Soviet and The Longshots On Their First Shows: "There's Still Nasty Dreadlock Hair Tangled All Through The Pegs"
Usually, we only interview one band for this feature, but given the chance to interview members of Soviet and The Longshots, to hell with regulations. Both bands will open for Pujol tomorrow at Dada, certainly one of the better shows this week.
John, what can you remember about the first Soviet show? John Parker Spies: Well, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Fort Worth) on the planet Yavin 4 (Chris Maunder's Moon West Berry) me, a guy from Craigslist, and ex-Soviet drummer/bassist [Andrew] Brown Weir played about seven weirdo anarcho-punk songs poorly and ducked off stage. Imagine our surprise when everybody thought it was good.
So, Joey, what about the first Longshots shows? Joey Gorman: The interesting/tricky thing about this question is The Longshots has been a solidified project/pursuit for only about four and a half months. Our first show was a 9 p.m. slot at the West Berry Block Party at the Cellar in Fort Worth on April 13th. All I remember is how my onstage adrenaline seemed to be the direct product of how tight we held our Chuck Berry/Crazy Horse chaos together. Especially when you factor in the whiskey and lack of water. I remember the overall feeling that we had found our platoon, after years of many different projects ranging in genre and continental location. We felt ready to take on the shit-filled industry ocean in our row boat, so to speak. It was rad.
Has there been a show you came away from disappointed? Jr. Marks (Soviet): I'm sure every band has had nights that they wish they could take back or redo, and we've had our share. You can't help but have an off night every once in a while for whatever reason. Spies: Usually the disappointment isn't from the performance itself. I think I can speak for the whole band when I say we try to leave every bit of energy we've got out there on stage, every time. If you don't act like you own that thing, then what's the damn point? Maybe it doesn't work aesthetically for this or that person, and maybe the band isn't firing on all cylinders 100 percent of the time. So it goes. But I think when the disappointment really can start to kick in is after the show, when promoters didn't promote, bars didn't pay, and realization comes rushing in that you played to ten drunk Dallasites who couldn't tell the difference between Nickelback and Nirvana. And that's no referendum on every show ever; just an observation. Gorman: We don't really acknowledge or consider retrospective feelings like disappointment. We either discuss what was fucked up if a show feels it has been derailed, take mental note and polish those weaknesses. Or we rage, acknowledge that we've raged, and bask in pseudo glory. But our feet rarely leave the ground.
Can you remember any CD you sold back to a record store? Marks: No way. We don't listen to bad music, we've got rules for that. I've always been proud and excited about what I'm listening to at the moment. Tuck Masten (Soviet): What he said. Spies: Nope. Ditto what Jr. said. But I was in New York last week and found an original US pressing of The Clash's first record, and it had "This is the shape of things to clash" scratched into the inside rim. It was $10. Gorman: While Jake Paleschic, our bassist/co-headwriter and singer and I were living in Nashville, we would go to Jack White's Third Man Records on the limited pressing release day of whatever obscure 7-inch was being released wait in line for an hour pay the 10 bucks for the record, then we would both sell our copies on eBay for enough money to keep us alive, writing and paying rent. We are huge vinyl enthusiasts and Third Man supporters. We were just broke.
What was the first show you remember paying your own money to see? Marks: My first real show as a kid was the Weezer/Foo Fighters tour here in Dallas. I went show-crazy shortly after with much better concerts than that one. Masten: One of my first shows, which I also happened to pay for, was Bloc Party at House of Blues on Sept 22, 2007. Deerhoof opened. It was pretty rad. Spies: Flaming Lips, Nokia Theater, 2006. I was 15. Me and my buddy Rob got dropped off right after school and we waited for four hours for the doors to open. We were front row, dead center. I count myself lucky to have seen the Lips when they were still playing "Race for the Prize" as their opener. Wayne, I know you'll never read this, but please remember what that felt like. No need to mess with magic. Nobody wants to hear Embryonic anymore. Gorman: I remember sophomore year of high school skipping after school soccer practice numerous times to make it in time to the original Emo's in Austin for shows like Streetlight Manifesto, BRMC, Brian Jonestown Massacre or The Casualties. My first show ever was probably some Tooth and Nail records band I've forced myself to forget.
So far, what's the worst onstage moment that you've had? Breaking a string during a song, drum kit falling apart, forgetting lyrics, etc. Masten: John's throne fell apart during the intro to the first song in our first set with this lineup. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal had we not tried to go on without the throne, but we did. Marks: I think we've broken more snare heads than strings, actually. It's times like those you realize your window of vulnerability in any live show. It can easily become a disaster if you don't care enough to enjoy it yourself. Spies: Yeah, the first show I ever played as our drummer/singer was in McAllen, Texas and yes, the throne that I had bought a day earlier from Guitar Center literally fell apart during the opening 16 bars of our set. I had to balance on a wobbly piece of metal for the next eight tunes. Plus, Tuck and I were deathly ill at the time. I was practically hallucinating from all those shitty over-the-counter pain meds I was on. It was harrowing to say the least. Such a brutal way to start a new incarnation. It didn't matter though, those kids loved it anyway. They're such champs down there with that little scene, more Dallas bands need to sack up and make that trek south. i think they'll find some loyal fans waiting. Gorman: We have played nonstop since banding together, so we have had plenty of your routine onstage screw-ups. However, the best onstage massacre tales we revisit are ones where we invited a far too intoxicated tambourine-playing friend of ours on stage to rock out/vibe out with us and the audience. This slowly turns into ground zero breakdown with mic stands being round house kicked to the ground, guitar pedals being kicked and unplugged etc. Basically straight mayhem via tambo player/insanely enthused crowds. Zobel has also had a fan's longhair entangled in the tuning pegs while the dude was headbanging far too close to the band. There's still nasty dreadlock hair tangled all through the pegs.
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