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Stacking The Deck with Chaser Eight
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

One of the preeminent hard rocks bands in the state of Connecticut, Chaser Eight have built up a reputation for wowing audiences with their explosive live performances. I can speak to this having brought numerous friends to Chaser Eight shows, and every single one of those friends becoming fans of the band by the end of the night.

I caught up with Chaser Eight frontwoman *AUDRA*, guitarist Pat Walsh, and keyboardist/guitarist Aaron Tagliamonte (although Aaron let *AUDRA* and Pat do all the talking, and is not photographed), at the official Chaser Eight headquarters in CT, where we chilled out on their dock, opened some packs of MusiCards, and talked a whole lotta music. The artists we found sparked stories of musical heroes, and a general wondering of what the heck was up with the Goo Goo Dolls back in ’91.

The Doors

*AUDRA*: I went to Redscroll in Wallingford and bought a Doors album yesterday. It was called 13. I just didn’t have it on vinyl.

There’s this experience with having vinyl playing throughout the house, and we blast the vinyl throughout the house. It’s nice to hear all these people you grew up listening to on tape, and then CD, and now the computer, it’s nice to have those be blasted on vinyl.

The Doors were huge for me. I grew up listening to them. My mother was the one who got me into music, and she played all of the classics. My first concert ever was with her. I was 13 years old, we went to see The Allman Brothers.

So for me, just listening to The Doors’ music, I don’t think they specifically inspired me to write any songs, I just think having them in my ear, and hearing such good music, that kind of influences me, where I’m like, “Shit, I want to do that!” That’s where I kind of found that.

Pat: I never had a Doors phase. I like their songs that are really short, like “Love Me Two Times.” I don’t like the 18 minutes church organ solos. Not my cup of tea.

Until you get a church organ in Chaser Eight.

Pat: Dear God, I’ll be out by then.


Aaron, don’t get a church organ and play eight minutes solos, alright?

The Pretenders

*AUDRA*: Not only is Chrissie Hynde just amazing, she’s just got that … when Chrissie Hynde opens her mouth you know it’s her, and that’s such a cool thing to have.

I feel like in the current age of pop music, I don’t like to say this, but it’s been happening to me, the voices are melding on the radio. I’m having a difficult time telling people apart. With someone like Chrissie Hynde, and one of my other favorites, Stevie Nicks, the first note that comes out of their mouths you’re like, that’s them! There’s no denying it.

(Chrissy Hynde’s) songwriting is fantastic, and I think, for me, any woman in the arts, any lead singer in music, she’s such a huge inspiration, because I gotta tell ya, it’s not fucking easy being a woman in this business. You’re starting off behind the eight ball, because you’re getting judged immediately, like, “A girl signing rock music?”

I think these women that did break through, and made it, and were so good at what they do, that gives little girls like me, who are picking up a guitar at ten, that hope that women CAN do this. You CAN do it. You gotta be good, but you gotta be good anyway.

Pat: I can’t relate to being a woman in rock, yet. Maybe someday.

Except for Van Halen I was not into ‘80s hard rock, but I love this aesthetic of music, The Pretenders, The Police, all that stuff, and it sounds better and better every year. I don’t know why. I just love it more.

*AUDRA*: I also like that she never sexualized herself. She went out there in pants and a shirt, and slung the guitar on, and played. It was – listen, I’m a girl that plays guitar, and you’re gonna have to deal with it.

Plus she did a guest spot on Friends, and Phoebe critiqued her when she was playing “Smelly Cat.” To me that just shows you’re a good sport.

The Who

Pat: Pete Townshend. He’s a great guitar player, and he kind of eschewed the whole Eric Clapton, guitar god, (idea) and was always more into just writing interesting music, and using new technology, and coming up with good, interesting, songs.

So Pete Townshend is definitely a hero of mine, except for that chapter where he was involved in child porn. I am less into that.

*AUDRA*: The thing I love about The Who the most is that they didn’t give a fuck on stage. They got on to these late night shows, and they would kick the drum set off the platform, smash the amps, they didn’t give a shit about being this prim and proper English band. They cared about giving you rock n roll, and making it destructive. Not that we’re destructive. We don’t have the money to destroy our equipment.

I made a vow to myself, and my mother, actually, that I would never destroy any of my equipment.

Goo Goo Dolls

*AUDRA*: I’ve never seen them look like this ever. They look like they belong in Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

I had to look at the back of the card just to make sure it was the same Goo Goo Dolls.

Pat: These cards are from ’91, so this is from before they had any hits.

Hipsters now kinda look like this. Like, they could be attending a Phantogram concert.

*AUDRA*: Totally. They’d be so in right now.

Would we have bought the Goo Goo Dolls as the Goo Goo Dolls if they still looked like this?

*AUDRA*: No, because I think part of the appeal of the Goo Goo Dolls was how handsome Johnny Rzeznik was.

Pat: I know he was definitely a heartthrob, but man, there he does not look it.

*AUDRA*: That’s what I’m saying. I think the appeal of the Goo Goo Dolls was once they started, and especially when they did the song for City of Angels, “Iris,” he was such a heartthrob, with the earrings, and the quaffed hair.

Pat: He totally reinvented himself.

*AUDRA*: I think, for me, growing up the influence of the Goo Goo Dolls, it wasn’t like they had a huge impact on my life, I think it was just the fact that they were writing good rock music.

Pat: They had super catchy tunes.

I think if we were to see them in concert today they could play for 90 minutes …

Both: We’d know every song.

*AUDRA*: I think that comes back to the ability to write a song. Either you have it, or you don’t, and it’s not only writing the song, because there are many ghostwriters, and songwriters, who don’t perform their own songs, it’s the ability to write the song and then you have to go out there and sell it to the audience, and he sells that deeply emo dude (vibe). He sells that.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

*AUDRA*: I grew up listening to Skynyrd. My mom plays piano, so any band that had a piano player in it, she was big into that. We also lived in New Mexico for a while, so she was big into Southern rock. I grew up listening to this Southern rock base of having 50 people in your band, but making it sound amazing.

I think the other thing about them, obviously a tragedy happened to them, but I think in relation to us, we’re not the original members that we started out with.

When we formed it was me, Bill, and Pat. We had been playing together since we were 15. Then we brought on Aaron and Pete, and we were together for three years. Then all of a sudden Pete was like, “I’m out.” Then last year Bill was like, “I’m out.”

It’s an adjustment period to bring new people in, because we really think of ourselves as a family. Pat and I being the two songwriters, we get into spats with each other, but we’re fine.

No one’s been thrown off of this dock.

*AUDRA*: Right. Exactly.

Pat: The day is young.

*AUDRA*: Right. {laughs} I think they’re totally an example of you lose people, and now you have to rebuild. It’s unbelievable what they did.

Have you ever had someone yell, “Play “Freebird!” during one of your shows?

Pat: Oh God, so many times.

I don’t like Skynyrd, I don’t like their Confederate flag waving fans, and the thing I hate the most is the years of, “Play ‘Freebird,’ man!”

There’s some DVD I have, I think it’s Jeff Buckley, it may be somebody else, someone yells it on the DVD, and he goes to the mic and says, “No. Fuck you.”

*AUDRA*: For me, I like the music. I like a big band. I think a big band does cool things. I like a lot of their songs. I like songs like “Gimme Back My Bullets.” I think that has balls. “The Needle and the Spoon” is a great song. “I Know a Little.” I think they have great music, and they survived a terrible tragedy and kept going, and that’s perseverance.

For more Chaser Eight, check out chasereight.com.

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