Thousand Watt Stare
By: Pamela Jayne
You all know him as the badass bassist from Unwritten Law, Sprung Monkey, Black President, and now Thousand Watt Stare. On the night we caught up with Pat Kim, he was deep into his other latest gig as a tattoo artist at Adora Tattoo Studio in San Diego. Talk about coming full circle, he was blasting some ink on NUG Magazineâ€™s very own Chronisseur, a design that was actually a Pat Kim original from nearly 20 years ago when Sprung Monkey was just getting started. The piece he inked on Hopper is the logo from that first label they worked together on, Black Cat Do Records. As the tattoo gun was buzzing away, we chilled and had a chat with Pat about his new band, Thousand Watt Stare.
How long has Thousand Watt Stare been together? Did you set out to form a band or were you just informally jamming in the beginning?
Thousand Watt Stare has been together for a little over a year now. Basically, TWS happened because our singer Christian and I jammed together for a minute when I was doing a project called Black President. We did some shows with Bad Brains and Suicidal Tendencies. It was a really good time, and Christian and I got along very well, but I had to step away to continue on with Unwritten Law stuff. One day Christian called me up just to jam, so I called in Dylan from Unwritten Law and we just did some impromptu jams. Christian already had a bunch of songs written and ready to go. We started as a three piece and ended up recording at our friend Ken Seatonâ€™s studio in Hermosa Beach; he actually built that studio with Fletcher from Pennywise. We ended up busting out six songs in one session and it sounded so good we were like, â€˜Holy crap, weâ€™re pretty decent, letâ€™s keep going; and Ken was like, â€˜this sounds really good, let me just put it out.â€™ So thatâ€™s basically how we formed. Being in Thousand Watt Stare has also given me a renewed vigor and joy for playing music. Itâ€™s fun not having to deal with egos and all of that. Itâ€™s just nice to get together, jam, and have fun. Thatâ€™s something I havenâ€™t had in awhile.
Why did you decide to become a four piece?
The four piece just happened recently, about a month ago. We realized, playing live, that we were missing that heavier element of the second guitar. Dylanâ€™s brother Trevor is a young little ripper on the guitar, so we had him come in and we were all like, â€˜this is it, we need two guitars.â€™
Youâ€™ve played in bands alongside brothers before, right?
Yeah, yeah. With Steve and Mike in Sprung Monkey. Like them, the Howard kids are just really good guys â€“ it all came together really naturally.
Tell us a little bit about each member and what it is that they bring to the band as a whole.
Our singer, Christian, has a history. He was in The Chelsea Smiles and also before Black President when I had just met him, he had been playing with Dee Dee Ramone for like four years in the Dee Dee Ramone Band until Dee Dee passed away. Christian was up there singing and playing Ramoneâ€™s songs. And what can you say about that, except that theyâ€™re the fuckinâ€™ Ramones. Thatâ€™s punk history! Dylan was the drummer for Unwritten Law; he quit that, so heâ€™s straight Thousand Watt Stare now. Trevor is Dylanâ€™s brother and he played in a band called The Glory Stompers back in LA. I played bass in Sprung Monkey, Black President, Unwritten Law, and now Thousand Watt Stare. I moved down here from LA to go to San Diego State, and thatâ€™s how I met all of those guys. After three years I dropped out of college to pursue music. Itâ€™s cool to see it all come full circle; Sprung Monkey is doing some new stuff and we look forward to doing some shows with them.
What is the origin of the name, Thousand Watt Stare?
Christian is a massive horror movie buff. The name comes from an old actor from the black and white movie era named Dwight Frye. He was in Dracula, Frankenstein, etc., and was known as â€˜the man with the thousand watt stare.â€™ Alice Cooper even wrote a song about him called â€˜The Ballad of Dwight Frye.â€™ When Christian brought up the idea, we all dug it, so thatâ€™s how it came about.
Who writes your material?
Christian had already written most of the songs when we formed. I wrote the title track â€˜Silver Dimes.â€™ Once we get in the studio and start tracking, is when it all really comes together.
Do you have a release date set for Silver Dimes?
Yeah, October 18th is the official release date.
Do you have a favorite song or lyric on Silver Dimes?
Thatâ€™s one of those things that always changes for me. This album is on the heavier side. There are songs that are much heavier than those on the EP. I love the heavy stuff and we have really heavy songs like â€œMessenger,â€ but I canâ€™t say I have a favorite because it changes all the time.
