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- Posted on Feb 18th 2010 3:38PM by Jonah Bayer
For over a decade, the Brooklyn-based art-rock band Les Savy Fav have been churning out some of the most exciting indie rock on the East Coast. The group's live shows, led by the band's charismatic frontman Tim Harrington, have become the stuff of legend. Spinner recently talked to guitarist Seth Jabour about the band's influences, what they need to survive a festival like SXSW and his thoughts on how the band has been able to forge such a unique sound.
How would you describe your sound in your own words?
A couple of years ago I came up with the term "New Wave Metallica" to describe us. The reason I say that is because Metallica has a tendency to put a ton of parts into every song, and the New Wave aspect of it is just not being quite so muscular with our approach to writing rock music; a lot of the time there's a gentle push to get the point across.
How did your band form?
We were all buddies in college who started playing at the Rhode Island School of Design, and I would say that was kind of the genesis of Les Savy Fav. In 1995, we were more of a collection of dudes hanging out working on being in a band but by the next year we had a name and some songs. We relocated to Brooklyn in 1997.
What are your musical influences?
Probably classic rock and old new wave like the Smiths and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and the Cure, in addition to just about any type of punk rock. As a guitar player I spent most of the time in my formative years playing along to Guns N' Roses and Metallica but also the Cure or Love and Rockets, so I think we borrow from a lot of different influences that come together to make our own music.
How did you come up with your band name?
I think our old guitar player had a lot to do with that name. We thought there was something snotty and French about it even though it's completely made up. "Les" is the only French word in there -- the other words are almost French but not quite -- so to a French person it's complete gibberish. But we thought it was sexy and cool.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Nowadays I would say a backline. We do a lot of fly-ins and without that there's no show. Oh and Emergen-C. We like to have a lot of those packets lying around.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
I have to go so far back, I don't even know. It was probably one of those chicks from 'The Facts of Life.' It was definitely from my childhood when I was coming into my sexual awakening. Whoever my celebrity crush was, she definitely had feathered hair, I can tell you that much.
Damn, that's such an unfair question that I refuse to answer it.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced on tour?
A couple of things come to mind as my favorites, including Tim getting passed around the crowd in a garbage can in Norway, Tim in a Barcalounger getting passed around numerous venues over the years and Tim hanging backwards off a balcony in Dublin. That was pretty memorable.
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