By David Kenney
Ever since "Stuck in the Middle with You" made a butchering appearance in Reservoir Dogs, movie music took on a new role. Instead of simply supporting a scene, music served to diffuse explosive situations–that and mutate a song and/or band into something bigger.
For local act El Chupacabra, it means a possibility of playing mafia shows.
"Our music is definitely hitman friendly," jokes El Chupacabra vocalist Grant Kennedy. Friendly enough to appear in last year’s local film The Puffy Room. Set against a hitman’s escapades, three songs from the blues-rock quartet’s self-titled EP took on a new life.
"It served it’s purpose and that’s cool," says Kennedy. "I think as an independent you basically do anything you can. (That) definitely includes porn, but does not include cheesy corporate type stuff."
Recently the band appeared on A Channel’s Big Breakfast to plug their new record Drop Dead Blues. Next up is the CD release party April 1 at the Night Gallery. Recorded last summer in Winnipeg over a hangover, the new record features harmonica player Stew Hay. Kennedy says Hay’s addition gave the group a more solid sound.
"[Hay] used to come up and jam with us every now and then and eventually he never left the stage," Kennedy says. "[Hay’s addition] gave us more of a original blues feel."
As for recording with a hangover, Kennedy laughs and thinks it helped the process.
"It turned out good because it catches much of our live feel," he says.
Part of that feel involves a fused rabid blues-rock sound that mixes in funk guitar. Combine Kennedy’s groove-laden vocals and you’ve got one late-night jam–or as Kennedy puts it, the perfect music for Bermuda Shorts Day.
"I would say beer drinking music basically, groovy tunes," he says, describing his music.
Following the release of Drop Dead Blues , El Chupacabra plans to record their first video for "Three and Thirteen." Despite being a vocally driven act though, their video will be an instrumental. Kennedy cites the use of The Puffy Room footage as the reason the band chose an instrumental. He sees an instrumental video as a mini-film and a way to capture attention.
"I guess we’ll see if it gets any exposure," says Kennedy. "Personally I enjoy when you get a change of feel, you watch something and it’s just not a pop song."
Until then, Kennedy is primed for the Night Gallery release party. Consistent with April Fools Day, Kennedy was thinking of hiring a magician for the gig.
"I just thought ‘Why not?’, people would think it’s a little strange," says Kennedy, playing down any craziness. "We don’t have any pyrotechnics–I’m not going to come exploding from underneath the Night Gallery stage."