Chris Saunders, the Upright Bass player for the Los Angeles, CA rockabilly group The Thirsty Crows is the newest edition to the Shadow family. He uses our Shadow RB-PRO Rockabilly Double Bass Preamp, SH-2500E Transducer pickup & SH-951 Bridge pickup exclusively.
I was born and raised in the South Bay of Los Angeles, CA. My family was always big into music and worked within the industry so I was inundated with all types of music from a very young age. Our area is known for its Punk Rock roots having spawned pioneers such as Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Descendants, Pennywise and many others. Growing up in the Redondo Beach/Hermosa Beach area it was very difficult to not want to pick up an instrument and try to figure out just what our local musical icons were doing. Along the way I developed a deep appreciation for the roots of Rock 'n Roll and that is when I fell in love with the sound and style upright bass.
How would you describe The Thirsty Crows and your sound?
The Thirsty Crows are a four piece hard rockabilly outfit out of Los Angeles. We coined the term ‘South Bay Rockabilly’ for our style. For us, what this means is that we are an amalgamation of the energetic Punk Rock that came out of our South Bay area mixed with our take on the traditional Rockabilly/Western sounds we all grew up on.
What's been going on with you guys lately?
We've been having a fantastic year so far! We put out a new EP recorded at Firewater Studios engineered by Billy Graziadei (Vocals/Guitarist of Biohazard) and mastered by Maor Appelbaum (Nekromantix, The Chop Tops) that's been getting great reception. We recently put out a music video for our single Devil's Highway. Over the last few months we have been fortunate enough to play with many fantastic acts such as Lee Rocker, Wanda Jackson, Three Bad Jacks, The Chop Tops, Gamblers Mark, and more. We were also just featured in an issue of the graphic novel Guns A'Blazin' as the bar band during a demon massacre! It's all been quite the whirlwind and very exciting.
So we heard recently that you helped out a fellow bass player in need. Tell us a little bit about that.
Eddie Spaghetti, the lead singer/bass player for the cow punk band The Supersuckers was recently diagnosed with stage 3 oropharynx (throat) cancer. We were asked by our mutual friend Michael Schreiber, owner of South Bay Customs motorcycle shop & venue, if we would want to play a benefit show and do a song for a live compilation with all proceeds going to Eddie's medical fund. So naturally we said “Hell yeah!” We have done a few benefits before in the past and love to do them whenever we can. The show took place on September 19th and was a huge success! There was a great turn out and fantastic performances from a number of bands including The Cornfed Project and The Bourbon Saints. The compilation CD should be out in a few weeks. Anyone who is interested in donating can do so at: https://www.youcaring.com/eddie-spaghetti-373610
Why Shadow? What specifically are you looking for that you only trust Shadow to deliver?
Why Shadow? Simply put, it’s the quality of both the product and sound! I love that the RB-PRO was developed with upright bass player Didi Beck, so he knows exactly what sound, tone and options a professional upright player is looking for. And the versatility it offers is unparalleled. Being able to invert my phase and switch the subsonic filter on the fly to cut feedback while on stage is an absolute lifesaver! The pickups accurately reproduce the sound and tone of my bass and slap without compromise, and allow me to play at extremely loud volumes without any unwanted distortion, just the clear booming lows of the bass and the crisp highs of the click. I love that Shadow actually pushes the envelope on the tech rather than other companies that just repackage the same old gear year to year. Shadow knows what working musicians actually want.
Any last thoughts?
Big thanks to Shadow and Marc Romansky for all of the support! I’m stoked to be a part of the Shadow family!
The Equal Ground
The Thirsty Crows EP - 2014
By Ted Rogen
The Thirsty Crows is southern rock hot wings with extra buffalo. Their debut EP The Thirsty Crows is brushed with smoky blues and finished off with a fiery kick of balls to the walls shuffle rock. The guitar is like ZZ Top and Nirvana had a tone child that just so happened to also cry glycerin. Because why not? Lyrically, The Thirsty Crows don’t have too many reservations telling their tales like it is.
Unapologetic stories of drinking and drugging, whores and health problems. Amidst all the grit can be found hints of punk especially when the drums pick up the beat and kick those quick bass / snare patterns. The bridging of blues and punk is definitely new territory for me and for that alone I applaud these fine sirs. It’s a seductive and an enticing brand of rock that makes you want to take to the highway and pick up a stranger for some random shenanigans. Maybe stay up til 6 in the morning sipping on “The Good Juice.” I’d be down. The Thirsty Crows are bad boys for a bad world.
The album opens with the sounds of hungry crows in the distance, circling prey perhaps. Then a whistle-like drawl slides in just before mean riffs of dirty blues fire out of the dust clouds. No track is safe from the stomping good times of up tempo rock and themes immersed in substance and rebellion. For example, I’m not sure “Devil’s Highway” has enough mentioning of its title. Trust us, he’s on that highway and there’s nothing he can do about it.
Along those lines, “The Good Juice” is a rambunctious track that pertains to adventures out on the road, Highway 101 to be exact. Who else doesn’t immediately go to the game Cruisin’ USA? If it’s just me…. awkward. Taking up the back end is the perplexing “Love or Suicide.” Alcohol is a cruel two-faced thing when you think about it. That’s the watered down message on this one. To drink yourself into a slop night after night would make you believe you love the drink, but actually the drink loves you and will kill you if you let it. So to act on this said love raises the argument, is it just you slowly killing yourself? This is the stuff of lengthy debate, not fit for this review per se. But look, we’re talking about something beyond just the music. Well-done Crows.