Interview: The Postelles (playing Friday @ Outland on Liberty)

In an interview with Baeble, The Postelles lead singer Daniel Balk describes his band’s sound as “influenced by late ’50s rock n’ roll, ’60s retro and ’70s punk”. I can’t think of a better way to describe it myself and tossing out comparisons to the likes of The Strokes and The Black Lips seem appropriate.

With a gig on Friday night at Outland on Liberty (opening for The Wombats) to promote, bassist John Speyer checked in on an off-night from New Orleans last week, the night after the Cardinals won game 6 of the World Series in dramatic, extra-innings fashion.

You can’t escape comparisons to The Strokes. Do you think people check The Postelles out because of your connection to The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. who produced “123 Stop” on your debut?
A lot of people know us because of the Albert thing. It’s a huge compliment for us, we were obviously huge Strokes fans growing up. It’s humbling to be compared to them.

Was it cool to work with him? Was it like, ‘We’re working with Albert from The Strokes!!!!’?
It was a pretty big deal, I’m not going to lie. We were fanboys. I was pretty psyched.

You’ve done a lot of touring. What’s the longest drive you’ve had? What do you consider to be a tolerable drive and, if you had your way, what would be the ideal driving distance between shows?
We did Vegas to New York in 45 hours. To be honest, they are all tolerable, we have to do them all. I spend so much time in the van, I dread anything more than 20 minutes. My ideal would be a 3-hour drive every day but that never happens. We try not to do the overnight thing but sometimes we’re forced to. You play 25 shows in 30 days, if you’re going crazy and staying out until 3am and then driving, you just lose your mind right away.

You’re playing in Columbus on a Friday night. If you’re not out on the road, where would you typically spend a Friday night?
At some dive bar with a bunch of close friends, drinking beers and talking shit.

If I ran into you at the dive bar and wanted to start a conversation with you, what are some of the topics that I could bring up that would keep you talking for a while?
I’ve got a couple areas that I can talk endlessly about – baseball, music and you’d probably rope me in with books too. The World Series game last night (game 6) was crazy. We were in some bar with some Queen cover band. It was an unbelievable game. The Cardinals are just such an exciting team to watch. And I like Ron Washington as a manager – he’s crazy, he’s so excitable. See? You roped me in, it worked.

As a book fan, how do you consume books?
I have a Kindle but I like sharing books with my friends. In the van we have 20 books that we rotate, so the Kindle doesn’t work.

Ten years ago, what did your typical Friday night look like?
I was in 8th grade! I probably wouldn’t be doing anything but my homework. I didn’t start going to shows until I was in high school. New York City is great because you can get around by yourself when you’re pretty young. But I don’t think I was cool enough to be hip to bands, but that was when the first Strokes record came out so it was a pretty exciting time for New York music. Every kid who lived during that period was like, “Holy shit, something is happening. This is happening in our backyard.”

If I gave you the chance to live one day of your life over again but you couldn’t change anything at all about it, what day would that be?
September 4, 1993. It was my birthday and Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium and I was at that game. The one-handed Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter and I was there. I would love to go back, being older, and have that experience again. It was really cool. I was really little and I didn’t know exactly what was going on but the stadium was going nuts. If I could go back now and do that again, it would be pretty sweet and I wouldn’t change a thing.

What song do you hear that takes you back to very specific time and place in your life?
Every record is like that for me. Music is all a time and a place for me. The first time I ever heard The Stone Roses was in Dan’s bedroom. We were in high school and just hanging out and Dan was like, “Hey, come check this out. “ It was a live video of The Stones Roses doing “Waterfall” and I was like, “What is this? I need this!” I borrowed the CD and burned it right away and then listened to it like for a year straight. I can’t ever listen to it without thinking about the first time.

Another one. I got Let it Be – Naked, the remastered Beatles CD. I obviously knew the album. We were on a rooftop, just hanging out on the roof, being dumb kids and probably sneaking 2 beers and I brought the CD up. I had a Discman back then and I had a great pair of headphones and I just blasted it full volume, looking at the New York City skyline hearing remastered Beatles for the first time and I was blown away. I was like, “Everyone, stop talking. Come over here and I’ll pass you this most amazing thing ever.”

What one band would you love to see reunite so you could see them live?
I had a good answer to that question – The Stone Roses, but they just announced they were reuniting. I’m going to still say The Stone Roses because, until I see them on the world tour they supposedly are going to do, it hasn’t really happened!

The Postelles are performing in the middle slot on a bill with The Wombats and The Static Jacks. CD101 is sponsoring the show at it’ll only cost you $5 to get into Outland on Liberty for this show. Doors are at 7pm and the show starts at 7:30 so arrive early.