Scott “Deluxe” Drake - Lovesores - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley   
Sunday, 14 July 2013 03:00

According to his website, as founder, lead singer and songwriter of The Humpers, Scott “Deluxe” Drake pretty much spearheaded the street rock and roll revolution of the early 1990s, and who are we to argue with this statement? Especially when these days the great man is now fronting the equally as awesome band, the Lovesores.


Being a long-time fan of Scott’s numerous bands and solo projects I got to make the transatlantic call that I’d been waiting a long time to make as I caught up with Scott recently to talk about life, the universe and of course the aforementioned Lovesores, but not before I got the low down on a possible Humpers reunion and what it was like having an equally glunktastic brother in the music business too. Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know, or needed to know, about the life and times of Scott “Deluxe” Drake.


The Lovesores 2


Could you let us into the Drake household and tell us what it was like growing up, music wise of course?  Was there a lot of encouragement?  Seeing as you and your brother (Jeff Drake) got into the business was there any rivalry? Were his experiences something you kept a close eye on?  As you were both in great rock and roll bands by the way.


There was always music in our house. My Dad was a big fan of ‘50s rock and roll (especially Chuck Berry, The Coasters, Little Richard, doo wop, etc) and my Mom always had the radio on...mostly ‘60s pop. But there was no encouragement whatsoever from them for us to PLAY music...really the opposite. My Dad was/is a mechanic and a very conservative guy and to him the thought of his sons becoming musicians was horrifying, I'm sure. I mean, maybe you could play the piano as a hobby or something...but to perform onstage in a rock and roll band? What sane person would choose that? My brother is three years older than me, so by the time I got a band together that was doing gigs, his band (The Joneses) was already well-established. My first couple of bands (Naughty Women/Suicide Kings) opened for them a few times...and I roadied for them a bit...and my brother actually filled-in on bass for The Suicide Kings for a while. But, back then, The Joneses were headliners and my bands were there was no musical rivalry...just typical sibling stuff.


So, yeah, I learnt a lot watching his band...they were great....but hopefully I learnt not to make the same mistakes!


So what was the first song you wrote, and is writing something that comes easily do you have the melody first then lyrics or is it something you do without having a plan?  And whilst I’m on the subject who influenced/influences you, I mean were there records we could pick out in your vast catalogue?


The first song I remember writing (that was actually performed by a band) was called ‘Passion Beats Love’. It went "Passion beats love, love beats me, hate beats love when there isn't any, first date's over, Suzy keels over, a temperature rise and a big of fries" That was 1978 and I was 14 years old. Writing comes pretty easy to me, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I used to write songs and poems and little stories for my Mom when I was a kid. However I don't really have any set plan for writing songs...I'm definitely more of an ‘inspiration’ writer than a ‘craft’ writer. Something just hits me out of the blue and I'll make it into a song...those are usually the best ones.  As for influences, everything influences me, and I wouldn't know which LPs to pick in particular...’50s rock and roll, blues, country, British Invasion, US proto-punk (Velvets, MC5, Stooges, NY Dolls), ‘70s UK glam, US and UK punk rock, post-punk, blah blah would almost be easier to list what I don't like: most jazz, most metal, most funk, most prog, most rap, Zappa, Justin Bieber hahaha


You managed to record the Vice Principal's album with Jeff, so why didn't you record together as a band before this album?


I guess we never recorded together before that because we each were busy doing our own things. Jeff helped produce the first Suicide Kings record, though, and he used to show me Joneses songs that were in progress and I would comment on them (though I only remember one song in particular that he added a line of lyric that I came up with). Jeff and my tastes crossover quite a bit so there wasn't much MUSICAL conflict. He's a bit more Mississippi Delta and I'm a bit more Detroit (so he says), but the two work well together. Our bigger issues, I think, were more about how the band should be presented, which gigs to choose, how much to play out, the business end, so to speak. But I'd love to do more music with him someday but we live 1,000 miles apart, though, now, so that would be difficult.


The Joneses were probably at their peak (in popularity anyway) around 1983 or 1984? And The Humpers were at their peak a good 10 years later. So....VERY different scenes. But, yeah, I'd do a Vice Principals record or gigs if we could get it together.



The Humpers


So was there any sibling rivalry when you had The Humpers on the road, and talking of that legendary band what was it like in LA when you guys took off?  


I learnt a lot from my brother's example (both positive and negative) and, overall, I'd say it's been a good thing having an older brother who's into cool music is great...he turned me on to a lot of good stuff. Maybe there were times when he could've helped more and didn't because he may have wanted to "keep me in my place" as his younger sibling, but our times ‘in the spotlight’ were far enough apart that we didn't really clash.


