For me, the challenge for bands of the indie-pop genre has always been to sound classic and timeless. More often than not they sound like 1989 or 1995. Or the worst of K Records. Sacramento’s Knock Knock is the indie-pop band that does sound classic. Sure, you’ll hear some of Belle and Sebastian’s twee pep in there, but you’re also going to get Springsteen’s heart and balls.
With their 3rd album, We Will Raise Your Child, the Knockers have elevated their game. Mostly, what frontman/bassist Allen Maxwell, new drummer Christine Shelley, and married guitar partners Heather Conway and Mike R Mike bring a knockin’ is personality. This has always been their strength live. On this album they bring that crazed charm to the forefront by mixing the vocals tall and wide.
A lot of times when a band writes a song referencing themselves it’s like slipping on a banana peel in the grocery store and then crapping your pants 10 seconds later. It’s just embarrassing. Well, my favorite song on the album is “Don’t Fuck With Knock Knock”. It not only spares you and them the humiliation, it’s powerful, funny, and earnest, all mixed into one fat, acoustic should be hit.
I asked Allen Maxwell a few questions in hope of revealing some of the magic behind the Knock Knock curtain.
How come Knock Knock’s music sounds more classic and timeless than other indie pop bands?
I’ll take this as a compliment, so thanks. I do hope that Knock Knock songs have both a spooky and funny quality to them, because I believe that all great, timeless and classic music embodies several moods at the same time.
What is Knock Knock’s child raising philosophy?
Well, for the honest answer ask Mike and Heather — they seem to be doing a pretty great job. However, in the context of the album, Knock Knock’s philosophy for raising children is to kidnap them from other people, then let ’em run wild.
Who would play the four members of Knock Knock in a movie?
Mike R Mike — Robert De Niro. I feel like I’m gonna get in trouble for saying this.
Heather Conway — Dwight Yoakam.
Christine Shelly — Snooki
Dylan Barnes — Daniel De-Lewis.
Allen Maxwell — Robin Williams or Patrick Swayze — which ever one is the most available.
Would Knock Knock every consider doing a Jandek cover? If so, which one?
“Message to the Clerk” is the obvious hit. And Knock Knock is not afraid of the hits, especially the hits of Jandek.
What is your least favorite Knock Knock joke?
I really don’t have a least favorite Knock Knock joke. I kinda love them all. But I can tell you my favorite Knock Knock joke. It gets me every time.
A: Who’s there?
A: Mother Theresa who?
(Indignant) You don’t know who Mother Theresa is?!
Buy the vinyl version of the album from Sacramento Records.
Buy the compact disc version of the album from Test Pattern Records.
See Knock Knock play December 8 at the Midtown Village Cafe in Sacramento.