The Erotics are back in analog.
Since frontman and only remaining original member Mike Trash first formed the Albany hard rock group in 1996, they’ve released eight studio recordings — soon to be nine with the five-song EP “Boulevard of Choking Screams.” The new record comes out Friday night at a release show at The Dublin Underground, also featuring New York City’s Sex Slaves and fellow Albany punks The Blisterz.
For most of the band’s career, the albums were recorded using analog equipment. As the band progressed and digital technology became more prevalent, they switched to computers and ProTools as the studios all switched over — 2005’s “Rock ’N’ Roll Killing Machine,” 2007’s “30 Seconds Over You” and 2009’s “Rubbish” were all recorded on computers.
The band became accustomed to the easy editing that comes with computer recording — where entire musical passages can be cut-and-pasted together.
The Erotics CD release
with The Sex Slaves, The Blisterz
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Dublin Underground, 1 S. Pearl St., Albany
How Much: $5 or free with Jane’s Addiction ticket stub
More Info: 426-9647, www.thedublinunderground.com
“We used to just sit there — ‘Can you just make that do that? Like, go there?’ ” Trash said, sitting with drummer Johnny Riott at a bar in Albany. “We got spoiled.”
Adjusting to technology
When it came time to record last year’s full-length “Today the Devil, Tomorrow the World,” the band needed to find a new studio after their usual studio, Scarlet Ace in Northborough, Mass., shut down. A couple of Trash’s friends recommended legendary New York City hardcore producer Don Fury, who opened a studio in Troy in 2008. Fury’s studio is all analog equipment in ADAT machines — still digital, but no computers. As the sessions with Fury got under way, the band realized that they had some practicing to do.
“We liked the fact that he did all analog, which not many people do anymore,” Trash said. “Which also meant that we had to be good. . . . You can’t make mistakes and have a computer fix it.”
“With drums, [Fury] can fix a stick lick, but he’s not gonna re-paste in a whole chorus that doesn’t sound right,” Riott added. “You have to be on the money. It was a little nerve-wracking at first going in, but Don makes it really easy.”
When it came time to record “Boulevard of Choking Screams” last year, the band automatically went with Fury again. The resulting tracks capture the trio — Trash, Riott and bassist Billy Beer — at their rawest, with Trash’s Ramones-style buzzsaw guitar and growling at the forefront.
“I think people get too focused on making it perfect in the computer, too, and then it kind of loses the emotion,” Riott said. “Especially for the kind of stuff that we do, [this is] a little more real.”
Albany native Trash formed The Erotics after his glam rock-inspired group Lethal Lipstick disbanded in New York City in the early ’90s. In the late ’80s he began delving into older punk such as the Ramones and the Dead Boys, and wanted to combine elements of that sound with the hard rock groups he grew up on.
“I think a lot of fans say, Ramones-meet-Mötley Crüe, or Dead Boys-meet-Alice Cooper,” Trash said. “It’s always a punk band meets a hard rock band.”
He took the band name from a “Simpsons” Halloween special. “At the end [Homer Simpson] is in another dimension, and he sees a bakery called Erotic Cakes,” Trash said. “I thought that would be a cool name for a band, but I ended up shortening it to The Erotics.”
The band has been through numerous lineup changes over the years — for a while, they were a four-piece. The current trio lineup has been perhaps the longest-lived lineup of the band, with Riott coming on board in 2004 and Beer joining about five years ago.
Over the years, the balance between the group’s punk elements and classicist hard rock has shifted back and forth, but the process remains the same. Trash still composes all the songs and brings them into the group.
“As far as writing the music and the riffs and stuff, it just happens, and I just do a lot of scat vocals,” he said. “If I can just come up with a cool catchy chorus first, once I have that all settled I write the lyrics around it. One formula that I’ve never changed yet — I don’t write the lyrics until we’re about to go into the studio. If we need to play them live [before that], I just scat. For some reason, it works that way, and I think I write them better under pressure, or whatever.”
Large fan base
The band is one of the longest-lived from the Capital Region, alongside Super 400. Through years of touring, the band has developed a strong following in the Northeast and throughout the U.S., but the fan base might be largest in Europe and especially the U.K., where they’ve toured consistently almost since the beginning. They’ll return to Europe in April.
“They’re just more receptive towards hard rock, metal, stuff like that,” Trash said. “Even the really big bands are even bigger over there.”