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Featured Band

April 2005 - Sad Old Lady


Ben Clark of Sad Old Lady


I've known Ben Clark for a few years now, and he's honestly, about as low-key and mild mannered a person as you could meet. Fun to hang out with, get drunk with, etc. When I saw Sad Old Lady play at The Zoo Bar several months ago at one of their first bar shows, the man fronting the band looked remarkably like the Ben Clark I knew, but i couldn't have possibly been because that guy was a freaking psycho! Truly, every once in a while he got a look in his eye like at any moment he might pull out a hatchet and start hacking random audience members to bits. Mind you, it would have fit right into the show, and people likely would have though it was awesome...well, with the exception of those who had been hacked to death, of course. Their show is theatrical, fun and entertaining, but don't get lost in it at the expense of the music, because if you do, you'll be missing out on a lot!

On a related note, I'd like to welcome Junebug, the mastermind behind the band Papers, on board. He'll be doing band interviews for Starcityscene.com, and recently sat down with Ben Clark and Brent Meier to chat about what's up with Sad Old Lady. Note: where band names are censored, that's how I received the interview. - Tery



Ben: ...Brazil

Brent: That's what we drank in Columbia

Ben: Oh really?

Brent: Yeah.

Ben: That's cool


SCS: Alright, I guess we'll... rock out. Little red light means it's on, boys. Don't use any naughty words!

Brent: Dangit

Ben: Shoot, Golly!


SCS: You guys wanna introduce yourselves really quick?

Brent: Brent Meier.

Ben: Ben Clark


SCS: And together you are...?

Brent: Two guys...

Ben: Members of Sad Old Lady.


SCS: I'm pretty much just going to go through most of the form questions and we can get off topic and all that. First question: How and when did Sad Old Lady form?

Brent: That would bring us back about a year.

Ben: Ooh, a whole year.

Brent: Perhaps more. I don't know when DJ started writing the songs...

Ben: Yeah, DJ started writing the songs originally, DJ Sharton, the member who is not a member, really, of the band anymore, probably over a year ago with Amos {Amos Joseph}, our bass player. He came up with-- they were in a band called The Hot Carls, at the time, which was a really silly pop punk band that- they weren't very good, but, um, don't tell DJ that. No, [laughs] but they're band was basically just pop punk and DJ just randomly, I think it was after one of his MDS studies, he must've had some really good drugs in him or something because he came up with a really great song and Amos was like "well, shit, that doesn't sound like Hot Carls! We should start a band that sounds like that" and then they started writing songs and by the time the band got to me and started talking to me about maybe doing vocals or something they already had five songs written, music wise, and I just put lyrics over the top of that. And then we were like "Well, we need a keyboard player to join us (bass player, guitarist, and myself, and the CD player) on stage.


SCS: I remember seeing you guys when it was just the two of you and the CD player.

Ben: Right. So, then Brent joined... I asked Brent to join, i'm not really sure...

Brent: I think it was whenever your sister organised that rock show in Aurora. That's when we were hanging out--

Ben: Oh, yeah, that's right. We were at a Christian Rock Show that my sister set up in Aurora and I asked Brent to join our band, which is entertaining, [laughs] and from there DJ moved to Colorado really quickly after Brent joined the band, like maybe a practice after.

Brent: No, we practiced quite a few times, we were getting the songs down, and then he graduated in June, because we started practicing after spring break of last year, which is March. So it had been going on with DJ for a good two and a half months.

Ben: He graduated and then he got a job immediately in Colorado and moved. From there the band as a full thing kind of... started...

Brent: Yeah, Amos didn't really seem interested...

Ben: He didn't think it was going to last, and so Brent and I just kept going because it was something to do.

Brent: We were keeping it alive, still practicing.

Ben: And then we set up a show, uh...

Brent: Duffy's, like July 17 or something like that...

Ben: No...

Brent: ...and then it got pushed back-

Ben: Was that it? No, it--

Brent: Yeah.

Ben: Was it?

Brent: It was in July.

Ben: Oh yeah, that's right. It just kept getting moved and finally we, uh, one of our friends was having a party and I was like, "well, let met buy a keg and let us play as a house show", and he's like "oh... kay...?" so that was our first show.

Brent: Yeah, I guess.

Ben: It was in a house.


SCS: In July?

Brent: That was...

Ben: No...

Brent: ...that was like September.

Ben: It was a long time after that.

