April's Motel Room, Black 14 (Immortal/Epic 1994) -- April's Motel Room, the pride and joy of Simi Valley, have released their debut album in Black 14. With their focus on rock and metal and the strong songwriting of Tom Kelly, Black 14 is only a springboard to bigger things.
The five members of April's Motel Room, (Tom Kelly on vocals and guitar, John Baffa on percussion, Mike Hoolihan on bass, Sam Nickell on guitar and vocals, and Arron Zidenberg on drums) have been playing together for several years.
The group admits that they started making music out of boredom as much as anything else. "Running away, that's the whole theme of our music," says leadman Kelly. "A confusion and lack of faith. Every generation that grows up looks at the next and says, 'Oh, they're just a bunch of slackers.' The values that people had in the 60s are now just a bunch of crap, which is sad. The whole 'love thing' went out the window and now we've got a whole generation of kids with no identity."
The efforts of producer Matt Hyde (who worked with Porno for Pyros) in diversifying the band's sound are laudable. From the more popish "Get Down Jerry" (about Kelly's first Grateful Dead show) to the metal-influenced "Riverside" to the swamp-metal "Chrysanthemum," there's a fair range on Black 14. Says Kelly, "We have a lot of different styles of music, that's what's cool. A lot of bands, you know what their next album's gonna sound like. I have no idea what our next song is gonna sound like."
In the end, the driving force behind Black 14 is the band's lack of identity. Though living in a land of plenty, the group has seen the darker underside of society. Speaking of their Simi Valley home, Sam Nickell says, "There's nothing to do, it gave us a lot of time to practice. If we grew up in Newport, we might be surfers." Kelly adds, "California's not just this fun-loving, ecology-minded crap. I get a lot of inspiration out of hardship. When things are really going bad for me, writing's usually going really well."
Nobody said rock was always fun. The boys in April's Motel Room are dislocated, and they want you to join them. Take the trip on Black 14.