Do Savannnah

Atlanta’s West End Motel celebrates new album at Savannah’s The Jinx

 

Atlanta’s West End Motel celebrates new album at Savannah’s The Jinx

26 Dec 2017

To help close out another stellar year of live music at The Jinx, a super-group of longtime Atlanta musicians are swinging through with a new album and probably some debauchery.

The multifaceted West End Motel released their third studio album, “Bad with Names, Good with Faces,” at the first of this month and are set to celebrate the release at The Jinx on Dec. 29 along with fellow Atlanta band Blood on the Harp and Brooklyn’s An English Place.

West End Motel initially formed when longtime friends Tom Cheshire (vocals) and Brent Hinds (guitar, vocals) met in Atlanta in the early 1990s and formed a friendship around music and good times. Hinds is mostly known for his role as the lead guitarist and vocalist for the highly acclaimed Atlanta metal band Mastodon.

Mastodon’s 2017 album, “Emperor of Sand,” is nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album, with the single “Sultan’s Curse” also earning a nod for Best Metal Performance.

West End Motel is one of Hinds’ six side projects, which include the Giraffe Tongue Orchestra and Legend of the Seagullmen, both of which feature members from Alice In Chains, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Mars Volta, Dethklock and Tool.

Built on a bedrock of classic country music, West End Motel’s soulful rock ’n’ roll has sonically expanded over the years with the addition of horns and keys, but has always been completed by equal rations of Cheshire’s haunting tenor voice and poetry, and Hinds’ blazing guitar solos and scratchy, distinctive vocals.

Although the project technically began with the duo in 1993, West End Motel released their debut album, “Don’t Shiver, You’re A Winner,” in 2011. They followed that with 2012’s “Only Time Can Tell.”

“We met and became best buds,” Cheshire recalled. “We were drinking buddies and went to shows. We had a hunger for art and also debauchery. Together, we started jamming a little bit. I came up with these country melodies and Brent would play guitar. I’d be on piano and he’d be on acoustic guitar.

“It went from us playing as a duo, then it was three people and then four people. Now, we’re putting out our third record and it’s got nine or 10 players on it. We love the idea of songs and telling a story. We also lump weird ideas and noises in.”

The lineup around Cheshire and Hinds has shifted over the years, but draws mainly from other projects and longtime friendships with other Atlanta musicians. Hinds’ rockabilly band Fiend Without a Face contributed the rhythm section, Troy King (drums) and Stiff Penalty (bass), to West End Motel.

“Our backing now is my favorite in the world,” Cheshire said. “I brought in Ben Thrower [guitar], who’s played on every record. He plays in every project I work on, because he’s awesome to work with. We’ve gained some and lost some. We gained Brian Kincheloe, who I’ve known for 20 years. He basically produced the [new] record. Brian and I worked a lot. We travel a lot. We wrote a lot of the demos that we brought to the table that became songs.”

West End Motel songs often start with Cheshire. He’ll bring in snippets to Hinds and company, who finish writing and arranging the tunes. The process has proven advantageous over the years and as Hinds increasingly becomes busier.

“Brent’s a very busy guy,” Cheshire said. “He’s in one of the biggest metal bands in the world. Now, we have some of the best guys playing with us. Half of it is when you become smart enough to surround yourself with great people and talent.

“A lot of times, it’s just an idea and you see the evolution of it. It grows and becomes this bigger thing. A lot of it starts as just bits of ideas that start in hotel rooms. Brent puts his spin on things.

“He’s my favorite guitar player in the world. Whatever he does, he sounds like rain. The thing is, every single person in this group, in my opinion, can go off and do a million wonderful things. They are that strong as humans. I am certainly happy they are playing with us right now and we’re doing this thing.”

Cheshire, who is also a published poet, and Hinds often toe the line between comedy and darkness in their songwriting. They take time to make fun of themselves, but also use the project as a therapeutic outlet.

“The last record, I was going through a divorce and Brent’s brother died,” Cheshire said. “Even though there’s humor on it, it’s darker. This record, I didn’t want it to be like that. I said, let’s laugh at ourselves. That’s why we ended the record with a song called ‘Scars.’ We’re laughing at ourselves. Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re done and you should hang it up. When we talk about what we do, we say the songs are funny and sad and will make you laugh and cry.

“When I brought ‘Another Day’ to the table, Ben (Davis) was like, I remember when you were lying on the floor and she was laughing at the door. I was like, what are you talking about? He was like, I was there that day. She was laughing at you. … I thought I just wrote a really pretty lyric. He said, no man, you were pathetic. You were on the floor crying and your wife was laughing at you. She just wanted you to leave.

“It’s OK, I am doing better now. We always feel like every record is the last record. I am so comfortable we’re doing what we’re doing when we’re doing it. To be honest, we have so much fun with it. Honestly, this is 100 percent true, we all enjoy each other’s company.”

IF YOU GO

What: West End Motel, Blood on the Harp, An English Place

When: 9 p.m. Dec. 29

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: $10, ages 21 and older

Info: westendmotel.bandcamp.com

Sections: 
Top