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Gavin's Underground

Labcoat, The Auto-Pirates, Michael Gross & The Statuettes

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2008-12-02 -

The day after Thanksgiving for a lot of the city was nothing but shopping.  But for me I went and spent my time at a show, where the only injury I suffered in a crowd was a ringing in my ear.

Most every venue took the day before off, and to make up for leaving the state without a day of music somewhere they all brought in some awesome sets for the crowds.  And Kilby Court was no exception this past Friday bringing in Labcoat, The Auto-Pirates, and Michael Gross & The Statuettes.  I got a chance to chat with all three bands and took some pictures of the show that followed.  "Hey dude, what did you do on Black Friday?  Got an iPhone and a couple punches to the face?  That's cool.  Me?  Oh, I walked away happy!"


Labcoat (Nik G, Rick Gerber, Wim Becker, Jon Olsen's stand-in)

http://www.myspace.com/labcoat9000

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Jon: We are a four piece based out out of Ogden and SLC. We have all known each other for the last 8 years or so. We would catch up with each other at shows around town and eventually we all started playing together in some way. There was an open mic on Wednesday in Ogden that Rick has done for years. It was a good place to do some playing with other guys around town that you might not be able to otherwise. The four of us built individual relationships through things like that.

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Nik: I listened to a lot of Rush, Sting, Zappa, and improvisational stuff like MMW growing up. There is a lot of great music I grew up with. A good song is a good song, ya know?

Jon:
I listened to a lot of Motown growing up. I hold Stevie Wonder as one of the best songwriters and one of the best performers of all time. In high school I was introduced to Phish and really got into a lot of great music through them. MMW, Velvet Underground, The Talking Heads. Now I tend to gravitate towards songwriting stuff. Stuff that The Band did. Ray Charles, Almost anything Motown.

Gavin: How did you get together and decide to form Labcoat?

Jon: Another musician we know in town brought up an idea for a side project. After a few "get togethers" Labcoat started working on some songs. Now it's turned into a thing that we really go after more so than a side project.

Gavin: You're unsigned at the moment. Are you looking for a label at the moment, or would you rather be independent and DIY?

Nik: A little of column A and a little of column B would be nice.

Jon:
Yeah! If we could find a label that would let us maintain some freedoms with the music that would be great.

Gavin: Are you currently working on an album in the near future or just focusing on playing right now?

Nik: Yes we are tracking our first record right now with Terrence D.H. at Counterpoint Studios. We are looking to have it out around the first of the year.

Gavin: A little local, what are your thoughts on the music scene, both good and bad?

Jon: I love the local music scene here. We really are surrounded by a bunch of great bands and great musicians. My only problem with the local scene is lack of support from music lovers and the unfair promoters and club owners which happens from time to time. I think a lot of places would really struggle without live music. I would like to see all of these musicians be a little more valued.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Nik: If we can get bands on the same page. There should be no competition or struggles between bands. We are all trying to do the same thing. We can make more progress together to put Utah on the map as a great music scene.

Gavin: Who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

Jon: We are loving Band of Annuals right now. SpearIt is a great act.

Nik:
We love Stonefed from Moab. Another couple acts from Utah we like are Dead Horse Minstrel and Air Supply. Yes, Air Supply!

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Nik: It's lost a lot of luster to me.

Jon: It seems like albums are on the way out. With a lot of people getting music for free or using iTunes, It looks like live shows will have to carry musicians financially.

Nik: You have to get your music out there and tour behind it and really hope to sell the whole show.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Jon: I think I speak for all of us when I say I'm not impressed with todays trends. Where did all the soul go? Zeppelin, Floyd, Stevie, and Aretha used to rule the charts. Funny that this is where we are now.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys for the rest of the year and into next?

Nik: Expect a new record, lots of local shows and a little bit of touring in 09.

Jon: You can also expect some craziness. This band is having a lot of fun live.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Jon: The record comes out soon!!! Find us on MySpace for details.



The Auto-Pirates (Pete Herman, Steve Harding, Jon Bently and Kyle B. Spainhower)

http://www.myspace.com/theautopirates

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Jon: Well, we are Jon Bently, Pete Herman, Steve Harding and Kyle B. Spainhower.  Jon and Pete have been "friends" since kindergarten.  Steve and Kyle were "buds" in High School.  Then Jon and Kyle met up and we combined forces.  ...Steve is a unicorn.

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Jon: I like the Goo Goo Dolls and DDR music

Pete: Any loud ambient noise really

Kyle: The Casio SK-1 and the most influential music from Final Fantasy.

