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Rob Carlyle of The Compulsions Talks About His New Album Beat The Devil

Posted: 2012-01-25 17:53:57

After nearly 10 years of playing New York’s seediest bars and clubs while simultaneously struggling to form a cohesive line up, Compulsions founder and front man Rob Carlyle seems to have finally galvanized the group’s roster with lead guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer, both from the recharged Guns N Roses, as well as bassist Sami Yaffa from seminal bands Hanoi Rocks and the reborn New York Dolls. Following the release of three critically acclaimed EPs (for starters, they have been hailed “the coolest band in the world” by the UK’s Classic Rock magazine), The Compulsions released their first full length studio album in November, 2011. The fast selling Beat The Devil LP features 10 blues, punk and hard rock influenced originals plus a very special guest appearance by the recently departed Hubert Sumlin, sideman for blues icons Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters as well as one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time. Rob sat down with the GNR Syndicate recently to talk about the new album.

1. Hired Gun

This was the last song written for the album. I had been wanting to write a song called “Hired Gun” for a while and when I finally got around to it in early 2011, the whole thing pretty much came together in about 20 minutes. The lyrics depict the same type of hitman/gigolo character Bon Scott portrays in “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” so when it came time to record, we all channeled as much early AC/DC as possible.

2. I Just Wanna Play Guitar

The title was inspired by all those Ramones titles like “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do” and “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.” I wanted to keep the words really simple, like Chuck Berry or Eddie Cochran, talking about school and work, real life every day stuff everyone can relate to.

3. Dirty Woman Blues

The title sounds like it is going to be a pretty basic blues song, so we thought it would be interesting to go in the opposite direction and make it more avant-garde. This might be my favorite song on the album just because it covers so much sonic territory, from the blues to white noise and with lots of twists and turns along the way. The guys brought a lot of their own ideas to this one, like Sami’s Sly Stone-style bass line in the chorus, Frank shifting back and forth between different time signatures and Richard pulling out all the stops on guitars.

4. Yer Too Good Fa Me

This was recorded in 2003 but the vocals were unfinished until 2011 because I could not figure out exactly what kind of voice to use, so I was in and out of the studio every so often until I got it right. In the end, I just kind of belted it out like I always do. If you listen closely, the guitar solo was played with the wah-wah pedal half-pressed, giving it this kind of rubbery feel which works well with the rest of the track.

5. Eat My Dust

Certain people on the New York music scene seem to only respect a band if they can play fast and loud, which is kind of funny because mid-tempo and slow songs are actually harder to pull off. With slower material, you have to actually lay back in the groove and create a real vibe. With fast, punk rock type stuff you can just plow through it on pure adrenaline or whatever and if it is kind of sloppy and fucked up, all the better. But since they seem to love the fast stuff around here, I thought we would shove the fastest rock song to ever come out this town right up their asses. “Eat My Dust” is only 46 seconds long but we manage to squeeze in 3 choruses, 2 verses, a shredding Richard Fortus guitar solo and a line about me doing my cheating ex-girlfriend’s mom from behind.

Eat My Dust: “[It]is only 46 seconds long but we manage to squeeze in 3 choruses, 2 verses, a shredding Richard Fortus guitar solo and a line about me doing my cheating ex-girlfriend’s mom from behind.”

6. Ea$y Money

I love how laid back and sleazy this song is. [Compulsions co-producer] Ken [Rich] programmed some really cool sounds for this. It is just a real simple song, three chords, no changes but it builds up in a way that keeps it interesting. Really cinematic.

7. Ya Never Go Me Down

Here is another song that was in the can for years. It was written long before I even had a band, around the same time I wrote “Shake Hands With The Devil,” “Jungle Disease” and “My Favorite Wine.” Probably around 1996. This is definitely a straight up bar room rocker but I love how the drum machine going into the guitar solo comes in out of nowhere and catches you off guard. The title was inspired by a line from Raging Bull.

8. She’s So F****n’ Sexy

One night I was hanging out in the DJ booth with my friend iLan [Frid] and he spins “California Love” by 2pac. The whole place starts dancing. I always loved that track, such a great groove, so I thought let’s just play a bass line like that and add rock guitars to it. That is iLan sitting in on lead.

9. I Was Right, You Were Wrong

This song first appeared on a compilation disc of local bands called New York City Rock & Roll in 2003. I remember someone saying it sounded like “Crowes N’ Roses” which was fine by me. Anyway, here is the new and vastly improved “I Was Right, You Were Wrong.” We re-recorded everything but kept the original guitar solo which was played by my good friend Georgie Seville.

10. Shut Yer Hole

This one has been in the can since 2004 and is definitely one of the dirtier Compulsions songs, right up there with “Big, Fat, Sexy Mama.” The lyrics take the piss out of everyone from girlfriends to music critics to the dickhead down the block, even myself. There is no actual drums on this, that is [producers] Hugh [Pool] and Ken [Rich] creating this wall of percussion. The dearly departed Hubert Sumlin is on electric guitar playing all these incredible licks and runs, nothing conventional about his performance but still undeniably the blues. It is no surprise Hubert influenced so many legendary players like Keith Richards and Jimmy Page. There is even a line in the song that says “Every guitar picker nicks a lick from someone, especially from Hubert motherfuckin’ Sumlin.” Hubert sadly passed away a few weeks after the album came out. He will no doubt be missed by us all.

Visit their Facebook page. now and get a free MP3 of "Ea$y Money." Offer expires February 10, 2012.

Ron Bumblefoot Thal

Posted: 2011-11-25 15:42:24

Spending some time with the kids in Dallas.

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