Formed the day after Michael Jackson’s death by singer/guitarist Joe Bockheim, the band released their unofficial first record in 2012. Drawing inspiration from bands like Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath, with some hints of The White Stripes thrown in for good measure, The Legal Immigrants found their own distinctive sound, and through this classic rock/garage amalgam, they fashioned a bridge between a particular late ‘70s rock production and more modern and serrated indie rock rhythms.
Their songs are virulent and ragged but possess a certain pop foundation which gives them an aptitude for clinging to your brain for days. Sinewy guitar riffs and vocals that carry the lineage of Robert Plant’s emotional howl rise and fall among the tracks, giving the record an ageless appearance, but one that also doesn’t feel mired in the past. But influences are easy, as any band can tell you; it’s the inspiration and creative drive that are imparted by those influences that really gives any band a sense of individuality.
And for The Legal Immigrants, this vast collection of influences is merely one part of larger rhythmic outline from which they work. The music is loud and raucous and doesn’t cater to any one set of rules—it’s distinctive and memorable and is charged with enough emotion to peel back the layers of even the coldest heart. Their music is etched through the sweat, experience and performance of each member, and we simply have to hold on long enough to make it to the end with them.
Grand Rapids, Michigan