Q&A With Git Some
Westword’s August 7 profile on Git Some touched on the band’s history and its new album, Cosmic Rock, but in this extended Q&A, Chuck French and bassist Neil Keener (both former members of Planes Mistaken for Stars), singer Luke Fairchild and drummer Andrew Lindstrom talk about wanting to release Cosmic Rock only on vinyl, the songwriting process, their upcoming European tour, a few strange things that have happened on the road and more.
Westword ( Jon Solomon): Tell me about the new album?
Chuck French: It’s got eleven songs. We recorded it the Yellow Bordello in Denver, which is our friend’s house. Andy Wild. Joe Ramirez assisted with it. We all pretty much spent a bunch of time working on it.
WW: What’s it called?
CF: Cosmic Rock
WW: Is it cosmic?
CF: I think it is. It’s cosmic and it’s rock.
Andrew Lindstrom: It’s an accurate description.
CF: I think it’s pretty accurate in the literal sense.
WW:Tell me about some of the songs on the new record.
CF: Some of them will kick your ass, and some of them will get you fuckin’ high, man.
WW:Aren't you guys just releasing it on vinyl?
CF: The initial plan was a double 10-inch. But that’s really costly. It’s like putting out two records essentially. So we said, fuck that, we’ll just put out one 12-inch. But it’s gotta be gatefold. And then we were like, it’s just vinyl only. And then we were thinking about it, and we’re going to be doing all this touring, and not everybody has a record player. People still have CD players, and they definitely have computers, but not everyone has a computer. So we gotta make CDs.
Luke Fairchild: We were going to have a record release with just vinyl, but then Steve-o from 1-2-3-4 Go!, who’s putting out the record, said that he wanted to CDs also. If he wouldn’t have said that, it would probably be on vinyl only. He got behind it and wanted to put discs together for us to go to Europe with, and so we all thought it was a good idea. It’d be easier to sell over there.
CF: It’s all about the dollars.
LF: It’s exciting to have someone behind us like that.
WW: You guys started the band in Chicago, right?
CF: Yeah, me, Neil and Bobby Lewis. We had a different singer too. Luke’s the fourth singer for Git Some. They all sucked. The first singer was awesome. At the time we were super stoked because we were writing these songs. We had five kick-ass songs, and this guy was like, “Bam, here’s the lyrics.” And we were like, “Fuck yeah.” But he couldn’t play shows. So then we got Clayton to fill in, who was our other roommate. He’s like one of those guys who burns really bright and goes out really fast. He did one show with us, and then we got this guy Peter when Neil and Bobby Lewis moved out here, Peter moved with them. That was kind of the deal: they’re van broke down, and they were like, “Come pick us up in Nebraska,” and the kid’s like “I’ll do it if you let me sing in your band.” He worked out good for a little while. But it didn’t end up working out in the long run. It’s like things become clear after time. You gotta let the water settle a bit. And then there was Luke at the bottom of the water, and we were like, “Fuck yeah.”
LF: I was drowning. I was in a bad place. Git Some came out and just picked me up. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t go easy.
CF: White Dynamite just broke up.
WW: How did you guys meet Luke?
LF: We met at a show the first time Git Some came to town. I was in a band at the time. We were playing a show and they came. After their show that same night we all hung out.
CF: We met before that.
LF: I met Chuck on a Peralta/Planes tour, sometime in 2000.
CF: I remember seeing White Dynamite play. We played with White Dynamite a lot at the 15th Street Tavern. It was just always hanging out the Tavern.
LF: Git Some was my favorite band for a long time when I got here.
WW: When did you first start singing with these guys?
WW: What does Luke have the other singers didn’t have?
CF: He’s got what it takes, man. I don’t know what it is either, man, but it’s what it takes.
LF: One of these days they’ll quit talking…
WW: When you guys write stuff, do songs come out of jams?
CF: When we initially started writing songs it was like that, we’d just get fucked up on caffeine and smoke a bunch a grass and make some music.
AL: The last couple it seems like Neil will come in with a bass line, I’ll hear a drum part against that and we’ll start fucking around with that while Chuck’s in the room, and then he’ll be listing us and start thinking about a part he can play. He’s usually coming up with something that’s different than Neil. It’s not like he’s going to match Neil. He’ll come up with his own part that compliments it. Then Luke will hear that combination and then we’ll work out the song around what he’s going to sing, what he’s hearing. So if a part needs to be longer or shorter or whatever. But we’ll get the music together and Luke will be listening to that process and thinking of stuff while we’re putting the song together and offering suggestions. Everybody’s just putting whatever input they have on the table basically, and the songs come together pretty quick. It’s pretty natural.
