Category Archives: Interviews

Interview: Turbo Fruits; performing Friday at Ace of Cups

Turbo Fruits, Wooly Bullies (Cleveland) and Dirty Biscuits (Columbus) perform at Ace of Cups on Friday night. Doors at 9, $5 cover.

Jonas Stein got his start in the music biz as a guitarist in Be Your Own Pet, a noisy, indie rock band made up of Nashville teenagers. As a kid with a head full of music ideas, Stein started Turbo Fruits as a side project and then made it his full-time gig once BYOP disbanded in 2008.

Earlier this month, Turbo Fruits released their third album, Butter, featuring the killer opening track, “Where the Stars Don’t Shine”.

Before kicking off the Butter tour, Stein answered some questions I sent him via email.

Turbo Fruits is often called a “garage rock” band. Have you ever actually practiced, recorded or performed in a garage?

Hmmm we don’t generally practice in a garage nor do we record in a garage but yes we have played many garages and garage-type places! We love playin shows like that when the time is right!

I read a review where somebody said, “Turbo Fruits are what Kings of Leon would sound like had their dad worked in a liquor store rather than been a traveling preacher.” (Okay, I didn’t really read that – it’s how I described your sound to a friend recently). I know your dad is connected to the music biz. Did his record collection have any influence on you or did you discover music through friends/siblings/on your own?

Nice description! My Paps was pretty involved in the country music business while growing up. My influences came from a totally different direction. My older brother, Adam (RIP), gave me my first albums when I was 11 or 12 – Led Zeppelin II and some Bob Marley album. That definitely had an influence on my musical tastes. I grew up a musical outcast amongst a lot of my friends. They were always listening to Blink 182 and Sum 41 and other shit that I couldn’t get into. I was always like “this shit sucks! let’s listen to some fucking rock n roll!”
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Interview: Hugh Bob and The Hustle; performing Monday at Kobo with Nikki Lane

Fireball Whisky presents Hugh Bob and The Hustle, with special guest Nikki Lane, at Kobo on Monday night. The Sheens and Total Navajo round out the bill. Doors are at 8pm.

If you don’t love country music, you’re just not old enough to understand it. But never fear, someday you’ll get it and when you do … well, damn, it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks and work it’s way deep into your soul. Unfortunately, depending on how old you are, you’ve lived through crap like Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, and Kenny Chesney and don’t know what real country music is.

Hugh Masterson will be the first guy to tell you that HE didn’t grow up on country music, that he grew into it. But what a down-to-earth, man-of-the-land sound he’s created with his longtime buds (they play(ed?) together as a mildly-more-ass-shaking-rock-outfit called The Wildbirds) in Hugh Bob and The Hustle.

The Wildbirds are no stranger to Columbus – they even did an Electraplay session for us in 2010 – but this show will mark the debut of Hugh Bob and The Hustle in Columbus. So let’s see what Hugh has to say about the band, his favorite drinks, and the all-star band he’d put together if given the chance.
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Thursday: Bo and the Locomotive, Netherfriends perform @ Carabar

Missouri’s Bo and the Locomotive return to Columbus, where they shot one of the best videos I’ve seen since the decline of MTV (watch “Give Me Something” after the jump), on Thursday night to perform at Carabar along with their friend, Netherfriends.

We caught the band, named by Paste Magazine as THE band from Missouri that you should know about, at the Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati last month and Connie and Olivia (from the soon-to-launch KidsInterviewBands.com) chatted with them. Of course, dad forgot to turn on the microphone for the first few minutes but the last two questions and answers were the best anyway :)

Bo and the Locomotive and Netherfriends perform at Carabar (115 Parsons Ave.) Thursday night. There is, as always, no cover charge so no excuses not to check them out. Music starts around 10pm.
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Interview: Atlas Genius; performing at CD102.5′s Summerfest on Saturday

Who says radio is dead? Certainly not the Australian band Atlas Genius whose “Trojans” has been one of the earwig songs of the summer, receiving massive airplay on both commercial radio stations like CD102.5 – who thinks highly enough of the band that they invited them to play this year’s sold-out Summerfest show on Saturday at the LC – and satellite radio stations such as Sirius XM’s Alt-Nation.

Here’s the thing, to date, Atlas Genius has released only a 3-song EP, Through the Glass, but with the success of “Trojans”, the band is taking advantage of the buzz and hitting the road in America over the next couple of months. They scored the opening slot of Silversun Pickups tour which undoubtedly will put them in front of thousands of people every night. Not too shabby for such a young band.

I sent the trio – Keith Jeffrey (singer/guitarist), Steven Jeffrey (bass), Michael Jeffrey (drums) and Darren Sell (keyboards) – some questions prior to their U.S. live debut. Not sure which of the guys answered the questions, but here ya go.
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Interview: Strand of Oaks’ Tim Showalter

MP3: Strand of Oaks – Maureen’s

Timothy Showalter’s Strand of Oaks returns to Columbus on Thursday (8/2), this time opening for The Tallest Man on Earth at the Wexner Center. Showalter is one of my favorite musicians and always a fun interview, so I had to ask him a few questions about the direction of his just-released Dark Shores. Gone are the walls of synth of Pope Killdragon, replaced instead by reverb-less vocals and John Vanderslice-approved acoustic arrangements.

You can find an abbreviated form of this interview in The Other Paper this week, but here’s the full email exchange that Tim and I had over the past couple weeks.