Steve: Pink Floyd and Heroes of Might and Magic III and my unicorn horn.

Gavin: How did you get together and decide to form The Auto-Pirates?

Pete:  Well, like I said, Jon and Kyle met up and played a show together, and six months later we formed up the Auto-Pirates.  The name just sort of happened.  We were going to be called "Gentle Farming" but then Kyle said "how bout Auto-Pirates" and we went with it. Mistake?

Gavin: Very few bands aim for the garage alternative sound these days. What inspired you to do that sound?

Jon: Ya know, we honestly don't shoot for any genre.  We make our music and it is what it is.  Often people don't really like it, but sometimes they do.  We sometimes call our sound "pirate rock" but MySpace doesn't have that as an option. 

Gavin: I read a while ago you were making a live EP. What happened with that?

Pete: There haven't been any major plans for a live EP. other than a few live recordings that we released last year prior to our studio EP.

Gavin: You released the Ousted EP earlier this year. What was it like recording that album, and working with Andy Petterson?

Steve: Recording the album was a fantastic time.  This was the first serious attempt at legitimate studio work for most of us and Andy could not have made it easier.

Gavin: What was the public reaction to it upon release?

Kyle: Well, we played two release shows, both in Salt Lake and Ogden, and to say the least, we were not disappointed.  By the end of that "release" weekend, we had nearly sold out of the albums.

Gavin: You're unsigned at the moment. Do you view yourself as DIY or independent? And are you looking for a label at the moment?

Pete: For the time being, the DIY system works for us.  We make the music we want to make the way we want to make it.  As for labels, we are not actively looking for a label to sign on to.  I think, for the most part, we are still trying to hone our "sound."  Maybe a label is in our future, maybe not.

Gavin: A little local, what are your thoughts on the music scene, both good and bad?

Steve: It's good--great!  We have gotten to know quite a few bands in the local scene, and they're all very good and unique.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Kyle: More people paying attention to it.  There is some pretty damn cool stuff going on but half the time, no one shows up.

Gavin: Who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

Pete: Too hard to say. We have too many friends playing in amazing groups to make a list, but I would like to say the Naked Eyes, Hotel Le Motel, and Labcoat would be somewhere at the top.

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Jon: Honestly, we don't really pay attention to that kind of thing, we just like to play music.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Pete: I listen to a lot of NPR.  "American Routes" has phenomenal music.

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Pete: I'm not going to condone the illegal spread of intellectual property, but from our point of view, it is a really efficient way to get more people listening.  I wouldn't fight people spreading our songs.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys for the rest of the year and into next?

Jon:  We intend to keep putting on shows that keep getting bigger and better.  Furthermore, I think we are hoping to record and put out a new full length album sometime in the near future.  Sufficient to say, the future looks bright.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Steve: We have a new years show, coming up on new years eve, at the Owl Bar in Sundance that promises to be pretty cool.  Most importantly though, there are these really cool blankets with sleeves being advertised on TV that solve the problem of blanket slippage when the phone rings.  We all think they are fantastic!


Michael Gross & The Statuettes (Matt Glass, Michael Gross and James Kelley)

http://www.myspace.com/michaelgrossmusic

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Michael: We are currently Michael Gross (vocals, guitar), Matt Glass (drums), and James Kelley (guitar). We are without a bass player at the moment, so if you know any good ones... feel free to send them our way!

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Matt: I was a big Beatles fan growing up, but I also had a love for movie soundtracks as a kid. “Terminator 2” and “Back To The Future” were in heavy rotation.

Michael: When I was really young I would sometimes listen to some of my dads old records. Most of them were from the 60's and 70's. There were some Beatles records, Buddy Miles, Eric Burden & The Animals, Credence, etc. I also listened to a lot of Top 40 radio throughout elementary school. Q99 and Hot 94.9 come to mind. When I got into junior-high, my older brother was really into music, particularly the Seattle scene in the early-mid 90's. I took a liking to that stuff as well and just sort of branched out from there. in high-school I was really into Neil Young and Radiohead.

James: Three of the more prominent artists for me were Elliot Smith, Ian Curtis, and Claudio Sanchez. I like many bands and artists though.

Gavin: You've been a part of many bands, specifically the Brobecks and Let's Become Actors. What made you decide to form a new band? And what's the state of all the others bands?