LF: Yeah, everyone plays together really well, which is nice.
AL: I had heard about these guys because the sax player that used to play in my band Nightshark, this girl Becca, she was a big Git Some fan, and she was always saying, “You gotta check these guys out.” And I’m always skeptical when someone tells me to check something out. I’ll like go out of my way to not check it out. She had the Yes, Have Some CD out at her place all the time, and then I had hung out with Luke one night and he’d seen me play with Nightshark and I played with Red Cloud and Neil had heard me play with Nightshark, so they knew about me. And then I just hung out with Luke randomly, talked to him a little bit, and he was on my case about touring with Nightshark and how Nightshark needs to get out on the road. And I was like I don’t know how do touring. I can’t tour. Then a month later, he just randomly sends me a MySpace message and says, “We need you to do a tour if you’d be down with it.” And because I’d heard so much about them from Becca, and then I listened to the CD and was like, “This stuff is really organic. It’s sounds like something that it just like forms itself.” And that’s actually been the case.
LF: Didn’t Andrew join the band a week before we went on tour?
AF: A month before we went on tour. It was four days before three shows. Memorial Day weekend of last year. And I had a Jewish wedding to play at Denver Performing Arts Center on Sunday and I play in a church band and I play in a church band on Sunday mornings. And we played Saturday night at Bar Bar, and I remember Luke jumping up on the bar and knocking people’s drinks over and shit. And I’d been in the group for like five days. And it’s loud as fuck and I was working and completely overheating just like hallucinating almost because I hadn’t played that much relentless music. And I was learning the songs and I’m like, “How the fuck does this go?” in the middle of rocking out and every once in a while and I’d look over and Luke’s on the bar, and I’m like, “He’s knocking people’s drinks over!” and latterly like six hours after loading out, I was waking up and shaving and getting ready to go to this church gig. And then we played at 3 Kings on the following Tuesday, so it was like three gigs in a week that I’d been in the band. And I rehearsed with them three times. It was kind of the same thing as when Luke joined, by the seat of the pants. But it seems to work well for this band.
CF: That’s how the foundation for Git Some was laid – by complete chance.
AF: I got in a van with these guys, and I literally did not know any of them for more than a month, and we didn’t have a long time to get to know each other because it was like get the songs together and get ready for the tour. So I was getting to know them while I was in a van with them every day. It was the first tour I’d ever been on.
WW: How long was that tour?
AF: Two and a half weeks. It was like every day rolling up to a town that I’d never been in and meeting entirely new people, which I was not stoked on at the time because I was a recluse for years. It was hard for me to meet people. And then I’d get in the van and it was like meeting the band. And then I’d get out of the van another time and meet a whole other crowd of new people. It was a trial by fire, but at this age I would rather have it be that way... because these guys have all been on the road a lot. Everybody has their own rhythm on the road and I learned that on that first tour because I was in their rhythm, and that was not my rhythm at the time. What their rhythm is works. It’s not like the first time they’ve been out on the road. So the van didn’t break down. We didn’t break up. Nobody got in any fights and we didn’t want to kill each other when we got home. I was very uncomfortable for the last couple of shows. We were playing Tempe and shit in July and I hadn’t learned at that point that I sweat all over my fucking balls, basically. And I was wearing pants on stage and then leaving them on and then getting on the van with these sweaty fucking jeans. I was in a bad way by the end, but it was great. I don’t have a single regret or a misgiving about that experience.
LF: And I think like after this last tour, which was the third tour we’ve all been on, clicked. I think this next tour is going to click. Just learning how to get along and give people their space when they need it. But then you become like family because you’re living in a van for so long. We just came back from twelve-day tour. In two weeks, we go on a three-week west coast tour. Then we come back for three weeks and go to Europe for three months. So going to Europe for two months, living in a van together, if you’re not a strong unit that’s going to break you.
AL: It’s literally like a make or break kind of situation.
LF: I think we’re going to be fine. This next tour we’re going on is gonna rip. This year we’ve got a record coming out. I think it’s gonna be great.
WW: So you guys must get a long pretty well.
