Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.
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An in-depth discussion with a band or artist, generally in the form of a straight Q&A – no editorializing.
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Album streams, our Set List "top five..." features, our year-end "best of" lists and other music-related miscellany.
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Contributions on a range of topics from a range of industry figures: musicians, filmmakers, editors and more.
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A melting pot of mixed content: movie, book and even video game reviews. Updated sporadically, but eclectically.
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A semi-regular column exploring new and rising local bands and artists deserving of attention.
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We post a variety of features in recurring series – click below to browse them.
A collection of items grouped by topic, eg. "Top 5 Worst Beatles Songs" or "Top 10 best '77 punk releases". Browse 20 features
One-question interviews with artists where we find out about the gear and equipment they use to achieve their sound. Browse 19 features
A wide-ranging guest column written by BJ from Ancient Shores, mainly covering film but extending into philosophy and aesthetics too. Check out BJ's work on the A389 podcast. Browse 15 features
Guest column by T of Vegas Browse 13 features
A roundup of coverage of the annual punk rock festival held in Gainesville, Florida Browse 4 features
A life lived and lessons learned by Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers. Browse 4 features
Our annual roundup from Gainesville, FL's famous Fest. Browse 4 features
It's the end of 2013, so here's our best-of roundup for the last twelve months. Browse 4 features
SPB's coverage of the annual festival in Gainesville, Florida. Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2014. Browse 4 features
A brief but englightening chat with an artist who reveals an interesting or unexpected story from their career Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2015. Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2016. Browse 4 features
There’s so much music released, whether physically or digitally, that keeping up with what’s going on becomes almost like a full time job. With Only Death Is Real, the aim is to bring you something new. Browse 4 features
Our summary of the best music (and more) of 2018. Browse 3 features
A collection of coverage rounding up the year 2012, covering our favorite albums, shows, bands, and more, as well as asking record labels and bands about their past twelve months in music Browse 3 features
A cookery column by Nick, vocalist with metal band The Famine. Veggie/vegan friendly! Browse 3 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2017. Browse 2 features
A regular series by Robert F. Browse 2 features
A semi-regular column where we choose a specific area and give a local scene report. Browse 1 features
Our coverage of the annual Fest extravaganza. Browse 1 features
Slim Cessna (Slim Cessna’s Auto Club) SPB: You recently played at a brewery in Minneapolis. What are some of the more off the beaten path venues you’ve played and what are some pros and/or cons at such settings? Cessna: 15 years ago or so we played a curling club in Perth, Ontario. Munly Munly and I were so thrilled and then inspired to learn the sport and make our own chapter in Denver. We had dreams of the Winter Olympics. Someday we may still do this. The brewery in Minneapolis was a very good show, but it ...
Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.
Will Butler (Tired of Everything – vocals)
SPB: Tired Of Everything is your first time singing in a band. Between your first show and today, what have you done to shape how your voice sounds live?
Butler: I would say, honestly, I still don't know what I'm doing as far as my voice as an instrument. My first major step from the preparation for the first show and performing it was both knowing the lyrics and exuding confidence.
I'm a quiet person so it took a lot to walk up on stage and, since then, I've played on some bigger stages and feel comfortable and confident. Singing (or as my mom would call yelling) in a band is rough on my voice so I try to get in weekly practice with the full band to strengthen my vocal cords. A ton of the work for the band isn't the actual singing which is ironic -- I write lyrics, figure out shows we are going to play, etc and I'm busy with a day job and a record label, so it is about scheduling and doing better with phrasing in practice and the rest of my time is spent with the other parts. I look at my favorite punk singers and I'm pretty sure they are doing things the same way: they tossed themselves into the situation and they make the most of it. We oddly recorded before playing our first show and I think the recording process is harrowing as it brings what you're doing into a tangible thing. That experience and recording some practice demos have let me step outside of myself to see what I could do better. I wouldn't say I'm a gleaming example of a singer but I enjoy it and I enjoy having a message to spread.
Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation)
SPB: What is the worst you’ve been screwed by a venue or promoter? (No need to name names…unless there is.)
Ryan: There's a guy named Mitch that runs a venue called Ground Zero in Spartanburg, SC. We were on a tour that was booked during a gigantic boom in tours at the time -- EVERYONE was out touring at the same time and I don't think many of them were doing great because of it.
