When Texas trio Mothership describes its sound as "supersonic intergalactic heavy rock 'n' roll," it might seem like listeners are about to dive into some spacey, straight-up stoner jams. But if that's all you hear during the band's first Miami gig this Friday, you're barely scratching the surface. Bassist and lead vocalist Kyle Juett, his brother Kelley Juett on guitar and backing vocals, and drummer Judge Smith are into all of the good stuff — the blues, heavy metal, punk rock, and psychedelic — all of it worming its way in and out of their records.
The Juett bros started the band in 2010, Kyle recalls. "We just wanted to bring back good rock 'n' roll to this planet." So why the name "Mothership"?
"At that time, heavy rock 'n' roll music was pretty much dormant. There were no bands. I mean, there was a few, but it wasn't as popular as it's getting now, bringing back the '70s-flair rock 'n' roll. We were talking, having a beer, and I said, 'You know what, man? You know what happened? Someone just came and beamed up all that shit because no one on this planet was worthy enough to listen to it anymore. They took it off to another planet.' I think my brother said, 'Let's bring it back,' and I said, 'Well, it looks like we're gonna need a mothership to do that.'"
For the first few songs the brothers wrote, their father played the drums. It was hardly the first time the Juetts' home life influenced their musical growth. "Holidays were great; we would always have CDs in our stockings," Kyle says. "New Year's Eve, my parents would go out and have a great time. I'd stay home and watch my brother and sister, and I would tape the top hundred rock songs of 1998 or whatever... Although we haven't been playing instruments our entire lives per se, music has always been a constant soundtrack in our lives."
For Mothership, every stop on the tour is part of a mass "invasion," a mindset that led to the band's motto, "Trip on the ship." The phrase is especially appropriate for their upcoming jaunt through South Florida. The show at Churchill's Pub this Friday will be the band's first after returning from four days at sea on Shiprocked, the music cruise featuring Papa Roach and Sevendust. It'll be Mothership's first such adventure as performers and the fulfillment of a brotherly vow: Years ago, Kyle and Kelley partied on a Southern-rock cruise and vowed to one day rock a stage on the high seas.
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"At that moment, we were like, We have to figure out a way to do this. That's kind of been the theme with us. We put stuff out there into the universe, and the universe does a pretty good job of giving us what we want if we continue working hard toward it," Kyle says. "I remember in the early days, I was like, Wouldn't it be great if we could play with UFO? And boom. That happened last year in Dallas. Who would've even thought UFO would be around in 2016? And in 2010, how could we have predicted that would happen?"
Mothership is a band out of time. Its influences range from Black Sabbath to Motörhead to ZZ Top. Its album covers are classic throwbacks; the one for the upcoming LP, High Strangeness, features lions, nebulas, and scantily clad women. Mothership is old-school even as the bandmates look forward. On the new album, Kyle explains that like all great covers, there's meaning behind it.
"'High strangeness' is a term coined by a doctor that relates to something he cannot explain. You're talking about a doctor who's seen everything, but he has a man or woman who comes in and says they were abducted or out in the woods one night and it can't be explained... People will understand when they come on the journey and the music comes to life."
9 p.m. Friday, January 20, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission costs $5.