True story – the other day I was padding around the Dig This Real kitchen for some coffee and more importantly, miniature Baby Ruth bars that were left out for Halloween by editor Angelica Wytch. As I poured the java, I sung to myself, “nothing can disinfect my pee pee cup…” DTR Editor at Large, Denny Charles was also swarming the room for some joe and approached me with, “have you been listening to the Barbarellatones? They have something new out, right?”
Songwriter, musician, Robbie Quine has released another gem entitled, Mummified! and this could possibly trump the greatest album ever released by this band, the infamous and contagious, Cold Sore…or even, Confessions of a Teenage Prostitute.
But it took this album for me to finally realize just why the music of The Barbarellatones has such a hold on me. You see, every note and within every lyric, you, the listener, will find a bit of yourself and your life there.
On the surface, Quine sings of vampires, tramps, drugs, hustlers, sex and most importantly, the human condition. And he nails it every time. Side by side, you will find him singing about truckers mastering the art of peeing in a cup while driving long distances in one song (“Pee Pee Cup”) and in another, you will find the very real struggle of two lovers trying to make ends meet (“Hippy Girl”). And with each and every mention of monsters and ghouls, this is usually where we find our darkest shadow selves. Around the lyrics, you will find smart, stinging (or lush) guitars, sad plucky banjos, harpsichords, the Karloff Singers and ‘pee pee solos.’ Quine can sing like Iggy Pop or a zit covered cheerleader from Hollywood High. And when he delivers lyrics like, “In truck stop heaven/I hope all your dreams come true,” (“Truckstop Angel”) or “I wish you would had communicated/It’s ironic because you’re a writer and a good one at that,” (“Hippy Girl”), or even, “Tampons/Nothing rhymes with tampons,” (“Feminine Products”), there is a sense of sincerity and truth that helps us navigate through the often head-shaking world we live in by helping us laugh.
Dig This Real had the chance to chat with Quine. Here’s what he shared with us.
Robbie Quine: I went back to my Goth/Glam roots on, Mummified, some of the songs are dark-psychedelic and dreamy, some are trashy raunch-abilly, bad B-Movie rock songs and there are a couple of deeply personal songs too; one for a family member who committed suicide and a song about reinventing myself and ego-death, kind of rock spirituality but not in a Barfy New Age-y way! This album is dark but multi-faceted and has some playful stuff in there, like all BTones records!
What was/inspiration for this collection of songs?
My inspiration on, “Goth Hippy,” was a dark love song. On, “Teenage Creepazoid,” I was going for a Rocky Horror kind of vibe! But mainly I was focusing on good songwriting and changing up my instruments a little. I played a lot of harpsichord and wanted an Addams Family/Cheesy Hammer Films Horror vibe. My producer Joel Katz also played trumpet, dulcimer, pedal steel and lead guitar on a bunch of songs. It was artsy-fartsy and fun doing this, and I’m starting a new record today actually. I’m addicted…strung out on rock n roll…it’s therapy for me, and my hobby!
As a musician, what is something that keeps getting better for you when it comes to songwriting or recording?
I want to focus on songwriting, refine my craft. I like pretty chords. I like when a song passes my ‘Goosebump Test’ and I also like dark poetry and good lyrics. I embrace my twisted sense of humor…some Goths don’t like it but I’m kind of a punk and a surfer and I just roll with it when I write a silly song sometimes. Some songwriters take themselves too seriously in my opinion. Life is the full spectrum, the dark and the light. I want to mix it up a little.
Which song on Mummified would you like to see played the most?
“Donut Shop,” is a true story! Have you ever had a night which started out weird, then kept getting weirder and progressively weirder? I went to a donut shop on a very overcast early evening with a Thalidomide performer from Venice Beach named Jerome. There was a wino bum guy in the corner. We were eating these stale crappy neon-colored donuts and slurping down some lousy cheap coffee when the wino keeled over giving everyone in the donut shop ‘the bird’. I thought he just passed out…I was wrong. Dead wrong. He died… And through the fog, the drone of the ambulance with the surreal flashing lights came in what felt like slow motion…you get the picture! Everyone has had one of those nights in their lives at least once I think! So that might be my favorite song on the album.
What is a day in the studio like for you?
I am living in Hawaii these days, so I’m recording with Joel Katz and we are playing all the instruments ourselves since it would cost a fortune to fly the band in. When I’m in LA I like to record with Paul Roessler and Craig Else, both uber talented producers. I’m sure I’ll fly back at some point, but for now Hawaii ain’t too bad. I OD on the traffic in Los Angeles and I like to take a break from time to time.
I want to start working on new music videos next time I’m in Los Angeles and I want to play a bunch of live shows, preferably with other Glam and Gothabilly-ish bands. I also wrote a surf/glam-rock musical called, Glitter Beach, with Vicky Hamilton, so hopefully we will do a workshop or something with that at some point. I’ll keep ya posted!