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Mar
07

BOTTLEROCKET

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What is your name, and name your group/band/act?
Jordy, Bottlerocket
Where are the artists from?  What is their talent in the group?
We’re a funny ska band from Lincoln, NE. We’re all (at least within the last 5-6 years) from this direct area.
How did the band get the name?
We played under the name Totally Awesome Fun Band from ’05 to ’09. After a breif stint with his solo project our lead singer (Blake Salem) ditched it and used its name (Bottlerocket).
What instrument do you play now? (If applicable)
I play Trombone, do some vocals too.
What (who) does your act/art consist of?
Blake Salem – Guitar, Vocals
Vince Hugelman – Bass Guitar
Mikey Elfers – Drums
Kenny Beyer – Tenor Saxophone
Ryan Beach – Trumpet, Vocals
Jordy Elfers – Trombone, Vocals
How would you describe your music/art/entertainment for the public audience if they have never seen you before?
Remember that song Sell Out by Reel Big Fish that was a radio hit for one summer a long time ago? If you’ve nothing else to compare it to, compare it to that. Otherwise, for fans of mu330, Slow Gherkin, Big D and the Kids Table, and Less Than Jake.
Give me some details about the group/act/art?
We’ve been a band for a long time, playing the same songs and not getting any better. After finally recording a full length and a Christmas full length we’ve (at least in our eyes) improved our live show and personalities ten fold. We play an unfocused blend of ska, punk, reggae, and rock. Well-mixed vocals, dueling horn parts, and a slammin’ rhythm section are a regular in our performance. We try to have as much fun as possible playing any show.
How long have you been performing live or making art?
I think we’ve all been playing some instrument for a long time. I’ve been playing the trombone since I was 11 years old. Ryan, our trumpet player, has been playing about the same length and is actually attending college for performance. Blake has been playing guitar for quite a few years, used to play trumpet (which comes in handy). Vince had professional bass lessons awhile ago, and still to this day looks more comfortable with a bass in his hand than not. Kenny played sax in junior high or something, and pulled it out again a couple of years ago to join the band. Mikey learned how to play drums on his legs and a desk for the last ten years while being a full-time guitar player. We’ve been a performing band with our (semi) current line-up since 2005.
Where did you meet your group and how long have you been together now?
I met Vince first at a shitty telemarketing job back in 2005. We met because of his Reel Big Fish shirt, I liked it, and told him. He said he got it at their show in Chicago. We realized we had a lot more in common than a shirt, he found out I played trombone one night drinking at my house…and seeing my trombone. The rest is history, I joined, practiced in Blake’s parents basement with them, and played my first show a few months later. A few months after that I recruited my older brother, Mikey, to play drums. We’ve been together since 2005 with a minor change in Sax position (Taylor Hammack, rest his soul haha).
What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?
The biggest challenge used to be getting motivated. The time and money spent on our two records (and third that we’re doing now) obviously put us past that bump. The biggest challenge now is getting our name out there and reminding everyone why ska doesn’t suck.
You’ve heard of the term “starving artists” before, how do you cope with major obstacles?
We take our major obstacles in stride. Most of those can easily be planned around. We all work jobs outside of the band, some of us two, some of us have school full-time as well. We all manage to get to practice, take care of our shit, play shows, and now tour.
Everyone loves a celebrity so what advice do you have for the youth of today?
Never base your entire life off of ONE person. The term “role model” is commonly pluralized for a reason, people need input from multiple sources. The way I use the term celebrity with musicians and whatnot, I’ve always felt like I should try to meet everyone I enjoy, idolize, respect, whatever. If they take the time to talk to me (or you, in your case), or at least say thanks when I tell them they played a good show, they’re probably alright dudes like everyone else, just doing what they love.
What does your family think of your performance and do they support you?
All of our families fully support what we do. Hell, Vince’s mom is buying us a load of shirts to sell. It’s never really like the lead singer of Korn who needed terrible parents to make (terrible) music. We’d all be nowhere if our families didn’t support us.
Thinking back, did your family carry on the same musical/artistic interests?
Between Mikey and I, ours did for sure. I hadn’t gone a week of my home life without seeing a guitar in my dads hands. Ma’s got a voice like an angel. Vince’s dad’s been playing music his whole life too. Not too sure about everyone else’s, but at least they can all respect it and enjoy it.
Do you have your own favorite type of music and is it any different from what you play now?
I have some of the most eclectic taste in music in my band. I listen to a lot of stoner rock, west coast rock and roll. Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Rocket From The Crypt, Mondo Generator, Hot Snakes, Tanner. There are things that will always get a steady rotation like RX Bandits, Big D and The Kids Table, Streetlight Manifesto, mu330, The Aquabats. Ska to me is always the old standard, I grew up on it, and it’ll never leave.
Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?
Personally? Not really, I don’t do much. Work, work, band, party. Everyone else in the band is a hell of a lot more talented on their end of the instrument and in life as well. Blake, Vince, Ryan, and Kenny all goto school full-time for their respective talent and succeed ridiculously at it. Mikey plays in another band (JV Allstars) and a now defunct punk band (Same Old Crap). Ryan will probably graduate and make tons of money playing trumpet for awhile, Blake might end up in China. Vince could be the next rock and roll lawyer, and Kenny could be designing Miller’s next beer bottle. I’m more for the here and now, and I like where I’m at.
What has been your strong influence to continue performing?
