From Garage Band to Japan

Author and bar owner P Moss’ newest exploit takes him across the pond

P Moss is not normally this giddy. Although he’s often had reason: He’s written screenplays, self-produced a local television show (TV/OD, in the 1990s) and is a published author (Blue Vegas, CityLife Books, 2010). The 58-year-old provocateur is also responsible for the world-infamous punk rock dive the Double Down Saloon (both in Las Vegas and in New York City), and his dream bar, Frankie’s Tiki Room.

But even Moss finds his stint as a guitarist and frontman for the Bloodcocks UK an improbable reality. As Moss tells it, the origins of this upstart Ramones-meets-Cramps garage trio are typical. In early 2009, he and his ginger-chewing, drum-banging sidekick, Louie “The Letch” Thomas, were sharing a drink. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we started a band?” Louie wondered.

A short time later, Moss, a music fan—just check the curated jukeboxes at his bars—but not a musician, bought a guitar in London. Soon after, the two enlisted self-proclaimed “band whore” and Vegas scene legend No. 3, guitarist Rob Ruckus, whose continuing 16-year stint with The Vermin presents plenty of opportunity to practice his always entertaining and occasionally nude stage antics.

Moss scribbled some songs. After an impromptu practice on March 8, 2009, in a Bowery Hotel room in New York City, up popped the Bloodcocks UK. Fast break to today, and the band is fresh off a 10-day tour of Japan. Yes, Suntory whiskey was involved.

“There is a gigantic niche for us there,” Moss says, alluding not only to Japanese music fans’ love of surf and garage music, but also to the tale that Tokyo’s Shibuya District has the highest concentration of vinyl-selling record stores in the world. Along for the ride was a crate full of “lo-fi and horribly underproduced” Bloodcock 7-inch records (a four-song wailer on Las Vegan Darran Wells’ Wood Shampoo label). Oh, and the band’s fourth stage member, Annie, a blow-up doll.

The transition from bar owner to published author to lead singer for a touring garage band reads like, well, a screenplay. “From start to finish, none of it sounds real,” Moss says. And yet it is. The tour, secured by the contacts Moss has made with the Japanese garage bands he books at the Double Down, was a success.

“The people there flipped for us,” Moss says. “By the time we did the last couple shows, people were yelling ‘Where’s Annie?’ before we even hit the stage.” It didn’t hurt that the band screamed naughty chants in Japanese.

Eventually, the band may return to Japan, maybe play England, but there were and are no plans for shows stateside, leaving locals who long for a listen to search YouTube and Facebook for tour videos, or eBay for one of the 7-inchers the band sold on tour.

“We’re not looking to get a record deal or become famous,” Moss says. “We just want to have a good time, and have the pride of a job well done.” Surprisingly, that’s something Moss says he’s just beginning to appreciate.

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