WITH YOUR HOST
CLICK THE LOGO ABOVE
WHERE DO YOU FIND TRUCKEE ON THE MAP?Rock n roll is full of bands that got together by accident. In this respect, TRUCKEEBROTHERS are nothing special. Group founders CADY and PEAT (both guitarists and vocalists) were obligated to play a music festival and wrote a couple of songs for the event. They got good friends HEMIWAY on drums and OTT on bass, nicked themselves TRUCKEEBROTHERS and got a job, so to speak. A band that was only supposed to last for one night onstage ended up being a rock-n-roll brother in arms tearjerker, with a few rock riffs thrown in for good measure. "We played the show and we thought that that would be it but unfortunately or fortunately, rather, the four of us ended up needing to continue." says PEAT TRUCKEE (we assume the last name is TRUCKEE.) "We're really fortunate to be in this band. I think that if none of us were in this band, each of us would kill to be in this band."
PEAT TRUCKEE OF TRUCKEEBROTHERS
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT
THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERNET RADIO
THEIR NEW CD 'DOUBLEHAPPINESS'
AND KEEPING THINGS INTERESTING
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
Their latest release, 'DOUBLE HAPPINESS' (POPULUXE RECORDS) is a testament to the rawness that rock is capable of but hasn't quite demonstrated in a while. "Rock music has a spirit about it that has been pretty dormant. I don't know if we've achieved it but it's definitely something that we're going for. There is spirit of defiance and there's a spirit of searching." says PEAT. "It's really based around the noise that these four guys make in the room and it's indicative of the noise at that moment. That's what excites me about it. This record couldn't have existed without these four guys in the room."
It's a beautiful noise! Try shelving this one somewhere in between IGGY POP's 'RAW POWER' and THE VIOLENT FEMMES' debut album.
Of course, ROCKWIRED won't go any further without mentioning this bands unprecedented support of internet radio. "If it's shut down and limited then you have a lot less voices able to speak. It becomes another CLEAR CHANNEL scenario where you've got the majority of radio stations controlled by a single entity that dictates what we listen to and what we get to hear." says PEAT. TRUCKEEBROTHERS have released a free single on the internet (not available on DOUBLEHAPPINESS) called MAYDAY as a show of support for SAVENETRADIO.ORG's efforts to combat legislation supported by the RIAA (Record industry Artists Association) and The COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD that will charge internet radio programmers out the wazoo retroactively from 2006 all the way up to the present with steady rate increases scheduled for the next five years. "Hopefully it'll go somewhere towards raising awareness of whats going on and letting people make up their own minds and hopefully end up choosing to support the campaign to make sure that internet radio can continue without being buried and buckled by the huge amount of royalty and back royalty payments that will put a majority of internet radio out of business."
ROCKWIRED spoke with PEAT TRUCKEE over the phone one night. Here is how it went.
You guys just did a show in Santa Monica. How did it go?
I was great. It was a venue that we never played before. It was an odd venue. I don't think it even had signage outside. We drove around the block four or five times before we found it. It was great. It was great crowd and a very fun show and we had a good time.
We've got a show coming up in Silver Lake and a VIPER ROOM gig in August. I hasn't been confirmed yet but there are some things coming up in LA that'll be tied to the release of the record which comes out August 7, 2007. We've had two release dates. We released a limited edition ourselves on May 8th which is the copy you've been given and the national release is August 7th through this distribution deal that we've signed with RED EYE DISTRIBUTION.
RED EYE DISTRIBUTION is fantastic!
They are, aren't they?
I've showcased quite a few artists that were distributed by RED EYE. I think they're the best distribution deal going.
Me too. They're such great guys and it's great to work with a company that's full of music fans. They're not accountants that happen to be in the music business. They really are music fans. They've been really easy to work with.
Before we go any further, I do want to say thank you guys so much for your support of internet radio.
I think it's extremely important. I think internet radio is a democratizing force. If it's shut down and limited then you have a lot less voices able to speak. It becomes another CLEAR CHANNEL scenario where you've got the majority of radio stations controlled by a single entity that dictates what we listen to and what we get to hear.
I wish there were more artists that understood that.
