Brian Mora, one of the infamous Rock & Roll Trio known as The Tankerays talks with Joseph Timmons of IndiePulse Music Magazine about the Band, it’s life of endless touring and their new album Aztec Death Whistle.
Western Colorado, home of a band that could be considered one of the most popular of the american Indie Rock Scene, The Tankerays, is, in commentary, not one of the areas associated with a music scene that is both vibrant and growing, but it is the launchpad for music that is creative and dominating. The Tankerays is a rock n’ roll band with a mission “To play until the end”, and whether this is the end of time, or the end of the road, Brian Mora, Leslidiana Biocic and Mike Thornburg have dedicated themselves to their art, and their lifestyle.
Described as “A David Lynch-inspired ROCK N ROLL fury from a twisted 3-piece orchestra of radical musicians”, The Tankerays are plowing down the streets of the indie music scene taking no prisoners and breaking all the rules along the way. With a sound more familiar to those that follow bands like The Cramps or watch and Love Movies like Blue Velvet, this is a Rockabilly Fiends Fantasy.
The band has shared the stage with many national acts including The Reverend Horton Heat, The Young Dubliners, Agent Orange, The Koffin Kats, etc. Each member brings a variety of influences to the table, but the most notable would have to be the old rockabilly apostles like Elvis and Brian Setzer, blended to perfection with the likes of The Cramps and Christian Death.
Playing local shows in Western Colorado and their power mad and engaging performances around the country, most recently in Seattle, Los Angeles and other West Coast Hot Clubs, has been a treat for both the band and their fans. Venue patrons can enjoy the entire Tankerays catalog (along with a wide-spectrum of carefully-selected covers) without hearing the same song twice in the entire evening.
Our interview with Brian Mora was interesting, to say the least, we contacted him by phone for what we thought would be a short interview, but, well here it is, and it was amazing… and full of laughs. When we called to speak with brian, we did not know they were en route to a show, after just leaving from a show the previous day, they were in the car and driving in and out of cell tower range, after realizing they had 1 hour to get to the venue, set up and then perform, we called them on sunday, which was literally just before they had to head out again, the conversation was illuminating and Brian was a delight to converse with, he has a duality of Confidence and Humility not often found in the overworked and underpaid.
IPM: in our last article, we addressed your history, but what can you tell us that was not in the “known history” of the band?
Brian: Well, we are really an open book, we formed 10 years ago, all with a background in music, we just really just came to be, it was natural and we just knew we would work. As a band we are young at heart, although we are all in our mid lives, we still want the life we feel we were meant to have, and music really allows us to be energized and alive.
IPM: Tell us about the Music scene you are founded in, what’s it like in your area?
Brian: The scene, as it is in our hometown is not huge, not like LA, it is still a small town set, there are a lot of clubs and venues we play often, but it is a Monday to Thursday thing, oddly enough, the Clubs are slow on weekends, most go out of town at that time, but the weeknights are busy. We play a lot of gigs where we have the newer and younger bands open for us, since we have the experience, we often look out for the younger bands and make sure they get gigs and get paid, kind of the guardians of the scene.
IPM: So, to ask the question, is your music career now what you thought that it would be, you said you have been doing this for a while and you have an extensive repertoire of music, mostly original, I guess I am asking if you feel you have “made it”?
Brian: Does anyone ever “Make it”?, I mean, we do so many shows, constantly traveling, we have a great support structure ( Brian, at this time tells us about the support of his loved ones and family) I feel I have been blessed, really, to be able to live my dream and be the kind of person that I want to be, and still have the home life so many dream of as well, I am really lucky in that way. And my Band, my other Family, they are just the best, so much love and support, and we make great music, so, yeah, I have “Made It” but it is not money “made it” it’s a “Life Made It”.
IPM: You call your band your “other family”, I know band mate can be close, but can you tell us more?
Brian: Well, not to sound corny, but our Drummer, Mike Thornburg is a rock, strong both musically and spiritually, just really supportive when in and out of the studio. Then there is “Lester” our Bassist, Leslidiana Biocic, she is still so much a teenager inside, she is bright and fun loving, she rocks the stage and makes heads turn, in fact, there was once a bartender told me during a break after we performed that she was making all the bartenders “hot”, which I guess, in itself is great, except in this club, all the bartenders were women! When I told Lester this she just Gasped “Oh No, No No, I don’t want that” and just started laughing, this is what good times are, the stories of what is Rock and Roll, making people want to live and laugh and be happy.
IPM: Brian, you have a real philosophical view on things, not what I would expect from a band that plays music in the same genre as bands like The Cramps or Reverend Horton Heat, your personality and your stage presence seems really different, why?
Brian: Well, I have to say it like this, I always tell younger musicians, “don’t quit your day job”, I still have my day job, I am a social worker, I deal with some serious stuff daily, it is probably the thing that really allows me, us, the band to be able to play, I have a Balance in my life, took a long time to get this way, but, you cannot make a life in music and expect to get rich overnight. At the same time, you have to make sure you put music in the forefront, not to forget why you do this, and you have to be humble, thankful and make sure you don’t disappoint yourself, do the right thing and be who you are and who you are meant to be.
IPM: Describe your show, what’s it like to be at a Tankerays show?
Brian: A Tankerays show is like Halloween! We get to dress up, take on our alter egos and be those Devils in the Dark, the vamps and smokehouse sinners, the Rockabilly Hoodlums and just let it all fly, People love it, we have sometimes played for several hours straight, no breaks, and its amazing, and again, Lester steals the show, she just makes everyone move, I sometimes cannot believe our good fortune.
IPM: How would you describe your fans?
Brian: Loyal, very loyal, I often look out from behind the microphone and see the same faces, young, old and all just loving what we do, not just at home, but everywhere, from East Coast to West, we have a strong following that support us, so we make sure to rock the house, always!
IPM: Tell us about the new album Aztec Death Whistle, how would you describe it?
Brian: Wow, good question there… Well, when we write, we try to think of everyday experiences and put it in a perspective of both ourselves and our “Alter Egos”, the daily relationships, obsessions, wants and desires…social and political commentary, but with twists… I guess you could say it is an observation of life with a satirical bent, looking through a window from the Twilight Zone, “From the Other Side”, that place we all have deep inside but don’t let out, a bit of Craven Delights. That dark side that makes people uncomfortable to face.
We took a bit of a break from the questions, Brian told me about his kids and Family, we talked about “From the Road”Stories and more, He mentioned some funny things that happened, and I posed the following question after he commented that “People often talk to him about the band and the music and the shows, not knowing he is in the band”…
IPM: OK, so let me get this straight, you have people tell you how cool the show was or how tight the band is, not knowing you are in the band???…. Ever run into anyone that told you they were IN the band or Knew the Band personally??
Brian: ( With a Deep Laugh and a Resounding ) YES !! I have heard it all, one guy told me he Knew “the Singer” Personally, I never met the guy before, One Person said they knew the bassist “Intimately” ( that did not happen ) and there are a wealth of stories, look, everyone wants to sit with the cool kids at the lunch table, but we don’t try to “Be” the cool kids, we just want to bring out the madness and mayhem of a hot Rock Show, and we do.
The Tankerays new album Aztec Death Whistle is an amazing album and an homage to all things sexy, think of Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, The Rev and others moving into the house next door, a real treat and a lot of trick.
We end this article with a great track from the new album Stuck On Bitch for more about The Tankerays, their new album Aztec Death Whistle and more, visit their website and other Online Links below.
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