by Amy Harris
Neil Young cohorts perform at second annual Bunbury Music Fest this Friday
Everest is an Indie Rock band unique in a cluttered
genre. The group has been able to work with many major players — most
notable is the band's relationship with Neil Young, whose recording
studio produced their first studio album. Young has had the band to open
for him many times over the last several years. Last year, Everest
released its third studio album, Ownerless, which came out on Dave Matthews' ATO label.
CityBeat spoke with bassist Elijah Thomson about
the group's unique vision and feel and also where he feels the band is
going in their evolution. Everest will be playing the Bunbury Music
Festival at Cincinnati's Sawyer Point/Yeatman's Cove on Friday alongside
fun., Walk the Moon, Devotchka, Tegan and Sara and many others. Everest
plays the Bud Light Stage at 5 p.m. Friday.
CityBeat: What have you guys been up to since I saw you last summer at Forecastle in Louisville?
Elijah Thomson: We took a little break. We were
touring with Neil Young at the end of the year, which was really fun. We
were a little beat down from a year of touring. We took probably about
six months off. We did a little tour in April with Minus the Bear, so we
sort of violated our own hiatus to go out with those guys, but that was
better. We just did a couple weeks' run from L.A. to Chicago, so we
went out there to do a couple dates.
CB: I know Neil Young personally picked you
guys to go on tour with him and open his shows. What was the highlight
of playing with him?
ET: It has been pretty sweet over the years getting
to tour with Neil and obviously a total honor to be able to play with
an artist of that caliber and a living legend, as far as I am concerned.
On a certain level, it is still a gig — you know, driving
and loading in and out and all that kind of stuff. I think for me
personally, watching a guy like Neil night in and night out, it sort of
proves that sort of mystical thing in music, what is compelling about
somebody that can sustain them for so long.
People are coming out in droves to see Neil and for me it
is a personal study on art and what it is that enamors people with art.
With Neil, I think it is primarily an honesty with his art. He will put
it out there. The first song on his new record is like 27 minutes long.
That’s the kind of bravery that comes from having nothing to prove and I
think for them, like us, we have to understand why that is important
and to find a formula that works, but also (be) true to ourselves and
true to our own desires musically. That is a process. It has not been
instantaneous, but I think we are sort of on the verge of realizing that
CB: Did Neil give you any advice?
ET: I think if there ever was, it was just (to)
absolutely do whatever you want and don’t make any apologies and don’t
play it safe. It was the kind of real world wisdom that is important. It
is not about playing some game. We should not be concerned where we
will be classified in a musical genre. It is more about making what you
feel and letting other people classify it.
CB: You guys toured pretty consistently the past few years. Do you have any crazy tour stories on the road?
ET: One of the main things we talked about from
last year, we seemed to be pretty slippery when it came to crossing
paths with law enforcement. We were slippery, we had no issues. I don’t
know how we did it. We had a couple close calls, but were able to talk
our way out of it every time.
CB: Are you working on any new music right now?
ET: Yeah, the biggest change in Everest is a slight
personnel change. Jason Soda, a founding member of the band, decided to
resign. I don’t know if I should say why, but ultimately he needed more
normalcies in his life.
His replacement — I hate to put it that way — his name is
Aaron Tasjan, an amazing guitar player who we met while we were on the
road with Alberta Cross. He was kind of filling in for guitar and when
it came up that J was going to resign, Joel and I were talking about it.
I think it was a sensitive thing — who were we going to
collaborate with and how were we going to take this opportunity to
improve the internal chemistry? We had a really great rapport with Aaron
and when we were on the road he watched our set every night. He would
open the shows doing solo stuff and we would jump on stage with him and
jam with him. His spirit has been really amazing since he has been
playing with us, bringing a freshness and newness that we have really
desired and I think interpersonally it has been good and natural.
