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One thing is for sure, if someone know how to rock, then it is Baton Rogue Morgue. Hailing from Porvoo, Finland, the band just released another EP single-handedly. Unbelievable that a band like this hasn’t got a record deal yet. Singer Lee Angel Morgue and Guitarist Domino De La Rogue tell us more about the band.
Hey guys, could you first of all introduce the band? Domino: We are a Rock´n Roll band from Southern Finland with Lee (aka Angelo) on Vocals,Timothy on Bass, Danger on drums ,Domino guitar and Joonah on lead guitar
BRM was founded in 2005, so how did it all begin with the band? Where did you meet each other? Domino: Well, me and Timothy played together in a band called Soulhate, and even though I started the band, I got kicked out by this Mexican singer we had, and Timothy said, fuck that shit and left the band as well, so the two of us along with Angelo had already put down the foundation for BRM, and we just had that magic that you can´t buy or force into your band, it has to come naturally and if you have it you can feel it ,if you don’t, you don’t even know what I´m talking about. I generally think there’s only a very limited amount of bands out there these days that have that magic, the sense of something bigger than just a bunch of dudes on instruments.
Why did you choose the name Baton Rogue Morgue? Domino: In my opinion you have to have a name that’s either cool or it has to have depth, one way or another, but it can’t just be random words that have no soul. Well, if the band has soul in itself it will reflect on the name, but if there’s a spice to the name too, then it´s golden. Most of the good band names are probably taken, in the sense that the names fit the bands 100% and that’s the hard part. So many bands don’t understand that you need to look like you sound and sound like you look and the band name is a big part of that! Did you know that Black Sabbath was called Earth in the beginning, but Tommi Iommi said he would leave if they don’t change the name. Same thing with Mötley Crue, they were called Christmas and Mick Mars said to Nikki that he can look for another guitar player if they don´t change the name. Hanoi Rocks is a cool name and so is Reckless Love and Santa Cruz, fits the bands really good, but if you listen to us we couldn’t really be called any of the above , since we sound and look like Baton Rogue Morgue... so its a good thing we have that name, ha ha.
You’ve just released your new EP “Hat Trick” which includes 6 tracks and also a DVD, with two music clips and a live clip which was shot at the legendary “Whisky a Go-Go” in L.A. When have you been in USA? How many gigs did you playe there and how was it? Domino: In April of 2011...or was it 2012?? Well, anyway, we played 5-6 gigs in California and Arizona, stayed there for 2 weeks promoting the band. While in L.A. we found ourselves at the film set for the Finnish TV program called "Suomi tytöt Nykissä" and ended up in this one episode of this "reality show". We also met a bunch of cool L.A. bands and in fact one of them came all the way to Finland to play some shows with us here. The band is called Warner Drive and they will be big one day, well, they already are in California, but I mean all over. We also filmed a live video at the Key Club on Sunset Strip, but the night we played the Whisky a Go Go, our good friends Reckless Love played across the street in the Viper Room. It was really cool to have the Finnish rock scene taking over the strip in Hollywood!!!!
I guess the video clips of “Hellride” and “Crystal City” where also shot in the US, or at least the “Crystal City” looks like USA, is that right? Who was responsible for the video clips? And why did only Domino survive the shooting with the lady in the “Hellride” clip? ;-) Domino: Crystal City is filmed in the States by Robin Bäckman, he’s the man behind Hellride and Crystal City and most of our pics and cover art work for cd:s, posters, website... you name it,hes the man.
Well, Hellride is part 1 of the movie. I’m still alive because I need to hunt that bitch down that killed my band mates and bring them back from the dead. I wrote Crystal City to be part 2, but while in the States we found this really nice desert/ghost town and we were drunk so we decided to film the video for Crystal City there. I guess I have to write another song for that part 2 of the Hellride video..
Each of you guys has a unique styling, especially Domino - how much time do you guys spend in the bathroom in the morning? Domino: Whatever time it takes to throw up, other than that zero time in the bathroom in the morning. Well, before going on stage, there might be a minute or two, but nothing wild, done it so many times so it’s really fast. For some reason we all leave it to the last minute. Usually after sound check, you got more time to do nothing that you would care for, but then suddenly the sirens go off and you’re supposed to be on stage and you´re running around looking for your stage clothes and stuff.
A few questions just for Domino - I just have to ask, you have an awesome styling, your hair, your beard, tattoos, clothes and boots - everything is fitting to each other. When did you start to dress up like this and where did you get the inspiration from? Domino: Oooh Thank you! I think it takes time to find your own style and even when you do, it takes time to improve it and refine it to the best it can be, so I started this “dress up” when we started this band, but in the beginning I guess it looked kind of ridiculous, well, some might say it still does, it’s a matter of taste and good taste or bad doesn’t really matter as long as there’s taste. Most bands just have none. I definitely have been inspired as a kid by bands like W.A.S.P. Mötley Crue, Guns ´N Roses, King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, which are very theatrical and visual bands, to say the least.