It's funny because I know that we've been having this discussion for the past several years with a lot of our friends in other bands and other labels. We've got a friend of ours MIKE WATT whose really impressed on us that everything including the albums that you make are a flyer. I asked him what he meant by that and he said that the album was a flyer to get people to go to your shows. It's a flyer to get people to support your tours as much as a poster is or as much as a spot on the radio is. I think it's the same for us with internet radio and I think it's really important to support the people who get your music out there. You put hours and hours into putting a show together and choosing the music that goes into the shows. It think it's extremely important to support that. At this point, college music is fairly dead and you guys are the taste makers. You guys are the ones that are begining to create a whole new model for playing bands.
You guys have released a single on the internet called MAYDAY as a show of support for internet radio. You wanna talk about it a little more?
Sure. MAYDAY was originally recorded for this record but was kept off of the record. We eventually had this great idea about giving it away and realized there was this promotion going on to combat this legislation thats going on right now in the United States Federal Senate about controlling internet radio and dictating the fees. This was the perfect opportunity for us to use this call to arms MAYDAY to state what side of the issue that we're on which is the freedom of internet radio. It's important to the democracy of voices which is what the internet is all about. The moment we start to regulate the internet and the moment we begin to dictate what is controllable on the internet, than we've lost that. The single is free and and we've given it free license to all internet radio stations so no money has to come back to us.
SO what has the reaction been like to the single, has the RIAA put a contract out on you guys?
Yeah, I think we've had cousin Guido knocking around on the door. We're a small indie band. I think if we were GREEN DAY they'd be a little more concerned, but the response from the fans has been great for us. I think we've had over five to six thousand downloads in the last four weeks. We've also done a PSA for SAVENETRADIO.ORG. Hopefully it'll help. Hopefully it'll go somewhere towards raising awareness of whats going on and letting people make up their own minds and hopefully end up choosing to support the campaign to make sure that internet radio can continue without being buried and buckled by the huge amount of royalty and back royalty payments that will put a majority of internet radio out of business.
Where does one find Truckee, California on the map?
Truckee, California is right near Tahoe, so its right near Olympic skiing country. It's got a fantastic river that runs through it and it's also right near where the DONNER PARTY had to resort to cannibalism. The survivors came down from the hill and founded the town of TRUCKEE. The word TRUCKEE is actually an old indian word that means 'everything is going to be all right'. The way they named the town was they misunderstood the word. It's an irony because we ended up naming the band as an aside, becuase that band was supposed to be a one-off, one-show, one set of songs written to play one show and that would be it. It's quite funny that the name has a meaning that's kind of played into what the band is. It's bunch of brothers that are just having a good time doing what they do.
Does everyone in the band hail from California, or do they hail from elsewhere?
Everybody in the band is orginally from all over the world. We've got OTT who plays bass. He's actually a classically trained guitar player from Boston. CADY was born in Kentucky and raised in Memphis and HEMIWAY, our drummer, is from New Jersey originally and I myself was born in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa and raised in England and then I was brought here. We're far flung but we've been tight for a lot fo years and we've actually been mates for nearly twenty years now, and just accidentally fell into being in this band.
How did you accidentally fall into being in this band?
We've all played together in various outfits before but we never wanted to be in bands together. When you're really close you don't want to be forced into a van for weeks on end because you don't want to put your friendship. CADY and I had been producing records and we had used the name as something to call ourselves producing these records and we all got booked at a festival, so we wrote and recorded some songs for an EP. We played the show and we thought that that would be it, but unfortunately or fortunately rather, the four of us ended up needing to continue. After the EP, we recorded an LP and after that we recorded the LP that you have in your hand, DOUBLEHAPPINESS.
And the EP was WALL TO WALL?
And the album was IT CAME FROM THE SPEAKERS. With DOUBLE HAPPINESS, what's different from those two initial recordings?
Where the previous albums were probably built a little more starting with the songs spark and then seperately tracking and building things, seventy five percent of this album was recorded live. In a couple of cases on this record, it is literally being written as it's being recorded with a little bit of touch up and sugar at the end. It's really based around the noise that these four guys make in the room and it's indicative of the noise at that moment. That's what excites me about it. This record couldn't have existed without these four guys in the room.
I think rock music, more than any other genre, relies on atmosphere heavily.
