Tuk fronts BITERS, a band with their hearts set on bringing rock n’ roll back to its purest, most authentic form. I discovered them when they opened for Calabrese earlier this year and their set blew me away. They brought something to the stage that has really been needed from newer bands. Following the release of their debut album, Electric Blood, I spoke with Tuk about the new album, live shows and more.
Alex Obert: How did you feel about playing shows with Calabrese earlier this year?
Tuk: It was cool to tour with them. Their tour was already booked and we hopped on with them. We got to play some other markets we’ve never played. We usually do headlining tours of our own, but it was a good experience to open for them. Some of the markets, they were strong. They were really nice guys. We had the same management as well, so it was cool.
Alex Obert: So when you’re headlining a show, how is the vibe backstage with the opening bands?
Tuk: I’m always respectful to all the bands, as long as they don’t come in our dressing room and drink all our beer. Sometimes you get opening bands who have never toured before and they don’t know what it’s like. That’s when they’ll come in your dressing room, drink all your beers, eat all your food and take up your personal space. It’s about being respectful to each other, especially when backstage is the only place you have to go.
Alex Obert: What is your general order at the bar?
Tuk: I don’t really drink that much, but if I’m drinking, I’ll order a shot of whiskey or a vodka and Red Bull. Something just to get me some energy before I play.
Alex Obert: When on stage, which type of venue do you feel is best suited for Biters?
Tuk: If were doing a headlining tour, we’re usually playing bar-sized rooms. I really like playing the big stages with the big sound system. Hopefully we can start being able to headline those. I love the big rooms, man.
Alex Obert: What are some venues that you remember in particular?
Tuk: I’ve done almost every House of Blues in the country. When we did Social Distortion, those were really good venues. Ace Frehley tour was good. Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta with Cheap Trick. Just a bunch of mid-sized venues around the country.
Alex Obert: With the music scene always growing and evolving, who are some newer bands that you’ve been keeping your eye on?
Tuk: I like a band called Dirty Fences, they’re from New York. I like a band from New York as well called Wyldlife. They’re awesome. There’s a badass band from Italy called Giuda. I don’t really keep up with new music, so it’s very rare that I find something that I really dig.
Alex Obert: What do you feel some newer bands might be lacking or doing wrong with their approach?
Tuk: The music industry is like the Wild West right now. I see a lot of bands getting famous because they have Instagram followers and the good looking singer takes selfies. Remember Tila Tequila on MySpace? That kind of thing has continued and there’s a lot of bands that focus more on social networking and what they look like rather than trying to write songs. And some of those YouTube personalities are getting big too, it’s really weird. My advice is to just focus on writing good songs. Concentrate on your art and it’s not all the other bullshit.
Alex Obert: When fans come to see you play, how do you want them to walk out of the show feeling?
Tuk: I hope that we sparked something inside of people where they realize that there’s still cool rock ‘n roll bands left. Everybody nowadays likes the idea of rock ‘n roll, but a lot of people don’t listen to it. Rappers wear rock ‘n roll shirts and dress like they’re rockers. They don’t really listen to it. Hopefully when people come see the Biters, they regain faith.
Alex Obert: Outside of music, who would you say are your influences?
Tuk: I usually write about what I see around me. Where I’ve lived and the way I was raised in the South, all that stuff has had a big effect on me. Most of that kind of stuff is what really influences me every day. Where I’m from, it’s a lot different than being raised in a place like LA. I was raised in the deep South, it’s pretty fucked up down here. That definitely influenced me.
Alex Obert: How do you feel it benefited you?
Tuk: I think it gives me more of a story to tell. If I was raised in some rich family where everything was handed to me and I never had to struggle, I wouldn’t be as hungry and driven as I am. I probably wouldn’t have benefited as much. I know everybody goes through things, but the way you were raised shapes who you are.
Alex Obert: You clearly made a big impression on Nikki Sixx due to the fact that he endorsed the band on Twitter. How did that feel?
Tuk: I think it’s awesome. The kind of rock ‘n roll I’m trying to do is starting to get noticed. It makes you feel good when somebody of the caliber of Nikki Sixx endorses you. It gives you some reassurance that you’re doing something cool. It really helps, man.
Alex Obert: How do you feel about Electric Blood when looking back on the finished product?
Tuk: I think it’s cool, man. Like every artist, you wish you could do stuff different. But it is what it is. It has gotten really good reviews and the reaction to it has been almost all positive. I’m happy about that.
Alex Obert: What are some dates and happenings up ahead?
Tuk: We’re on tour with Scott Weiland and The Wildabouts. Doing some dates with him. Then we’re going back to the U.K. in February for a bigger tour. I think we’re doing Germany as well over there. That’s gonna be good.
Alex Obert: Going into the future, where do you hope to see Biters a year from now?
Tuk: I would like to see us playing really big venues, at least a couple thousand people a night. I would like to blow up in Europe because we’re doing really good over there right now. They seem to be catching on to what we’re doing more than the U.S. Hopefully we can influence a lot of upcoming bands to quit rapping and screaming and do some rock ‘n roll again.
Alex Obert: That’s the best way! I’d love to thank you so much for your time and I hope the success continues and grows.
Tuk: Thank you, buddy! I appreciate it.