They were first introduced to me a few years back when I was visiting my old buddy Dean Rispler. What struck me first was just how flippin' nice Merica Lee and George Michael Jackson are. And yes, you read right: George Michael Jackson. Best name combo ever. When I saw them play for the first time just a few blocks away at 37th & Zen, I became a lifer then. What the two of them have is so special; a rock 'n' roll tour de force on four legs. Merica pounds on the drums and George wails on guitar, while delivering raunchy-seventies-meets-gospel-tinged vocals. And they manage to get super sweaty and almost, well...naked, by show's end. See for yourself on May 6 at the Taphouse in Ghent with The Electric Chairmen.
RZO: What is a Naked Hero?
GMJ: Turkey, chedder, lettuce, tomato, onion with a shit ton of mayo and Sriracha.
RZO: How did you because the dynamic husband and wife duo that you are, in a music sense?
GMJ: We're releasing The Naked Heroes comic book this summer, it's all in there.
RZO: Something to look forward to for sure! When and how did you become acquainted with Dean Rispler and Drug Front Records?
GMJ: We were playing a show at this local venue here in Brooklyn called The Trash Bar and Dean happened to be DJ'ing that night. He caught our set and dug it and came up to us and said we should make a record together. He had produced some bands that we dug like Bad Wizard and The Little Killers so we went into the studio a few months later and recorded the 99 Diamond record. Not too long after Dean started Drug Front Records and put out our record as a limited edition picture disc.
RZO: What have some of your highlights been as the Naked Heroes? Maybe that night you played in Norfolk? Perhaps that incredible tour you did in Spain?
GMJ: That last show in Norfolk was a total blast. The tour we just did in Spain and Portugal was probably the biggest highlight. We spent an amazing three weeks over there traveling, playing and eating our way through two countries! We met some amazing gracious people, ate like kings and queens and got to play almost every night. We were pretty surprised at the reaction we got over there. You know, we would do our usual 30-minute, bang-bang set and they just weren't having any of that! They wanted more so we extended our set and would play for over an hour on a lot of nights. We plan on going back over there in the fall when the new record comes out.
RZO: Tell us about the making of the "Sheila" video. That looked like a ton of fun!
GMJ: We shot the majority of it right here in our neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We would shoot on the weekends when everyone was free and it probably took about a month to shoot. It was fucking hilarious to be out on our little neighborhood street with Merica in a skin tight cat suit, carrying a huge chef's knife! The best was when we were shooting the scene where she stabs and kills our buddy Garrido in the street and this was happening around 10 a.m., and all the sudden we hear, "Hey! Hey down there!!" We look up and it was this old lady yelling from her window. We were thinking, fuck, she is freaked out cause Merica is walking around at 10 in the morning with this huge fucking knife. The old lady goes "Hey, where did you get that outfit!?" That's New York for you.
RZO: Who are some contemporary bands that we should be listening to now?
GMJ: Runny & MRC Riddims.
RZO: What is a little known fact about each of you?
GMJ: Merica has a hardcore addiction to fantasy fiction books like "Lord of The Rings" and shit. She is like some acne-ridden, 15-year-old boy. She gets really pissed off when she finishes one and doesn't have something new to read. She is reading "Game of Thrones" right now, which is supposed to be incredible. This is all going to come very much in hand when we decide to venture into our prog phase. I can snort dental floss up my nose, have it come out my mouth and then proceed to floss my face.
RZO: What does the future hold for The Naked Heroes? More recordings and tours?
Please join their facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/99diamond
GMJ: We just finished up our second album which should be coming out this summer. Our good buddy Benjamin Marra who did the illustrations for the first record is doing the artwork again and is also doing a Naked Heroes comic book which will come with the vinyl. We're really amped, we are huge fans of Ben's work, and have always wanted to be immortalized in comic book form!
RZO: For those that haven't seen you live yet, what can they expect at your Norfolk show?
GMJ: Two people having the time of their fucking lives.
RZO: Anything else you want to tell the HardcoreNorfolk.com readers?
GMJ: Never fry bacon naked.