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
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 12 features
Guest column by T of Vegas Browse 11 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
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
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
Our coverage of the annual Fest extravaganza. Browse 1 features
A semi-regular column where we choose a specific area and give a local scene report. Browse 1 features
Peter Case SPB: I just finished reading the book you released in 2006, As Far As You Can Get Without A Passport, loved it and your stories of your youth as you made your way to California. Any chance you will be adding to it or writing a complete autobiography in the future? Case: Well, yes, I did write hundreds of pages of stories from that time, about finding my way in the music world, and I DO hope to see it published. And I even have some interest from the people who did the first one, but we'll ...
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.
Till Lemoine (Guerilla Poubelle-vocals/guitar)
SPB: What is the furthest you’ve ever traveled to see a show (and who/where was it)?
Till: I guess the furthest I traveled for a show was going to Fest 9 in Florida in 2010. It was a long trip from Paris just to see some punk shows! I remember that my family teamed up to pay me the plane ticket for my birthday!
I went with 3 friends for a week and it was our first time in Florida. We went for a week before the big thing in Gainesville and we went to the most pre-Fest shows we could all over Florida, that Tampa backyard afternoon show we went, with frozen PBR in the ice cooler, huge BBQ, a skate ramp, kids playing basketball while Gateway District set, it was the real American way for us! We tried the all most crazy American food we found. Man, that Denny's mac & cheese sandwich!! I saw Toys That Kill for the first time, what a show! It was also the first time I met our brothers in Arms Aloft, they played a pre-Fest at Wayward Council, Iron Chic played too. It was so packed my feet didn't touch the ground. I saw like 80 bands in 10 days and brought back so much records and fanzines, totally worth it!
Tyler Taormina (Cloud)
SPB: Do you see a natural end for Cloud or so you think you'll continue with the project for a while?
Tyler: This is a funny question because I feel that Cloud has reached a natural end. I’m fairly certain that Plays with Fire will be the last of the Cloud records. The reason being is that I’ve grown apart from what has been the Cloud methodology of writing and recording songs. The way that I envision my songs now has surpassed my capabilities of recording. It feels like the bedroom journal project of Cloud is leaving me and I’m excited for whatever’s next.
Sean Elliott (Professor and the Madman-co-vocalist)
SPB: When did you first "discover" punk rock?
Sean: I first heard the term 'punk rock' in elementary school. All the kids in my class had to take part in a "Secret Santa" gift trade. I was assigned to trade gifts with a kid who everybody described as punk rock. I bought him a book on how to make paper airplanes and he got me a 'Sid Lives' pin. Around this time, 1980, I heard 'Holiday in Cambodia' on 'Rodney on the ROQ.' I was already a huge fan of surf music. When I first started playing guitar, I wanted to emulate the fury of Dick Dale's guitar sound. I recognized this sound in 'Holiday in Cambodia.' As I got older, the only music that had the same raw power was punk rock. Everything else was shit!
Curtiss (The Shell Corporation)
SPB: What is your favorite documentary or music-related film?
Curtiss: Ok, so total disclosure, I’ve never actually seen my favorite music documentary. Which happens to be “It Might Get Loud”. The apparently epic pairing of jimmy page, the edge and that dude from the stripey shirt band. But here’s the thing. I’ve TOLD a lot of people that I’ve seen it and that I really liked it.
Now to back up, I don’t consider myself a liar. In fact I think I’m mostly truthful. Not because I’m a good person, but because it’s just a pain in the ass to remember a lie. I have a terrible memory and I’m bound to fuck up something if it’s not true.
That said, at some point I heard a bunch of people talking about this documentary and how cool it was that the stripey guy brings in like a fender twin and the Edge brings in stacks and stacks of equipment. The dichotomy! So much had I heard about it that I kinda THOUGHT I had seen it. And me being a guitar player I really should have seen it. I always wanted to be a knowledge musician guy. But my eyes glaze over when people start talking about Ohm’s and tubes and tones and shit.
So anyways here comes Guy #1 asking me if I’ve seen it.(remember at this point I thought I had ). So I confidently said yes. It was awesome and recited back what someone else had told me about it.
Next time I was asked, I remembered I hadn’t in fact seen it. But Guy #2 knew Guy #1 so the chances of me being found out accidentally were pretty high. So fuck it. Jack Black was a total shredder in that movie. I loved it!
Guy #3 was totally random. Didn’t know #1 or #2 at all. But what the hell. I had the speech down. And onward the tale continued to more and more unsuspecting questioners. Each time I liked the movie a little bit more. “It was so great seeing jimmy Paige back in the saddle and jamming out!”
Anyways. There is no resolution to this story. Just a confession. The worst part about this whole thing is that I see the movie come up over and over on my Apple TV recommendations. All I need to do is click and I’ll never be caught in the lie. But seriously, come on. Music documentaries are kinda boring and this Battlestar Galactica ain’t going to watch itself a third time.
Brandon Kellum (American Standards)
SPB: Have you ever forgotten lyrics midsong? How did you recover?