Do you have plans to tour anytime in the near future?
Right now weâ€™re doing mostly local and weekend shows. We all have jobs and Christian and I both have kids, so weâ€™re not in the position where we want to jump in a van for months on end.
Youâ€™ve been touring for a long time. Do you look forward to going on the road? How is it different now that you have a family?
It is much different now. I have to be way more selective. Itâ€™s all good though, I do weekend gigs wherever we can get to â€“ most are local. We do a bunch of LA shows and weâ€™ve been doing a lot more San Diego shows as well, thatâ€™s been really cool.
What label is Thousand Watt Stare on?
Hardline Entertainment. Itâ€™s run by our friend Ken Seaton.
Which bands, from the past and/or the present, would you compare Thousand Watt Stare to?
From the present, The Jim Jones Revue, which is a band I really dig right now. Thousand Watt Stare is like if you were to put together AC/DC, MotÃ¶rhead, and Lords of the New Church with a dash of Hanoi Rocks. Itâ€™s that traditional, straight up rock and roll vibe, like old Aerosmith with some creepiness in there too.
Have your past experiences in the music industry influenced how you approach Thousand Watt Stare?
Because everyone in the band has been on a major label at some point, weâ€™re all a lot more laid back about it. Weâ€™re not out chasing a dream to be rock stars. Weâ€™re not searching for anything but to record and play music and have fun. Also, I have basically done a full career change now. Iâ€™ve been playing music for over 15 years as my main job, so now tattooing seems like a natural progression for me. I am so excited to be here at Adora Tattoo Studio with Glen Sluder teaching me. Itâ€™s cool to be in an environment like this. Even after we close, we hang out and paint or just shoot the shit. Itâ€™s important to be around someone I have respect for and learn from everyday.
You are also known for your artwork. Did you do the artwork for Silver Dimes?
Yes, I did work on it with a couple of other artists. Dylan and Trevor have another brother who is an amazing artist; heâ€™s actually working on the new Mastodon cover as well. We traded it off every couple of days. I also brought it in here (Adora Tattoo Studio) and had Glen tag it up as well. Itâ€™s cool to have other artists to be creative with.
Who is your target audience? Who do you think will dig Thousand Watt Stare the most?
Rock and Roll traditionalistsâ€¦People who want unpretentious music.
Whatâ€™s it like to play live with Thousand Watt Stare?
Well, Iâ€™m used to playing with Dylan in Unwritten Law; he is a terrific drummer. Christian is just a beast on guitar. Trevor is a ripper, too. I truly love playing in this band; that is something you canâ€™t fake. Itâ€™s cool to know that at the end of the day, you can still throw down with the best of the best.
Who are you a fan of, musically?
Iâ€™ll always have a love for metal. You know, when you guys walked in here today, I was blasting Iron Maiden. I listen to Slayer, and like I said before, Iâ€™m really into The Jim Jones Revue. Itâ€™s like Chuck Berry on meth, really blues driven rock and roll; itâ€™s really intense.
What sets Thousand Watt Stare apart from other bands out now?
Weâ€™re really honest in what we are doing, but itâ€™s not like weâ€™re trying to reinvent the wheel or anything. Weâ€™re just doing what we enjoy and I think people can see that.
What is in store for Thousand Watt Stare in the near future?
Well, â€˜Silver Dimesâ€™ is being released on October 18th, and we have video and photo shoots planned. Weâ€™re playing at the Whiskey coming up in October with Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks. We have a Troubadour show opening for D Generation, and weâ€™re also doing another show with D Generation at The Casbah here in San Diego at the end of this month. Also, weâ€™ll be playing with Sprung Monkey on November 12th at Brick by Brick in San Diego.
Anything else you want to tell NUG readers?
I hope you guys dig Thousand Watt Stare; hope to see you out at one of our shows, and if youâ€™re looking for some ink, come see me at Adora Tattoo Studio in San Diego.
For additional photos, tour dates and songs: www.thousandwattstare.com; www.reverbnation.com/thousandwattstare; www.facebook.com/thousandwattstare; www.hardlineent.com; www.facebook.com/HardlineEntertainment
To book an appointment with Pat or Glen: http://www.adoratattoo.com
7151 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115