Bloomington rock 'n' rollers Heavy Mother are a new Midwest supergroup fronted by Eddie Flowers of legendary Indiana proto-punks The Gizmos, guitarist Mark McWhirter and bassist Zack "Chode" Worcel of The Cowboys, and drummer Clark Joyner of Circuit Des Yeux's original lineup. Today, we're premiering the track, "I Know There's No Answer," ahead of the band's forthcoming debut album, This Time Around, out December 16th through Feel It Records. We caught up with Flowers to discuss the formation of Heavy Mother and get a preview of the debut album.
Forming in 2021, Heavy Mother is fronted by Eddie Flowers of legendary Indiana proto-punks The Gizmos, guitarist Mark McWhirter and bassist Zack "Chode" Worcel of The Cowboys, and drummer Clark Joyner of the original lineup to Circuit Des Yeux. Following up on last summer's excellent live tape Live at SSP, which introduced Heavy Mother as a one-two punch rock 'n' roll supergroup out of Bloomington, the four-piece are back today with the first single to their forthcoming debut album, This Time Around, out December 16th through the ever reliable Feel It Records.
The debut single, "I Know There's No Answer," a cheeky nod to the classic Beach Boys song, is a garage raver that bleeds all over the place. The new single is a rollicking slab of the Midwest's finest rock 'n' roll that features a driving punk rhythm section, a blazing guitar solo, and the sheer fury of Flowers' classic vocals. This is a new chapter for Flowers and we caught up with him to discuss the formation of Heavy Mother and get a preview of the debut album.
Paperface Zine: Hey Eddie, it's a pleasure to be talking with you! First, tell me how Heavy Mother formed and how you became involved with Mark, Chode, and Clark.
Eddie Flowers: I saw The Cowboys live a couple of times when they opened for the original Gizmos at our first comeback show in 2014 in Bloomington and then again in 2017 in Chicago. I moved to Bloomington in 2018 after 39 years in Los Angeles and ran into Cowboys guitarist Mark McWhirter right away. He was playing with a band called ABC Gum that also included John Terrill from the early '80s Bloomington band The Dancing Cigarettes. John had played drums with The Gizmos for our first three comeback shows. I also wrote about ABC Gum in my now-defunct VULCHER fanzine. The first time I saw them live in September 2018 at the Bishop here in B-town, I was standing behind the club about to spark up a bowl when Mark walked up with a joint and we smoked that instead. He asked if I wanted to get together and write some songs. Yeah! I wanted to get together a new band and Mark seemed like the perfect dude. We wrote a couple of songs and I recruited Will Staler also from ABC Gum, my new roommate Pat Maloney from Big Hog and The Resource Network, and Connor Martin from Skull Cult. But we only practiced a couple of times. Mark was busy with ABC Gum, and I got sidelined with some crap that didn't work out. We started another lineup in 2020 with Connor and Jacob Yang, both from Connor's latest band The Pops, but that was in the middle of the pandemic and Connor moved to Indianapolis. Another aborted lineup after a couple practices. Finally, in January of 2021, we got together a group with Will Staler back again and drummer Clarke Joyner. We practiced and wrote songs for a few months, but then Will had to drop out. So Mark recruited Zack "Chode" Worcel from The Cowboys to play bass. It seemed perfect. We finally played our first show in July 2021 at The Bishop. Since then, we've played another 19 shows in B-town, Indy, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Fort Wayne.
PZ: How did you settle on the name Heavy Mother?
EF: The name comes from my first published fanzine piece in 1972 for TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE, which was done by Andy Shernoff right before he formed The Dictators. I was about 14-years-old. I grew up in Southern Alabama, and in the spirit of Andy's satirical fanzine, it was about a fictional Alabama biker band called Heavy Mother. 50 years later, Heavy Mother has its first LP — haha! Except the only motorcycle guy in the band is Mark, and his bike sure ain't no Harley.
PZ: I've always there's been similarities between them and The Gizmos. What's been the connection like working together with Mark and Chode and also what do you admire most about this current lineup?
EF: I guess there's a Midwestern R&R spirit or something like that. I'm a lot older than The Cowboys, so I'm sure I see this stuff a bit differently than they do. I admire this band greatly — and I mean the players, not me stroking my ego. I've made music with lots of people over the years. I had a band in L.A. for thirty years called Crawlspace. I've played with lots of great players, but this is the tightest, most coherent band I've ever managed to get together. I think we're all doing what we do best, which is often not the case in bands.
EF: I haven't heard it — haha! Weirdly, I did the graphics for the cassette release, but Gulcher Records boss Bob Richert hasn't sent me a copy and I've somehow managed not to hear any of that comp. But you gotta understand that it's dedicated to songs by the third lineup of The Gizmos, which didn't include me. In fact, it had none of the original 1976/77 Gizmos. We never met those guys until they came to our first comeback show in 2014! The Gizmos' story is very weird and complicated.
PZ: We're premiering the lead single, "I Know There's No Answer" off your guys' upcoming debut album, This Time Around. Tell me how this track came about and what was it like when putting it together?
EF: Mark sent me a demo of a song he had written without any lyrics. I had some words scribbled down and they fit perfectly. Our writing process is pretty simple. The songs have all come together very quickly. Not to sound arrogant, but we know what we're doing and it's not complex stuff. The title of the song came from The Beach Boys' "I Know There's an Answer," but I gave it a bit of negativity — ha! A fair number of the songs from the LP are in direct response to the isolation and frustration of the pandemic lockdown, including this one.
PZ: As a preview to the album, take me through the recording of it. Where did you record the LP and what was the recording and mixing process like for it?
EF: Except for the live version of "Louie Louie," the basic tracks were all recorded on Mark's 4-track cassette in his garage. Then we did the vocal overdubs in my basement. Almost everything was done in one take. Then Mark did guitar overdubs and mixed on his laptop.
PZ: With the album release not too far away, what are you most excited about for its release?
EF: It'll just be good to get this stuff out there after all the time we spent rehearsing and playing shows. I'm as happy with this as anything I've ever done — and I've done lots of stuff!
PZ: Can we expect some more Heavy Mother shows in the near future?
EF: We'll return to live action when Mark gets back from Mexico City in May. It's a little weird that the LP is coming out while we're on a six-month break, but that's how it worked out.
This Time Around is out December 16th through Feel It Records. Pre-order the album here.