Sinner Sinners is one of those bands you really should be listening to—even though you’ve probably never heard of them.
Thanks to tours with Eagles of Death Metal and the reunited Refused, however, the group is starting to get some much-deserved attention.
Sinner Sinners will be playing on Saturday, April 16, with the Mojave Lords (featuring Eagles of Death Metal guitarist Dave Catching), Boots Electric (featuring Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes), Fatso Jetson, Chris Goss and others at Pappy and Harriet’s. It’s very likely this show, co-presented by Rancho de la Luna, will sell out.
Originally from France and the Netherlands, Sinner Sinners now call Los Angeles home. The brutal punk-rock sound has earned the band accolades, and both the video for the song “Modern Man” and the album Cardinal Sinshave received write-ups in publications like Rolling Stone and Maximum Metal.
During a recent phone interview shortly after returning home to Los Angeles from a European tour with Eagles of Death Metal, Sinner Sinners frontman Steve Thill said the fact that the band is not currently signed to a major label has not been a problem.
“When we released the first demo, almost right away, we got a deal with Universal Publishing in France,” Thill said. “They signed us, and they were looking for a label for us, and they couldn’t find one. So Universal couldn’t find us a label, and we figured that finding one ourselves would be even harder. … We just figured we’d put (our album) out ourselves, and it’s been doing good. I think the one thing a label can really do for you is help financially to record and (with) PR stuff, but we pay for recording, and we have a PR agent to help promote the album when it came out. We don’t get all of the cool magazines, because it’s a self-release.”
Thill’s wife, Sam, has incorporated the keyboard into their brutal sound, which reminds of another well-known punk band.
“When we started the band, we were really into The Damned, and I think that’s where it comes from,” he said. “We’re more into their goth era, or more like the Machine Gun Etiquette album. It’s one of my favorites, and when we first started, we were playing some of their covers. It was going to be like Sisters of Mercy kind of stuff, with a drum machine, but during the first rehearsal, we (realized we) wanted a drummer.”
How did the Thills choose Los Angeles as their new home?
“We came over for vacation first, and came back to record a few times,” Steve Thill said. “We began staying longer each time, and we figured we should be here, because there’s more happening here musically. We eventually moved here. We come from a really small town in France. It’s cold all the time, and it’s raining all the time. Los Angeles was pretty appealing to us.
“We were in our hometown in France last week while we were on tour, and it was so fucking cold.”
Both Steve and Sam were shocked when they heard about the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris—and horrified that it happened during a show by some of their friends.
“Nothing like that ever really happens there, and you don’t ever hear about gunshots or anything, because it just doesn’t happen,” Steve Thill said. “When we heard about it—that it was an Eagles of Death Metal show, that our friends were there, and we had just played with the Eagles a month before—it was completely insane. It’s one of those things you think only happens to other people. You hear about things like that on the news, and you never think it would happen to your friends.”
It is no surprise that Sinner Sinners are taking part in the Play It Forward campaign, which features various bands recording a cover of the Eagles of Death Metal’s song “I Love You All the Time,” to help raise money for the victims of the attack.
“We thought about it, and we thought—especially being friends of Jesse Hughes and his girlfriend, Tuesday Cross; the fact we’re neighbors and have been friends for the past six years; and we’re from France—there’s no way we couldn’t do it,” Steve Thill said. “It would be fucked-up and insulting if we didn’t do it. We got together, and we did it, and it was the first time we were playing music after it happened.
“For us French people after that whole thing happened, especially being here, we couldn’t really get a feel for what was going on, and we were watching the news as much as we could to figure out what was happening. It was probably not the best idea, because the news channels here are always pushing everything and keep showing the same videos all day, and ‘Terror! Terror! Terror!’ According to our friends there, people never really stopped going out and stopped going to bars or clubs, even after the first few days after the events. The attacks were as bad as they were saying, but the state of Paris wasn’t as bad as they were saying. When we went back three weeks ago, people were actually going out of their way to go to shows and were super-pumped about going out.”
While the Sinner Sinners are currently working on a second album, Steve and Sam are happy to be returning to the desert for a performance at Pappy and Harriet’s. The last time they played in the desert was in September 2014, at the Palms in Wonder Valley, with Jello Biafra and Spindrift.
“It’s weird, because when we started the band in France, we were following the whole desert-music scene and listening to those bands we’re playing with,” Steve Thill said. “We’re the outsiders, and it’s really an honor to be on that (Pappy and Harriet’s) show—and scary at the same time.
“Last time we played in the desert was really weird with Jello Biafra and Spindrift. It was definitely a strong memory, and I remember we saw some scorpions when Jesika Von Rabbit was playing. It was a really rad experience. You hear about the desert on TV and never think you’ll find yourself in one, and even though we’ve been here a few years, it’s really strange for us.”
Sinner Sinners will perform with the Mojave Lords, Fatso Jetson, Chris Goss, Alain Johannes, Boots Electric and Strawberry Smog at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.