By RUBEN MOSQUEDA // Portland's BREAKER BREAKER have a record release party Wednesday September 7
Local rock ‘n’ rollers BREAKER BREAKER will release their debut album which was recorded locally at Opal Studios in Portland, Oregon. The band was personally sought out by Steel Panther to open their show in Portland last fall. BREAKER BREAKER's album is titled ‘Wreckin’ Machine.’ If you’ve witnessed the band live you will agree that it is an appropriate moniker. Oregon Music News caught up with the three fine, distinguished gentlemen that comprise BREAKER BREAKER; bassist E-Ryder, front man and guitarist Timmy Rokket, and drummer Tommy Thunders. 1420 SE Powell Blvd. Portland, OR 97202. BREAKER BREAKER will [of course] be headlining the event.
The Twilight 1420 SE Powell Blvd. Portland, OR 97202. BREAKER BREAKER will [of course] be headlining the event. The festivities kick off at 8 PM. The festivities kick off at 8 PM.
BREAKER BREAKER have a unique mix of punk, sleaze and retro 70s classic rock. Would you agree? What are some of the influences that shaped your sound?
Tommy: I would agree. I tell people we’re a mix of punk and 80s metal. I got into punk as a teenager but always secretly wanted to be in an 80s metal band. Now I get to do both!
Timmy: I would agree as well. I was definitely raised on classic rock and early metal. I was introduced to like; Judas Priest, Scorpions and Van Halen by my dad. As I got a little older I started listening to more and more punk rock. I still listen to a lot of 80’s metal and rock ‘n’ roll and punk rock. I guess there’s only so much you can do musically when you're in a straight forward ‘punk rock’ band. Eventually, it gets boring to play the same four chords; metal and rock ‘n’ roll is more fun [in my opinion]. We all like to shred.
Eli: I agree. I was in a death metal band called ‘Full Frontal Assault’ for ten years, but metal was never really my main influence. What we do in BREAKER BREAKER is much more diverse and gives me much more room to utilize my rock ‘n’ roll and punk rock background. It feels good to have some fun with the crowd on stage and have some pretty girls out there as opposed to hairy drunk metal dudes beating the shit out of each other.
I discovered BREAKER BREAKER at the tail end of 2015. I recall the first time I saw your band was opening for Hell’s Belles and have caught you guys a couple times opening for other bands. How long have you been together? What kind of growing pains have you guys experienced as a band?
Tommy: Timmy and I met a little more than two years ago. He gave me a demo of his stuff and I liked it, so we jammed a few times and started working on songs. Timmy’s brother Ryan was our bassist initially, but he was going to school at the time and the scheduling conflicts ended up being too onerous, so we got E. Ryder to play bass for us, thus cementing the lineup. As far as growing pains, we’ve had our share of internal conflicts, but we resolve them. Everyone is on the same page musically and we’ve all had to make sacrifices to see this thing succeed.
Timmy: Yeah, just like any relationship, bands are a lot of work. I feel like whenever a problem does come up, we all take a lot of care in attending to the issue. We all have a lot invested into this band and there’s a lot of heart involved. We care a lot about each other and we are definitely on the same page as far as making sure each of us is happy with everything. I think a lot of bands tend to forget that each individual role is just as important as one another. We are a fucking tripod.
Eli: Being in a band with these guys is like riding in a diamond chariot pulled by a thousand fiery pigeons. [laughs]
How would you describe the Portland music scene? I ask because people are constantly complaining about people [fans] not supporting bands in the area. You’re in the trenches duking it out week in week out.
Timmy: There’s a lot of great music in Portland. And Portland has a very legendary punk rock history with bands like; Dead Moon, Poison Idea, Defiance and Wipers. Being a new band in Portland, and being of a younger generation, It can be intimidating at times being in the presence of these legendary ‘Portland die hards.’ I honestly haven’t felt much competitiveness within the scene. I think we have been very fortunate and have a lot of strong support from fans and other musician of all age groups. I’m a regular show goer. I know a lot of these great bands personally; I love the Portland music scene and I’m honored to be a part of it. We love to support other local bands. And when we play shows, we watch the other sets. I think it’s
important to have that camaraderie as fellow musicians.
Tommy: I would describe the Portland music scene as being heavy on bands and low on fans. There’s a shitton of bands. Good ones, too, at least from the standpoint of technical proficiency, so it’s hard to stand out. People are spoiled for choice, and rather than go see some lesser-known local acts, they tend to hold out for the bigger acts from out of town. There are exceptions, of course, and we have some ‘die-hard’ fans that we see at nearly every show, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Eli: What they said…. that was perfect.
