Metal musicians make for fun interviews, and Soul Crisis front man Riley Hahn has never disappointed. He mixes bombastic theatricality with a surprisingly sober view of modern metal to discuss how the Oklahoma City band is working to carve out a living and finally make good on the long-awaited album, “Strip.”
“There’s not even one cuss word on the album. Did you know that?” Hahn asked drummer Ben Sprouse.
“Isn’t ‘bitch’ on there once?” Sprouse said.
“OK, there’s ‘bitch,’ but that’s it,” Hahn said. “That’s why there’s no parental advisory sticker on there: no explicit language. Yeah, the subject matter is explicit, but until the (Recording Industry Association of America) comes after me, I’m leaving that son of a bitch off. I asked my buddy about it, and he said, ‘Man, your album cover needs a parental warning.’ But it’s just a leg, ass and some panties.”
Six party burners and one live track are packed onto “Strip,” using aggressive, growling vocals and chomping guitars to keep the energy level high from beginning to end. Hahn said the title track is an anthem to beloved catwalks and stripper poles.
“I wanted a modern ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ Mötley Crüe thing,” Hahn said. “I’ve always been a huge fan of what rock ’n’ roll was. There are certain bands still rocking that theme, but rock ’n’ roll used to be all about going out, partying, having fun, going to strip clubs, drinking with your friends and being reckless. Nobody who went to a Mötley Crüe show would say their concerts weren’t just big fucking parties.”
Hahn admitted that a studio album wasn’t ever a priority for Soul Crisis, whose bread and butter are raging live shows, which is partially why it took about two years from laying down the drums on “Strip” to getting it into fans’ hands. The release date was rescheduled three times, and a remix had to be cut from the disc because of the snowstorm.
In the future, the band is seriously considering putting out live albums only, since the energy onstage — sure to be on display Saturday night at Bricktown Live — is more intense than what can be captured in a studio.
“We are an excellent live band. That’s our strong suit,” Sprouse said. “We’ve had fire marshals arrive to the venue before the show to tell us what we couldn’t do, based on what we did do during the previous show. We back it up live, for sure.”
That intensity has led to a wide listenership, from old-school metalheads to the next generation of thrashers.
“We can’t keep small T-shirts in stock. It’s bizarre,” Hahn said. “These kids just beg their parents to take them to the show, and I’m not talking about 15-year-olds. I’m talking about 10- to 12-year-olds.”