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Last summer, on a warm August night in Wooster, Ohio, a festival called the HighVol Music Fest rocked those in attendance with the sounds of Billy Moris, Every Mother's Nightmare, Lola Montez, and others. One standout that evening was a gritty, funky, blues-tinged outfit known as Babylon Shakes. The band, only six days ago, released their newest offering on HighVol Records called "Exile To The Velveteen Lounge," and singer/guitarist Chris Clark called to offer an exclusive interview with Blasting News writer, Samuel Di Gangi.

How did the band get its name?

Samuel Di Gangi: So, the question that likely comes up often...the name. Is Babylon Shakes a biblical reference or does it have another meaning and history behind it?

Chris Clark: No, it isn't a biblical reference.

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I was writing a song when I was between bands and the song, Babylon Shakes, was a punk song influenced by Hanoi Rocks. They had "Shakes" and song titles like that and it was a song name that came from that. Then we decided that it would make a good band name.

Speaking of influences, the last time that we spoke, at HighVol Music Fest, I mentioned that you sounded a lot like a modern version of Faster Pussycat and the Black Crowes. Who or what are some of the other influences that you have which show up in sounds of Babylon Shakes?

We all like Faster Pussycat and are probably even bigger fans of The Black Crowes. Also, The Rolling Stones, The Faces, and bands like that.

Those roots show, too. Very nice. So, with people expecting some of that on the new offering, "Exile To The Velveteen Lounge," what surprises or things will they not expect to hear have been incorporated into the music?

I think that our lead-off single, "Making A Million" has a real Aerosmith swagger to it, we are very proud of that song.

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There is also a ballad called, "Stars In Your Eyes" that is a big departure from what we normally do, but it came out really well. Then there is the very funky "Sin Parade" that has a very "Wake Me When It's Over" kind of vibe, speaking of Faster Pussycat.

Oh, that was the one with "House Of Pain" on it...

Yes, very funk and groove oriented. There is a song called, "Hard Times" on "Exile To The Velveteen Lounge" also that, to me, has a real Hanoi Rocks or Michael Monroe feel to it.

The fun antics of 'Morty'

At one point in the video, a roadie is seen handing everyone their gear for stage, basses, guitars, etc. Then, drummer Jeff (Morty) Mortimer walks up and is handed merely a set of drumsticks. His expression is priceless. That was my favorite part.

Oh, he is a character and we wanted to capture the personalities of all of the members.

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As anyone who has seen Morty in action, sticks fly in all directions, and his stage presence and antics are priceless. Even when the sticks get away from him, he never seems to miss a beat. It adds a lot live.

Jeff has done that for as long as we have been together with him. He often gets told that he reminds them of Zoltan Chaney (from Vince Neil and Slaughter).

Us fans of "The Mad Drummer," Steve Moore, love him. People will have a chance to catch his wild yet accurate playing along with all of those funky sounds on tour. Where can fans expect to see Babylon Shakes now that the new disk is completed and released?

We will definitely be in the HighVol summer bash again this year! The exact date and location will be coming soon. Starting in March, we will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, we will be in Nashville, Tennesee, and we are booked on RockLanta, too.

After that, we have some northeast dates. We will be in New Jersey and Deleware in April and May. We will also be filling in blank spots along the way.

Our website will keep everyone informed about those dates, too.

Heading south like that, you may run into HighVol vets, Lola Montez, again.

We would like that. We have actually talked about doing some dates with them again. We would love to.

Okay, my famous "last question." What question have you not been asked that you expected or what would you like to say to everyone reading?

Oh, wow. That is a really great question, actually. Hmmmm..., well when I was younger, I used to read about people, "If you could write a song with anyone, who would it be?" I would like to write a song with Michael Monroe (from Hanoi Rocks). I have always been a really big fan of his, he is a huge influence on me.

After that, we said our goodbyes and the interview concluded. However, this is just the start. "Exile To The Velveteen Lounge" is expected to do very well, and the diversity and growth shown in the new material will likely excite long-time fans of the band while reeling in new ones with each stop.

So, let the drumsticks fly, Babylon Shakes is back on the road!