Lackadaisical disclaimers about this fearsome foursome from Greece go something like “Acid Baby Black Lips.” And true, there is a clear affinity within the band for those suddenly mondo-influential Atlanta trash-garage-pop vets. (Man, weren’t they just teenagers a couple years ago?) But that’s a perfectly understandable and wonderfully uncorrupted teen-worship wave of indebtedness cresting inside this Greek band, as any young band should have their gateway drug favs. Lysergic lines also weave through Acid Baby Jesus’ songs, next to the now permanently garage band–coded 13th Floor Elevators DNA strands and a surf-rock undertow, surprising considering their green age. Through it all and back again bumps a kid spirit, like in their fantastically trippy videos that wooze-around in nightmare territory, except you notice the lads are smiling, jumping around and giggling like 87% of the time. They are currently having a ball, and coming over for their first American tour must only inflate that ball. (Full disclosure: my band, The Livids, is playing with them while they are here.) Singer Noda and I bounced some queries back and forth whilst they were still in Greece, packing their bags and awaiting the imminent release of their self-titled debut LP on Slovenly.
Before we start talking about your first tour to America, tell us about your hometown of Athens, Greece. Did you grow up in the main city or outside of it? What is the music scene like?
Noda: The capital of Greece is one of the world’s oldest cities, but it certainly doesn’t look that way. Most of the ancient stuff has been removed or destroyed and replaced with ugly buildings. It’s really chaotic, and we love it so much. We grew up in the suburbs and were really bored so we formed a band. I guess that’s a cliche. The show scene isn’t really big, but it’s getting better for sure. I remember visiting New York City and I couldn’t believe that you could just go for a beer somewhere and an amazing band would be playing on a Wednesday night. Athens is not like that.
Do you have favorite local bands that you always play with or want to tell us about? Do many bands come from other countries to play there?
N: Yes we do, it’s a band called Bazooka, and we always love to play with them. They are such a fire under our ass, always pushing us to become better. They are awesome. Bands have been starting to come to Greece a lot more now. I guess it’s easier than back in the day. Some years back, it was only the Scorpions and other shitty bands like them coming to Greece on a regular basis.
I know there was a pretty good 1960s-inspired garage scene in Greece in the 1980s (The Last Drive!), but I will be honest, I don’t know what kind of indie rock has been going on in Greece for the last 10 years. Can you tell us about that?
N: I’m honestly not an expert in this department. I don’t want to sound arrogant or cocky, but I don't like most of the bands. I think it sucks to like a band just because they are from the same city as you, because music is a universal language. That said, I'm 100% sure that there are amazing bands that I've missed out on, and from time to time, some friend will play me an amazing Greek band and I will drop my mouth in awe. I think there was a lot of good intention and breeding ground for bands in the early ’80s, but then heroin came and everybody preferred to steal bags on motorbikes. The Last Drive did some great stuff in the ’80s, and I like some electro from the ’80s too. Trypes were a really good band, and there's another old one called Anti that I like. I think the best bands are yet to come.
How—if at all—are all the money problems in Greece having an effect rock on bands? Are there less clubs to play or anything like that? Do you think if this continues, and there are less jobs, that bands might get more politically active?
N: I think it’s for the better. Rock & roll and money never make a good mix anyway. I think people will just focus on making music and art or whatever and do it by themselves, setting up their own shows, etc.
Is all that stuff about how Greek guys like to fuck other Greek guys true?
N: Yup, that’s platonic love for you. People think that platonic love is not a sexual relationship, but that is a lie. Plus, if you don’t cum, it’s not gay.
So I guess you guys are pretty excited about coming over to America for your first tour. What are you looking forward to the most about America? Are there any particular cities you are especially excited to visit?
N: Yeah, it’s really exciting for us. I’m looking forward to Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, New York, Montreal—so excited!
What do most people in Greece think about Americans (honestly)?
N: Most Greek people think Americans are fat and just eat junk food. But most of the people saying that are fat and eat junk food too.
You guys have some American music influences that seem kind of obscure or older (1960s psych and garage rock, ’90s garage-punk), though you guys are so young. How did you discover most of your favorite musical influences?
N: We discovered bands mostly through our friends growing up and now through the internet you can find a lot of gems, really obscure and amazing stuff. We didn’t live through it, but this is timeless music, you know? Obviously we grew up with The Beatles and Rolling Stones, etc. and sometimes when you hear that stuff, compared to modern rock, it can sound obscure and weird.
How long has Acid Baby Jesus been a band? How did you form the band? Were any of the members in other bands before Acid Baby Jesus? Do you have other side projects going on?
N: We started playing almost three years ago as a duo, making up some songs, but formed the band two years ago as it is today. No other bands and no side projects—that’s it, 100% baby!