Foxy Shazam's Eric Nally: "I'm Willing to Take a Risk for My Fans"
What you can expect from a Foxy Shazam concert? As the cliché goes, you can expect the unexpected. Packed with glam-laden, American rock 'n' roll and wild flailing energy, especially from lead singer Eric Nally, the experience is unforgettable.
"There were, like, these power cables on the ceiling, and I climbed onto the balcony side of the stage and just hung from the cable," reminisced Nally about a show the Cincinnati-bred band played in Detroit. He reflected on the intelligence of this extreme display. "The only reason I knew it was crazy and stupid is because I saw a picture of it. At the moment, I was like, 'Everyone is going to think I'm crazy; this is awesome.' The symbol of it is that you take it too far, and you have to take it easy sometimes. This was an example of taking it too far, in a good way.
"I'm willing to take a risk for my fans as long as I don't kill myself in front of them."
The band also used that same spontaneity to its advantage when dropping its newest release, Gonzo, in straight Beyoncé style. Foxy Shazam released the LP without any sort of pre-promotion or press whatsoever. It was also free to download on Bandcamp, offering everyone access to their sounds. "I just wanted to break the wall between who can access it and who can't. I wanted to break barriers," Nally explained of the unusual decision. "We put more passion and work into this album than ever before. I wanted to put it out there without boundaries. I do have to make a career for my family with money, blah, blah, blah, but it's about our fans listening to it."
That's the other thing about Nally -- onstage, he yells and uses every ounce of energy in his wiry frame, but in conversation, he speaks with such calmness and ease that you're taken aback. He pontificated on the larger picture of the free album in the music industry, "The business side can sometimes hold you back. Some people think of money as power and opportunity, but I see [having] no money as power and opportunity because you can see clear and you're not blinded by finance."
One of the band's most rambunctious songs is "I Like It." With upbeat energy, it includes an unusual chorus of: "That's the biggest black ass I've ever seen/And I like it, I like it." When asked which derriere inspired the song, Nally dishes that it was the character Gina from the show Martin. "I wrote that song from when I used to watch the show when I was younger, 12-ish. I wrote that song mostly because of Gina's character," he explained. "It was subliminal, kind of from watching that show. It's a very beautiful thing. I'm very attracted to that. That passion came from the show when I was little."
Although past albums are bombastic, Nally said he's put more energy into this than the others, and that it's more personal. "I feel like it's kicked up a few notches. It may come off to the audience ear as less rambunctious. Gonzo is more natural, more like raw sugar as opposed to Airheads, Nerds, or Bubblicious gum. It's raw honey," he elaborated. "I think Gonzo is different because I'm different. We are connected to our music personally so as we change, our music changes with us. With our previous records, I would make up a story and write about it and Gonzo is writing what I see as I go experience it. That's the difference between this album and the one before."
The "all natural" element Nally described can perhaps be accredited to the organic approach the band and producer Steve Albini took during the recording process. It was recorded live in one room in running order from the first to the last song, vocals and all. "Before we stepped in the studio, we had it done. There is so much technology these days, but the angle we took was, 'OK, this is how it's going to sound,' instead of, 'We're going to add in layers and make it sound better in the studio'," said Nally. Albini has famously worked with many other rock gods, like the Pixies and Nirvana. According to Nally, he has "a 'come as you are' tactic - no pun intended. He captures everything," Nally elaborated. "If you sound good, he'll capture it. If you sound bad, he'll capture it in a good way."
With spontaneity and passion, the band is bringing that raw honey to Culture Room tonight.
Foxy Shazam with Larry and his Flask at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 9, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Visit cultureroom.net/.
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