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Tell me something: Is rock and roll worth getting hangnail and calluses, busted-out teeth, bruises and black eyes? Is it worth the long hours driving from city to city, catching one bath a week and drinking yourself back sober just to bring two hours of joy to your audience? Is it worth the lacerations, the broken relationships, the endless stream of nights cobbled together through bad coffee, truck stops, 24-hour diners and drive-thrus, bottomless bottles of booze, pack after pack of cigarettes, waking up in a van surrounded by guitar amps and microphones? Is the need to make music really worth living and dying for?
The Morlocks believe it is. The Morlocks aren’t some smoothed-out, swagged-out fuck-ups toting stage passes and guitars; The Morlocks are a living, sleeping and breathing embodiment of the garage punk they’ve perfected and long performed. The music they create is the lifeblood of their cause, a cause which is as much a point of pride as a way of life. The scars, breaks and bruises earned along the way serve to magnify the only truth they know. You see, The Morlocks are not afraid for you to watch them bleed.
Both as a band and as individuals, The Morlocks have earned their stripes on the rock and roll circuit. Hailing from Los Angeles, The Morlocks are staples of the city’s world-renowned music scene. Through break-ups, break downs, personnel changes, changing cities and shifts in popular culture, The Morlocks have continually grown stronger at what they do best even as they died their many deaths. In the process, The Morlocks have built up a die-hard following and originality. Where others would have bled out long ago, The Morlocks get stitched up and keep going.
Surprising, then, that in 1999, Spin Magazine printed an inaccurate story declaring the death of their energetic, charismatic lead singer Leighton Koizumi (also fronting the Gravedigger V). Needless to say, Leighton (far from being dead) continues to lead the charge, a duty he has held since the band’s debut LP Emerge. With the addition of Mark Arnold on drums, Lenny Pops and Nicolas Jodoin on guitar duties and Joe Baluta on bass, The Morlocks have continued to perform and make records, a number of which have been featured prominently in movies, television shows and video games.
During their career, there’s often a calling among dedicated, serious rock performers to offer tribute to the music that inspires them. Growing up fans of Chicago blues-rock legends like Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley, The Morlocks’ shared love of all things related to Chess Records created a natural inspiration to pay homage to some of their musical heroes. The resulting album, The Morlocks Play Chess is a gritty, unwavering collection featuring 12 of the most enduring Chess Records anthems. Dripping with sweaty, booze-and-nicotine-soaked three chord garage blues, The Morlocks Play Chess isn’t some teeny bopper karaoke bullshit. The album’s sloppy fascinations and recognizable, sing along choruses are teeming with and honest, unbridled agony and ass-shaking ecstasy that is the essence of true rock and roll.
Through the twists and turns of rock and roll’s unending stretch of highway, The Morlocks have proven themselves to be road warriors and survivors. Today, as they prepare to take on the world, The Morlocks continue to see themselves being placed in the ranks of the most mysterious, respected and legendary American garage punk bands.
When The Morlocks Play Chess in your city, you’re going to need lots of cold beers and some dry towels standing by when the show is over. And, yeah… save some for the band as well.