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It’s Murder On The 405

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Murder on the 405, band

Murder On The 405 with, l-r, Jason Shuping, Joey Stiletto, Michael Catherwood, and Mike Bouchard. And don’t forget Elvis and Johnny. Photo by Geoff LeBeau

“Joey tried to kill me in the back of the Bandpax limo coming home from a party in Hollywood. We were hanging out with the guys from Bandpax and they have this bitchin’ ’84 Cadillac limo… We went to some event where there was free whiskey, so we were all hammered… I was talking about how much the south sucks and Joey took offense (I mean, the dude has Georgia tattooed on his stomach)… He put me in one of his stupid UFC headlocks and I hit him with a beer bottle… All at 70 m.p.h on the 405.”

Such are the fond memories of Mike Bouchard, Hermosa Beach resident and founding partner of the Gasser Lounge in Redondo Beach, on how the local rock group Murder On The 405 came about its name.

Joey Stiletto’s only comment is, “You sit in traffic on the 405 and you tell me how you feel.”

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Murder On The 405 is a South Bay band that operates within the beefy realms of hard rock and heavy metal – or somewhere in between and outside. They are Mike Bouchard (drums), Joey Stiletto (bass, team mom), Jason Shuping (guitars), and Michael Catherwood (vocals, host of Love Line on KROQ). Stiletto says they’re simply “bass driven rock n’ roll,” while Catherwood suggests “it’s where Black Flag and Black Sabbath collide,” or possibly “southern rock with punk urgency.”

 Bouchard explains, “We’ve been called all kinds of different styles. It’s hard. It’s rock. It’s heavy rock. It’s driven by bass and drums. All the songs are written on bass, and that comes through in the sound – our music is heavy, but Joey’s so goddamn funky that you can’t help but move your body to the music. Now that we have Jason [Shuping] ripping on guitar, we’ve definitely taken on a more metal sound… Then you top that off with Catherwood’s Danzing-style vocals and you’ve got something pretty unique.”

At any rate, it’s a high-energy, driving rock n’ roll that can possibly be compared to Queens Of The Stone Age, Mastodon, The Bronx, Clutch, and Danzig.

 Catherwood continues, “It’s so different than most modern rock music… It’s very groove-based and raw, not so compressed and sharp like most bands. We have such differing styles and ideas that it’s great to just go and hope for the best.”

While Catherwood pulls more from early California hardcore roots, and bands like Faith No More and Fugazi (as well as the aforementioned comparisons), he recognizes that the other guys are considerably influenced by country and southern rock.

“I love Johnny Cash,” says Bouchard. “That guy can play three chords over and over and then lace a vocal line over it that tells the story of your life. There’s nothing in the songs that most musicians can’t do, but yet no one can… Like you may be able to play the notes, but you can’t capture the feeling.”

All the same, and southern roots aside…

“Guns N’ Roses is the greatest rock n’ roll band of all time!” Bouchard continues. “I always say ‘Appetite For Destruction’ is our White Album. So many guys growing up wanted me to play Zeppelin and Beatles songs, and I was like, fuck you guys, let’s play Guns N’ Roses motherfuckers! Joey [Stiletto] and I learned almost every track on ‘Appetite’ note for note, and it really carried over when we started writing tunes for Murder.”

Murder On The 405’s songs deal with a lot of depression, alienation, and the struggle of the human experience.

 “What I like about it though, is the music still has an uplifting vibe laid against the darker themes,” says Catherwood. “I want enjoyment and relatability to be found. So many bands take themselves so seriously… We’re just beating on instruments, not saving the world. I would love for people to truly find solace in coming to a show or hearing our songs… If we can put a smile on your face or make you bob your head and jump around, even for just a moment, that’s all I need.”

Bouchard adds, “Like Mike [Catherwood], I like to write about depression and hate and religious and political hypocrisy. The portions I contribute come from my creepy, Jim Henson-style world that I get my creative force from… I like creepy shit, and if Joey [Stiletto] writes anything that doesn’t have a dark undertone in it, I make him change it. You gotta get the bad feelings out of you, and releasing your black innards unto the world in a beautiful piece of art is probably the most considerate thing you can do… Otherwise you’re riding around in your car screaming at everyone who changes lanes in front of you or forgets to use their turn signal…

“Joey [Stiletto] writes most of the music, so I guess you’d have to ask him about his motivation. (I’d guess it’d be weed and pizza, because those seem to be what he worries about all day.)”


 “Everyday life. Things you can relate to.”

He also hopes to one day write a hit song that gets played in every strip club in the world. As for the rest of Murder On The 405’s future, the band has found it difficult to allocate time to finishing and releasing a number of recordings they’ve been working on; but they will get out. They strive to continue making music together and releasing their stage presence energy upon psyched-out audiences. They’ve recently opened for Strung Out, and just played with Unwritten Law at the Key Club in Hollywood. This Friday night they play Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach.

“Joey [Stiletto] and I always talk about conquering the world,” admits Bouchard humorously. “In the meantime, we’d like people’s faces to melt off when we take the stage. (Thank God I have drums in front of me, otherwise I’d look like a hobo having a seizure on stage.) If the audience gets half the fun and therapy out of it that we do, then we think we did our job.”

Murder On The 405 performs Saint Rocke this Friday, Sept 16 at 9 p.m. with local punk rock band Bandpax, and local electro-synth-dance-rock enigma Fartbarf. For more info on Murder go to www.Facebook.com/mot405. ER


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