Brent: We had still practiced, we had like 35 minute practices because we would just run through the songs, just us two.

Ben: We'd run through the set once, 35 minutes, we'd be like "Alright! Good practice! See you next week!" because it was just the two of us. Honestly, when it was just the two of us it was like Karaoke time with Brent and Ben. It was ridiculous.

Brent: We played that show and it was OK and then we played at Knickerbockers like-- no, we played the Zoo Bar--

Ben: It was the Zoo Bar. The Zoo Bar was our first show. One of the Tuesday night gigs.

Brent: I didn't really like that at all. I didn't really even want to be in it any more. It seemed pretty ridiculous to me.

Ben: Yeah, it was pretty silly.

Brent: Miraculously we got Amos back, and Tric {Tricia Klitch} and Dan {Dan Rempe}.

Ben: Yeah, we played 2 shows after that. 3 shows Karaoke style. We played that one at the Zoo Bar, then we played my birthday at Knickerbockers--

Brent: With Mr. 1986.

Ben: --on the 30th and I was hammered. And then we played...

SCS: Was that the one I saw? No, when you played with Shelter Belt, that was the one I saw.

Ben: Yeah, then I played the one right after on the fourth with Shelter Belt and Mr. 1986. That one was really fun, that was packed. We just kind of elbowed our way onto the bill and asked the bands if we could play and they were like "well, I don't care" and then I told the bar that we were playing and they were like "Oh, alright" and they just wrote us in, so it was sweet. And then after that I was like, well, shit, this is stupid. It just doesnt sound good. It's not really living up to it's potential. So I forced Jeff {Jeff Gustafson} and Dan to join the band and once they joined the band Tric said she wanted to join the band.

SCS: Which ones are Jeff and Dan.

Ben: Jeff is the guy that drums for all the bands


SCS: Okay, right.

Ben: Dan plays guitar, with the curly hair. Drunky McDrunkus. And then Amos was like "Oh! We have a band now. Sweet." so he hopped back on because he wrote all the bass parts anyway. And that was it, basically, and then we started playing real shows soon after that.

Brent: I think Jeff was attracted to the beats. Because the beats are, you know, kinda...

Ben: There're a lot of really weird beats and he could actually mess around.

Brent: Artistically it's pretty democratic. DJ did all the riffs and beats on the computer, Amos did bass lines, I was free to write the keyboard parts, although there's like 2 little parts where DJ was like "Oh, I played this when I was messing around" and I was like "oh, I like that" and then Tric has had her chance to embellish the songs with her guitar playing.

Ben: Yeah, it adds quite a bit.


SCS: Do you mind?

Ben: Yes. Er, no. Drink away.


SCS: Thanks. Back to the questions. What can our readers expect to see when they go to a Sad Old Lady show?

Ben: Well, I'm pretty theatrical, I guess...

Brent: What can they not expect to see? Fully clothed Ben.

Ben: Yeah, that's true. I like to make it a lot more theatrical just because that's my nature. I was a thespian


SCS: Yeah, I had kinda guessed that.

Ben: Theatre kid. I like playing the part of a drunk rock star even though a lot of shows I act a lot more drunk than I actually am because it gives me a lot more freedom to spit on people and hump them and stuff. From there, the band is pretty energetic. Jeff is a crazy drummer. Amos and Dan are pretty quiet on stage but Tric gets to pull out her early 80s goth and, you know...

Brent: Tric gets into it. She harmonizes with you well.


SCS: Everybody seems to get into it up there. You all seem to be enjoyoing it.

Brent: On the two songs where I play guitar I have a little more free reign of the stage than when I'm behind the keyboard, which isn't my first instrument...


SCS: You need to strap it on

Brent: I need a Key-Tar. I need to strap that on.


SCS: You guys have a lot of stage presence.

Brent: It's because there's 6 of us. It's been said that Ben's theatricality detracts from the music, which is true. I've struggled with that. The music is quality. I want people to focus on that as well.


SCS: But you go to a show to see the show, you buy an album to listen to the music.

Brent: Yeah.


SCS:If you stand up there and you don't move at all but you play everything perfectly you're going to please maybe twenty percent of the audience. Most of them are drunk and they want to see something crazy, to see some people rock out.

Brent: The majority of people aren't musically learned so it doesn't really matter what you're playing.


