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Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Interview With A Very Genuine Artist.

BY Angelo Ruggiero
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"... It all just boils down to working out heartbreak and hard emotions. I guess that's probably everybody. Rock n roll is an whiny teenager at heart." 
- Tracy Chase, October 2016.

I don’t know what it is, but Tracy Chase's voice has something magical that I can't resist. Her heavenly melodies are just what everybody needs for falling in love. Tracy’s music has gone forward over the years. It has softened, it has gotten sweet, it’s been enriched by glamorous vocal harmonies. Most recently, she has written, recorded and produced all the tracks from her self-titled solo debut. Tracy Chase, a wonderful album released in 2016 on Burger Records, also available to be purchased on Bandcamp.

Based in Glendale, California, Tracy Chase is an American rock musician, well known for her singing voice and guitar playing in the Lipstick Pickups, garage punk band from Anaheim, CA. After a successful split 7" with the Bikini Bumps, Lipstick Pickups did another 7’’ in 2003 on Kapow Records, and a 12" EP on Radio Beat. The song that grabbed me the first time I heard it was "Better Than You" from the Lipsticks Pickups single on Kapow. I felt like that voice was out of this world. Then, after that, I became a fan of the band, and of course of Tracy.


Following several compilation appearances, Tracy Chase came back in 2009 with a new project called Schatzi and Hazeltine, which also included Lipstick Pickups’ bassist Vanessa Gonzalez. They only released one captivating single, the Happy Birthday Baby 7’’ that mixes Tracy’s natural sensual vocals with Girl Group sounds.

Subsequently, Tracy and Vanessa issued possibly the best Girl Group album around, as Schlitzie in 2013 on Burger Records. 

In May of 2016, Tracy Chase's solo album was released. This event motivated me to interview her and write about her.  She was so kind to answer some of my questions. Enjoy!

ANGELO: What inspires you to compose your songs?

TRACY: Jeez, I dunno… Whenever I set out to write a song with a certain aesthetic it turns out sounding nothing like whatever I had intended… I've realized that I have no control and it's all an accident.  I think I'm going for a dark wave girl group kind of thing and all of a sudden I've got Tiny Tim tracks on my hands.  What are ya gonna do...

ANGELO: Please tell us about your writing! Where do your lyric ideas come from?

TRACY: Someday I hope to be able to say that I make music inspired by something more thoughtful or philosophical, but really it all just boils down to working out heartbreak and hard emotions.  I guess that's probably everybody.  Rock n roll is an whiny teenager at heart.

ANGELO:  Who are your favourite female singers?

TRACY: I have a deep and completely unironic love for Britney Spears. She's vulnerable, sincere and not that talented musically, but has a ton of style… Beyond that, my favorites are not that original… If I could have anyones voice in the world it would be a really hard toss-up between Ronnie Spector, Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde. I like how all of their voices are imperfect and husky and rough and sweet at the same time.  I don't have that, but lord knows I tried to cultivate it by smoking too many cigarettes and drinking too much for way too long.  That was dumb.  It didn't work. Actually, I take it back.  If I could have anyone's voice it would be Shannon Shaw from Shannon and the Clams.  She gives me chills.  She's amazing.

ANGELO: Who is the creator of the artwork on  the Schatzi & Hazeltine single’s handmade covers?

TRACY: Vanessa Gonzalez and I worked on that together. She was also in Lipstick Pickups and we made the Schlitzie record together too. She's the best person and friend.  Anyway, we made the artwork together and our friend Lauren Everett- a really talented photographer- took the photos.

ANGELO: Tell us some of your musical influences, and genres of music that you prefer nowadays.
TRACY: That's a hard question because I have a terrible memory.  I fall in love with things and forget about them a week later.  It's a bummer… I guess I would list Shannon again.  And Seth Bogart. He's got such a solid pop sensibility and his aesthetic is weird as shit and I love it.  There's this woman named Sarah Mary Chadwick and she's incredible. Maybe she's from New Zealand… She's been in awesome bands but her solo stuff is heart breaking and dark and raw.  I think my favorite band is the Cleaners from Venus. They trigger some weird set of emotions in my brain, like a childhood I never had and can't get back to… that sounds so emo… I'm gonna go with Britney. Britney and Primus.  They are my favorite.

ANGELO: Whose is the black dog that appears on
the Schlitzie Bandcamp page?

TRACY: That was some random dog.  I'm sure he was a nice guy.  Vanessa sent me that photo from some rooftop party she was at downtown and i thought "yep. That looks about right. That looks like how I feel in most social settings… In over my head and looking for the exit sign."

ANGELO: Do you have any plan for a Lipstick Pickups reunion or a new release by them or by Schatzi and Hazeltine, and Schlitzie?

TRACY: Oh, no.  I realized I have a one-and-done pattern with projects.  I really enjoy making a thing, feeling out a mood and then moving on to something different.  I don't think that's necessarily admirable- it's pretty typical of the disposable-culture we live in I guess… also, I'm lazy and have a short attention span.  Which I guess is saying the same thing twice.

ANGELO: Do you have any 2016 touring or show
plans to support your solo album?

TRACY: No… I made that record really as a way to work through some heavy life stuff and while it feels good to have finished it and put it out, I'm more happy to put it behind me and move on to better things.

ANGELO: Your songs have eventually evolved into master pieces like the ones on your latest solo release. Please, let us know more about these beautiful recordings?

TRACY: Jeez Angelo, thank you… I think that might be too generous, but I'll take it.  I made that record in my room, recording into the built in mic on my computer.  I had intended for them to be demos and made about 30 songs over the course of a couple of years and thought I would re-record the ones I liked best.  I had been listening to a lot of Guided by Voices and Cleaners from Venus and realized how much I loved their messy lo-fi sound and then realized- I'm too lazy to relearn all of these songs… So I had my super talented friend Jesse Novak remix them and clean them up a lot and sent them to my friends at Burger.  I grew up with those fine gentlemen.  They were very kind to put it out.

ANGELO: Thanks Tracy! I really love your sincere answers.

TRACY: Thank you for all the kind words!

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