The Pleasure is All Yours
With a legacy built upon the Motown rhythm & blues, a hip-hop fraternity built upon white boy world killers and a rock legion that is as infamous as it is famous, Detroit has a lot to answer for. With a clarion call like “kick out the jams Motherfucker” the ‘Motor City” is awash in rumble as loud as any four-wheel dragon vehicle on the streets. When a town is forged on blue-collar fortitude and Union tactics, the art will reflect a certain primordial manifestation. From the shock of Alice Cooper to the bloodletting of Iggy Pop, from the road weariness of Bob Seger to the blues fusion of the White Stripes, inspiration is right outside your front stoop, but so is the responsibility. For all of its economic and social woes, Detroit is still a town where the music is a Utopia.
For guitarist and vocalist EZ Myers, along with his wife, drummer Kristin Lyn, their band Unlimited Head are more than up to the task by harkening back to a time of groovy big riffs, primal rhythms and a whiff of 1970’s free form playing. With a handful of tracks that veer between the riff-infused early Zeppelin days, the salsa jazz rock of Santana’s Abraxis era and the stoned wisdom of desert rock bands, Unlimited Head aim to please, tease and bring your quadrophonic speakers to their knees. Time to make knuckle dragging sexy again.
In a rare discussion with Myers (also of the psych-metal foursome Warhorses, along with Lyn), Phantom Sway was able to decipher the code of Unlimited Head and discuss their intention of fighting off the deception of evil with its heavy-blues infused rock and roll firepower.
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]Detroit is built around seasonal gigging. When it’s a foot of snow on the ground, bands would rather stay in and record. Scraping ice off your windshield to either play or see a show is a whole other matter.[/quote] Tell us how Unlimited Head came to be in its current incarnation?
My wife Kristin and I, who are both in Warhorses, had written some songs in our downtime and thought “these are good but not for Warhorses” so we recorded them on our own. A friend came up with the name on a whim and it stuck. We are able to straddle both right now but have added two friends who are our bass and percussionist.
I noticed as you’ve pointed out, in a four-piece with now a drummer and a percussionist, you capture that Woodstock Santana feel about the music. Your latest track ‘High Time For The Sunlight” is ripe with Latin rhythms similar to the band WAR yet still full of those big, thick riffs. After years of being a two-piece (more on that later) do you feel now that Unlimited Head is sounding like what you had in your mind?
We definitely are a fuller sounding band now so yeah in that respect we are where we want to be as a unit.
Of the tracks the band has available in its current arsenal the track “Curio” really sticks out as an homage of sorts to your Detroit heritage as Nugent’s “Stranglehold” comes right to mind with the song’s centerpiece breakdown, a slithering snake of a sexy riff playing off a constantly forceful beat: maybe a bit ‘Dazed And Confused” in there for good measure.
Inadvertently we found ourselves at that place and with a lot of Detroit bands, “Stranglehold” is inevitable, at some point all rock bands will wind up at Nugent somewhere along the way.
In your other band, the highly talented Warhorses, you are the main guitarist and Kristin the drummer. With Unlimited Head, you find yourself handling the strings and the vox, is that a place where you’re comfortable?
I’m more than happy singing my music, the Unlimited Head stuff because its written with my vocals in mind, however I could not sing for Warhorses since it’s a completely different flavor to what we do here. *Warhorses is more of in the vein of a psychedelic rock outfit, not exactly shoe gaze but certainly not cowbell rock.
Earlier tracks from 2012/13 like “Bubble Wrap My Kith & Kin” and “Trajectory” certainly resemble the fact that at the time Unlimited Head was strictly a two-piece act with just you and Kristin. Were the White Stripes comparisons fast and furious?
Yeah of course, man/woman, two-piece, lo-fi primal blues-rock, people are going to talk. At the time it had nothing to do with wanting to be compared, it’s just that’s where we were at the time, the two of us just recording and demoing tracks, a live show here and there. It was our intention to build the band and the sound out and not be a copy of a copy.
As your Bandcamp page continues to grow with new tracks, the difference between those early tracks and the recent ones with the member additions is almost night and day. The essence is there but the confidence is certainly building. A fuller sound, much bolder, can this be attributed to the canvas getting broader?
Yes and also the songs are coming together with more verve. Obviously having the ability to explore the music as in ‘Curio” is very evident. Plus we trust Jay Tracy as players and friends. (Jay Jones- percussion, Tracy Fogle – bass). The confidence comes from all of the above, like wisdom, it comes in time.
Right now there is a slew of tracks for people to sink their teeth into but what can be expected as far as an official album and what about the band’s gigging agenda?
Foreseeably early 2016 for an album of original material and as far shows, Detroit is built around seasonal gigging. When it’s a foot of snow on the ground, bands would rather stay in and record. Scraping ice off your windshield to either play or see a show is a whole other matter. Which brings up the inevitable with a lot of Detroit bands, at what point do you move away in order to get somewhere. Detroit is a great town for the inspiration and the history and finding the right players but it’s a different beast when it comes to getting anywhere with your music. But the road is littered with bands that hoped to make it elsewhere and came back broke and broken up. So for now, getting down a set of tunes to record in full is our first order of business.
Unlimited Head, heralds of a new Detroit sound that sounds vaguely like 1971, what’s old is new again by sounding old yet slightly newer. Check out the band at their following pages and make sure to investigate Myers and Lyn’s other act Warhorses.