-- Hey Dudes! What's up?
-- Let's start with a historical question. Where did you meet the
other guys, and when and how did you decide that you should start a band
Sam: Here's Feathergun History 101 in a nutshell.
Enter 1998, Champaign IL. I was playing drums and we were trying out bassists
for our band "Powerline". After a few painful try-outs, Jesse
grooved into our lives with his funky bass and a smile. Eventually Jesse
and I began to write songs of our own and moved on to play together in
our Chicago based project "Loosends". 2000, Los Angeles CA.
Jesse joined Teenage Girls and Good Lawyers (now Teksture), which Garrett
was playing drums in. I went to almost all of their shows and we awed
by G's rock power and stellar backing vocals. After having time to write
more tunes and get better versed on the guitar, I eventually wooed Garrett
into doing some studio sessions which became the first Feathergun demos.
It felt right, so we decided to go with it and the trio known as Feathergun
-- You usually describe your genre as "Cubicle Rock" and also
defined this genre before. Was this the type of music you headed for right
Sam: No sir. I don't think it really came about until we all got used
to playing together and would spend our time outside of practice making
fun of our lives during the day as cubicle heathens. Songs like "Freeway"
came about and we decided to take the role as spokespersons for life outside
of the cubicle...rock!
G: Yes.....Sam started poking fun at office life and of course Jesse
and I could relate. We basically recited the entire Office Space movie
line for line.....all the time in every practice...we were and still
are bitter by having to sit in the box.... I personally think freeway
wraps it all up right there. One of Sam's masterpieces.
-- Do you cherish a slim hope that you can ever leave your cubicle behind
you and focus on a fulltime musical career?
(so would you leave your desk forever if you could break through with
Sam: No doubt that any of us would leave our cubes for a chance to
play music full time. That's really the goal, to create and play
music all of the time. At the end of the work day, I was glad that I
mastered the art of creating master Excel spreadsheets...but in the
grand scheme of things, it was pretty useless. Of my list of things
to learn and improve upon in my life, Excel didn't scratch the top
200. Actually, I recently left the cube to spend more time with the
music world. But as the money slowly disappears, I hear the cubicle
snickering over my shoulder: "Yoooouuuull beeeee baaaaaaaack,
Jesse: I think if we do get to tour I'd like to have my own cubicle
on the bus. It would make me feel more at "home". I love my
have a picture of my cubicle for my wallpaper on my computer in my
G: We all have so much other crap going on in life now.....the job
almost feels like it's in the way. I think about it all time...who as
a musician doesn't....How glorious would be the feeling to walk out of
the building with the middle index raised high and say...I'm leaving
to be a rockstar.......
-- Do all of you have a cubicle job?
Sam: Jesse's a computer programmer in El Segundo, based in a lovely
cubicle in a frigid environment (for them crazy servers). Garret's working
at Office depot HQ, a proud cubicle jockey in his khakis and button down.
I've worked as tech support, project management and most recently as manager
at an ISP. Office? Nope. Cubicle? Yep! From a
mini to a double, a short to a tall, thin to a wide, I've seen 'em all.
G: Cubical Jockey Sam?
Sam: I'm a cubicle jockey strap. Pass me my coffee cup...
-- Does being a Cubicle Rocker also mean part of your fan base
consists out of colleagues and in special cases even your boss?
Sam: You got it. We're all cubicle rockers in one way or another,
in need of a release at the end of the day. Not to get all artsy fartsy,
but aren't we all surrounded by symbolic cubicles in this life? What's
--Do you promote your band at work?
Sam: We're all very modest about our rock lives outside of work, but
I think those who know us at work are aware of Feathergun and can sense
that we are quite different from the rest of the folks in the office.
One day I plan on returning back to all the jobs I've left and soliciting
some feathergun merch. "Hey Bob, want a cd?"
Jesse: I carry a boom box around and go into people's cubicles/offices
and force them to listen to the CD. Then I make them get up and dance
with me. No one from my job ever shows up to our gigs though. Still pondering.
