Jesus Christ Supercar
St. Louis’ Fuzz Disco Holy Rollers
Story and Photos: Cory Weaver
It’s one thing to take yourself seriously, but it’s a completely different thing to be able to not take yourself seriously. The enigmatic trio that make-up Jesus Christ Supercar is a mix of both, but with a catch: they take their music seriously.
While JCS has only been on the St. Louis scene for a little over a year, the bond among the three began at Saint Louis University High more than 15 years ago. Since then, they traded in their SLUH navy blue sport coats and khaki pants for stonewashed jean jackets, a la 1990 Jason Priestly and too-cool-for-school black shades that would throw anyone into an “I just came to see these guys cause they had a cool name” fit.
Looks are deceiving and, most times, over hyped—but if you have a cool band name, you better rock, and that’s just what Jesus Christ Supercar does. Forming in 2018, lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist Collin McCabe approached a high school friend, drummer Tom Blood, to form what McCabe calls a “fuzz disco” project, the little brother of psychedelic soul. To maximize this vision, they had to add a guitarist who loves distortion, wah-wah, phaser, reverb, etc., so they called upon an old friend and one of the best guitarists in St. Louis, Christopher Bachmann.
As the band proclaims, “With the addition of their longtime friend Christopher Bachmann, the number of amplifers of cially outnumbered the number of people in the project, and thus the circle was complete.”
While Bachmann’s and Blood’s plate was full with the two already being prominent xtures in local bands The Fade and Orphan Welles (Bachmann) and LS Xprss and Native Sons (Blood), they’ve teamed up to produce a full set of original material, a mature and complete sound that has quickly propelled them as one of the must-see bands on the scene.
Case in point, JCS has opened for BRONCHO, the Blue Stones, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Sleepy Kitty (as part of the RFT Music Showcase) and on March 27, they will be able to add Of Montreal to the list too.
Christopher Bachmann, Tom Blood & Collin McCabe
How does a band that was birthed just 15 months ago get the opening slot of high-profile shows?
McCabe: We started in August of 2018 and decided that our first show would be in December (of 2018), and it didn’t really matter who we played with. So, I just started trolling venue websites and I’m going to find us a big show.
Bachmann: We were just ready to play our tunes. So, we got added to the BRONCHO show about a week before we recorded our first track—we made sure we had something we put out before. Then a couple weeks later, we asked the Duck Room, ‘Hey, you don’t have an opener for this show, can we have it?’ It was a (105.7) Point show and four days before the show, they asked us if we wanted to open for the Blue Stones. That show went so well that the promoter for that show asked us if we wanted to open for the Dirty Nill the following month. With the connections we’ve established with venues individually, nothing was off the table; some things were just a little further from our seat.
McCabe: We kind of just prepared our asses off based on this concept. I don’t want to call us a concept band, but we are a concept band. I moved back here, created the logo, created the sort of jokey brand that we use on socials and created all this with a very specific intent, and it just turned into a thing where we started getting really cool shit. The first two (shows) were luck and the rest is, cool we managed to capitalize on that.
When your first show is a higher profile show than that of a typical local booking, how do you prepare?
McCabe: You set goals for yourself; you’re going to do these things. The first one we had was, we’re going to play our first show at Off Broadway, the Ready Room or the Duck Room— one of those rooms is going to be our first show and it’s going to be cool as hell. And we made it materialize, whether it was luck or not. The first show we played we only had a handful of songs. We were told we had 30 minutes and we had six songs. But, because our songs have a kind of a danceable ethos, they have big builds and a lot of our songs are four and half minutes long—they build off of each other the whole time and it never all goes at once.
How did the name Jesus Christ Supercar come to fruition?
McCabe: I used to be a bike messenger...well, not even a bike messenger, I did bike delivery for a Jimmy John’s in New Orleans. I like to say bike messenger because it gives it a bit more prestige. After playing in traffic in New Orleans for a few hours, we’d go next door and grab a few beers. And this one guy from L.A., who actually became the drummer of my old band, and I were talking about starting a two-piece and were coming up with stupid, pun names. I think Jesus Christ Super Star was playing in New Orleans and thought of it. I was going to use it down there, but never did. I moved back here and I said, 'I’m finally going to use it.'
You all share history by knowing each other in high school, and now you’ve reunited as a band. How does that play into band chemistry?
McCabe: All three of us know exactly what our role is in this band—all three of us. It is entirely like, cool, I write the hooks and I send shit to Christopher and Tom or they send shit to me. In the end, Tom knows exactly what he should be doing for every song and I have not played with a drummer like that ever. Granted, on top of this, we offer guidance to each other on everything.
On May 15th, you’ll have your first EP, Post Madonna, being released. Where did you record it and what is the track list?
McCabe: We are recording it at Native Sound. Ben...he came and saw us once and went into the studio and he nailed our sound immediately. The way he works with us is he knows we have these songs and we’ll be trying a couple of over-dubs and he knows when to say, ‘this works and this doesn’t and I’m actually hearing this here that you guys aren’t playing.’ He likes the songs and he’s not condescending about the things that he thinks can be improved. And there are a lot of people that you work with that aren’t that way. They’re like, ‘alright, this has to change’ and he’s like, ‘no, I don’t think this has to change, but we can add and push it in a different direction.’
The tracks on Post Madonna are: “Not Dying”, “Juice Automatic”, “I Think I Stepped in Hit” and “Ridealong”
With all the shows you have in your repertoire and soon an EP, are there any plans to tour outside of St. Louis?
McCabe: I toured for six years and I hate to say that ‘I’ve been there, done that.’ Touring was fun; I don’t want to do it, honestly, ever again...unless it’s on a bus. I think our real goal is that we don’t want to tour right now. I have law school, Christopher has a career and is in two other bands, and Tom has a lot of things going on too. After law school, I plan on moving to Nashville, and if I’m still in St. Louis, we’ll still be a band.