Royal Trux

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Royal Trux
Royaltrux1999.jpg
Royal Trux, 1999
Background information
OriginWashington, D.C., USA
GenresAlternative rock, noise rock
Years active1987–2001, 2015–present
LabelsDrag City, Virgin, Domino, P-Vine, Manimal Vinyl, Fat Possum
Associated actsPussy Galore, RTX, The Howling Hex, Jon Theodore, David Pajo, Alex Minoff, Weird War, David Berman, Silver Jews
MembersNeil Michael Hagerty
Jennifer Herrema

Royal Trux is an American alternative rock band active from 1987 to 2001, and which reunited in 2015. It was founded by Neil Hagerty (vocals, guitar) and Jennifer Herrema (vocals).

[1] History[edit]

While still a teenager, Hagerty joined Washington DC garage punk band Pussy Galore, led by Jon Spencer, and subsequently relocated to New York. During his time in there, Hagerty convinced his bandmates to release a cassette-only remake of the entire Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street. While he gained underground notoriety for his work with Pussy Galore, Hagerty reportedly viewed it as a job and intended to pursue his own artistic vision with his girlfriend, Jennifer Herrema, under the name Royal Trux.[2]

Hagerty and Herrema released their first album, Royal Trux, in 1988. After moving to San Francisco, Royal Trux released the experimental double-album Twin Infinitives.

After Twin Infinitives, Royal Trux released an untitled album (sometimes referred to as the Skulls record because of its sleeve artwork). Forgoing the experimentalism of Twin Infinitives, the band instead opted for a more lo-fi approach, recording on an 8-track. The arguably atypical lyricism and sonic atonality of their first two albums was largely abandoned in favor of a more stripped, direct sound.

Following the release of their untitled album, Hagerty and Herrema were joined by guitarist Michael Kaiser and drummer Ian Willers [3] to complete their fourth full-length, Cats and Dogs. The songwriting remained highly experimental, but was more melodic, which was revealed on tracks such as "The Flag," "The Spectre," and "Turn of the Century." Around this time, the band signed with Matador and a Royal Trux record was assigned a catalog number for an album which never appeared.

During the corporate interest in underground music that followed Nirvana's breakthrough success in 1991, Royal Trux signed a three-record contract totaling over $1 million with the major label Virgin. The label viewed it as a way to gain credibility with other, more promising indie bands that they hoped to attract. Some of the money went into buying a house in Virginia and converting it to a studio, where the band recorded themselves and others (such as The Make-Up). According to interviews, the band also kicked their drug habit at this time. (They spent a prior album advance on drugs and are known for their heroin abuse.) The band added a considerably heavier rhythm section with Dan Brown on bass guitar and Chris Pyle (son of Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle) on drums. Pyle left after a brief period and was replaced by Ken Nasta, a prominent Jacksonville drummer, formerly with Chain of Fools, The Fenwicks and many others. They also added a percussionist named Rob Armstrong for a short period. In 1995, they released Thank You, recorded almost completely live in the studio with producer David Briggs. Next came Sweet Sixteen. While the band received mainstream media exposure during their time on Virgin (Herrema appeared in Calvin Klein print and TV ads from 1995 to 2000), Virgin was reportedly unhappy with Sweet Sixteen. The band was unwilling to record a third record for the label, but was persuaded when Virgin offered to pay for all costs. Royal Trux returned to their old label Drag City.

On Drag City, the band released Accelerator, based on the rejected recordings that would have comprised their third album for Virgin. They followed this album with Veterans of Disorder in 1999, and Pound for Pound in 2000.

Royal Trux also released the triple-LP Singles, Live, Unreleased, as well as a pair of EPs and substantial video and webwork.

Hagerty and Herrema often credited themselves as Adam and Eve for their production work. They separated as a couple and dissolved the band following the release of Pound for Pound. Since then, both have recorded albums for Drag City; Hagerty under his own name and as The Howling Hex, and Herrema under the name RTX.

Two reunion shows were announced for August 16, 2015 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California as part of the Berserktown festival and December 19 at Webster Hall in New York City.[4][5]

They played their fourth show since 2001 at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio as part of the Helter Swelter Music Festival on September 24, 2016.[6] They played their first UK show since reuniting at the Victoria Warehouse for TRANSFORMER on May 28, 2017.[7]

In 2017, the band released a live album, Platinum Tips + Ice Cream, which received positive reviews. In early 2018 the band officially left Drag City and signed a new record deal with Mississippi-based indie label Fat Possum Records. The label also made the band's entire discography available on streaming outlets for the first time. The new LP was expected in early 2019. [8]

The band will release their first studio album 19 years, White Stuff on March 1, 2019 on Fat Possum Records.[9]

During an interview with The Guardian in March 2019 Hagerty announced he was leaving the band, stating "I'm not touring. She steamrollered right over me, man. I'm not ... I'm just doing this as a favour to Fat Possum. The album – I didn't approve of it. I have no idea what it is. I've heard like 10 seconds of one song. I'm out, man." In response, Herrema stated "He's done this on every tour. He always shows up, always does the tours."[10]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Compilations[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Nightlife: Royal Trux". The New Yorker. Jan 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Jennifer Herrema, interviewed October 1999: "It was just me and Neil. But it was some of the earliest songs we wrote as Royal Trux. We were doing that for a whole year when Pussy Galore called. We had songs written and we gave a couple of them to the band. There's a couple of Royal Trux songs on the album. [...] Royal Trux was his "thing." He considered Pussy Galore his National Service." http://www.furious.com/perfect/royaltrux.html
  3. ^ Liner notes of Royal Trux album Cats and Dogs, Drag City 1993
  4. ^ "Royal Trux Announce Reunion Show".
  5. ^ "Royal Trux playing NYC in December".
  6. ^ "Rare Royal Trux appearance highlights packed Helter Swelter lineup".
  7. ^ "TRANSFORMER EVENTS TO HOLD DEBUT SHOW IN MANCHESTER THIS MAY".
  8. ^ "Royal Trux: Platinum Tips+Ice Cream".
  9. ^ "Royal Trux Announce First New Album in 19 Years, Share Song "White Stuff": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  10. ^ Petridis, Alexis (5 March 2019). "'I'm out, man!' Royal Trux reform – then split up in the middle of this interview". The Guardian.

External links[edit]