(All answered by Dickie Haydon)
So, I got to know, what’s the story behind the Beechee’s wrapper from your YouTube studio videos?
Well, that’s when the tube in my amp blew. We had to go to RadioShack to buy a new fuse and they were handing out free gum, so, there you go. The brand of the gum was Beechee’s and we thought it was funny. Yeah, those videos are pretty embarrassing. We were just goofing around.
How was recording the record?
It was awesome, it was a lot of fun, it was a lot of work too. Well we started in January, we started the tracking and everything, the tracking and everything, and finished the tracking in April, and then making and mastering, so it was a really extensive process especially for a band of our size, I mean, no one knows who we are. The only other experience we had with recording was on our own in our practice studio with this little 16-track that I own, so it was really cool to have somebody, his name was John Vice, he was our producer and everything, and he was the real brains behind everything, and the album would not sound as good as it does without him, so it was really cool to have someone there all the time and watch over everything, he become really like our mentor and our guide. Like I said, it’s a ton of work, and I am not a fan of work, but its a kind of work that I enjoy, that daily grind and repetitive process and everything. It was great.
Did the record label take cover of the costs or were you paying for hour time?
Actually yeah, our label paid for the recording and distribution and everything, so it was sort of like we had unlimited access to the studio. We weren’t watching the clock or anything to make sure we didn’t go over a limit, we were just able to be there and be comfortable and not worry about that kind of stuff.
How did you guys sign with Kalmia Records?
Well, they approached us back in December of this past year and we were interested in doing a one record deal for this album. They’re a very new label, they’re based out of Lexington, where we’re from, and they were just interested in our sound, I don’t know, that sounds lame. We just hit the bill for what they were looking for. They’re really cool guys, just two guys, Matt and Rob, who own the label, and we met with them, hung out with them, and now they’re really good friends. They’re cool guys, it wasn’t like a big impersonal meeting with the briefcase, it was just like ‘Hey we want to put out your record’ and we were like ‘Cool.’
Did they extend the deal then or is still just the one album?
Well, right now everyone’s concentrating on the album since it just came out, and we don’t have much of any distribution because we’re all college students, the main concentration is the album right now, but we’ll see what happens down the road. We’re shopping around for other labels right now.
You mentioned you were in college?
Yeah actually all of us our students. I go to the University of Kentucky, as does Scott and Justin. Kristin goes to Eastern Kentucky, and Jackson who played bass on the album he goes to Georgetown. We all go to school 30 minutes from each other.
What are you all studying?
Well, I’m an education major. Kristin is an art major, like visual art and all. Jack and Justin are English majors, and Scott is an engineer. He’s the smart one.
Do you want to get into teaching?
Yeah, well, my mom is a college professor and my dad did a bit of teaching. He’s a doctor now, but through medical school he actually taught medical courses, so he has a teaching degree. So, its just in my family. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind being a teacher, it would definitely give me the summers off to tour. I’ve been playing music since middle school, but the logical choice was to go to college, but if anything were t happen, and this is all hypothetical, I would drop teaching for music in a heartbeat. Without a doubt.
So how did Petticoat begin?
Well, Scott and I and actually one other guy named Ryan who now lives in Florida, the three of us and then Kristin all grew up on the same street. Me and Ryan and Scott started playing together when we were about 12 or 13 and formed our first band around that time, and we were a band for 2 or 3 years. Ryan went to Florida then, and me and Scott formed Petticoat. The way I usually explain this to people is Petticoat was the name for a completely different band, we just kept the same name. I don’t know why. But when we started out it was just me and Scott and we had a keyboard player named Sunny and we were just a three-piece pop band, and then Sunny left to go to school and we had another guitarist and a bassist then we were like an experimental pop band, and then this past October Kristin joined the band and we sort of became what Petticoat is today. So Petticoat has been 3 different bands, so when people ask how long Petticoat has been together I usually just say since last October. It’s complicated. It’s on our shirts, our website, it would just be too much trouble to change it.
Is there any significance behind the name?
A little bit, actually it came up from Sunny and we just wanted a name that we thought was synonymous with the sound of the music. When we first started playing it was sort of power-pop, heavy keyboards and all, so we just thought it was upbeat and bouncy music, and Petticoat, Petticoat sounded like an upbeat, bouncy name.
