It’s been out a few weeks now, but we’re still spinning it on repeat around here, I’m talkin’ the new Off With Their Heads album ‘Home‘ via Epitaph Records. This week in The Hotseat we catch up with mastermind Ryan Young to answer our questions. Expand this post to check out his answers. If you have been hiding under a rock and don’t have a copy of the album grab it on CD or Vinyl (w/ free CD) [Here]. Also available on iTunes [Here].
Name : Ryan Young
Band : Off With Their Heads
Job In Band : Mastermind
Website Address : http://www.facebook.com/owth42069
Hometown : Minneapolis MN
Hometown is best known for : Soul Asylum
Best venue in your hometown : Triple Rock Social Club
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Dillinger Four and Avail
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : 10 year / Record release party last week
How did the band first come to exist? I started it in 2003 while living in the basement of a recording studio. I wanted to start a band where it would be me singing and writing the songs. That way I could be in complete control of whether or not I would stop doing it. I didn’t want to rely on anyone else, as I knew I would be in this for a very long time.
How long has the band been going? Just celebrating our 10 year anniversary.
Any particular story behind the name? We were watching “That 70′s Show” and Tommy Chong just happened to say it. We were stoned 22 year olds and thought it was funny. Kind of a lame story, but its the truth.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it. Its called “Home”. Recorded by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore at the Blasting Room in Ft Collins Colorado. Its a collection of songs about how I got to where I am today, and how that is not necessarily a good thing.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Yeah. We got to tour Australia with one of our favorite bands (Against Me!) a couple years ago. I’d call that a success!
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? Grunge. I got a guitar when I heard Nirvana. I didn’t realize that you didn’t really have to be a great guitarist to make music. Then I discovered punk and that only reinforced that theory. To this day, I tell people that its more about the style you play, not how well you play.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? There is no one band to credit, but rather hundreds of them in a big stew. I love everything from Nirvana to The National to Misery Index.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? We were called The Lockups. We basically played the same stuff that we play today, just poorly and with terrible lyrics.
Most prized music related item you own? I have Lil’ Waynes shoe laces and a pack of blunts that he left in his dressing room when I worked for the MTV Music Video Awards. I shall cherish them forever.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? I’m a movie buff. I like to stay home with a bottle of wine and relax. If I go out, its usually to a comedy show in Los Angeles. Lots of entertainment where I live.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Just getting back on the road in general. I don’t like to be in one spot for too long, so hitting the road is always a relief.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Dreading transportation problems. We have gone through so much in the way of breakdowns. It seems inevitable, so that’s probably the worst thing.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? We always put something dumb on there that is impossible to get. In Europe, we ask for 1 taco. There are no tacos in Europe. If there are, you don’t want them. We used to have 100 jello shots on there as well. That was funny until one guy actually did it. We got sick and felt bad.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? I have been all over the world, but I still love touring the USA. I’m not far from home, and its a really cool and diverse place. People are very different in every state, and its pretty cool when you notice the little things.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Probably the first time we played with Cocksparrer. I never would have thought we would do something so cool. It turns out that those guys are super nice, and they loved us. It was a pretty cool compliment.
Got a favourite song to play live? Clear The Air has been our grand finale for the last couple of years. I really like playing that one, and its usually the point in the set where I give it all I have. Its still a very relevant song to me as well.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Only when I lose my cool. If someone hits my mic stand, I see red and attack. I’ve lost chunks of my teeth to drunken people smashing into it. I don’t like losing my cool, but it happens more than I’d like to admit.
Any pre-show rituals? We always do a shot of whiskey. Loosens us up. Thats usually about it.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? For a band our size, its almost impossible to make any money. Especially if you have vehicle trouble. I do it anyway because its what I do, but its really hard to come home after 2 months of being on the road and have about $200 to show for it.
Last song you listened to? Cemetary Gates by Pantera
Last album you acquired? Some Mike Doughty solo album
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? We’ve been listening to The Postal Service a lot lately. Its easy to ignore, but is still really good.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? I’m about 5 years behind on everything, so I honestly don’t know. I know that Crusades from Canada are pretty great. Good catchy stuff with an anti religious message. I’m always into that.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? We will be hitting the road for a couple months with Alkaline Trio here in the States, then taking a month off before heading to europe.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? We’ve always wanted to do “Siamese Dream” by Smashing Pumpkins. It is a great record, and would sound ridiculous if we did it. I wish I owned a recording studio!
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? I would love to hear Nine Inch Nails take a stab at our new record. Thats pretty much what I want us to sound like anyway, so yeah. Someone make Trent do that for me real quick. He’s not busy.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance. I would have loved to see Sex Pistols on that shitty tour they did here for Nevermind The Bollocks. Seeing what they do now is funny, but I would have loved to see the Atlanta rednecks react to that band.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? I would love to play at the Hollywood Bowl. It would make no sense for us and sound horrible, but hey….why not?
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? I would play guitar for Lady Gaga. I bet that would be a bit different than what I do. Plus, I bet they stay in killer hotels. I like killer hotels.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. I’d love to get Crusades out with us. I’m sure that will actually happen. Riverboat Gamblers are also great to have around.
Got any final words? Make sure and check out “Home”. Its amazing what 4 fairly untalented people wound up making with some weird dude in Colorado.
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS - ‘Home‘ Available now through Epitaph Records.
Buy it on CD or Vinyl now [Here].