The band has a guitarist nicknamed "Problem Child." The bassist who played on their debut album, Hellbound & Heartless, spent the Christmas holidays in jail. Lead singer Chase Noles is a walking hangover.
This is the Heart Attacks. We suggest you start locking up those daughters right about now.
Sure, the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" maxim seems almost asinine nowadays. But at least with this Atlanta band, it doesn't seem prefabricated. When Noles talks about the bass player's recent return to jail or the various drunken exploits of the band, it's with a real matter-of-fact tone in his voice. You just know this isn't a gimmick; it's a lifestyle they've developed through quality time in questionable places.
"We all moved around a whole bunch," Noles says. "I never went to the same school twice until my high-school [years]. I was always moving from house to house with my parents. And everybody else-I know [lead guitarist] Tuk, he used to get thrown around from parent to parent. He was such a problem [child]. He was a real rowdy kid. I mean, he would get into, like, inciting a riot when he was in school and stuff like that. I never got in trouble like that. We'd spray-paint things around and were little skateboarder kids, and we were punk kids....We'd be drinking at school and stuff like that.... We did all that sort of shit."
The Heart Attacks are just five young guys making punky rock 'n' roll and taking a big, unhealthy bite out of life while they take their music from town to town. And Noles apparently is happiest when the audience's mood matches the band's.
"I like playing to a bunch of drunk idiots," he says. "I've never played in a coffee shop before, but I'm sure we wouldn't work out very well in one of them. [When we play live], nobody ever stops moving in the aisles, and the energy never dies down."
The lack of calculation-or even a hint of a long-term life goal-seems fitting for a group that ended up with a record deal in one of the most coincidental ways one could imagine.
Noles says the owner of their former label, Brand Name Records, told the band he had gotten them booked on the 2005 Warped Tour.
"So we quit our jobs or whatever," Noles recalls. "I gave my car away to the Kidney Foundation, a whole bunch of other goofy shit. We leave home. Basically our girlfriends are going to break up with us. Everything's going to be fucked. We were just, like, whatever, [it's worth it] to go on Warped Tour and go play music around the whole United States."
The only problem was the Heart Attacks didn't actually get booked on the tour. They weren't told the news until they showed up in Ohio with a bus (newly purchased with $2,000). So the band members came up with a novel way to deal with the predicament. They piled back into the bus and began traveling along with the tour. They'd pull into the parking lots at Warped tour venues, set up their own bar and sell beer, liquor and band merchandise to make enough money to get to the next tour stop.
One musician who took an interest in this renegade band was Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong. He started hanging out with the Heart Attacks, and when he heard the band's music, he was so impressed that he offered to sign them to his label, Hellcat Records.
"That was a huge surprise," Noles said. "When I heard that, I thought they were lying. There's no way Tim Armstrong will let us on his label. That was some uplifting shit. That was like the light at the end of the damn tunnel."
Before long, the band was in the studio, with Lars Frederiksen, Armstrong's bandmate from Rancid, serving as producer. The result of the whole grand adventure is a CD, Hellbound and Heartless, which certainly reflects the band's personality.
Loud, full of energy and absolutely ragged, the album delivers its share of fist-pumping sing-a-longs ("Summer of Hate" "You Oughtta Know By Now" and "Guilty") that blend first-wave punk, glam and old-fashioned rock. There are a couple of clunker songs on the CD, and at times the band rocks so frenetically it seems the songs might fly out of control. And that's just fine with Noles.
"I guess next time we do an album, we'll try to make it a little less raw and live or whatever, but for that album, I love listening to that album now," he says. "I'll love to listen to it years and years from now, just listen to how young and energetic and raw-sounding it was or whatever. I've never recorded that easily in my life, because when I'd record before, I'm thinking too hard to myself or whatever. I just start going over and over and over shit. And Lars was just, like, keeping it raw and steady like that: "It's not going to sound any better than what you have right now.'"
The Heart Attacks play with Society's Parasites and The Poison Cuts at The Jumping Turtle on May 30. 760-471-7778.