A roast beef sandwich with fries and a side of gravy. That’s the meat dish that Chad Ubovich had just ordered from a Wyoming diner when I rang him up on Monday. It was possibly the last roast beef sandwich Ubovich ate before his band’s first LP, a self-titled debut on In The Red released yesterday, dropped. (That really depends on how many sandwiches he eats.)
Until yesterday/that sandwich, Ubovich has been known mostly for whom he’s been associated with musically; as the touring guitarist for Mikal Cronin and the bassist in Ty Segall side project Fuzz, he’s played sideman to major faces of the fuzzy SoCal world of psych rock. This record, fast, heavy, hooky, impeccably produced, changes that.
Meatbodies (known on their first tapes, now rare and collectible, as Chad and The Meatbodies) will play in Fountain Square on Saturday. Here’s a few of my favorites bits from our conversation.
On pulling the album together:
“Some of the songs were originally put out as a tape that I had made over two years ago. I had moved back in with my mother, because I had no money, like every kid my age right now. I had not much to do, so I was making all these recordings. My friend Ty [Segall] was like, ‘Hey, we’ll put out this tape, because you need to get some merch going.’ So we put out the tape [on Segall’s God? Records], and eventually In The Red heard the tape and wanted to do a whole full-length. That was maybe a year later. [Founder Larry Hardy] said, ‘I’ll send you in the studio, pick who you want.’ I did that, wrote a couple more songs, and that took about two or three weeks to record everything.”
On the little bit of darkness that pervades Meatbodies:
“I was nervous about going the route of writing negative words. I don’t want to bum people out. But I figured, why not? People understand that shit. Everyone has feelings. Just go for it. ‘Plank’ is definitely the darkest song. … I wrote the words along with the structure. Then I brought in Ty; right before he got there, his van broke down in the middle of Modesto, so he was stranded. I drove out to Modesto to pick him up and record some drums … We got to the studio, and I was like, ‘Here is this weird song.’ I was kind of nervous about how he was going to make it sound. He immediately started playing the drums the way [they’re recorded], and I was like, ‘Whoa. That sounds awesome.’ It was this weird moment. Before that, I was living in this party house and constantly touring, so I didn’t have any time of silence. I got to the studio, and it was silent. All of these thoughts and feelings started coming out, so I reworked the song, and it became kind of dark.
On the last time he was in Indiana:
“[The organizers] set us up in this weird old mansion that they let people stay at. It was really strange. I was walking around this really old home, looking at all their old National Geographics.
“ ‘Mountain’ was inspired by a psychedelic moment out in the mountains. Pretty much out in the Sequoias. It was exactly that trip, pretty much everything it says inside the song is what happens. I was out in the Sequoias with an old friend, and out of nowhere she was like, ‘I think we should go.’ ... We were lost in the woods and then I had to drive down this mountain for like 17 minutes while not in a sober state. It was very magnificent. One day I was in bed, and I woke up and it was in my head, the whole [song].”
On seeking out Eric “King Riff” Bauer as a producer:
“Bauer’s really colorful. There’s a lot of producers who are very dry and black and white. When I describe how I want something to sound, it’s very visual and imaginative. It’s not technical, like ‘Well, raise the gain, lower the 500 hertz frequencies!’ With Bauer, he’s the same way. I can go to him and say, ‘I want this to sound like open air at the top of a glacier, and the fuzzy part has to be really heavy.’ And he just understands that. I worked with him and Bob Marshall. They both were just rad to deal with, and everything was really chill.”
On his hair, begrudgingly:
“I remember there was a Cronin tour where every review literally was like, ‘And Cronin and Ubovich flailing their wild, luscious hair!’ Nothing about the music. Just hair.”
Today's Hits, Dr. Paul, Sirius Blvck, Bored
Friday, Oct. 17
General Public Collective, 1060 Virginia Ave.
9 p.m., donations accepted, all-ages
Meatbodies, Hunters, Bummer's Eve, Raw McCartney, Sex Jams
Saturday, Oct. 18
Debbie's Palace of Noise and Laundry
8:30 p.m., donations accepted, all-ages