LF: We get along great. We laugh our asses off.
AF: This last tour was challenging and we were all just having fun. It’s definitely like the kind of thing where if you didn’t have the right attitude you could bum out on all kinds of shit.
LF: Except when people don’t come out to the show. But people always do come out. There’s always somebody there. It’s always good, and we’d always end up at the end of the night having fun. But it just gets fucking hot. We need some fucking A/C. And just smoking the whole fucking time with the windows open, I lose my voice. I mean, I can sing but I can’t talk. I think we might all have to smoke at once, and we smoke I put on a dust mask.
CF: I think you should wear one in the van at all times.
LF: I’m going to, and I have those huge gun range earphones that take out all the sound. That’s what I sleep in downstairs when you guys are still up and I’m trying to go sleep. And on this last tour I’m thinking, “Why didn’t I bring those?” because I don’t want to lose them. I didn’t lose shit this last tour. I only got wasted one time that last tour.
WW: Have you guys ever been to Europe before?
Neil Keener: Planes went over there. But this is the first time for Git Some.
LF: Planes was supposed to do this tour, right?
CF: The promoter for this tour is the guy who was trying to get Planes to do a last tour in Europe and it never worked out. I forget if it was him looking for us, or we sought out each other.
LF: So he said, “Fuck it, lets take Git Some.” We’re gonna go over there and kill ‘em all.
CF: Touring over there is so much better. They take care of bands so differently. You pull up to the club and you get a bunch of drinks and food. They give you a hot meal and then you play the show and then they gave you showers and a place to sleep. They set you up in an apartment. Every fucking night. Plus they pay you on top of that. Nobody does that in the States. Not many. Not unless you’re in the upper echelon of touring bands.
AL: And we’re going over there for the first time for almost two months and that’s remarkable.
WW: Andrew, I know you play a lot of jazz stuff. Do you ever bring in any of that into Git Some?
AL: Yeah, and this has effected my jazz playing. It’s completely revamped my musculature, and for the drumming that I want to do is really important. I want to do things that are spontaneous, detailed and fast and everything and responsive. And that means that my body has to do it, and project it. I’m playing with the butt-ends of the sticks on bigger drums and larger cymbals. This is first time I’ve ever broken cymbals was in this group because I’m hitting really hard and I’m breaking sticks constantly. It’s very good for a drummer’s musculature to push things that far because when you try to play very quiet your musculature is very dynamic. And you have a lot of endurance. It’s really given me a new focus on that kind of stuff. So that affects everything. These tunes have a lot of open spaces where I can do what I want and improvise. So they all kind of cross, dove tail. There are very few bands in the country that I would to get in the van with and play with every night. Big bands that get paid a lot, I listen to their music and I’m like, “I’d have to get paid a lot to do that every night.” This isn’t one of those bands, which I think helps us with rolling up to a place where there aren’t necessarily a lot of people in the audience. Like we know we’re going to play a set’s worth of great music and get tighter. That allows us to know that we’re still going to enjoy something.
WW: What has to happen to make a really good show for you guys?
LF: I can’t really think of a bad Git Some show. We get along so good.
CF: I don’t think we’ve ever had a show that really sucked.
LF: Sometimes if there’s nobody there, I guess. It never really makes difference.
CF: Or if someone’s sick.
NK: Somebody always has a good show and somebody always has a good show and having a good time.
CF: That’s true. It’s always a good time. Bottom line. You got good time, there can be bummers about it.
LF: When we’re all on the same page and we rip it up and we play the songs really good. That’s what makes a good show for us. And sure, when opened up for a Against Me at the Aggie, that was fun too. But it’s a good time when we play good. When have good shows we all know it.
AF: the only time I’ve never not enjoyed myself is when my shit starts getting knocked around, which happens. It happened at the Bar Bar show before we went on tour. At that show, I was like, "Fuck it,” because there’s nothing you can do. He (pointing to Luke) was getting thrown around like a rag doll, so when he fell into my shit and when other people were falling into my shit, there’s nothing I could do about it. And that’s kind of frustrating because this music is demanding. My bass drum got knocked off the pedal for the last tune. I looked down and my beaters were just swinging in mid-air and the drum was six inches away from the beaters. So I just stood up and ended the song. It was like, “Done.” If I can’t play, that’s kind of a bummer. But that very rarely happens.
LF: Not for him, but that show was a great show.
