Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser

Published on December 3rd, 2017

Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser

The open can of whupass that is Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser urges you to embrace, while you can, the electrical thrill of clutching real vinyl LPs. “Kiss! Madonna, too!/Until you buy your records from a feeding tube,” frontman Ben Katzman wails on “Record Store Babe,” a Mudhoney-churning ode to the indie music shop and the serene goddess therein who holds sway over both merch and clientele.

Katzman tells PureHoney he wrote it about an employee he met while playing an in-store at Fort Lauderdale’s Radio-Active Records: “I was like, ‘Who is this cool person?’ ” The song followed, and then a video shot on premises with said employee featured. “She thought it was hilarious,” he says.

Humor is not something Katzman shuns on self-produced headbangers such as 2015’s full-length “Rok N Rol Community College” and the 2017 six-track “We Bled to Shred.” The ethic is lo-fi DIY and the product — from sounds to words to pictures — is replete with 20th Century signage: Iron Maiden, Cheap Trick, Spinal Tap and more. DeGreaser is like a race car covered in references.

But under the protective coating of irony is a glimmer of true belief that kick-ass, riff-dispensing music has credibility, too, whatever the solons of Pitchfork say. Katzman is likewise kidding-not-kidding about his next album, which he started recording in November in Los Angeles with indie rocker Colleen Green producing.

BenKatzmans DeGreaser by Michelle Primiani

He says it’s “a cross between Van Halen and blink-182 and Men Without Hats.” He also describes it as a reckoning. “A quarter-life crisis,” he says, with songs about “trying to make it all work through the confines of being a 25-year-old” and “living in the Internet age.”

Even at his most antic, Katzman sounds interested in figuring out what’s true and what’s vapor. There’s a searching restlessness in his mobility — Boston, Miami, Los Angeles — and in his accomplishments to date: co-founding a record label (Bufu), managing one of its artists (Tall Juan), and playing in one friend’s band (White Fang) while also making, under his own name, three LPs and an EP about love, high school and rocking out.

Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser performs w. Milk Spot & Glass Body December 8 at Voltaire~ Sean Piccoli

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