Without context, one might take the Roaring 420s for an obscure ’60s California rock band, lost to history and recently rediscovered like some kind of rare record-store find.
In truth, the German band does revivalist psychedelic garage rock with elements of surf rock and pop music. It’s most often described as a “marriage between the Beach Boys and the Velvet Underground.” The band is on its first U.S. tour and stops Saturday, Feb. 13, at Cellar Door in Visalia. South Valley rock band Macondo opens the show.
I emailed with the band’s songwriter/guitarist/sometimes electric sitar player Florian Hohmann to find out more about the Roaring 420s.
Q: Let’s start with the basics. Who does what in the band?
A: We have Lulu on drums, Martin on bass, D.A. Humphrey on organ and guitar and I’m playing guitar and sitar. Though I couldn’t bring the sitar on this trip. But Matt Adams from the Blank Tapes was so kind to lend us a Coral Sitar. And we all are singing also.
Q: Give us some history on the band.
A: We started out around 2010/11 as a three-piece with Lulu, Martin and I. We went through a couple of guitar players. There’s also one still back home who couldn’t come. We met D.A. last year when we were touring together with the Blank Tapes through Europe.
Q: The band is obviously influenced by ’60s rock, which is seeing a revival of sorts in the U.S. Is it the same in Germany?
“You Can’t Get Out Alive” is available now on It’s a Gas Records.
A: It’s definitely happening around Europe. We’ve just come back from a tour in Spain and there’s a huge scene of vinyl collectors and psych heads. It’s also a thing in Germany and it’s happening in a lot of other places right now. It’s really interesting to see how it all develops.
Q: Is that music that you grew up listening to?
A: It was sort of like that. I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, so ’60s rock always seemed to be a nice alternative to all the reverbed snare drums and synthesizers. I’ve also never liked the radio-friendly productions of later rock bands. I prefer 8-track sound.
Q: I assume that the 420 in your name is a pot reference?
A: Yes, it’s a pot reference. And besides that there’s a strip club in San Francisco that almost bears the same name. There’s not much to add. It’s a little inside joke.
Q: Tell us about this U.S. tour. Is this your first trip oversees?
A: As a band, yes. Some of us have been here before, and D.A. is originally from Orange County. For some, it’s the first time. The shows have been going well. We’ve only played L.A. and Santa Cruz so far but it was cool. Very nice people.
The Roaring 420s
- 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13
- Cellar Door, 101 Main St., Visalia
- Tickets: $5
- 559-636-9463, www.snvfoundation.org