Also, the drummer chair has been in rotation the last year
and a half or so since Davey, our original drummer, stopped playing
with us. Our drummer now is a guy named Dan Bailey, a guy I have known
for years. I really respected his drumming. He is an absolutely
astounding drummer. It was very easy to ask him to join. Bass players
and drummers generally want to choose who they are going to play with.
He has known this band for a while, since I have been in it, and he has
been chomping at the bit to jam with us, so we are on this new plane
that we have never really experienced. It is really sort of a beautiful
and fun creative discovery.
I am excited to bring this to Cincinnati. There is a great
spirit going on. The plan right now is to finish out this summer
touring, a couple weeks in July and a couple weeks in August on the West
Coast. Then we are going to go back in the studio. The sound checks for
our shows have gone into much more depth with the music; I don’t like
the word "jamming," so we will say "spontaneous musical landscapes." It
is something we have been wanting to do for a long time and it is really
amazing to go on stage and just not have it all pre-programmed, even
calling out set lists on the stage, stretching songs out, kind of taking
our time with things, letting things be different night after night and
really encourage our creative flow together. We are really excited
about getting in the studio and experimenting with this.
CB: What is your favorite bass to play?
ET: I play a Gibson Les Paul Recording bass (from)
1973. I have been playing it exclusively for about 12 years. I do own
several basses. The first bass I ever had was a Gibson Les Paul
Recording bass. My Dad was a bass player and he gave it to me. It was
kind of his junker bass and I didn’t even like it but it was something.
It sounds really stupid and mystical, because it was the
bass I learned on and I kind of wore it out and it was an awkward bass,
but I was always coming back to it because it was familiar.
I was playing with a guy named Richard Swift (producer,
singer/songwriter and current member of The Shins), still do, a really
dear friend. Right around when we first started playing together, he
said, “That is the raddest bass I have ever heard. You should only use
that bass when you are playing with me.” I was like, “OK no problem.” I
basically decided that was my thing and I was going to stick with it.
I haven’t played any other bass for years and years except in a studio, and even then it is only one song, maybe.
CB: Did you always want to be a musician?
ET: Like I said, my dad was a musician and so I
grew up on the road and around music. My uncle owned a studio, still
does, and we still work out of there a lot. I have been recording bands
since I was 17 years old and have been playing music since I was 12
years old, always had guitars around. When I was a little kid I thought I
was the talentless one in the family because I didn’t pick it up before
the age of 10. I eventually found my way. This was always what I was
meant to do, in a way.
CB: Somebody the other day said that the best way to become a successful musician is to not have a backup plan.
ET: I’d say so, and I’d say most true artists would
rather downgrade and live in a shack and still be doing what they are
passionate about. It really plays into the artist mentality. I am no
spring chicken, so I certainly decided I was in for life. I don’t have a
retirement plan. I don’t ever want to stop. This is what I do. I get
into other things outside of music so it is not a total obsession. I
found a way to make it this far. I don’t know why that would change in
the future. If it does, it does, and I will figure it out. This is what
works for me; there is no backup plan.
CB: Where did the band name come from?
ET: The story … I wasn’t in the band when they
named it and maybe I wouldn’t have picked that name, but that is for
From what I gather, Russ and Jason had named their studio
Everest Recordings because of a pack of cigarettes that Geoff Emerick
had. He was an engineer on a lot of the Beatles stuff and supposedly
Abbey Road was originally going to be named Everest and they were going
to do a photo shoot in Nepal. It became a logistical nightmare and, as
the legend goes, Paul or somebody said, "Let’s shoot a picture out front
and be done with it." So the name Everest has significance to them,
however it is sort of a common thing for something to be named.
It is hard to Google something like that. That is
something you have to think about nowadays and maybe it gets lost in the
shuffle a little bit.
CB: What can the fans look forward to at Bunbury seeing you guys for the first time?
ET: As a band we are really relaxed and
comfortable. Every new show is an adventure. Every show we have had with
this lineup has been over the top amazing.