SCS: Who did I just see? Oh, that band (CENSORED). I hated the shit out of it. Musically it was just fucking boring. It was really loud and they jumped around and they were all flailing and rocking out, so everybody loved them and they were like "Yeah, those guys are great, I really like what they're doing, I like their stuff"...

Brent: But if I were to listen to the album and it sounded like that--


SCS: Although their album is surprising. (CENSORED) recorded their album, (CENSORED), and it's actually really, really fucking good.

Brent: They get some dynamics going. It's just like the wall of sound at the show.

Ben: It's still the same type of music. It's still loud, but they did some interesting things with their recording. It's a lot clearer for one, and (CENSORED)...

Brent: I agree there.

Ben: I don't know, we're getting a lot more dancy, so people can probably expect that later on. Just because... more disco-ey, more dancy. Amos and Jeff, whenever there's a lull in our practice start playing a crazy disco beat. So I can't imagine that we'll fight that off for too long before we start adding that in to a lot of songs.


SCS: How's development of new material going?

Ben: It was pretty rough, originally. We had 10 songs form DJ when he left, that he had written if not all, probably half of the song.

Brent: And that's pretty much the set right now.

Ben: Those songs are all in theme. It's going to be a concept album because I'm stupid like that.


SCS: Oh yeah, me too.

Ben: So that was that. From there we haven't really even had enough time to start working on anything else.

Brent: We're just now starting to get new material.

Ben: Amos just wrote a new song, which is good.

Brent: We just signed on the other members in November so we're just kind of solidifying that and now we're ready to move on

Ben: I would imagine that Brent will start writing some more songs.

Brent: We've opened it up, Tric is working on some material. Dan's a country boy, I don't know if he'll...

Ben: Dan said he's basically going to stick to playing guitar parts over the top. I have no musical talent in my body, so I don't write any songs, I'll just write lyrics. I'm more there for entertainment value.


SCS: You're the tits and ass.

Ben: Yeah. I am actually very proud of the lyrics that I have written so it will be good to get the album out. That was the reason I was originally in the band.


SCS: At what point are you at with recording the album?

Ben: It's to the point now where it's like "which weekend are you going to choose?" because DJ works full time during the week and most of our band does too, so when he comes down on the weekend or when we go there. I'm probably going to eat my words for this but I would say that the album will be done by the end of May.


SCS: Oh, you'll eat your words. I used to say that our album was going to be done in August.

Brent: [laughs]

Ben: I've been saying the album would be done since November. I'm glad it's taking so long because we've all improved and the songs have all developed quite a bit. And I've got a little bit better vocally than I was when I started.

Brent: I'd say a lot better.

Ben: It's probably silly but my friend Shannon, I don't know if you've ever met Shannon, really short girl with dreads, like four-eleven, she hung out, she goes to a lot of our shows, she's been to a couple of your shows.


SCS: Haven't met her, but I've seen her. She's a little bit taller than my mom.

Ben: She and I are pretty good friends and I was in Omaha and we actually designed what the album and the booklet are going to look like. It's all completely done. So Brent is going to work out a little bit on PaintShop and--

Brent: Photoshop

Ben: PhotoShop. But the whole thing's basically done, so that's funny. We're kinda going backwards on it. That's how it's been the whole time though. It's been pretty backwards.


SCS: How are you going about recording your album?

Ben: The guy who originally wrote all the songs, DJ, has come into a good deal of money with his new job and he's bought a lot of really nice equipment, so he's probably going to do it for free, since it's all his music. And it's kind of his final signing off with the band. He has a travelling recording studio that he'll bring down, record all the music.


SCS: Does he know how to run that stuff?

Brent: He's an electrical engineer.

Ben: He had a studio here in Lincoln before he moved. A really big one.

Brent: He had some really high end stuff in there.

Ben: Now he's got all the high end stuff.


SCS: Is he doing it analog or digital?

Ben: I don't know.

Brent: He's a wanker so he'll probably do it digital.


SCS: Shit, I'm doing it digital. It's the best thing ever.

Brent: It's convenient. It just sounds good.

Ben: I just leave that up to him. The drums will be a mixture of real drums and digital drums because he got a real nice digital drum kit really cheap. I don't know if I told you about that. He found it at Goodwill for like a hundred or two hundred bucks. It's brand new. They said they had just got it in like 2 hours before that. It's like a three thousand dollar drum kit or something. The old ladies who were running the place were like "oh, it doesn't make real drums sounds, this is dumb" and he's like "really? I'll give you two hundred dollars for it". It must've been like a husband or wife really pissed at their...


