Motocaster, Issue 70: October 1994

Motocaster: October 1994


Motocaster was supposed to play in Salt Lake City on October 7. Apparently they are having some problems with booking and this show was canceled. It’s our loss. Another recent cancellation I don’t understand was Royal Jelly. They have a Robert Plant impersonator and I was quite looking forward to a visit to the 70s. Motocaster has strong 70s tendencies, but they’ve gone beyond it all. The first time I listened to their album, I dismissed the thing. After going through the stacks and listening again, and again, and again, I found it to be quite enjoyable. You might want to search it out in the local stores. They are currently signed with Interscope but they originally were with Cargo. Along with the new album is an EP on Cargo that I plan to pick up with this Friday’s paycheck. They are from Raleigh, North Carolina, and their new album was produced by Mitch Easter, he of REM production and Let’s Active recording fame. Motocaster’s Bo Taylor talked to me from a pay phone on the road from God knows where while I sat in the comfort of my home. Here are the results. 

The band Motocaster
Motocaster was supposed to play in Salt Lake City on October 7. Issue 70: October 1994

How did you three get together?

We’d all been playing around the Raleigh area before. John and Brian were both bass player. John switched over to drums because he is multi-talented. Jon was in five or six bands, I was in a couple.

How old are you guys?

I’m 27, those guys are 29.

So you’ve been around awhile? 

Yeah, we’ve all been around the area of Raleigh for six or seven years.

You self-released a single and then you put an EP out on Cargo. 

 Yeah, that’s right, it’s called Acid Rock.

How did you hook up with Cargo?

Well, we’d been working on an independent deal before we got picked up by Interscope. I guess the deals just came through at the same time. Our plan was to put out some kind of EP on an independent and Cargo said they’d do it so we did that first and then we followed it up with our LP on Interscope.

So you signed to Cargo and Interscope at the same time? 

Yeah, pretty close to the same time.

How did you get signed to Interscope? 

Well, it started when I sent a tape to CMJ, we got written up in the “Futures Section.” I got lots of phone calls, made lots of tapes and sent ‘em out one by one. We played New Music Seminar two years ago and after we played we had a couple of majors interested in us. We flew out to LA and checked out the ones who were interested and decided on Interscope. I was really impressed with the bands that they’re signing now. We signed with them when they were still pretty small, but I like the rock music they’re signing. You know, like Rocket from the Crypt and Drive Like Jehu

Did your musical style change at all between the recording of Acid Rock for Cargo and Stay Loaded for Interscope?

I don’t know, I think the LP is a little garagey or something.

The LP is more garagey sounding?

I sometimes think so. I don’t know… the EP… fuck. (laughs) all the songs were pretty much written around the same time.

Inside the CD booklet there are pinball machine graphics. Is the album named for a pinball machine? 

Stay Loaded is actually named after a mud flap ornament like on a truck or whatever. There are some pinball machine graphics in there. There’s a place in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina where some friends and I went looking for some artwork. They have like stacks and stacks of pinball machines and he was willing to let us take back glass artwork home to photograph it. My friend kept some of it and we ended up using that one for the record. It’s just part of the artwork. The pinball machines.

How did you get together with Mitch Easter? 

Our drummer, Jon Heames, was a member of Let’s Active. He was the bass player on the last record, Every Dog Has His Day. We started doing some demos with Mitch and we liked the way he worked. We liked the sound he got so we kept going with him.

Did you set out to get a garage sound with him?

No, we weren’t thinking, ‘it’s gotta be garagey, it’s gotta be garagey.’ I think that’s kind of the way it turned out. Our goal was to be raw, trashy. That’s the way I described my vision to him before we started and he’s like, ‘we can do that.’ Do you like the album?

Yeah, I love the album. Let’s skip right to the next question. Your song “Uranus” sounds very much like the New York Dolls to me. Did you set out to get that raw New York Dolls nature from the beginning?

Well, I wouldn’t claim them as one of my major influences, although, I like the Dolls and Thunders a lot. There was a band in Raleigh that was influenced by the Dolls… one of my favorite Dolly bands of all time. They were a band called Fingers. Anyway, “Uranus was more… you know that song “F*!#in’ Up,” it was on Neil Young’s Ragged Glory?


That’s kind of where the song originated from because I tuned the low string down to a low C, that’s kind of what Neil does too. And that’s what came out.

The other song that really struck me on the album was “Truth.” You didn’t write this song, it was written by Lee Johnson.

Yeah, she was in a Raleigh band called the Blackgirls. They were kind of an acoustic, quirky trio. That was one of my favorite songs of theirs and it fits into our repertoire pretty well.

So you took an acoustic song and changed it to include feedback, Led Zeppelin and Hendrix references?

Yeah, that’s the Motocaster version of it.

We finished the conversation with some conversation on Motocaster’s current tour. Just in case you thought Salt Lake City is unique, Taylor pretty much informed me that it is the same all over the U.S. They play to good crowds in some places and tiny crowds in others. The road is far from glamorous and he was obviously very tired when I talked to him. They may be on a major label, but to the masses of American citizens they are as unknown as any indie band. Motocaster has a hell of a good album in the stores and Taylor is one of the good guys. Like so much of the best music it isn’t on the radio. Check out the album or the EP and hope the booking agent straightens things out so we can see them in the city of Salt.

Read more from our October 1994 issue here