The Born Readies’ latest single, “Motorcycle Mania,” evokes late-’70s power-pop acts like Cheap Trick and the Knack, with a dash of T. Rex thrown in for good measure.
“Power pop is something we go for,” says vocalist and guitarist Chris Rhea. “Some people say we're kind of glam-inspired. Slade and T. Rex are some of our biggest influences.”
Drummer Andrew James says that he finds the band — which also includes guitarist Bret Hagen and Dan Putrino on bass — to be more straight rock and roll, though he agrees that there are elements of glam and power pop.
“It all stems from that ’70s influence,” James explains. “That’s a pretty important part of it. It doesn’t really stick to one genre, but it’s always just kind of in that ’70s time frame.”
“Motorcycle Mania” has been getting airplay on Rodney Bingenheimer’s satellite radio show recently. Bingenheimer is famous for his Rodney on the ROQ program, which helped acts like Blondie, Nirvana, Blur, Van Halen and the Ramones gain greater recognition in the 1970s. Most of the singles that the Born Readies have released in the last year or so have been played on the show.
“It’s kind of cool,” Rhea says. “[Bingenheimer] was called the Mayor of Sunset Strip. Someone even made a documentary about him. It’s cool to be getting recognition from someone who was alive during that time and played the bands we're influenced by.”
Recently, the band has focused more on releasing singles than on putting out a full-length album. James says it’s a way to keep engaged with fans. “We're at a place where we have a lot of songs in the chamber that we're finishing up,” he notes. “We’ve been talking about maybe an EP or a full-length. We're just kind of seeing how these songs go.”
Despite the title of the band’s latest single and its members' propensity for wearing sleeveless jean jackets — battle vests, if you will — no one in the band currently rides a motorcycle. (The Beach Boys didn’t surf, either, so there you go.) James, who recently got a license to ride, says the new song reminds him of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” — the connection to a machine that can extricate one from an unpleasant situation — but a more “badass rock-and-roll version."
"When ['Motorcycle Mania'] started coming out, there was an urge to want to actually ride a motorcycle and tune out the world,” he explains. “No music, no podcast, no radio, nobody talking to you — and just get out of town.”
The band made its first video for the single, and Rhea says it captures the joy of riding.
“It’s basically you're riding out into the desert and maybe you took some hallucinogens,” Rhea says. “Maybe you’re losing your mind, but at the same time maybe finding yourself while you’re out on this trip.”
As for the band’s signature vests, they date from when Rhea and James were a two-piece and wore them when they went out to shows together. “I have more flair on mine than the other guys — a lot of stuff people have given me, pins and buttons,” notes Rhea. “It’s just kind of a conglomerate of stuff from over the years.”
James says that the back patch, which takes up a lot of real estate, is akin to those worn by outlaw motorcycle clubs. “Even before ‘Motorcycle Mania,’ we had this kind of motorcycle gang mentality about the band. Nobody ever got jumped in or out. We had another bass player. Every time we get a new member, we get them a patch.”
They insist that members are free to leave whenever they choose. And they get to keep their patch.
“We don’t cut them off and shame you,” James says.
The Born Readies share the stage with the Trujillo Company and Hellbilly at the Trujillo Company Rock and Roll Spooktacular, Friday, October 29, at the Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street; tickets are $12 at themarquistheater.com. "Motorcycle Mania" is available at the Born Readies' Bandcamp page along with previous releases.