I hung out with the trio that is Gentlemen Prefer Blood (FINALLY!) They were one of the first bands I was told I HAVE to check out when I first dove into the San Diego Punk scene. They are a band you will never get tired of watching over and over again live. Front man Todd is so charismatic, humorous and without needing to say - talented. This is their first online interview ever so I'm quite excited to share it with you dorks. Get to know the whole crew this week!
Hi! I'm Todd - I sing and play guitar for the band, Gentlemen Prefer Blood.
I'm Jason and I play bass and sing sometimes.
Michael -- I play drums.
Woah - recently everyone's introductions for my interviews are so short!
That's who we are.
I'm not that short. I'm 5'8"...with heels.
Since you guys only brought up your musical introduction - do you have real jobs? Oof, word vomit. I just mean do you have desk jobs or anything like that!
I am a graphic designer with Guitar Center. I do stuff on my own as well. I make album covers, posters for shows and anything you need I try to do.
Wow. That's a good slogan.
Yeah. ANYTHING you need I will try to do.
What's the weirdest thing someone asked you to create?
This one girl wanted a heart in a corset - she was gonna be a pop star. This was a long time ago. For her logo she wanted a heart in a corset with cleavage....it was out of my wheelhouse. Then it was me asking her like..."Well do you want a lot of cleavage....or what kinda cups are we looking at here?"
How old was she?
She was like 17...
WOAH!! TODD IS WORKING WITH UNDERAGE KIDS (Perfect headline)
Haha - no!! I used to do retouching for actors in Hollywood. I met these people through that job.
These underage people, got it.
No! They came in with their parents. The mom told her, I forget her name, to ask me for help with the logo.
What was her full name?
Yeah right, haha. Julia...Kennedy.
Oh right. It was me when I first moved here trying to make it big.
I work in the Emergency Room. I'm a medical doctor. I've been doing that for many years now.
Woah what! Why are you doing this then?!
I was kidding!
I grew up with punk rock --- surfing and skateboarding. My older brothers were into punk rock. We had ramps in our backyard. We had shows and slam pits in the chaos and the vomiting and the violence.
Ya know - all that typical kid stuff: vomiting and violence.
Ya know - it was the late 80's, early 90's.
You sound like a newscaster: Vomiting and chaos and backyard shows.
That's the kinda way stuff was portrayed back then. I was a little kid but that's how I remember it. When I was in an ER in Chicago - I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do: do I wanna be a psychiatrist, an ER doctor? What kinda specialist do I wanna be? I was on the side of Chicago with all the violence and mayhem -- but I was kinda of used to it. It was like being at a punk show and like being in the house I grew up in. So that's how I landed on being an ER doctor. If that makes sense.
Does that interfere with touring and such?
Yeah - emergencies just don't happen when you're gone, right?
Haha. There's other ER doctors.
They're not as important as his emergency - which is to play a show.
I can work a week in a row and then have weeks off so it's really flexible. It's really good actually.
I'm a server at a very, very small breakfast/diner.
Oooh - I thought you said SURFER.
I'm a waiter, haha.
It's a surfing restaurant. It's actually a really good restaurant - it's called Ed's Place.
The people who go there are regulars and they're all rooting for Mike. He goes on tour - they'll come.
Yeah we've had some regulars go to shows in San Francisco and some more local spots. It's cool.
Awww! That's so awesome. How long have you been working there?
I've been there for 8 years now.
Ah, so not long I see.
Yeah. I'm in the trial period.
You're just getting past the evaluation period so you can be a permanent worker.
I'm finally gonna get that raise - I won't be making less than minimum wage anymore. Tips will come to me now and not everyone else
Woah I don't like the way this is turning. TOO MUCH SARCASM.
Who do you pull inspiration from when it comes to your stage presence? (Todd) You are so charming and comical yet emotional. That's the first thing that stood out to me about the band when I first saw perform. It's this balance that I feel like very few can master.
