A “zaddy” is a hot hunk of a man who’s got style, confidence and sex appeal.
Yaasss is all of the above.
Habitually doused in glitter and reeking of chaos, these zaddies share a taste for music and rebellion. Just listen to their most recent single, “Full Moon Junkies.” Reminiscent of The New York Dolls, the song is an anthem to the gleeful pandemonium that erupts on New York City at night after the squares go to bed.
Coming from Iran, where drinking is illegal and rock ‘n’ roll is banned, Dr. Feel Awful (bass/vocals) got his groove from his dad who had him dance on grapes to make wine. Boo Bubbles (guitar) could only get a guitar if he kept his grades up, so he did what any millennial in high school would do and Photoshopped his report card. La Psycho Papaya (drums) claims he was in the womb at a Jimmy Cliff concert, but developed a taste for the fast and furious drums of punk rock over the gentle sounds of reggae. Bodega Boi (keys) would dance in homemade costumes for his drunk grandma and loved it. And Rex Malaria (guitar/vocals) simply remembers hearing “Cheeseburger In Paradise” and that was that for him.
This five-piece glam punk band call their style “falafel rock.” The exact meaning is murky but it clearly turns any night into a sexy sparkling party of ecstasy and debauchery. “On one fateful drunken night we decided to start a band,” Dr. Feel Awful says about the creation of Yaasss. “Since then we’ve been chasing the glamorous dream of the oasis, guided by flying camels and sizzling hashish.”
An EP is currently in the works, but experience the glitter, falafels and madness August 26 at Elsewhere and let yourself go a little crazy. In the meantime, read the entire interview with the zaddies of Yaasss below.
BTR: It’s evident on stage that you guys are in your happy place up there, and thus put everyone else in their happy place. So if you can possibly explain in words, what do you get out of playing live?
Yaasss: Other than giving our zaddies goose pimples and seasoning everyone’s falafel with glitter, which is very rewarding, we once got a free pair of Dr. Martens for our camel’s toes.
BTR: How does Yaasss write their music?
Yaasss: None of us remember writing the songs to be honest. It’s kinda a blur in those tiny, intoxicating practice rooms. That’s why we record every session so that we can go back and listen to whatever the fuck we played. Also, it’s super fast and spontaneous, no direction. Often times the songs just write themselves.
BTR: What is falafel rock to you guys?
Yaasss: Falafel rock is how we feed the camels and fuel the magic carpets with. It’s all about keeping the camels happy and catching those majestic waves through the sandy dunes. Nothing else matters.
BTR: Why the name Yaasss?
Yaasss: A goddess named Austicool.
BTR: How did you all meet and come to form the band?
Yaasss: We all moved to New York to pursue music and we all ended up working at the same bar. On one fateful (drunken) night we decided to start a band. Since then we’ve been chasing the glamorous dream of the oasis, guided by flying camels and sizzling hashish.
BTR: Let’s go way back in history of your musical lives—what was it like growing up musically for you guys individually?
Boo Bubbles (Guitar): I had to beg my parents to get me a guitar for years, then they finally agreed to get me lessons as long as I stayed on the honor roll. So I enlisted my friend with a scanner and Photoshop to help me forge my progress reports. So I got guitar lessons and still didn’t have to do any homework.
Le Pyscho Papaya (Drums): A Jimmy Cliff show with mom when I was in the womb and one of my first concerts was the Grateful Dead on family night. I [also] worshipped bay area punk/ hardcore, jazz archivist, 90’s post punk movements, heavy metal and weed. I made mixtapes on cassettes (still do) [with] eccentric folk music. The best show I ever saw was Fugazi/The Ex in Reno, Nevada 1999. My pops played piano and my first instrument was the Peavey guitar. [My] first real drummer milestone was learning the first few drum measures into Black Flags’ “Six Pack” freshman year of high school—been a punk drummer ever since.
Bodega Boi (Keys): My grandma made us these hot-glued trajes [costumes] and she would have my cousins and I do a little song and dance show for her friends. Sometimes they would drink and she would wake us up late at night to perform. We didn’t have a choice, but that was my first point of entry into the music business.
Rex Malaria (Vocal/Guitar):I think the first song I ever heard was “Cheeseburger In Paradise” [and] the rest is history.
Dr. Feel Awful (Vocal/Bass): Growing up in Iran, rock ‘n’ roll and alcohol were illegal. My dad loved music and he also loved drinking, so every year he used to make his own wine [and] he would put me in a barrel of grapes, put on a record and tell me to dance in the barrel and smash the grapes. I guess I got the love for music and drinking from him.
BTR: Let’s talk about this debut single “Full Moon Junkies”—it feels like an anthem to the kind of devious fun pandemonium that goes on at night in NYC. Am I close? Tell me about it.
Yaasss: Yes, that’s a very good analogy for that song and I think that’s why we picked it for our first single—it’s the falafel rock anthem
BTR: Tell me your glitter secrets.
Yaasss: It’s easier to get into character when you have a little glitter here, there and everywhere.
BTR: I really need more now that I’ve gotten a taste of Yaasss. What do you have cooking for the near future?
Yaasss: We have a bunch of songs we have to record. We are probably gonna put out an EP soon. We are holding an open call for a new blow up doll. We also have a show on 8/16 at Our Wicked Lady.
BTR: Anything else you wanna tell me? Life mantras, favorite color, childhood traumas, deepest desires, if you saw a dog today, anything.
Yaasss: Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.