Little Caesar recently visited these shores for a whistle stop tour to plug new album ‘Eight’, perfectly timed just as the ‘Beast From The East’ hit. Guitarists Loren Molinare and Mark Tremalgia were well wrapped up when we sat down to chat before their show in Glasgow.
Hi guys, how are you coping with this freaky ass weather? I know you are LA based, but Loren you are originally from Michigan, so you should be used to it!
Loren – “Originally from Detroit yeah, but I have been living in LA for over twenty years!…but to be honest, it was getting quite cold when we were leaving LA to fly here.”
California has its own share of freaky weather, but usually the opposite of cold. Everything okay after the wildfires?
Mark – “Yeah, we just got over that. It’s a part of California life now, but it is horrible.”
When Little Caesar signed to Geffen in the early 90’s, the record label was king. Nowadays it’s more of a DIY industry…
Loren – “Well, there are very few major labels now, they have all merged together in some ways.”
Do you enjoy the fact that bands have more power these days? You have no-one like David Geffen or John Kalodner ruling the roost and stamping their authority. (The mere mention of Geffen A&R “guru” John Kalodner has Loren rolling his eyes!)
Loren – “You know, now it’s like when we first got together, It’s five guys in a room that had mutual likes and influences. We were booking our own gigs and it was all us. It happened real fast, and then the business stepped in, and that whole machine took over. For Little Caesar, we were the band that everybody said were going to make it. That soon got fizzled out. Andy Warhol said everybody gets 15 minutes of fame, and that’s about what we had! The first album came out and we went on the road with Kiss. After that we didn’t get to do much touring because just after that, Nirvana appeared. There were too many expectations on Little Caesar from Geffen I think. They all wanted the next Guns N’ Roses, but they didn’t know Guns N’ Roses were going to be a hit. They didn’t know Nirvana were going to be a hit. You can’t predict that. So it’s good that after it all ended, we took some time off and then got back to just five guys playing together. Luckily, with the internet, all things changed, and through social media we could reach our fans, and we look at it as an endowment for the arts, the rock n’ roll arts. We put a few albums out on our own, and it’s great how things worked out by ending up on Golden Robot Records.”
Mark – “They’ve been really good with us.”
They’re Aussie based. How did you end up with them?
Mark – “Was it Derek?”
Loren – “Yeah it was Derek Shulman. We had a few labels talking to us, and we had met Derek, who has a long history in the business.”
Shulman signed Bon Jovi to Polygram in 1982, yeah?
Loren – “That’s him, yeah. He was working with Golden Robot, and we thought okay… and then we found out that Rose Tattoo were on the label, and that sounded good to us! They have a great roster. They have bands like Rose Tattoo and cool young rock n’ roll bands, so we felt that was a good home for Little Caesar. We were actually listening to some Rose Tattoo on the way up from Grimsby today!”
Mark, how did you get involved with Little Caesar?
Mark – “Well Loren and I have a mutual friend, and when the band were on the hunt for a new guitarist, he threw my name in the hat. I was always a fan of the band, so I was happy to go down and play, doing the record was a blast too!”
The new record is, of course, ‘Eight’. So many talking points on the album… it has the riffs, the hooks, and the melodies you would expect to hear on a Little Caesar album. Opening track ‘21 Again’ is a favourite of mine, so Loren… you’ve seen and done everything. If you were 21 again, what would you do differently, if anything?
Loren – “Probably, for myself, not too much. I mean, I remember my mom was adamant about me going to college, and the day I went to college, I was hoping to get into film and stuff, and they were like… ‘well you got to take required math and English’, so I thought, ‘Mmm… am I going to do that, or fucking move to New York?’ So I moved to New York with my band that I had from Michigan; The Dogs. Looking back now, I could probably have done both, but hey, that’s the way it goes.”
There is a great line on “Vegas”… ”Too stupid for New York, too ugly for Hollywood…” I love it!
Loren – “Ron [Young – Little Caesar vocalist] came up with that! We just went, ‘Cool!”
‘Mama Tried’ is another favourite.
Mark – “Merle Haggard… great song.”
Loren – “Ron had the idea to do that song. He said to me to come with an arrangement like Supersuckers or Social Distortion, so I came up with it, and we had been playing it for a while. We had started the record before Mark came onboard, and Bruce Witkin the producer actually came up with that great twangy guitar line on it. We just took it and put our own twist on it. The concept of Merle Haggard and his roots, born in a boxcar, y’know, and that storyline of ‘Mama Tried’; a hard luck story, never listened to Mama… like me! I fucking didn’t listen to my mom, God bless her!”
With ‘Straight Shooter’, I was expecting a Bad Company influence, but it’s a ballsy out-and-out rocker…
Loren – “Ron goes, ‘We need a riff rocker, like Fu Manchu…’, so I went home and put a fucking Octavia on my guitar to get that sound, came up with that riff, and brought it back. We started playing it, and I was like, ‘Woah!’ That was the last song that Ron wrote the lyrics for, and when he came up with ‘Straight Shooter’ for it, it all made fucking sense! Too me, he hit the nail right on the head, because living in America right now is kinda fucking strange with what’s going on. Ron has a knack for saying things without actually saying it, but with that one, he got very to the point.”
Part two of the chat – here