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Q&A with Foxy Shazam

Foxy Shazam plays Sept. 3 at Bumbershoot.

Repeat after us (as loud as you can): “That’s the biggest black ass I’ve ever seen—and I like it!” Foxy Shazam’s latest single, “I Like It,” delivers one of the most memorable choruses in recent history—all bombast, libido and comedy. That trifecta also sums up the overachieving Cincinnati quintet, a band crusading to rekindle rock’s original emancipatory fire. Their fourth album, Welcome to the Church of Rock and Roll, was produced and recorded in London by the Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, but where that band’s anthems were inherently tainted by mid-’00s irony, Church retains an earnest awe in the music’s power to move. We spoke with keyboardist Sky White while Foxy Shazam was stopped in Destin, Fl.

You guys have some history in Seattle.
We love Seattle. We’ve played El Corazon 10 times probably. We recorded a record there a long time ago. It wasn’t a fancy studio or anything, it was Casey Bates’ house, where he had a studio. We lived in Seattle for a month or so while we recorded. I loved it. I miss the teriyaki. You guys have teriyaki like nowhere else. Makes no sense.

Last time you were here you played an all-ages show at the Vera Project.
We always wanna play to the all-ages crowd. Seems like the correct thing to do. People that care about music are usually younger people. Kids love music more than grown people. If you have half your crowd not being able to get into a show, it feels not cool.

Your music is theatrical, almost cartoonish. Is that what kids expect in rock ’n’ roll these days?
I don’t think kids expect that in rock ’n’ roll because it’s been decades of this lax, lazy form of rock. There’s such a severe lack of passion—it’s shocking. People have been won over by a lot of mediocre stuff. It’s an honor to play in front of people and an honor to play music. You should work your ass off and care about every note you play and every second someone’s watching you. We do every possible thing we can to make the best stage show we can, do everything we can to make our records feel as good as they can.

Our extreme version of everything—our extreme look, stage persona and sound—it’s what we feel like we’re supposed to do. It’s what rock ’n’ roll is supposed to be like.

Please describe the biggest black ass you’ve ever seen.
There are many big black asses that come out to shows and I believe many of us have personal experiences with them—but not as dirty as you might believe. We’re mostly tame fellows outside the stage situation. All my guys are married or engaged.

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