Updated; 03/19/02

In the middle of recording a brand new album, The Berlin Project has been on the road constantly since then, continuing to win over fans of catchy alternative pop. This interview was conducted several months ago, when The Transition Radio EP was about to be released on the Orange Peal label. In an effort to keep fans up to date, we promise to post our new BP interview in a more timely manner. In the meantime, read what lead vocalist John Garrighan had to say about transitions in the band, the EP, their missing horn section, and of course, Britney Spears…

Highwire Daze: Your new EP is called The Transition Radio EP - isn't that kind of an odd name for an album. How did you come up with that name?

John Garrighan: Actually, we were on the road in the Fall. I don't know where we were. We were in the van - we were doing a few dates around the East and the Midwest and we were talking about ideas for new records. We had been in the studio recording - we spent since October of 99 through October of 2000 being in and out of the studio when we could. We kind of waited till the last minute to name it, and we were talking about how it was a transition from the last record. And then somebody was talking about cover art - and somebody mentioned "Aw, I always liked the look of a transistor radio." So we put the two ideas together as a play on words - The Transition Radio EP - you could take it multiple ways. But it's the first thing we agreed on actually. It's kind of hard to follow but it's our strange logic.

HD: I noticed your band seems to be missing a few members, including a whole horn section.

John: Yeah! You know, we woke up one morning, and I'll be damned - they left! (Laughs) Well, actually, to discuss that. What happened was it got to the point that we were drawing well in the East. We had to be on the road a lot and we needed a commitment from everybody to be able to do this full time and be out as much as possible. A lot of the horn section couldn't do it, plus we had a drummer change. So just musical stylings, tastes change, growing up as a band, just furthering ourselves musically - and when the horns couldn't commit, we decided it was time to expand our horizons and do a little more of what we wanted to do. It wasn't that it was planned even - it just fell into our laps and we made the best of it and we're very happy with the way things are going these days.

HD: Your first song on the EP, Crashing Down, seems like a much harder direction for you guys. Is that something you wanted to do?

John: Actually, Crashing Down was written when we still had horns. Three of those songs on the new record were actually written when we still had the horns. That was the direction we were going. All of it was not intention - it's just our taste with who influenced us and what we liked to do - what we were experimenting with our on own individually and not even as a band. And Crashing Down, in comparison to the old stuff - it's harder, but at the same time it's more mainstream. And it wasn't even intended. And the meaning behind the song - a couple of years back I was dating this girl and she ended up getting into a bad car accident. And her life has never been the same ever since and that was pretty much the meaning for the song. It was written from the heart with no intention of any particular style. And that came to be the song.

HD: Where did you get the ideas of some of the other lyrics on the EP?

John: Stay Gold, for instance - I'm a big Robert Frost fan - that's a little known fact about me. I'm not very big into poetry - I've noticed a lot of musicians and songwriters are very heavily into poetry and extensive writings. But pretty much, Robert Frost is the only poetry I've ever read, and I'm very influenced by a lot of his thoughts and his writings. I took a scenario in my life and came up with the song Stay Gold - which derives from the Robert Frost (poem) Nothing Gold Can Stay. Whereas the last record, there was just one song about personal relationships with girls - we spent too much time trying to be serious and not coming across with what we were feeling and what was going on in our lives. And this time, we did it for us and sang and wrote about what was important to us.

HD: When I saw that title Stay Gold. I thought of Robert Frost. But I also thought about that movie The Outsiders too. One of the characters recites that poem in the movie.

John: Yeah, it's one of the best movies ever! It's such a classic movie.

HD: What did you like the most about that movie?

John: I don't know if this is the main reason I like that movie, but think of many stars which were that movie before they were stars. Hell, you've got Ralph Macchio who was in The Karate Kid - that's a little tongue and cheek there because he hasn't done anything since The Karate Kid. But The Outsiders was a great movie - just the way they did it - it was so simple. Nowadays you've got all these specials effects and millions of dollars. In there, they just used a great story and made it into a great movie.

HD: So who is the cover model on the EP?

John: That's a friend of ours. We were taking submissions from some of our friends who had photos. We were just real open for ideas when we were doing this record. It was new to us - we had a new line-up - we were almost starting from scratch. And this girl who was going to school for photography and art had a bunch of pictures and said, "Hey, why don't you take a look at it?" Her name is Christy Goodfellow and she does great work. If anybody out there is reading and looking for somebody to do photos for records or publicity, definitely look her up.

