TAPPING INTO THE BATTERY ELECTRIC
Written by: Shawna K. La’jame for Best Unsigned Rock And Roll Bands In America
Today, we caste our spotlight upon The Battery Electric, (TBE) selected as one of the Best Unsigned Rock And Roll Bands in America! TBE is turning on rock fans this summer, powered by live, high-intensity performances, along with their supercharged, current/new album, ‘The Heart and the Thrill!’ (available on iTunes and all other digital platforms, and Little Dickman Records Online Shop) TBE fires up like “live-wires” onstage—with a flow of explosive energy, to draw you in, and animate you! Fortunately, we were able to connect with the guys from TBE, to get their input on being in the spotlight, and tap into their flow of positive energy.
SHAWNA: Hi there, I’m Shawna La’jame, (SL) writer for Metal Babe Mayhem (MBM): First off, Congratulations to your band, The Battery Electric, on being selected as one of The Best Unsigned Bands in America! That’s quite a cool distinction to attain… So, please introduce yourselves. Give us a little background about your musical career preceding your band, and also, how you guys first met.
BRENT: Our band, The Battery Electric, is comprised of Ron Santee (Vocals), Alex Rosen (Bass), Kevin Troeller (Drums), and myself Brent Övar Bergholm (Guitar). Prior to TBE, we have all been mucking about in the music scene. Our vocalist Ron, has been in bands since he was 12 year’s old. Right before Battery, he was playing with a reggae group called “Predator Dub Assassins,” who opened up for every major reggae artist that rolled through NJ. (Marley Sons, Sly & Robbie, Toot and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, and many more) Alex, our bassist, was in a rock band called, Strike Hold, and is also currently in a rad, punk rock band called Hot Blood. As for me, (guitarist/Brent) I was in a band called Hsu-nami, that toured everywhere around the US, Canada, Taiwan, and China. Our drummer Kevin was in the band, Backyard Super Heroes, before he strapped on the denim and grew out his hair. We were a power trio for awhile, but then we got a drummer, to highlight Ronnie’s dance moves.
I knew Ronnie from mutual friends around the Monmouth County area, in NJ. Alex and I used to work at a Quiznos in Red Bank, (I started giving him guitar lessons) and we met Kevin from playing shows with Backyard Super Heroes. It’s a real, rag tag crew, lemme tell you.
SL: Your band name, The Battery Electric, has this vintage, sort of groovy throwback vibe going for it, much like your music. Is that the vibe you were going for in your name selection? Tell us the story behind your name.
BRENT: The name came from an infomercial that came on my TV, late one night. I don’t remember what the product was, but they said it was, “Battery Electric.” Those two words stuck in my head, and I thought it would be a great name for a band. I had the name rummaging around in my head for years, but I never had a band for it, until we got together and started writing songs. I suggested it when we were going over band names, and the dudes dug it! I really like the name, because it has really encapsulated what the band stands for; which is having a good time, and getting your ass moving… It’s electric baby!
SL: That’s quite a “plug” too, Brent! Speaking of which, if you had to describe your music to someone who hadn’t heard it yet, what would you tell them about your sound? Also, what other bands did you derive your musical inspiration from, that might serve as an example for comparison?
RON: It’s pure rock n’ roll. Sh*t loads of soul, aggression, freedom, and no rules. You will leave one of our shows feeling good, with your ass hurting! You can’t help but dance, when you see The Battery Electric!
SL: Nothing like electrifying music to amp you up! On that note, through the years, the rock genre has branched off in many different directions and continues to grow, sprouting new combinations of style and sound. (hard rock, soft rock, metal, etc…) Which do you attribute your distinctive style of rock? Or, would you consider your sound more of a combination thereof, and if so, which ones?
RON: We have a pretty wide range of influences, so our sound is very much attributed to what each of us listen to. We bridge rock n’ roll, with soul and punk rock. But punk rock, in the sense that the New York Dolls are punk, or that Little Richard is punk. It’s an attitude, and our live show definitely comes across as a good ol’ time, punk rock show.
SL: Punk certainly is, all about “attitude.” Tell us, what song of yours do you most identify with and why?
RON: I would say the song “Heathen” off of our second LP: ‘The Heart and the Thrill.’ That song really invokes the spirit of our band. It’s the primal energy of testosterone-driven dudes getting into a van, tearing through the country, taking no prisoners… Pirate sh*t. Reckless abandon to the max, live life to its fullest, and take no sh*t.
SL: Arrgh, that’s Pirate s**t, alright. Now, we have to switch over to a darker area, so please enlighten us: what do you consider to be the most challenging aspect facing new bands in the rock music industry today? Additionally, what advice would you give to help other bands overcome these potential pitfalls?
BRENT: The fact that people don’t buy music anymore, makes it harder for bands (on all levels) to make money. Labels are afraid of taking chances, so they don’t sign anything interesting. Yet it also makes it easier, and more exciting for bands to take it into their own hands. Now, you can release your own music, promote yourself, and book your own tours. There seems to be a lot more freedom, which can lead to better music. But it is much harder financially.
SL: Thanks for the enlightenment! So, how about we shine a nightlight onto TBE night life. What is the most unusual or memorable location/venue you have ever played, and what set it apart from the rest?
BRENT: We played The Nick in Birmingham, Alabama, and Ron almost got mugged before the gig started! We played to like, three people, other than the sound guy and the bartender, who only had three teeth! We played terribly, by the way. It turned out, that it was an ‘unofficial’ gay bar, and this lady kept on trying to get one of us to go back to her apartment, to f*ck us in the *ss with a strap-on. I had to look around for a moment, and ask myself, “am I really in the ‘bible belt’ right now?” It really was a memorable night!
SL: Oh my, I see why that one would really stick out… *clears throat* Now guys, let’s backtrack for a moment: what one band/song would you consider to have been the most influential in determining the direction of your musical career? Also, what is it about that band/song that you most identify with as an artist today?
RON: When we started, we were heavily influenced by MC5, and the Eagles of Death Metal. Personally, when we first started four years ago, I was like, obsessed with those two bands; so that comes through in our early stuff. I would also say, that you will hear influences from: the Ramones, Misfits, Turbonegro, etc… And at the same time, influences from Sam Cooke, James Brown, and Little Richard. Basically, we listen to the greatest rock n’ roll that there is… The originators, not the imitators.
SL: It sounds like it! Finally, after long nights and extended tours, it can be difficult to find ways to recharge your batteries on the road. (No pun intended) So, how do you guys recharge your own batteries, to keep the onstage electricity supercharged without burning out?
RON: Our name: The Battery Electric… When the battery ain’t charged, it’s time to plug in. We will never stop, not anytime soon, anyway… we ain’t 40 yet, man!
SL: For the record, you needn’t “stop” at 40 either, man… You just need to turn up the voltage a little, that’s all. Many thanks to the guys from The Battery Electric for “plugging in” with us, and we hope to find you in the spotlight, long past the half-way point… 😉