The Dr. Martens Presents Tour continues this week with a stop in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia natives, Beach Slang, are playing a free show at Dr. Martens Philadelphia this Thursday, October 12th. We spoke with lead vocalist and guitarist, James Alex, about teenage feelings, tattoos, and his solo project, Quiet Slang.
We hear people like to tattoo your lyrics on their body. What’s your favorite tattoo you’ve seen?
It’s wild, yeah? The first Slang tattoo I ever saw said “Punk or Lust” and I half-flipped, half-apologized and all-the-way gushed. I mean, look, I wanted to be a writer way before I ever picked up a guitar. Words are great, big, beautiful things to me. So, yeah, someone making them permanent means it all. A favorite … hmmm … I don’t know. They’ve all smacked me in the guts pretty good. Let’s call it a draw.
We’ve noticed you use the word weirdo as an adjective vs. a noun. What does it mean to you?
It means power. It means acceptance. It means left of the dial. It’s where conformity gets snuffed and interesting hums. It’s the stuff that matters.
On the title of A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, we have a question: do you think teenage feelings ever go away?
I hope not. I mean, that’s where all the good stuff gets sparked, you know?—wonder, danger, freedom, daring, love, heartache, searching, volume. Stay plugged into the stuff that woke you up. It makes life make sense.
How has Quiet Slang influenced Beach Slang?
I pushed passed where I usually hang out and went at making something I didn’t know I could. There’s an importance to that, you know? To not growing too comfortable. So, yeah, all those new chord voicings and weirdo harmonies and experimental thinking, that stuff is already sneaking into the stuff I’m writing for LP3. Avant garage schlock or something like that.
What’s your favorite song you cover (ours is “A Million Miles Away” by the Plimsouls. Valley Girl forever!)
Right on! That song, that band and that movie forever, for sure! We covered all of “Pleased To Meet Me” once and that was a real alright time. Lately, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Jonathan Richmanso, right now, I’m pretty up on “Roadrunner”.
Tell us about your first pair of Doc’s.
The first show I ever went to was The Ramones. I was a little pre-teen nothing kid just trying to figure things out. And that was the night that cracked it all open. All those older punks with mohawks and pierced faces, Black Flag tees and Doc’s—I belonged, finally. When I got home, the first thing I asked my Mom was, “Can I get a pair of Dr. Martens for my birthday?”—black smooth. I wore them into the ground. And then bought another.