When I heard that Brother Hawk and StoneRider were playing a show together I wondered why it hadn't happened before. If you've been to either of the last two packed concerts for the band Graveyard, you've seen one of the bands open for them. It's been a while since we last heard from StoneRider, and with good reason. They'll be premiering eight new demos at the Basement this Saturday despite losing them in a hard drive crash last week. Brother Hawk will be premiering three of 'em. I sat down with Matt Tanner (aka Dreamy Matt of CL's Lust List and lead singer of StoneRider), JB Brisendine (lead singer of Brother Hawk), and Jason Krutzky (drummer of StoneRider) in the back of a truck at Thunderbox Studios late one night. We talked about the hilarious homeless man that inspired one of JB's best songs, StoneRider's Europe^2 tour, and why rock 'n' roll is becoming more important in the Atlanta music scene.
So how did y'all meet?
Matt: I think the first time I met you it was outside on that chicken farm that housed shows and you still had dreads. You were probably 14. I remember stepping in a lot of shit, like literal shit. And it sounded like shit. And then we started to work together at Outback Steakhouse.
JB: I remember we both were trying not to eat meat back then and these guys in the back made these chicken tenders that were off the chain that weren't on the menu. I remember both of us breaking down and feeling sorry about ourselves after. I used to be a vegan for six years but then I started dabbling here and there gateway drug−style. Before I knew it I was eating barbecue every day.
So tell me a little bit about your Europe^2 tour, Matt. I call it the Europe squared tour because you were in Europe, playing with the band also called Europe. What do you think of Europe as a band?
Matt: They do what they do very well and have sort of transcended that '80s hair metal stigma. You know when you sell 14 million copies of a single you're sort of obliged to play it, but they've recorded a lot.
And you were playing with your new bass player, Adam McIntyre, right?
Jason: Yep! He's in Puerto Rico right now. You know, I was talking to my buddy and I guess that if you go to Puerto Rico on a new moon there's this lagoon that you can go to and there will be bio-luminescent creatures living in the water. You can jump in the water, it's like 10 feet deep, and there are just trails and trails of bio-luminescent creatures that you can run your hands through.
So they're like glow in the dark?
JB: Avatar shit.
Jason: [Laughs] Totally Avatar shit. It's maybe like a fungus? But it's like a microscopic sea creature and when it's disturbed it glows in the dark and so when you go on a new moon, when it's much more light out, when it's dark you can see it much better. So JB, how do you feel about the current landscape of music?
JB: Well there's a sort of thing going on right now in Atlanta with rock music and people playing a lot more of it. Or it's getting more exposure. In terms of bands much larger than us, like My Morning Jacket, who are doing it really successfully, there's still nobody who sounds like either one of our bands. I think we both have our spot in that whole thing that's going on. I think we're just trying to claim it. I feel like a couple years from now you could be like "Yeah I was there, it was fucking sick. I saw them without 1,000 people there!" I hope I don't sound conceited.
Jason: No, just optimistic.
And you, Jason, have not let me hear any new demos!
Jason: I haven't. Wanna know what happened two days ago? My hard drive, that has three years of music on it, just crashed. Three years.
Jason: You talk about trying to remain calm and have patience? I've been exhibiting those features for the past two days. I put in a call to my computer guru and he said two very warm and welcoming words: "good luck."
So "Haywood Heartache" was on an indieATL session, JB. Tell me more about that song.
JB: Okay, is it okay if I tell you a long story?
JB: That song is about this guy who lives in Asheville, North Carolina. His name's Donnie [last name deleted]. He's quasi-homeless ... He's fucking hilarious and one the nicest people I've met in my entire life. He has a girlfriend [name deleted], who's a [ID and occupation deleted], and the girlfriend, you know, is in quotation marks. He says she's his girlfriend but who knows. He tells these stories about her trying to stab him but he loves her and all this crazy shit. But I was up in Asheville and we were about to leave. It was 11:30 at night and we were pulling up out of the gas station and I guess I was going through a thing with a girl at that moment and nobody was acting right. And Donnie comes walking up the road and we roll down the window and we're like "Donnie what's up?!" And he goes "Boy, I'm letting her go! She's treating me like shit tonight!" And we were just like "I'm sorry man!" And he goes "Can I have five dollars?" But that's the opening line to the song, "Brother, I'm letting her go." You know what I mean? It's just exactly that. When he said that I could totally relate to what he was saying. He'd had enough. And it's just things like that where he's walking down the road to the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Can I have five dollars?!
So Matt, I also want to talk to you about being on CL's Lust List. [Laughs] Which just makes me laugh!
Matt: Well, it's -
Jason: Were you surprised?
JB: Did it work?
Matt: My initial reaction was that it was silly but if you say no then how serious are you taking yourself? It was very flattering, very sweet. But I'll be trying to park at various places and and I'll be like, "am I in the right space?" and they'll say [makes an old lady's voice] "were you in Creative Loafing?"
Brother Hawk and StoneRider play the Basement on Saturday, June 8th. $7-$10. 9 p.m. 1245 Glenwood Ave. 404-622-8686.
*Christ, Lord sorry
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