SCS: Their kid. Johnny got arrested.

Ben: They're like, we're getting rid of this, so he picked it up and it's brand new. It's perfect. So Jeff will probably use that and real cymbals.


SCS: There's a lot you can do with that stuff, but we don't need to get into a four hour conversation about digital recording.

Brent: I'm going to play the rain stick, too.

Ben: [Makes rain stick noise]


SCS: Here's a heinous question. What sort of influences and inspirations have there been in the writing and the creative process, and the performance?

Ben: Man. Well, lets see.


SCS: This is always an ugly one to answer. It's the most frequently skirted question.

Ben: Is this bands that have influenced us? Or...


SCS: Yeah. Yeah, I think. It's a pretty vague question in it's stock form.

Ben: Well, Jeff listens to a lot of, he's been stuck lately on nearly all either Herb Alpert or Moog music. Moog records

Brent: Moog?

Ben: Moog. Yeah. And so that's what Jeff listens to.

Brent: I picked up a Tripping Daisy album and I think it comes through.

Ben: His favorite band is Tripping Daisy. And Camper Van Beethoven, I guess he listens to that. So he's pretty random.

Brent: He's... Well I guess maybe that's just appearance, but he's pretty grunge. Toadies...

Ben: Yeah... Tric, well you know Tric better than us, so just put something in. Amos and I listen to kinda Sad Bastard Music quite a bit. Jeff calls it Sad Bastard Music because it's like Songs Ohia and... That Sad Bastard Music. Sad, depressed, cry myself to sleep music. Who else have I been listening to lately? Fuck, it doesn't matter. Let's see. What do you listen to?

Brent: KZUM

Ben: Dan listens to Whiskeytown, Old 97s, Split Lip Rayfield. Alt-Country, that kind of stuff.

Brent: Like I said, he's a country boy. Country Dan.

Ben: Country Dan? [laughs] It's kind of odd because I listen to a lot of quieter music but we're really loud on stage. More out of me knowing my limitations as a vocalist than anything else. I don't know, I'm influenced a lot by Slam poetry becuause I was into that quite a bit. Slam poetry and theatre and I just do it on a louder scale, I guess. And that's what I'm influenced by, for performance anyway.


SCS: Right on. The other half of this question: What sort of influences shaped the music that you're doing and shaped the music for the album?

Ben: Go ahead Brent.

Brent: Once more? Well, each track is pretty diverse. They're all thematic but musically they don't really connect in terms of genre, so it's pretty hard to answer that question. You'd have to go through each track. I'm going to be vague in my answer.


SCS: That does walk in to another question: How do you describe your sound?

Ben: It's weird because...

Brent: Full, robust.

Ben: Yeah, shit man, I don't know. Seriously, Jeff puts a lot of dancy shit in there. And there's a couple of songs that have hip-hop influences because DJ was being silly. He actually on the original recording that he gave us he took beats from a Dr. Dre album for one of the tracks. I think it's track number five or something. So that was that. When I went into it I put them in order as I was doing the lyrics because I had this story in my head so it's all planned out. For me it seems really logical and it all fits together. A lot of the songs are really epic, they build up into a huge crescendo thing and everyone's like "sweet" and then it settles down and dances out.

Brent: I think the strengths are in the beats.


SCS: Solid grooves.

Brent: Whatever we lay on top of that with the other instruments changes the sound of the song. Having a vocalist yelling poetry rather than singing, melody is pretty important, so whatever I can do on keyboard to make it more melodious, and same with the guitar. The guitar riffs are kind of all over the place.


SCS: You're playing Johnny Marr to Ben's Morissey.

Ben: Yeah.


SCS: They say that if you know more names of the Smiths than Johnny Marr and Morissey, you're gay.

Brent: I don't know then.

Ben: I just knew Morissey. [laughs]


SCS: I guess that makes me borderline gay.

Brent: Next question...


SCS: What is your most memorable performance? I know you haven't exactly toured the US and Europe six times or anything, but...

Ben: I really enjoyed our...

Brent: The house show?

Ben: The house show we just did was awesome. We just played a house show with Rent Money Big.

Brent: It was our most recent show. We sounded the best, I think. It's hard to get all six people really tight.

Ben: We were right on the money.

Brent: We were all in the mood.

Ben: I forgot like half the lyrics because I was drinking too much wine. I was past like two litres.


SCS: Nobody can understand you anyway, dude.

