Erik Larson Interview
(Johnny Law Band)
They're one of the "hottest" bands out of Austin, Texas these days.
Calling themselves "Johnny Law," Metal Blade/Warner Bros. Records have released
the group's debut album simply titled Johnny Law.
We spoke with lead vocalist / guitarist - Erik Larson.
Q. Usually when we think of Austin, we think of country music.
How did you guys sneak in? Are you all from Austin?
A. Me and Brady who write the songs, we're from El Paso. We grew up in El Paso,
Texas. We moved down to Austin when we were 19 or 20 and then started playing
around here. We had already started playing songs back in El Paso, so we pretty
much had somewhat of a direction, musically. We got out here, and found the
rest of the members of the band, and started playin’ here, in the last
Q. Is Johnny Law another name for a police officer?
A. Actually, our buddy thought of the name. We thought it was a real cool name.
But, yeah, they used to call the cops that back in the 30's. And, I guess
they still do in some areas. I don't know if they do here too much.
Q. You probably have a lot of fun with that name.
A. Yeah, it's real interesting. Who's Johnny? Who's Johnny in the band?
Q. And you probably say he's over there with Marshall Tucker.
A. (Laughs.) And Jethro Tull. Pink Floyd. That's funny.
Q. How did you come to the attention of Metal Blade Records?
A. At a music festival — South and Southwest Music Festival. It's a really
big thing. 350-400 bands over a four day period. And, we were playing on an
outdoor stage and Mike Faley was walking to another venue. He wasn't planning
on seeing us, and he heard us, and he came over and saw a couple of songs.
And just from then on we started working. Then Slagel (Metal Blade executive),
came down to see us and then it just escalated up to where we were in Atlanta
doing an album for him. So, that's how he initially saw us.
Q. When did you know Johnny Law had something special to offer?
A. Well I knew we did all along 'cause me and Brady had been writing for so
long. It's just that when we finally secured the line-up; we went through
a lot of drummers and we were getting disillusioned with the whole thing,
we found the drummer we have right now, and right when we got a steady line-up,
then we pretty much knew it was gonna work. If we knew we had songs and were
goin' in a good direction, and we secured our line-up, is when we knew we
could start gettin' out and tryin' to get some attention.
Q. Your music has been described as "Rock 'n' Roll, beer,
blues and fun." So many groups have been tagged with that description — Z.Z.
Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd are two that come to mind. Tell us what's different
about Johnny Law.
A. A lot of people have described us as that kind of Skynyrd thing, although
we were musically influenced by the Stones, Aerosmith, and Thin Lizzy, and
Alice Cooper, and that kind of stuff. We happen to be from Texas, although
I wouldn't categorize us along with those other bands, although we certainly
listen to them. But, our direct influences are from those people, and I guess
indirectly it relates back to the blues. We were playin' the blues in El Paso,
because you know, it's the first thing we learned. It's fairly easy to get
a band together and go through some blues numbers. So, we did our versions
of these blues songs. So, I'd say that's how that title, plus our location
here in Austin, fell upon us. We certainly enjoy it. We certainly love Stevie
Ray and all the blues cats, but I don't know how much you can tell from the
album, that gives that blues rock thing.
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