So many agents do this -- they just book and book and book all their fucking bands at the same time so everyone's competing. Anyway, we arrive to the venue, totally exhausted, this absolute asshole at Ground Zero just says "Ticket sales suck, you can play but I'm not paying anyone". Our tour manager got super pissed, got in his face about it and the dude called his buddies to come protect him. He just sits and brags about how he brought Slayer fucking 25 years earlier like any of us give a shit. Then he called the fucking cops on us after we did in fact play.
We weren't going to stiff the fans that did show up, but this dude sure had no problem stiffing us. He called the cops at the end to have us all removed from the property because our TM had gotten really angry at him. The next time we come to SC we played somewhere else and I mentioned to the crowd how glad I was to not be playing for that douchebag Mitch. The place ERUPTED in applause. Countless people came up to us afterwards telling their stories of this asshole and that they totally understood where we were coming from regarding him.
OF COURSE, some bootlicker goes and tells his ass and now I'M the bad guy. He goes on a tirade online about me, that I'm a shit talker, blah blah blah. One thing I've NEVER done is stiffed someone after signing a contract. This guy gets it. He knows nothing's gonna happen. He fucked over the entire tour package which was rather extensive and had a lot of bands on it. But I'm the asshole here to him. He fucks over an entire package, I say one little thing to an audience who was unanimously in agreement about this dude, but yeah... I'M the big asshole new, sure, yeah, that makes all the sense in the world. Fuck that dude. Never went back and never will.
Jim Blaha (The Blind Shake - guitar)
SPB: What type of guitar do you play with The Blind Shake and how did you pick that model?
Blaha: For The Blind Shake I always was drawn towards the cheaper models like Univox, Tiesco and Danelectro (they were cheap when the band started at least). I never wanted the guitar to be too precious. I liked them because they were really light and I could move around with them more on stage. As things progressed I ended up playing a Telecaster. I love it. It stays in tune so well and it is so normal it's weird again.
Ryan Schutte (Pound – baritone guitar)
SPB: What led you to the baritone guitar as your instrument of choice?
Schutte: I do a fair amount of hybrid picking which is more difficult on larger gauge strings. The baritone 9 string allows me to use lighter gauge strings, which is easier on my fingers. The thinner strings also help clean things up a bit, resulting in less mud in my tone.
Dan Jones (California X)
SPB: How many vans have you had? (Any related “death of a” stories?)
Jones: The short answer is: One.
Our main touring vehicle during the first few years of the band was a Red Jeep owned by Lemmy-The-Singer. It was a tight fit, and we had to borrow gear at a lot of the shows we played. It was so packed with boys that the shocks would bottom out any time we hit a bump on the highway, causing everyone to wince. We got our one and only True Tour Van when Jesse from Hoax moved away from Western Mass. He was going to junk their old van but offered it to us first. We gladly purchased it from him for $500. It was a white Dodge Ram 15-Passenger that used to belonged to Ampere before it passed to Hoax. Our first trip out was down south and things went smoothly until we returned home, when the front right wheel fell off near UMass a few miles from our house. It was a cheap fix, and we continued on. The van made it a little longer and helped us out on our full-U.S. tour, but the transmission blew in Connecticut around 3am during our return trip. The van dying played a huge role in the decline of our activity as a band. We still play shows sometimes, but the death of that van really killed a lot of our motivation to play. Soon after that, our lives became busier and we found that we didn't have as much free time to tour, and the prospect of renting a van was kind of a bummer. I really do miss that van almost every day.
Pictured: The day after Jesse dropped the van off at our house.
Bobby Hussy (The Hussy, Fire Heads, Cave Curse)
SPB: Are you partial to a specific model of guitar?
Bobby: I am partial to a few guitars depending on the project. In The Hussy I almost exclusively used offset Fender guitars like jaguars and jazzmasters, until rather recently when MPLS Guitars made me a custom guitar with a Fender Jazzmaster whammy for the new Looming LP. I love it! It feels like a Gibson but has the wild whammy of a jazzmaster!
In Fire Heads I always use a Gibson Les Paul. I love the “chunk” it puts off with high gain amps.
In Cave Curse I use a Gibson Flying V to get that cutting tone plus cutting “look”. :)
SPB: What guitar do you play and what do you like about it when performing solo, versus with a full band?
Turner: I play Martin D45 acoustic guitars live these days, I have four of them. They are spectacular instruments. I went through a lot of other types of guitar, many of them excellent (special shout out to Gibson Hummingbirds) but it's hard to find an acoustic that can handle the beating I give it during a full band show. The Martin stands up to me, so I love it. For solo shows I quite often use my ~Gibson 1957 Country & Western, but it's more of a home guitar than something for the road, as it's kind of an antique.