Ben: But for me anyway, for my own personal benefit. That one was excellent. I thought everyone had a blast at that show. I had a lot of fun on my birthday show. That's because I was really drunk.

Brent: That was Karaoke so I didn't really care.

Ben: That was hard core Karaoke.

Brent: When we played Duffy's the first time, back in December--

Ben: With Papers?

Brent: It was with Papers. My parents came to that show and Ben was a woman.


SCS: I remember that one pretty well.

Brent: We were like four songs into it and I was like "Hey, Ben, my parents are here".

Ben: That was as I was dropping my skirt to just be wearing my undies.

Brent: I saw it in his eyes. Sort of fazed him, then he was like...

Ben: I'm too far into it now. But... I think the reason I remember the birthday show the most is because I bruised my spinal column from sliding down Knickerbockers stairs backwards

Brent: That was a good move though. I liked that one.

Ben: So I had a bruise going down my back that was this big [holds up hands to show how big] from the top to the bottom of my spine. So that was pretty sweet, I guess. I thought the house show was our best one though. I thought people actually really started getting into it and started seeing what we were trying to do.

Brent: The close quarters and being on the same level, no stage. There's no inhibition. Around here nobody goes out and dances, they just go and bop their heads. I'm guilty of that too, but at the house show...

Ben: They were forced to.

Brent: Ben was humping them.

Ben: Right, and they couldn't move. There were too many people in the room for anyone to back away from me when I jumped on them.

Brent: There were people, my basement is sort of two parts with a doorway. There were people in the laundry room because they couldn't get in.

Ben: There were enough holes in the walls that they could see through a little bit.


SCS: Here's a question that I really enjoyed answering when it was my turn. What are your likes and dislikes about the Lincoln music scene?

Brent: I'll be pretty broad, just kind of piss everyone off. It could be with any local scene, you get more common individuals being in bands. I would like to see a little more musicianship in crafting songs, be a little more diverse than just riffing out. I guess I'm pretty knowledgeable as far as music goes so I sort of appreciate the songwriting a little more. Like what I said earlier about melody, it's a total staple, and a lot of genres nowadays kinda just... it's secondary to a loud guitar or something.


SCS: Or a fat beat.

Ben: Or a fat beat.

Brent: Yeah, but I have my beautiful, harmonious keyboard.

Ben: That's true. With keys that you have to pull up with a piece of tape.


SCS: Yeah, that is really pesky. It is really annoying to go out to a show with high expectations and then come home having seen a bunch of slobs who you've been able to play and write circles around for the last ten years.

Ben: I think the problem, mainly, is that the scenes in Lincoln are split up. There are so many little different scenes going on that it's almost too...


SCS: Fragmented?

Ben: It helps to have big shows like this where you start throwing groups together, but I don't even know where you'd begin. We tried to play an underage show at Knickerbockers with one of the Suckapunch Records bands.


SCS: Which one?

Ben: Good With Guns, I think. We were hoping that would open us up to their crowd, but by the time we started playing everyone from that crowd was gone.

Brent: We had four chords in our songs, so that kinda... they didn't really like it.


SCS: Well it's tough, yeah. And you don't affect an accent.

Ben: It's just really hard. I think a lot of bands get lazy and don't promote themselves. If you're too lazy to promote yourself you can't expect people to come to your shows. You have to work your ass off if you want even your friends to come to your show, let alone someone who has to drive across town to go to a band they've never seen. It certainly takes the rock star out of you when you have to call up all your friends and beg them to come to your show, every show. It may look cool when you get to the show and there's lots of people there but you know that you had to fucking call all of those people. So it's good that there are people out there who will go to a lot of shows. I think it's silly to complain about lack of participation because I don't think people promote themselves enough.


SCS: That's interesting, because that's an argument you don't usually hear on this. The usual argument, and I think there's a lot of validity to this, is that people just don't leave their houses. People just don't go to the bar in Lincoln. They don't go out, they don't want to see live music. I thought this was just how it is, I thought it was like that everywhere, but it turns out, you go to a lot of other cities and people, the college kids will just go to the bar and they'll drop five bucks for the door to see a band just because they want to go see a band. And here, they show up at the door and if there's a band it doesn't even matter if it's free, they don't want to see it. Which I've always thought was awesome.

Ben: But how to get to that group of people?


SCS: I don't know the explanation. It's frustrated a lot of people and I don't think there's a code to crack. It's a football town, I guess.

