Notes from Outside Lands: Q&As with Two Gallants and Jukebox the Ghost
August 24, 2012
Written by Roman Gokhman
Two Gallants’ Adam Stephens is ready for what’s next
When Two Gallants played the first Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in 2007, the played the local band stage. Last week, guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel were upgraded to the Land’s End main stage, directly before Beck. Stephens came up to the media tent to watch Beck and spent a few moments socializing.
What are you looking forward to with the release of your record, The Bloom and the Blight, next month?
“The way that I look at a record is it’s made in the past. We actually recorded it back in November. So it will be almost 12 months before it comes out; so it’s finally getting rid of it, in a way. Not to speak negatively of the record, but every time I work on a new song, that’s my focus. I’m constantly looking forward. I don’t think much about the record besides wanting to get it out. We’re playing all the songs off of it, so I’m really happy with the album.”
How is playing at Outside Lands different now, compared to the first year?
“The experience for us is pretty different. Well, the first year, we played on a really small stage, which I don’t think even exists anymore. I think they got rid of it. So this is a pretty big jump (to the main stage). Playing on the Polo Field itself is pretty huge. There’s a lot of people packed in there.”
Jukebox the Ghost push past old boundaries on third album
Tommy Siegel and Ben Thornewill, the guitarist and vocalist-keyboardist for poppy Philadelphia trio Jukebox the Ghost, just finished telling a story to the on-air audience of a San Francisco radio station a story about covering Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” to a German audience on a recent tour. Unbeknownst to the band (which includes drummer Jesse Kristin), German audiences love to clap along, unison, to songs they are familiar with. What followed was a rendition that made the trio take note to the power of introducing its own music through established songs.
I saw you opening for Hello Goodbye in San Francisco last year. I do believe you played, “I Love You Always Forever” at that show as well.
Siegel: “We did.”
The reason for playing that at the San Francisco show as opposed to the Germany show was…
Siegel: “Well, to be honest I’m not sure that was the right cover choice because as you know, Hello Goodbye’s audience is pretty young. Most of them were born about the time that song came out (in 1996). I think it went over most people’s heads. But when we were on the tour, we decided we liked playing that song. Those Germans are pretty rigid. They’re hard to match.”
The new record (Safe Travels) came out two months ago. How did you approach it differently from your previous one?
Siegel: “We had a stereotypical third record experience. The first record, you’re just getting your feet wet. The second record there’s always the pressure. The third record, we just got to be ourselves. We had a lot of songs we might have not thought to put on our record otherwise. We tried to kind of branch out and do some stuff that we normally haven’t been pigeonholed into doing. There’s some slower songs, some sadder songs, some songs contemplating mortality, and heavier topics we would have been afraid to deal with.”
Last question: any favorite San Francisco memories or experiences?
Siegel: “I can say that as a child, the first time I came here, no one told me there were sea lions. It blew my mind. That was the best thing I’d ever seen as a 9-year-old. It was incredible.”