The Rotten Apples: Beach Party at the Orchard
Every band has influences, and The Rotten Apples deal with theirs. "You try being next to Ryan onstage with a dress on," says Brandt. "I think our influences come a lot from outside music," says Guercio. Favorite bands change from time to time. Elvis, Cream, The Coasters, Soft Machine, Wanda Jackson, Betty Davis, George Harrisontheir taste is impeccable. "There's a store in Allston that sells all kinds of records," says Guercio. "We just go in their and get all kinds of crazy stuff." They have a wide palette now. Brandt likes top forty, and Waters likes muzak. "I like how we influence each other as people," says Guercio. Discriminating as they are, though, they are open to anything new to them.
From left: Muffy Brandt, Keith Waters, Ryan Riehle, Paul Guercio
Their mad sound is a mystery, sometimes lyrical, sometimes noisy. They do tune their guitars, but it doesn't always sound that way. Sometimes they sound like Sonic Youth. They get all kinds of comparisons from their audience. "I love it when they do that," says Guercio. "Every time we play at a show there's always someone throwing out a bunch of band names they think we sound like. I can see all of them. Anyone who says The Shaggs or The Rolling Stones, I'm just like, 'Yup.' Then I get some obscure ones. 'You guys sound like Royal Trux and The Doors!' It's also cool because anything thrown at us is also stuff we listen to."
The Rotten Apples listens to everythingand everyone. Their ideal is a community-based one. Though they might love The Who as much as anyone, rock monarchies are not for them. Neither are the rock-bottom fates of so many stars. The four practice healthy living with occasional puffs of peach tobacco out of a hookah, and they are avid bicyclists. Like any self-taught band their learning curve has been steep, but there is no stopping them. They are an essential part of the American rock and roll ecosystem and never stop seeing themselves in the context of rock history's big picture. They are a big picture themselves, a bay window on the current scene of so many great grassroots bands whose music will still be good decades from now.
The Rotten Apples , As Is (100% Breakfast!, 2011)
All Photos Courtesy of The Rotten Apples