Exclusive Interview: The Exbats

Words by Jasmine Bourgeois

Photo by Christopher Riggs

Drawings courtesy the band


Hailing from the deserts of Arizona, The Exbats emulate everything there is to love about rock: They’re angry, they’re angsty, they’re fun, and they’re loud. Their new LP Kicks, Hits and Fits (out March 6 on Burger Records) gives us an opportunity to get lost in their delightfully weird and wild world, and leaves us hungry for more.

Kicks, Hits and Fits is a truly remarkable ride that perfectly balances the nostalgia for the old rock and roll days with the innovative styles of the newest eras of rock. Coming in at just 30 minutes, the LP is a blast of energy that’ll make you want to dance and belt it out, even if you’re in the middle of a busy sidewalk. 

The Exbats consists of 20-year old Inez Mclain on drums, her dad Kenny McLain on guitar, and Bobby Carlson on bass. Sometimes being in a band feels like being with family, but when your band members are literally your family, there’s an inherently unique relationship that adds a whole other layer to your music. One of the album’s themes is exactly this — how do families handle the ups and downs of their relationships? While Kicks, Hits, and Fits doesn’t give us all the answers, it does give us something to be enamored with, and blast on repeat until our earbuds are ringing. 

Tom Tom’s happy to premiere the single Try Burning This One off of Kicks, Hits and Fits. Listen HERE!

We had a chance to ask Inez 5 questions, and snagged some radical portraits the band did of each other. Check it out below!


Tom Tom: At what point did you guys decide to start playing music together? Can you tell me the story behind that?

Inez: We started playing music together when I was ten, that’ll be 11 years this summer. I was coming home from a sleepover and when my dad picked me up there was a drum set in the back, he told me we were starting a band. I really rejected everything about being in a band with my dad. So there was some compromise, he told me that all kids have to learn an instrument, and I could either take piano lessons from a mean old lady or play drums in a rock band with him. Obviously I chose the latter.  

 

I loveeee how much energy is in all of your songs. Can you tell me more about how you write?

It’s a team effort. My dad is the main writer, but I am the editor 100%. I have the final say it what is good and what isn’t. If I wasn’t editing it would sound like any other white middle aged male music. Dad claims a lot of songs come from my ideas too, this is probably true. For example, I came up with the phrase, “I got the hots for Charlie Watts”, which before it was a song was the title to our second album.

 

Inez, drawn by Bobby

How do you think your relationship with each other has changed since starting to play music together?

One of the main reasons my dad started the band was to create a special kind of communication between us. For all of my childhood it had always been me and my dad, mom wasn’t in the picture very much, and I was about to hitting my teen angst years. So the band was kind of like an emotional outlet, which I think is cheesy, but true. We have always been close, but the band for sure has strengthen that and given us so many memories to look back on. All of that makes us sound sappy, but we’re just a father and daughter that are best friends that like making music.

 

Bobby, drawn by Kenny

If you could collab with any other musician in the world, who would it be and why?

I’m gonna go with more “modern” bands on this one, just to keep it somewhat relevant. I would say Flight of Conchords. I just think they’re extremely talented and funny and would love to work with them. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I think it would be a great fit.

Kenny, drawn by Inez

What’s coming next for y’all (besides world domination)?

Of course our new album is coming out officially, Kicks, Hits, and Fits. We’ve got a lot of spring shows lined up, including Burgerama, and Burgermania at SXSW. We’ve already started working on the next album for 2021, most likely going to be called Inez For Prez 2027, something like that. We’ve got some good old fight songs and love ballads being written for that one. I am running for president in 2027, I’ll be 28, perfect age for the president and it is a voting year, two birds with one stone am I right? I’m gonna criminalize coca-cola, make Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus the national anthem, and probably a couple other things.  


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