Every summer there are numerous concerts that get our blood flowing and our hearts racing. Tons of bands stop in Denver every year and Monika and I are more than lucky to live in such a great state where we get to experience the music that we do. This year the beloved band, The Expendables, are touring with Dirty Heads across the US (and a few stops across the country). For 15 years they’ve been touring the world, making music, and enjoying summer all year round. The Expendables recently gave us the pleasure of interviewing them about their life, music, favorite things, and what’s ahead for the band:
1. Who/what got you started in creating music? Who are your biggest influences?
8th grade graduation party. My friends were all sitting around showing each other riffs that they knew on the guitar. From Hendrix, Clapton, all the way to Alice In Chains. I was fascinated. I had no idea how to play anything so I just sat and watched but the next day I asked to borrow my dad’s ancient Nylon string guitar and took my first guitar class my freshman year. I asked my friends to teach me whatever they could.
2. What kinds of things should fans expect from the upcoming tour?
Dirty Heads, Big B, and The Expendables have all been friends and touring buddies for the better part of a decade. I think fans can expect an eclectic mix of high energy, and fun music from people that truly enjoy to write and perform.
3. Most memorable tour moment?
We get asked this question a lot, and it’s hard to find a moment that doesn’t include drunken debauchery, self deprecating stupidity, feces, or all of the above. It’s hard to find the most memorable, humorous, or embarrassing moment because we’ve been touring for so long and have many, so I’ll just say the first thing that comes to mind: Our first visit to Austin, Texas fell on Halloween. We all made our way down to 6th street and that’s the last most of us remember. The next morning was like our own version of The Hangover. We tried to figure out who shattered the toilet, why my ankle was completely black and blue with tread on it, why Adam had been kicked out of the bar for starting his own stripper pole dance competition, and what happened to my cell phone. The homeless man that we paid $20 to return my phone after he called my parents and ex-girlfriends provided no answers so to this day we still come up with theories as to what truly happened.
4. Any advice for musicians that are trying to make it within the industry as successfully as you have?
Are we successful? I don’t know that we are, we just try to write and perform good music, and hope that people continue to support us. For musicians that want to be where we are, I would say it doesn’t matter how good you are. Just find people that you enjoy playing music with and play together as much as possible. And then play as many shows as possible and expand your touring radius. You basically spend your life with your bandmates and they become your extended family. And in my experience the groups that stick together have the best shot, and the most fun.
5. What should we expect to hear from the new music releases you’re having in the future compared to what you’ve done in the past?
Musicians are constantly experimenting and growing. As the years have progressed we’ve become better musicians, and that is reflected in our music, which has gotten tighter and at times more complex. But we are also constantly experimenting with different types of music because we never want to become stagnant or stale, yet also don’t want to alienate our fans by changing too much. As our live show has progressed over the years so has our recorded music. We have been incorporating keyboard, synth, and acoustic guitars into our live shows, and these aspects will appear more on our next album.
6. A lot of people classify your music as a number of genres, what would you define your genre as?
People mostly call it california reggae, reggae/rock. Surf Rock international released an album of ours in Japan, and gave us the label mixture rock which is vague, but probably the most accurate. We aren’t a reggae band, and truly don’t play traditional reggae but we have many heavy reggae and ska influences. We also aren’t a straight ahead rock band. Besides reggae, we also play metal, punk, blues, hard rock, ska, with inflections of jazz, and country, and whatever else we throw in. So mixture rock is still my favorite term, and I think it applies to a lot of other bands in the genre.
7. What’s different about the Dirty Heads tour compared to the other tours that you’ve had?
The Dirty Heads are considered a part of the genre that we are in, but I think they stand out as being one of the most original, and different acts in the scene. They play a lot of acoustic guitar, and have a heavy hip-hop and even some pop influences. For the most part it’s as if our styles come from different planets – which is exciting for us as musicians and for the musical diversity that we hope the fans enjoy. Plus, the Dirty Heads have had some incredible radio success, they bring that audience to the shows, and it’s an audience that we aren’t accustomed to playing in front of.
8. Biggest challenge you’ve faced as musicians thus far?
Two that I can think of. One was trying to balance work and a busy touring schedule. Before we were able to quit our day jobs we had to tour and work. It was difficult to do both, and it was hard to devote ourselves 100% to the music while still working. Coming off an 8 week tour and going back to a job the next day really sucks.
The other would have to be being able to handle negative criticism. If you ever get a swelled head as a musician all you need to do is read a few negative iTunes reviews, YouTube comments, Facebook posts, or any internet blog written about you. People can say some pretty hurtful and vicious things about you. It’s hard not to take it personally, especially since our music is personal to us. We spend our lives writing and performing music and it is the most important thing in the world to us so the negativity can affect us. But I’ve realized over the years that you can’t please everyone, even some of our die hard fans don’t like all aspects of our music or all of our albums. There’s nothing I can do to change it, so all we can do is just keep writing and playing and stay the eff away from the internet.
Whatever is best regionally. BBQ in the south, sushi where its fresh, mexican in CA, everything especially pizza in NYC.
10. Ren and Stimpy or Beavis and Butthead?
I liked both as a kid, so I give the lame safe answer of both. Ren and Stimpy had the better theme song, Beavis and Butthead had the music videos. It’s a tie.
Check out the band in your city!
Cabin By The Sea Tour Dates:
Friday, June 21 - Austin, TX @ The Belmont
Saturday, June 22 - New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
Sunday, June 23 - Jacksonville, FL @ Free Bird Live
Monday, June 24 - St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live!
Tuesday, June 25 - Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
Wednesday, June 26 - North Myrtle Beach, FL @ House of Blues
Friday, June 28 - Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
Sunday, June 30 - Ocean City, MD @ Seacrets
Monday, July 1 - New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place
Tuesday, July 2 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Monday, July 8 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
Tuesday, July 9 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
Thursday, July 11 - Kansas City @ Midland Theatre
Friday, July 12 - Denver, CO @ Exdo Event Center
Monday, July 15 - Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
Tuesday, July 16 - Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
Wednesday, July 17 - Calgary, AB @ Flames Central
Friday, July 19 - Victoria, BC @ Phillips Brewery
Saturday, July 20 - Vancouver, BC @ Venue
Sunday, July 21 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Monday, July 22 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
Wednesday, July 24 - Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory Concert
Friday, July 26 - Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
Sunday, July 28 - Costa Mesa, CA @ Pacific Amphitheatre
More information on The Expendables: