

DG: I guess we’re in a positive state of mind. We’re definitely not feeling negative about anything. But we’re also not ones to get too caught up in anything either which way. Since we’ve been playing, there have been times when not so fantastic things are written, and we sorta laugh it off. And when good things are written, we laugh them off too. It’s definitely exciting, but we kinda think it’s all funny.

Is it odd to be getting so much attention, for example, the review in SPIN?

It feels a little strange, but at the same time … we’ve definitely put in work. We’ve been playing for a while, we’ve been touring, and put out various records. If it was out of the blue, where we’d only put out one seven-inch record, we’d be like, ‘Whoa, what is this?’ But it’s sorta been a natural progression. Nothing has come all at once.

There are a lot of good bands in Miami, but it’s rare for a Miami band to get national attention. Why do you think that is?

I really think the main thing is touring. Because of where we are geographically … I feel like a lot of bands don’t get out of Miami. You know, you can put out records and they can get some attention, or they can get a lot of attention and then you’re presented with all these opportunities to tour and then you get some national attention — but I really think that touring is the main thing that gets it going.

There might be a record that I have and I think it’s fairly cool, decent, but ultimately don’t think much about it. But let’s say that band happens to come to town, and their show is great. All of sudden, you go back to the record and you’re like, “Fuck, these songs are good.” It’s happened to me a lot of times, where you get a different take on it after hearing it live.

The Jacuzzi Boys have a good reputation as a party band, but, locally and nationally, the press doesn’t always seem to take the band seriously. SPIN, for example, called you “sloppy racket-makers bashing out easy-boogie soundtracks to your next drunken night.” Does that characterization bother you?

When we play live, especially locally, it definitely turns out to be kinda a party, and everyone goes nuts and we’re drinking on stage and whatnot. But I don’t really know what constitutes a party band, and I would never really describe us that way. Maybe it’s because we have a silly name, or because of some aesthetic decisions we’ve made, like with our first album cover … We obviously don’t take ourselves too serious, but I think we approach music seriously. Do you have to dress in all black to not be a party band? You know, I don’t know what a party band means. Is it because when people come see us and listen to our records they have a good time? I’m not going to hate on that. I wouldn’t say it myself, but if someone else thinks that’s what it is, alright. A party band — everyone likes a party.

Can you describe Glazin’ for people who haven’t heard it yet?

It’s definitely a poppier album, though I guess everything we do is pretty pop. I don’t think anything is really hard to listen to. But we were listening to more ‘70s stuff in general … Everyone always says “garage”, and I guess we bonded over an appreciation for those kind of tunes, but we don’t really listen to a lot of quote-unquote garage stuff. In the van, it’s non-stop Fleetwood Mac, and Tom Petty, and Elvis Costello — just kinda real classic-songwriting.

“Cool Vapors” off of Glazin’

‘Cool Vapors’ — Jacuzzi Boys

Yeah, you guys always get tagged as “psychedelic garage” —

Yeah, and lo-fi. I think people mistake lo-fi for the sound of a fuzz guitar. It’s like, this record was recorded on some of the best recording gear you can imagine … you know, a million classic records were recorded using this same equipment, and those records sound incredible. I think it’s just an easy thing, you know, “garage, psychedelic, lo-fi, ‘60s” — whatever. It’s kinda lazy.

How was recording Glazin’ at Key Club up in Michigan?

Oh man, it was great. It was beyond great. The space is incredible. It’s a huge building … and you live in the studio. They have rooms upstairs. Everyone is living together. It’s out in the middle of no where … in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There’s really like nothing around.

The studio’s great. They have all the gear you can ask for, all the cool analogue shit that there is, pretty much, from compressors to cool preamps and old mics. And their board … was owned by Sly from Sly and the Family Stone. There’s a Riot Going On and Fresh were both recorded on that board.

So it was a really cool experience. Being out there. No distractions. It was super cold. It was March, and it was wicked cold.

How long did it take to record the album?

We were there for 12 days. Our first record we recorded in seven days, so we had a little more time, which was cool. We wanted that. But it’s not like you have forever to make decisions.

Does that pace work for you guys? Do you wish you had three months in the studio?

There’s pros and cons to everything. I’m sure if we would have had another five days, we would have taken advantage of it. It could be cool to have more time down the line, but I do feel like, you know, it’s rock and roll. What we’re doing is not rocket science. They’re pretty basic songs — it shouldn’t take so long to lay it down. If the song is there, it’s working, it’s going to happen.

So what’s the biggest misconception about the Jacuzzi Boys? That you guys are a party band? A garage band?

All that stuff, the party stuff, there’s definitely that element. I just wouldn’t boil it down to that. I think people like to put things in a box so that it makes sense in their brain and they know how to file it. If people come see us, you’re going to have fun, it’s a party. So there’s something to it, but I just wouldn’t call it that. As for genre, if someone says garage, it’s not like, “Oh my God, what are you talking about?” It’s not like they said electronic music. But, again, if someone asked me, I’d say it’s just rock and roll.

We’ve never approached writing a song to fit into what people’s idea of the band might be. If someone’s lazy and they read “garage” and they’re like, “I’m not into it”, whatever. But if someone isn’t lazy and takes the time to listen to it, I think it is a bit wider ranging than that. So long as we’re not trying to fit into that, I think we’ll be alright.

So what can we expect at the show Saturday night?

I think it will be a party. We’ll be a party band Saturday night.

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You can RSVP for the Glazin’ release show on Facebook.

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