THE TOGAS with TEENAGE LOBOTOMY,
WOOLLY BUSHMEN and THE MOLD
Wed., February 15 at 7 p.m.
Nobby’s, 10 Anastasia Blvd., St. A
Tickets are $10
Cover bands have traditionally been the scourge of rock ‘n’ roll. Either young musicians start out shyly plying other people’s tunes before finding their voice, or aging veterans resign themselves to getting by on a heaping helping of Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Sometimes, though, the right people, skewered influences and oddball perspectives can turn cover-band fodder into pure musical gold. Such is the case with garage-rock supergroup The Togas.
Made up of San Francisco psych master Ty Segall, brassy doo-wop doyenne Shannon Shaw of Shannon & The Clams, Philip Sambol of Texas raw R&B traffickers The Strange Boys, and Lance Willie of Memphis blues-punk ragers Reigning Sound, The Togas formed specifically for the Second Annual Bruise Cruise, which sails out of Miami on Feb. 10. Accordingly, the band’s repertoire is heavily influenced by boat drinks, nautical lore and the high seas — and their Feb. 15 mooring in St. Augustine comes with a beach-themed invitation to wear bikinis, bathing suits and, yes, togas, while enjoying The Ramones, Gene Vincent and Redd Kross cover sets from various Sunshine State bands.
Folio Weekly keelhauled Shannon Shaw into talking aboutThe Togas’ unusual formation, Danzig duets and the joy of multiple side projects.
Folio Weekly: How did the four far-flung members of The Togas get pressed into action, Shannon?
Shannon Shaw: Ty called and invited me when I was actually throwing up in a toilet in Seattle while on tour. Seems like a good way to start a band, right? I live in Oakland and Ty lives in San Francisco, so we play shows together now and then, but when St. Augustine sees The Togas perform, we will only have been together for a few days.
F.W.: Has the full Togas lineup had any time to rehearse?
S.S.: It’s going to be a total fly-by-the-seat-of-our- pants thing. Ty and I hopefully will get a chance to practice, but you never know if it’ll work out. It’s just sloppy, cruddy, bow-bow-woo rock ‘n roll anyway — you can’t polish a turd, nor do I want to. It’s gonna rule, sir.
F.W.: What’s your set list look like?
S.S.: It’s all covers, mostly oldies with a few rad punk stuffs tossed in. It’s comprised of songs we choose, and actually guests of the Bruise Cruise will get to pick some as well.
F.W.: How excited are you for this second garage rock journey onto the open seas? Were you on board last year?
S.S.: It’s my first time, and I’m mega-excited to see Neil Hamburger be funnier, pumped to seeThee Oh Sees because they are always spot-on, and of course you can’t go wrong with Miss Pussycat’s puppets.
F.W.: This is your third trip to Florida in six months — you were here with Hunx & His Punx in September and Shannon & The Clams in October. You must like our fair state.
S.S.: I love Florida. Every show I have played with Hunx or Clams was insane and overrun with enthusiastic, hilarious weirdoes, and I expect nothing less for The Togas’ shows.
F.W.: How hard is it for you and the other Togas to add another band to your list of side projects?
S.S.: I think it’s great to have side projects if you’re constantly overflowing with material that doesn’t work with your original band. It’s easy to be spread too thin, but creating with different people can really help you make something you never fathomed. I highly suggest people work with others to keep things fresh and wild.
F.W.: How long a run do you think The Togas will have?
S.S.: Who knows? I hope it goes on forever. We’re each insanely busy, and none of us even live in the same dang town, but I have a good feeling. Hopefully, we’ll be popping up in your grandma’s treehouse, grandpa’s garage, neighbor’s attic and backyards far and wide.
F.W.: This being an election year and all, what’s your take on the current political landscape?
S.S.: I’m about as politically informed as a weasel wearing Christmas stockings — all I know is I want health care for everybody, more money in schools, and to do a duet with Danzig.