The music scene in LA was pretty dead when The Humpers started playing around, other than The Lazy Cowgirls there wasn't really anyone else playing ‘punk and roll’. The Replacements were already VERY big time by then, so they were in another universe, we got compared to The Devil Dogs a lot...we were West Coast, they were East Coast...other than that, we almost existed in a vacuum. I remember I asked Long Gone John (Sympathy label owner) around 1992 if he thought we should try to do a US tour and he said "Why? No one likes this kind of music!" Seriously. On our first US tour, all the bands we were playing with sounded like Jane's Addiction or Red Hot Chili Peppers, there was no garage/punk scene to speak of, but on our SECOND US tour we realised we'd influenced a bunch of people on our first time out, so that felt good.


Having been something of a prolific writer over the years is there much that never gets recorded? And most importantly are there any really rare ones I’m possibly missing?


Yeah, I have a few. I've generally got a backlog of 15-20 songs that I don't know what to do with. As for rare stuff I recorded a couple songs with The Thirsty Brats on a comp (‘Gimme the Keys’, 1988(?)), and I sang on one record with 8 Ft. Tender. I've done so many records, I lose count! I'll have to do an updated discography....someday.


If you don't mind we'll go through the bands one at a time.  Firstly the Humpers what are your fondest memories?  


Well, my fondest memory of The Humpers is the fact that we got signed by a pretty big label (Epitaph)...and, really, we didn't have any industry connections and we were all from working families and we gigged RELENTLESSLY for years before we got a deal. So, our hard work paid off and it was a nice reward. We thought we had MADE IT. Hahahaha.


Would you ever reform the band and record or tour?


The Humpers still get together and do gigs on average about once a year, but I live 1,000 miles away from the other guys so it ain't easy! The Humpers are like a family, but it's definitely a dysfunctional one! Every time we get together someone brings up the idea of recording or doing more touring's a bit like doing a giant project with 4 ex-wives...y'know? Before the guys play one note they start arguing over where to rehearse. And WHEN to rehearse....and WHAT SONGS to rehearse...I love those guys but it's very hard to break through the years of built-up, shit.


The Lovesores 3I guess this next question applies to all the bands really and it is why change the name when the main players and writers are in most of the bands anyway? Plus how are the Lovesores different to say late Humpers? It’s all rock n roll after all or is it maybe that you and Jeff are older and wiser hahaha.


The Lovesores are different especially in that it's just a much more relaxed project, maybe because we're older and we don't have inflated expectations. Musically, Lovesores are probably more like early Humpers, late Humpers got a bit too hyper and pummelling. Lovesores have a bit more swing.


Who has been the biggest influence on your music? There certainly aren't many covers in your repertoire only the Everly Brothers one on 'After School With...' and 'Glad All Over’, did you and Jeff ever have aspirations to be the next Everly Brothers? 


Well, I REALLY wanted to be a Ramone when I was 14 or 15 hahaha, other than that, not really. I think coming out of the punk scene, there was so much emphasis put on originality that it was definitely frowned upon to copy someone too much. Which actually leads into the next part of your question....”why should I do a cover song when I can best express how I feel myself?”


Well we've done a small handful over the years, but I always try to limit that. To me, rock and roll is about self-expression. I am against cover bands and tribute bands on principal, so if you hear me playing covers, you can generally bet it was someone else's idea. My brother joked that we were the American Gallagher brothers...but I said "Why set your sights so low?" hahaha.....


You’ve mentioned it already but what were your experiences being signed to a label like Epitaph who have good worldwide distribution, and what happened to the deal?  


Hmmm...that could be a book in itself! Our experience with Epitaph was mostly positive but I think they were a little confused about how to promote us. They had made quite a splash with poppy skate-punk groups and they just tried to plug the more ‘rock and roll’ bands on the label into the same circuit, which didn't work so well. Having said that, we probably would have toured a lot less without their label support, so I guess the pros of a big label are: tour support, advertising, radio promotion, and things like that. The cons would be: we lost some fans who assumed we would change our sound, we lost a little bit of control over how the band was promoted, we lost 50% of our publishing $$$’s, we never really felt like anyone was giving us straight answers about $$$’s.....I don't think anyone at that label was consciously trying to ‘screw us over’ or anything like that...but it's a corporation, you know? So, too much time spent with lawyers, accountants, publicists and hangers-on, and not enough time rocking.


We had a contract to do 3 LPs for Epitaph...and we did them. The band split up soon after the third one, so we didn't pursue any further connection with the label.


