Bugattitype 35 has been a staple of Madison clubs for the past three-odd years, and their aggressive, uncompromising shows have made them one of his town’s best live acts. Bugatti earned a cut on Best Buy’s Wisconsin music compilation CD last year, and lave since gained a regional audience by playing a few “mini tours.” Ex-Wheelie King bassist Per Farny recently became the band’s newest member, resulting in a more bottom-heavy sound.
Right now, the band is psyched about completing their self-titled debut CD, which was shipped last week despite UPS’ attempts to undermine. The tracks were recorded at (Bugatti singer/guitarist) Wendy Schneider’s Coney Island studio, which has mixed some great bands in past year - most notably Pachinko, and Pound WI. It’s an impressive collection of in-your-face songwriting at makes Liz Phair sound like Leslie Gore. Bugatti is also getting ready to head east for some much-anticipated gigs. I sat down with Wendy, Rice Christensen (drummer), Per, and a cat named Cleveland for a little Rock Journalism 101.
Maximum Ink: How long has this CD been in the works?
Wendy: We wanted to get these eleven songs done and on CD as sort of a transitional thing, start working on new ones, and record another record sometime soon… There are a couple new songs, but some of these songs we played at our first show at the Willy Street thing… One song, “Mr. Paul,” was one where us three (new lineup) wrote and recorded it.
Per: I was really happy that we had one song where I was a part of the writing process. It’s a big difference if you get Ip there and play a song where you weren’t a part of it versus something you have more of a connection to. I was only in the band for two months, whereas these guys had been waiting a long time to get a CD going. I was like…I could use another couple months to get more solid, so I went back later and re-did almost all the bass tracks from the original recordings.
MI: Did the songs take long to flesh out in The Studio?
Wendy: We get that stuff in one take (laughs). It’s a much better record now than when we first did it. It was hard to listen to for a while, because it was the first time we recorded for real. We changed a few things, Per especially, and we mixed it for real about eight weeks ago. It just sounds like us in the basement – a little ‘verb here and there… Some guy described us as “Trudge-Rock.” “Trudge-Core” (laughs). I don’t mind that.. “Trudge” involves momentum and power – or movement.
Rice: Its kind of cool because I can hear I the difference in our playing now even r just since we recorded. We’ve had time as a band to develop a feel together.
Wendy: I’ve gotten really frustrated not being able to write as easily downstairs (in the studio). I’ve been coming up with the lyrics, mostly – that’s just how it happens. I feel most comfortable writing a song by myself with my guitar.
MI: Were you apprehensive about responses to the new lineup?
Per: The feedback we got from the first couple shows was pretty much all favorable. I think some people were wondering if I was gonna come in and try to play Wheelie King-style music and ruin Bugatti. A lot of existing fans were skeptical.
Rice: Per plays stuff that’s pretty complex, so I can go off and do whatever I want and he’s not gonna be like, “What are you doing? I can’t follow that!” It doesn’t phase him at all.
Wendy: Rice and I found it was a good change to the existing music and we’ve been happy with what stuff has happened as a result.
MI: What are some of the highlights of your upcoming tour?
Wendy: We’re playing New York a couple nights, Cleveland, Detroit, Columbus, Dayton. Buffalo, Asbury Park, and Chicago. It was hectic setting the “whole thing up while we were doing the record and trying to do this bullshit D.I.Y. stuff in getting it all done yourself, staying on the phone all day, ending out promos – you know the drill… It’s exciting for us, though. We’re playing with our friends, the Mudf1ap Girls from Venus, in Dayton, and Mule.
Rice: We’re with Real Lulu, whose drummer is from the Breeders. That’s cool.
Per: Lounge Ax in Chicago is a good gig. Maybe that will get us more shows there.
Wendy: Compared to what other bands are doing. This is like a baby tour. But for us it’s a big deal. We don’t want to be on the road for eight months out of the year or anything… This will be a good christening for us.
Rice: If nothing else, it’s a chance to go to some great cities. New York, Detroit, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you know!
Wendy: Yeah, we’re going there! I wonder if they have any stuff of Janis Joplin. Some kick-ass scarf dresses or something – sweat stains, bourbon drips, and Puke on the ends of the sleeves.
MI: How are you guys coping with the disappearing club scene in Madison?
Per: It’s like you play here to get enough gas money to go somewhere else.
Rice: It’s almost like there’s a conspiracy to run all the club owners out of town. Either that or they’re all just idiots, because there could be a lot of clubs and no one who runs them can keep them afloat. It’s really sad.
Wendy: I think we’re not necessarily part of a very strong Madison ‘scene’. There are a few bands that we know – Heavy Balls, Transformer Lootbag, Pound WI, but there is a shitload of bands I know nothing about. What we’re trying to do is get a regional base, but there’s still a few places here to play… We’re gonna try and do some all-ages shows.
Per: We get beat up when we go out.