Based out of the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, Small Towns Burn A Little Slower has just released an EP on Rise Records. Having a small but loyal following in their own hometown, the band is about to become part of the Rise Records tour, and they are ready to burn up towns across the nation with their emotionally driven rock. Read on to find out more about this up and coming bandÖ
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Small Towns Burn, and how long the band has been together.
Tommy: My name is Tommy. I play the Rickenbacker. Sometimes I holler in the background. I probably talk too much between songs. Weíve been around w/the current line-up for about 8 months.
Ryan: Hi, I'm Ryan I play the bass guitar
Danny: Danny, I rock the mic.
What is the music scene like in St. Paul and how does your band fit in?
Tommy: Minneapolis/St. Paul is a great place to be from for several reasons. A lot of bands and artists go the extra mile to help one another out because w/ independent music, we're all we have (each other) since the next closest major city is like 6 - 8 hours away. As a result, you get a lot of cross-pollination of styles going on, creating wonderful sounds. Itís really easy to make friends in the scene here 'cuz no one's "too punk" or "too hardcore" since everyone kind of likes everything, you know? And like, there is a huge indie hip-hop scene, many hip-hop groups whom share members of local punk bands. Like slug (Atmosphere) owns a punk label. How cool is that? I really like that. I also like that I can go to the Triple Rock and have a cider served to me by a member from D4 - like, they are a legendary band but it's no big deal if they're bartending because no one here is on a high-horse. Rock star attitudes donít fly. That is sweet. As long as you're nice, you fit. Everyone is really accepting for the most part.
Danny and Ryan: The music scene here is quite diverse, metal is really big, and a rather large bar rock scene, we rock the all ages scene mostly. The nice thing about the Twin Cities is that you can have mixed shows, and people are still accepting of other bands outside their bubble.
Where did you get the idea from your band name? Isnít it a little difficult to fit it all on a marquee?
Tommy: I really have no idea what our name means. Our old singer thought of it. We kept the name just cuz we were building a following and the name kind of grabs peoples' attention. Itís not another "the" name. But yeah, people mess it up all the time.
Ryan: They came up with the name before Danny and I were in the band. And for the record, YES it is too long, but it works
So who is The Beekeeper referring to? And are you a big Robert Frost/poetry fan?
Tommy: ďAlias: the beekeeper" is a quote from Wet Hot American Summer, our favorite movie. Danny is a fan of Frost.
Danny: The beekeeper has nothing to do with the song, its from the movie Wet Hot American Summer a band fave. I wouldnít say that I am a big Robert Frost fan, because to say that, and feel justified I would have to own a book of his works. I do however love that poem.
Tell me about Abby Bernstein and why you want her to wait for you.
Tommy: That is another Wet Hot American Summer quote. Maybe we overdid it, but we dont think so. you really can't get enough of that movie in my opinion.
Danny: The song is a collection of magnetic poems that I made. It has nothing to do with a young woman by the name of Abby Bernstein. Itís just our silliness coming out.
If you had to describe your music to someone who has never heard it before, what would you say?
Tommy: Like at Christmas when your 48 yr. old aunt asks what you sound like? I just say its rock and roll like KISS. But to anyone else I just say we're a melodic punk band. People could get into arguments about sub-genres, but that is silly. All sub-genres in this scene trace back to punk. I donít know.
Ryan: Itís a mix of sugary pop rock and post hardcore? I donít know....I'm weird.
Danny: Stuff you can listen to with your mom in the car.
You will be doing a show soon where you will be playing all ZAO covers!?! Whose idea was that and why the special show?
Tommy: We all like Zao a lot and Danny sounds like Shawn Jonas when he screams. Basically our drummer has to work that night but the show is a benefit for a venue that has been super awesome to us. So Iíll be drumming and our friend Ryan Harris will play guitar. And there are a lot of hardcore bands on the bill. It just sounded like a fun thing to do. Itís a pretty stupid idea, so that means I probably thought of it. But hopefully kids will have fun and grab a mic. Sing along, etc.
