Preview and interview: BOAT @ Neumo's
Published 10-21-2009 (originally on The SunBreak).

It's Wednesday and you already wish it was Friday. You're tired of your "at least I have a job" or your stack of unemployment pay stubs and you need a way to get through one more day. BOAT is glad to oblige with their CD release show at Neumo's on Thursday night. Doors are at 8 p.m. and tickets are a cheap $7. Their silly and quirky pop music will get you smiling and maybe even get your jaded Seattle rear end to shake around a little bit. Opening are The Pale Pacific, Sirens Sister and The Special Places.

What? More motivation, you say? Okay, here is a fantastic conversation with drummer/vocalist/recordist J. Long and bassist/guitarist/dancer M. McKenzie they've allowed me to share with you.

Please provide a short history of the band, using a plethora of SAT words but avoiding run-on sentences.

MM: SAT words?! Balls. You asked the half of the band that doesn't teach an English class (seriously). I took Latin, but that makes me feel like I should have taken a prep class (or at least a Xanax). I'll try to look out for run-on sentences, but to warn you, I do often overuse parentheses and hyphens.

Regardless/Irregardless (not even a real word-- I am blowing this interview), the story of Boat is as follows...

A few years ago, D. Crane moved back to Seattle from a horrible year of trying to teach school in inter-city Chicago. As a coping mechanism, I guess, he decided to reply to every band ad that was looking for musicians. As it just so happened, a friend (J. Rufa) and I were looking for a bass player. D. Crane quickly made us the forth band he joined. Shortly after joining, D. Crane started playing some of the songs that he had written (which were for the most part, inspired by his frustrated teaching experience). They were totally awesome, but did not work in that band (we were more serious--as are most bands). Since the songs were too good to pass up, we decided to just form a different band (D. Crane was working with the name "Boat") and we played the first Boat show at the grand Beacon Pub!

It was probably about 2 Beacon Pub shows before we enlisted J. Goodman who is an amazing multi-instrumentalist--and who happens to be D. Crane's brother-in-law. And then, after playing with a grip (SAT word?) of friends, we magically came across one, J. Long, who was perfect for the band.

"Setting the Paces" is the first full album to feature the band as it is today--the way it always should have been. Ergo (I finally did it), it is the best album representation of what we do live ("ergo" probably wasn't the best way to join this sentence with the one that preceded it).

Q: If I was taking a girl on a date and we listened to the BOAT CD in my car on the way, how would the date turn out?

JL: After 3 songs, she’d say “what is this?, but the next morning she’d find herself whistling some melody that she mysteriously has stuck in her head. For the second date, I wouldn’t go with BOAT again – wait until the third date when she’ll request BOAT CD on her own accord. Probably the song about “ice cream trucks” or “everything being just fine.”

Q: What is the BOAT philosophy of music?

MM: It is easy. Just be yourself and have fun. Many bands worry too much about being cool and then when they try to do something that is fun or more like themselves it comes across as insincere or phony. In general, we are pretty dorky guys. I know that comes across live and on the recordings, but I think that is what makes Boat enjoyable. Usually, you wouldn't sing like you do in the shower in front of a room of people, but when your doing it with a bunch of friends it makes it seem okay. I think that makes it easier to enjoy for an audience because you can totally relax when you listen to Boat--you're cooler than we are--even when you are singing along like you do in the shower.

Q: I seem to recall a lot of shows in basements and warehouses with your name on the bill. How has the Seattle DIY scene been a part of the formation of the band as it is now? Or, more generally, how has the Seattle music scene influenced, helped, hindered, inspired, annoyed, ignored or high-fived you?

JL: It actually seems like it’s been too long since we’ve played anything DIY in Seattle. We do more of this on our tours. From the perspective of being “the band” and being in the audience, I think the most satisfying shows happen where the band is playing on a floor. People crowd in close and it’s loud. There are fewer factors that can detract from the show experience this way.

In general, Seattle has been awesome to BOAT. We feel very lucky to be able to headline at the Sunset on a weekend or play the Croc. Major props to people like Pete Greenberg (Chop Suey, formerly the Croc), Eli Anderson (Croc) or Chad Queirolo (Showbox) who have booked us as a “DIY” or “self-booked” band.

Q: What can people expect from the CD release show? That is, what's up with all the cardboard cut outs?

JL: People who have seen BOAT before have seen plenty of stage antics or gimmicky. The Neumos show will have all of those things, plus a bunch of new tricks! D. Crane has been holed up in his garage in South Tacoma, creating a “elementary school play-like” stage set. The set is 100% inspired by lyrics from Setting The Paces. Two highlights include an animated bagel/toaster (smoke included) and a light-up BOAT sign inspired by the Beatles stage set at Budokan 1966.

Q: Looking back, what's the best show you've played? Looking ahead, what will be the best show you will ever play?

JL: I feel like I have a new favorite every few months! I will pick one from each of my years in BOAT. Supporting Harvey Danger at their “last show ever” at Neumos in 2007, Union Hall in NYC in 2008, and Sacramento 2009. Best show still to come? The final night of the BOAT/Long Winters Tour at the Showbox, Spring 2010.

MM: I like all of the shows that we have played at the Comet and places like that because it makes me feel punk rock. Oh, and I can't wait to open for Pavement on their re-union tour (too similar of a vibe you say--I don't think so).

Q: How is the new record different from your previous records? Will old fans still like you?

MM: This one definitely sounds better. Usually we do all of our recording in about four days--this one took longer and I think it comes across that way. Also, on a lot of our other records we re-recorded some songs that we recorded a long time before--this one we didn't--it's all new stuff. As a result, we had a lot more enthusiasm when we went to record. Try to imagine us going into record this one was kind of like seeing the Rolling Stones play "Satisfaction" the first couple of times. They were probably pretty jazzed about it, right? It's pretty bad ass. Juxtapose that with when they play it now, imagine it is instead us recording songs that we have recorded before, and I think you get the picture. Will old fans still like us? If they liked the other stuff and the only real difference is what I just described above, how could they not.

After the first question above, I cobbled this together from my emails. The rest of this promo is lost to time (if there was any more). The wayback machine doesn't have it and it is not in my notes.

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Keywords: BOAT, interview, promo, sunbreak, neumos

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