For the second show in Flying Dog’s Summer Sessions concert series, the brewery is hosting three bands: People’s Blues Of Richmond, Sun Club and Surfer Blood. We spoke with members of each of the bands — the first two via email and the headliner via phone — over the past couple weeks to talk about their upcoming trip to Frederick, what’s in store for Saturday’s show and, of course, what they think of Flying Dog beer. We’ll be rolling out the interviews, one a day, for the rest of the week. As always, we’ll be at Flying Dog this Saturday, supporting the fine people at Flying Dog and these fine bands (notice the brand new playlist on the right) by giving away koozies, setting up a table, and giving away tickets. Come say hi. First up today is Matthew Volkes, the bassist for People’s Blues Of Richmond.
You guys are from Richmond. Do you ever occasionally come up this way to play? If so, what’s your perception of the music scene? And what’s the scene like over in Richmond?
We try and come up as often as we can. The music scene is great there and we had a blast playing there last time. Richmond’s music scene is blowing up right now. Every night of the week you can catch amazing free music and cheap drinks. There are a ton of great bands in Richmond and we’re lucky to be a part of the scene.
What’s your favorite Flying Dog beer and why?
In-Heat Wheat, because the name is clever. All the other beers, too. They just make really good beer.
You guys have been compared to the Black Keys, Jack White and Led Zeppelin. What’s it feel like to be in the same breath as those kinds of heavy names? Were any of those artists, artists you inspired to be?
We’re honored to be compared to all of those bands. We listen to a ton of Zeppelin and used to play “How Many More Times” into “Communication Breakdown” into “Whole Lotta Love” back into “Communication Breakdown.” A lot of different artists inspire us and I will say those three are some of our favorites. It’s wild — week to week, I’ll find myself listening to a different band obsessively. One week, it’s Cake and the next, it’s the Black Keys.
What are some of your career’s favorite, most accomplished memories so far?
We’ve had an amazing career so far and I really feel like it has just started. One of our top experiences was getting to record with Mark Neill, producer of the Black Keys album “Brothers” — one of our favorite bands and favorite albums. He also recorded J Roddy Walston’s album, “Essential Tremors,” and Dan Auerbach’s solo album, “Keep It Hid.” Other top experiences include playing the main stage at Lockn’ Festival, three sets at Electric Forest, and playing at SXSW. The whole experience of being in a van, riding around the country with your best friends and playing rock n roll is the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. We’ve worked really hard to get where we are right now, but we have had a lot of help from a lot of people and we are really just happy to be where we’re at and playing music.
Who were some of your biggest influences and why?
The Strokes, Modest Mouse and Black Keys are all straight up rock ‘n’ roll bands with amazing lyrics. They’re raw and not afraid to be themselves. All the bands we like are what we call honest music. People that make honest music put everything they have into it. You can hear it when they belt out a lyric or strike a chord. Primus, Felice Brothers, Against Me, Gogol Bordello, Bob Marley and Snarky Puppy all play very different music, but all of these artists live or lived to play, entertain, create art and make music.
You guys get out on the road a bit. Where are some of your favorite places to play and why?
We just went to Chicago for our first time and played the Taste of Randolph festival, which was amazing. Dinosaur Jr., Lettuce, Dandy Warhols, and a ton of other amazing acts played. It was crazy and we had a couple days off, which we normally don’t have. So, we went to the aquarium, Millennium Park, Navy Pier and rode the Ferris wheel at sunset. Chicago has a lot to offer. Tampa seems like a home away from home — they have a great scene going on down there. WMNF is their local radio station and they’re awesome! We always tune in when we’re close to Tampa. We have a blast everywhere we go and there are too many places to mention. I suggest you jump in the car and join us in the PBR Rock and Roll Circus.
Through all your travels so far, can you give us some names of some musicians/artists who we might not already know of, who we should keep an eye on?
There are a lot of awesome bands out there to check out. I’ll name three. The Lawsuits are a band from Philly, kind of Americana rock n roll. They’re really awesome. The Mutts are from Chicago they’re like Tom Waits meets prog rock keys, bass and drums. They tear the roof off the house. Last but not least, some new but very good friends of ours from Charleston, South Carolina — Stop Light Observations. They’re like the Doors meets Modest Mouse. Great band. Awesome guys. Fun to party with.
And finally, what can we expect from your set at Flying Dog?
Rock ‘n’ roll mayhem!