Do you still think it fits the type of sound you have now?
Yeah, I do, I do. We’re upbeat and poppy and not very extreme on any levels. I think it fits now. I’ve just heard it so much I don’t think I like it anymore.
What kind of music did you like growing up?
My dad was a musician all throughout his teenage years and until he was 30 and my uncle is a professional pianist. Music is in my family I guess. But yeah, The Beatles, David Bowie, Dylan, that kind of stuff. Those are probably the main influences, just ‘60s rock. I listen to everything, I know that’s a lame answer. I mean, I’ve played in punk rock bands, I’ve played in experimental-Pink Floyd bands, I listen to everything. I think all types of music plays a part. But if you want current bands my favorites are like Pavement, I’m a big fan of Nico Case, more alt-country kind of stuff.
What were the earlier days of Petticoat like?
When Petticoat first started it was my junior year and senior year of high school, and when we were that young it was just about playing as much as we could and having a good time, we weren’t really trying to go anywhere with it. So we played around Lexington and around Kentucky, not too far out, up by Cincinnati and Elizabethtown. We didn’t venture out past there, it was more about keeping it on a local level and having fun, which it still is about. We’re just more serious about it now, a bit more extensive on tours.
Speaking of which, how was tour?
Tour was wonderful. It was really great, we saw a lot of places we hadn’t seen before and got to play for a lot of people we’d never met before. It was a lot of fun. We had only done one tour before and it was last year about the same time, and this time we had the album backing us as well as the label and we just feel a lot more established, it was a lot easier to go out and play for people. Venues and shows got booked a lot quicker. The next time we go out will be in winter, maybe December when we’re all not in school. And definitely with a band that’s a little more established, if any would take us along.
How did your relationship with Kristin influence your music?
Well, as you can imagine a lot of the songs are about her, or about me, or about people we know. A lot of the songs are my personal songs, but some we write together lyrically. They’re about our hometown, Lexington. All of Petticoat has lived in Lexington their entire lives. I think, except for me, they’ve lived there their entire lives. I moved here when I was 4. Basically my whole life. Our biggest muse is Lexington, and our love for the city and everyone we know comes through in our writing. It’s a key part of our songs.
I really like the artwork, it says the Kristin designed it, I was wondering if there was any significance to it?
Actually, she made that yeah. We went to a used book store and we had the idea of cutting out a page and she had drawn the mother and the child. She had the idea of putting it in there, and we had the idea of putting in some type of greenish background because that was the whole color theme we were trying to go with. So she cut the book and put in the mother and the child and we all thought that was really cool. She knows a lot more than we do and all, so we were just like ‘Okay this is our idea and you run with it.’ The picture was taken out in the Lexington Cemetery where all our promo shots were taken. We just gathered a bunch of flowers from all over the cemetery and put in the picture. People tell us it’s a good match for our music, I think it pulls it off.
I love the flowers in the guitar, that just sums up you guys to me.
Oh yeah, she actually made that guitar, I mean she wood burned the designs on the front of it. She found the guitar in the flea market and then wood burned the design on it for me, for Christmas a few years ago.
The grass is so bright too.
Actually, it rained on us. We had our photo shoot set up, it was going to be an all day thing, and we woke up and that morning it was just pouring down rain. So, all the pictures of the grass and the flowers and things turned out really cool because it was like, just hit with all this rain and the sun came out just as we started to take the pictures so it was a really cool effect.
The lyrics for the song "Crosshair" really surprised me, what’s the meaning behind that?
What that means is just, I’ll be your guide. Just how the cross hair to your gun shows where you’re pointing, so its just a ‘Trust me, I’m guiding you, I’m leading you’ sort of thing, so I guess its sort of a trust type of thing more than a gun type of thing, its completely a metaphor. We don’t know anything about guns.
Do you have a favorite song off the CD?
Wow. We’ve been playing them and recording them, so I’ve probably heard them 13,000 times in the last 6 months. I guess, "Love In An Alley," which is a generic choice, the song is about my parents. They just got divorced this past year, and it’s just all about that. It’s defiantly more personal and was one of the first songs we recorded, the single or whatever you want to call it. I guess that one, just because it’s more out of character and not exactly a pop-rock song. It’s a waltz, and a little bit more twangy.
