To kick off my blog series, Stories in Music, I headed to The Stork Club in Oakland this past Saturday for the Tooth & Nail/Skate/Punk/Art show. This was my first visit to The Stork Club and judging from the copious quantity of show posters and photos adorning the club walls, The Stork Club has a long history of supporting live music and hosting many bands over the years.
The Pale Rumors, a trio of post-punk rockers, featuring John Watson on guitar, Julie on drums, and Lawrence on bass, opened the show with several of their original songs, and closed out with cover versions of the The Cure’s Just Like Heaven and The Smith’s Still Ill. After interviewing John last week about his band’s original music, I was looking forward to the show, and The Pale Rumors did not disappoint. The only disappointment was that they didn’t play long enough.
Here’s my interview with John about The Pale Rumors and their music. I’m looking forward to catching their music at a later date, and for a longer set. To listen to The Pale Rumors’ music, check them out on Soundcloud.
SC: What’s your role in the band?
JW: I play guitar, sing, and write songs. All band members equally pitch in, but I’m the primary songwriter.
SC: What genre of music do you most identify with? What’s your style of music?
JW: Post punk revival. We’re Gen X-ers, we are veterans. This is the music we want to make. Our music has a darker tinge, the rock category is indie rock, post punk. We play predominantly originals, but the covers we do are out of love for the original song. We might play 1 or 2 covers in a show and put our own spin on them.
SC: How long has the band been together, what brought you together?
JW: Drummer Julie and I played in high school together. We were learning together. We met Lawrence about 2.5 years ago. We all complement each other well. In terms of songwriting, typically we write songs out of practice. Sometimes I’ve written 3 songs in a day and sometimes it takes 3 months to write a song because it doesn’t come to me. Songwriting ebbs and flows.
SC: Where are you based out of, where do you play, and in what type of venues?
JW: We are a bay area band so we play all over the bay area. Our best friends and fan base is in San Jose, where we play at The Caravan, The Ritz, and The Art Boutiki. We also play at the Fireside in Alameda, Milk Bar in SF. We love playing in small clubs, it’s an organic experience where you get instant feedback from the audience. Smaller clubs provide a closer, emotional connection to the audience than larger clubs.
In San Jose, there is a community feeling with musicians, of them working together, inspiring one another, and getting gigs together across the musical spectrum. The bands are very supportive in San Jose, they come to each other’s shows and support one another.
SC: If you had to identify with a famous musician or band, who would it be?
JW: My hero is Joe Strummer of The Clash — brilliant songwriter, brilliant person. Who we identify with as a band is somewhere between The Smiths and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
SC: What inspires you as a band?
JW: We are inspired by our heroes and also by a void that we don’t hear or see in music that we fill with our sound. We are literally making the music that we wished existed in the world.
SC: When people leave your show, what is it that you hope they will say about you?
JW: We would love for people to say they appreciate the musical effort and come see us again, and to also see other live acts.
Thank you John for the interview and John, Julie, and Lawrence for inviting me to the show. I enjoyed your set, the music was great!