Rob Huddleston (Ann Beretta)
SPB: Did you use a different model guitar on the recordings of your old material (Old Scars, New Blood) than on the original recordings? How did it affect the overall sound, in your opinion?
Huddleston: The answer is yes and no. Old Scars, New Blood is a collection of rerecorded songs from every record we've released. For this record we wanted to put together songs that were less of a greatest hits and more like a current live show and with a few songs we wanted to revise them a bit to reflect the current band. I don't own many of the guitars used on Bitter Tongues as I gave them away to friends but, for later records, some of the same guitars were used. My guitar sound hasn't changed much as I've used the same Mesa Boogie Duel Rectifier amp since 1997 but for this record I did experiment a little with different amp and guitar combos depending on the song.
For all songs the basic rhythm tracks are played on a late ‘90s Epiphone Sheraton that was custom made for Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse before he passed away. I've owned this guitar for a while now and it's become my go-to stage guitar. Since we wanted to have a live sound and feeling to this record it’s the main guitar and sound used throughout. I've modified the guitar slightly by having Lindy Fralin put in some of his noise canceling P-90 pickups in. They give a great crunchy sound while reducing some of the noise and feedback created by hollow body guitars. For the clean sound I use either a 1952 Gibson ES-125 through a vintage amp or a Fender Nashville Edition Telecaster that I think was only made for a year or two in the early 2000s. I play the Fender through a hand wired Vox VC30 combo amp for anything needing a bright and clean tone. The song Broadway features this clean sound and is one of my favorite sounding moments on the record.
Another guitar that was played frequently on the record was a late ‘90s Ibanez Art Star. This guitar while not expensive also has a great crunch to it and is pretty versatile. It was my main stage guitar for the last few touring years of the band. I never really toured with expensive guitars and this one really took a beating. This guitar and the Fender were used as the primary guitars on our Three Chord Revolution album. The Ibanez was probably used a bit on a few other recordings also but i'm not sure which songs specifically.
Joshua Fleming (The Vandoliers)
SPB: How do you describe your sound to strangers?
Fleming: It’s Texas Music.
Tierney Tough (The Pauses)
SPB: Where did you learn to drive? And what kind of car was it?
Tough: My dad taught me how to drive in empty parking lots in some sort of dad-like truck, probably like everyone else's parents did with them. He also showed me how to drive and park with a trailer, which I can confidently say, is one of my greatest skills in life. It's especially fun for me when random men on tour are shocked that I can do that, which happens more often than not.
SPB: You've been touring a lot including some interesting support tours. What's your absolute dreamband to tour with and why?
Distillator: We've had the pleasure to tour with many of our favorite bands already: Vektor, Pestilence and Metal Church. Since we are a band with 3 people we have 3 different opinions. We'd love to do a tour with the following bands: Opeth, Gojira, Behemoth.
All these bands have a great balance between melody and progression, great grooves and brutal riffs. They play very well, great musicians and put on a great show.
Of course there are many more bands that we would love touring with such as Coroner, Atheist, Megadeth, etc... Honestly, we love touring and being on the road. No matter with what band, we always have a great time and cool shows.
Chris Mason (Low Culture/Macho Boys – guitar)
SPB: What guitar do you play and how did choose it?
Mason: A few years ago I bought a 1969 red Gibson SG and that's been my go-to ever since. It is far and away the most expensive piece of musical equipment I own, and I only bought it at the insistence of my wife. We were in a music store together around my birthday one year, and she could tell I was in love with it but apprehensive about spending the money. She basically said "We're not leaving until you buy it" -- so I did. I'm not really a "gear head" per se, but I love the way that guitar looks and sounds.
Blag Dahlia (Dwarves – vocals)
SPB: What is the most important vocal element when doing sound check for a Dwarves show?
Blag Dahlia: A sound man who isn’t profoundly retarded. They do exist, but to find them you have to travel far and wide sorting through countless buffoons until, like the princess and the pea, you find one that’s just right. Then you fire him for doing heroin while driving the van.
Chris (Rational Anthem – bass/backing vocals)
SPB: How do you determine who sings in a given song?
Chris: These days Noelle sings all of the songs. Chris does harmonies and backups. We split writing duties but since Noelle has the stronger voice we let her sing all the songs these days. We used to toy with the idea of going back and forth but realized we should just be utilizing the strongest singer’s voice so the songs can shine.
