With the sorry state of affairs Rock music has been in within the past ten years or so, it's a welcome change to see a band like BROKEN emerge onto the scene with the classic Rock sound that screams "this is the real thing." The thing that immediately strikes you about BROKEN is the evident lack of posturing and pretentious bulls***. That very same lack of pretense adds to the bands star quality and honest Rock n'Roll credentials. Broken aren't out to try to re-invent Rock, they just want to keep it Rolling, and to have a good time doing it.
The band formed a year and a half ago after Mick and Shelley went into Duff McKagan's home studio and recorded some songs the two had written together. The songwriting and recording process went so well for the duo that they immediately realized they needed to get a Rock n' Roll band together and play those songs live. BROKEN went through a few rhythm sections and finally arrived at their current line-up with the addition of Kelly Hagerman on drums, and Scott Shriner on bass, who have been BROKEN's rhythm section for the past year.
Mick and Shelley do all the writing in BROKEN, with Mick coming up with most of the riffs, and Shelley with the words. Sometimes the pair switches jobs when the other spontaneously comes up with something the other would normally do, like a riff from Shelley or words from Mick. The band has been playing live in and around the Los Angeles area building a reputation for their kick-ass live show, and gaining more and more of the loyal fans who were starved for a band like this to come along for far too long.
BROKEN have gotten the attention of the record companies on the strength of the bands great songwriting and powerful live shows. The band has got some record contracts on the table but is being careful to choose whoever best suits the band. Mick says that being through the experience of getting signed before has made him skeptical about those who come calling on his band, so he's taking the time to do it on BROKEN's time and not be pressured into any type of deal that has the potential to turn bad on the band. If all works out well for the band, they hope to have a full-length out some time next year, and to be touring in support of the album as well since their music is driven by live shows.
I recently had a chance to ask Mick a few questions about BROKEN to share with antiMUSIC readers. This is what transpired on the morning of Saturday, October 28th 2000.
GOTH BROOKS: What's the one question you'd rather antiMUSIC not ask about BROKEN?
MICK: (Deadpan) When you get there I'll let you know.
GOTH BROOKS: (Laughs) Alright, who's who? And who plays what?
MICK: Shelly-vocals, Mick-guitar, Scotto-bass, Kelly-drums.
GOTH BROOKS: How would you describe BROKEN, and the band's music to someone who's never heard of BROKEN?
MICK: WE ARE A BIG, LOUD, KICKASS PUNK ROCK AND ROLL BAND! With a hot chick singer who has pipes like Bon Scott, who makes you feel like f***ing, fighting, driving fast, or getting loaded.
GOTH BROOKS: Who were the bands major musical influences growing up?
MICK: Our influences vary from Zep, to AC/DC, Floyd, Stones, Motorhead, Hellacopters, Zen Guerilla. We're pretty eclectic, but we try to keep it simple.
GOTH BROOKS: Was traditional hard rock the musical standard in forming your musical identities into what they are today?
GOTH BROOKS: Did you ever go through abnormally weird, or really obscure musical tastes that the fans would be surprised to hear of coming from such a kick ass Rock band like BROKEN?
MICK: Yeah, Six Finger Satellite, Eno, Mazzy Starr, Plexi, The Lips, Sid Barrett, The Mission, and all kinds of s***. I played a lot of keyboards in the past. Steiners, Parkers, and Moogs.
GOTH BROOKS: What's '56 all about?
MICK: Listen to the PLEXI record (One of Mick's former bands). I sing a song called '56 on there that sums it up.
GOTH BROOKS: Mick, I respect that you want BROKEN to stand on it's own as a band, but I also know you've collaborated with some of the best in the business. Without dropping names, can you share with us any piece of advice you've gotten from any well-known music figures that you took to heart and has stayed with you to this day?
MICK: Yeah, play from the heart, it doesn't matter how technical it is, it matters how much of your own f***ed up feelings or experiences you can get to come across with your instrument.
GOTH BROOKS: What do you think about the comparisons people are already making between Shelley and Mick, and some of the great singer/guitarist songwriting teams like Jagger/Richards, Page/Plant, and Tyler/Perry? The kind that only comes around every decade or so to remind us what real Rock n'Roll is? The question was, "What do you think of the comparisons?"
MICK: Me and Shelley are totally flattered! We don't think we're all that, but it makes us feel good. Maybe one day we'll earn the right to carry that torch. We certainly are gonna work at it. We're an inseparable team who are doing the majority of the songwriting in the band, and working on the band development within BROKEN.
GOTH BROOKS: What can we expect to hear and see from BROKEN in the near future, or in the next year as far as on record, live shows, and so on?
MICK: We hope to have a record out by the middle of next year and to be touring constantly across the U.S. and beyond. We want to deliver the kick ass Rock n'Roll record this country has been missing for a while.
GOTH BROOKS: This has been a lot of fun for me man; I've totally dug doing this. Is there any funny story related to BROKEN you could leave us with?
MICK: Yeah, a funny story
is the first BROKEN demo was done at Duff's house. He had a kick
ass '69 Chevelle with a 396 in it. Opening track on the demo we recorded
the motor revving, and then the song comes on the car stereo, somewhere
around the first chorus the car takes off, and then the song really starts.
Kind of like "Detroit Rock City." I knew then we had the makings
of a great band. I was trying to get BROKEN on a Toilet Boys show
at the Roxy, so
I called the promoter and he hadn't heard a thing about my new band.
He said, "bring me a tape," so I jumped in Duff's Chevelle which had a
kick ass stereo, and drove to the Roxy. When I got there he was standing
outside smoking. I said, "Get in" and popped in the CD. It
was cranked, the car starts revving, the song comes on the radio, the car
splits, the song starts, I'm kind of embarrassed at this point cause people
are walking by the car looking in cause it's so loud. The promoter
turns to me and shouts over the stereo "you got the gig, this is exactly
what this town needs!" First show, opening for the Toilet Boys.
I knew this time I was gonna have fun!
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Photo and artwork courtesy Broken, Live Photos by Francis E Howard - Point of View Pictures All Rights reserved.