Michael: Well... the "old" Brobecks decided to part ways a couple of years ago. Or close to a couple of years ago anyway. There was a lot to it, but to be political, I'll just say that we started to have "differences". Three of us left, and one remaining member kept the name and formed a new band. Some people might not remember, but our very own Matt Glass was the original drummer for the Brobecks. we call that the "old-old Brobecks". Let's Become Actors was a project comprised of myself, Dave Chisholm, Matt Glass and Ben Johnson. We played some shows here and there and recorded a CD. We are no longer playing, but the CD is pretty good and you can purchase it off of iTunes and the like. There was no drama there or anything, we just started getting involved in other things.

Gavin: How did you get together to form as the new band?

Michael: Our band "The Statuettes" started off as a solo project of mine. I just went under my name Michael Gross at the time and Matt helped me record a CD. After I recorded the CD, I really wanted to form a band and start doing things that bands do. I contemplated playing as a solo artist, but I just think bands are a million times more fun. If you have the right people that is. I knew Jimmy through a friend and I contacted him about playing music together. He agreed and we started playing guitar together for a month or two and then we got a couple dudes to join our band. Anyway, I wanted to give the band an identity as well, so I decided to call them "The Statuettes". Matt just recently joined the line-up after the other guys didn't really pan out. We are grateful to have him aboard.

Gavin: Do you view it more as a solo project or as a group?

Michael:  I like to view the band as a group. They are putting time and effort into it, and deserve to be a part of everything. Plus, they come up with cool ideas that I wouldn't have otherwise thought of.

Gavin: You released “Tales From A Country Home” earlier in the year. What was it like recording the album?

Matt: It was fun and relaxed. We self recorded it mike's girlfriends country home and didn't have the pressure of being on the clock.

Michael: Yeah. I always call on Matt do help me out when I record songs. We are on the same page musically, and Matt is a very good drummer. We both really like to record new music, so we had a good time with this home recording project.

Gavin: What was the public reaction to it upon release?

Michael: I don't think the public is even aware that it was released Ha. Actually, we only printed about a hundred copies of it and I'm pleased to say that we are almost sold out of them. We usually sell a few when we play shows and some people have bought the album off of the internet (cdbaby.com and itunes etc). A couple of people have reviewed it, and gave it really positive marks. We are currently recording a new 5 or 6 song EP with a really talented engineer, and we are very much looking forward to releasing it in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Gavin: How was it making the video for “My Life Is Changing”?

Michael: Its always fun making home-made videos. Matt filmed this video and we pretty much just made it up as we went along (if you couldn't tell). An interesting side note is that the video, the CD cover and the drums for the album were all done at the same location. An old country home in Hooper, Utah. also, Of you like random/funny/strange videos, you can check out Beardness.com. Its a website based around all the stupid and sometimes embarrassing movies that Matt and I have been involved in over the years.

Gavin: A little local, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

James: I think its got potential, but could use more support.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

James: I can't think of anything in particular at the moment, I just think that people need to get into good music and make an effort to go out and see live shows instead of just listening on the internet.

Michael: I think if every band promoted themselves by saying that their singer is going to be a finalist on American Idol, the scene would generate much more support.

Gavin: Who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

James: I honestly couldn’t say.

Michael: I can think of a couple off the top of my head are Band Of Annuals and Tolchock Trio, but there must be more out there than I know about and that I'm forgetting. Maybe we need to get out to some live shows instead of just listening to bands on the internet.

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Michael: I don't know everything about the music business, But I must confess that I saw a pretty shallow and contrived side of it when I was in one of my former bands. that turned me off quite a bit. At the same time though, I'd like to think there is a better side to it. I still believe that there must be good people that like good music mixed in there somewhere.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Matt: People still listen to the radio?

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Michael: I guess I have mixed emotions about it. A part of me just wants people to have our music and enjoy it. Even if its free. Another part of me thinks that artists deserve that money they are missing out on. Most artists are struggling to make ends meet and it could really help them out. Unless you are some huge, mega-star. They make enough money selling out stadiums and getting a small cut of there million album sales. I'm more worried about the little guys and medium guys.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys for the rest of the year and into next?

Michael: Well, first and foremost we want to finish recording this new EP we are working on. The timeline for that just depends on how much money we have. Hopefully its sooner rather than later. Next I think we need to solidify our line-up and find a bass player. the hardest part about a band is finding people that are committed and happy with their role in the band. Lastly, I hope to start playing shows consistently and start doing some touring again.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Michael: I thnk the only plugs we have at the moment are our MySpace page, Matt's photography and art website, and our silly little video site.

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