Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys.
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Boston-based SteamCRUNK band, Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys, and discussed everything from Dr. Teeth and Wu-Tang to their upcoming new CD, Come Black Magic (dropping on September 9th, by the way). We were not disappointed with their answers, and I think you’ll feel the same way.
So, sit back and get to know Walter Sickert and his Army Of Broken Toys!
Indie Minded: Thank you so much for sitting down with us to answer a few questions for our readers, I don’t think we’ve spoken in the past, so this is a great way for me to get to know you, as well. For those out there that are unfamiliar with you, please tell us a little about the band, how you got started and when you formed.
Edrie: The band is like the Fish and Goose Soiree. It has always been and always will be.
Walter Sickert: Forever and ever and ever and ever…
IM: Walter, you’ve been called the “Dr. Teeth” of this generation, often compared to greats such as George Clinton and Tom Waits – what do you think of this comparison, and who are some of your influences?
WS: I love being compared to Dr. Teeth. He’s one of my influences from when I was a tiny baby Muppet. And now that I am all grown up and made up of four Muppets in a trench coat, I still idolize him. The band’s next impossible goal is to open for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem since they started touring again!
In fact, if I can use this article to garner the ear of Dr. Teeth… Do you hear that Dr. Teeth, have us open for you! It’s destiny!
I’m influenced by many doctors – Dr. Teeth, Dr. John, Dr. Hook, Dr. Bones, Dr. Jones Jr., Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Dr. Giggles, Dr. Lecter, Dr. Satan, Dr. Strange, Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Ruth, Dr. Spock, Dr. Watson, Dr. Quinn Motherfucking Medicine Woman, Doc. Brown, Doc Ock, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, Dr. Caligari, Dr. Hank McCoy, Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Raymond Stantz, Dr. Peter Venkman et cetera, et cetera…Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum et cetera, et cetera…Memo bis punitor delicatum! It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal!
IM: You’ve got a brand new CD dropping on September 9th called Come Black Magic, and a release show that night at The Sinclair in Cambridge, what should people expect when they come to one of your live shows?
WS: The best part about one of ours shows is that you do not know what to expect. From ponies to Vermicious Knids, Snozzwangers to Wangdoodles all manner of wirecreatures with little surprises around every corner. Nothing too dangerous, so don’t be alarmed, we wouldn’t want you to lose your head, not yet anyways.
Edrie: It’s a true ceremony of weird that embraces everyone. And a damn good rock show to boot.
IM: Indie music is pretty alive here in the Boston area, do you still find it difficult to get people to come out to live shows?
Edrie: People in Boston are really supportive of live music, visual art, and theatre. We try to offer fun and interesting shows that don’t cost too much money, but do provide gargantuan, transcendental, end-of-the-world good times where anything can happen.
WS: After all, a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest friend.
IM: Boston has seen a lot of local clubs closing in the last few years, what are your thoughts on this? Will we see more pop up, or will musicians just have to clamber for stages to play on?
Edrie: There certainly aren’t enough venues for the amount of talent in Boston. When TTs closed, everyone marked it as the end of an era – and it was, but it was also the beginning of others. I was personally sad to see many of the places I’ve played go dark, but new faces appear even as the old ones fade into condos and restaurants.
We forged our initial sounds in the sacred lands of underground venues like Pan 9 and the Cloud Club and continue to frequent other underground institutions even as we support newer venues like Once and newly established institutions like The Record Company.
IM: Let’s talk about Come Black Magic, the newest CD – how was the writing and recording process for this one? I hear there’s a little Doors and Wu-Tang love in there somewhere.
WS: Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we daren’t go a hunting, for fear of little men. You see, nobody ever goes in… and nobody ever comes out and that is what our recording process is all about.
IM: Did you all experiment with some different sounds or instruments this time around?
WS: We experimented with each other. We had people who sing play the drums, we had people who play guitar put on bone suits and dance. We had human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria in a Huxleyesque utopia of musical alchemy. It was like Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain.
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IM: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2016 into 2017? Another tour, or will we see you going back into the studio? I imagine a breather would need to be in order, or is it full steam ahead?
Edrie: There are no breathers! It’s art all the time in every form! We’re working on the visual component for this album by creating a series of interconnected short films each featuring a song off the album which will extend and explain the narrative in visual form releasing one every month. We’re planning a US and UK tour to support the album. We’re also excited to announce a theatre event in December at Oberon where we’ll be teaming up with some of Boston’s premier burlesque performers to delve into the Nightmare Before Christmas.
IM: What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to music? Meaning, who are you listening to that people might be surprised by?
Edrie: Our collection has everything from polka to Prince. Walter is constantly spinning the Clockwork Orange or Videodrome soundtrack on our old trash-picked record player.
WS: I love Sunday mornings in my art studio, bathed in the silver smoke of dreams, listening to Nina Simone’s ‘Nuff Said! That particular record holds a great deal of meaning for me. When I am on tour and away from home, sometimes I imagine that moment and it helps me stay grounded.
IM: How important do you find social media and engagement with your fans to be? Are you active on social media?
Edrie: The aethēr of social media is such an interesting place. The people we engage with don’t feel like fans, they feel like family. We go through their joys and sorrows and they go through ours. Some of the people we’ve only met online are flying in for the release show. It’s a huge and beautiful network of support which means the world to us as independent artists.
IM: As an artist, how would you define success? Is it a sold out show, an award, or recognition from a particular publication? What does it for you when it comes to success?
Edrie: Success in our eyes is how many wonderfully bizarre performances we can give, how many artists we can support, how many creative relationships we can conjoin, and how we can strengthen the art community we are in.
WS: C. R. E. A. M.
IM: Thank you for taking time out to chat with us, I hope you sell MILLIONS of the new CD!