Sunday, January 3, 2010

Q&A: the band Goodbye Gadget!

Q: How long had Goodbye Gadget been around? And how did the band start up? What's the current line-up? How did the name come about?

Jess: Goodbye Gadget came about in 2006. Ana and I were in a band together prior to that called Inspect Her Gadget. The members changed and the sound had changed and it was definitely going in a different direction. We felt it wasn’t the same band anymore, and although at the time we said it was just a name change, it really was a lot more than that. We liked the name “Goodbye Gadget” because we (in a way) said goodbye to the old band, but still had the gadget in our name to let people know we weren’t gone completely. Inspect Her Gadget was all-female until the very end. It was more riot-grrl/punk whereas goodbye Gadget is more Alt/Rock/Pop with some Punk and some Electronic. Our line-up now is still me on guitars, and still Ana on vocals, however we have a male drummer (Pave) a male keyboardist/guitarist (Neil) and a male bassist (Chris-just joined the band!)

Q: Have ya'll gone on many tours? Where have been some favourite places to perform, and do you have any crazy tour stories you can legally tell us about?

Pave: We went on a two week tour to play SXSW last year, and we typically do a lot of weekend warrior trips to LA or Seattle. One of my favorite places to play is El Corazon in Seattle. The music scene and the people are a great. Another is Slim’s in SF. The staff there treats every band like gold. They feed us, and liquor us.

Neil: Slim’s. Opening for the Vandals and meeting Josh Freese and Robin Finck!

Jess: Locally I like Blake’s in Berkeley, Uptown in Oakland…Slims in SF and definitely one of my favorites is Bottom of the Hill (also SF). Outside of local venues, I really like Chain Reaction in Anaheim.

Chris: I haven't yet toured in Goodbye Gadget but I am looking forward to hitting the road with them in the near future. I have toured in other bands. My favorite place to play? That's hard because there are so many cool places. I’ve had the privilege of touring Europe and the people over there seem so happy that you've come to their country to play and they thank you for coming to their country, and I'm like thank you for having us and coming to the show you know. Some shows here in the states it's hard to get kids to come to even come out and over there it's so different. They really appreciate it. Tour stories - well let me get back to you after the gG tour. I think I'm bunking with Pave and well.....

Q: O.K., this is for the string players. What sort of guitars and amplifiers and effects pedals do ya'll use? Is there a reason for using what you do? Do you have a favourite guitar and why?

Neil: I’ve always liked the sound of a Gibson guitar plugged into boss effects pedals and a marshall tube amp. I also use a Line 6 POD X3 Live effects board.

Jess: I’m actually not too much of a gear head. I like different guitars for different reasons; absolutely love my Gibson SG because it’s a limited edition, and really easy to play but I’m also really in love with my Daisy Rock (Rock Candy) guitar. The pick-ups on it sound better than my Gibson! As far as pedals, I have a VOX Tonelab LE which I love, because the tuner and any sound I could possibly want or need is in there-I don’t have to cart around 5 million pedals and hook them up to each other.

Chris: I play Fender Jazz basses through GK heads and Ampeg cabs. The Fender jazz bass has a really nice fat/warm tone through the rig. I just love my set-up. I may however get a SVT head one of these days maybe a reissue or an old 70s one. I would love to get some old Fenders but they're so expensive.

Q: What are your favourite songs you've written and why?

Jess: I really love the new songs, but that’s probably because they’re new and exciting, and we’ve played them the least! Plus they include Neil on keys, and I think that’s been a big part of our progression as a band. The song-writing process is much more collaborative now. The song “June” will always hold a special part in my heart though, since it was the first song I ever wrote, and holds personal meaning to me.

Neil: Missing. This was the first song we wrote and played live since I joined the band. The song marked a new sound for the band. I think we really got this one right in the studio and the production on it is very good as well. I also love because, which was the last song written and one of the easiest to write.

Pave: My two favorite songs are Sugar & Sinnamon and BINMYS. I love Sugar because it’s bouncy and dancy and makes me want to shake my hips when I listen to it..ha. I love BINMYS because it’s a beautiful and powerful song.

Ana: Because I'm Not Myself You See is one of my favorite lyrics that I wrote. I feel that the source was pure, matches the emotional undertone of the music, and is general enough to have folks relate to it for different reasons.

Q: What inspires you to write songs and lyrics?

