[Photo by Couirey Eckmayer]
Morning Theft, fresh off the bus from Boston in 2003, have been desribed as Pearl Jam meets Travis, Nirvana meets the Cure, the Pixies meets Radiohead...you get the point. But these guys have their own sound. And it sounds good. They're the band who has been (not so) silently brooding in the corner of the indie rock scene. They're loud. They're catchy. They're pensive mood rock. Gothamist (and pretty much everyone below 14th St) loves Morning Theft, you should too. Go check them out for free at Luna Lounge tomorrow night. More details after the interview...
Morning Theft are Daniel Byrne (drums), J. Patrick Holden (bass), Robert Holmes (vocals/guitar) and Peter Kim (guitar/vocals)
Let's get this out of the way, where did you band name originate...and if you had to change it to something else what would it be?
Byrne: I'd go with Voodoo Pork.
Holmes: We had the worst time naming the band. So I took the name from a Jeff Buckley song title. If we changed the name, I'd call us The International Gang Of Bastards.
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
Byrne: I guess it was walking about 30 blocks in the rain, trying to find the Korova milk bar with these ridiculous girls from Hoboken.
Holmes: The day I moved into a place I had in Brooklyn, I was walking to my landlords to pick up the keys. Two kids started following me with a wiffleball bat, asking me why I beat up their friend Paco.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Byrne: Favorite: my birthday party, Feb 2004 Least favorite: being harassed by cops at a Murphys Law show
Holmes: I guess it would be the first time I ever visited NYC. I went to see The Sheila Divine and Longwave at the Warsaw a while ago. I met some of my future band mates that night, plus some of the best friends I have today. Great show, great night. The least favorite is when I went to Yankee stadium this year for a Red Sox/Yankees game in the pouring rain. The Red Sox got slapped around and I got sick.
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? Whats the best night of the week to go out in the city?
Byrne: Everybody should go to Barcade in Williamsburg. I mean they have all those original arcade games and theyre still just a quarter. In Manhattan Im really starting to enjoy Wednesday nights with the Tarts of Pleasure.
Holmes: I hate traveling to Brooklyn, but I will just to drink at Union Pool. I love that place. In Manhattan, I really like the Dark Room and the Life Caf. Friday nights are still the best nights to go out, I think.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
Byrne: Manhattan is too scene. I feel like bars have to offer a better drink special than other bars to get people in the doors. Its completely ludicrous when everybody around tells you how down they are with local music. They're just liars. In Brooklyn people are out to see something new and fresh, giving everything a chance. Its just more realistic there.
Holmes: Favorite thing? Drink tickets. Least favorite? Loading in and out. Playing on bills where the club bookers dont know anything about any of the bands and lump together acts that shouldnt be playing together. Theres definitely a difference in playing between Manhattan and Brooklyn. People in Brooklyn stay for a whole bill, not just one band. Plus, they'll travel into Manhattan for a show. In Manhattan, it just seems that people go out for one band and then go home or elsewhere, not giving other bands a try. Plus, Manhattan-ites never seem to travel to Brooklyn for a show.
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
Byrne: Sometimes you just cant help it. I notice some similarities in sections of our songs that sound like music from New York that I dont necessarily listen to, but am around all the time.
Holmes: No, not really. I dont think were really influenced by that many NYC bands, except for maybe Les Savy Fav or Nada Surf or a bit of Interpol. The whole NYC sound is very retro right now. Bands are pulling from the 80s and further back. We're trying to jump the gun and start on the 90s.
Now it's time for some fill-in-the-blank action:
You know youve made it when...
Byrne: You dont have to pay for sex anymore.
Holmes: Dan & I get added to that web site that groupies run, where they discuss how well the musicians performed..in bed.
It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when...
Byrne: I lose an arm. (Def Leppard was just lame for letting that go on.)
Holmes: Dan loses an arm.
I'll never forget the first time I...
Byrne: Acted rationally
Holmes: Had a pomegranate.
I'll never forget the first time [insert another band members name here]...
Byrne: Asked to be nicknamed Hatch
Holmes: Went with us to an after party in Boston and drank Scotch. ALL NIGHT.
And finally, let's have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if youve got no discernable feelings, make something up that wont embarrass you in the morning):
Holmes: Suck. Go Red Sox.
Holmes: That Simpsons episode where they chant Daryl, Daryl
Holmes: Blow jobs in a Vegas hotel shower
Bridge & Tunnel
Byrne: Youve all been suckered!
Byrne: How does every psycho know to go there?
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
Byrne: Might as well ban bathrooms too!
Holmes: Wheres the beef?
Questions inspired by movies...
If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma. (Reality Bites)
Byrne: Well first we have to look at all the facts is that 10 already? Damn.
Holmes: Go read Waiting For Guffman and shut up. Bitch.
What came first, the music or the misery? ( High Fidelity )
Holmes: The misery.
Byrne: Robs music makes me miserable.
A few quickies on the music tip:
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Byrne: Fat Mike, Robert Smith, Mike Patton, John Fishman (God, that would sound like crap.)
Holmes: Opening act: Andy York (Unbelievable Truth), John Davis (Superdrag), Richard Ashcroft, Britt Daniel (Spoon), and Matthew Sweet doing an Eagles acoustic thing. After them, Kevin Shields (guitar), Greg Edwards (guitar), Dave Grohl (drums), Johnny Greenwood (noise) and Frank Black (screaming). Oh, and Alex Chow on bass.
If you released a 7" what would you put on the cover?
Byrne: I always wanted to put something out with one of those great death metal album art paintings. They look so cool.
Holmes: Old stock photos from the 50s and 60 of girls in futuristic dresses with bee-hive hairdos.
What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
Byrne: First: Warrants Cherry Pie. Last Was NINs The Downward Spiral: deluxe edition
Holmes: First was Guns N Roses, both Use Your Illusions, on tape. The last one was the Nirvana boxed set.