It feels like I haven’t been to a concert/festival in forever…even though it’s only been about a month. I remember reading that The War on Drugs was coming to Tampa and immediately purchased tickets while waiting for the next set at GMF back in March. I did some investigating and fell in love with the opener, The Everymen.
I reached out to the band and spoke with Mike V and Catherine Herrick for a Q&A before they play Tampa on Monday June 15.
Q: For those who haven’t heard your music, how would you describe your sound?
A: That’s a tough one to answer when you’re talking about your own music, ya know? When people ask me what kind of music we play, all I can ever honestly say is rock and roll. We’re a rock and roll band. Simple as that. We’re not punks. We’re not an indie rock band. We just play rock and roll music. Guitars. Saxes. High energy. Hooks. Choruses. Singalongs. That’s kind of it. But I guess the most common comparisons we get are Bruce Springsteen and Rocket From The Crypt. I think it’s the sax.
Q: Give me a backstory of how the band started and how you’ve ended up where you are now. What challenges did you face and can you share an interesting story from things you’ve all encountered?
A: Oddly enough our huge band started as a two piece. I was playing in a large psychedelic art rock collective thingie at the time and I just wanted to do something more simple and streamlined. I wanted to write pop jams. So I just started bashing out these quick jams and recording them when I enlisted our first drummer. From there we just multiplied like gremlins and bloated to as many as eleven members. As far as touring as much as we do, we’ve just always done lots and lots of shows and tried to work as hard as we possibly could but for the first few years we were all just tied to our day jobs so really it was just weekenders and stuff. It wasn’t until we released our last LP Givin’ Up On Free Jazz that we decided to leave our jobs and give this band a full time run. We’ve done about 170 shows in the year since that album has come out.
As far as interesting stories go…. hmmm. We have a lot, I guess.
Oh. OH! The time we stayed in the whorehouse was pretty interesting. Well, it wasn’t actually a whorehouse. It was a cheap motel in rural Arkansas and we were driving through the night after a show in Little Rock a few years ago when we decided to call it and pull off the road for a motel. We were quite literally in the middle of nowhere and it was three or four in the morning. So we pull off the highway and find this cheap shithole and as we’re pulling up there are all these young girls on the second floor smoking cigarettes outside their rooms. We realized pretty quick what kind of place it was, johns coming and going all night. Needless to say we loaded ALL of the gear into the motel room that night.
Q: How has it been touring with The War On Drugs?
A: It’s been absolutely unreal. I mean, we’ve done some truly bigger shows before but they’re generally few and far between. But to get on stage night after night and play for 1000 or more people has been such a treat. And they are such sweet guys. From the band to the crew, their whole touring party is really super nice and incredibly accommodating. We’re seeing how the other half lives for sure and if anything it’s motivated us to work that much harder so maybe one day we can get to the level of success that they’re enjoying right now.
Q: The band has collaborated with Kurt Vile back in 2011 and AC Newman on your newest 2014, Givin’ Up on Free Jazz. What were the coolest parts of the collaborations and is there anyone you plan to jam with in the future?
A: Just being able to create music and art with people you admire is always a trip. It’s one of those things where you kind of have to pinch yourself. Like, I’ve been listening to The New Pornographers for fifteen years and now here I am in the studio with Carl Newman cutting vocals. Whoa. Ya know? That kind of stuff. What the future holds, who knows? These kinds of things just have a way of organically sprouting up so you can’t really plan for em, ya know? But if I could make a short list of people I’d love to collaborate with? It would probably be topped by Adam from The War On Drugs and Jim James from My Morning Jacket. They’re two of my favorite songwriters working in music right now.
Q: This question is for Catherine Herrick: How has your experience been for you in a woman in an otherwise all male band?
A: I’ve been in bands where all the other members were ostensibly cisgender men before, and I’ve also been in bands where all the other members were cisgender women before. I’m not sure I’m qualified to make a sweeping distinction based on gender, nor am I entirely comfortable doing so in this day and age (heeello, current issue of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner on the cover!). I will say that The Everymen is the only band I’ve toured with. and I find that a band isn’t really a band unless they spend A LOT of time together and band members get to the point where they’ve all really been faced with one another’s idiosyncrasies. We aren’t the same band we were before we started touring, although we played A TON of shows in NY and New Jersey those first few years. I know I’ve become more adaptable and find I need less in the way of creature comforts than I did before I started frequently touring, and that might have been slightly different if my touring experience included cisgender women, but I can’t speak from experience. If you’re eating roadside food, sleeping on floors, and drinking cheap beer, you’re going to have the same, shall we say, “experiences,” and while I personally handle mine slightly more discreetly than the fellas in The Everymen, I may be less delicate than dudes in other bands for all I know!
Q: What is your favorite song to perform live, and why?
A: I’d say “Spain.” I don’t know why. Maybe because it has everything. Both me and Catherine singing, a KILLER solo from Scott, super high energy but the slow burning intro. It’s just an incredibly complex song to me that kind of reveals itself to me in new ways all the time.
Q: When can we expect new music?
A: Probably early next year. We just tracked a new LP in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in March. We’re heading back down in September to mix it and then we’ll probably just wait until early spring to put it out. We still have lots of work to do, touring as much as we can, winning over new fans and shit. So yea. We’re psyched.
Q: Where will we see The Everymen in 5, or 10 years?
A: Hopefully still making music, touring, headlining the kinds of rooms we’re opening along this tour. And if not, shit it’s been a hell of a run thus far.
Thank you to Mike and Catherine for taking the time to answer some questions!
The War on Drugs and The Everymen are playing at The Ritz in Ybor City at 8PM tomorrow night, Monday June 15.
Tickets still available here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0D004E63BCA888CD