WLUW Talks To Shannon & The Clams

On Halloween Night, WLUW team members Olivia Cerza and Scott Clancy got the spooky opportunity to sit down and talk with Oakland surfy punk band Shannon and the Clams. We spoke backstage before their bonanza at Chicgao’s Thalia Hall, discussing topics like their latest album “Onion,” touring, painting Hulk Hogan, reading, etc. Give it a read and learn a few tidbits on The Clams and be sure to check out our coverageof the Halloween bahs that night with The Clams, Nobunny, Escape-ism, and Dirty Fences!

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WLUW: Have You guys ever heard of the Movie Open House

Clams: Ya

WLUW: What did you think of it?

Cody: Shannon’s the only one who’s seen it.

Shannon: I actually thought it was good…but it doesn’t…button up at the end. You are left feeling dissatisfied. It’s kind of agony at the end. But I thought that the actors were really good and I loved the setting. Which I kept thinking was Tahoe but it’s not I guess. 

WLUW: Well the reason I ask is because Rip Van Winkle is in it (Shannon song) and in my opinion was the saving grace of the movie and I wanted to get your take on it.

Shannon: It’s funny cause someone told me that a technical term for the way that they used our song is that it would be called a character, like an important part of the film.

WLUW: Was it intentional playing Chicago on Halloween?

S: Yeah we got asked to do it! 

Will: This is the first show we booked for this tour.

S: We love Chicago! our shows are always killer here

WLUW: This is a stacked lineup too.

C: We all have the same booking agent.

S: Ian Svenonius, Nobunny, and Clams do, that’s right.

WLUW: I have a question about your merchandise. On your website there’s a lot of prints of paintings you did Shannon and we’re curious about your thoughts on painting.

S: I love to do it – I barely have time anymore but I love to do it and it’s my goal this winter to try and get some new paintings done. i’ve always drawn since I was a little kid  and that was basically my only interest for a long time, and I eventually went to art school  and became better at it but I feel like I could learn forever. 

WLUW: How did you choose what people to paint for those prints because it’s a wide array (Marc Bolan, Poision Ivy. Chris Farley, Andre the Giant, Etta James)

S: Usually what I choose is someone I love and admire and whose face I want to stare at for a long time. A lot of them are heroes or conflicted, interesting characters. I really looked up to wrestlers, like I had a crush on Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan seems almost like royalty but he’s got a dark character, like he’s been taken down, he’s racist and not a perfect guy. 

WLUW: And you guys have like a zine type thing up there too?

C: Yeah. We only had a few left so we didn’t bring them. But we gotta print some more – they’re cool they’re printed on this old Japanese color Xerox thing called a risograph.

WLUW: How did you guys hook up with Dan Auerbach for your last record? it’s on his label right?

C: He just heard us in a record store. They were playing a record and he loved it and he followed Shannon on Instagram and they started talking.

WLUW: What was it like putting Onion together and working with him?

C: it was cool – he’s a really simple but really focused studio. It’s really efficient and easy to use something is set up all the time. I think his style is like doing tons of layers of instruments so you get a really big sound.

Nate: He also did a whole day of preproduction before we were even in the studio, just prepping everything making sure it sounds good. 

WLUW: And is that the technique you used, all that layering, or did you just kind of go in and do it?

W: I think so, we were recording and Nate had a lot of ideas for overdubs, he was in the control room and Dan was doing the same thing…We had demoed everything ahead of time but they just got richer in the recording process. 

WLUW: Is this the first big tour for the album?

S: Oh no this is like the fourth. We did an East coast run, a West coast run, we’ve been touring a lot. Sort of short tours. It’s a lot better than just trudging for a month. 

WLUW: Do you guys like to read?

Clams: Yeah

S: I’m in the middle of his book called “Ill Be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara about the Golden State Killer. It’s really good.

C: I’m reading “The Dispossessed” By Ursula Le Guin. who’s like a cool Sci-Fi writer from Portland.

W: “Arrow In The Blue” By Arthur Koestler – his autobiography. He wrote a lot about space and science, like a popular science writer.

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