With their first UK support tour under their belts, even though it was somewhat mismatched (DISNEYLAND AFTER DARK) I mean, come on whose idea was that?), and their hard-hitting first album Green With Rage, just released on Sony Music, it was time to get to grips with Doug and get the whys, wherefores, 'who the hell do you tour with next' lowdown on this far-out and fucked-up hardcore band.
NAKED TRUTH is a strange entity, and with the unlikely bringing together of the four members - Doug hails from Detroit, drummer Bernard from LA, bassist Jeff from Harlem, and guitarist Jimmy from Savannah - the band is the end result of a high energy collision of influences and upbringings. Belting out raw powered, low tolerance, biting music that bows its head in many different direction, including hardcore, thrash, funk, and Rn'B, NAKED TRUTH raises a bloody great big middle finger to apathy and indifference.
Having travelled just about as far as possible across the States to join up, the next illogical step was to be relocated to the UK, and by all accounts, manager Bernard Rhodes played a huge part in this.
"Yeah, it happened basically because of Bernie. He's done bands like THE CLASH, DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS, and THE SPECIALS, so he was the perfect person to deal with us because he'd been in the scene when punk was trying to break. And different bands he's dealt with have had different hills to climb and he's helped them to it. Also, most of the response we've had has been from England. London's now become our home. We really dig it!"Well, it's certainly our gain, and the States' loss. Green With Rage is their first LP and includes some damn fine and ruthless songs, but only six of them. Why did they decide to do this mini-LP for their first?
"It happened really because we got such a good response over here from the record company people to our demos that we decided to go ahead and put them down on the album, and we also wanted to start off and make something affordable for everybody. We want to get it to the people."Green With Rage is available at the ridiculously good price of £3.99. Another factor that the guys in the band feel very strongly about is probably the one foremost in most people's minds at the moment, in this recession: Money.
"It's always about money. Everybody needs money. We need it to make the LP for people, but that shouldn't be the extent of record companies' responsibilities to the kids. It shouldn't just be about fuckin' money! All over there's a recession, and it's like why not create a good vibration, you know, something during troubled times that can make people feel that it's not really that bad. That might be wrong to make people feel that it's not that bad when maybe it really is, but I'd rather feel good whether it was bad times or not."A lot of people still don't see you as a typical metal band.
"Yeah, we've had that happen strictly because of the Black thing," sighs Doug ruefully, "but we are, and will remain the heaviest. We can't be related to any of them. We're going in a different direction, even from BAD BRAINS, and they have a lot of hardcore in their music. Even in the way we write our hardcore riffs and the speedier, thrashy stuff, it's just totally different to music that a lot of thrash bands are listening to, so that'll be good, something new."
The more I delve into this problem area, the more adamant Doug become.
"There's a big problem, as I've often been asked 'How do you feel about you four Black guys playing this kind of White rock music?' It's definitely not a White or Black thing. Rock music of all music, seeing as it's a hybrid-like thing and changing all the time, shouldn't be stuck down on this or that, or a colour thing. I just call it all rock n' roll. I don't even like the term thrash."This puts them firmly alongside the likes of ICE-T, a man Doug applaudes warmly, PUBLIC ENEMY, and the like, in their musically, inter-racial stance, a fact which I'm sure will not be lost on many in the time to come.
Alongside using the music to vent their agression and opinions, their lyrics are noticeably harsh and unrelenting.
"That comes from the streets. We all come from that kind of 'Hey, fuck you' background, just simple, plain, and upfront, and that carries throughout the music too. Jimmy writes all the music and gives me a tape, and I hide myself away for three months and work through the lyrics. A lot of our outlook is anti the system, but that's not where the motivation derives from, it just comes from our aspects."Glimmerings of the onstage banshee are coming through the relaxed exterior of Doug Watts! This is very much a 90s band, with their open-minded attitude and aggression driving them forward out of the pack of average bands rampant as the moment. Although the sound they have concocted is very ambitious, wanting to reach all audiences, there is definitely a niche being carved for this aptly named quartet, NAKED TRUTH. So, what does the immediate future herald for them?
"We're doing this new stuff, giving everybody a little bit of something more to check, and we're going on pushing the music to the radio (a medium over here which Doug criticises, bemoaning, quite rightly, the absence of rock and metal on daytime play). We're then going back to the States to start our American press. We're due to come back over here in February and then start an extensive European tour, hopefully with someone more compatible this time! And within that we're going to be making an LP, which hopefully will hopefully will be out by late summer."Definitely something to look forward to in the coming months, a band that's guaranteed to rattle a few cages on the way!