Having fun, fun, fun on stage
The Wake Up Suzzys know how to enjoy rock 'n' roll.
"Fast rock 'n' roll influenced by old American movies, big money and Fender guitars" is how members of The Wake Up Suzzys describe themselves.
"It sounds better in English [than in Hebrew]," says Yotam Schlezinger, a vocalist and guitarist with the band. "We sat in the studio, resenting the fact that we had to write something to explain ourselves."
The three other band members agree with him that "fun, fun, fun" would be even more precise.
The Wake Up Suzzys, whose next show will be on July 1 at the Abraxas Bar in Tel Aviv, was formed about a year ago by Schlezinger, 30, and two members of his previous band, the Buffalos - bassist Dan Carpman and drummer Ran Jacobovitz (who has also performed with Daniela Spector, Rotem Or and on other projects ), together with guitarist Zohar Ginzburg.
The band's name is a paraphrase of the Everly Brothers' 1957 hit "Wake Up Little Susie." Aside from rock 'n' roll in English - that is, 1950s music - The Wake Up Suzzys emphasize harmony and a cappella singing influenced by the Beach Boys. They are also influenced by Americana and vintage pop, but are not primarily a folk or country group; they take their inspiration from cultural icons as varied as James Dean and Coca Cola.
They have released one recording to date, which can be heard and purchased at http://thewakeupsuzzys.bandcamp.com/album/the-wake-up-suzzys, and are currently working on new material and shows.
Schlezinger says the band was formed following a rehearsal to which he had invited the others in order to play his songs. "We had so much fun playing together that it would have been a shame if all we did together was upload a few songs to the Internet. We wanted to perform this material and said to ourselves, 'Okay, let's become a band.'"
At first Schlezinger penned all the songs, but now they write together. "I think our songs have matured lately," he says.
The question is whether more grown-up songs are necessarily good for a band that has based itself on having a good time. "We've learned to work with each other. That's what more mature means," Ginzburg says.
Schlezinger adds, "We're still silly."
"Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot when it comes to labeling us, but the most recent songs Yotam has written are a little more serious," Jacobovitz says.
Schlezinger agrees: "We have a song called 'Dancing Queen' that's pretty heavy. We haven't yet managed to get it off the ground. And no, it's not a cover of the Abba song."
He thinks the band's best song was written a month ago (it has not yet been released ). Unlike the other so-called serious songs, this is a fast punk piece in which all the band members are "most in their element," in his words.
Do you think Israel lacks bands like yours?
Jacobovitz: "There are other bands that concentrate on having a good time, but some of them take this approach to extremes, which can turn them into a sort of joke. Suddenly all you are left with is a group that fools around and music takes a back seat."
Ginzburg says: "We don't start out with an intention to make people laugh, but simply have a lot of fun and sometimes it comes out in laughter on stage. The songs aren't infantile or anything like that, but in the spirit of those who create them."
One of the things that Schlezinger loves most about the band is that on stage he and the others allow themselves to dress like their alter egos and run wild. Ginzburg says they allow themselves this freedom at rehearsals and not only in their shows.
The secret of the band's power is indeed in their social dynamics. All during the interview it was obvious that they have developed a shared sense of humor, and it was easy to see how comfortable they are with each other. The test will be whether they can maintain this good spirit, a kind of whiff of promise, on stage.