LOS ANGELES, August 26, 2013 — Barrence Whitfield and the Savages’ first record was released in 1984. In September, the band will celebrate their 11th release, Dig Thy Savage Soul. It is their first release on Bloodshot Records. Front man Barrence Whitfield took some time to speak about the new album as well as getting the band back together and touring.
Kevin Wells: Your last album in 2011, was your first in over 15 years. Why did you stop making albums for so long?
Barrence Whitfield: Well, it’s not that I stopped, I didn’t have the right label. I was still playing. I was still pretty much going over to Europe and playing and doing what they might call the Chuck Berry thing. I’d go over and pick up a lot of musicians and do my repertoire that I’d done for the past 25 years. I was doing well over seas, doing rockabilly shows and festivals and stuff like that, but not playing that much in the States. It’s just like I said, there wasn’t the right record label. I didn’t have the right band at the time.
KW: Why did you decide to start recording again?
BW: It all started with me getting back together with Peter Greenberg. He was the originator and the mad guru of the Savages. He had just retired from his work. For many years, he had his own company. He wanted to get back into music. We got back together through a series of events. One which was the record, the first album being re-released to the Ace label in London. We had to sign contracts and he had all the masters and stuff. So, you know, we talked and he was playing with a band in New Mexico to get his chops back. I just threw it at him and said, “Listen, I’d love to come out there and play with you again. Let me know when something comes up.” Two weeks later, “Barrence, wanna come out? I booked some dates. We can do some dates out here.” I called Phil, the old bass player Phil Lenker, and he said he’s coming out too. One thing led to another and we’re sitting in this beautiful home, talking about maybe getting back together and maybe starting where we left off. Here we are a few years later, we’re already on our second album and this second album has been bustin’ all over.
KW: This record, sounds the way rock n roll used to sound or perhaps was meant to sound? Was this your intention?
BW: It’s what we know. It’s what we play. We have this intensity in playing music, we always have from the first day we got together as the Savages. That name speaks for itself. That’s where it comes out. A few years ago, I was out in Spain and this young kid, who had never seen us before, after the show he comes over and says, “You guys are, like, primitive, like you’re from the Stone Age.” That was it. That’s what we wanted to hear and that’s how it’s been. It started that way back in the 80s, where people wanted to lose their minds and rip their heads off and roll over on the ground and just be something that’s missing [now] from going out and seeing live rock and roll shows. Just the intensity to be what the band is on stage, you know, make people react instead of just sitting there. They hear a ring on their cell phone or they’re texting somebody going, “This band’s pretty good,” and the person they’re texting is maybe five yards from them. Put away those cell phones and start going crazy again. That’s what our thing is.
KW: What kind of touring will you be doing to support this record?
BW: We’re gonna start in New Haven, Connecticut and then come back up to Boston, up to Cambridge to play and then do two weeks in the States and then we’re going over to Europe to do some dates for a month and a half to sock it to them. Actually, I think we’re going to Bosnia. I’m not sure yet, but there is another part of the world that is probably salivating for some rock and roll.
KW: Do you plan to keep making new music?
BW: Yeah, we can do it as long as we can do it, as long as we have the energy and purpose and make it fun to do, yeah we’re here for the long run. We’ve got a good record label in Bloodshot that believes in the band and has given us the second chance, that second go-around to make it worth our while to do it. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of hard work, but you know, that’s what comes with that when you’re trying to do something you really like. You really want to show people of your not young guys, but we can definitely stand out with the best of ‘em.
KW: Is the experience of making music now the same that it was for you back in the 80s?
BW: I think so. I mean, back then when we first started, we were quite limited to what we could do, but we know we learned a lot from being limited that rock and roll was meant to be played live and to get the best results live by doing it the way we’ve always done it. We haven’t really changed much in our approach. Just go in the studio and let her rip. And then it’s like an egg you make over easy and you add a little flavor to it. You add a little of this, add a little of that and if that’s not enough you add something else. You want to make it just right, just like a drink. Music is the same. I’m not surprised, but I am very happy people have embraced this record because it’s something, I think, people have been looking for for a while, looking for that edge. That edge of music that makes people just, you know. You can listen to the content and the words we’re singing about and all, but god***nit, it’s the beat, man, it’s the beat.
KW: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or anything you are working on?
BW: Right now, we’re just starting to promote this record and share it for the world to see. We have something coming down the pipe, but for right now, it’s to introduce people who have never seen Barrence Whitfield and the Savages before. Even the mothers and fathers who saw us back in the 80s and 90s, bring your children because it’s time for them to get Savaged.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.