Interview with Excuses for Skipping
- by Whitney Phaneuf
No excuses necessary for rocking out to Excuses For Skipping's infectious sound--the band won our 2011 SF Fans Poll. When they're not banging out the tunes, you'll find this foursome kicking it in San Francisco’s Mission District. Catch the band tonight, April 27, with fellow locals Loquat for its album release party at The Independent.
How is 2012 shaping up for the band and is touring on the horizon?
2012 is looking like a pyramid shape with two small ovals on either side. If the way it began is any indication of where this year is going, we are going to have an amazing year. First with all of our fans stepping up and showing a tremendous amount of support to help us win the contest for "best emerging artist in Sf", then getting to play this show at The Independent with Loquat; its a step up for us and we are very excited. We are planning a tour starting in the summer and the shape will be a trapezoid. To stay abreast of our tour dates, folks can join the mailing list here.
Can you define what makes Excuses for Skipping's live shows so memorable and addictive among your fan base?
Wow that's really kind of you to say. A rock show should be a cathartic experience. When we go onstage, there's a lot of room for the unexpected to happen. I try to be as out of control as possible. I think with Tammy's spontaneous guitar playing and all the banging on sheet metal, bike frames and other things, there's a lot left to chance. Things fall down, things go flying. We are all ready for that kind of spontaneity. It's that kind of presence and intensity that always makes a great show.
How would you describe the typical Excuses fan?
I'd say our fans are quirky and deep, like us.
The band's unique sound crosses many genres. How does Excuses describe itself?
We call it 'old school space age new wave.' We are all heavily influenced by the post punk movement in the late 70's, so that's the old school. But we grew up on space rock and noise rock- and we've made a lot of music through unconventional means; toys, metal objects, piano guts- this was something that excited us in SF when we first moved here. We take elements of these and add a new wave aesthetic. It's like a horror, sci-fi, feel-good movie.
Who in the band is a formally trained musician?
None of us has any formal musical training. The funniest thing is the way we communicate as a band - there's no- "play a G, then switch to this key or that"- it's more like- "Do the rocket ship thing, then into the explosion and then finish with the pretty part".
Describe the best live gig you ever played and why.
One time we played on the street during the SF Dyke March on 16th St. in front of Adobe Books. It was right after MJ died and we had prepared Billie Jean literally that morning and we all started singing together, us and like 20,000 people crying, dancing and singing. That was a really special moment. We were lucky enough that someone took a video of it and posted it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydhheOPblXI
Who are you currently listening to?
The Andrews Sisters, Hindi Filmi, Stravinsky and Dizzy Gillespie.
If you could make music in another time, when and where would it be and what scene would you join?
Oh it would be late 70's and we would be hanging out with The Clash, Patti Smith and Blondie.
What do you love about making music in the Bay Area?
There is a real community among musicians here, with a strong sense of doing it for the music itself. It's different than NY or LA where it's more of a competitive vibe and people are just focused on getting famous. I think the lack of ambition here actually leads to a lot of innovation, and thats what's inspiring.
Favorite venue in the Bay Area?
Cafe Du Nord
Can you name a few other local bands you feel particularly close to on an artistic level?
The Oh Sees, The Dodo's, Sister Crayon, Aisler Set, Battlehooch