That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me! I'm not sure. If anything - physically playing, as crazy as I try to perform, Fugazi. I've watched them perform -- I've seen them live a few times -- they fuckin blew my mind. Outside of that, I've always used humor, as corny as it sounds, to unify a room. Let's all laugh at this one thing. I try to ease any tension...it's a show, let's just have fun. You go to a show and you'll recall a funny joke and rad songs. At least that's how I see it. But yeah - I just try to find a good medium. If you play honestly and passionately I've always thought that if you have a good time in between songs too - that's a good formula.
So basically you're just natural at being amazing on stage?
I'm not gonna contest that haha. The band is shaking their head in agreement though.
What are your inspirations as far as musicians or music? And yes - I can ask this basic ass question because this is your first interview on the web!
My inspirations for songs are: John K Samson from The Weakerthans, Blake Schwarzenbach from Jawbreaker and Paul Weller from The Jam. Exclusively those are who I look to when writing music.
That was the most specific answer I've ever been given.
Without a doubt - that's who I go to for all my ideas and ways of writing.
So we don't even hear Todd.
Definitely not. I literally just take sections from all of their songs, haha. I love The Beach Boys too. I listened all all of those growing up. I enjoy energetic and passionate music.
I love the honesty. Most bands try to defer from that question with something like "Oh, we don't pull from anyone we are all original"
No I definitely pull from those three and if it doesn't sound that way, great.
Well this is actually a cease and desist order from...
And for your two gents do you write any of the music or do you just take what Todd says and run with it?
We usually don't listen to Todd.
Todd writes a good portion of the music and I write some of it too.
Yeah - we all put in in that department.
Usually for me, I write political stuff. It's just frustration, period, of stuff I deal with everyday. It makes me sound like a little cry baby.
They're all songs about restaurants.
Yeah. Haha. I grew up listening to The Beatles. My dad was really into British Rock like Foghat and Grand Funk Railroad. That stuff for me...those guys I can't fathom how they did it back then. More recently Dave Grohl is pretty much my hero. He's a great drummer, a great guitar player. Those are my influences. Then I grew a beard and long hair to try to look like Dave Grohl.
For me - lyrics are really important to me so I like to have interesting lyrics that come from interesting places. I read a lot. So if something clicks with me like, "Oh I fucking like that a lot", then my brain starts turning and building a song.For example there's a song, "Dead Again", on our old album. There's a book called, "God's Problem", written from a former Catholic scholar about how Christianity doesn't properly address human suffering in terms of the human condition based on biblical scripture. Interesting book but in it he makes the point of saying, "At one point he was born again but he became dead again when he lost his faith". So I stole that and twisted it to make it our own. Does that make sense?
Wow you are a doctor. I feel like every doctor I've been to always ends things with, "Does that make sense?" Haha. But yes it does!
Do you guys purposely stride to not have a huge presence on social media?
We are terrible at social media. To be brutally honest, for me, it's just my age. Jason and I - we've been doing this a long time and this element, the social media part, is brand new to us. We're still getting used to it. The last tour we did I was all stoked because we did Instagram Story -- we did that!! We also did Boomerang. We are trying to get better at it but I think people get bored/annoyed if I do too much too. We joke about this all the time - as far as not being social media gurus.
Dylan Wolters wanted to know how you have such a good ba-donk?
Just good genes, I suppose. I will attribute it to my dad. He's Irish and I guess it's the potatoes and beer. Duh!
That works. I have not really interviewed three piece bands other than Caskitt. I think it's crazy that you and Caskitt, I'm sure there are other three piece bands, that you sound so powerful and big. I would never know you were only three dudes playing if I were just tuning in on Spotify or something. Was that a pre-thought out plan with only wanting three members or how did that happen?
We agree with you about Caskitt - they're awesome.
The only reason we are a three piece is because we were a four piece -- we wentthrough numerous band members, Jason & I. Our Drummer and Rhythm Guitar player have been switched three times now. This current incarnation is the only one we want now. I was having a difficult time lining up with other guitar players. It was getting to a point where we didn't need another guitar player too.
I think Mike plays a huge sound and fills it up. Drums, drums, drums.
Dave Grohl - hit hard.
Are any of you gear nerds? Do you care immensely about what brand you're playing or anything like that?
