Would you mind introducing yourselves and telling us what instruments you play?
Duane: Sure. We are 22nd Century, a 3 piece rock band from Vancouver, Canada strongly infuenced by Foo Fighters, Green Day and Nirvana.
I am Duane Chaos, I play bass.
Tim: Tim Plommer, Guitars & vocals. Duane and I switch up guitar and bass for a couple of songs in our sets. Zippy Pinhead certainly needs no introduction ondrums but for anyone who doesn’t know him, Zippy drummed for many famous bands such as the Mutants, The Dils, DOA and Art Bergman etc.
Zippy: You have just experienced Zippy Pinhead.
Duane: quick, RUN! <laughs>
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Tim: Imagine Foo Fighters/Green Day with a lot of Ramones influence. Most of our music mixes rock with some tragically comedic stories like
Apartment 509, about a superhero who sits and drinks and smokes all day.
But he’s still a superhero?
Tim: exactly. Like Nirvana, we could delve into the normal grunge/emo/punk themes in our songs but we tend to look for the white space where other artists haven’t gone yet.
Duane: I don’t think people can really put a label on us and our style is just a straight up, honest rock play. No gimmicks or tricks. What you see is what you get. People just have to listen and decide for themselves what it means. We’re still trying to figure that out ourselves.
OK, So how long has the current band line up been together?
Duane: The current line up is less than one year. Our original drummer Glen got carpal tunnel syndrome really bad and had to stop drumming. Glen a friend so it kind of sucked.
Zippy: But I thanked him for the gig.
How did you meet each other?
Tim: Who are these guys? <laughs>
Duane: We have actually known each other for a long time. Zippy and I recently reconnected at a bus stop by total fluke. Tim and I have been friends for over a decade. Tim, Glen and I have formed the band and Zippy took a listen and stepped up.
Zippy: As he says, when I got the CD I pretty much was hooked. I ran the CD by a few friends and got some really good feedback so I was thinking “Pinhead! You have to get into this band”. I left “The Fiends” to join the band.
How did you come up with your name for the band?
Tim: The name 22nd century is actually a line in the song “Life in Space” off our debut EP. It was a song about some 22nd century, 2 bit thug who got sentenced to drive a spaceship for his crimes.
Duane: We also want to get to the top of the iTunes playlist. By default, non letters used to come above A-Z so we tried to trick the system. It backfired though. <laughs> It now sorts band names in reverse so we are at the bottom of everyone’s playlist. D’oh!!!
Tim: At the end of the day, we’re basically lazy and just agreed with the idea. By the time we started to think about it seriously, we had too much traction with the name so it stays. We may not get famous this century but in the last few years of the 2000’s some people might look at our shit. <laughs>
Tim: We only have one CD to date and are in the studio working on our second CD as we do this interview. It should be released in Spring 2010. Before this I have released 5 CD’s; Area 51 in 1995, I played bass and did background vocals on the John Norman Nelson Trio self titled CD in 1996, two CD’s with Anthill and a self titled CD “Little Green Planet” in 2006.
Zippy: My list is long. It includes 2 CD’s with Andy (referring to DOA co-founder Randy Rampage by his nickname Andy), Did some tracks on No Alternative’s “Johnny got his gun”, the Dils, War and Peace (DOA) and some other shit I can’t remember righty now.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Duane: Mostly heavy metal and punk but I was into classical and blues too. My favorite bands were Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Angel City, the Ramones and Sex Pistols. Oh – and I hate Tia Tequila! <laughs>
Zippy: same here except more rock. I also hate Tia.
Tim: just rock for me. Who’s Tia?
Duane: Exactly - Fuck Tia! She treats people like scum. We actually “unfriended” her on myspace after accidentally seeing her on TV once. What a waste of fucking space. Can someone tear her down and erect a human being instead?
Ah – OK. Let;s shift topics. What is your current equipment?
Duane: Zippy uses a Tama drums set. I recently switched to the Ashdown BM 500 RC EVO III Head and the ABM 8 X 10 Cabinet which has a killer sound. Tim drives a Marshall JCM 900 with 4 X 10 cab and a Fender Twin Reverb Amp in combo with minimal effects. Main axes for me are Fender Pre basses and Tim uses a Gibson SG.
Tim: In the studio I recently used an Orange head as well as my acoustic on the last CD.
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Tim: Strangely enough, yes and no. Zippy’s drums sound awesome so he stuck with that. I used an Orange head as well as the Fender and the
Marshall. Duane used a Musicman Bass head and direct input in the studio as well as two different basses. I used my Gibson SG in the studio and did overdubs with a Les Paul. Duane also uses a Hamer Flying V in the studio to record guitar lead.
Duane: I also tend to play the bass with picks in the studio but play with fingers live.
Zippy: I just hit things. <laughs>
Which recording/audio software do you use?
Tim: Our producer John Webster has a virtual plethora of toys. We recorded at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver and at one point we counted 29 mics just on the drums alone. John is a great producer (has credits with Aerosmith, The Cult, Cher etc) so you’d really have to ask him.
