Local songwriter, singer, and guitarist Doug Walters (a contributor to City Paper‘s music pages) recently unveiled a newly-solidified lineup of Torture Town — one of several original projects he’s been busy with over the last two years — with two sturdy scene veterans. Singer/bassist Dave Dunning (a.k.a. Dave Diesel, of The Diesel Brothers, The Larry David Project) and drummer Jeff Mangan (of The Problems) signed on this summer, just in time to whip up a tight set at Rocktoberfest in Awendaw (see video below).
Walters independently released a Torture Town debut album last year titled Twisted Tales from Torture Town. Much of it pounded with an amusing cockiness, uncomplicated riffiness, and dry production style reminiscent of The Stooges, Kiss, and AC/DC.
Their latest demo “Voodoo Woman,” maintains the vibe and style. “It’s rock-solid, finally,” says Walters. “Where it was just a project before, it’s now a real band. All for one, one for all. It’s kind of the same thing in mind, conceptually, and sonically. The concept is, and has always been, a satirical look at the absurdity of fear in all of its manifestations.”
Here’s what Walters had to say about the new band:
City Paper: Exactly who are these fellows in the new and improved Torture Town?
Doug Walters: We’ve got Dave “The Demon” Diesel on bass and backing vocals and Jeff “The Mangler” Mangan on the skins. And, of course me, Street D on guitar and vocals. My main man, Jeff “Rimshot Caldwellicus” Caldwell, is and will always be a part of it in one way or another — be it on drums, bass, guitar, or helping write, though he is currently taking care of business in Hawaii.
City Paper: Tell us about the band’s recent spate of activity.
Doug Walters: We’ve been writing, recording, rehearsing, and playing a good bit lately, so we’re in full-effect. All of that is going very well and smoothly. We have about nine solid songs demoed right now, and about four more on the way. Both Mangan and I have a studio from where we work. We work well together in that regard. Things come together very quickly. We will lay 10 of the best songs down early next year, when the time is right. We’ll probably keep tweaking and playing these until they’re perfect. I want every single song to knock you out completely — like the first album.
City Paper: How does this lineup’s sound compare to what you did last year with the band?
Doug Walters: Sonically, I try to blend the raw, balls-out punkness of, say, The Stooges, and the tight, organized sophistication and intelligence and of, say, Queens of the Stone Age. I want it to be thick and heavy and groove its ass off — and pepper in some humor, of course. Nothing that takes it self too seriously ever swings. I’m kind of coming from a Stooges/Bon-era AC/DC/Sabbath/Motörhead/Queens of the Stone Age kind of vibe on the writing. We’ll blend all that up and then try to come up with our own thing from that flavor.
City Paper: How do things feel on stage at these recent gigs?
Doug Walters: It really feels good. We are really having fun. This band and these gigs have a very cool, easy vibe. Everything is falling in like we want it to … effortlessly, even. We want to let it happen, and we know it will. We are not attached to any particular result. We don’t have any expectations, per se, but when the intentions are pure and the competence and the inspiration is up there, things seem to come to you. In life and art or your career or whatever, if you’re being real and telling the truth, good shit happens. You just get your heart in the right place and let it happen. It’s going that way. I’m digging on it big time.
City Paper: What else if coming up after this week’s gig at the Music Farm with the Genitorturers?
Doug Walters: We intend to play when and where it’s right. We aren’t sweating the details. That shit will come. We just work on our end — getting our shit tight. Everybody’s a pro. We really show up when we show up, and that’s a great feeling.
Torture Town opens for Tampa-based shock-rock act The Genitorturers at the Music Farm at 9 p.m. on Sun. Nov. 22. See myspace.com/torturetown for more.