You are also the lucky owner of a tattoo studio in Porvoo, how long have you been running this business and what makes your studio special? Why should people come to your studio? Domino: I started at a very young age to tattoo in Cape Town South Africa, and the same year when I returned to Finland, I opened up my studio, and just this summer had a huge 15 year anniversary party!!
I think most of my customers know me or have been to my shop before and that’s why they keep coming back, I’m pretty busy, so I don’t really want to advertise it any further. Here it would be easy to say that the band eats up a lot of time too, but that’s just the way I like it, I wouldn’t wanna do anything else with my life, I’m damn happy and lucky that my life consists of tattoos and music.
I am always fascinated when I see the length of your beard, which is soon longer than Tomi Joutsen’s Dreadlocks, how many years did it take to grow it that long? Domino: 15 years
Especially on stage you always wear these special BRM trousers, are they all custom-made and I am sure a few people would die to know where you got them from? Domino: Yes, all my clothes are custom made, have been for many years, not just the stage clothes but everything I wear on daily basis too, jackets, pants aso.
I don’t wanna look like anybody else when I go onstage or to a bar or whatever. I see these bands all looking like they are the road crew or driving the tour bus... what the fuck is up with that? If you gonna go on stage looking like anybody else in the audience, you need to have a fucking killer band, just the music itself, something rare, completely new ,like Metallica back in the day. Even Kiss realized from the beginning that just based on their music they won’t go far, and they were right. Some of the more recent stage outfits are made by a girl named Laura. Now you know =)
And the last question for Domino, how long did it take until you were able to walk on these platform boots? Domino: It took me one night in L.A. … I had been looking for these damn boots everywhere, online, in stores aso..then it hit me, fuck, we´re going to Hollywood to play some shows. If they don´t have those boots there, Hollywood ain’t worth shit. First day there cruising around in shops, what do I find, the boots I was looking for. We had a show the next night so I knew i had to learn to walk in them right away, so I put em on in the shop and staggered out in the street. I can tell you we were a pretty wild sight walking around west Hollywood, drinking and raising hell the whole day. Ended up at the Rainbow bar&grill and at the end of the night we were invited to a private party, so we jumped in a cab and I ALWAYS sit in the front seat and I NEVER wear a seat belt and that Mexican fucker that drove the taxi started ranting about the seat belt and I told him to shut the fuck up mind his own bizness, so he threw me out from the cab and I had my boots still on and had to walk 2 miles back to the hotel at 4 in the morning, blind drunk in those boots. I tell you next night on stage I had no problems at all on stage, that Mexican cab driver taught me how to walk in those shoes ha ha. When we toured Finland with L.A.Guns, their lead singer Phil Lewis told me that Paul Stanley has had 7 hip replacements from walking in all these years in similar platform boots, so I guess I need to be a little careful... already fell in backstage in Tampere and broke one rib.
In the clips and on pictures people can always see you with hot ladies, custom made cars & bikes, also with your styling you seem to represent the cliché rockstar. Most people will think this is just an image for the band, but to me it seems more like your normal lifestyle, is that right? And how important do you think is styling for a band nowadays? LEE: Yes, this is probably what you would expect from most bands I guess, but in our case I guess it´s more of a lifestyle. We´ve used our own bikes and cars and other stuff that you can see on the videos... the clothes we wear are our own, chosen by ourselves to wear in the shoot - so to call us a styled band would be false!
Styling might be very important if there´s no content that is worth selling...
Another thing is that there is always a weapon included in your video clips, which reminds me of movies like “Fixing the Shadows” or the series “Sons of Anarchy”, which deals with the cliché of biker gangs. What do those weapons mean for you in your clips? LEE: Please be reminded that this is art in music video format - not a political statement!!
So how does someone from a small, quiet town like Porvoo get into this rockstar scene? LEE: "You don´t" would be the first to come to my mind... but in one word: perseverance!! We´ve done a lot of work and it has taken us 8 years to get where we are now!
You have played already on many different places on this planet, which was the most memorable gig you had so far? LEE: I guess travelling to Australia for only one show is one of the most "ridiculous" things we´ve done so far - just to get there took us three days!! The rain season made an early entrance during the bike expo we were supposed to play on, and during our set it started to rain so heavily that they took down the whole PA system and set the whole thing up in a club that was on the backside of the stage... We finished our set there, it was packed and the people went crazy!!
That was just one highlight... I´ll save the other to another time ;)
In two years you celebrate your 10th anniversary with the band, what do you want to reach until then? LEE: Yeah, it´s hard to believe that it´s been that long... but let´s see how many of us are still alive when that time comes - ask me again the question then!!
Do you have some final words? LEE: Yes, but I hope that I don´t have to say them anytime soon...
Thanks a lot for your time & All the best! LEE: Thanx for showing interest in our band!! /,,/
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Band Date: 2013-02-01