How does one conduct an interview with a band? Or better yet, how does one conduct an interview with a GREAT band without sounding cliché, overzealous, uninteresting, and well…new? Yep, that’s right, I am an amateur band interviewer. I have fantasized in the past about chatting, hanging out, or simply touching many of the bands I’ve seen live over the years. Does that make me a groupie? Borderline, yes. I recently had the opportunity to finally talk with a band that I enjoy listening to and admittedly I was a little nervous.
Were they going to be cliché themselves and act like “too cool for school” rock stars? Were they going to ask me questions? Were they going to ditch out for a way better Bumbershoot V.I.P. opportunity? Nope, none of that. The only thing I disliked about the interview was that it was too quick. They were a little late which sadly put us in a time crunch. But when they did arrive on the park bench outside of the 5 Point, a place I chose to meet for convenience and cool factor, they were very apologetic and smiley as ever. Rightfully so, they’d just played a great show at one of the biggest music events of the year!
Jeff, Cody, Jackson, and Nathan all met at college in Spokane, their educational interests ranging from psychology to literature. Nathan, lead vocals and guitar, was the literature and creative writing major. Not only did we have that in common, but he also happened to graduate from the same high school as I, small world. In my nervousness I revealed the year I graduated to them, something I never would have done in any other situation that put me in the presence of four talented, strapping young lads. Ha!
Before they arrived I bided my time with that week’s Stranger. I thought as I conversation piece I would bring up the blurb that was written about them in the Bumbershoot guide. Assuming they’d already read it, I said “so I assume you read the blurb they wrote about you in here” as I pointed to the zine. Surprisingly they hadn’t. At that moment I knew they were real down to earth dudes, unconcerned with popularity and bourgeois baloney. When I read the excerpt that poked fun at their name, they chuckled and blew it off like no big deal.
After a little small talk I decided to ask the ever-popular question, “who are your musical influences.” Knowing this was a typical question, I rolled my eyes a bit and motioned with a sense of requirement toward the mainstream appeal. Cody, the drummer, spouted off a couple bands I’d never heard of. Not wanting to come off as uncool or uninformed, I nodded with familiar interest. He described them as being experimental at which point I chimed in with an Animal Collective reference. Nathan got very excited at the mention of the band and announced them as one of his favorites. Jeff and Jackson couldn’t name just one, understandably so.
Nearing the end of the interview I asked if I could snap a photo of their feet, yes…their feet. I was once told by an old friend of mine that you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. Starting from the right, Nathan: shy demeanor, smiley, and somewhat peculiar. Jackson: quiet, friendly, and easy going. Cody: talkative, tattooed, and vibrant. And Jeff: also talkative, seemingly outgoing, and the first one I met. As I was getting up from my chair to leave Nathan asked, “who are your musical influences?” Darn! I didn’t escape one of the three fears I listed above. I answered fleetingly, “ummmmm…Led Zeppelin I guess.” Cody was right, I did think of a few more when I got in the car. “You always think of things to say after it’s too late!” he said with a smile. Tru dat my new friend…tru dat.
Thanks again guys for taking the time to meet and chat with me on such a busy and exciting day. It was fun!