Jess: In terms of songs, I get melodies in my head at very random times…sometimes I’m inspired by another band I’m listening to, but really I could just be walking down the street and something just pops in my head! I have no idea where it comes from…I’ll try to take my phone out and sing the idea into my own voicemail, which can be pretty embarrassing depending on who else is around!

Neil: Discovering new music on XM radio and emusic, going to shows, seeing new places. I get ideas in my head and try to record them or write them down so I can remember them later. I also come up with stuff while jamming with the band. Sometimes I’m inspired by the gear or effects that I’m using or the sounds themselves. Some of my first concerts as a teenager were The Cure, U2 with the Pixies, Jane’s Addiction and NIN. Seeing those shows really inspired and influenced me musically.

Pave: Listening to my favorite bands inspire my ideas. I’ll hear something cool and be like, hmmmmm..what if it was played like this or that.. and go from there.

Ana: My lyrics are almost always based by first or second hand experience. I am very moved by the intricate relationships between people, and their effect on perception.

Q: What is living in San Francisco like, and what's the music scene like there? Is there a rivalry between Oakland and the East bay and then the city?

Neil: Living in the Bay Area is awesome. I don’t think there is much of a rivalry of anything except for maybe the A’s and Giants. Now with the opening of the Oakland Fox and Uptown, more bands are playing in Oakland including the same types of shows at the Fox that the Warfield in San Francisco had before they closed.

Pave: My heart will forever be in the East Bay. I love living here. Unfortunately the music scene is not what it used to be. There used to be a great mix of rock, punk, metal, and alternative bands. Now SF is overrun by indie bands, in my opinion. Not that there is anything wrong with indie bands, but no one seems to care about anything but that, and its sad to a lot of great local bands die off because of the changing scene.

Chris: I love living in the city. There's so much to see and do. What a beautiful city. The music scene is cool. There are so many different kinds of bands that it definitely doesn't get old. There have been so many cool bands to come out of the Bay Area: Journey,Metallica,Night Ranger,Green Day,Rancid. That's right I said Night Ranger and so many more. It’s so very cool. If there is a rivalry between Oakland and San Francisco, I don't pay any attention to it. I know there used to be but I think bands are just being bands. There's always the band that thinks they are better or whatever. Who cares as long as your having fun doing and playing what you like. I'm only out to impress and please myself and my band mates.

Q: Have any of ya'll totally crashed trying to ride skateboards, bikes, or roller skates down the hills there?

Jess: Oh hell no. You will not catch me trying to skateboard or roller skate in San Francisco! I am seriously the world’s biggest klutz. Not that I have never put on a pair of skates; I have…however it’s probably in a rink or on flat ground! I stub my toe just walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night…! I really wish I was better at that stuff though. Sometimes I pretend I am. I have friends that are awesome skateboarders and it makes me jealous.

Neil: Once in high school my friends and I tied a rope to a jeep and I rollerbladed down the street until eventually the rope slacked and when it caught back up it pulled and dragged me down to the pavement. I still have a scar on my arm from that one. I was the first and last one of my friends to try that stunt.

Pave: I used to skate a lot back in the day, but then I got to paranoid that I would break my arms and have to stop playing drums, so now I just stick to sucking at snowboarding.

Chris: I've never skated down any hills here. I skated back in Virginia. Yeah I had an old Powell/Peralta skull and snake I was a badass back then.

Q: Do you all work regular jobs? What do all of you do in your spare time away from the band, and how does your activities and work influence your music?

Jess: YES! All of us have full-time jobs, which allow us to do what we love: play music. Bands do not make money; if a band says that all they do is play in a band to support themselves, they’re probably not telling the entire truth (unless they are VERY successful and have had at least more than 1 album that has sold really, really well-even then they aren’t necessarily making a lot of money, just able to do what they love without being in debt). As far as WHAT I do…rather not say. Let’s just say that I have to do a ‘combover’ to hide my dyed red/blue/purple whatever color hair. As far as spare time: Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of that! I’m usually at work, or doing something band-related. We’re all DIY, and I do the majority of the booking/promoting; so if we’re not practicing or playing a show, I’m typically making phone calls, sending out emails, flyering for a show or sending out cds for press/radio. Especially with the album coming out soon, there’s a lot to do. I’m even working on my lunch break (at my day job). If and when there is down time, I’m probably just at home watching tv (TrueBlood, The Office, Weeds) or reading one of my vampire novels (I’m pretty boring!)

