Look hard enough in the right sleazy places and you can find a real rock act like Chicago’s Bible Of The Devil. Going on their 13th year of what guitarist-vocalist Nate Perry calls “the freight train to fuck-all,” the band is gearing up for the May 8 release of their sixth studio album, For The Love Of Thugs And Fools—a solid slab of Motörhead, Kiss, and AC/DC-influenced rock ’n’ roll celebrating those most hallowed traditions of sex, drugs, and kicking ass. While the band was preparing to hit Cobra Lounge this Saturday for a dual album release show with Superchrist, The A.V. Club caught up with Perry to talk the new album, Paul Stanley, and Bruce Lamont guest spots.
The A.V. Club: You guys have a new album, For The Love Of Thugs And Fools, hitting shelves in a couple of weeks. Is it safe to assume the city had some inspiration in that title?
Nate Perry: A lot of the album is definitely inspired by Chicago. Chicago has kind of done a lot to us. We had a lot of turmoil just coming with not making a whole lot of money and figuring out how to make your way in the city. As the themes of the album were coming together, we tried to latch on to one particular phrase that made the most sense for the album, and “thugs and fools” came to us. We expanded upon that with the remainder of the lyrics we had to do. I think that definitely, at least to us, we wouldn’t have that album if we didn’t all live in the city and put up with what you have to put up with here.
AVC: Did it turn out the way you expected it to?
NP: I definitely think it turned out the way we wanted it, but it was hard to tell what was actually going to happen before we went in. It sort of felt like a big departure for us when we were putting the songs together and things like that, but once we got in there and everyone started laying their parts down and the vocals went down, it was definitely a Bible Of The Devil record. This is what we sound like, like it or not. Even though we did push the boundaries a little bit for us, anyone that knows anything about the band isn’t going to be super surprised by the way it sounds. I think there’s more of a focus on vocals this time than there was in the past, but it’s still the same beast.
AVC: We’ve listened to the new album several times now and definitely get this Revenge-era-Kiss-meets-Motörhead vibe from it.
NP: [Laughs.] Well, we get that a lot. A large part of the Motörhead comes, I’m sure, from Mark’s voice. He’s got that gritty sort of voice that gets into the Lemmy area. I’ve gotta say that when we started out, that’s kind of what attracted me to the band. He had more of a Bon Scott thing going, but through the years, it’s sort of turned into Lemmy, but that’s a pretty good thing.
AVC: The vocals on the new album definitely have a Lemmy-mixed-with-Paul Stanley feel.
NP: That’s definitely a compliment in the Bible Of The Devil camp. We get a lot of Kiss comparisons, and I don’t think you can ever go wrong sounding too much like Paul Stanley. It comes a lot, also, from when I put on background vocals, too. I remember years ago, when I worked with this album’s producer [Mike Lust] and he double-tracked me for the first time. This was for a whole different band, but I was doing back-ups. I double-tracked my vocals and he started laughing. I asked him why, and he said, “When you double-track your vocals, you sound exactly like Paul Stanley.” At the time, I didn’t know if that was some sort of veiled insult or anything like that, but now that we’ve worked with Mike for three albums, that’s probably the highest compliment he could have paid me, because he is way into Kiss.
AVC: How did you guys originally end up getting hooked up with Mike as a producer?
NP: I was in a band that I moved to Chicago with called Mil Mulliganos and we ended up doing a six-song thing with him. Then, that band broke up and I ended up joining Bible. When it came time to do the second record I was on, I suggested Mike and it was definitely a really good match. I’m glad I was able to meet him that way, because Mike is a lot of fun to work with.
AVC: What are some of your favorite tracks on the new album?
NP: I like “While You Were Away,” the first song. That’s one of my favorites to do. “The Parcher” is a good one. That was a very collaborative song. Everybody sort of threw in a little bit on that one. That’s more of a jam than we usually do. A lot of times, we’ll come in with our own ideas and then it gets batted around, but that one was just ideas coming from all over the place. We’ve got a song called “I Know What Is Right (In The Night),” which is sort of—we wanted to see what would happen if we could try to make Bruce Lamont from Yakuza play sax on it, so we were happy with that experiment.
AVC: We were wondering if that might be Bruce.
NP: Yeah, that’s good old Bruce. He came in and whipped it right out in a flurry of pre-hockey game activity.
AVC: What was it like working with him? We’ve heard from some of the Nachtmystium guys that Bruce pretty much comes up with those bits on the spot.
NP: Bruce is great to work with and be around. We had him come in to do his part on the fly, and he did come up with some cool stuff immediately. But being the sons of bitches we are, we were hearing something more like a Clarence Clemons type of feel while his take on it was a much darker mood than we were envisioning. So basically, we kept egging him on until we got to where we were all happy. Luckily, he’s super easygoing. He actually played bass for Bible for a show or two back in the day.
AVC: You’re going on your 10th year with the band. How did you end up coming into the fold?
NP: It was kind of odd. When I first saw the band, it was more of a bizarre noise rock group with two guitars and drums. They didn’t have a bass player. I thought it was odd, but I started hanging out with the guys socially. By the time I saw Bible Of The Devil about a year later, they had revamped their sound, which was more towards what it is today. One of the founding members, Nate Weathers, ended up quitting the band and it was just a natural fit. I decided I would do one tour with those guys, and I had so much fun on that tour that I’m still here.
AVC: Chicago has a grittier, more “working class” feel than a lot of other major cities. Do you think that helps make the band’s straight-up rock approach work a little more?
NP: Yeah. I think one of the good things about Chicago is it’s such a big place and there’s so many different people that are into all sorts of different kinds of music, that I don’t think there’s any pressure to conform to any particular scene. I think a lot of the bands are free to kind of figure out what they want to sound like and where they want to go. It’s kind of good, because we end up getting put on, for lack of a better word, a lot of heavy metal shows. We get put on with maybe a death metal band or something like that, and while the people in the death metal band enjoy us, sometimes the fans don’t. But, I think Chicago’s just a good place for finding out what you really want to do and just doing it. If you’re good, there will be people there that will come see you.
AVC: You guys have a duel album release show with Superchrist coming up on Saturday at Ultra Lounge. What can people expect and what are you looking forward to the most?
NP: Superchrist is on the bill, and Zuul, as well. Superchrist has the album title of the year for Holy Shit. We’ve been playing some of the songs from the new album live. We’re going to introduce a couple more that we haven’t played yet and see if we can go through the whole thing live in sequence. Mostly, just to be able to have the album in our hands finally after all the hard work that we put into it—being able to physically see and hold it—is a really good feeling. I can’t wait for that, because it’ll be a sigh of relief for all of us.