Year's Eve... someone asked me the following morning what exactly I
did, as if anything I say is going to be impressive, so how about
this: I went to a FREE show, got free beer from my friend Ike all night, played witness to
a big whip cream party, and successfully avoided getting hit in not
one, but two bar fights some guys from Tooele tried to start. Yep,
that was my night. So... did Neon Trees actually show up to
Thursday night I made my way down to Burt's Tiki Lounge to celebrate in the best way possible. Surrounded by good friends, good drinks, good bands and oh yeah... heating! God's Revolver was supposed to show, but didn't. Shocking, right? So instead two bands carried the entire night by themselves and did a damn fine job of it too. The good ol' heavy punk-metal of Top Dead Celebrity and the relentless rock entity that is Thunderfist! All with an interview and pictures for you to check out.
Top Dead Celebrity (Jess Mills, Jeremy Cardenas, Jeff Anderson & Jeff Johnson)
Gavin: Hey Jeff, first off, tell us a little about yourselves.
Jeff: Well we are a rock band with a penchant for loud amps. Jeff Anderson (guitar and vox), Jesse Mills (drums), Jeff Johnson (bass), and Jeremy Cardenas (guitar and vox). We've been a band for I think three years now. We have one record out, and a new one coming. I'm a cancer. I enjoy reading, watching pornographic video tapes, short walks to gas stations, and cowboy poetry.
Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?
Jeff: I come from a musical family. Ive always been a fan, and from a young age wanted to play. My dad listened to a lot of strange progressive rock and jazz like Al Di Meola and things like that. The whole Seattle thing was breaking right as I was learning to play music so that was my starting point. The usual, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc… I would read magazines and those bands would talk about their influences, which got me into a lot of early punk rock.
Gavin: How did you all get together to form Top Dead Celebrity?
Jeff: Jesse and I were playing in a project together. Our singer was flaking out pretty hard, due to a pain pill habit. We just started jamming some tunes I had written. We really liked the way the songs were sounding, so we got a couple other people to come play. We had some line up changes a year or so ago, and ended up asking Jeremy Cardenas to come and play with us, and here we are.
Gavin: What was it like for you guys meshing styles and creating the fast punk-metal sound you have?
Jeff: I think its really just a culmination of our influences. I played in a bunch of punk rock bands, and love punk rock. But I am also a sucker for a good riff, and really love the 70’s rock n' roll sound. Really at the end of the day, we are just doing our best to rip off Motorhead.
Gavin: What made you choose to go with Exigent Records as a label?
Jeff: Purely accidental. It wasn’t like choosing between making a real dinner, and making mac and cheese. The only thing we had in the cupboard was mac and cheese.
Gavin: You released the first self-titled album back in 2007. What was the recording process like for all of you?
Jeff: We did all the tracking in a matter of days with Andy Patterson. I nearly blew my voice out. Most of those songs I can't sing the way I sang them on the record. When I listen to that record now, there are some parts that make me cringe, but there are a lot of great moments on it. I really like about 70% of it. It was a much different recording experience. We went it with much more of a plan than this new record and did it really fast. It was more of a snap shot of what we were at that exact moment.
Gavin: What was the public reaction like after the album finally came out? And how did it feel getting national attention for it in Outburn?
Jeff: It seemed good I suppose. Everyone that reviewed it liked it I think. All the local mags seemed to dig it. It was pretty cool getting it reviewed in Outburn. It was a year after it had been out but aside from that it was cool. I think we read that review in Outburn while recording our second record. It was cool to be in a magazine that had The Bronx on the cover. Those guys are amazing. We all love them.
Gavin: Something people may not know, you've provided the theme music to the Mediocre Show podcast. How did that opportunity come about?
Jeff: I listen to their show pretty religiously. I have for a couple years now. Eric and I had started talking awhile back and became friends. Pen pals if you will. He either asked me, or I offered. I would have done it either way. I took a song that is on our new record, and sent it to him. He loved it and uses it on their show now. Those guys are good dudes.
Gavin: You're currently working on the next album, Ignorant Midwestern Rube. How is that one coming along and when can we expect it out?
Jeff: It is damn near done. Mike Sasich is mastering it right now actually. We are hoping to have it out by February at the latest. Probably Valentine's Day. Because nothing says I love you, like a shiny new Top Dead Celebrity CD.
Gavin: Any plans for a tour this year or sticking to home for now?
Jeff: There has been some talk of a tour, but we really haven’t started planning. Jeremy is going to Australia, and Jeff Johnson is going to Amsterdam. So Jesse and I might take our two piece experimental free form acid jazz project on the road. I'd really love to tour, but its damn hard these days to do as an independent artist. No, thats a bullshit cop out excuse. We are too old and tired to sleep in a van, and live off brown colored gas station food. I'd really like to get to the east coast though.
Gavin: A bit state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?
Jeff: There are some great bands here. It seems that the shows are pretty under-attended these days. That could just be the economy, or it could just be no one is inspiring people to leave their apartments. There are some seriously amazing bands in this city though.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?
Jeff: Showing up is a good first step. With the advent of home recording, etc. There is more bad music in circulation than ever before. What really proves a bands worth is their live show. You need to go out and see a band live to really get the whole package. But I really don’t know. I could toss out clichés about "keeping the scene alive" but I'm a terrible person to ask, because I cant go to half the shows I used to. I wonder though. Where are all the young people these days. I used to go to see live bands, whether I had heard of them or not. Doesn't seem like that happens as much now.
Gavin: Aside yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?
Jeff: To preface, TDC is pretty damn low on my personal list of favorite acts. There are a bunch of stellar bands and musicians that I truly look up to. I've heard rumor that White Hot Ferrari is working on new stuff which is awesome. I love me some Iota, Old Timer, Negative Charge, Accidente, Eagle Twin, INVDRS, Gaza. Bird Eater, Laughter, Mindstate, I'm sure there are a bunch I am forgetting at the moment.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?
Jeff: You know, I’d really love to pretend like I'm super hip to community radio, and know when a local slot is, but I really don’t. I know Circus Brown's show and that’s about it. I dig him though. I think he is a guy that truly likes music that comes out of this fine state.
Gavin: What's your take on file sharing these days and how it affects you as a musician?
Jeff: Man that is a tough question. Its totally a double sided dagger, with a spoon on the end. I would love for my record to be the most downloaded on What.CD for a day or something like that. I’d love to get paid for it too though. In all honesty, it doesn’t affect me as a musician at all. We haven’t seen a dime from our record being on iTunes. So it might as well be free, because we certainly aren’t making any money. I'd rather have a large audience and no money then a tiny audience and twenty dollars. I make music for people to hear. I don’t make it put on my mantle. Worrying about file sharing is an aspect of music I don’t want to think about.
Gavin: What can we expect from you guys going into this year?
Jeff: I don’t even know if we have a clue yet. Definitely a record. Probably a few shows. Hopefully we’ll get out of town. I think we will probably end up writing another record this year, and then calling it quits so I can join the Peace Corps.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Jeff: I’d like to promote promiscuous sex and cannibalism. But check out the Mediocre Show, the “I Know Everything” Podcast, GeekShow Podcast. Check out some local bands while you're at it.