By Laura Anne Rowell
Voodoo Glow Skulls are a band that hales from Riverside and have been around since 1989 and are still touring in places like Australia, the UK and yes, even here in the good old USA. They are one of the few groups around that still believe in the ethos of D.Y.I (Do It Yourself) which was the primal cry of early punks. When Voodoo first began they used nothing more than a 4-track recorder and a few cassette tapes to promote their music.
Voodoo started in the backyard by brothers Frank, Eddie and Jorge Casillas and their longtime friend Jerry O’Neill. Since then the band has gone through a few band members, but the brothers have remained in the center of the band to keep Voodoo going. Eddie Casillas took time out from the road to answer a few questions.
CV Weekly: How did you get your start as a musician?
Eddie Casillas: I started playing guitar after my older brother got a bass that our parents bought him and I just started playing around with it. Eventually I got a guitar from my parents.
CVW: Were you naturally good or did you struggle to pick it up?
E.C.: I still struggle with it to this day so no I definitely was not a natural.
CVW: Who were your early influences?
E.C.: The first bands we heard and influences were/are rock bands like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Motley Crue. We were also into stand- up comedy records like Richard Pryor and Cheech n Chong.
CVW: When did you know that you wanted to be a professional?
E.C.: We knew we were professional when record labels signed us and tours started to happen.
CVW: How did you put the band together?
E.C.: The band was formed with 3 brothers and a childhood friend so it was easy to start playing and get it together. Horn players have always come and gone and we just place ads and hold auditions.
CVW: Where is the band now?
E.C.: The band is scattered all over parts of So. California and Arizona and not really playing much anymore.
CVW: What kinds of places are you playing?
E.C.: These days the band plays bars and small clubs mostly. Sometimes we get bigger opportunities and play festivals. Some of the biggest shows have been festivals in Europe and the US for maybe 30,000 people. We’re only playing selected shows and dates.
CVW: Most memorable musical moment to date?
E.C.: Having the Rev. Horton Heat guest on our Symbolic record and teaching him one of our songs was a highlight.
CVW: I know the band just released a new record in January titled “Break the Spell” which is available on Itunes. What goes in to making an album?
E.C.: Lots of rehearsing, planning and patience goes into making records.
CVW: Thoughts on where your music is heading; has the band’s sound changed since you started, and do you see it developing further?
E.C.: The band doesn’t plan on releasing anymore music or developing.
CVW: If you could be the opening act for any band out there, who would it be and why?
E.C.: Iron Maiden or Fishbone would be fun.
CVW: Tell us something even your biggest fans don’t know about the band.
E.C.: Keeping a band together is hard and a struggle, we won’t be around forever.
Voodoo is one of the few good artists that have that rare gift of combining lyrics in both English and Spanish. When asked which they prefer the band agreed that English was easier to rhyme with, but they are happy to sing in whatever language they can. However, as a shout out to their Mexican heritage, Voodoo is known for wearing Mexican wrestling masks in the beginning of each performance.
If you get a chance to check out this band in action you can’t help but feel energized and alive after the show. They are the type of band that gets your adrenaline pumping from the moment they step onto the stage. After 25 years in the business they are still energetic and give their all every time. It’s hard not to pogo or slam during their live show.
Voodoo Glow Skulls will be performing at the following dates:
June 22nd- Indio, CA at The Date Shed. (VGS, Knock Out, You Know Who and Buddha Bomb)
June 23rd- Riverside, CA at Mission Tobacco Lounge. (VGS, Knock Out, Buddha Bomb and Penetrators)
June 24th- Fullerton, CA at SlideBar! (VGS, Knock Out and Argyle St.) FREE Show
You can find info on the band at www.voodooglowskulls.com or twitter@glowskulls and facebook.