Brandon: There’s always the fear that I’ll forget a part before going on stage especially if we’re playing something new. Normally the songs become second nature though and the words seem to come from somewhere outside of conscious thought. That’s not to say that I haven’t got lost in the music though and realized that I missed a part entirely. Luckily I have the benefit of a crowd that likes to scream along (and I highly encourage that).
SPB: Besides music, what other arts interest or inspire you?
Jon: I'm up to my earholes in music, art, politics, poetry & history most of the time and find it rich & fruitful to be part of a conversation where all these elements rut for my attention. A radio play by Dylan Thomas, Newport County outplaying high-flying Tottenham in the FA Cup, racoon prints in the snow, former imperial powers flushing themselves down the toilet, Samuel Beckett driving Andre the Giant to school, chive pancakes, Breughel's Tower of Babel, not watching the Grammy's - It's all inspiring and it’s all in the front of my head right now...
DJ Scully (Dead Empires)
SPB: How did including a vocalist change your songwriting approach? Did it?
Scully: Ironically, adding Jason didn't change anything for us writing-wise because we thought the album was done before he joined! We had probably 90% of it written and arranged and we were making plans for where to record it when Jason came on board. Initially, our idea was to have him guest on a song or two, but after he gave us his first demo it was obvious he needed to be a bigger part of the whole thing. Before Jason joined, JB, Phil and I all had ideas on what we would potentially want from the vocals if we were ever to go that route. Once he joined, we had even more specific ideas about various parts, but we kept them to ourselves so we wouldn't box him in.
Everything Jason did was completely different and infinitely better than what any of us thought we wanted. He basically came in and added his vocals, noise and synths to what already existed. That his parts fit so seamlessly is a testament to his creativity and fearlessness as an artist.
It's amazing that we ever thought the album was done BEFORE he showed up, because now we all feel like the album and the band have both been brought to another level entirely. We're beyond excited on getting to work on whatever's next as a foursome.
Photo by Joseph Pelosi
Micah Winship (Unwelcome Guests)
SPB: Dumpster diving: yes or no? Got any stories?
Micah: Dumpster diving? - yes. Though it's been a while for me, I used to live next to a very convenient dumpster where it was almost easier to pick up stuff from the dumpster window than entering the store. Highlight was the, "October Storm," of 2006 in which a blizzard came before the leaves dropped and made a huge mess of things. The store lost power and threw out a bunch of packaged snacks along with everything that should be frozen or refrigerated. We were set for a while.
SPB: Who is your favorite pre-1960s artist?
Loveless: Erik Satie.
As a child who didn’t love practicing piano but loved the idea of being a great pianist, I wish I’d discovered Satie, a composer I’ve heard was not very good at sight reading or the old favorite of our superiors, “applying himself.” The deceptive simplicity of some of his songs may have convinced me to try a little harder and saved my poor teacher a lot of time.
In addition to that, he was a real eccentric, Not just a quirky guy with lots of money for funny stage props and analog recording equipment. It’s hard to get to the real truth of some of it since he was around “back in the day” but some of my favorites are that he carried around a hammer for protection and he was jailed for “cultural anarchy”. After his death there were two grand pianos found stacked one atop the other, one used to hold letters. He loved velvet (me too, Man). He is a reminder to me that you’ve got to stay weird for your art , but maybe pop out occasionally to a coffee shop or something before you forget how to speak. Maybe he’d seem like a douche in our day, but back then he was just right.
Ed Taylor (Loose Grip Records)
SPB: There are infinite benefit compilations available. Yet this one [Love Oakland: A Benefit for those Affected by The Ghost Fire] is different because the cause is so closely connected to musicians themselves. How did you seek out the artists involved with this project considering how personal the subject was to many of them?
Ed: I had just moved to from Oakland to LA . I had three things in mind when putting the comp together. I wanted bands that were active in the Oakland DIY scene, I wanted to find some more well-known bands to hopefully help with sales (since this is a benefit record) and third I've always tried to bring a good mix of music together on the compilations that I've put together.
Daniel Porter (At the Heart Of The World – guitar/programmer)
SPB: Do you wear earplugs when you play? Why/why not?
Daniel: I wear them when I watch other bands but not when we play. Partly because I’m dumb and don’t value my hearing it seems and partly because they weirdly take me out of the playing environment, I like to hear the volume and feedback. It also sounds weird to me when moving around a lot with them in, but standing still and watching another band sounds fine.
Chachy (Round Eye)
SPB: What is the most thankless job in the music industry?
Chachy: In mainland China I would say the promoters, especially if they're bringing in foreign acts. The live music scene in China is by no means safe from inspection and events like festivals and even regular club dates for controversial music like punk, noise, heavy metal, or hard rock stand on precarious ground. Nothing can be 100% guaranteed to succeed with live gigs. The ministry of culture have had their paws all over so many of the events we've put on over the years and from time to time we snag one of their claws and get scratched. Everything from lyrics and posters to the artists themselves get scrutinized and judged; is it in China Harmony's best interest to have this event go on? If no, no show and the promoters take the loss with sometimes fatal outcomes to their companies or ambitions. And if things go well and everyone is happy, still the promoter is a ghost. There's a lot of work involved with making punk or aggressive, alternative music happen in China so if you're able to, cheers your promoters and buy him a shot of bai jiu.