I guess what fans can expect is the unexpected. They can
expect to see some sort of fine but not some self-congratulatory
musicianship, people making themselves vulnerable in front of people and
making up stuff on the spot and really trying to live in that spirit of
Jimi Hendrix and Zeppelin and the kind of feelings those shows had when it
was a beautiful thing of stream of consciousness. I think that is
something rarer these days in music. I am happy and proud to be in a
band that values that part of live performance.
Everest performed at Lousiville's Forecastle fest last
summer. Check out the "A Day in the Life" Forecastle photo series with
the group here. Everest – Let Go from Everest Channel on Vimeo.
by Mike Breen
Local indie rockers unveil "Honeybee" single from forthcoming EP just in time for Bunbury
Impressive Cincinnati AltRock trio Public is all set to performing at Cincinnati's huge Bunbury Music Festival this weekend, essentially opening the fest Friday at 2 p.m. with a performance on the Bud Light Stage. The band — nominated at the most recent Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for "Best New Artist" — released its four-track EP, Red, last summer and is now offering fans a brand-new recording, just in time to learn all the words and sing along at tomorrow's fest appearance.The new track is "Honeybee," a spacious, groove-driven Indie Pop gem which is slated for Public's forthcoming second EP. If you're download phobic, you can also grab
a physical copy of the single. Fifty are being pressed, featuring
hand-drawn artwork and a bonus acoustic B-side, "I Need You," and made
available at Bunbury.Both songs will be available for download on July 16. The stream and eventual download will be available at publictheband.com. Honeybee (Summer 2013 Single) by PUBLIC
July 14 • Bunbury Music Festival/Sawyer Point
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 9, 2013
At 10 songs, all of which clock in at a
relatively brief 3-6 minutes, Fade is Yo La Tengo’s most concise release
in ages, perhaps the result of a switch in producers.
July 13 • Southgate House Revival
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 9, 2013
With her latest album, Working Girl’s Guitar, Rosie Flores provides all of the guitar work to fully highlight her
axe-wielding skills. On Saturday night, Flores will bring her soulful
voice and classic fretwork to Newport for a special acoustic show.
July 12 • Southgate House Revival
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 9, 2013
If you find today’s so-called “Punk Rock” to be a little
lacking, you’re in for
a treat this week as two of the best American Punk acts team up with a
pair of Ohio greats — Cincinnati’s SS-20 and Dayton’s Legbone.
2 Comments · Tuesday, July 2, 2013
We are two weeks into summer and there
have been plenty of great musical events already. But, thanks in part to
the growing number of venues hosting larger concerts in the area,
there’s still a lifetime of shows to come this hot season.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 3, 2013
How to keep your ears buzzing every day of summer, if you please.
Cincinnatian Matt Berninger discusses The National’s latest effort, becoming “political” and the band’s future
1 Comment · Tuesday, July 2, 2013
The National's edgy, dark-hued songs sync perfectly with
our current age of anxiety, and now comes Trouble Will Find Me — another
collection of richly textured tunes marked by frontman Matt
Berninger’s deep baritone and evocative lyrics. But the new record also
feels like a departure, as if The National finally seems comfortable in
its own skin.
Wiz Khalifa adds new dimensions to his tales of “smoking, chillin’, partying and feeling good”
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 2, 2013
O.N.I.F.C. feels like the logical
next step in Khalifa’s development and ability to blend Hip Hop
mentality with Pop melody. Tracks like “The Plan” (featuring Juicy J),
“Let It Go” (featuring Akon) and “No Limit” are among the songs that
feature sleek, synthesized melodies that flow around rapped vocals.
Heart rides Hall of Fame induction and Led Zeppelin tribute into a hot summer tour
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Heart has had huge
success, selling more than 35 million albums and notching 21 Top 40 hit
singles, headlining the biggest arenas along the way. The Wilson sisters
in particular have had a major impact on music as well, helping open
doors for several generations of female artists.