Ten Foot Pole

Ten Foot Pole’s frontman Dennis Jagard took a few minutes on Valentine’s Day to answer questions about music, hobbies, and brand new band members (Leigh the bassist and Kris the drummer). Here’s what he had to say: 

*Where did you find the new guys, what should we know about them?

We put out the word and did auditions for about 3 months, meeting people and playing with them. Leigh the bass player is from Orange County and Kris Kwiatkowski was living in Philadelphia. They’ve both been in numerous other bands, but no one tremendously famous. Most importantly they are nice people, yet kick serious ass.

*What are some of the bands that influence the different guys in the group? Any weird bands?

My favorite band is Radiohead. I don’t know who really influences us, although Hi Standard once hypnotized us as we were drinking snake juice in Tokyo. Sometimes when I smell strawberries I start clucking like a hen.

 *Bought any good albums lately?

My wife bought a Dixie Chicks album that has a cool song on it that goes something like ?Earl Had to Die.?

 *I read a Bad Religion interview where they talked about how recently they went back to recording each song in the studio as a group, instead of part by part. Which do you prefer, and how did you guys record Insider?

We’ve never recorded the songs as a group. The concept is that it’s supposed to have more energy because of the feel of each member pushing or pulling on the time. I suppose that’s a great thing at live shows, but when you only put out 1 CD every couple of years you really want it to be the best possible presentation, which we feel is easiest to do if you focus on one instrument at a time. For example, there is no doubt that my guitar playing is better if I’m not singing at the same time (I guess for Bad Religion that’s not an issue).

 *Obviously, TFP isn’t strictly a political band, and you shouldn’t be, but what are the band’s political beliefs, if any?

The band members rarely talk about common ground in our political perceptions. I guess it’s safe to say that we want to enjoy life and be nice to people. But obviously I have snuck in a lot of my own ethical, philosophical and political meanderings in the lyrics. Luckily the band members have always kind of given me space to explore these issues without getting involved, because otherwise we might end up in paralyzing debates.

 *What’s it like working for Epitaph Records? Do they do a good job of promoting your records and making you feel at home?

They have their strengths and weaknesses. It wasn’t hard to be nicer than Mystic Records, who released an unfinished recording we did with their own artwork and title without our consent. I’m not really into the old school type punk attitude and the FTW artwork. But they have had their nice moments as well.

*What’s Another Half Apology about?

About someone who never does their share of work, but acts as if they do. I’m sure you know someone who never seems to do what they say they will, but if you call them on it they act insulted and do even less (cuz now they feel justified).

*If you could tour with any band, past or present, that you haven’t had a chance to, who would it be?

Radiohead or Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters).

 *Where are some of the best places you guys have had shows? Where are the craziest people? The best-looking women?

The best looking woman was in Boise Idaho, and I happened to marry her (not for her looks of course). Actually it’s Valentines day and I need to get out there and buy some kind of gift. We’ve had a lot of crazy crowds, I don’t want to leave anyone out but here are some cities that seemed to be kickin ass on our last tour London, Madrid, Boise, Montreal, Ottowa, Barcelona, Belgium in general, Australia in general too. It’s hard to remember, since we have played literally hundreds of shows in the last few years.

 *What kind of guitars and amps do you guys like to use?

I use an ESP Navigator with a Peavey Classic 50 amp with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. Steve uses and ESP or a Gibson Les Paul with a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectumfire amp and 25 watt Celestion greenback speakers.

*What do you guys do in your spare time? Do ya skate, go online, etc.?

Steve fondles his mopar, bets on snail races, plays with his dog Dagger, and shines his Triumph. I do judo, snowboarding, street motorcycle riding, and answering mail. I’m not sure what Leigh and Kris do yet, I hope they don’t like fishing cuz Tony, Glen and Steve used to always want to go fishing (hobbies are nice, but getting up at 5 AM to sit by a river is not my idea of a good time).

 *Do you write mostly alone, or with Steve and others?

In the past for about 75% of the songs I wrote the basic guitar parts and the lyrics and melody, then got together with the band and embellished. Steve sometimes comes in with the guitar parts and I write lyrics and melodies to go with them. Sometimes at the last minute I change the melodies/lyrics. I think there is a critical mass when you have played a song around 100 times that you suddenly hear a different melody or lyric. 

*How long ago did you guys form TFP, and where are you all from?

TFP actually evolved from Scared Straight which started around 1981. Steve and I are the original guitars players, other than that we have had lots of different drummers and bassists, and a few vocalists over the years.

 *Any advice for young bands starting out?

Write good songs. Choose talented, fair, hardworking, logical, musical partners.

(Thanks to Dennis for taking the time to do this! You rock.)

Check out TFP’s website, where tour dates, info and merchandise can be found : http://tenfootpole.com

Interview by :
Luke Knox – luke@acornweb.com