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- Posted on Mar 9th 2010 3:41PM by Linda Laban
Describe your sound in your own words.
A little bit of sad, a little bit of explosiveness -- it's constantly changing. We've been going through a renaissance period lately, so I'm not really sure what we sound like, to be honest. When you're in the forest, you can't always see the trees.
How did your band form?
Kevin [Calaba], the lead singer in the band, and I have been writing songs since we were in college together. Then we were in Portland playing in a group and the drummer quit. Our bass player, who quit later, was living with our [current] drummer [Daniel Orvik]. He's been with us for five years or so. Back in the day in Portland, there was Vive Voce, Postal Service, Helio Sequence and us utilizing drum machines and stuff. Now it's like every band has a Mac, everyone's compiling tracks. That's why we wanted to get away from that. We want to pull back from that.
What are your musical influences?
Really heavy on the Northwest thing. When I was in high school, I was super into Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone and Green River, the whole grunge scene. Of course, Pearl Jam. I wasn't a hipster douche at that time, so I liked bands whether they sold records or not. Recently, it's been early Death Cab For Cutie, Carissa's Weird. They were smaller, they were on Sub Pop. They were a beautiful, beautiful band -- just rip your heart out, beautiful melancholy. Strange uplifting factor, you feel inspired by it. Then there's Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Boxer' and the National's last record.
How did you come up with your band name?
The band name is a reference to Kevin's uncle, who's like this Olympian and a porn star. Many people think we got the name from the Belle and Sebastian song, which is a great song. Obviously, we sound nothing like Belle and Sebastian. I'm certainly a fan of that song, but this dude was it. He had the short shorts with his schlong hanging out, the tank top, the mustache. I don't know if he went to the Olympics or how far he got with his sports career. He may have been in the trials. He told us he was a "real star of track and field." We started laughing, because of the double meaning of field events and porn. It was very childish.
What's your biggest vice?
There are so many. My biggest vice I would say is worrying.
Is that a vice?
Well, besides the normal bulls--- that I drink too much and smoke too much grass, you know. Those don't affect my life as much as my constant fear of how am I going to pay my rent. Substance abusers talk about that as the monkey on their back. Worrying about my livelihood is the monkey I carry around.
What's in your festival survival kit?
I should be good at this one; I've played hundreds but I'm never prepared. Certainly trail mix, like munchy foods. Don't take that the wrong way. Good play list for my iPhone. My laptop. Can an acoustic guitar fit in the kit? You've got to have one. Sitting on the grass, pull out the guitar, start playing major chords. That's how I think of festivals, but it never works out like that.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Alyssa Milano on 'Who's' the Boss?' But now I have a new celebrity crush. Mary Louise Parker on 'Weeds.' Juliette Binoche would be my other one.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Well, we talked about Pearl Jam before. Is it just me or does it seem like [there's] a stigma attached to that band? I think there's enough that I can say them. I recently have taken up their cause; there's too much snobbery against them. They've made some great records. 'Ten' is an exceptional album.
Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Beatles. Not even close really, not for me. The Rolling Stones are unbelievable , but I'd rather listen to the Beatles
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
I watched Kevin get shot in the face in Lexington, Ky. He was shot with a pellet, not a bullet. We were leaving a club and these idiots drove by and shot at us. Then we were in Columbus, Ohio, and we got held up at gunpoint. We were driving through Ohio and we had a day off. My band prides itself on its ridiculous work ethic, so we decided to rent a rehearsal space and practice instead of chilling out. We were feeling really good about ourselves after. We were loading the trailer up and four dudes pop out with Glocks and pistol-whipped Kevin and our tour manager. One guy put a gun to my face. Our drummer was forced to sit with his hands behind his head, execution style. It was unreal. I haven't talked about that in a long time -- [it] has to do with the worrying thing.