HD: How did the deal with Orange Peal come about?

John: As a band, we've been working with Curtis from Maelstrom for about a year and a half now and Curtis has always been real tight with Robb (from Orange Peal Records). He told me he had talked to Robb and he's really got a good thing going and he's up and coming. And this year we put out the new record. And to tell you the truth, I don't think we were even ready to get with a label, because things were going well independently. We were pushing ourselves on the road - which is probably the most important thing any band can do. Cuz you can sit in your hometown and play X amounts of shows every weekend and get your records distributed nationally. But if your not out there, the only way really to sell records is by live club shows in as many cities as you can as often as you can. So we took the new record and sent it out the Robb and started talking to him. He's a great guy - great to work with and has a lot of great ideas. I'm just so unbelievably happy with the way things are going thus far. It's still a growing relationship and we're very happy with the deal.

HD: You played The Warped Tour last year. How was that experience?

John: Oh, it was real good! We played one of those side stages. All day, the turn out of that stage wasn't too great and we hadn't done many shows in our hometown in a while. All of a sudden, we hit the stage and there's 2000 kids out in front of us because we hadn't been there in a while. So that was a really great feeling to be back home and to see some familiar faces.

HD: The Berlin Project has been asked to contribute a song to an album called Top Metal Hits. If you had a choice and were to do it, what song would you want to do?

John: I'm partial to Cum On Feel The Noise because it was the first metal song to ever be Billboard Number One. Let's go with that or You Give Love A Bad Name. But if we were going with 80's songs, then Eddie Money's Take Me Home Tonight. Not exactly metal, but it's the greatest song ever from that decade.

HD: If someone offered you guys $100 to perform Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears live, would you do it?

John: Oh, absolutely. We wouldn't even take the money. Well yeah, we'd take the money - I mean $100 is $100. Actually a good friend band of ours called Punchline who is doing real well in the East these days - these actually cover Crazy by Britney Spears. But yeah, we'd do Oops I Did It Again.

HD: So who do you think is better - Britney Spears of Christina Aguilera?

John: I'm going to go with Britney Spears just based on concert sales. I got the luxury and privilege of going to see Britney in September, and she filled out a huge 50000 classy Amphitheater. Plus she had just been there in August and they had to add an extra date - while Christina didn't even sell out one night. So Britney is basically kicking Christina's ass!

HD: So is John in Berlin Project a huge Britney Spears fan?

John: I wouldn't go as far as saying fan. I respect her because I think she's beautiful. I respect Christina because I think she's talented and beautiful, so I guess she kind of takes the cake there. I'm not against Britney, but I don't dream about her or carry pictures of her in my wallet anymore.

HD: Anymore?

John: Anymore - key word.

HD: So if there was one thing you'd like someone to remember after hearing your music, what would it be?

John: The melody. And the words. That (answer is about) as unoriginal as it gets, but it means you're writing good songs. And I know this sounds sappy, but if it had any personal meaning to them, I'd like them to gather that.

HD: So if you guys could play two songs at a sorority party sponsored by Chelsea Clinton, what two songs would you play and why?

John: We're gonna play our cover of Snoop Dogg's Rolling Down The Street because drunk people like that song. Not to get off the subject, but that song we did four years ago as a joke on our first record and we can't go to a city in America without two or three people in the back yelling "gin and juice, gin and juice!" But that song Rolling Down The Streets - drunk people like that and there are drunk people at a sorority party. And the second song - Aberdeen 306, our acoustic track off the new record - because it's sweet and acoustic and girls like that. And that's who is at a sorority party.

HD: So do you have any messages for people who might be interested in checking out The Berlin Project?

John: Go swing up by our website at or feel free to e-mail me any time at We appreciate any support that anyone would be willing to give us.

The new Berlin Project album will be out this June. In the mean time, if you enjoy the Drive Thru and Vagrant bands, be sure to check out what The Berlin Project has to offer. The Transition Radio EP is available from Orange Peal Records.


THE BERLIN PROJECT: Their official Home Page!
ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH JOHN OF THE BERLIN PROJECT: Our previous chat from a few years ago.
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