I know earlier I mentioned that I saw you guys for the first time opening for a tribute act. What’s your take on the abundance of tribute acts in the Portland metro area? Tribute acts are neck and neck with ‘faux’ folk acts and strip clubs. How much does that affect someone playing in an ‘original’ act?
Tommy: People in Portland love their kitsch and their retro and their irony. And so do I. No judgment there. And I personally don’t get out to see tribute acts other than the ones that we play with, so I can’t speak as to their popularity, but I think people dig that stuff because people dig ‘nostalgia’ and popular culture in general these days is recycling a lot of stuff, both in music and in movies. I would hope that people who grew up on Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen would come out to see us, but I don’t know really if the presence of either Guns N' Roses or Van Halen tribute bands [are there Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen tribute bands in Portland?] would affect our draw unless we were playing on the same night at different clubs.
Timmy: I love tribute bands because most of the time I love the bands they're trying to emulate. That being said, I’m a little disappointed that these acts are making way more money than any local original bands. But, Drunk dads and moms in their 50s don't want to see a Portland Punk band play the ‘loggerodeo.’ They want Van Halen---fuck, So do I.
Eli: I don’t think the problem is the ‘tribute bands.’ I think there is just a lack of diversity as far as this music scene goes. There’s a lot of great punk bands, but there’s not a lot of original bands that sound like GNR or Van Halen therefore there’s not a lot of bands that will appeal to that particular demographic. I think that most local original bands in Portland are trying to emulate the styles of the legendary Portland bands like Dead Moon and Poison Idea, and trying to rebel against bands like Motley Crue and GNR. I think that's what separates us from most other original Portland bands. We aren't ashamed to embrace our ‘cock rock hair metal’ roots.
We were raised on bands like Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses. It’s something we’ll never be able to get out of my system. And we don’t want to.
BREAKER BREAKER is about to unleash ‘the debut’ album. What can we expect? Also how hard was it to put this album together in terms of content?
Tommy: You can definitely expect to have your face melted. That’s a given. People who have listened to our record have turned into werewolves, been driven insane, and cried tears of blood. And that was just that one guy. He’s now a crazed lycanthrope with blood streaming from his eyes. He comes to all our shows. It’s pretty great.
Timmy; This record is ‘fucking powerful.’ There’s not one song on it that isn't a kick in the teeth. We've been working on it since March in Opal studios with producer Kevin Hahn. He’s a fucking genius. He produced Poison Ideas last record, And was hired by Scorpions to mix the Drums on their last record. He’s is the perfect fit for us and what we’re trying to do. We Spent about five months in and out of the studio doing this thing. We took our time with it to make sure that everything came out perfect. We didn’t want to rush anything and put out a half assed record. This record is going to make Tommy Lee and David Lee Roth shit each others pants.
Eli: Balls to the wall, man! You're gonna have to scrape your nuts off the ceiling one at a time after listening to it. And that’s just side one. Seriously though, I am very proud of this record and how it turned out. Everybody put 110% into, and you can definitely hear that while blasting it to eleven.
How much of the material on the record is stuff that you’ve been performing live since the band’s inception? How much of the material is freshly written for the album?
Tommy: At least one of the songs on the record was something Timmy wrote back in the days before BREAKER BREAKER, and a few more of them were written after Timmy and I got together, and the rest were written after E. Ryder jumped on the crazy train.
Timmy: We recorded a five song demo in our practice space last year. Those five songs have been re-recorded and put on this record along with five new songs. We have about eight more songs already written and three of which are already recorded for the next record. The set list we play now live is all of the songs on our debut record and a few newer ones that will be on our sophomore record.
The band name. What’s the inspiration behind it? Smokey and The Bandit?
Tommy: I remember that Timmy and I were sitting around in the house he lived in at the time brainstorming band names and he came up with Breaker Breaker. And it was something we both thought we could not only live with, but that represented the band’s sound fairly well. It just fit. Both of us were ready to suspend the search at that point. Coming up with band names is hard.
Timmy: [pause] We just couldn't think of anything else! [laughs] I always liked band names that were words repeating themselves. Like Danger Danger. There was a band in Bellingham I used to see a lot called Sugar Sugar Sugar. BREAKER BREAKER came up and Tom and I decided that's good for now until we think of something better. I guess we never did?! [laughs]
Eli: I don't know how the band name came to be, but it definitely reminds me of something hard driving and powerful. I like it. Honestly, I didn’t even know we had a band name until like, three weeks before our first show.
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