Ryan: We are not at liberty to speak of such matters.
Danny: ĎCause I can scream exactly like Shawn Jonas, and Iím hard to the core!
Who in Small Towns Burn is mostly likely to own the new Britney Spears record? Would you ever consider doing an entire show of Britney Spears covers? What about an all Slayer cover show?
Tommy: Well, Joel owns the Tatu album, so Iíd say him. I heard Britney shows are amazing. Like tons of fireworks and stuff. But no, we we'll never do a show of Britney covers. Iíd be down for a show of slayer covers, but I donít know if the other guys would be. Slayer kicks ass.
Ryan: I don't know about records but I think at least some of us would like to own Britney.
Danny: Probably me, cause I seem to have the most records that every one hates, and I would consider doing some Spears covers in the style of Slayer.
Tell me about the Rise Records tour you will be going on this summer. Is this your first big tour?
Tommy: Yeah it is. We have been playing a ton in the Midwest, but we need to branch out and do some serious work now. Sometimes you get too comfortable playing in your region cuz you know people will always be there, but it's important to have those humbling shows where you have to rock your ass off for 5 kids who donít know who you are and donít care. You have to work and make them care.
Danny: Yes this will be our first big tour. Iím extra excited, because there are a lot of places I have never been, and Iím going to get to see some high school friends that have moved away.
What can one expect from a live Small Towns Burn show?
Tommy: We rock out very hard. We try to play really tight and we try to just go off. Get in peoples' faces. I donít like cute bands that jump in unison that perform to a formula. I like bands that make me go home and go, "holy crap that was awesome. Those guys played like they meant it..." and we try to do that. I also try to say something encouraging to the kids there, too. Too many bands are full of themselves or are really negative.
Danny: Tight songs, and wanna be witty banter.
Have you ever played out here in Southern California or plan to do so in the future?
Tommy: We havenít. Iíve never seen the ocean. I want to see the ocean so bad. We will be playing out there on our tour, though. Iím looking forward to it.
Ryan: Not yet, but soon my children.......soon.
How close are you to recording a full-length album?
Tommy: We probably have enough material to do so. When we got Danny and Ryan, we basically started over from scratch w/ the set. Wrote new stuff. New members also meant being able to work in new influences. Try different things. Anyway... we have been writing a lot, but it's good to play the songs live for a while and let them develop. Otherwise you record them and then later on go, "I wish we did it this way instead." so we're in that phase; breaking in the newer material w/ live shows. Maybe this fall. Who knows? Weíll see what happens.
Danny: Hopefully we will have things worked out by this winter.
With so many bands out there, what do you think makes Small Towns Burn stand apart from the others?
Tommy: Well, being from MPSL/St. Paul I think we have a different take on things. Like I said we are from a town where musical cross-pollination takes place a lot. Maybe we go over well w/pop-punk bands or whatever, but we have all these noodley, kill sadie-ish guitar lines, etc. that is a result of the cross-pollination Iím speaking of.
Danny: I donít know if we stand apart. And if we do, I donít know why. P.S. Sorry thatís such a bad answer.
Sean mentions Def Leppard in his thank you notes. How does Sean know DL and does he force you to listen to them while on tour?
Tommy: Sean doesn't know them personally but he does worship them. And yes we are subjected to them frequently.
Ryan: We have endured many a greatest hits record.
Why should someone run out right now and buy the new Small Towns Burn A Little Slower EP?
Tommy: Because we are a little band trying really hard to have a go at this. We live in the middle of nowhere so we really have to struggle to get noticed. We just want to make an honest living making quality music. And we think you'll enjoy the EP.
Danny: Cause the album layout is beautiful, and I have been told that its good music to make out too.
Any final words of wisdom?
Tommy: Just what I say at shows: everyone counts. Everyone matters. Even if life totally sucks this very moment, you still woke up today. There are still opportunities to turn things around. If anyone says anything contrary, donít listen to them because they are lying to you. You are not validated by the crap people push on you. You count for who you are.
Danny: Goodnight, and donít let the bedbugs bite.
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