Lead singer Frank Meyer has “One More Drink” with Rock & Roll Globe
The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs have been creating mayhem on the Los Angels rock scene since they first got together to play covers of their favorite punk tunes in 1995.
“I knew Dino [Everett, the band’s bass player] because he worked at a video store in the Valley,” said Frank Meyer, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. “I went in to rent horror movies and cult films. He always wore punk rock T-shirts, so we started talking and became nerdy rock buddies. We started a band to play songs by our favorites – MC5, The Stooges, New York Dolls and the Runaways. After about five gigs, Greg Shaw from Bomp! Records saw us. He signed us on the spot. We’d started writing our own stuff and Bomp! put out a couple of albums and singles. Then we moved on to TripleX Records for a bunch of records. Bruce Duff was their A&R guy. We signed him up to play rhythm guitar in the band.”
The band fell apart in the early ‘00s, but Meyer, Duff and Everett moved on to other projects together, most notably Angus Khan, a hard rocking biker metal band, inspired by AC/DC. They reformed The Cheetahs in 2014, but another six years went by before they decided it was time for a new album. One More Drink, possibly the best record they’ve ever made, was self-produced by the band. It came together just before the COVID lockdown went into effect and it’s a scorcher.
“Warzone” is pure punk, with political lyrics, played at a reckless tempo. “Fast, Fucked and Furious” is a celebration of hedonism, with a strong guitar hook and in your face vocals, while the title track is an over the top party anthem. The playlist is balanced out with a handful of catchy, power pop tunes, like “Ain’t It Summer” and “Switchblade Knights”.
“In our heyday, we were known for our hard rocking songs about booze, violence, sex and madness,” Meyer said. “We like fast, chainsaw rock songs, ala Motörhead, but even on our first record, we had a few power pop songs. On our early things, the power pop stood out more, ‘cause the punk stuff was so forceful. This time, we created more of a balance to make everything fit together.”
“Our touchstones are the proto punk Detroit styles of the late 60s and early 70s”, said Bruce Duff, the band’s second guitarist. “We also like Chicago power pop from the 70s and 80s, bands like Cheap Trick. We like our songs to be unique and familiar at the same time.
“We produced ourselves and went in with six songs at a time,” Duff continued. “We’d been playing them at shows and rehearsed them again before recording, so the band was tight. We played them live, in one room together, or in separate booths with windows, so we could see each other. We’d run through a song till we get a good take, then overdub a few things on top, if needed. We mixed it in my home studio, Tone Duff.
“We finished the last six songs just before COVID hit. We didn’t have any vocals on those tracks, so we had to socially distance in my studio to do the singing and finish them up. I’ve been producing stuff with Frank for ten years or so – rock, pop and hip-hop – so it came together quickly. We knew we were the best guys for the job when it came to this record.”
The high energy shows the Cheetahs put on helped them make a name for themselves. With the lockdown still in place, promoting One More Drink called for a change of pace.
“Live, there’s more improvisation and we put on an unpredictable show,” Duff said. “Frank likes to go into the crowd and play right into people’s faces. We bring the show to the people.”
Without being able to play live, Meyer said they’re concentrating on other media approaches.
“We’ve done some acoustic webcasts and we’re talking to the press more than we ever did,” he tells Rock & Roll Globe. “In our heyday, we never had the budget to make a video. Now we have a ton of them. We’re pivoting more into video, until live is back on the table, but who the hell knows when that’s gonna be?”