Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Zach Stokes

Zack Stokes interview

Hello Zack welcome to Spazz magazine

So first off,A huge congrats on your song being played on KEXP!(local radio station in Seattle)

Which song was it,and what can you tell readers about it?

A. That song is called "TPFY". It's a song I wrote which was inspired by a combination of the future mayor of Bridge City and Fark. com.

How long have you been writing?

A. I've been writing songs since I was 13 or so... for about 15 years.

Who are you huge influences and why?

Wow... so many to choose from! Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Jesus Lizard,
MIA, Killing Joke, Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, Queen, Dave Grohl,
Botch, Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Soundgarden, Bowie, ZZ Top, Ken
Andrews and oh so many more... When it comes down to brass tax... I'm a
huge Sonic Youth fan... they've always been so far ahead of the
curve... I love Elliott Smith, the Sixth Beatle... Billy Preston was
the Fifth... anyways, Elliott's songwriting is pretty much rivaled by
no other in my book. I also really love Built to Spill... the guitar
work is so tasty! I've had the pleasure of meeting Doug Martsch and got
to briefly chat with Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and
all three were such nice guys! It's such a humbling moment to meet an
influential person in your life... and when they show you that they're
just people too, it shows you that successful people aren't always
douchebags or too cool for the common people. Hooray!

So whats up with performing in spacesuits?

Ha! Glad you noticed the wardrobe! I've got my good friend Matthew
O'Brien to thank for all the great jumpsuits and other such attire. He
picked out my red IndyCar jumpsuit and gold suit! I love dressing
differently for shows... just as there's something to be said for
playing in many styles there is to be said for dressing in many styles.
Sometimes it's a space suit or my favorite t-shirt and or anything in

Where do you shop for such things?

A. I go to Matthew's Ebay store "Ave Vintage".

Tell me a bit about your musical history

Do you have a full length available or an EP?

A. Right now I've got the Faux Foe EP available. Anyone who wants a copy should get in touch with me vis a vis Myspace (myspace. com/faux11foe)
and I'll glady make a copy of it. For the best price ever! Free! I'm
also planning on getting back in the studio to record more in early
spring for a local comp and I'll hopefully be getting to record new
songs for another EP.

How would you describe your "sound"

I'm all over the place. My core is straight up rock, but I like to dig
in to punk, blues, metal, acoustic, psych, noise... I like to keep my
stylings expanding. I get new ideas all the time.

Any weird fan stories?

I'm not sure I would consider this person a fan... maybe she became a
fan after the show... anyhow, she told me that I had a Robin Zander
(Cheap Trick) 'thing' going on... then she proceeded to tell me that
she'd carved his initials on her ankle! Interesting, eh?

Do you have any rituals you do before a show?

A. I don't have any specific rituals right now. Sometimes I do vocal exercises.

SO are you a solo artist or a full band?

I am solo. I write, track and play all the instruments on the
recordings but I have friends back me up when they can... They're the
Scholarly Gentlemen. Right now, mi amigo Jared Groom plays guitar with
me when I perform live and he's a great cohort! He's been through three
incarnations of the Scholarly Gentlemen with me. I also rely on loop
pedals and samples for drums and I pre-record the bass. In my
experience, the loop pedals never drink too much or talk back! It's
really hard finding reliable band members. It's also hard finding band
members who are 'actually' ok with playing parts that have been written
for them to play vs. making up their own parts. C'est la vie... I'll
find the right group eventually, because, honestly I'd rather play with
a live band.

What are a few lines from a song your really proud of? share them!

"and though such essence ran amuck, our grace will idle in the sun,
before it falls away..." From a song I wrote called "Cuatros Caballos".

What are your goals musically for 2009?

My musical goals for 2009 hmmm... I did well last year setting
realistic goals. I've already reached one by getting played on KEXP!
I'm hoping to keep radio play a consistent thing in 09... once I've had
it I'm hoping it will stick. Honestly, I really just want to get out
there and play one great show every month of the year... or as many
great shows get thrown my way! I also am striving to write and record
something better than I've already done and get it pressed and packaged
neatly... the whole nine yards. Anything else on top of those goals is
just icing on the cake!

Dream venue to play and person to play with?

I would love to play Coachella and have an extended jam with Sonic
Youth... just go fucking crazy on a song like "Against Fascism". That
would be so rich!

In your words what is the hardest part of this business?

I'd say the hardest part is finding great band mates. Whether or not
I'm doing all the writing and recording... there's a special kinship
that evolves from having a good and fun relationship with the people
you play music with.

So the spacesuits(I must go back to that subject) Are they going to be a regular thing with your shows?

A. The spacesuits will continually make appearances as well as the suits... I want to keep finding more fun costumes for sure!

Do you think you make a fun front man?

I think I do make a fun front man! I crack jokes, I like talking to the
crowd... I bang my head and freak out... I like being up on stage in
general... It's a fun way to connect with people.

Who are your "front man" influences?

A. I've always liked Bowie, Robert Plant, Freddy Mercury, Thurston Moore.... yet again... so many to choose from!

What are some musical genres you wish would go away right now?

I wish most of what is mainstream to go away. Liberate the artists.
Bring 'real' rock and roll and 'real' music to the forefront of our
culture. But, then again... how would we recognize the good without the

Ever been compared to anyone?

A. Robin Zander,
by the initials lady. I'm sure there have been other comparisons but
right now all I can remember is the Zander one!

You are on the soapbox,anything you wish to say to Glam Trash readers?

A. Live your life the way you want to, be kind to others... and if you get the chance... listen to Bill Hicks!

Thanks SO much for your time Zack

Thank you Kim :)

Interview by Kim Acrylic 2009

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