Was John Vanderslice someone you had in mind when you were writing these songs, and how much did his aesthetic and input influence the sound of Dark Shores?
Actually the record was started twice. I went back to my friend Ben (Vehorn)’s studio in Akron last October. I had wanted to do this giant synth follow up to Pope Killdragon, and Ben was the perfect person for that. So we recorded about half the record, and it kept growing more epic.  I hadn’t finalized lyrics yet so they we’re basically instrumentals. When the lyrics were done I quickly realized that this record was not going to be what I had initially planned. The lyrics became incredibly real to me and the fantasy element didn’t fit anymore. 

Right around that time, I was in San Francisco and visited John (Vanderslice) at Tiny Telephone.  We clicked immediately and began planning the record. John was a producer in every sense of the word. I trusted his decisions and what he saw in the songs. Our goal with the record was to finally capture my singing right. There’s always been this disconnect with how I sing live and how it’s recorded. John wanted the voice to rise above everything else.
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Kids interview JD McPherson

Earlier this year my friend Wes was trying to find JD McPherson a show in Columbus and asked for my help. That didn’t work out (JD wound up playing at MOTR in Cincinnati) but what it did do was introduce me (and the family) to JD’s music. The Oklahoma native’s style of music is a throwback to the ’50s where Chicago blues served as a foundation for bands who played at high school Sock Hops. It’s the sound of early rock n’ roll. It’s a sound that resonates with 11-year-olds as much as it does with 70-year-olds (and every age in between).

Connie and Olivia, fresh off their Bunbury Festival experience, grabbed a few minutes of JD’s time a few hours before he played to a packed house at Woodlands Tavern.

JD’s got a few tour dates coming up at the end of August before heading overseas.

Aug 24 – Downtown Springfield, Inc – Springfield, IL
Aug 25 – Orton Park Festival – Madison, WI
Aug 26 – Bash on Wabash – Chicago, IL
Aug 27 – Minnesota State Fair (Heritage at Sundown) – St Paul, MN

Kids interview Ume; band on tour with The Toadies and Helmet

Can’t believe a week ago at this time we were hopping into the car and headed to Cincinnati for the Bunbury Festival. Over the course of 3 days we saw a lot of really great acts; it seemed like whichever band we saw most recently was the one we tagged with “best set at Bunbury” tag. When I think back about the act that truly stood out for me, without a doubt it was Austin, Texas trio Ume.

While I had heard the band’s 2011 release Phantoms on Spotify, I was unprepared for the HEAVINESS that was unleashed on a steamy Sunday afternoon. Describing Ume’s sound to fellow festivalgoers, before seeing the band, I said, “It’s like The Joy Formidable if they were influenced by Black Sabbath instead of ’80s and ’90s British rock.” That description was right on the mark. Singer/guitarist Lauren Larson was the fiercest guitar player I witnessed over the course of the festival, playing heavy riffs and bouncing around the stage as if possessed by a demon. This type of performance will serve the band well on the tour they are kicking off with The Toadies and Helmet (dates after the jump). Before seeing them, I wondered if they would be able to hold their own with those two bands. After seeing them, I have little doubt.

Connie and Olivia, our two 11-year-old budding rock journalists, were able to snag a few minutes with the trio following their blistering performance.


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Kids interview Quiet Corral; band opening for Gomez on July 22 at The Newport

Fresh off their first ever interview with a rock band (Alberta Cross), Connie and Olivia hit up the Bunbury Music Festival this past weekend where they had the opportunity to grab a few minutes of time from 8 different performing artists. One of those artists was Quiet Corral, a 6-six piece from Lawrence, Kansas that put on a great, folk-inspired set on Friday afternoon.

Quiet Corral has a few upcoming tour dates, opening for Gomez, including a stop at The Newport Music Hall on Sunday, July 22. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of show.

Watershed Featured on NPR Today

NPR’s Weekend Edition is featuring a story about Columbus rock veterans Watershed today.   Joe Oestreich’s recent book Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll serves a launching point for describing the band’s continued efforts at chasing the dream, including the recent new album launch and their ongoing tour.  Audio for the story will be available on the NPR site after 12ET. From the story:

“I’ve got a 2-and-a-half-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter, and my wife is at home with both of them, single parenting, right now,” he says. “On the one hand, everyone says, ‘Follow your dream,’ and we’re doing that, but is that in fact admirable? Some days it seems kind of pathetic. Maybe we should just pack it in and go home, but, at this point, I think it’s just too late. This is what we do.”

Besides, Gawel adds, “If you love what you’re doing, and you still feel passionate about it, why would you stop?”

 

 

A conversation with Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and The Tantrums

Columbus has fallen in love with Fitz and The Tantrums. The band – led by Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick has been a mainstay on the Columbus concert circuit in the two years since their debut album – Pickin’ Up the Pieces – was released. In 2011, Fitz and The Tantrums performed at The Basement, The Newport and the LC (indoors). On Friday night, they make their LC (outdoors) debut, headlining a show with ZZ Ward and Royal Teeth opening.

Enough music writers have been asking the same old tired questions (“How did you get together?”, “Where did you find Noelle?”, “What influenced your ’60s soul-pop sound?”) that I decided, when given the opportunity to speak with singer Noelle Scaggs last week, I’d rather have a conversation than interview her. If you want to read background about the band, just Google “Noelle Scaggs interview”. If you want to get to know Noelle a little more personally, read on.

It’s a Friday night when you’re not on tour or doing anything band related. What are you doing?

Going out with friends that I don’t get to see that often, spending time in the Venice Beach area with my best friend because he just recently moved there. I do the normal things that people in their early 30s do – they go to bars, they go to dinner, they hang out. It’s quite interesting being a person who is on the road as constantly as we are to have those moments where we can just hang out and be normal.
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