G: hahaha yeah....we're the "different one's" at the office....
you get the classic " hey rockstar...." everytime.
-- You're living Cubicle Hell, Musical Heaven... is there any time
left for, you know, relationships of some kind?
Jesse: It's all about time management, utilization, and progress reports.
Our schedules are tightly knit - my calendar is booked until the middle
of July, 2004. How did you get this interview escalated, by the way?
Sam: Yea, that was a nice maneuver Eddy, upper management material
for sure. Well, aside for the band, I am currently in love with the girl
of my dreams. If not for her, I don't know if I would have had the
confidence to get this thing off the ground. Life is really about
relationships and I've learned a great deal from the people I am
surrounded with. I've made many friends through Feathergun and see it
as a great medium to meet all kinds of wonderful people.
G: I just got out of one.
Sam: He's a freebird!
Jesse: Play some Skynard!
-- What do you think is the best invention since sliced bread?
Sam: Right now I'm really into the hook on my bathroom door that holds
my robe up. Also digging BBQ'd tritip, MP3's, AOL IM and the Beatles.
Jesse: Garrett gave me this pen from Office Depot and it has an ink
pen, a pencil, and a stylus for your PDA. It's amazing. It even has an
eraser and a grip for your fingers. I keep it in my front pocket at all
times. I also just nabbed this mini water cooler from someone else's cubicle.
8 cups of water a day - the daily minimum.
G: The pentel .07 mm Energel pen in Black. Ask Sam's girlfriend
about it. She's swears by it so I hook her up.
Sam: Oh, I almost forgot. I love this pen Garrett got me...i believe
it's the Energel G speaks of so fondly. But Jaime keeps trying to steal
them all. Luckily I got one for myself and no, you can't borrow it.
G: I'll get you more, bro.
Sam: Cool, let's just not tell Jaime this time. Oh wait, she'll probably
read this...damn. Guess I'll have to share...
-- What do you have in your wallet right now?
Sam: What's a wallet? I'm a money clip kind of guy. But I should probably
just call it a clip. I got a drivers license, the beloved
atm/credit card, my old college student ID (used for movie discounts),
business cards and 3 dollars.
Jesse: About 1000 business cards, a check from my old roommate for
bills (dated 3/18/03 - I kid you not), a bunch of receipts, and no
G: Air and lint.
-- Sam, your brother is in another local band called Dolari. Are
Dolari and Feathergun very different from one another?
Sam: Actually Dolari is no more. I hear Alan and Prescott are working
on a full album masterpiece that could bring peace to the world. The
project is called VSparks and needless to say, we are all in eager
anticipation of the delights they seem to be busy cooking up.
Although me and those boys are all very in tune with similar music and
bands, it's much different from Feathergun. They're always surprising
me with their superb songwriting abilities so I anxiously await the
new stuff. If you want something in the meantime, try to search out
some Jukebox Gigolos songs. It's their early soul influenced pop
project that will Shirley kick your ass! I'll stop calling you
G: yeah...Alan's bad ass on keys. "hey AL! nice keys on the record!"
Sam: Bless his magical fingers!
-- Is there a reason that you don't really work together with your
Sam: It's been my lifetime dream to play with them. Alan played keys
in Loosends which ruled and Prescott and Angelo played/sang on the
first demo of Major Mood (a 4-track we did in Chicago). I remember
they let me play bass one day for an old school pop/grunge outfit
called HOFNER (Hard Ons For No Explained Reason)...that reminded me
that I sucked and needed to practice more, but nonetheless was enough
for me to dream of a future together. Perhaps one day it is our
destiny, we shall see...
-- So now let's talk about your 2003 LP "Music To Wash To".
How on Earth did you come up with this title?
Sam: It's a dirty dirty world...much of it needs to be washed away.
