L.A.’s favorite shredding simians the Chimpz have a new self-titled EP about to be uncaged on Sept. 9 and the effort’s first single “California” is already climbing up the charts. The hard rock/metal/hip-hop group, composed of lead singer Artimus Prime, guitarist “Scary” Cary, bassist Sonic, MC Chuck P and drummer Sean Topham have ruled the jungle with their previous releases; well the TV jungle at least.
The Chimpz have had their music heard via shows like “The Sons of Anarchy,” “Bam Margera’s Unholy Union,” “The Challenge” and most amusingly, “My Cat From Hell.” And they’ll be back rockin’ the television when the new season of “Sons of Anarchy” begins in a couple weeks as new song "Right to Left" has been tapped by the show's producers.
Known for a rowdy stage show, the Chimpz are also big time road dogs and the band will soon be announcing a lengthy national tour that’ll begin about the same time that the EP drops. Which means that tens of thousands of new fans are about to get “bit” by these rough but lovable monkey men, and enjoy every second of it.
Chimpz “Scary” Cary and Sean Topham took the time to phone in from the band’s Los Angeles headquarters and tell us a little bit about the making of the new EP and single, and our interview began, of course, with a barrage of chimp noises.
Was that a recording or did one of you make those chimp noises?
Cary: The drummer! The drummer!
Sean: (Demonstrates) Yeah, the rest of the guys, I’m trying to get them with the program but they suck at it. Next rehearsal, the first hour is spent doing chimp noises!
Okay then. Tell me about how you get all the song placement on TV shows. What’s the procedure, for example, for getting something on "The Sons of Anarchy"?
Sean: This season, as soon as our album was done I submitted it to them and they got back to us pretty quick and said they wanted to use “Right to Left.”
And I guess you know what episode that’s going to be in, multiple episodes actually. But do they tell you what scenes it’s going to accompany?
Sean: They didn’t tell us what the scenes are but the last two placements we had with them were both chase scenes and they played almost the entire song.
For the new EP you chose to work with producer Ryan Greene (Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Jay-Z) again. What made you go back to him?
Sean: He’s a total professional in every way and he’s brought out the best in us. He’s easy to work with. When you’re in the studio with Ryan, he pulls out so much shit out of you that you never thought you had.
Cary: He did a great job on “Who Can I Trust,” our previous EP and he writes all this awesome stuff; sometimes we write on the spot with him. He gets us to think outside the box about stuff we haven’t done before. We’re a creative team together. He’s more of a drummer but he still has an idea about other sounds, about how things should sound. So we’ll just mix it up on the spot sometimes but it all comes from our heart, and that’s the way he gets us to write.
Your songs seem to have the ideal mix of metal and melody and the single “California” is a perfect example. Is that something you’re able to work out before you get to the studio?
Sean: Well usually Cary will come in with a riff or something and then we’ll just start hashing it out until it is working. We all work together on writing the music and then we bring it to Ryan Greene and he changes everything! (Laughs)
Cary: We could sit home and write stuff for a month and it just doesn’t seem like it fits but then we go into the studio with the band and I’ll just play something on the spot. We kinda write under pressure. And under pressure we write our best stuff. We can engineer the whole thing in an hour or two just on the spot.
Sean: And honestly with “California” I remember Chuckie coming into the studio singing that chorus and I was just like “That is the f*cking song right there, dude!” That’s the one!
Cary: Yeah! He came in with that. He walked in with “California,” humming this whole thing, and we’re like “Oh, my god! That’s awesome dude! Let’s do that!”
Did you personally pick out the (snippets of California scenery, sports and extreme sports, band performance) clips for the “California” lyric video?
Sean: I picked out the clips and slapped it all together.
Are any band members in any of the scenes other than the performance clips?
Sean: There’s one with the flip on the motorcycle; that was me. That was me back in my …. no, I’m just kidding. Those were all stock clips with actors.
Well the video really promotes the California lifestyle. That combined with the line that goes “See you when you get here” is really going to make people want to move to California to seek the good life.
Sean: I guess we’re contributing to more traffic in L.A.! Everyone’s going to blame us for all these people moving out here. But they’re gonna get here and they’re gonna go, “Hey, this isn’t like the video!” My cousin was moving out here from New York right when that song was released and he listened to it all the way across the country.
So, with a band called the Chimpz, there must be plenty of monkey business along the way. Do people come to your shows in chimp costumes or throw bananas on the stage?
Sean: That’s actually happened. One Halloween our buddy was dressed up in a chimp costume and was on stage during the whole set throwing bananas at people. People were slipping and sliding all over the dance floor because they were mushed all over the place!