Deanna Belos (Sincere Engineer)
SPB: Who is your favorite 1980s artist?
Deanna: My favorite 1980s artist is probably Tears For Fears. I think "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" is one of the greatest songs ever written. I saw them open for Hall and Oates last year. It was pretty incredible.
Danny Sher (Horse Torso)
SPB: Do you think it’s easier or harder for an instrumental band to find an audience today than it was 10 years ago?
Danny: I personally think it is one million times easier for a band to find their target audience in 2018 than it was in 2008. The invention of the smartphone combined with the rise of social media as the primary source of music discovery and access has expedited the outreach process for most bands. In addition to the growth of social media, Facebook groups and sub-reddits have consolidated the fans so that if a band promotes themselves to a few key groups they can reach thousands of new fans.
Justin Bernard Williams (Neosho)
SPB: Who is your favorite 1960s artist?
Justin: Wayne Shorter... and not because of the saxophone. Ask me about jazz, and I'm more of an admirer than a "jazz player." Shorter's importance is rooted in how he had the power to influence Miles Davis (arguably, THE musical mind of the 20th century). As part of Mile's Second Great Quintet, Shorter was a prominent composer of the group. Often writing scores that Miles chose to leave in-tact... rare for one as opinionated as Miles. That's more than enough to have my attention, admiration, and respect.
Daniel Feldman (Yo No Say)
SPB: What is the worst stereotype you encounter when people find out you’re in a band?
Daniel: To be honest people are generally pretty supportive and intrigued when they find out I’m in a band. I’d say the worst stereotype through, is that we must be broke because we’re musicians, even though it’s pretty spot on. It hurts even more when it’s true!
Jordan Guerette (Forêt Endormie)
SPB: Who is your favorite 1990s artist?
Jordan: Among the hundreds of artists that I continue to cherish from the 1990s, if I must choose one it would be Jeff Buckley. His sole completed album, Grace, completely changed my life when I was a teenager - I was obsessed with every aspect of the record. I bought a telecaster, studied his vocal technique, and my lifelong love for reverb was born. His one-in-a-generation voice can cause listeners to overlook his inventive and technically accomplished guitar playing, which continues to surprise me when I return to the record. Andy Wallace's production sounds both anchored in time and timeless. Buckley's unfinished second album Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk is almost as magical, particularly with the reverb-drenched "Morning Theft", "Vancouver", and "Opened Once." He has been gone for over twenty years now, and many have attempted to emulate his style, but no one to my knowledge has struck the balance between vocal virtuosity and emotionally impactful songwriting as effectively as Jeff Buckley.
Karl Eifrig (The Mons)
SPB: What was the first punk show you attended?
Karl: The first punk show I attended was February 28, 1986 at Cabaret Metro (now just Metro) in Chicago. The lineup was Killdozer opening, Dead Milkmen second, and Die Kreuzen headlining. Being a high school freshman in a small town in northwest Indiana, I was there to see Dead Milkmen, since "Big Lizard In My Backyard" (which they were touring on) was a huge favorite. Since that's where my head was as far as what "punk" was, seeing Killdozer's sludgey pigfucker plodding and Die Kreuzen's insane otherwordly riffing blew my little mind and showed me how many different kinds of things could be lumped into that genre. My big sister and her cool friends had taken me to the show, and I borrowed an eyeliner pencil from one of them so I could get an autograph from Rodney Anonymous. He signed it "Dear Karl, Thanks for all the drugs and hookers." I was so proud.
James Farwell (Bison)
SPB: Can you enjoy a musician’s work if you when you disagree with their politics? Are you able to make the separation?
James: I generally separate the art from the artist, unless the art itself contains some politically or socially offensive content - racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic, etc. If the artist was someone I had respected and enjoyed prior to some new distasteful project or crime, I will generally enjoy the early work, as it stands alone in time as something I aligned myself with.
There is a large part of me that would be disappointed, disgusted and heartbroken with someone I had respected being outed as a predatory sociopath with little respect for others, a fraud, or have some other unsavory alignment, yet there is some part of me that thinks that a person's wrongdoings may not define them, in some cases.
However, some people are indeed pieces of shit and deserve to be banished from society, and their art should not be popularized, nor should they receive social status or financial or other benefits from it.
SPB: What is the weirdest venue/setting you’ve ever played a show at?
Kelly: The strangest setting is tied for either a fighting ring in the basement of a bar in Kansas or one of my best friend's wedding. I'm not sure the basement was actually used as a fighting ring, but it felt like we were in one. The "ring" in which we played was in the center of the room barred off from the audience and we were placed at the four corners facing inwards at each other as we played, which was a lot of fun. The wedding was also a great time, very laid back, and probably the most nontraditional show setting we've ever performed at. We played our material as opposed to any covers, and it was in the backyard of the bride's home.
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