Nope. Not a clue. I know I have good gear because people have told me that. I just know the name it says on the side of the guitar. I have a Marshall cab, Fender 1963 head and I only have one pedal - an OCD pedal. Then a Les Paul Studio Lite.
A Gibson studio Bass is mine and I shuffle between heads.
I do play Dave Grohl's drummers set. Taylor Hawkins had a Gretsch Catalina Club when they first started. I play that.
Damn. I knew everything and was following along until that Catalina Club. Haven't heard of that before!
Where did your band name come from?
When we started the band - I wanted to name us after a Rudimentary Peni song. They're one of my favorite punk bands. I had a list of a bunch of their songs and I knew one of them would be the name of our band. I basically showed people the titles and based on popularity - they picked Gentlemen Prefer Blood. "Crime of the Century" as another option.
How interesting. Most bands don't let other people just randomly choose their name. You're too nice, Todd!
I really couldn't decide. I also didn't want that pressure of, "Oh, you picked THAT one?". So I can just blame it on whoever voted if anyone ever brings it up.
What's something you want to do someday outside of the obvious Gentlemen Prefer Blood getting even bigger? Is it graphic design - is that what you really/ultimately love to do?
Honestly yeah. What I do now makes me so happy.
Wow what a boring answer. Haha - kidding! It's awesome you are doing what you love.
It is pretty boring haha. I make art for shows and bands. That's fun. One big thing I'd love the band to do is go to Europe or Japan or both. Japan is my number one destination for sure. I'm half Japanese. I really wanna go there. Outside of that I don't have any huge desires or anything. That's not how I was programmed. I'm working at a company that has saved us on tour and helps us in other ways. It's badass. In terms of that I'm really happy. My wife's inside.(of the venue) I can't complain.
We just have such a good time. I can't wait until Tuesdays and Thursdays when we practice because we all are always just having a good time.
For me and the job I'm in - it'd be nice to run the restaurant. I know my boss - he's getting up there in age. He has a son that he plans on having run it.
Oh I see. You're gonna put something in his coffee and take out the competition.
He has told us that he wants me to help though. My brother wants to open a traditional cocktail bar and he wants me to cook in the back. That would be fun to do. I have a good time at the restaurant.
Well damn 8 years working there - you better be having a good time or you may be psycho or something.
Well it's easy too. I could do it forever.
Just like Jason's job, right?
I go to him all the time venting and Jason will always tell me we are in the same realm as far as customer service.
It's my life too. Medicine is a service industry.
It's cool. I'm practically a doctor too.
I like how Jason's not a waiter but Mike's a doctor.
I have short term goals: surfing more. Fitness related things. I'm gonna do the Halloween Half Marathon.
Between you two, Mike and Jason, tell me about your craziest customer experience.
I have hundreds of them. I'm trying to narrow it down.
In general, in the ER, I've worked in so many hospitals. I keep getting fired because people die but it's not my fault. Haha kidding. But I do get burnt out in different environments so that's why I go to so many hospitals. Like people who don't have access to care who maybe are poor and don't have good insurance. I enjoy taking care of them because they're really appreciative but at the same time their lack of access to care keeps them coming back. Then - those who do have access to care and have better insurance will be not as sick so it'll be less critical. But often they can be super boujee and demanding and have expectations that are annoying. I appreciate taking care of anyone at anytime though. I have to remind myself, in those moments, patients believe they are having an intense emergency. If it's their life they think is on the line - I won't judge them for their behavior, you know?
The worst I've dealt with was one time, early in the morning around 7:30, we had a group of eight people that wanted to sit outside. It's already hot. It was 85 degrees already. The way our restaurant is setup is there's a glare. We have seating on the sidewalk with umbrellas but at this time of day the sun is so low you can't avoid it. So I pushed two tables together and went to get their drinks but when I came back out they moved tables because of the sun. Then I moved two more tables together, moved all their silverware/drinks over...and then they ordered their food and when I went out to bring some of their food they were gonna move back to the other table. I got pissed and told them I have no control where the sun goes. I let them know this is the final spot. I put all their plates down where they were sitting. My boss gives me the freedom to tell people to fuck off if they deserve it. It was a family -
So you got in that kid's face and said, "SIT IN YOUR FUCKING SEAT, BILLY!!!!"
