Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I grew up with an older brother who played music and was literally my idol. Jason has always had such finesse with a guitar in his hands. I always wanted to be like that. But I was a drummer, so I didn't write a lot of songs on the guitar until years later after our band Five Hoss Cartwrights fell apart. I really took a big step back and away from music, at least performing it. I had a family, went to school, got a job. So I figured that was a good time to start plugging away at some riff ideas I had. I got a J Mascis signature Jazzmaster and started tracking some stuff where I played all the instruments. Big time Dinosaur Jr. influence in my guitar solos for sure. And then in 2015 when I went to see MUSE with my daughter, I couldn't be a spectator any longer after that. It just looked like too much fun. I was born to do that same thing. Matt Bellamy is literally a guitar god though, for real. But yeah after that, I seriously had to get a band going.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
For real this isn't going to be like any other answer you've gotten. I don't know if this WAS the craziest, or if it just caused me to GO the craziest I've ever gone while doing this thing. Anyway, a couple summers ago now, we were in Los Angeles which was our turning around point for a little West Coast Tour. The first night was a Saturday night at the Mint, where we opened for Zoo Keeper's Palace at their CD Release party. Great show, great night, no issues. The problem was the second night we were playing this art gallery showcase Downtown, and we had these two huge motor-homes and a van full of gear to park in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday. So I found a location we were probably not legally supposed to park, but it was large enough, and seemed like it wasn't too likely to bother anyone. We were a few blocks away from the venue so after checking in an argument ensues about whether or not to move the RV's to this rooftop thing the promoter had pointed out us. I lost the argument, and we moved the RV's, but the one I was driving ended up getting stuck on the ramp up to this lot, because it was too long for the ramp angle. It blocked off the entire exit to this thing, so none of the people who had just gotten out of church could get their cars out of this lot. It took like 4 hours to get a tow truck with the proper set of gear down there to move this RV, all of this BEFORE we took the stage. I was losing it. Not a good night. Lost the damage deposit on the RV's too from the bumper damage the tow truck cable caused when it was wrapped around the bumper dragging us back down the ramp. I went absolutely nuts, I hope no video ever surfaces of my epic meltdown in the street that day. I did get a couple of good sized chunks of Los Angeles asphalt as a souvenir.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Getting to take the stage just this last August at the Whisky A Go Go to open for Agent Orange was pretty damned awesome. I skateboard, I have for years, since I was a kid, so to share the stage with those guys, and my two brothers was really very special. So i'd say that, and of course being in the studio with a legend like Jack Endino. All that history and knowledge, it was like a bucket list thing. I have always loved recording music as well as writing and playing, so to spend time with him, watching and learning, having him ask me what I liked and disliked in a recording. It was all very surreal, and the best part was watching him jam air guitar to my solos. Pinch me, you know?
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Mike and I usually come to one another with a riff idea, and then between the two of us we hack out an arrangement. Matt, now that he's on the drums, spends a great deal of energy during that time also, when we are discussing when and where to change, how many times to do something. Of course as soon as I start blurting out my impromptu lyric and melody ideas Matt is not only starting to line out the drums, but he's immediately sampling harmony ideas even before he has any idea what I'm even saying, which at that point in the game is usually something pretty stupid. Inevitably a catchy hook or tag line will emerge, and that will be the back bone of what I go and do lyrically on my own after the fact. Then when we all reconvene, I'll have something more structured written down to share with everybody. Then when it comes to the bridge, that is a crap-shoot in terms of who will end up producing that. Mike and I go back and forth, lately we have been doing it together. They come together really quick though. They go from an idea to a new song in minutes, then we kind of chisel them out more clearly over time afterwards.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Well, it's very pay to play. So if you don't have a lot of your own capitol to burn, good luck getting things to happen quickly. I mean, you'll still overcome it if you're committed and seriously driven, but it takes longer, because you have less resources to shine a light on what your doing. I'd like to change that in the way that a guy like Rob Dyrdek changed access to skateboarding. Since he kind of set up the template for how to make these kinds of inner city construction projects a reality, parks are literally everywhere. Beautiful ones, in communities you'd almost never expect. So I want to do that for independent musicians, in a way. I want to show them the template for how you can take your art, and your resources, and your networking skills, and a little blood sweat and tears, and make a recipe for success that doesn't necessarily require the backing of a major label. There are a lot of heroes like that to choose from, but a majority of them are not playing rock music. I want to show the kids it can work there too. The days of artist development are gone, you are the manager, you are the agent, you are the label, but you also get to be the owner of your art, which has some advantages. You just need to figure out how to get over some of the branding and marketing hurdles that having a larger budget can help you blow passed.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
The Foo Fighters. I love the way Dave Grohl carries himself. I love the band, the music is always rock and roll, but yet always very beautiful and sophisticated. He's a drummer turned song writer, local ties to Seattle, the drummer for his band was my favorite drummer before he was even in the Foo Fighters. What more could you ask for? I also very badly want to play with MUSE. I feel like Matt Bellamy and I would be terrific mates. We read the same kind of books, I love his style. I think I would die a very happy man if either of those things managed to happen.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Rehearsals are long. We don't live in the same area all of us. Jason lives in Austin, Texas, Matt lives in Bellingham, and Mike and I are practically neighbors. So when Matt and Jason are here, it's time to work. We play for like 6 or 8 hours a day for two or 3 days then we are a part again until the shows or tour dates when we get back together, knock off the rust the night before and hit the road the next day.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Joshua's Song, but not necessarily because the song was a struggle to write physically, or musically, but because of the emotional journey that it represents. The song is about a child that passed away in my arms after a car accident, and my failed attempts to save him with CPR. Processing the personal guilt, remorse and disappointment after an experience like than can really derail a guy. So this song will always be very special to me. Without it I think I'm still stuck there blaming myself for not being better trained at CPR, or not having acted fast enough, or too fast, should I not have breathed and only tried chest compressions? So much going through your mind. Eventually through writing this song, I came to the conclusion that I did what was very best for him, basically I held him and told him not to be afraid. I suppose that was the reason for me being there, not to save him, you know? It's not so easy to accept that though.
Check out this dynamic, engaging video of SixTwoSeven:
What's coming up in the future?
Another studio record. An LP. We have been working with Jack Endino already doing some of the groundwork now. We hope to be ready for it to drop around New Year's. We will be touring the West Coast again, turning around in Hollywood at the Whisky A Go GoFriday January 19th with Agent Orange, most likely with that record available at our merch table.
Where can fans can access your music?
iTunes of course and Google Play.