Sean Wheeler, Chopper Franklin et al…


Sean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin Interview

Sean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin InterviewSean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin Interview
Varla Magazine Sept. 13, 2006
By Liz Ortega – Staff Writer

1. How did you all come together to form Charley Horse? What was the initial idea behind the formation of band ?

Sean: Chopper and I formed Charley Horse about 12 years ago we recorded the album “Unholy Roller” back then using drum samples etc… he played all the instruments and I sang, this was pre Pro Tools and I had never done any recording so with a green singer, samples, drum beats etc… it was a serious undertaking, Mickey P was just starting out as a producer but had the current knowledge required for this undertaking, we were trying to do a greaser rock thing using samples etc… the band did 2 shows and called it quits, so we thought, throw rag decided to take a break last November from our hectic tour schedule and at the same time Acetate decided to release the now vintage Charley Horse sessions, even though as a band we didn’t exist at the time, so time allowed the release, the formation and the live band you have now Charley Horse to currently exist.

Chopper: “Unholy Roller” was a laboratory experiment with toxic ingredients, and in forming the band we wanted the same thing, and I think we got it.

Sean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin Interview

2. Some members of Charley Horse are currently in other bands. Does each member bring in a little bit of influence from those other bands (The Cramps, Die Hunns / Nashville Pussy and Throw Rag) into Charley Horse?

Chopper: You have to. You’re in a band for a reason, and hopefully that reason is because you’re into the music and style. You not only bring the vibe of that band, but every influence that band has.

Sean: We are kinda figuring it out as we go, but I’m sure we do. Chopper brings his country influence , Corey brings the rock , Dino and Rick bring the brung and I try to keep it moving.

3. How is the chemistry between members? It would be assumed that there are “egos” amongst the members. I am not assuming – I have met Corey Parks and Sean, so I would be inclined to say that there are egomaniacs in the band! Joking aside, who is the easiest to work with ? Who is the most difficult? Come on, NO HOLDS BARRED!

Sean: Were still kinda feeling it out as we go, we have all done this for so long that there no right or wrong way, it either works or it doesn’t and we take it from there. Of course when two people think it does two think it don’t and 1 abstains you hit a wall and that’s when egos have to be put in check. Chopper plays in The Cramps so he’s fortunate in the respect of being loved when he plays shows with them, they rule and are adored by their fans. I’m coming from Throw Rag were I’ve been in situations like opening for Queens of the Stone Age where less is more because their fans are ultimately there for them. Corey was with Nashville Pussy during their heyday and was doing monster of rock type tours of Europe etc … so all our experiences have been different.

Chopper: The most difficult would be someone who stands by and silently judges… which doesn’t happen with this band! Seriously, though, you’d be surprised how fast a band gets into “us against them” mode, especially when you’ve known each other as long as we have. And for that matter, no one in this band has accomplished anything to be an
egomaniac about .

Sean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin Interview4. You’re music has been described as “cowpunk”. Now, please explain to the general populace what exactly that mean ?

Sean: It means were a rock band with country influences that doesn’t wanna be confused as a psycho band cause we use an upright bass on some songs, we enjoy playing for all audiences, but we really just play rock n roll with a punk rock soul.

Chopper: I suppose high – octane country. With the shit being called country music these days, it’s hard to convey to someone how the hardcore honky – tonk 40’s and 50’s was the “punk” of it’s day, I mean Spade Cooley killed his woman decades before Sid Vicious supposedly did. We also throw in alot of rockabilly and blues, but people see the fingerpickin’ and slide guitar and just go with cowpunk.

5. Is there a particular band / artist out there you might find comparison to?

Chopper: Any band that takes different kinds of music makes their own (good) thing out of it. A few bands do it well- the Rolling Stones, the Clash, Flat Duo Jets and of course The Cramps – and some don’t. There is alot of good stuff out there – Dexter Romwebber Duo, Weary Boys, Dale Watson.

Sean: It would be lame to say, because the ones I would like to follow are so great, we’re still finding our way to our own thing.

6. Who is the main songwriter? What inspires each song?

Sean: Chopper, but I imagine were all gonna jump in on the next record, sooner than later I assume.

Chopper: As far as inspiration, it can be a scratchy blues record or a Jim Thompson novel and a bottle. I wrote “Bad Ass Dad” when Sean became a father, but then “We All Fall Down” is about bringing on the end of the world, so go figure .

Sean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin Interview7. “Unholy Roller” was released last year on Acetate Records. How successful has
the album become?

Sean: It seems to be doing ok, we also released it in Europe on People Like You Records, and we should be touring there this winter.

Chopper: As far as sales, we’d have to ask Rick, but to me it’s filled with these crazy, crazy ideas we had and everywhere we go people are getting knocked out by it. It’s held up from when it was recorded until now, we’ll see if it holds up years from now.

8. What song off the album would you say describes Charley Horse as a whole?

Chopper: The easy answer would be “Loco”, but I’d have to say “Trainwrecks Always Leave On Time”. We’ve all been around enough to know that we’ve got to live our lives at our own pace, doing things how we want and when we want.

Sean: “Who’s Got the Roscoe?”

9. What was it like to work with Mickey “Bones” Petralia? Are there plans to work with him on the next album?

Sean: I’m not sure if Mickey will be involved or not, he is a good friend to me, someone I can count on thru thick and thin. We just recorded 3 new songs with Cameron Webb and they kick ass, his suggestions are great and he’s easy to work with.

Chopper: Mickey and I had known each other a long time, so it was great to finally work together, pulling dialog samples off of old movies and loops from rock and roll records. It was a great atmosphere; no rules, just create. As far as working in the future, who knows?

Sean Wheeler and Chopper Franklin Interview10. What’s it like to have one bad ass dame (Corey Parks) in the band? Does she punk you all?

Chopper: I feel fortunate to be in bands with two of the most bad ass females in rock and band, roll. Corey is somehow able to balance alot of things her life to be in this and we dig it.

Sean: Corey rocks and people love her “usually”, she still gets the little extras any amazon woman would deserve.

11. What do we have to look forward to in the near future with Charley Horse? New releases? Tour dates?

Sean: We should have a new album out early next year, Spring at the latest, US Bombs tour with Duane Peters (Corey’s husband) and the boys in Europe this winter and we shall see.

Chopper: We did some songs with Cameron Webb and it’d be great to do a whole record with him. There’s always touring ideas floating around, it’s just a matter of matching up our schedules.

Charley Horse interview by By Liz Ortega