The High Seas Rally is excited to announce the newest addition to the biggest and baddest music lineup in the awesome history of the rally cruise and you don’t even have to wait until you board the ship to hear their power and ferocity. The Black Smoke Sinners, featuring HSR hosts Xavier Muriel on drums and Chris Callen on bass guitar, will perform the epic nightcap concert after our Pre-Cruise Party at the Radisson Resort at the Port the night before the cruise.
The band will perform more concerts during the cruise, plus the guys will also host several awesome onboard events, including Cycle Source magazine’s Grease and Gears Garage demos. That’s right … Xavier and Chris will turn one of our stages into a shop to take guests inside the process of building and retooling a motorcycle.
Xavier, former drummer for the rock band Buckcherry turned award-winning bike builder from Providence Cycle Worx, is creating HSR’s Custom Motorcycle right now and it will be given away to one lucky guest about the ship. He’s also back in the saddle bringing the thunder with Black Smoke Sinners!
Chris has been the driving force behind Cycle Source magazine for 23 years, he’s published a book on custom building “Custom Bike Building Basics,” he’s also a talented bike builder at Flat Broke Chops and Rods, and he rounds out the rhythm section of BSS on the bass.
You’ll get to know even more about Xavier, Chris and the rest of the band on the ship, but we couldn’t wait to hear from a couple of guys who are bringing the Rock Show back to the Rally!
HSR: You guys have some amazing, multifaceted backgrounds. What brought all of you guys together to form the band?
XAVIER: Rock ’n’ roll and motorcycles have always gone together. For years Chris and I had been throwing around the idea of making music together and it seemed so perfect, as we’re both at all the same rallies at the same time. So I made a few calls to some friends in Austin, Texas, who in their own right are very accomplished players as well as riders themselves and the Black Smoke Sinners were born. We all have the same goal to just make great music together and have a damn good time doing it.
CHRIS: Motorcycles! In all of the years that I’ve known Xavier, we would talk extensively for hours about the parallels between the motorcycle and the music worlds. It turns out that in Texas, he knew three more guys just like us, that were cross afflicted. I’ve played in other bands that were made up of guys who didn’t ride and it just didn’t have the commonality that BSS does.
HSR: How do you describe your sound and shows? What can everyone expect from your shows at High Seas Rally’s Pre-Cruise Party in the Port and on the ship?
XAVIER: One the greatest parts of the band is that there is no pressure from all the crap that comes along with the music biz. So we just approach every show like we’re hosting a backyard party and we’re here to show you a great time. The best part is that in some bands you’re limited to a certain sound or style due to the singer, that’s not the case with us. We have the unique ability to play all kinds of material, deep deep tracks that the crowd forgot about till they hear it. Most rally bands play the same old tunes because they’re staples and that’s what they think the crowd wants but if they’re not played with conviction then what’s the point. We deliver a sound and a show that is a massive step above the norm.
CHRIS: You know that one song from your favorite bands that comes on, the one that you almost forgot that they did, but every time it does it makes you want to move or sing along? That’s the kind of music a typical Black Smoke Sinners set list is comprised of. It’s all about classic rock, great bands and musicianship of course but it centers on those tunes that haven’t been played to death or that other bands are simply just intimidated to try live. I remember coming off stage in Daytona and a member of another band telling us that he couldn’t believe we pulled off “Hotel California.” Big honor to play music like that but to have your peers say you did it well is another level.
HSR: Everyone in the band rides … what is it about motorcycles and music that makes it such a perfect combination?
XAVIER: Pretty much all the guys ride except one and we’re working on him … ha! Rock ’n’ roll and motorcycles, especially Harleys, have always been looked upon as defiant and uncompromising in nature. So naturally, they go perfectly together. Listening to a great song gives me the same feeling as cruising down the road next to one of my brothers: Freedom, excitement and a little edge is a great combo.
CHRIS: I think the good times are first and foremost but also the adventure that they have in common. Like motorcycles, a good song can take you places, whether that’s back in time or to another place on earth. The same as motorcycles, a good song has to be built from the ground up, attention paid to the details and all of it has to be in good working order for the best ride.
HSR: What are your thoughts about joining HSR’s rockin’ lineup that also features Foghat and Molly Hatchet?
XAVIER: What a lineup this year! So much variation in musical styles is what makes it great. Classic proven bands as well as newer country … what else could you ask for?
CHRIS: So stoked and honored. I mean all of these cats are true professionals and legends in the music thing. Growing up listening to some of their songs, they literally fired the soundtrack of our lives.
HSR: What is it about bikers and rallies that make it such a great place to perform?
XAVIER: Rally crowds are fantastic for one reason: They’re all wanting to escape whatever is going on in their personal lives for just a little while. So they’re really amped up and ready for a good time. We play the kinds of tunes that really make people wanna let go and let loose. A full blown party atmosphere is what we’re all about.
CHRIS: The energy is overwhelming! I mean playing live music to begin with is like no other experience but when that happens to be in front of thousands of motorcycle people, who all get it on the level that you do, many of whom are you friends and family for decades of these things… well that just blows your mind.
HSR: What are you most looking forward to on High Seas Rally?
XAVIER: I’m looking forward to meeting a whole ship of new friends and people who love everything motorcycle related.
CHRIS: I think, for me, the whole picture is going to be great. The people, the experience. Sharing stories about this thing for so long and then getting to be part of it is a huge honor. But the thing I am looking forward to the most is that moment on stage where everything is in perfect time, the crowd is glued to what we are jammin’ and I look over at Xavier and he tells me, the way he does so perfectly, get away from my drum kit, go over there for a little while … Hahahaha! No seriously that look that he gives that tells me, “Yeah bro, this is it, that thing we chase, we’re doing it!”