In this busy life, music seems to only exhist as a background soundtrack
for many people. I figured if I clearly dictated when people should listen
to it, it would become a part of their lives. What better time than to
jam with us then while in your shower where you're more than likely to
sing along...and perhaps even come up with some harmonies! That, and it
sounded much better than "Songs To Tidy Up Your Modest Yet Filthy
-- Music To Wash To consists of 10 songs and a hidden track called "Never
Meant To Be". Which of these do you like best, and why is that?
Sam: That's a good one. I have a hard time making 4 song samplers
promo since I really like every song. Not only that, but everyone seems
to have different favorite tunes on the record. Some I've been playing
longer than others so we get a bit burnt out on those, but I wrote the
songs to be all hits and worthy of your love. All killer no filler, a
slogan I choose to live by when it comes to making records. Hopefully
that comes thru when listening to the cd.
G: I'd say either freeway or glaucoma would be my faves.
-- Is there any song you least like?
Sam: Tub Thumpin' by Chumbawumba. Oh, did you mean by Feathergun?
Well, there are some days when I listen to the Beatles, Queen, Jellyfish
or Cheap Trick and I look at my songs and go "Yuck". But that
is the kind of person I am, I surround myself with great music
and the worlds greatest songwriters hoping that I can one day consider
my creations to stand along side them. As far as live, we've never
been able to get the songs "Rise Above" or "Scarlet"
into the set for
one reason or another. Great tunes, just never felt like A material
when we played it in practice...but would make for an interesting
addition into a set somewhere down the line. Buy me a shot, then
G: I don't think there are any songs on there I don't like. I think
there are parts that since we have been playing together longer now I
wish we could have executed better on tape.....but that always
happens........"scarlet" just has never happened......why?...I
know....some songs tend to just work and other 's don't. I think we
feel that "lover" sometimes does and doesn't work.
-- The song "Feathergun" was written because of you father's
passing. Exactly what does this song mean to you, for example when you
play it live?
Sam: I've never had to deal with anything quite like this before.
Having music is like medication for the pain. I came up with the
image of his soul shooting up to the heavens with "your wings rise
into a feathergun", thus dedicating my creative vehicle of Feathergun
to my father's beloved memory. Playing the song live is always
emotional, even in practice.
My father's passing came right around the time that I was finishing
this record. I remember I mailed him a copy of the first four songs
we released. He called me one day singing "Falling on the floor,
falling on the floooooor!"...a butchered version of No Memory, but
could tell he really dug the cd. He told me they were million dollar
songs...to hear my dad, the worlds biggest critic, say that - well, it
blew my mind! That really gave new meaning to what I was doing with
Feathergun and made me become more ambitious with it.
G: That song was also one of the first that we as a true 3 piece
Sam: I remember hearing Jesse play around on bass and we started groovin
on the beginning, we were downtown in this closet of a rehearsal space,
shared with 2 other bands. Good memories...
-- Does every song from the album have its own story?
(write your own short review here or something, have fun!)
Sam: Yes. I will save most of the stories behind the songs for the
VH1 storytellers I plan on shooting in 2038. But for now, here's a
quick short description of each song on the record:
Track 1: Disillusion - A classic rocker that evokes tones of Judas
Priest and Skycycle with a bridge that will knock you on your ass.
Track 2: Major Mood - Funky on the verse, power poppin on the chorus.
A powerful number in the vein of Lenny Kravitz with organ solos,
female backing vox and an outro straight out of the Black Sabbath
Track 3: Lover - An acoustic/piano based pop song that builds into
mellotron orchestra of Beatlesy proportions. I love to love your love
Track 4: Saw Your Thong - This is California inspired fun in the sun
on the run, punk surf pop rock at it's finest with tongue in cheek
lyrical content that we can all relate to.
Track 5: Living Without - Showcasing the band's more serious side,
this number is an emotional rock ballad of sorts that blasts into one
of the catchiest chorus' on the record. If you've ever experienced
love that's too far out of reach, this is for you.
Track 6: No Memory - A quirky upbeat melodic rock number that tells
of pop music and alcoholism. Ba pa pa...
