If you're all from
LA how'd you end up in Lawrence?
I'm from San Diego, Aaron
(Pillar, guitar) is from LA Everyone else is from the Midwest. Josh
(Baruth, drums) is from Minneapolis. Jordan (Geiger, keyboards)
is from Booneville, Missouri, and Marc (Young, bass) is from St.
Joe. The band started in LA Back then, we had a different drummer
and bassist. The bass player was from Lawrence.
We were a band in LA
for six months. After that, we had gotten our first record deal
and hit the road. We sold everything and bought a van and lived
on the road for nine months. That got old, and I moved back to San
Diego because I hate LA Our drummer quit because he hated the road
and other two guys moved back to LA We were back for a couple months
and it wasn't working out. I said 'I'm not moving to LA and you're
not moving here and we're not practicing in Orange County.' We all
loved Lawrence and had a lot of friends here, and Jason's parents
lived here, so it was an easy decision.
The old rock and roll
story is that bands move away from the Midwest to LA You went the
It all depends on what
you're trying to do. If you're trying to get on a major label and
pursue the entertainment industry-version of music, Los Angeles
is where you go. But if what you're doing is independent touring,
it doesn't matter where you live. It's probably worse to live in
LA if you're trying to do things on your own because everything
costs so much.
Playing at clubs is different
in Los Angeles. Imagine if the Bottleneck made you buy 400 tickets
to your own show and it was up to you to sell them. That's what
LA clubs do. You pay to play. It's ridiculous. There's a thousand
bands per square mile in LA So many go there to make it that there's
no way clubs can book all of them.
So you've embraced
the indie model for music. Is it because you wanted to make decisions
for artistic reasons rather than for commerce?
Exactly. When I moved
to LA it was because I wanted to be part of rat race. I was young,
dumb, and didn't know about DIY things. I didn't understand that
the scene itself supports the music. I realized that I can do things
on my own. You don't need some big record label's money to go on
There must have been
some defining moment that turned you off to LA
It was just living there
and seeing all the people out there who think 'I'm gonna make it.'
But their idea of making it is someone else helping them. It dawned
on me that you're not what you're waiting for someone to help you
to become, you're what you do. If you go out and play music, you're
a musician. If you love what you're doing, just doing it is the
Do you ever get discouraged
that your band isn't breaking through to a larger audience?
To me, it doesn't matter.
I think it's because we started off by playing in basements to 12
people. Now we sometimes play shows that are sold out, and I can't
believe it. I'm amazed that I can go to Ontario and 200 people show
up at a show, and we've never been to Canada before. It's been a
gradual climb and to me, we are progressing.
I know everyone in the
band doesn't feel that way. Sometimes you want more, but I think
everyone agrees that we're moving forward.
I also know that we put
ourselves in the place we are today. You can't expect a band like
ours to just blow up. We're not playing music that a lot of people
are going to latch onto. Our fans are a little niche that's very
committed. It's not like we're Hot Hot Heat, where it's dance-y
and fun and suddenly blows up. I've never expected to be on David
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.