Baton Rouge’s Motherlode creates a ruckus
By Kasha LishmanPosted Jul 11, 2012
After I park in the street in front of a house with no driveway, a lanky guy with long blond hair calls out to me: “The door’s back here,” he says, “I know it’s confusing. This used to be an office.”
He’s wearing a black Rukus shirt (that looks like it’s one size too big), skinny jeans, and thick, grey skater shoes. He looks more like a punk hard-rocker, not a guitarist for a band that says jazz and Led Zeppelin are their biggest influences.
Brossi Macaluso introduces himself and leads me to the main band area where his band, Motherlode, practices. Bright-colored Orange brand amps are scattered around. Macaluso falls into a plush tan couch and I take a seat on the piano bench. A stoic-looking guy sits hunched behind the drum set toward the center of the room, not saying much: a polite, “Hi.” Through the power of deduction, I learn that he’s Richard Jamieson, bassist and man of few words.
“We’re waiting for Tweak and Mike,” Macaluso says as he goes into the next room and some soulful blues begin playing from the sound system in the next room. Everyone sits around quietly, Macaluso strumming along with the music that’s creeping into the room, Jamieson looking around silently, and me sitting awkwardly, waiting patiently.
Drummer Lil’ Mike Harris arrives a few minutes later and shakes my hand politely. He’s the newest member of the group after replacing Lawson Webb, the band’s former drummer of three years. Webb was featured on the band’s first album, “Get Loded,” and Harris replaced him about a year ago.
“We met him through playing shows,” Christian Thevenot tells me later in the day. When Thevenot, vocalist front man, arrives, the silence that had overtaken the room is gone completely. He’s a whirlwind of tan energy, rushing to change his clothes and making jokes the entire way. I even hear Jamieson cracking his silence in Thevenot’s presence.
Macaluso and Thevenot are cousins and joke around like brothers, while Jamieson, they tell me, has been a close friend since school. We are now all sandwiched in Macaluso’s air conditioner-less Chevy, heading to a photo shoot in an area that Thevenot argues, “is not ghetto.”
Macaluso puts on some Alice in Chains and says, “Listen to this tie in!” From the back seat, Thevenot and Jamieson eagerly agree.
The three friends formed Motherlode in the summer of 2008 with Webb, and produced their first album, “Get Loded,” with him. Now they agree that the addition of Harris really made the band. Thevenot sings along to Alice in Chains while talking in a country accent. I can’t tell if it’s real.
The ride is filled with laughing, cursing, and kidding around, as well as the occasional banter about different types of music. We arrive at our destination and Harris, who had arrived separately, tells me that he’s leaving soon. In the meantime, we watch Thevenot and Macaluso cut up together. The duo contain themselves for a few minutes as they stand still for photos, but once the shoot is over they’re back to their antics.
We arrive back at the studio, and after complaining about being too hot in the car, Thevenot is already shirtless by the time the door opens. We head back to the practice area and he throws on a guitar, walking and strumming around the room as Macaluso and Jamieson take their places back at the couch and drum set respectively.
“Raw, nasty rock and roll!” Thevenot exclaims when asked about Motherlode’s sound. “But really, like, Led Zeppelin mixed with jazz and blues. The Roots is a big influence, too. Not the band, the music.”
Harris, after having to leave to go play at a church function, adds over the phone, “Anything that sounds good, too.”
Motherlode is working on their second album with Padded Cell Studios, with a sound that’s described to me as “a mix of Led Zeppelin and today’s rock sound.” The band blends soulful blues with a modern rock drive, creating a sound that’s all their own.
Brossi mentions their Northgate Tavern show scheduled for July 14 and laughs, “Yeah, lots of partying backstage. Tons of naked women. General partying.” Thevenot and Jamieson laugh as well, and Harris says, “No, no, we just chill.”
July 14 at 10 p.m.