Podcast show notes: The Cutthroat Brothers are a garage-rock band with a swampy blues edge and psychobilly vibe, thanks in part to Jason Cutthroat’s gritty guitar sound and gargled-with-gravel vocals. The other half of the duo is rapid-fire drummer Donny Paycheck. Both are barbers. Donny’s shop is in Tacoma, and Jason cuts hair in Kona. They’ve still managed to rehearse and record these days despite the pandemic.
Their live shows spotlight the band’s possessed Sweeney Todd barber look complete with blood-soaked smocks and crazed stares at the crowd. In 2020, before the shutdown, the Cutthroat Brothers opened for Canada’s punk pioneers D.O.A. at the Hilo Town Tavern. It was a nerve-wracking show, complete with record-level rain pooling in the tent above them and a bunch of pent-up punkers bouncing around like pinballs in the mosh pit.
Since then, the duo has teamed up with post-punk rocker Mike Watt, who once received Bass Player Magazine’s lifetime achievement award, presented by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With Watt’s assistance, The Cutthroat Brothers released The King Is Dead (June 2021) and Devil In Berlin (December 2021).
This podcast interview took place at Willie’s Hot Chicken in Kona. You’ll hear some background noise from the outdoor lunch crowd and a waiter who was eager to pick up Jason’s plate during our interview. As we started to wrap up, a young lady approached Jason and asked if he cut hair – her tech-consumed boyfriend needed something modern looking, and she wanted a straight trim. “I should eat lunch out more often and get more gigs,” joked Jason as the two exchanged numbers.
In this interview, Jason talks about the new album and a track that almost didn’t make the record, a recent show on the mainland, and an upcoming European tour.
Podcast transcript excerpt
Tell me about the new album and do you have any favorite tracks?
Jason Cutthroat: Devil in Berlin is the name of the record and was produced by Jack Endino and Mike Watts is on bass. The very last song on the album is called “Wild Western,” and there’s a story behind that song. We were right writing and recording the album with Jack during the lockdown in Seattle, and we had to leave the studio early because of George Floyd protests, because an alert came through on Jack’s phone, and he’s like, we must get out of here by five p.m., because they’re closing the freeway, I-5. Which I’ve never seen ever happened, right? But the lyrics to this song hadn’t been written yet.
So, “Wild Western” is kind of a reflection of the vibe… there’s nothing really like literal about it, just the vibes. The way that it came out when Donny and I had finished it, something wasn’t feeling right… so a couple of weeks go by, and I get this email from Mike Watt. He said, “I know that you told me to not play on Wild Western, but I really love that tune. So, I played on it and I think it aided and abetted the mixing. And it sounds really good.” The song is now becoming a favorite track for fans…
Connect with The Cutthroat Brothers here: https://www.cutthroatbrothers.com
Featured image: Andrew Kvenvolden
About the author: Steve Roby is a music journalist, an L.A. Times bestselling author, and a Big Island filmmaker. He’s been featured in the NY Times, Rolling Stone, and Billboard Magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.