The Cactus Blossoms
SPB: Who is your favorite currently active country musician?
Jack and Page: Willie Nelson
Roddy Bottum (Nastie Band - keyboards)
SPB: With Nastie Band, what keyboard do you play and how did you make this choice?
Bottum: I play an Oberheim reissue by Dave Smith. It's called an OB-6. I play it cause it's a reissue of the first keyboard I owned. like to keep things close to my history.
What is the strangest trend you see in modern music (music-wise or industry-wise)?
The strangest trend I see in modern music is the return of the cassette tape. Who would've thought? I know, I know...there are cassette tape purists that will claim the media format never really went away and that's true. But one cannot deny their severe decline in popularity when CDs came around. It's not that I am not into the idea of cassette tapes, I simply don't get it. I don't understand the resurgence. Personally, I am a CD guy. I love collecting CDs. I also love collecting vinyl. Side note: I find it quite annoying when I read about how popular vinyl is now because it has always been popular in punk and hardcore. It never stopped being popular in punk and hardcore and I suspect it never will.
Sonically, tapes can't compare to other formats (especially vinyl) and maintaining their quality can be difficult. How many times have you had to stop the tape deck, open it and very carefully pull out the tape while trying not to tear the delicate tape ribbon after it was half-eaten and chewed up by your increasingly insufficient (and hungry) tape deck? If you're a kid born in the ‘70s or ‘80s then you know what I'm talking about.
Now, I should clarify that our previous album, Youngblood, was released in all formats including cassette tape. But before you rush to judgement and acuse me of eating my words please allow me to indulge you with a story.... I played the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in 2013 and met a young couple, Brian and Kristen Burdzy. These two lovebirds were newlyweds, just married in Vegas that morning, and liked my music. I was the first band they saw live since tying the knot that day. We became fast friends and then they offered to put out our next record on cassette. It would be their first release as a couple on their label Music Is None Of Our Business Records and stands as a token of rememberance for their wedding day and subsequent anniversaries. Well, I'm happy to say the release came to fruition (and they've since gone out of print) and the happy couple now live in Connecticut with their daughter, Sheena.
SPB: How do you preserve your voice while on tour?
Ryan: Years ago I used to shred my vocal chords. Then I started singing at a volume level and in a range of pitch that suits my voice. I’ve had no problems or concerns since then.
Patrick Delaney (Nastie Band)
SPB: The name Nastie Band kind of speaks for itself. Where there any runner-up names?
Delaney: Nastie Band was, iz, and will be the only name. We all surrendered to it joining the band as the name preceded us. NASTIE is the iron rod that rules us.
Jamie Stillman (EarthQuaker Devices - President/Product Designer)
SPB: EarthQuaker has a reputation for high quality, versatile builds that artists can use in the studio, live, and in experimental environments, ie writing. What did the collaboration with Sunn O))) mean to Earthquaker on a personal level, and did you approach this project with goals related to a specific aspect of the Sunn O))) tone, or is it mean to capture something else about Sunn O)))?
Stillman: Life Pedal came about after I was introduced to Greg Anderson by our mutual friend Jim Tuerk from Reverb. Jim thought we would hit it off, so we scheduled a quick call to see if there was a mutual interest in working on a project together. That “quick call” lasted two hours. It turned out Jim was right! Greg and Stephen have a similar background; coming up in the DIY punk/hardcore/metal scene and having strong interests in obscure artists and gear. We really clicked.
Doing artist pedals was something I never considered as I’ve always just worked on things I would personally like to use. To me, Sunn O))) was the perfect artist to break out with. They are serious about what they do and they have forged their own path and gained a large devoted following the hard way. They have a highly unique approach to their aesthetic and an unmistakable sound and vibe. I think it parallels how [EarthQuaker Devices] operates as a brand.
With Life Pedal, I set out to capture exactly what the band wanted. Every aspect of this was directed by the band and carried out between the both of us. The circuit is an amalgamation of the gear you would typically find on their personal pedalboards, all housed in a single enclosure. It wasn’t meant to be a pedal that would emulate the sound of Sunn O))) live, it was designed to be used by SUNN and give others access to their tools. The packaging was designed and laid out by Stephen O’Malley and the box was even manufactured in the same facility as the LP jackets for Life Metal. The design process embodied the DIY spirit that we both came from and it was an extremely cool project to be involved in!
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