Bubblegum riotYour latest band the Lovesores have released one single and one 10" EP, the big question is what's next?  


We've got a 4-song EP coming out soon (maybe September?) on a Portland label (Hovercraft) and we have tracks coming soon on 2 European compilationss (one with Bootleg Booze and one with Ghost Highway).


Can us Limeys expect any live action over here in the UK and what about mainland Europe?  


We'd love to play in the UK, the problem is that nobody over there wants to pay! I've toured Europe three times (twice solo, once with The Humpers) and I've always done pretty well, but whenever I’ve tried to add gigs in the UK I can't get anyone to put forth a guarantee. I don't get it. I assume my stuff would do as well (if not better) in the UK than on the mainland...but...maybe you can answer that question???


How about a Humpers and Joneses double bill for old time's sake? Especially here in the UK.  Or if not that your friends the Nomads are playing the UK later this year, how about a joint world tour?


Hahahaha Humpers and Joneses together? I'd pay to see that! Make it happen, Dom! I love The Nomads, The Humpers did gigs with them in the ‘90s. Right now, I'm focusing on my current group, The Lovesores, and we'll be trying to get to Europe next spring. a word: YES...I would love to play in the UK with the Lovesores, The Humpers or whoever. I'll play tambourine for The Jim Jones Revue, just send me a plane ticket!


What new music are you down with these days?  Anyone you've seen or heard that we should know about?


I can tell you what bands I like most in Portland, Oregon: Hot LZ's, Ex-Girlfriends Club, Celebrity Graves, Last 45s, Suicide Notes, No Tomorrow far as bands from overseas, right now my favourite is Giuda (from Rome, Italy).


Being a songwriter and knowing you used to play the guitar have you ever been tempted to be the guitarist and singer in the band? It would be one less person in the food chain and one less ego to do battle with.


Well, I like to play guitar, but it's a lot more fun to be a lead singer and jump around like a monkey. I used to play rhythm guitar behind a lead singer (in The Suicide Kings), it was okay, but I also wrote all the lyrics, so I used to get pissed off if he sang my songs wrong! I don't know...if it was the right people and the right situation, sure, I'd be interested in mixing it up a bit.


If I were to put on the spot, what would you say is the finest album you have made? And I don't want to hear “they’re all your babies”, you must have one that has you thinking "man I killed it on that album. Not one bad song and it's a classic"


I think ‘Positively Sick On 4th Street’ has the best songs on it of anything I've done. I'm also very proud of the latest Lovesores' record ‘Bubblegum Riot’, which was originally going to be a full-length LP, .but plans changed. Sometimes it's hard to judge because there are different levels at work, like, you might love the songs, love the performances and hate the production...or any combination of those factors. But if someone was to buy only one of my records, I'd recommend ‘Positively Sick On 4th Street’ by The Humpers.



The Lovesores


Guns N’ Roses famously once opened for you did you think they'd ever go onto the success they had?  


No, I thought they sucked. I'm not a fan of their stuff. Uhhh.


So is there anyone else of note who has played with you guys?


I guess it would depend on who you consider noteworthy? The Humpers played with most of the bigger West Coast punk bands at one time or another, The Dickies, Muffs, Rancid, Dwarves, etc etc......but to ME, the noteworthy bands we played with were people like: Lazy Cowgirls, Neckbones, Nomads, Pleasure Fuckers, Candy Snatchers, Clawhammer, Zeros, Temporal Sluts, Zipgun....etc etc


Are there people you were close to then in the early ‘80s that you still work or keep in touch with?  Did you get to see any early shows from the likes of Social Distortion or Black Flag?


Oh yeah, I was 16 in Southern California in 1980, I saw ALL those bands. I remember seeing Social Distortion when they were a 3-piece and there were like 10 people in the audience....Black Flag, X, Weirdos, Chiefs, Adolescents, Flesheaters, The was a great time! Probably the person I'm most in touch with of that bunch is Tony from The Adolescents...he's a great guy.


What about people like Pat Todd? You've recorded on Rankoutsider Records, have you ever thought about writing with someone like Pat or playing in a band together?  


Pat Todd is an American treasure, I'd love to record something with him someday but, we both do the same thing, so how would that work? We could do ‘Under Pressure’ like Bowie and Fred Mercury.


Do you get many requests to write for bands or sing on their records?


No, I don't get many requests to write songs for people.... occasionally....usually they just steal my ideas instead hahaha


It was there the conversation ended, so thanks to Mr Drake for his time and of course the wealth of great music that has originated in his head then onto the wax or plastic for our listening pleasure. He’s now fronting the magnificent Lovesores and you'd be a fool to pass them by.