"Creamy, dreamy, glass breaking-style storytelling" is how Bobby Hecksher describes the psychedelic-rock sound of The Warlocks' tenth full-length studio album, The Chain, which is to be released April 3, 2020, on Cleopatra Records.
"We're telling a story this time," Hecksher says about the album's ripped-from-the-headlines concept, which he says had been percolating for a few years before it suddenly came to him with the delirious intensity of a fever-soaked dream, like that "out-of-body experience you get at a show when you're drenched in sweat and suddenly feel so alive."
That concept, Hecksher says, is based around "a Bonnie & Clyde-ish twenty-something couple who rob a bank but get caught and then are cast down the bottomless pit of our justice system. The main characters, Rocky and Diamond, come from different means and thus have very different outcomes. It's a loose collection of 'you got fucked and swept under the rug'-type feelings revealed amid happy songs about their relationship, provided as a kind of relief."
"I've been reading lots of articles about our justice system" Hecksher says. "I've also been watching a lot of real-life/fictionalized prison TV series. All these young adults are caught committing very low-level crimes, but they end up getting these huge bits of their lives taken away from them. The ones who have money usually fair better."
The Chain was recorded by The Warlocks — Hecksher (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass), John Christian Rees (guitar, feedback), Earl V. Miller (guitar, drone machine), Christopher DiPino (bass), Cesar A. Reyes (keyboards), and Jason "Plucky" Anchondo (drums) -- over the course of a few weeks and co-produced by Hecksher and Rob Campanella at Rob's Figment Studios in Lake Hollywood, CA.
After Hecksher explained The Chain's back story to Cleopatra, they greenlit the shooting of a short film (comprised of two four-minute mini-movies) based around two new songs -- "Dear Son" and "I'm Not Good Enough/Party Like We Used To" -- which tell the story of the ill-fated tragic couple. These are accompanied by several other tracks from the album: "The Robbery," Mr. Boogeyman," "Double Life," "You Stooge You," "Consequences," and "You Hurt Me."
"I read a bunch of screenplay books," Hecksher says, "and then tossed a script together, punk-rock style." Bobby and his band mates and friends then filmed their mini-movies for The Chain over the course of two days this past February near Hecksher's home in Eagle Rock.
In June, The Warlocks — who are joined by Bob Mustachio on a second set of drums -- will launch a full-scale four-week tour of the U.S., hitting all the major markets ("we're looking forward to the East Coast shows," Hecksher says, "I think it's been about ten years since we've played there"), followed by European dates in the fall. "We've been focusing on Europe for the last five-to-seven years, and have hit all the major festivals over there many times over."
Bobby Heckser actually grew up near the beach on Florida's west coast before his family moved to an avocado farm near Ft. Myers. His first real exposure to music came from listening to records being played on the air at his grandfather's progressive/AOR rock radio stations, WMYR-AM/WHEW-FM, where his mom worked as a secretary.