Ben: I've heard a ton of stories about how Lincoln use to be hopping. You know that it was a town that pulled that, and I've seen shows that have been packed. The Slobberbone show this Sunday was packed, Split Lip Rayfield was insane. Split Lip was at Knickerbockers and it was probably three quarters of the way full packed standing all the way back, and there were people up top, it was insane. So people come out for the shows, I have no idea. The Killigans lucked out getting to open that show, although they've been doing really well lately.


SCS: There's the art of booking in there somewhere.

Ben: I've been booking pretty much all of our shows myself and I've been kind of picking and choosing the bands that I play with because I don't want to play a show just to play a show.

Brent: We should have a certain standard. I don't want to play with (CENSORED) again.

Ben: It's more of a groupie thing for me, just half a year ago when I wasn't in a band that was playing shows I was going to all these shows and watching all these bands and I was like "God, it would be sweet if I was in a band that could play with these people" and now I actually have that chance. So every local band that I've wanted to play with, except for one or two, I've gotten to now. That's pretty cool.


SCS: That takes us to another question: Who would you like to work with in the local scene? And that question goes hand in hand with another stock question: What local artists do you admire? This is your chance to publicly kiss ass.

Ben: For a while I've been--

Brent: Papers

SCS: Wish granted!

Ben: Well of course Papers, they're one of my top--

Brent: Next question.

Ben: I like Rent Money Big for the fact that they don't give a shit and they just rock out. They've been doing this for a long time and they work hard at what they do. They're living the life. They're going on shitty tours, playing in shitty bars. I appreciate that about them. Ideal Cleaners rock. Everybody says them. There's a lot of bands that I really like. I've been thinking a lot lately because I realize how silly my stage presence is, I know no one can understand the words, I was thinking about doing one of the Powerless shows and having all our songs re-written as slow country songs.

Brent: I would love to play piano on every song.

Ben: I was thinking of doing that and having Tracy and Tric do all the vocals and maybe me do Lou Reed vocal stuff behind them, really low, with me being a side part the band. I think that would be funny. That's the next project, I think, after Scenefest. While we're working on recording we'll work on turning the songs into a really really slow, quiet alt-country set. That would also bring a lot of Dan's interests into it and he could help us out then.

Brent: I don't think we should do alt-country. I think overall--

Ben: I think we should do your mom.

Brent: Ok. That's what I was trying to get to. Trying to shift gears.

Ben: I know what you're saying, but I think it'd be a lot of fun to slow down all the songs, make sure everyone can hear all the vocals. And that will help us recording, too. So I guess people that could help us with that project, I don't know who yet. This sucks. There's other people I want to talk about in town who kick ass. I'll come back to it.


SCS: You got anything, Brent?

Brent: It's hard to say, I haven't lived here as long... I think they're from Lincoln... There's this band called the Lightning Bugs.


SCS: Anders' dad is in that. {Anders Peterson - drummer for Papers- T.D.}

Brent: Are you serious?


SCS: Yeah, Reynold Peterson.

Brent: Oh, great. Yeah, I heard them on KZUM...


SCS: They're basically a Mills Brothers tribute band

Brent: I just love that kind of stuff. It's simple. I can't imagine them plugging in a bunch of crap. Just playing on a street corner, that's the type of stuff that I like.

Ben: A band that I've been getting into, and I feel really bad about, becuase we kept scheduling shows at the same time, it's our housemate Jared's band, Humbubba. They're just unreal, they're so brilliant. It's guitar, bass, drums, and they're like jazz fusion, really intricate, awkward time signatures that everyone in the audience probably doesn't even realize. They're like, why does this sound weird? This is so crazy. They're just so talented musically.

Brent: They played a little between bands at the house show.


SCS: Oh, is that with John Wolcott playing bass?

Ben: Yup


SCS: He was our old bass player in Johnny Rocket Science. He's incredible.

Ben: Right, that's what I was thinking. And their drummer, I think he played for the Liars? No, not the Liars. The Lepers?


SCS: The Lepers, that would be Ken. {Humbubba's drummer is actually Gary Herrman, who also played with The Lepers.}

Ben: Yeah, I think maybe Ken. He plays drums. And then Jared plays guitar. They started with a lot of covers, like Herbie Hancock and Jimi Hendrix, a lot of random covers. But now they're starting to write their own material and it's all really cool. That'd definitely be a band to check out if you're into more of the musical...


