1. Tell us about your craziest touring experience?
We did a show with Company of Thieves in Albany last year and my keyboard stand broke in half right as were were getting on stage. It was a completely packed show and one of the few times I can remember panicking at a gig. I ran around frantically looking for a keyboard stand backstage but no luck. Eventually Chris from CoT set up his drum kit road cases as a makeshift keyboard stand and we just laid the keyboard on top of it. It looked completely ridiculous but it got the job done.
2. What type of college class would you’d most want to take and why?
I would love to take a course on the environment and sustainability. My friend Andy (from OK Go) and I recently launched an iPhone app called inBloom to help you find nearby sustainable businesses and I wish I had some formal education to back up my activism. I’ve considered going back to grad school for a Masters in sustainability.
3. What city in America is the most fun to visit and why?
I’ve always been a big fan of Boston. The people are notably friendly at gigs and because there are so many universities there’s a lot of energy to the city. I’m also an American history buff and there are great historic spots to visit there. The one thing I haven’t done there which I’m dying to do is catch a baseball game at Fenway.
4. What’s some of the best advice you were ever given?
When I was a kid I went to a Matthew Sweet concert at Jones Beach and he was signing autographs at a booth after the set. I said something incredibly dorky like “Do you have any advice for an aspiring singer/songwriter?” and he said “Yeah… quit.” He was half-kidding but I wasn’t sure how to respond so I nodded and walked away and he must have thought he hurt my feelings because when I was 50 feet away I heard him screaming “Just be yourself man!! Just be yourself!!” I don’t know that it’s the best advice I’ve been given but it was certainly the most memorably delivered advice from someone I admire.
5. What’s in heavy rotation in your MP3/CD player right now?
I’ve been on a huge Shins kick lately– both the new record Port of Morrow but also the back catalog. Other artists I’ve been listening to– The Walkmen, The National, Sarah Jaffe, Band of Skulls, Sleeper Agent, and The Vaccines. I’ve also had Bob Dylan’s Desire album on regularly in the last month.
6. The last good book you read or TV show you’re addicted to?
I’ve been reading all of Jonah Lehrer’s books and I highly recommend How We Decide and Imagine: How Creativity Works — they’re fascinating books that reveal some of the mysteries of how the human mind works. He’s similar to Malcolm Gladwell but with a background in neuroscience. The last TV show I got completely sucked into was Breaking Bad — I watched all four seasons in a week and a half and went through some serious withdrawal when I got to the final episode. Thankfully we were only a couple of weeks away from the new season.
7. What’s the first concert you ever saw – how was it?
Bruce Springsteen at Nassau Coliseum — it was incredible. Bruce gives 110% all the time and he plays for three and a half hours. As a fan you can’t ask for anything more than that.
8. What are three items you can’t live without on tour?
My copy of Weezer’s Blue Album (essential road trip listening!), a GPS, and Snickers ice cream bars.
9. Who are your major musical influences?
The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Radiohead and the Motown catalog.
Any random messages or tips you’d like to give to mtvU watchers?
Don’t sign up for 9am classes if you can’t actually get out of bed that early. I can tell you first hand that it will mess up your GPA.