If the Beatles conceived a lovechild with The Kinks while Pet Sounds blasted in the background and then made him listen to a lot of 60's pop music - this lovechild would be Jeddediah Smith. He is the one man behind My Teenage Stride. With a voice that, from song to song, can go from one of those early mop tops to a more chipper Ian Curtis...MTS appeals to the masses. Chances are that if you took the various sounds of the decades that play continually in your head you'd hear a bit of each of them in My Teenage Stride. So give them a listen and go see them play the Hook tonight [details after the interview].
Live My Teenage Stride are Jedediah Smith (guitar, vocals), Brett Whitmoyer (drums), Michael Hollitscher (bass), Tris McCall (piano, synth, vocals) and Dakkan Abbe (guitar, vocals)
Recorded My Teenage Stride is Jedediah Smith. And he gives good answers...
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?
The band name came from a fake compilation of garage punk and art-pop that I made a few years ago that was all just me and my four-track in reality. It was one of the fake band names- I had to choose one of them when the label in California asked if they could release an album. I choose the worst one, actually. I was in my ether huffing phase back then. One has poor judgment skills when in the midst of an ether binge, I can tell you. Had I my druthers, names that I like a lot more include Pond-Pond, The Tascam 48, and, using the acronym of the current name, The Empty Ess.
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
Lying in my bed one night, sweaty and frightened by something that sounded like a cackling troll walking back and forth outside the garage door that separated my first apartment from the street. Thats a juicy memory.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Id say 9-11, but thats both impersonal and trite. I dont know. I think I threw up once. I hate throwing up.
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? What's the best night of the week to go out in the city?
My favorite place to drink is in the studio, but if you're talking about an actual place, I'll go with Enids in Greenpoint, because its a few blocks from my apartment and its no longer so popular that its impossibly crowded and noisy on a weekend night. In fact it was pretty empty last time I went - which is the way I like my bars. Best night? Friday, I think. Except when its not. Again, I like the studio.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
My least favorite thing is getting the equipment to the venue, and not being able to give friends individual attention at shows because theres too many people there. Shows in Brooklyn tend towards art-rock and the like, I think, and shows in Manhattan tend towards slightly more accessible bands. I think were somewhat in between. I prefer Brooklyn shows, though, because we dont have to take our stuff as far.
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
My songs resonate with the assonant chirping of 300 years of industrial and cultural pseudo-appolonianism. So, no.
Now it's time for some fill-in-the-blank action:
You know youve made it when...
It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when...
Im clinically dead. Or any time before that.
I'll never forget the first time I...
Saw a faux-hawk. O, the ribaldry!
I'll never forget the first time [insert another band members name here]...
Tris made love to the keyboard. Figuratively speaking.
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):
Are people from New England, like me. Most Yankees prefer the Red Sox.
A poor replacement for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Not that I know what Im talking about.
Is she friends with Tyler, Austin, Courtney, and Hunter?
Bridge & Tunnel
Bacon & Popcorn
Portal To The Least Interesting Dimension Of Hell
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
The Shame of the Baystate/Why Go To A Bar Anymore/A Mixed Blessing, or a Savory Curse
Questions inspired by movies...
If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma. (Reality Bites)
Suffering and confusion being necessary elements of a consciousness that cannot bare over-exposure to objective physical reality, it follows that when said consciousness is no longer faced with the question of physical survival in any significant manner, (as is true for the middle and upper-middle classes of most industrialized democracies in the modern world), the mind will create suffering and confusion from abstract sources.
Wait, that was more than ten words. Okay:
If youre never hungry, your mind gets funny.
What came first, the music or the misery? ( High Fidelity )
I dont care.
A few quickies on the music tip:
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Emmit Rhodes on guitar/vocal, John Cale on piano, Paul McCartney on bass, Kim Deal on lead guitar/vocal, Earl Palmer on drums, and Ray Davies on ultra-violence.
If you released a 7" what would you put on the cover?
If I released another 7, Id put the Polish flag on the cover, because its a pretty attractive flag.
What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
I dont know that Ive ever done that. Possibly the Pixies Trompe Le Monde on cassette. That was like twelve years ago. I dont really care for music, actually. Its so noisy.
My Teenage Stride is playing tonight, December 17th, at The Hook in Brooklyn with The Consultants, Shumai, and The Nice Ones. The show starts at 9. They go on at 9:30.
If you really can't go tonight...they have a full-length entitled "A Sad Cloud" and a 7" out on Banazan Records and a 7" and a full-length (entitled "Major Major") due out soon on Becalmed Records in London. Listen up right here.