RALPH COVERT

Photo by Jim Newberry

1.0  Folks are saying that “Smash Record” may be the bands best record yet, can that be? We’re really proud of it.  I’d like to think that all the music we’ve made collectively and individually since the last studio album would be reflected in “Smash Record.”  I’m thrilled at the response its getting thus far.

2.0  What led to the decision to do a new record and did you have specific goals for the album? We had been working on tracks purely for the love of pursuing our creative muse.  It sounds simplistic, but its true —     our only goal was to make the best album we could.

3.0   The disc is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ effort, it must be gratifying to have such a talented extended family to work with? The guys in the band bring so much talent and joy to what they do.  It was a blast hearing how their ideas and contributions shaped and created the album.

4.0   How long did it take to record? Most of the work was done in the last year or so, but the origins of a few tracks dates back quite a few years.  The basic tracks for “Big E Chord,” for instance, are from sessions we did in the late ’90s in which I assembled the various line-ups of the band to record songs we’d never recorded.  “Pictures of A Masquerade” is from some sessions in the middle of the last decade with Josh “Cartier” Cutsinger, who worked on many of the Ralph’s World albums.  Most of the work took place over the last couple years, working at our Waterdog studios.

5.0   Are all the songs brand new or are there hold-overs from prior projects that fit? The songs come from a range of sources and time periods.  The glue that holds them together is that they are all songs the guys in the band were excited about working on, and songs that seemed to sonically and thematically fit together.

6.0   Which tracks are getting the best reaction thus far from fans? Fans have said they’re very happy to hear songs like “Ex-Girlfriend” and “Kill Amanda” we’d been playing live for a while as well as songs like “In Another Life” and “Gets All Messy” that they first experienced through the recorded versions.

7.0   Has writing gotten easier over time or more difficult? Writing’s never been difficult, per se, because it’s always been something I’ve loved doing for the sake of doing it.  It’s been exciting to grow as an artist, so it’s more fun than ever.

8.0   Do you have a formula you try to adhere to? No. The fun is to discover the song locked inside the idea.

9.0   Any tips for young songwriters hoping to make their music into a career? Write, write, write.  The more you write, the better you get.

10.0  What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened at a Bad Examples show? How many chapters would you like? I remember once I was mingling and talking to folks after a show in Minneapolis, and this gal who had been dancing like crazy during our last song told me that she had had an orgasm while dancing.  I went back to the guys in the band and said, “Well, we’ll never be this good again, perhaps we should quit while we’re ahead?”

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STEVE GERLACH w/ TOMORROW THE MOON

Is Rock & Roll dead yet? Rock & Roll is hanging by the skin of its ass. We are that skin.

What is your favorite stage guitar and why? I can get by with just about any Gibson. For me, at this point, the pedals are almost more crucial than any specific guitar.

How would you describe Tomorrow The Moon? Tomorrow The Moon is about quality songs and a spacey rock vibe. We don’t go out of our way to try and be “different,” but some people still seem to think that a band can’t have  prog leanings and still be ‘punk.’ The fact is, music is still evolving, or at least trying to. But if you try too hard, you’ll lose sight of the songs. If you don’t have a song, you don’t have anything. There are things ‘Tomorrow The Moon’ will never do. “Jamming” is one of them. There are others, too, like growing beards.

You have toured a good deal, how do you like the road? I enjoy the bits of touring I’ve done because I know they will end. Some people don’t want it to end. I have a life here in Chicago, and particularly in the summer, I don’t have an urge to leave. But music has taken me places I wouldn’t have otherwise gone, and I have no regrets.

Have you ever smashed a guitar? I did sort of smash the hell out of one of my favorites due to a terrible monitor mix that only got worse. The neck was badly broken… I immediately felt bad about it, but it made some cool noises when I jumped all over it, so I guess the audience must have loved it, not that I was aware… I had pretty bad bruises on my knees the next day. Tommy Keene refers to those sort of incidents as “glamour fits.” The guitar recovered fully.

Why do you love The Kinks so much? Songs! I saw them on Sept. 17th, 1980 and it was super high-energy. By that time they had a wealth of material, the best material any band ever had. And they just totally rocked.

Do you ever get angry when you are playing guitar? Is that an emotion that makes sense in rock? If the song is angry, sure. Not as many things make me angry now as when I was young. One of the things that makes me want to slit my wrists is that happy, upbeat positive music that you hear on ‘adult rock’ radio stations. There’s a place for that stuff, I guess, but that place is not anywhere near me.

Will radio ever have a “Tivo” feature? I don’t know if there are enough people listening to radio for the development of a Tivo-type feature to make sense. Satellite radio and Pandora have that covered more or less, right? If it’s cost-effective, then it will happen.

Does every band need a love song? No, I don’t think every band needs a love song; in fact, it can be very awkward when a band whose range has never included love songs tries to go there. Metallica suddenly tried to add that layer to their bag of tricks one day, and if it wasn’t a commercial flop, well, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an artistic flop.

What happened to Sting? Sting got famous writing songs that were inspired by and about being very unhappy, and then all of the sudden he couldn’t tap into that emotion anymore because has was too happy. Success completely changed him, as it does to almost anyone. McCartney was happy to begin with, so he was relatively unfazed by success, whereas Lennon started whining about his childhood after the Beatles broke up. The truth is, he was out of ideas, so he started trying to tap into his unhappy youth. Who cares? He had already peaked. I’m starting to sound like Gene Simmons, so it must be time to go ~