SCS: Right on, I've been meaning to check that out.

Ben: You especially, I think you'd really like them.


SCS: The one thing we didn't get: What DO you like about the local scene?

Brent: What do we like about the scene?

Ben: There's a ton of people out there. I think really it's a matter of being a good promoter, and getting the different crowds. Putting random shows together so people are forced to see other bands that they're not used to.


SCS: No one likes seeing a monotonous show. (CENSORED). Nobody likes that-- well, there are few kids, but they (CENSORED).

Ben: Like me. [laughs] I think it's just a matter of getting weird shows together and getting people to see a lot of crazy shit. You might not get very many of them, you might just pick one person up, but if you keep doing that then sooner or later the crowd is going to grow. It's also a matter of promoting to your friends and getting them to go to bands that are touring through. There are a lot of touring bands that come through that people just don't realize how good they are. That One Guy was crazy. I've seen him like three or four times. Have you seen him?


SCS: No, I haven't.

Ben: He plays this instrument he made out of this big sewer pipe. It's this big tube, he plays it like a bass but he has a bunch of effects so he can make it sound like a harp. He also has drums and he has a mic inside of a boot that he plays on. He plays saw, and this is all the at the same time, it's insane. He sings really weird Dr. Seuss dirty southern lyrics. He's just crazy.


SCS: I'll have to catch that one next time.

Ben: He tours through quite a bit. There's a lot of bands like that. Oh My God, they were pretty good.


SCS:I missed that one too, but I heard they were good. They were playing with The Guapotones.

Ben: I've seen them like three or four times. Of course, Split Lip Rayfield was awesome. There's just bands touring through and you got to go out and do it, go to a couple shows. I think there's enough people in Lincoln who like music that it could make Lincoln a bearable place to, you know, stick around and play music and create in. There's so many talented people in Lincoln, it's ridiculous that it's not bigger than it is. It just seems stupid to me.


SCS: Let's see... What would be fun to talk about?

Ben: How about we talk about your cowboy jacket?

Brent: That is pretty tight.


SCS: Ah, besides the whole slow country version of the set, what else do we have to look out for from you?

Ben: Probably a new concept album. I stole quite a bit of stuff for this album, so I'll have to actually write more myself for this one.

Brent: Well, you stole from yourself.

Ben: This one, I was really interested in writing half the album as a girl and half as a guy. I have a collection of letters and journals and emails and things from random girls and so I actually cut and pasted a lot of those things into the lyrics on the girl side of the album. I think once we start writing songs we'll have a new album out by the end of the year. It'll be a lot quicker this next time around.

Brent: We've got a lot of work to do, but we're all around.

Ben: Right, I think it's good that none of us are planning on moving. I don't know, are you planning on taking off?

Brent: No.

Ben: Oh yeah, you're still a youngun'.


SCS: I hope he's not.

Ben: Jeff told me that I have to stay here when I get married.


SCS: Are you getting married soon?

Ben: No, but Jeff said that the four of us, he actually put in the lease that we all have to live here, even if we're married. It's like a thirty five year lease that we signed on accident.


SCS: That would be a brilliant move on your landlord's part.

Ben: No, I think we'll be here for a while, as a band. Unless everybody gets sick of me.


SCS: So, as the band has grown and developed has it changed much from the original concepts?

Ben: Yeah, it was intended, originally... I think one of the bands DJ based it off of-- Have you heard Criteria? They're an Omaha band. He played guitar for Good Life for a while, I think. One of those bands. It was a lot more based on the guitar than anything else, which was really jarring, sporadic, changing the tempos and stuff and the first three or four songs we were given, that was the main emphasis because DJ is a guitar player. And then he just started throwing in weird beats on top of it. But now that we've all combined-- uh... enjoying that Canadian, man? [laughs]


SCS: Yeah, yeah, just ignore me.

Ben: I think we all enjoy the music enough now and we're all a lot fuller now as a band, it sounds like something more than it is. I think the album is going to be epic. I'm actually going to say it's going to be fucking epic. So that's that. Epic Disco. That's how I was thinking of describing the band. Epic Hobo Disco. I think people can expect a lot more of that, I guess. More Epic Hobo Disco.


{ This is the point in the interview where my recorder ran out of space and thus stopped recording. The cessation of recording went unnoticed for several minutes because we had all drank quite a bit and so the rest of the interview is lost, forever. Sorry. }


- Junebug