After a decade of threats from Mick Collins, front man of Detroit’s Dirtbombs, that their “next” record would be their “bubblegum” album, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey has finally arrived! The album consists of 10 new original tracks penned by Mick Collins that pay homage to the sugary, sun-shiny pop rock sound and style originally popularized in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s by acts like Josie & the Pussycats and the Banana Splits, while still maintaining the double drums, fuzzy guitars and soulful swagger that the Dirtbombs are known for.
Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey is being released on October 17 via In The Red Records and Ghettoblaster caught up with Collins to discuss the record. This is what he said about it.
When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?
The first title I worked on, “Hot Sour Salty Sweet”, was given me by a friend in 2010, so I guess you could say that’s when I started writing. However, the truth is the majority of the songs were written shortly before I started recording them.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
Every Dirtbombs album is a concept album. I have a short attention span, and a full album of songs has to work hard to keep me interested. I carry that attitude over into my own recordings, so I work extra hard to make a full-length album as interesting as possible. I figure if *I* wouldn’t wanna sit through it, how could I expect anybody ELSE to?
The “concept” is that this is a Bubblegum album: the Dirtbombs as done by Don Kirshner and Kasenetz & Katz. I wasn’t trying to make a period piece; I was more seeing if I could pick up where bubblegum left off around 1975. I had the benefit of 40 years of hindsight, so I could pick and choose the bits I thought would work.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
“Girl On The Carousel” was an utter pain in the neck, but for purely logistical reasons: you’d think a city with half a dozen orchestras in it would have a ready supply of oboe players to go ’round, yeah? It took me THREE MONTHS to find an oboist! In NEW YORK CITY!
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
When I’m writing an LP, I usually come up with the framework for the songs long before I get to the studio. Even though it might look as if I’m playing fast and loose with the arrangement when the tape is rolling, I always have an end result in mind, so the songs all sound pretty much the way I envisioned them, give or take a “happy accident” or two.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
In addition to the oboist, there were many, many other guests, including my favorite ever, the actual Sun, courtesy the Stanford Solar Observatory. I figured since I was making sunshine pop, what would be cooler than the Sun itself making an appearance?
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
Because of the autumn release of the record, I don’t have any plans to tour on it until the spring (I hate touring in the winter), so by then I’ll have a pretty good idea what songs folks will want to hear. So far, people seem to be really flipping out over “Girl On The Carousel”, which is worrying: how am I gonna find another OBOE PLAYER???