Mother Superior (Rollins Band)
“There are a few bands around that play the real thing for real reasons. Mother Superior is such a band. Their mix of sweat-drenched hard rock and burning blues is inspiring as hell, and a full-on soul music experience… This is a band that is definitely going to be around for awhile.”
So wrote Henry Rollins on the back of Mother Superior’s debut, The Heavy Soul Experience of Mother Superior. Released in the spring of 1996, the record sounded like nothing else out at the time: Muscular riffs and whiplash rhythms, supporting songs rooted in everything from Stax/Volt A-sides and P-Funk B-sides to the freakier creations of the Fab Four (whose “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” provided the band’s name) and the fist-pumping anthems of Kiss and Thin Lizzy. While everyone else in Los Angeles was jumping on the “electronica” bandwagon, Jim Wilson (lead vocals, guitar), Marcus Blake (bass, background vocals) and Jason Mackenroth (drums, background vocals) were busy kicking out the loudest, heaviest, most ass-kicking rock ‘n’ roll they could possibly muster. After all, when you can make music that’s timeless, why waste time trying to follow trends?
Four years and three self-released albums later, things have changed for Mother Superior. Sure, they’re still the real rock ‘n’ roll deal, playing it straight from the heart and the gut because it’s the only way they know. But after years of paying their dues in dingy Sunset Strip clubs, the boys of Mother Superior are now raising hell on stages across the globe as the current incarnation of Henry Rollins’ Rollins Band. An early Mother Superior supporter, Rollins produced the trio’s third CD, 1998’s Deep, and was so taken with the intensity and conviction of their musical attack that he invited them to become his new backing band. Recording sessions for Rollins’ forthcoming Get Some, Go Again quickly ensued, followed by a non-stop series of live dates across America and Europe, as well as memorable jam sessions with George Clinton and Alice Cooper.
But despite their hectic schedules, their Rollins Band commitments, and the various, ahem, distractions of life on the road, Jim, Marcus and Jason continue to make righteous music as Mother Superior. A new MS album, recorded at the same sessions as Get Some, Go Again, is due in the spring of 2000. “Black Silk,” a ferocious new track recorded exclusively for MUSICBLITZ, shows the band firing on all cylinders, and then some. Produced by legendary MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer (who adds a few licks of his own for good measure), the song bucks like a bronco on angel dust.
“I can’t tell you what ‘Black Silk’ is about,” laughs Jim. “Some things they still don’t allow on the Internet! But it’s a good Chuck Berry rocker with Little Richard vocals, and that’s why we picked it out to do with Wayne; we kind of share the same roots. To me, it’s just a good old rock ‘n’ roll song about chicks – which is what every good old rock ‘n’ roll song should be about!”
-- Dan Epstein
Dan Epstein is a Los Angeles-based journalist and pop-culture historian whose work has appeared in L.A. Weekly, BAM, Raygun, Guitar World and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. His first book, Twentieth Century Pop Culture, was published in 1999 by Carlton Books.