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Interview with Winston and the Telescreen.
This week I interviewed David Tetz from the band Winston and the Telescreen. Tetz and company perform a quirky brand of indie rock that would be worthy of note in and of itself. However, what really sets them apart is their pride in their lyrical expression. Whereas most similar indie bands obscure halfhearted lyrics behind mumbled vocal performances or layers of noise, Winston and the Telescreen proudly display theirs all over their websites, blogs, and anywhere else you might look. While at times harsh, these poetic expressions are lovingly crafted as the centerpiece of the performance, not just an afterthought. Enjoy the interview, and don't forget to visit Winston and the Telescreen at the links below.
Brax: I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but can you please tell me about the name of your band?
Winston and the Telescreen: It's a reference from the Orwell book 1984. It's a way of us being able to be both the hero and the villain, the performer and the audience, the rhythm and the melody.
Brax: What music project are you currently working on?
Winston and the Telescreen: We're attempting to finish our second album 'Love Amongst Lepers' but our piano player needs to get on the ball and finish his tracks. Otherwise, we'll be in limbo indefinitely.
Brax: Your lyrics are proudly displayed on your site, and they're really good. Who writes the lyrics, and what would you say are your favorite themes to write about?
Winston and the Telescreen: I write the lyrics, and thank you for the compliment. There isn't really a theme to be hit on, life just happens and I attempt to capture it at least slightly. When I do a decent job of it, it mirrors a situation in your own life and you identify with it. I counter-intuitively generalize by being very specific. No matter how different we are as people, we tend to repeat similar situations somehow, so I just write whatever's there. Unless I don't feel like it, and then I don't write at all.
Brax: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Winston and the Telescreen: Star Wars without question. My oldest daughter and I even used to go around fighting with light sabers until they broke.
Brax: Tell me about your best and worst live shows ever.
Winston and the Telescreen: The best is usually the last one, if we do it right. It's very much a baptism for me. I go in grimy and come out shiny on the other side. It's my religion, my confession, so last Tuesday's is my new favorite, which we played at the Bordello in LA with the Ivy Walls. But wherever we play next will probably be my new favorite unless we manage to screw it up somehow.
Worst was perhaps at the Vault in Pomona. I was disease ridden and threw up twice just before we went on. I nearly threw up on the front row. When I warned them to stand back they thought I was just being really rock and roll, and they all started cheering and begging me to throw up on them. Also, one of the earlier bands almost got in a fight with us because they were terrible and the singer jumped off the stage and yelled at us to respect him because he was the singer of a rock band and he had tattoos. He even whipped off his shirt to show us, but even that wasn't so bad. A lot of people seemed to like the set and I felt like a champion for completing it, even though afterward I fell over and forced my 15 year old brother in law to drive me home.
Brax: If you could time travel to any era and play live, when would it be, and why?
Winston and the Telescreen: Anywhere with Bob Dylan, Radiohead, The Beatles... whatever time they were in, we'd step in and play with them.
Brax: iPod, CD, Vinyl, or other? Why?
Winston and the Telescreen: Vinyl, until my record player broke. It's more of a sit down and pay attention experience, and as convenient as iPods are, they sound kind of tinny.
Brax: On what TV show(s) would you like to have your music featured?
Winston and the Telescreen: the NBA playoffs, I don't watch much TV, so I'm not sure. ...I know! The Colbert Report, Conan O'Brian, SNL, the Rachel Maddow show, which I know makes no sense but let's make it happen anyway.
Brax: Wormholes or blackholes?
Winston and the Telescreen: Wormholes, because I like to travel.
Brax: Any advice for others trying to “make it” in music?
Winston and the Telescreen: Don't use us as an example, because I spend 90 percent of my life either in a cubicle or sitting in traffic on the 91 freeway to and from work. Remember to be good at what you do before you try to become recognized for it. For some reason a lot of bands skip that step. And remember that, just like in anything else, you really are only competing against yourself. Strive to be better always.
Brax: Anything else you’d like to add?
Winston and the Telescreen: Someone come and work out a record deal with us. We're now ready. Also, if there's any enterprising young managers out there, we are currently seeking a quality hard working go-getter.
Visit Winston and the Telescreen:
Tell them Brax sent you!
Thanks to Winston and the Telescreen.
Check back next Wednesday for my exciting interview with Lost Ocean.