Has the album gotten good feedback and reviews?
Yeah we’ve got a steady amount of reviews since about the 1st of July. We’ve been reviewed reasonably in the places we toured in so yeah people have been really cool about it. It’s really neat just because just over a year ago we were just writing these songs and coming up with the direction for the band and all, so its really cool to have people respond to it positively and want to talk to us about it and everything. Even some of the negative feedback we’ve received show that people are listening to it.
What kind of qualms did the reviews have then?
Oh. Uhm, the one review from Illinois was for the most part good but the one bad thing was that they said "We’re Goin Be Poor" would have been a good country song in other people’s hands. Our response to that was to laugh because first of all we’re from Kentucky and no offense but people from Illinois don’t know country as well as we do and second of all it’s not even a country song, it’s a blues rock song.
I really do like that song, just the general theme of accepting the life you’ve chosen for yourself.
Yeah, it’s light and playful and not terribly serious. Its just talking about life, being on your own, paying for stuff that you’ve never had to pay for before. And yeah its not a lucrative lifestyle, unless you’re Beyonce.
So what’s next for you guys, you mentioned a tour in December?
We’re playing the Midwest Music Summit in Indianapolis which is August 10th through 12th and we’ve got 3 different shows, two on the 11th and one on the 12th. Just a festival with 400 bands playing, it’s a downsized version of South by Southwest. Just one of the thousands of music fests they have over summer. Murder by Beth is playing, and Weedus, remember them from 5 or 6 years ago? Anyways, and a couple of Lexington bands are playing like Parlor Boys are playing. It should be a good time.
What is the local music in Lexington like?
Wow. That’s a hard question. Well Lexington is about 275,000 people so the way I describe it to people who have never been here is its big enough to be a city, but its small enough to have everyone know everyone else to a point. Music scene, there’s the all-ages scene which we played up until we were old enough to play the bar-scene, and that’s just like it is in other towns of our size. There’s hardcore and metal, emo and all that stuff. Stuff that you play when you don’t really know how to play that well. Like I said I was in a punk rock band when I first started because all you need to know is how to play a power chord and play it wild. It’s really cool though, we’ve had some great shows. It’s interesting, it’s hard to describe because I’m not in high school anymore and if I were to go see it all I’d say it was pretentious, assuming and, well, anyways, we don’t play the all-ages scene just because those types of people don’t like our music and hey, if I were 15 again I don’t think I’d like my music either. But the bar—scene, the 21 and up scene is really really supportive and we’re friends with the majority of the Lexington bands who play locally. Its really ecliptic, we grew up playing music with the Parlor Boys. They used to have shows in my dad’s basement when I was in high school. They play more dance-rock, and then we have Scared to the Sea which is more of an acoustic folk band. A great variety. There are a lot of artists, its cool to see what everyone’s doing. Friendly.
What’s your opinion of that dance brand of rock since you mentioned it?
I’m a fan of it, I guess. Certain bands do it correctly. Stuff like The Bravery and The Killers, honestly man, I can’t stand that stuff. I think its gotten to a point where it’s cliché and just another brand, but it can be done very well. The dance rock thing is a play off of the post-punk thing, I don’t know, I’ve never played in a band like that, I imagine it could be a lot of fun, but I don’t see it having much depth. There are many bands that do it correctly, like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. So, you know, its just one of those things that will grow or pass.
How about the emo movement then?
When I was in high school I was about 14 and that’s when I got into the Get-Up Kids, which many people define as the definitive emo band of the ‘90s, and that turned me onto Saved the Day, and that kind of emo, punk-rock, whatever. So in high school I was really into Alkaline Trio. Actually, a band called The Anniversary, they had the biggest influence on me, just because it was the whole emo feel to it with the stereotypical voices and lyrics, but it had keyboards and stuff too. But then I remember my fiends took me to go see Dashboard Confessional before he was really huge and I was just NOT a fan at all. I can appreciate some of it but the new stuff, like Fall Out Boy, who I would just consider a pop punk band, but like Motion City Soundtrack and other bands that get associated with that genre, they have their place in the world and they’re playing music that they enjoy, and there are people who enjoy it, so I can respect it to an extent, but again, I think its one of those capitalizing on a trend. I’m sounding like a jerk here, the kind of music we play is shallow too so. I could see where it would be enjoyable, but just, not my thing.