Duane: I think he uses Digital Performer but like Tim says, he has a big toolbox of toys. John’s a great producer.
Zippy: agree. We’re really lucky to be able to work with an A list producer.
Would you sign with a major record company?
Tim: We’d be open but it really depends on the label and dealer. I’d prefer to see us get a distribution deal in various countries.
Duane: It really depends. We recently signed with RNR out of Arizona on a nonexclusive deal. Distribution deals like that are good but I am not sure if it is even reality anyone gets signed any more like ten years back.
Zippy: Show me the money!
Do you any favourite tracks from your album?
Duane: I still like the vintage hard rock and raw sound of Nightmare but most people tell us they like Let Me Be.
Tim: Agree with Let Me Be. That song received an honorable mention from Billboard as well as has over 2 million downloads from Adobe TV.
Zippy: I like our newer stuff.
Tim: Concur – the next CD is going to kick the first one into the last decade.
Who are the main song writers for the band?
Tim: Duane and I do most of the lyrics but all of us contribute to the process.
Do you have a method for writing songs? (lyrics first, music first, etc)
Duane: It usually starts off with Tim or I coming in with a riff on guitar and we just jam it out. The structure gets worked out with Zippy drumming then we pretty much start to add some working lyrics. In some cases, these become the real lyrics – case in point, Nightmare of 6th Avenue from our first CD. The lyrics were written in less than 10 minutes.
Zippy: sometimes the 4th member of our band influences our writing.
Zippy: Mr Jack Daniels! <laughs>
Duane: What about uncle Herb? <laughs>
Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Tim: sometimes. On the first CD Let Me Be and Apartment 509 are based on my experiences. Life in Space is obviously pure fantasy/dark humor as none of us have ever been in outer space. Sawgrass Hill is a bit of an anomaly but the upcoming CD will have songs on it like California which is based on a recent road trip to LA where we headlined to 4000 people.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Duane: Not really. We have way too many ideas to bring them all forward as songs. What is becoming a trend is to write songs as a 3 piece vs. a 4 piece. On our first CD, we wrote a lot of stuff assuming we would have another guitarist to play live. After a brief stint with a 4th member, we downsized the group to 3. On the next CD we;ll still place songs that are written with 4 parts but will work more with dynamics of performing as a 3 piece. Tim's also stepped up to really write some more lead guitar parts. He;s sort of good at it. John (producer John Webster) said one of the best problems we could have is playing live in front of several thousand people and get complaints that we didn;t sounds as good as the CD they paid money for. Since no one pays for music any more, we don;t have to be honest in the studio. If people pay for music, then they have the right to bitch. <laughs>
What do you think of the music industry?
Zippy: what music industry?
Duane: <laughs> It’s like a cement mixer being flushed backwards into a clogged toilet bowel while drunken lemurs cheer from the seat.
Zippy: Oh, I hate it when that happens!
Tim It;s just a catastrophic train wreck that really needs a new model for artist revenue. There’s tons of good artists out these days but none of them are making much money. You then get new middlemen like Sonicbids.com that come in an take more money away from the artist. Can you imagine paying money in your day job just to find out if you can work or not?
This is pitiful and a stain to the arts. Something has to change.
On that topic, do you use any websites like ‘Reverbnation’ or ‘Soundclick’?
Tim: yes. We used musicsubmit.com and jango. Both worked fairly well. On jango alone we’re getting well over 5000 paid plays per month and collecting fans. We also use MySpace and Reverbnation but haven’t really been promoting via the latter two. There’s a balancing act where your web presence gets too diluted and its hard to find the right mix.
Duane: Agree. We recently consolidated all our web presence to 22ndcenturyofficial.com and then point to radio stations and press like Somojo, IndieZine etc.
Zippy: I think it’s fair to say that we really just
concentrate on the music and let what comes come. The music speaks for itself and the rest is just happening.
Duane: yep. pretty much focus on the playing.
Do you think such sites are good for independent and unsigned artists?
Duane: If they're not acting like leaches or taking money from the artists, then yes. The ones that want artists to pay money to be heard of play suck. Why the fuck should we pay so that others can hear our music? This is our work. It cost a lot of money to make a CD and everyone wants the artists to pay more money to list it on CD Baby, iTunes etc.
Zippy: exactly. I don't pay money to play. If I had to I’d quit. Fuck it!!
Tim: This is an interesting point. Society as a whole has to understand that the arts need to be supported and not raped for money. Artists are typically not rich so asking them to pay for the right to have people hear their music is just wrong. At the end of the day, if society doesn’t support the art, we collectively lose a piece of humanity. Everyone loses.
So what's next for 22nd Century?
Tim: Well, we;re in the studio working on the second CD and also gearing up to play the east coast in the spring. We also plan to make a couple of videos and continue to play as often as possible.
Duane: I’m hoping to continue to write better music.
It was a pleasure to meet you.
Best of luck in 2010 and keep it cranked!