Neil: Yes during the day I work as an engineer but not the kind that kind that drives trains but that sounds like fun. In my free time I like to go to tahoe, camping, hiking, watch movies, attend sporting events and concerts.

Ana: Yes I work a very normal job in the corporate world. Spending time with my large extended family provide a foundation of belonging (and a pool of influence) that definitely inspire my lyrics.

Pave: Spare time, what’s that? When I get a free moment I love to watch movies, run, read books, and work on side band projects with my friends. Also love me some comic books and video games. I’m such a nerd.

Chris: Yes I have a regular job. I work on a loading dock for a retail store in downtown San Francisco. Yep I'm a workin' man down on the docks. In my spare time I like to play my bass, watch movies and take nice quiet walks on the beach. Are you listening Pave? hint hint...

Q: What does the future hold for the band, and what are you working on now?

Jess: Right now we’re focusing on promoting the new record! It’s out officially September 1st, so we’re sending it off to radio stations and magazines and whatnot. We’re also working on setting up new shows in the area since we haven’t been out as heavily (due to trying to finish the record) and once the album is out would like to work on setting up a tour for the near future…

Neil: Besides promoting and touring for the new EP we will also continue writing more songs for a future full length album release. Also we have talked about a releasing a B.I.N.M.Y.S. remix album so that is a possibility.

Chris: Well the future of the band right now is the new record comes out soon and we will continue to promote it by playing shows etc. and follow that by a tour this fall..

Q: How well does everyone get along, having multiple girls in the band? Is everyone pals? Do you hang out outside of shows and rehearsal?

Jess: We actually get along great, and hang out together a lot outside of the band! Not that we never disagree, but it’s limited. And we know each other pretty damn well-we know each person’s quirks. We’re all really good friends, which is why I think it works so well. Love to have barbeques at Ana’s! And if you see one of us at a concert, it’s probably not just one of us. Pave and Neil and I just saw NIN together and ALL of us are going to be going to the Blink 182 concert coming up together…
As far as having a couple of girls in the band, I don’t think it makes a huge difference, except that maybe we’re more chatty! But Ana and I are similar in that we have always gotten along better with guys than girls, so that may help too.

Chris: Yeah everyone gets along really well. Better than you would think for a band. It's a family. Having girls and guys in a band is no big deal - it's like being around your brothers and sisters. We do hangout outside the band.

Q: This is for girls only. What sort of beauty products do you like using? Any favourite things you can't do without?

Jess: Gotta say I do love my LUSH. They make a ton of very environmentally-friendly products, and products that are “natural”. I love their bath bombs! Awesome when you’re stressed out…plus I have super sensitive skin (in case you haven’t noticed how pale I am in photos!) and there aren’t a whole lot of facial scrubs and cleansers I can use without breaking out! I also love MAC make-up. I’m not a make-up snob by any means, but I get a discount on their make-up (thanks to the band) and they have super fun, vibrant colors of shadows which are fun for performances.

Ana: I do not have one favorite brand of makeup, but I do have a higher number of Clinique products in my bathroom closet. I cannot do without my lipstick and perfume.

Q: Girls only again. Do you like designers or mixing and matching? Any favourite places to shop in San Fran? Ever go to LA on shopping expeditions?

Jess: I know this question says ‘girls only’, but it really is directed at Pave! I think he has more clothes than any of us! (And he loves to shop). I do love clothes, but do not tend to go for a lot of the more well-known designers. I really like Vivifromage-it’s this chick in France that makes one-of-a-kind clothing, and everything is just amazing. I really love her stuff, but it’s only sold on sites like Etsy. Emily from The Action Design likes her stuff a lot too-that’s actually how I first heard about it. I also like Clandestine (Pete Wentz’s clothing line)-although I don’t have much, I’d like to get more. And Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts are just fun. OH! And Famous Stars & Straps. Totally find to mix & match-not that picky! Shopping in San Francisco? Hell yeah! IF I have money (if you can’t spend it’s just a tease!) I love to hit up LUSH and Urban Outfitters-and love going to Haight -Ashbury to hit up the random clothing stores. I actually love going vintage-clothes shopping, although that can easily be more expensive than the chains. I have been to LA on shopping expeditions (more vintage clothing shopping) however not recently…too broke!

