Once again, loyal reader Angie Lalonde comes through with another killer interview, this time with Victory skatepunks Ten Foot Pole. Click READ MORE to get the scoop from TFP lead singer Dennis.
ANGIE: How has the release of ‚??Bad Mother Tucker‚?? been going?
DENNIS: It‚??s going well I think a lot of the kids at shows know it.
A: This album was released on Victory, not on Epitaph‚?¶
D: Right‚?¶
A: Was that a good idea?
D: It‚??s just what happened, it‚??s our history.
A: You had a contract with Epitaph to do three records right so now that that was up did Victory come and approach you?
D: We basically sent demos out to everyone, Fat, Victory‚?¶ well everybody and Victory seemed to the ones who were the most enthusiastic about it.
A: Yeah, that labels seems to be doing really good right now, they‚??re growing fast. So do you think a lot more work was put into your newest album compared to ‚??Insider‚??, because I‚??ve heard some say it sounds like it was play with urgency?
D: Oh, really. A lot more work as far as the song writing you mean?
A: Well everything, the sound and the writing‚?¶
D: We spent more time writing this album than any other album cause we were at home for awhile and I just kept writing songs and writing songs the ones that ended up on the album were the ones that were agreed with the best.
A: I can tell this album definitely out does your last releases on Epitaph, like ‚??Insider‚??.
D: Good‚?¶
A: When you guys are performing live do you still sing songs that Scott Radinsky (former TFP singer) sang?
D: Oh yeah, well sing a few old ones tonight.
A: So how did it come to for you to take on lead vocals, did you want to, did the band want you to?
D: Both, what happened was our old singer Scott was a baseball player and we basically wanted to be a band and tour and everything and he was playing baseball all the time, he had about 3 months off out of the year. We told him that we wanted to tour at least 8 weeks a year to make it worthwhile but he wouldn‚??t commit to it. So we decided we needed a new singer so that we could be a real band. I decided to try out for it cause I had written most of the songs and I felt like really I was the only one I could depend on. And I‚??m glad I did it because if we would have had somebody else probably by now they would have quit or they would be doing something different.
A: You‚??re probably right and I respect you for taking it on, I know you guys even tried out different singer after and it never worked out.
D: Oh yeah and you know I have a different sounding voice, some people like it some people hate it. The good thing I guess is that it‚??s unique so when you hear it, you‚??re like okay that‚??s Ten Foot Pole, that‚??s Dennis singing. At least for the people who like it it‚??s a recognizable thing‚?¶
A: When you did take over were all the other members in agreement with it?
D: Yes at the time but over the years we‚??ve had people leave the band for different reasons and no one ever said to me I‚??m leaving the band cause I don‚??t like your voice (laughing)‚?¶
A: Obviously people can be awful, you get criticized all the time, how did you take that criticism when you first took over?
D: Actually I expected it, anytime you change something like that, the singer especially, it‚??s an interval part of the band and so I assumed that there would be a certain percentage of the people who wouldn‚??t like the band. To me music is subjective, people can do what they want to do and like what they want to like that‚??s, what‚??s the cool thing about it. The biggest bummer about this was that Brett the owner of Epitaph is probably in that category of people who didn‚??t like us as much after we changed and that‚??s basically probably the reason we‚??re not on Epitaph it‚??s Brett‚??s label and if he really liked us you know, we would still be there but for whatever reason they didn‚??t think it was worth it to keep pursuing us, they actually did try, at one point they were trying to leverage us to signing for extra albums and then at another point they just disappeared, so I don‚??t know how they make their decisions?
A: And your drummer‚??s Kevin‚?¶
D: Yes, he‚??s been with us for 2 years‚?¶
A: I heard he brought to the band a lot of song writing skills and pyrotechnics skills too‚?¶
D: He‚??s really good, he‚??s a great guy. He‚??s an intellectual actually but he has a lot of fun, I‚??m really grateful to have him in the band. It‚??s Thanksgiving in the United States today so I‚??m just going to be grateful today actually I‚??m really grateful to be here with all these guys, everyone in the band right now is happy to be here, they love playing music, they don‚??t mind working really hard, driving long distances and doing all the work that‚??s involved in being in a band. Kevin, was actually the first of the new guys to really open my eyes, to like wow, I don‚??t have to be in a band with a bunch of guys who are grumpy and hate moving their gear in and out of clubs every night, I can work with a guys who is actually happy who wants to work, wants to answer mail and do things, that‚??s an eye opener, and he has cool politics and stuff. Eventually that led to where the whole band is at now. I‚??m really happy.
A: So there was no problem with them coming into the band, even though the album had just been released, cause you toured with the Voodoo Glow Skulls in Europe with for this album with Steve and John (original members on ‚??Bad Mother Tucker‚??)? And they left‚?¶ Now Mike (bass) and Eric (guitar) took over, was it hard trying to get a new band to coalesce?
D: Yeah, well I felt like one of the reasons things have been going slow for TFP was everyone not being motivated and not agreeing together to do things, arguing about stuff all the time. Things that I didn‚??t think were that important, we would argue about forever. In a way it was hard to get all, the band rehearsed but once we decided what we were going to do it went pretty fast and wasn‚??t that big of a deal. The guys in the band now were actually fans of band and now they‚??re in it. (Kevin drummer walks in‚?¶)
D: Mike (bass) joined the band nine days before our first show and basically John suddenly left and it could have been a real hardship for us but we said you know what were going to make this happen no matter what, so boom. We don‚??t want anyone to be in the band who‚??s not happy to be here, it‚??s the same with the record label, if Epitaph‚??s not happy to put us out and isn‚??t stocked about us we didn‚??t want to be there. Same with Victory, as long as Victory‚??s enthusiastic then that‚??s great if they‚??re not stocked about us then we shouldn‚??t be there.
A: Eric and Mike the new members are younger right, is that a good thing, I‚??ve heard that they really revitalize your sound?
D: Yeah, it‚??s great, they‚??re energetic, and enthusiastic they‚??re excited. Like when we pulled into Ottawa they were like cool, this is Ottawa, wow snow. Where as some nameless ex-band members would be like, it‚??s cold where‚??s the whiskey, where‚??s the Jack Daniels!
A: We‚??ve all heard, Ten Foot Pole‚??s been infamous for bad luck, you got your station-wagon and trailer stolen with all you equipment, you‚??ve hit a deer in Winnipeg, changes in band members and personal tragedy in the band, honestly what the hell motivated you to keep going?
D: Seriously, stupidity is one possible answer (laughing). Um, I feel like some day I‚??m going to write some good songs, I feel like I haven‚??t written the songs I need to write yet or maybe it‚??s just one song, I‚??m going to write this one song that you know, changes the world and everyone will stop fighting with one and another (laughing), I don‚??t know‚?¶ But really, music is something‚??s that‚??s always challenging, being in a band is hard and a lot of work, it‚??s basically running your own small business and there‚??s all kinds of challenges, as to how should we write this song, how should the cover look, answering all the mail, all the planning, how do we cross the borders and our merch. To me it‚??s really challenging and exciting to face that everyday. It‚??s like what are we going to do today, we come in and the sound system works and half doesn‚??t so we‚??ll wire it all up. The challenges of playing to a crowd trying to convince them that you‚??re good guys and they should rock out.
KEVIN: It‚??s pretty rewarding, there‚??s not many jobs where if you bust your ass you have 100 people going yeah!
A: I know that, well thanks so much and good tidings on the rest of your tour.