The shows, our friends, and our future friends. Nothing beats playing a show. I could play the same songs to the same people and fuck up wildly everytime, and still have a great time.
Does anyone in particular influence your artistic/musical talent?
If I could ever be as talented as Masahiko Kitahara of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra I’d probably become narcissistic. It’s really just seeing bands doing it, and doing it well, that keeps us going…that and all of our friends telling us to get our asses out there.
Who does most of the song writing/art/literature?
Blake does about 90% of it, Mikey does about 10%. We all get our equal input in writing riffs and I pretty much work out the backup vocals. Really though, almost every song we play is Blakes.
If you had to change one thing about your music/group what do you feel would be the best change to benefit the group overall and why?
I’d fast forward a couple of years so all these scholars could graduate. We’d be able to tour a lot more, see what we’re actually made of.
Have you ever had any strange or stalker type fans that you are aware of?
Haha, as far as I know we haven’t, although we’d probably love it. Bring ’em on, man.
While getting ready to perform have you ever been interrupted by fans who snuck in to the dressing room/rehearsal?
I’m trying to think of the last time we had a green room. We probably did this once to Big D when we played with them (5 cases of PBR), but I don’t think it’s ever happened to us..nope.
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment if you care to share it with us?
Christmas show, I think it was ’06. Every year we do a Christmas show (you know, we do have 17 original Christmas songs) and we opt to wear funny uniforms our outfits. We tried to theme that one better. Vince was baby Jesus, which was him in a diaper. Blake was a reindeer. I think Mikey and Taylor at the time, or it might’ve been our old drummer, were elves. Ryan was a giant gift, and I was mother mary. But I guess being mother Mary was me wearing red tights and a sexy little chick robe. I forgot about wearing little tight whities under the tights and wore boxers. That shit was a mess, but everyone was so focused on diaper wearing Vincey that I got away with it.
What has been the most bizarre thing (thrown) on the stage with you?  How did you react?
Our first show after Ryan turned 21 he kept checking his phone on stage…a tad bit drunk. Our friend J.J. kept throwing beer cans everytime he did it, so everyone else just followed suit. Not really bizarre, but extremely hilarious.
I just laughed and started doing it too.
What is your wildest story with the group?
Our hilarious excursion to Ames, IA. We played at a Chinese restaurant bar venue grill weird…I don’t even know how to explain it. I think the place is shut down now so I can talk about it. Crazy guy served most of us underage, we played for nobody…not even the band that booked the show. Ryan played in the basement with a practicing mariachi band, and we got paid with a six pack of Miller Chill.  I threw my neck out on the way home raging to Blake’s terrible techno radio station. ZOLTAR’S CLOSET!
What has been the worst nightmare for the group?  How did you get through it all?
Probably recording the Christmas album the first time. It was our friend’s basement and we were so stupid unorganized it hurt. We got through drums, bass, and some guitar. Started doing vocals and horns and it just sucked, sounded like shit, so we ditched most of it. If you ever listen to the album the drums, bass, and trumpet are all original takes. The song “Letter To Santa” is the first and only take we did of that song. Amazing it turned out as well as it did after all that crap.
What are your up-to-date performance plans?  New releases?  Tours? News?
We’ve recorded drums and guitar (bass got ruined) on our new full-length and our next Christmas EP. We should hopefully be finishing that over the summer and releasing it towards the end of Fall 2010. We are leaving for a midwest tour on March 13th. Check the MySpace for dates. We’re off with our good Friends The Last Slice and meeting up with other friends The Ruckus, Agent15, and The Heat Machine (Lincoln also) on some dates. One of the tour dates is part of the Valley of the Vapors festival, which should be badass.
If you could perform with anyone in the world, either dead or alive who would it be? Why? (Name up to three)
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
mu330
Slow Gherkin
The last two are now defunct, but playing with any three of those bands would be unbelievable. TSPO sells out arenas and is a group of some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever seen, so they’ve got that going for them. mu330 and Slow Gherkin have such a major role in our band, it would feel like playing with legends. Honorable mention going to Big D and the Kids Table (who we’ve played with twice, and are still awesome, great dudes), Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, and The Toasters (who The Last Slice open up for quite a bit).
What is the furthest show from your home that you have done?
As of now I think it was that funny Ames show, we haven’t had much opportunity to get outside of the immediate area.
Have you been involved in any benefit performances?  What was it and how did you become involved?
Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything. I think we played national coming out day once, but we didn’t know about it until we got there. There was some invisible children thing when Vince and Blake were still in high school, but I don’t remember it very well…it was short.
Do you currently have an agent, endorsement, record label, sponsor, etc.?
No sir, everything we do is independent and out of pocket. Not that we’ve had any offers, but I think it keeps things simple while we’re capable of carrying the workload.
Is this your first interview or do you have some other articles/stories about you posted somewhere for public viewing?
We did an interview with Journal Star, the local newspaper, a few months ago. That can be seen here:
http://www.journalstar.com/entertainment/article_cb98be4c-ea8e-11de-b005-001cc4c03286.html
Do you have any video links where people can see you?
I think there’s a couple of YouTube things somewhere from a long time ago, but they’d probably have to search themselves, I wouldn’t know where to start.
Do you have a website of any type?  (Name all options)
We’re on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/bottlerocketusa)
Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/bottlerocketusa)
Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/bottlerocketusa)
Last.fm (http://www.last.fm/music/Bottlerocket)
PureVolume (http://www.purevolume.com/bottlerocketusa)
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