The Upper Crust
Let Them Eat Rock (Upstart)
A late-night interview with Lord Rockingham (guitar/vocals) & Lord Bendover (guitar/vocals)
by Scott Hefflon
live photo by Joey Reilly
An interview with Lord Rockingham
I appreciate your taking time out to speak with me. What are the Lords of the Crust doing tonight?
We’re rehearsing several of our new songs. We have a new song called “Tights, Camera, Action” and new rock video. It’s smashing.
Tell me about it.
Well, it has a verse, and then a chorus. Then another verse, and another chorus, and then the middle section. It’s followed by a verse and a chorus, followed by the end of the song.
Innovative. But what’s the song actually about, if you don’t mind my asking?
It’s about the filming of our video under extremely hot conditions. Filmed in August of ’95, it was. Our record company told us the sky was the limit, so we filmed the video while skydiving over Allston, MA. Most of the video is in slow-motion with us doing somersaults as we come in and out of holding each others’ hands in mid-air over Boston.
Beautifully so, yes. And with our delicate white curls bobbing in the wind. It gets very windy whilst skydiving, I’ve discovered.
Which song is the video for?
The song is entitled, “Play the French Horn, for I’m French and I’m Horny.” Gads, no, I’m only teasing. It’s for “Let Them Eat Rock.”
What other adventures have you to share?
Actually, I’m recovering from a long hiatus that was brought on by a severe case of syphilis which I obtained during my last visit to your New York City. I remember requesting change from the barmaid at the rock club at which we were playing and her hand accidentally touched my hand. I believe that to be where I contracted it. I wasn’t wearing my white gloves.
Ah, this rock and roll lifestyle…
As you know, syphilis brings on insanity. I’ve been completely loony for three months. I’m now completely sane.
A 12-step program to cure syphilis?
Yesterday I was insane, but today I feel wonderful.
And what do you intend to do with your newfound vigor?
We are about to embark upon a great tour. Our plan is to criss-cross this great Democratic land, beginning the second or third week in January, and culminating in Los Angeles in the first week of February. As decadent as California folk are reputed to be, we shalt prove The Upper Crust are yet more decadent.
You crazy Englishmen…
Actually, against popular myth, we are not English. We are all five American, we just have raging English accents.
Your new song, “Tights, Camera, Action,” where did it come from?
The song title was the inspiration of our drummer, Jackie Kickassis. I, however, wrote it using the time-honored tradition of beginning in the chord of A, delving ever so briefly into the chord of G, and returning again to the chord of A.
And what are the lyrics?
“On stage, the lights are bright/Going to be a rock show tonight/Tights, Camera, Action/I hear the roar of the crowd/Four guitars, cranked up loud/Tights, Camera, Action/The red light is on, going to rock until dawn/Come on.”
- There is the sound of the phone slipping from my hand to the floor in a fit of trembling ecstasy.
Who writes your lyrics?
We trade, share and share alike. Sometimes I do them. Sometimes Ben, who I like to call Lord Bendover, does them. We all take our stab at the writing.
What other songs have you been writing?
We have another new rock song entitled “Good Company.” We shant deny it, we are good company.
I take it you’ve been told this before?
Oh yes, many have been the maidens at Rockingham Park that…
Is that the name of your estate?
Yes, it was formerly known as Peckerwood. And Jackie Kickassis’ estate is Bad Manor. The Marquis De Roque’s is called Chateau Surr le Mer, and it’s in the shape of a giant Derby hat. Lord Bendover lives in Allstonia, his summer cottage in Allston, MA. And The Duke d’Istortion has his Camp David.
Where do you find the inspiration for your songs?
I believe Lord Bendover is the specialist in regards to that question.
An interview with Lord Bendover
Cheerio! In what regard might I satisfy your curiosity?
I wished to inquire as to the inspiration of certain songs, “Let Them Eat Rock” for example.
The message is a benign one. Implying that the masses can enjoy the rock ‘n’ roll that they’ve so long been craving, because we shall supply it. As far as any genrefication goes, I would imagine you’d call it hard, hard, hard, hard rock. Extremely hard rock of the most hard variety.
Have you, in your travels, heard of a band calling themselves AC/DC?
Yes, we’ve stumbled across them from time to time. We have a certain admiration for them, I must say. And we’re rather confident that they, too, admire us.
Is there a favorite lyric in “Friend of a Friend of the Working Class,” another favorite of mine, that you’d like to point out?
Off the top of my head, no. All of our lyrics are so utterly amazing, it’s difficult to select a specific favorite line.
Do you think the people of the world are capable of understanding your collective genius?
We are in the process of decreeing a law that states that all people are required to like us. But we haven’t yet managed to ram that through the various Parliamentary bodies of the world.
So you believe that thorough enjoyment of Upper Crust’s music should be the deciding factor between civilization and oblivion?
In a perfect world, that’s the way it would be. In truth, we believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But only up until that point. Liking our music is really a fundamental understanding of the order of things, and of one’s place in the universe.