Track 7: Freeway - Cubicle rock anthem, harmony laden for your
commuting needs. Poppy as cubicle hell with tones of Jellyfish, the
Beatles and Elvis Costello. A favorite to play in front of people.
Track 8: Glaucoma - A vintage rawker that plays like a bulldozer
taking on a skyscraper, this story of overpopulation is told from a
dog's point of view.
Track 9: Feathergun - An emo/rock tune that is near and dear to the
band. As one of the first truly collaborative pieces, Feathergun
showcases their dynamics with many parts that seamlessly blend
Track 10: Butterball Baby - A sugar coated pop song about a man's
love of astronomic proportions.or portions, depending how you look at
it. Reminiscent of the Platters/Penguins, an obvious nod to the music
of the 50s. File under humor.
Track 11: Never Meant to be (secret track) - One of the earliest
Feathergun recordings showcasing the innocence of a young Sam Lewis
hammering away sweet pop on his acoustic guitar. Fans of Elvis
Costello, Posies and the Beatles - look out! It's a happy song about
going your separate ways.
G: the only story that I contributed was the infamous thong story.
It became "saw your thong". I went to go get copies of keys
for the practice room a while ago and there was this girl who had the
tight pant thing happening. She was giving me a bit of the eye and I was
pickin up on it. She took the key to the machine about 5 feet away from
the counter and started working. In the process she dropped the key (which
was totally obvious that she had done it on purpose) and when she proceeded
to literally bend over in my view to pick it up, her white thong was there
shining for me to see. Needless to say I was saying to myself.."
ohhh noooooo".......she made the copies, gave them to me, smiled
and I left in a daze. That's the "Saw your thong" story. I think
in this day in age all women who wear thongs like to do that to men.
Sam: We went on a beer run and Garrett was all excited about his trip
to the locksmith to get copies made for our new studio screen door.
Never had I seen someone so excited after being at the locksmith. His
story was so true, can't count the amount of times thongs have creeped
their way into my vision!
-- What makes Feathergun so special? In other words, what does
Feathergun contribute to the enormous world of L.A. rock music?
Jesse: We release the rock inside of everyone!
Sam: We're a fun band. I think we're fun because we are having fun
doing what we love. We don't want to scare people, we want to entertain,
we want to make everyone feel comfortable to sing along and
dance around carefree. I know when I got to a show, that's when I have
the most fun. Many bands are far too serious for their own good and end
up alienating the ones they should be entertaining.
G: I think the difference is in the songs. When you come and see our
shows you have a good time but the best thing about it is when people
sing to your songs. We provide a memorable good time. It's what people
want. I personally go into it hoping that people leave sweaty, drunk
and totally rocked, .... That's a big part of playing live. I love that.
-- Can you reveal a little about the songs that have been written
Sam: The new tunes are an ice cream sundae with hot caramel dripping
off your speakers! I can't wait to get back into the studio to work the
next record, lots of great songs on the horizon, including 5 that are
written already. Come see a show, we're playing them sporadically...I
call it the beta-test! Smile and clap if you like what you hear.
G: the new stuff is coming out great. I think the next record is going
to be better due to the fact that when the first one was done, we had
only been playing together for a little while. Now that we have done
the live thing and played longer together, we as a unit have gotten
tighter. Tight is good.
-- Thank you kindly for this interview!
Sam: Eddy, thanks for making this happen and being a part of the
Jesse: Thanks Eddy!
G: I'll send you a pen, man!
-- Is "Music To Wash To" the first album released for each one
you? (so did either of you release a CD or demo prior to this, or have
there already been demos of Feathergun? - this question also gives you
the opportunity to comment on what you felt as the album was released)
Sam: Too much to list. I will work on a bio/discography for the
website that will list all this info. But damn, Garrett was in over
G: I believe it's actually 22. Yes I'm a whore. Come and get a piece
Sam: Sorry folks, G's too busy right now. Please leave a message
after the beep.
G: This is very true.