I don't know what it is with these Republicans. They're always going on and on about less gov't this and less gov't that. What we need is MORE Gov't, but the right kind of Gov't. Gov't Lincoln style!
SCS: How and when did The Gov’t form as a band?
Shaun: We (Lightnin’ Boy, Mello, and myself) were in recording school together in Norfolk back in ’98. Mello and I played in Gravey Train together in high school and Lightnin’ played as well in Omaha, we were without bands, and good pals, so we started doing improv recording work together. After graduating, we moved to different regions, but when we all ended back up in Nebraska, we reformed with Liam, (a good friend of mine that I worked with previously as his recording engineer) and started dickin’ around recording and now we play live whenever we can. It’s an ongoing work based originally on being good friends and having a good time rocking, whether in the basement or in the bar.
SCS: If someone asked you “what does your band sound like?” how would you answer?
Shaun: I would say original hard rock that alternates between deep subject matter and good lighthearted shit. Live, I think we sound like old country meets Nirvana, meets metal and blues, with the heart of Ween. If you gauge our recorded stuff, it’s overall unclassifiable, given our studio weirdness in the past.
SCS: How would you describe a Gov’t show? -- If people come to see you live, what can they expect?
Lighnin’ Boy, Liam, Mello: We feel our shows are full of good energy, hard Rock with heavy country and blues mixed in for good measure.
Shaun: We have more energy live, because playing live kicks ass. It’s hard rockin shit, straight Gov…
SCS: What types of music and which musicians/groups influenced the band members?
Mello: Pink Floyd
Lighnin’ Boy: Ween, Hank Jr.
Liam: ESPN Radio.
Shaun: Blues, country, metal, grunge, 70’s rock, etc.
SCS: How have you grown, musically and creatively, since the band first started?
Lighnin’ Boy: Doing the original songs helped us get on the same page when Mello moved back. Then we wrote some of our blues numbers, which gave us more chemistry.
Liam: We don’t stick with one general style, we try and keep it changing.
Shaun: I had not played live in bars since Starla the Nudie Dancer. During the early Gov’t days, I think I got a better grasp on my own songwriting. I have also developed the philosophy that I cannot be in a band besides this band, because these dudes are my good friends. To be in a band with drama and strife between artists, dude, I cannot imagine doing that. It’s not worth it.
SCS: Who writes the songs, and how does the band work them out?
Mello: Abdu (Shaun) or Liam gets a riff goin, then Lightnin’ and I work in a rhythm and it kind of gels from there.
Shaun: The songwriting happens on everybody’s part. I have written and recorded some stuff myself during the off-days that we still play, but we just start working on shit and throwing ideas across the room until the song is ready to play live. Well-accepted ideas are songwriting here. We show great respect to each other in this realm, then we get beer’d up and hurl unrelated insults to each other later. It’s so beautiful, that I will cry now.
SCS: (Shaun sobs uncontrollably like a little girl for 23 minutes. When he pulls himself back together, we continued the interivew) When and where was your first local show, and how did it go?
Shaun: The 9th Street basement, with good buddies Pain Theory, and Pessimist Chronicles with Alchemy. It was a metal show, and we were only slightly out of our element, but the metal crowd loves good rock, so it was a fuckin’ hoot.
SCS: What was your most memorable live performance and what made it that?
Mello: Winning the battle of the bands at The Grove. Sweet turn out and we had a great time
Shaun: Just recently at The Zoo Bar, we had a small, yet loving audience, the night was right, the room was right, the sound tech was great, and we could not have been happier at the end.
SCS: What do you like and dislike about the music scene in Lincoln?
Shaun: I don’t know.
SCS: Have you learned anything in your experiences in a band that you feel newer local bands could learn from, or made any mistakes they should avoid?
Shaun: Being in a newer local band myself, I would be a dick to answer that. Although, as an on/off sound tech, I would say, be cool to the sound guy. When you start being a dick to the sound guy, you lose whatever class you have.
Mello: Remember what you're out there for and don’t get pissed if you don’t get paid for a show.
SCS: Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?
Shaun: I admire Harry Dingman III. I admire Brian and Seth from Pain Theory. I admire Papers, who are letting me record their music for an upcoming album of theirs, and look forward to seeing how good they do. They are nuts, man, and the songwriting is unbelievable.
Lightnin’ Boy Pain Theory
Mello: Floating Opera
SCS: I'm really looking forward to hearing the stuff your recording with Papers. Do you have a favorite local band to play with?
Shaun: I don’t have one. Everybody’s cool
SCS: Are you working on a new album now, and if so, when do you expect it to come out?
Shaun: Our new EP, entitled “The Government is High”, is available on our webisite, and for free at our shows. It has 4 songs, and was recorded nice and raw, compared to our older stuff. We want to start work on a full length this spring.
SCS: I really like the new E.P. especially "Drivin'". So was there one defining moment for you which led you to a life of rock and roll?
Mello: Playing in Gravey Train in high school
SCS:What's your take on the current state of modern rock music?
Shaun: Ginger Poop Cookies Fish-Butt
SCS: If you could tour with any band in history, who would be your dream band to tour with?
Mello: Rick James
SCS: What was the first album/CD you bought?
Shaun:ZZ Top - Tres Hombres and Fandango (double cassette)
Lightnin' Boy: Tears For Fears - Songs From The Big Chair
Mello: AC/DC - Back in Black
Liam: Bobby Brown - Bobby
SCS: The most recent?
Shaun: I don’t know… I can’t afford those things
Lightnin' Boy: Burden Brothers - Buried in Your Black Heart
Mello: Alligator Records Compilation ( can't remember which one )
Liam: Essential Collection - Vol. 1 Fatboy Slim and Paul Oakenfold
SCS: What other bands would you recommend people check out?
Shaun: Papers, for sure. They are a mind-fuck. Good songs, lots of instruments and vocals, attitude, etc. So brilliant that they must be moments away from a simultaneous nervous breakdown.
SCS: What are your top records of all time?
Shaun: The White Album, Vulgar Display of Power, Frizzle Fry, The Mollusk, Wish You Were Here, so many others. I'm just getting started…
SCS: What can we look forward to in the next year from the band?
Shaun: Well, hopefully an album. We have also been working with people to fill the keyboard and backing vocal void…
Lightnin' Boy: More shows in and out of state.
Mello: More shows in small towns, college towns.
Liam: ...and Austin, TX
SCS: Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Shaun: Yeah, come to our shows, we want to rock for you. If we make you happy enough, we understand if you want to give us beer.
SCS: Cool. Thanks so much for letting us know what's going on with you guys.
Shaun: Thank you, Tery, for this cool ass interview.
SCS: You can catch The Gov't on January 7th at Shea Riley's in Omaha, and on January 26th at Duffy's Tavern. Check out their website at The Gov't
- Tery Daly