NK: That’s what I mean. It was a great show for the rest of us.
AL: I knew that’s what was going on, and when my bass drum wasn’t working any more and was hitting the drums with my hands. I’m not gonna get up and stop the tune and be like, “Don’t do that!”
LF: I wish every show we played had that problem. That would be nice, but we don’t. That night was fun.
AL: But when things are off the chain there’s nothing you can do about it. I like to get into a state where we’re playing a set and I know the set. I just like to close my eyes and forget about shit. And when your shits getting all jacked it’s kind of hard to do that. But that’s it. Any other time, it’s just playing really intense music and I enjoy myself as much as I possibly can.
WW: What’s the common ground you guys come together on, like musically as far as the stuff you listen to?
LF: We’re all into a lot of different shit. We all have a lot of common ground on what we listen to. But Andrew’s into a lot of different stuff, so are Neil and Chuck. I think when you get to a certain point and you play music long enough then you know what you are doing, and you take it serious, but not too serious, then you come together musically. I think that’s what makes good bands, not necessarily we have common ground like that we all grew up on pop punk or some shit.
AL: When we’re writing, I don’t every recall anybody ever talking about it. I think when were writing “14” I think we were talking about Bad Brains for that ending part. That name came up once. But when we’re writing shit, we’re not even talking about taking on any influences at all. It just kind of generates itself.
WW: Say you’re talking to someone who hasn’t heard Git Some, how do you describe what the band’s all about?
NK: We kind of don’t push Git Some on anybody, really. When people ask us about it, we just kind of…
AL: We usually just say rock and roll or something really generic.
CF: I like to say Lynryrd Skynrd and Jesus Lizard and Black Flag.
AL: We were talking about being in Minneapolis and just trying to sneak in some stuff like Bob Seger mixed with some Ted Nugent, Lynryrd Skynrd. Jesus Lizard.
LF: Elton Joel.
AL: Yeah, we pretty much don’t say. It’s hard to describe. Just come out. It’s rock and roll.
CF: It's like a punk rock freak out. But it’s not really like punk rock, now. Because we all know punk’s fucking dead, right?
AL: I tell the Christians down at the church where I play that it’s really aggressive rock and roll.
WW: You guys ever have any really crazy shit happen at your shows?
CF: Luke fell off the bar the last time we played Bar Bar, and he got back up there and fell off again.
LF: We were playing South by Southwest and Perry Farrell and his crew walked in and walked right out.
AL: He was coming in and out. His handler was leading him all around. He had a lovely Asian handler.
LF: I wish I would’ve seen it. That would’ve been fucking hilarious. I would’ve shook his hand and threw him into our massive mosh pit.
CF: He was so deep into the rock and roll that you could’ve brought Perry Ferrell into the room and he wouldn’t have even noticed.
LF: I can’t really think of anything too weird.
AL: We played outside of Detroit and the place was really weird. The vibe was really weird, but the show wasn’t weird.
LF: Like if we go play Pueblo, like the Fallout Shelter, sometimes it gets a little weird in there. It’s like the basement of a house and those kids go fucking ape shit, man. It’s great but it gets a little weird because you have to watch out for yourself. But it’s a good time. That’s as weird as it gets – really high-energy stuff. But that last Detroit show was really weird. The whole staff was super coked out.
AL: That’s what I was saying. The place was fucking weird, but when we played it wasn’t weird.
LF: There were so many fights before we played.
AL: There was a fight when we were doing a dummy check. There were like four people in the bar and three out of four of them got into a fight. Dude walked up to and threw a drink into a chick’s face.
LF: And one of the door guys had a gun and he was showing everybody his gun. And they were all just gacked out of their fucking heads. It was pretty weird.
AL: and then we had to play this house show in LA and we had to load all of our gear up flight and a half of stairs to get into the this apartment and play in an alcove. It was like this weird fucking hallway. I was sitting around all day and I wasn’t doing anything. There was a liquor store across the street and I made the mistake of getting drunk, which is a lesson that I learned that I can’t do with this band. I can’t drink anything before I play. I have to be really careful, and I wasn’t that night. I was shitfaced and I’m up in this sweltering second floor apartment. And then we get done and people weren’t even getting out of my way when I was trying to get my shit out. And then they had a dance party in the yard while we’re trying to pull out. The DJ sucked and everyone was yelling at the DJ. Nobody liked anything there.