Getting back to Petticoat, were you satisfied with the way the album turned out?
Oh yeah, like I said if we didn’t have John behind the wheel, it wouldn’t have turned out nearly as good. I’m 100% satisfied with it, it’s like having a baby, like having a kid, not that I have any experience in that. It’s just like you put all that effort into it, all that work, and it comes out and it’s there and everybody can see and there’s nothing you can really do about it. I’m totally satisfied. I mean, we worked really hard and I wouldn’t change anything about it.
Has it been doing well sales-wise?
Yeah, it sold out everywhere we toured. And people actually came out to see us which hasn’t happened outside of Kentucky. It seems like there’s the smallest amount of buzz out there about it. For who we are and where we’ve come from, its doing very well. Hopefully someone else out there will say they want to show us to the world, far far away.
The way I actually found you guys was MySpace, what do you think about that recent fad?
As cliché as it is, it’s awesome for music. I have a personal profile just like everyone else, but I log in 2 or 3 times a month. I understand sort of for people how it would work, but for bands it’s absolutely incredible, 40 years ago I’m sure there were tons of bands that could have made it big but nobody had any idea who they were because the only way you could find them out would be if they had some record deal. MySpace has worked for hundreds of bands and the last tour we did, we booked all through MySpace. We submitted stuff to venues at places we wanted to go and they got back to us, and we were in like that. It’s a fantastic to get your music out there. I am in full support of that. Arctic Monkeys, another cliché band, I may be mistaken, but they just started up as an everyday high school, college band or whatever, and through word of mouth they exploded. It will work for some bands, but for other people, there’s the whole contract issue and copyright issues and stuff. For us though all our stuff is copyrighted, but if you didn’t, then I guess it could be a little scary. I think what it is, it takes no work to get things out there to get people to love you, but hey if its that good and if people are stupid enough to buy it then I would just cash the check. I could see how it can be really immoral as opposed to back in the day to when music was real or whatever, but hey its the new world and music is business so.
Where do you see Petticoat going in the future?
I plan on playing music for the rest of my life. When you’re little and people are like ‘You have to find the one thing you want to do for the rest of your life,’ music is that for me. I would be completely fine if we never went anywhere and were confined to playing small places and touring regionally that would be good enough. The one thing that keeps me going when I started playing music 7 or 8 years ago is that every year it’s progressed, something better has happened. It’s never stayed in the same place or gotten worse. So I keep that in mind and I hope one day we’ll have a lot more people and be able to play places that we’ve never been to before, I hope it just keeps progressing at a steady rate. I mean I love playing music I love writing. I was telling someone the other day, because they were asking about tour and all the negative stuff about tour came out, but I said the reason I like touring so much is its my two favorite things: traveling and playing music. But yeah if I could make this my full-time job and just play music, then yeah I’ll be a 60 year old playing music. Maybe it’ll be Petticoat, maybe not.
How was tour transportation?
We did it in actually, we used Justin’s pickup truck. We’re not wealthy to afford a van and driving a trailer is awful so what we did, and this is going to sound very ghetto and amateur which is what we are but we just took a camper top and put it over the pickup bed. It seated 5 people and had all our gear in the back, so we toured in this truck. It wasn’t awful, we all enjoy our company, we’re all good friends so driving wasn’t a problem. There’s certain moments of mutiny on tour but that’s to be expected. We got lost a couple times. I don’t know if you are familiar with how horrible MapQuest is but never use it to get you anywhere. We found pretty quickly that MapQuest is awful so we bought an atlas, but still got lost a few times. Other than that we all had a great time. I don’t mind, I don’t mind driving or getting lost or my friends. Actually, most of them are here, its our practice space, hanging out or whatever.
Has it all been worth it then?
Most definitely man, I love it. Its stories and experiences that I’ll have for the rest of my life. Hopefully I’ll have new ones, but yeah it’s defiantly been worth it.