Thursday, July 30, 2009

CB Q/A #8: The Presidents of the United States of America

Here we are back with CB Q/A issue #8, which rhymes with great, and it is certainly so that this time we feature my patented "interview" with The Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA). PUSA were a mainstay of my high school years, especially their eponymous debut album, and when the movie of my life is scored, there will most certainly be a montage set to the tune of "Lump."

Andrew McKeag, the band's guitbass player since the full reformation in 2004, was awesome enough (see video below) to take the time to answer my handful of questions, and provided some pretty cool insight on everything from the band's personal scores playing their own song on Rock Band 2 to previous Clevo gig experiences (or, rather, nightmares). I'll go ahead and admit total stupidity for forgetting to include a question about the "Cleveland Rocks" song the band provided for the Drew Carey Show intro when I first sent the questions, but if you are wise, you'll hit up the show this Friday at the ask them yourself. Dollars to donuts they play the tune anyway.

1) What was it like having "Lump" included in the Rock Band 2 game? Did it bring a whole new generation of fans to your early work?

I dunno if we've really noticed whether its had any impact yet... but I hope it does! All I know is that I totally suck at that game. Chris and Jason are pretty good at it though- we played it at a Microsoft party and both of them scored really well... I got like 30%.

2) What is your favorite tune to play live?

Body... 'cause its real groovy and it rocks too!

3) If you were asked by a younger musician about to embark on his/her first tour or recording session, what advice would you give him/her?

Touring and recording are so different, but I suppose the advice could be the same- keep an open mind and get lots of sleep! The best advice I think I can give a young musician is to be willing to play ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, for ANYONE and with anyone. Every weird gig teaches you something, every strange player or recording session does the same. The more you play, the better you get. So go get better... the world does NOT need more mediocrity!

4) Any pre- or post-show rituals you have found yourselves following over the years?

I don't really... try to drink some water, maybe have a beer. Then I change into my gig clothes... sometimes a matching outfit w/the other fellas, but mostly just a different version of what I'm already wearing so I don't wear sweaty clothes all the time. PUSA does have a collective nervous habit of pacing around the dressing room for the last 1/2 hour before we play... doesn't matter how small the space is, we all just kinda pace around & make dumb jokes... Chris has a vocal warm-up... and tends to draw funny pictures with a black Sharpie... you know, adding letters to signs, changing random stickers and other graffiti to his liking- usually involving some sort of animal or goofy face of his creation.

5) Any favorite artists/songs out there you'd love to cover, but just haven't done it yet?

I've never recorded a Hendrix song and yet he's totally my favorite all-time rock guy... PUSA has been known to attempt "Manic Depression" at soundcheck... but we've never made it all the way through. Could be high time!

6) Last but not least, any memorable Cleveland experiences?

My old band played at the Euclid Tavern once back in '94 on a Monday for $6... total! And we had to beg for a place to stay... wound up on the promoters apartment floor- his girlfriend was less than thrilled.

Be sure to check out The Presidents of the United States of America at the Grog Shop on Friday, July 31. Doors open at 8 and the show starts around 9, with opening duties going to puppet master extraordinaire and CB friend, Leia Alligator. Check out the recent interview we did with Miss Alligator here!

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