Catch up with San Luis Obispo-based band Hayley and the Crushers' Hayley Cain and listen to the punk rock trio's debut album, Jewel Case, out now digitally and on cassette.
What brought you together?
Hayley: In his daily life, Reid Cain (bass player) has a comic book shop in our little town of San Luis Obispo. Gabriel Olivarria (drums) would come in with his metal friends (Gabriel was in a metal band called Wolfcross at the time), and Reid would just yell, "METAL DUDES" whenever he'd see them. Then, we went to see Wolfcross play at a crappy bar and were transfixed by Gabe's drumming theatrics. He was always spinning his sticks and pointing at the audience and really hamming it up. We ate it up right away - we both love the idea of creating a persona and unleashing it on the world. Reid and I met in 2011 when we became fans of each other's bands in SLO. I was playing banjo in a bluegrass project and he was doing his classic country band, Red Eye Junction. I tried out for Red Eye Junction and our first practices became "dates." We got married in 2013 and we still are pinching ourselves, because we have so much fun and both of us believe that "the one who dies with the most records wins." We've recorded about five albums together and we're always making up dumb songs every day about our dogs or world events. Our relationship has always been based on making art, and seeing each other's visions through. In 2012, he was like, "let's start a punk band," so we did. Living in a small town, we got to play with ridiculous acts like FLAG, Jello Biafra, Agent Orange, Adolescents, The Weirdos - people we had idolized as kids growing up in the punk scene; that was our band, Magazine Dirty, which had a really sloppy, sleazy late 70s punk feel. He played rhythm guitar and I played lead, but we were more "off to the side." That band gave us a taste for blood in terms of what rock n roll can do and how it can move people. Everyone loves rock n roll. Everyone wants a hot danceable beat you can just sweat to. With Hayley and the Crushers, our newest project, I am in the spotlight and I am the band leader, which is newer to me. It feels right at the time in my life and where we are in society - the power of women is ripe. The boys - my crushers - have allowed me to just fly. As long as I feed them pizza and Coke Zero, they pretty much do my bidding.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
Gabriel grew up with metal through and through. He more recently has thrown himself into the punk realm and even the pop realm - as long as it has a good beat and "doesn't suck," he'll give an open mind. He works at our record store in town, Boo Boo records, so he is ridiculously eclectic with his tastes, which range from GG Allin to Roky Erickson to Peach Kelly Pop. Reid is a weird guy, his tastes are so surprising. His favorite band is Neurosis, but if you look in his record cabinet, you'll see classic country like Waylon Jennings, Madonna, and 1960s exotica. I grew up on a solid diet of classic gold oldies like Leslie Gore ("It's My Party and I'll Cry if I want to"!) and 80s punk like X, the Stooges, and the Go-Gos. It was those female-led bands that really captured my imagination as I started playing guitar at 12, but once I became a teenager, it was all about trying to replicate furious chords of Black Flag. If it was loud and powerful, I wanted in.
What words would you use to describe your sound?
We flip the script on the traditional three piece with massive, fuzzed out "lead bass" riffs and a shimmering, metallic rhythm guitar that sounds like broken glass washing up on shore. Gabriel is the master of balancing between "dance party" and "mosh pit," creating a swinging, animalistic beat that beckons you to dance, even if it's a weeknight. I like to say we sound like Joan Jett on a surfboard. One time, a friend's mom said we sounded like a bunch of demonic Go-Gos. That was the highest compliment.
Could you tell us more about your new album Jewel Case and what listeners can expect to hear?
It's got its sexy sloppy points ("Backseat Love") and its '60s prom slow dances ("Glitter and Glue"); it has its surfy sparkle and garage-inspired moments ("Gidget's Revenge"/"Siren's Call"); but, under it all, there is a vulnerability of a real beating heart. I don't sing "pretty," I sing true. This album is me playing dress up and then turning around and tearing it all down. Three chords and the truth is all I have ever wanted to convey. There's no fat on this record - it is 100 percent fun, 100 percent rock n roll. It represents us and what we want to put into the world. IF IT'S NOT FUN, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT? We released this one on cassette because cassettes are cheap, fun, and cute. Kinda like our band.
Is there a track off that album you'd say you were most excited to share with fans?
"Glitter and Glue", because it plays to my Leslie Gore fantasy, and it starts with a really good line, which is actually true: "She said you look like a child prostitute, I said mom I look cute." The other song would be "17 Strum", which I wrote for my 17-year-old self. I dedicate this album to all the girls with busted up skateboards and shitty guitars, dancing in their basements. You are the next Blondie, the next Loretta Lynn.
How would you sum up Jewel Case in one sentence?
Glitter, studs, leather and a whole lotta Coke-a-Cola Slurpee melted on top.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
In this day and age, being powerful and owning your own creative power is subversive, doubly so if you're a woman. Having fun, in general, is subversive. Society wants you to be its pawn and do its bidding. That's lame. This album says screw that. You are a bad ass and we want to party with you.
Is there anything you want to add?
Buy our cassette and support cassette culture! We also make fake 8 tracks and have pog download cards. Next up, wax wheels covered in hot pink glitter. Seriously though...it doesn't matter how you consume it as long as it hits ya in the heart. XO!