Move your highchair over there yourself! No, haha, the mom demanded that I drop the food off at the rightful table and to watch my tone. Pretty much telling me to fuck off. So I told her no. Her son didn't like that and he wanted to fight me. I told him he can punch me if he wants - that he's still wrong. My boss saw the whole thing but I told my boss about what happened so he came out and told the lady to go somewhere else. Then the lady brought up how the customer is always right so my boss points to the sign of the restaurant, "Ed's Place", and tells the lady Ed works here and makes the rules so here - the customer isn't always right. Then I was a huge nerd standing behind him nodding my head and stuff saying, "WHAT HE SAID!!"
Do you all like horror movies?
I like 'em.
Yeah - the scariest movie I've ever seen is House of 1000 Corpses.
I don't like gore. I see it enough at work. I don't need it for entertainment but I do like some scary movies.
Well, "IT" is out and you need to see it! With the theme of, "IT", what are all of your fears? What would IT take the form of if he came for you?
I'd be afraid...
Of the old lady from your customer service nightmare story?
HAHA. Well yeah that would scare me. Also if IT started singing the "Bro" hymn. Outside of that a fear of mine is letting people down.
The end of the world is in 15 minutes kinda thing. I don't have a specific fear. I guess a freeway collapsing on my way to work is a big fear.
A sick or a dying loved one is a fear of mine. Or just someone suffering.
What mature answers of logical fears. Most people fear demons or aliens or something but damn. You are all so real!
How do ya'll #staynerdy?
I'm a big Star Wars fan.
Oh no...I"m a big Star TREK fan!! BATTLE!
I like Star Trek too. But I'm more of a Star Wars guy. I have a two bedroom apartment and the spare bedroom is Star Wars. One wall is Hoth Blue. I have a huge Lego collection that's Star Wars. I have a PS4 that's Darth Vader. I have a tattoo of it. I have a t-shirt of a movie called Fanboys that one of the actors wears in the movie. I was at Vons earlier and the Pop chips had the Star Wars theme so I had to buy them even though I don't like them.
Aw man your life is rough Mike!
Haha, yeah. What's sad is I got my girlfriend into it too. She finds all this Star Wars stuff.
I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons. I still get together with some guys and play now.
Well, and girl. There's just one.
and it's his daughter, hahaha.
One time in college I made a dungeon that was a model of the human body. You entered the dungeon - that was the esophagus. It was awesome.
I'm a font nerd. A graphics nerd.
Comic Sans is your FAVE.
And Papyrus. I'm a record nerd too. Fonts I'm pretty bad but I've lightened up. Other than that I don't think there is anything. I'm a techie. I read up on all the announcements and releases and stuff. Particularly Apple stuff.
Are you gonna get the X?
I'm not crazy about the facial recognition. I'll probably get the 8.
Are they both coming out at the same time?
Within a month of each other. I really wanna know what happened to the 9 though - I feel bad they skipped over it.
M: Well 7 ATE 9 - duh!
Thanks so much GPB for hanging around with me before your set a few weeks ago! I had a blast pickin your brains. The gents in this band are some of the kindest and most genuine fellas I've ever spoken to! They always keep those around them laughing and that's my fave quality someone can have. Check them out over the web and until next week #staynerdy
PERFECT HUMANS NEWS OF THE WEEK
The Magical Ghosties have DROPPED at my shop - Perfect Humans! Any duo is 2 for $20. I'm obsessed with all of them but my fave fave are the glow in the dark, black sparkly pair! They're going fast so get 'em while it's still Spooky Season!
NEWS OF THE WEEK
Welp. I got laid off from my desk job. It was a shock. It was not planned. It has left me in a weird place and also I'm looking for a job! I would love to be your Personal or Virtual Assistant: 10 years of experience in 7+ fields! My rates are flexible and I can help make your life easier and keep it organized!
INTERVIEW ON DECK
NBD but I'm interviewing Vince and possibly some other members of Less Than Jake this Thursday at their LA show! I can't wait. We are gonna dork out over our PEZ collections! #staynerdy