The Jacuzzi Boys on How They Got to Open Up for Iggy Pop
Gabriel Alcala tunes his guitar at Churchill's.
Photo by Monica McGivern
Even though the Jacuzzi Boys have been together since 2007, lead singer Gabriel Alcala refuses to believe that the trio can really already be the Miami rock scene's elder statesmen. "I like to think we're still fresh and new, but yeah, I guess other bands do ask for advice. I just tell them to tour as much as you can and put out lots of records. Do things your own way."
The band started out when Alcala and his Felix Varela High School classmate, drummer Diego Monasteri, started learning Ramones and Stooges covers. "I came up with the Jacuzzi Boys as a joke name. I never thought we'd play more than two or three shows. But we stuck around, and it became a name some people love and some people hate, but it's a name that sticks in your mind." Shortly after adding bassist Danny Gonzales, Jacuzzi Boys were performing in front of one of their heroes.
"We were playing at Sweat Records the same day that Iggy Pop was an honorary guest. I looked out and saw him dancing with his shirt off. I got really nervous — Iggy Pop was our hero. We wouldn't exist without him, but since then, he's been really nice and supportive." Alcala says that over the years, the rock ’n’ roll icon and Miami resident has gone out of his way to give the Jacuzzi Boys shoutouts in interviews and often plays their music on the Iggy Pop Radio Show on the BBC. Still, the Jacuzzi Boys were a little shaken when Iggy invited the band over to his house. "But he was so down-to-earth and such a good person, things got cool quickly. We talked about Miami and our influences."
The Jacuzzi Boys.
Photo by Monica McGivern
Iggy Pop reached out to the Jacuzzi Boys to see if they could open for him at the Fillmore. The boys got back right away with a yes, and needless to say, the band can't wait to provide a tasty garage-rock appetizer to Iggy Pop's main course on April 19. But before that, the group is embarking on a weeklong tour around the Southeast that will end with an April 8 headlining date at Churchill's, which Alcala promises is going to be raucous. "It'll be a crazy night if it's anything like our previous Churchill's shows."
The Jacuzzi Boys will have plenty of new songs to share. Beyond the freshly released, six-song EP Happy Damage, the band is also in the process of mixing and mastering a full-length record with entirely different songs. "Our last one [2013's The Jacuzzi Boys] was more of a studio record, with synths and overdubs. With these, we wanted to get back to basics and make it sound more like our live shows. Most of the songs are pretty rocking, though three of them are more freaky and weird, deranged you've-been-out-partying-until-4-in-the-morning songs." Alcala says the album's producer, Jonathan Nunez, sought inspiration from that hedonistic lifestyle in his Pinecrest recording studio. "He liked me doing my vocals hungover. On the song 'Platform Licks,' that made it sound evil. "
Their most recent video for the title song "Happy Damage" shows the Jacuzzi Boys on a West Coast tour, living the type of hard-partying life that could, in fact, make the next day seem evil, though the video starts wholesomely, with Alcala interacting with an older woman at a desert truck stop. "What are you doing all the way out here?" she asks, amazed to be in the presence of a rock band.
"I was sitting in the backseat of the van and I spilled coffee on the merch," Alcala remembers. "I was in the bathroom trying to wash it out of the T-shirts when she was talking to me." Take note, young Miami bands: Be kind to potential fans, and never leave the coffee stains on your band T-shirts.
Jacuzzi Boys with Wrong, and Chaucer. 9 p.m. Friday, April 8, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is $7.
Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression Tour. 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $64.50 to $105 plus fees via livenation.com.