Would you mind introducing yourselves and telling us what instruments you play?
Frank Max: guitar/vocals, Paul Garwood: guitar/vocals, Tony Matura: bass/vocals, Bluto Mongo: drums.
Frank: Our first album (CD) A Cellar Full Of Rats! is out October 13th.
How long has the current band line up been together?
Paul: Since July ‘06
How did you meet each other?
Tony: Frank and Paul met in High School and later met both Mongo and I hanging out in clubs in New York.
How did you come up with your name?
Frank: We knew it had to have the word Rats in it and we also wanted the word Beat or Beats. The Ratbeats kinda stank.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Paul: The Beatles—ya think?
How long have you played your instruments?
Mongo: We’ve suffered years for our music. Now it’s your turn.
What is your current equipment?
Frank: Remember Kiss? “Kiss uses Gibson Guitars and Pearl drums because they want the best.”
Well, “The Beat Rats use beat up ol’ flintsticks and barrels ‘cause they don’t make ‘em like they used to.”
Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
Frank: You mean you can’t tell we didn’t have lessons?
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Paul: The Beat Rats are seriously guitarded. We’ve got a bad case of vintage guitar acquisition syndrome. Too many axes—no more shopping!
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Tony: Pretty much. What you hear is what you get live. For better or worse.
Do you record at a purpose built studio or do you record at home with portable digital equipment or pc/mac with audio software?
Frank: We use a studio. When we record we just wanna bust our konks on playing the songs. There’s plenty of dials on the amps to screw around with.
Which software do you use?
Do you have any new recordings planned?
Paul: We’re planning to go back into the studio pretty soon to record another album’s worth of noize.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Frank: We dig recording. It’s the engineers and studio techs that don’t find it enjoyable when we start mucking about.
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
Paul: We do. We blast our songs in the studio the same way we would at a show. If we don’t get the vibe in a take or two, we move on. There’s enough music out there that’s been labored over.
Do you any favourite tracks from your original material?
Frank: We got a song called “My Jolana” and we get a kick outta people’s reaction when we tell ‘em it’s not about a girl, it’s about my Jolana guitar.
Do you have a favourite track that you do a cover version of?
Tony: We dig doing Ray Charles’ Maryann and we’ve got a version on the bonus live tracks CD you get with the first album.
Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Frank: The lyrics just have to fit the tunes. The experiences can be either personal or not. We really just wanna rock so the tunes and riffs come first. Lyrics that suck go bye-bye.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Paul: Both at times, but there’s a backlog of songs clogging up the pipes right now and we wanna get ‘em out!
Which countries have you gigged in?
Mongo: We’ve only played the most drunken establishments in the USA.
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Tony: We just gotta get to England and Germany, those are at the top of the list.
Who would you like to tour with?
Paul: Hey we’re ready to go now—whoever!
How do you promote your music and get your music to new fans?
Frank: We hope jawboning in your magazine is one way—The Beat Rats don’t wanna be pests. We dig the web.
Do you think the internet overall is a good or bad thing for new artists?
Frank: It’s been good for us. We dig cyberspace and try not to get lost in it.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Frank: Merseypunk music. Like a snotty Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Who do you listen to or do when chilling out?
Mongo: We’re just now getting to the point where we can stop our minds dead. We get a kinda comatose look on our faces and our mouths hang open. Mostly, we’re in it to rock ‘n’ roll so we gotta snap outta that brain-lock scene.
What’s your best/worst experience at a gig?
Tony: Each of us has gone down on stage at some point. Frank does it on purpose at almost every show. Paul went down a couple of times with his guitar and he just keeps playing. Frank: Tony did some fancy steppin’ one night and took some drums along with him. Mongo likes to bust up his kit at the end of shows. One night he tried to exit right through the center of his kit; like over the kick drum. He got his leg caught in the apparatus and ended up sucking the floor. All in good fun.
Would you sign with a major record company?
Paul: Would a major record company want to sign us? That’s the question.
Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Frank: Tito Puente laid down the law; “If you ain’t nervous, it don’t mean anything.” So you can usually find us hanging at the bar, knocking back some black & cokes before we go on. (and after).
What are your day jobs if you have one?
Paul: That’s the $64,000 question. Like, we gotta bail now and see if we still have day jobs!
Rawwk On Pplz!