Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jan 27th 2010 1:15PM by Dan Reilly
How did you guys form the band?
I moved to England from Tennessee and then Todd [Howe], our guitarist, moved over from Adelaide, Australia in September of 2000. He put up a "wanted" ad on a message board for a local music café on the Internet, so it sounds kind of creepy but we met through the Internet. I was the only one to respond to his ad, we did some acoustic shows and then we wanted to form a band. We put out one ad at a local music college and our drummer and bass player were the only ones to respond. It's kind of lucky in that regard. We didn't have sift through a lot of crap.
How would you describe your sound?
It's not too simple. It has really good melodies and can take you places, an epic sound. That's what we've always been into -- stuff that isn't too cheesy. We have a big wariness of sounding too twee. We've got a really good rhythm section because Adam [Harrison, bassist] and Piers [Hewitt, drums] were in a band together at music college, so they played together a long time. They bring a really solid base, a driving sound. Our guitarist, I think the epicness comes from him a lot of times with delays and loads of stuff like that.
What are your musical influences?
We each like our own different thing. I'd be lying if I didn't say Radiohead is the thing that we all dig. When I was in high school, I went through that whole Britpop phase with bands like Oasis, Blur and the Verve. When I moved over, it seemed like everything in the UK that I loved kind of ceased to be cool anymore: Blur quit making records, Oasis weren't really that good anymore and the Verve had split up. Everything that I thought was good was pretty much back in the States, like the Strokes, Kings of Leon, the National. Interpol's first album was one of the albums that we all agreed on. We've all migrated to the same area. We just like different bits of it.
How did you choose your band name?
In 2002, we were writing and recording songs, and we wanted to send out some demos. It's one of the hardest things in the world to come up with a band name, as well as album titles and song titles. The band name is the daddy. We simply went through a historical dictionary our manager brought down and we got to "B." We liked the name, stuck with that and didn't go any further.
Have you read up on the actual historical event since?
Oh, yeah. We had to do that so we didn't come across as ignorant a--holes.
What's in your festival survival kit?
A change of underwear. Our stage getup is that we wear black, pretty much head to toe, or dark gray, so it's going to be hot. A change of clothes will definitely be necessary afterward. I love this idea that it's going to be absolute chaos. Loads of our friends have played it and we're really looking forward to it. We've only done about three or four shows in the states and those have been in New York and L.A. We're going to try to stay busy so we don't get up to too much mischief.
What kind of mischief do you usually get into on the road? Do you have many vices?
Not a lot. When we were in Australia, we had a few days off in Melbourne and we went to the aquarium, the casino and the movies -- that's pretty much it. Usually, it's kind of limited because before the gig, you don't want to be ridiculous and off your face and then not be able to actually play. I'm kind of a teetotaler in that respect. After the gig, it's usually too late to catch up with the people that came to see you, so it ends up being a non-event except for the gig.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
I like a lot of pop songs that I probably would never actually buy but I don't mind when they're on. We were in Tokyo the other day and we were in a club. You hear all these American hits over and over again, and you realize what masters they are of writing hooks. I quite like that last Jay-Z single, the New York one, 'Empire State of Mind.' That would be a guilty pleasure. Some people would say that it's not but I would because it's just out-and-out pop.
The Beatles or the Stones?
The Beatles. I like their stuff more. It just makes more sense to me. I know a lot more about them as well. It's just always hit me where it counts more. While the Stones are a bit more loose and bluesy, the Beatles are just very tight and melodic and more interesting to me, especially once they went through 'Revolver' and 'Rubber Soul' and all that.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
I really had a thing for Reese Witherspoon. When I was probably like 12, 13 and she did some Disney movie and I was smitten.
What's the craziest thing you've experienced on tour?
Hmm, I wish I could remember these things. When we first went to L.A. last year, we got taken around to all the movie houses and met musical supervisors. We got to stay at this ridiculously nice place in the Hollywood hills and we didn't really know what to do with ourselves. You do a trip like that then come home to your one-bedroom apartment in the outskirts of London where it's cold. You look at a photo and think "that was kind of strange."