American Thunder Band

American Thunder Band - July 2013

American Thunder Band Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: March 9, 2013
Posting Date: July 23, 2013
Artist Hometown: Independence, KS
Links: Facebook, Bandcamp, Count Your Lucky Stars, Texas Is Funny
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil

No Time! Gotta Get to Berbiggles!
Good Hank
Spring Break ’08 II
ONE: Can you tell us about your new album Neither Here Nor Thayer?
Brandon Price: Well, we recorded it in this room how many months ago? August? It was in August, almost six months ago, or something.
Iain Blair: Over six.
Brandon: Over six. Yeah, we’ve been waiting for it to come out for a while. We really, really want it to be in our hands…
Iain: At least we’re not Two Knights. At least it didn’t take two years.
MB: How did it come to be released on Count Your Lucky Stars?
Iain: Well, we had talked to Keith [Latinen] about releasing it on Count Your Lucky Stars when we were a four-piece, and it just took us forever to get the songs written and recorded, and then once we recorded it, we kind of held on to it and shopped it around a little bit, and I knew that he had previously been interested in putting it out, so…when we finally got it done, we kind of just put up a Facebook status that was like, ‘Hey, does anyone want to help us put out this new full-length?’ and Keith responded to it and said, ‘Yes, I’ve been wanting to do it since Day One!’…wouldn’t respond to my email when we recorded it, but…
Brandon: Yeah, it was like, right after we had posted it on the Internet for anyone to listen to, we immediately got emails that day, or the next day, or something, from both of the record labels…
Iain: Yeah, from Texas Is Funny, we got an email the day or two after we put it up on the Internet, and then Count Your Lucky Stars, it took a couple months for them to get on board—
Tucker Porter: Nah, what, it was a couple days when he told us to take it off the Internet, though.
Iain: Yeah, but I mean, it took us like a second…I mean, I feel like we didn’t have Count Your Lucky Stars until September or October—
Brandon: Yeah, but we only had it on the Internet for a day.
Iain: It was longer than a day. It was like a week. Yeah, I guess it…fuck, I can’t remember.
Brandon: It was a day.
Iain: He wanted us…I don’t know, he had been interested in putting it out for a while. We played with Keith when we were a two-piece, like, a long time ago, and we had booked him a few shows, and we had known Keith for a few years before recording this album.
Brandon: Yeah, Empire! Empire! played at a house that we had all lived at probably a handful of times.
Tucker: They’re good.
Brandon: Yeah, they’re awesome.
TWO: What keeps you touring so much?
Iain: It’s the entire basis of why this band exists, basically. Tucker was in a band called Heavy Metal Dreamhouse and I was in a band called Honest Abe, with Tucker. Both bands really wanted to tour, but our drummers wouldn’t ever go on tour with us. Honest Abe even booked two summer tours that we never got to go on because our drummer would never go on tour with us. So when we started playing as a two-piece, we never intended on taking this band seriously, but when Honest Abe would drop shows…like, we would book a show, and then our drummer would flake out on us—
Tucker: Yeah, the first show we played was with Honest Abe and we played the spot that Heavy Metal Dreamhouse had booked, but the drummer of that band couldn’t make it, so we just did this instead.
Iain: Whenever our respective bands wouldn’t show up, our drummers wouldn’t show up, we would just fill in instead rather than not play the show, and then we just started doing that enough, and then Captain Space asked us to do a short 9-day tour with them and we said yes, and that’s like the entire reason why we’re a band. It’s because we wrote a bunch of songs specifically to go on tour with them. And then, once we went on tour once, and we finally got to go on tour with a band, we just decided that we would keep doing it over and over and over.
THREE: How has growing up in and around Southeast Kansas affected your music?
Brandon: Well, that’s where we all met each other, down there.
Iain: I think that…because there was absolutely no music scene. There were no venues to play, there are no local bands, really.
Tucker: In order to have a show, you have to be the show. You have to have your own band, then book another band from out of town, because there’s only one band in the town, and do it all yourself, and because we were from an area where we had to do that, just to even have shows to go to, it kind of reflects on the ethics that we have now.
Iain: Every little Southeast Kansas town has its own little flair. It has its little thing that’s going on. I think that Southeast Kansas is kind of isolated. I mean, you do have to go like two hours just to see another band. You have to drive to Lawrence or Tulsa or Joplin or Wichita just to go to a good show. So, the music that people listen to in Chinook is slightly different from the music that people listen to in Iola or Independence, and so everyone’s kind of in their own isolated bubble, and I think that makes Southeast Kansas kind of weird in a certain way. It makes it…
Tucker: Flared jeans and TapouT shirts.
Iain: So for us to even be in a band and have shows, we just had to do it ourselves and promote the shows ourselves.
Brandon: Yeah. There’s no way you’d be able to get on those other shows that you would like to be on are like two hours away and stuff like that, so you have to just use your resources, find other people that are in bands and just decide to do it yourself. That’s…whenever I was growing up, that’s what we realized. Pretty soon it was like, ‘We’ll just have our own shows.’
Iain: The first shows that I started booking in high school were…We would go to the park and play underneath the storm shelter and use their electricity, and it would just be a free show. We would just get as many people as we could to come out, and it was fun, it was a good time, but it’s just…you can’t bring touring bands to that. Like, we started booking shows in Independence at the Booth Hotel, and you can’t bring touring bands there because you just don’t make enough money. It’s like, they would play with Texas Instruments and play to our four or five friends that would come to every show, and make no money. I mean, it was fun. We could show them a good time. But we couldn’t provide them with the things that bands need. So that’s kind of…why we moved to Kansas City. So we could actually be a part of something that was bigger and greater. Rather than being he only thing that was happening in Independence, we could just be a part of something that was a lot more important in Kansas City.
Brandon: Yeah, that’s one thing that we all realized shortly after we had all met up in 2008, whenever we all met each other and we were all…by the time 2009 came around, I was like, ‘Okay, well, I clearly don’t want to be in this town anymore because what I need to be doing is playing music and providing music for people, and you can’t do that there, so I’ll just move to Kansas City.’ I moved there, and then they moved there a year after.
Iain: But we did write this album in Southeast Kansas. We all moved out of the Gravyard, which was our punk house we had for a couple months, and we moved down to Southeast Kansas in Independence, at Tucker’s parent’s house, and lived there for a couple months, and we just wrote the album there. It was nice because it was isolated. It gave us nothing to do but practice everyday.
Tucker: A lot more babes in Kansas City, though.
– Interview by Michael Briggs and Patrick Keizer. Transcription by Dale Jones.