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Interview with Allen Epley
Author: Fat Bastard Andy (Alarm)
"Shiner, oh are you booking them or something?"
"I just did an interview with them."
"Dude, I don?t really like a lot of indie rock stuff, but that band is seriously awesome."
-Conversation between Tony Tornabene and Andy Williams
Using your best creative words, describe what Shiner is, the personality of the band.
Hmmm?what is Shiner. Diverse, uncatagorizable?is that a word?
Sure, it can be.
I don?t know, it?s hard to use single words for it. It?s a tough question. Come back to it and I?ll have more.
Ok. From what I understand you guys seemed to hit and people were into you fairly quickly. You hooked up with Desoto and things like that. Have you ever received criticism for not doing time struggling anonymously, or do you think people have been supportive of you guys?
No, I think we have done enough time, even at the beginning. We did a little bit because we got a lot of the really good shows at the very beginning. But no we never got criticized much for not having done our time. So I think that?s just the way it is especially with newer bands. Sometimes a newer band can hit quicker at first and then settle in. But we didn?t eat a lot of shit for that.
That?s cool because I think a lot of times the indie rock universe looks to jump on bands that that they see as?
Oh yea, well I try to keep up with what the rules are this year in the indie rock scene. It?s surprising that a lot of it is still the same from when I first began when I was seventeen, eighteen, and it?s the same kind of stuff-you can?t sell out to a major label, and you have to do your time, and all this stuff. It?s really weird that those things persist throughout the years.
How associated do you feel with the indie rock scene now?
I feel like a bastard cousin. I feel like that with the rock world too. I?m a bastard cousin because we don?t fit in with that. You know what I mean? Because we?re not straight rock, and we?re not an emo/indie band. But there are lots of people in the indie world that know us, lots of people in the rock world that know us. And the people in the rock world think we?re part of the indie world, and the people in the indie world think we belong to the rock world. So, I think that?s been kind of a curse. I think it can ultimately be a good thing but I think also it?s difficult if you?re not easily categorizable, because everyone?s like "I thought they were a Don Cab kind of band." Or some people think we?re a Jawbox band. People think we?re a Hum band. People think were some June of ?44?I don?t know, and some people think we?re like Creed or some shit. You never know. Who fucking knows? Everyone?s perspective is completely different. I don?t know what we are. I just continue to go on, and if everybody likes it?
Well I think a lot of bands strive to not be categorized. So, do you think overall it?s a thing to shoot for, or like you said before it kind of hinders you, or?
Well, I don?t know if a lot of bands strive for that. They may think they?re striving for it, but ultimately it ends up sounding like that new record they?re listening to, whether it?s At the Drive-In, or The Get Up Kids or whatever, because you hear a lot of bands like that these days. And it is fresh. I think it?s a difficult thing to be in between?like if you say you?re a ska band, and it?s time for ska bands to be big, you?re gonna make your money. I think it can be difficult, but that?s just my experience, and I know Jawbox experienced the same thing?but they were much more entrenched in the indie scene than we were?it can really bite you in the ass it seems like. Atlantic had no idea what to do with those guys. You know, and it?s brilliant.
All right. Moving on, it?s been said Jason Gerken has the heaviest foot ever. Do you really believe it?s heavier than John Bonham?s?
(pause) It?although having never stood in front of Bonham?s kick drum at practice, I can only imagine that they shared the same?weight of foot. All I?m saying is that guy is?his kick drum?s so big, and his foot?I don?t know, there?s something about it. He can generate so much pressure with that foot, that it?ll create its own wind in the practice space?And plus, he?s not just a super heavy drummer. That was in jest of course. Also he just is really, really talented. He can play anything. It?s fucking phenomenal.
Yea, Zeppelin?s my favorite band so I thought I?d throw that in.
Ahh, well done.
What are your goals musically and non-musically?
Musically-my goals are to make myself happy and to exist on a music career and not have to work another job. I don?t want to have to go through the nonsense of playing radio shows with Local H and Dent and Everclear and I don?t want to have to go play arenas. I would like to sell 100,000-200,000 records a year and play theaters and have a great following and get good reviews and write ups in notable magazines. That?s personally what I would like. I?d like to exist. I don?t want to be rich by any means. I?d like to tour. I don?t want to tour my life away, although I love touring. But I?d like to put in five or six months a year touring and off the rest of the time?writing and being home with my wife or when I have a baby or whatever. So, I don?t want to have to be a slave to it, but I also just kind of have to have it. That?s my oxygen. Non musically-I would like to write for a publication at some point, maybe have a column or something like that. Because I have a really big mouth and a lot of opinions, not just about musical matters, but just about stuff around the city. I like Kansas City a lot, and I just have a lot of opinions about it. And I can write a little bit; I know how to turn a phrase. So I think that?s what I?d like to do.
Yea, what is with Kansas City? What?s with so many bands coming out of there? Do you have any opinions on that?
Well there?s always been speculation that something?s in the water. I don?t know why it is. I know Lawrence is good for that. I know cities with schools in them tend to have a lot more going on because you get an influx of college students every year, and people are brought to the city and then they set up roots or else they don?t, but regardless they bring their talent or whatever to town, which is why you get college towns that are successful, Like Lawrence, Kansas and Champagne, Illinois-you get bands that come out of there all the time because you get this new influx of kids every year, and you get a new influx of talent. But I think Kansas City is like that because we have the art institutes here and it?s a big city, but it is also small enough?I don?t know the reason of success though, because of the Get Up Kids and all that? Who the hell knows why, man. We?re all just bored. It?s a great city, though. It?s cool because it?s big and small. Big enough to have three major sports teams, but it?s really neighborhoody, and I like that.
Ok, who do you feel are your peers?
My peers?I feel like interestingly, we can play shows with very young bands and a lot older bands and feel like they?re our peers. But right now, I would say the guys in Burning Airlines are our peers. I don?t know?maybe people on the Flower roster, our booking agent Flower. You know Tim Edwards of Flower, basically all the stuff on there is like Tortoise, not that I think we?re their peers, but there?s lots of bands on there?Jets to Brazil, but I don?t know any band that?s doing things like what we?re doing right now, necessarily. There?s a lot of regionally known bands that I could equate us with as far as sound, but as far as level of success?it?s a weird state because we?re still going on but we?re not hugely successful. We?re not just selling out the isles everywhere.
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