Interviews Conducted by tick
My name's Tony and I play guitar in the band the Commercials.
What are you doing right now?
Listening to the first Weezer CD and rocking out pretty hard.
What is the hardest part about being in a band?
The time commitment that is invloved. I don't think I fully realized how much time was needed to try and make a band successful when I first started to get involved with music. It's really a lot. That and trying to control all the screaming 15 year old girls... that's pretty hard too.
When did you and what propelled you to start a band?
I guess it was like around 9th grade when I first started playing music in bands. I was into punk at the time and I figured I could do this just as good as the bands I was listening to at the time. I also just always enjoyed music, plus I was a dork in the early days of high school, I mean I'm still a dork now, and I guess I just wanted to have a way to get up in front of people and make them pay attention to me.
How serious are you about your band?
Very, I would love to do this for a living if I could. I just have so much fun playing and it's such a great feeling to have people buy your stuff and tell you that they like the music. I also spend so much time on this band that it would be almost stupid not to be serious.
What have you learned from being in a band?
I've learned that people in bands keep getting older and the kids who come to shows stay the same age. You so rarely see any older kids at shows, and if they do come it's only to bigger shows usually. I've also learned how to pack all our equipment into a minivan and still have room for 4 people.
What is the message your band is trying to convey?
I guess just have fun. We want people to realize that not everything has to be serious all the time and you can have fun and get some tension out and not to have some big postured punk attitude, just relax and try to get along with everyone. Geez I sound like a hippie now... I mean um.. yeah fuck some shit up!
What do you think your sound most resembles?
Kind of new school southern California style stuff with some emo. I don't know... we've been compared to a lot of different people. I hear a lot of different things. I like to think we're just rock and roll.
Do you have any best/worst experiences playing live?
Yeah never throw anything out into the audience because you'll get it thrown right back at you, no matter how much they like you. One time we thought we'd be nice and we bought candy and we threw it out to the audience. About a song after that it started getting thrown all over the club and a piece hit our drummer in the eye.
What were your primary influences?
A lot of local bands really got me started. I think I learned a lot about playing live from them. I was heavy into grunge back in the day…that stuff kind of got me on my way into punk. I was also really into old Lookout! stuff when I first started listening to punk. Like old Green Day and Screeching Weasel stuff. The Violent Femmes and Weezer were also two bands that I really used to dig and actually still dig a lot.
What equipments do you use? Any advice on that?
I use a Gibson SG and a mesa boogie stack. My advice for anyone is don't play on a single coil pickup if you're playing any kind of punk. They are super shallow sounding. If you want that hard kinda beefy sound that a lot of bands get you really need to get a guitar with a humbucker. If ya have the money I recommend mesa boogie too, you get a really hard hitting sound from their amps.
Did you release an ep/lp/7"/demo? If so, how do you distribute it?
We have a full length out and two split CD's. The labels did a lot of the distro for it. I mean the best way I can suggest to try and sell stuff and get your music out there is to play shows wherever and whenever you can. That's really the only way you can get your music out there when you're first starting out at a band.
Where are you from? Describe your 'scene.'
We're from Harrisburg PA. It's a pretty cool scene. It's a lot of younger kids, like a lot of high school and middle school kids. It didn't used to always be big though. It went through a real dry spell a few years back but a lot of good bands started coming together and the shows started to progressively get bigger. We've been able to get a lot of bigger bands stopping through now too.
How hard is it for you to get gigs there?
Not too hard now. It used to be really hard, but I think when venues start realizing there's a market for this type of music they start taking it seriously. I guess my advice here is just keep playing and building a following and the clubs or someone will notice eventually. Just don't expect things to happen overnight.
What kind of sacrifices did you have to make for this band? Any obstacles?
A lot. It's hard to keep some friendships and relationships going because it's a very busy lifestyle. You also kind of lose a good deal of your social life, because you're never around on weekends. You meet a lot of people and make friends from other places in other towns and in other bands but they're usually all far away so you don't really get to see them except when you play there again.
How are you making ends meet?
Well right now it's hard. People think that when you get in a band you make a lot of money but there's a lot of costs involved too that not many people are aware of. We all have jobs right now too. Two of us also go to college.
Random Question: What zines do you enjoy?
I read this awesome zine Muddle recently. It was kind of an old issue, I don't know if it's even still around but it was super funny. I also used to enjoy a zine called Trust Virgil. I dont' think it's around anymore though either. Any zine that can make me laugh I think is awesome. I get sick of just reading music reviews and interviews, I want to read something by someone creative.
Thanks a lot.
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