I think it's even deeper than that. Rock music has a spirit about it that has been pretty dormant. I don't know if we've achieved it but it's definitely something that we're going for. There is spirit of defiance and there's a spirit of searching. I think mood and atmosphere is extremely important. Music is one of those things that you don't really have to have a language for. You can listen to music from all over and not have to understand what they are saying in order to under stand what they are saying. That's a beautiful thing. I hope at least with this band and with this album, that we manage to touch on at least a little bit of that.
Where was this album recorded and how long did it take?
We have a studio that CADY runs in San Diego that we are fortunate enough to call home that we get to set up and work in frequently. It was recorded there. The recording sort of had a false start. It was recorded in the space of a about a week and we thought that we were pretty far along, and then I had a little bit of a meltdown in the middle of the record. This last year for us has been challenging. Very exciting and very challenging, all at the same time. Being in an indie band is just extremely challenging. It's costly to tour and it's costly to be a band. It's expensive and hard on realtionships. We stopped the record for three months while I lost my mind. We came back thinking that we were just going to record an extra song and walked in for a day and ended up with eight new songs that changed the face of the record, which are the majority of the songs that ended up on the record. We finished it pretty quickly and got it mastered and ready for release. I think from start to finish, it took about a year to really work out what this record was going to be. The amount of recording was fairly minimal. It was probably around three or four weeks. It was a really intense and exciting experience.
What fucked you up specifically?
For me, it was a combination of things. As an artist you often times suffer from a distinct lack of confidence in certain areas and a tendency for depression. I know more and more artists are being diagnosed with the most popular designation which is bipolar disorder, which is not my case.
Which I think is bullshit anyway.
To me it's the same thing as citing that every kid in elementary school is ADD, so lets put 'em on drugs.
It is the same thing and I've been the victim of that myself, so I understand completely.
I think it's a pile of crap. I think all of us are going through such intense times, personally and financially. We went out on tour in the middle of making the record and I was literally livng off of condiments and the good graces of my bandmates, especially OTT who would always share his meal with me which was really sweet. The irony is that I discovered at the end of the day that the majority of my meltdown was that I wasn't looking after myself. I spoke to somebody while I was in the midst of it who wanted to put me on drugs and I just walked out and said "Absolutely not! You're not dealing with the problem. You're dealing with the symptoms."
And not even that really.
It's basically putting a band aid on a situation. I immediately went to a nutritionist a few days later. They checked me out and sorted me out and within days, I was fine. It says alot about how societally we're so dependant on what doctors and psychiatrists think and what drug companies think as well. It's not necessarily the case.
I want you to talk about your bandmates. I want you to tell me who they are and other than their respective instruments, I want to know what you feel each of them brings to plate that makes this whole thing work.
It's easy and it's tough to articulate what your bandmates bring to you . In this case, this is an honest to God band. There is no one who is more important in this band than anyone else. Thats fairly rare in any of the other bands that I've been in. There's always a hierarchy. In this case, the music is so reliant on each one of these guys being present and contributing. I'd say that the musical driving force behind the band would have to be CADY. He has such a wealth of knowledge including a background in great big haired heavy metal. He has the genius sensibility of taking a scenario where we are being too serious and make you laugh. He's got a knack for making us turn left when we're playing it a little too safe. HEMIWAY, our drummer, is the drivng engine of the band. He's the guy, that when I'm playing onstage, he's the only guy that I'm listening to. I'm a rhythm guitarist but I started off as a drummer so alot of the way that I'm playing is based off of what he's doing. For me, he's integral to the sound of the group. If it wasn't for his strange fucked up ability to combine old jazz BUDDY RICH, with JOHN BONHAM and KEITH MOON, the band wouldn't sound anything like it does. Then you've got OTT on bass who is one of the most unuusal bass players, I think. He didn't play bass until he joined this band. He never played bass before in his life. He just decided that he's go out and get a bass and do this thing and he's become, in such a short space of time, a great bass player. He's kind of like JOHN ENTWHISTLE of THE WHO because for a bass player, he plays a great melody line. I think each one of the guys in the band bring their own humor and their own ability to defuse a situation that might be getting too heated. For a group of guys like us that are stuck in a van touring, it's amazing how well we get along. We're really fortunate to be in this band. I think that if none of us were in this band, each of us would kill to be in this band.