Ana: Much to the dismay of my fashion minded cousins, I grab whatever seems to satisfy the need of the moment. I can say for stage and band related events I prefer funky dresses, weird leggings and the ugliest/biggest rings on the planet.

Q: Girls only again. Are ya'll bag ladies? What sort of handbags do you like and do you have any favourites you'd cry if was stolen from you?

Ana: My travel purse is one that looks like a messenger bag. My splurge is a cute coach clutch that basically only fits my blackberry. I never use it.

Jess: We are SOOO NOT bag ladies, lol. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) I know I can speak for Ana and myself when I say we’re really not girly-girls. Not bag ladies or shoe ladies! Don’t get me wrong-I love my Skelanimals bag, and I had a bear back-pack that was super cute that I loved; but in terms of having a Coach bag or Couture bag, not really us…I’d rather carry around a Hello Kitty purse than a $500 handbag. But that’s just me.

Q: Girls only. Shoes, shoes, shoes! What's the shoe collections like? Do you wear heels onstage, and what do you take on tour with you?

Ana: I love my Ed Hardy shoes. I will wear low heel boots onstage. I will wear crazier boots for photo shoots. I tried to wear those onstage a few times to disastrous results.

Jess: Well like I said above, we’re not really shoe ladies in the sense of having a ton of different pairs of shoes, or having really expensive shoes like Carrie in Sex and the City…but I do tend to like fun tennis shoes, like Vans with crazy designs or the Ed Hardy’s…I have a pair of Converse “All Star Xtra High” shoes which lace up to my knee, and those are both fun and comfortable for shows! I NEVER wear heals. Very, very bad idea for me. Ana loaned me some of her heals (we wear the same size!) for one of our photo shoots, and it was a nightmare. For one, it left me feeling self-conscious for being wayyy too tall (I’m already 5’7”, and heals can add another couple of inches…then I stand next to Ana who’s SUPER short, so I ended up feeling like a towering giant). Two: I CANNOT walk in heals. So either I fall, or walk like I have something stuck wayy up my ass. Not a pretty site. Three: I just don’t find it comfortable! As far as what shoes to take on tour: The converse. But multiple pairs on tour are not a good idea, because it just adds to the luggage load.

Q: What other musical bands and artists do you like listening to in your spare time?

Ana: I love a wide variety of bands. Without being a hardcore fan of a few, I am an appreciative fan of many. I can like the Ting Tings and Vampire Weekend and Sigur Ros in the car -Clean the house to an old Third Eye Blind album, and sing along to the songs that come on any young country radio station. No joke.. I'm all over the place.

Jess: Depends on my mood! Sooo many bands/artists I love. I don’t think I could possibly name them all. Bands out right now: AFI, The Almost, The Used, Alkaline Trio, The Vandals, Tiger Army…and then yes, LADY GAGA. I can’t help it, I’m addicted (we actually do a cover of ‘Poker Face’ live!) Love The Pixies and then sometimes even A Flock of Seagulls. It just depends. And I also of course LOVE a lot of the old riot grrrl bands-Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney etc.

Pave: A.F.I., Refused, NIN Fall Out Boy, Frank Sinatra, Tiger Army, Underoath, Kanye West, Raelin, Blink 182, Avenged Sevenfold, Danny Elfman and many more

Neil: There are too many to list but recently I’ve been listening to the latest albums by Rancid, Gaslight Anthem, Silversun Pickups, Greenday, Glasvegas, Marilyn Manson, and Depeche Mode.

Chris: Well there are so many bands out there that I like to listen to, it's all about what I'm in the mood for. I listen to punk,pop-punk,metal,classical etc...Am a huge fan of Dean Martin as well coming from a Italian family. Dean Martin and Tony Bennett were big and tons of classical music on the radio.

Q: Do you have any goals and dreams for the band? Where do you see yourselves in the future?

Neil: If I could predict the future I’d be betting on sports and buying stocks. I’d like to see us play even bigger shows and record a full length record.

Jess: You know, I have no idea where I’ll be in the future…but if I’m playing music and I’m happy, that’s what matters. People should have fun with it. What’s the point of ‘trying to make it big’ if you’re miserable? I would LOVE to someday be able to make a living at it-not necessarily be ‘big’ or anything, but be able to do what I love to do and support myself.

Chris: Goals for the band well to keep playing and progressing and always have fun and shoot for the stars. Thank you so much for interviewing us!

find Goodbye Gadget online at: