1955: Back in time and upside down

They’re named after the year rock ‘n roll was born. They’ve been compared to the Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, and The Strokes. They’ve learned from Dylan: “It’s OK to challenge the listener, to say ‘deal with this’, but the deal you make is never in question”. They’ve been inspired by The Velvet Underground: “How can you break so much ground, invent new territory and still be consistent and so fucking catchy?”

They’re vocalist/guitarist Sasha Papadin, drummer Kieran Maloney, bassist Dane Gaffney, and lead guitarist Cameron Iturri. They’re 1955.

What made the year 1955 so great you wanted to name your band after it?

The idea of 1955, as a name, is not so say it was such a “great year”, or to be nostalgic in any way about that year, but rather to invoke the image of a young kid named Elvis doing small shows at town fairs and dance halls in the deep south, pushing a stolen song called ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ that would later become his first big hit in 1956. Bill Haley’s ‘Rock around the clock’ was the first rock ‘n roll song to hit the British charts in 1955.

We want Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybellene’ – his first hit, also in the year 1955 – to be ringing in people’s ears on a subliminal level when they first come in contact with our name.

Old American forms and cultures all smashing together around the year 1955 to create the birth of rock ‘n roll. We want that invited paradox because we write original rock songs that hopefully live in the future.  

What do each of you bring to the band?

Sasha brings a devil may care attitude on stage with half rhymes and lyrics grounded in true-to-life metaphors. Unique and slanted, but truly red-blooded and virile vocals to go with a sexy look.

Dane brings word play into his riffs with tight rhythm and a fast right hand.       

Cam brings potent sensitivity that rings true to even the first time listener. A two-fisted and strapping impression is alive on every song he touches.   

And Kieran hits the drum notes at just the right time with his sticks as to amplify the underlying essence of the song.  Simple simple simple.

So what did the four of you bond over when you started gathering for late-night sessions at a small countryside studio just north of San Francisco in 2012?

What we all had in common in 2012 was the fact that we all felt in on the joke. when we got together. It felt like we could just live inside this shared inside joke we created because we owned it. We owned this wood shop as a safe place to be silly, and this idea of playing music as a push back against the lack of absurdity in our everyday lives was electric. Short version is that we had fun playing music for ourselves. and now we want to share that feeling with as many people as possible.

What do you think now of the first song to come out of those sessions?

The first original song was ‘I Wear Black’ (“I wear black when I go out at night”). It was a very simple and straightforward rockabilly jam. We still play it for fun when we want to dust the cobwebs off if we’re feeling stale in rehearsal and need a palate cleanser.

And how have your songs evolved since then?

I think what has evolved is that our songs have a clear point of view. we have much more of our own musical identity now in each new song.     

What 1955 song best sums up what the band is about?

The song ‘Upside Down’ could represent what the band’s about. One line from that song is “Is this the ceiling or the floor?”. As we fall through time trying to be a voice in this world, we want to make music that can match the culture at large. Music that is of the now, with a foot in the future, and a respect of the past. We want to speak in the language that we created ourselves, but still be understood. That can feel upside down when you’re commenting on the culture but still feel outside of it.

And what’s the story with the gold pineapple that’s in your new music video ‘How’d You Come Here’ and was also on the poster of your NYE bash.

The pineapple is an organic brand, so to speak, much like lips or a banana.



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