DOUBLEHAPPINESS has been released through POPULUXE RECORDS. Describe your relationship with that label.
We're partners in POPULUXE RECORDS. It's an artist-owned, artist-driven label. We have a great handful of artists on the label who've all done other things. We've all been out and had record deals and have been out touring in the world. We decided that we wanted to own our own destinies. The beauty of POPULUXE is that all of our artists own their own masters. They have the ability to walk at the end of the day if they have something that comes up that works for them, that's better. The artists are all involved on a daily basis with how the label is run. Some artists have different specialties. Myself and CADY are the day to day business guys and I'm the head of the art department. The label was started by CADY about seven years ago. I came on board to make a record and FRANK came on board, and this past year, it's gone through a rebirth. OTT has a solo album on the label coming out. Both CADY and I have solo albums coming out next spring. The TRUCKEEBROTHERS will be having an EP that comes out the same day this new LP and we'll have an EP out the following spring. It's an interesting experiment in how to do this in an environment in a business that has completely changed and has completely upended.
I don't know if I'd really call it a business or an industry anymore. It's kind of a free-for-all right now.
This is like the wild west. There are no rules. It's really scary for bands or artists who don't really want to work very hard or for people who just want to be stars. If you want to be a star, you need to try out for AMERICAN IDOL. If you want to make music and are not necessarily attached to the idea of having homes in three different countries, then it's a very exciting time.
JIM (the band's publicist) tells me that you guys are something else live.
Live is where it's at. We have the most fun and it's where we connect the most. At the end of the day, it's about the audience. It's not about the four pretenders who are standing up on the stage. It's about the communication between the four members and the audience who laid down their hard earned cash to see them
From this latest CD, what songs have people responded to the most.
It's all over the map. Every song has been cited as someones favorite, which has really shocked us. I would say, FORMULA O, I AM NATURE, GRITTY PRETTY and SNAP TIGHT are the top four but it really is all over the map. It's hard to tell what song we should be pushing.
You're indie. You can push everything.
Exactly. I'm glad we're not focused on singles. If we were. We'd be in trouble.
Describe how the songs come about for you guys.
It can happen in a variety of ways but for this record it was us being in the room during rehearsals sparking ideas and everyone else would jump in. Most of these songs are actuially based on rehearsal tapes and lifted pretty close to what went down in the rehearsals. In some cases, the songs went down completely live. We always want to do it a different way.
Growing up, what music got to you. What spoke to you?
It would be different for every guy in the band. I know OTT would be into BLACK FLAG and THE MINUTEMEN. He'd be all about American punk rock and then chamber music and classical pieces. I would be all about British music and punk and JOE STRUMMER, and THE WHO, THE VERVE, THE WATERBOYS, and bands like that. CADY would be about STAX records, and ROY ORBISON. Me and CADY would be about ELO and CHEAP TRICK, and things like that that are guilty little pleasures. HEMIWAY would be all about BUDDY RICH and THE POLICE, and LED ZEPPELIN, but he could go on for hours about jazz music. It's a real wide mix of things that we're into.
How easy or difficult is it to get everyone on the same page creatively or schedule-wise.
Those are two different things.
That's why I said them seperately.
As far as scheduling we've just got to keep things organized as a group. Creatively, there is never any doubt. There is just a relaxed approach to the entire band. We know when we walk in the room that we're going to create something. That's exciting at the end of the day. We're all pretty dedicated to what we're doing.
Do you think that the LP is sort of dying art in an age where you can download whatever song you want?
If I had the answer to that question, I'd be making bank at a number of labels right now. That's the question that everyone is asking. What form are records sales going to take. Are people going to buy CDs a year from now or are they just going to buy downloads?One of the things that we are extremely committed to at POPULUXE is making sure that the music is great but that the packaging is great, so that people who have laid down their hard earned money get something that is tangible and exciting. It's up to us to make sure that it's interesting. If it's not interesting, there's no need to buy the physical version of it. You might as well download it.
Any messages for the RIAA?
I would say that the way you're managing things is way outdated. It's time for a change and hands off internet radio, thank you very much.