Interview

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Modern Sons

by Eric Toennis

Who are each of you and what instruments do you play? Also, what is your favorite pasta dish?

Ryan Saul - Voice and guitar

Dustin Crowson - Bass

Dan Haywood - Guitar

Silas Stewart - Drums

Favorite Pasta Dishes: Shrimp PestoPasta, Spaghetti with SpamPasta, Tinder RavioliPasta, Homemade Potato Gnocchi

What are your favorite aspects of the music scene in Bozeman?

The Bozeman scene is thriving and creative- everyone is constantly pushing each other to be better

How does it compare to the other cities in Montana?

Not sure.

Describe your music using the words “hyperspace,” “King Arthur’s roundtable,” “grapefruit”, and “Tom Hanks.”

Modern Sons’ music is much like a fucked up alternative “sub-region" in hyperspace known as “Tom Hanks-a-topia”. Much like his Volleyball pal Wilson we are like an imaginary grapefruit that sits at King Arthur’s roundtable spoiling because no one has one of those fancy serrated spoons to eat it with.

How long have you been making music together?

Been together since 2012 and have lost members here and there who have tried to grow up and get ‘big boy jobs’, be in wedding bands, or are selling their souls to drugs. We just keep pushing forward.

Give us a little history of the band name. What makes you guys so “Modern?”

Dan our guitar player is a ‘Modern Son’. He was born very premature and would not have survived with out the marvels of medical technology.

What is the biggest crowd you have played for and where was it? How did this experience help you grow as a band?

Biggest crowd we played for was at a handful of SXSW unofficial showcases called Red Gorilla Festival. The bars on 6th Street in Austin are packed to the gills for a whole week straight. People were digging the music. Made us realize that we do make some decent tunes, and that it isn’t just our friends on Montana blowing smoke up our asses.

Who is the biggest crybaby in the band when it comes to being sick?

Honestly, no one has ever been a crybaby. Sick or not we’ve always practiced and/or played our shows. Diarrhea, vomit, crusty infected urethras; we’re always there.

Name your biggest influences and how each of them contributed to your style and sound.

Chris Gains, Fastball, ‘Lil Boaty, 311, Chris Brown - they’ve just taught us so much

Last movie you each saw in the theater?

Theater...Who has money for that? We only watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies really.

What was your familiarity with the actor Richard Dreyfuss before this festival?

Didn’t he kill himself by Autoerotic Asphyxiation with a neck tie? Or wait that was Tom Cruise. JAWS!!!!!

You get to choose between three artists to open up for on a world tour. Your choices are: Nickleback, Creed, and 3 Doors Down. Please choose one and defend your choice.

Nickleback hands down. Ryan used to know the bass player, Mike when he lived on Maui. Apparently each band member has their own tour bus and they travel with a chef. So, at least we’d eat well. Eating good food is our #1 priority in life besides sleep. 

 

Links for Modern Sons:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Dave Caserio

by Anna Paige

You and Parker Brown have been working together since 2008. What brought you together?

We worked together at the restaraunt Enzo, and when I was putting together Feast for the Hunger Moon, I needed local musicians. I knew Parker played, so I asked him. 

What was that performance like? 

It was a melding of all these platforms of poetry, music, and dance. I think people felt transported. They felt lifted into a different space. One audience member said: "From the moment the lights went down until the Feast ended a couple of hours later, I was in a state of disoriented awe. Disoriented because I had never been in the middle of anything so relentlessly, breathlessly creative." 

That performance was important in setting a tone for collaborative culture in our local arts, music, and literary scene. How did that change you as a poet?

It made me suddenly think there were more possibilities for poetry in the community. I was able to find ways to make a living at it, as opposed to the traditional poet-reads-from-book-of-poetry-and-sells-a-book model. 

You've been residing in Billings since 2003, but you've lived and worked in major cultural centers (Seattle, New York, San Diego). These places seem to influence a lot of your poetry. How does the Billings landscape enter into your work?

Places are incidental. New York, for instance, did influence a lot of my writing because there was so much going on and so many different voices you could hear just walking down the street. Those voices had their own rhythm and their own story. That external world began to intersect with my internal world and my exploration of my past, and my family history. 

If it's not about landscape, what is it about for you?

I think being labeled as a regional writer puts you into a box. There are times when I walk out into the Montana prairie, and it feels like I could be in Mongolia–the landscape and history and imagination just have a sort of serendipity and juxtaposing where my mind just wanders.

What does live music add to your poetry?

Here in Billings, it opens up the potential audience. If you just do a traditional reading, you may have people attending only interested in poetry. But if you add music, suddenly you have people who would not normally come to a poetry reading because it's unique. And they can find out, "You know, I think I do like poetry." On the aesthetic part, I'm really interested in how sound moves through poetry. A poem can't literally get up and dance, and yet it has something of a dance and music in it. 

Poetry, spoken aloud, takes on a different quality. How do you prep for speaking poetry? 

I spent a lot of time listening consciously and unconsciously to pop artists, everyone from Sarah Vaughn to Aretha Franklin to Van Morrison, or folk musicians like Hank Williams and Lead Belly. The way they would phrase language gives you some sense of how poetry can be written and spoken.

Do you feel that poetry is an auditory art form?

That is poetry's nature, because it goes back to the oral tradition. Even now, a poet can get up in the middle of a poem and dance, begin to sing, play an instrument. They begin to take on a shamanistic quality. 

You describe yourself as a bardic poet? What does that mean?  

It's the essential idea that a poet, while often solitary in nature, has a larger cultural role. I love Ed Hirsch's understanding of this notion, that "the poet offers us thought schooled by intuition, emotion deeper than thought, and soulfulness deeper than emotion.  Such archaic ways of knowing go all the way down to the roots of being." A poet is just another human being trying to wake up and stay awake, a reminder of what we are and what we can be.

 

Links for Dave:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Mary Kate Teske

by Phillip Griffin

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Hi there! Who are you and what have you done with my shower curtain?

Ayyyy, this is Mary Kate Teske some of you know me as Murray Kurt Tersker or MK. And Phil! Dude, I was walking down on the Southside and actually saw some naked lady bust into your house and ALL she took was the shower curtain. She sort of fashioned it into a dress when I saw her take off.

I hear you've had a busy summer. What have you been up to?

Busy as helllllll. It's been a rad summer though full of traveling, camping, climbing, photo taking, shindigs with friends and a whole lot of other stuff!

I also hear you've been coordinating the visual art aspects for Dreyfest this year. What can people expect to see during their DF experience?

Yeah, I have been! Alright, you guys can expect your faces to melt, your eyes to get trippy, details to stun you and for artists to knock your muthafuckin' socks off.

Much of your work features an old car you call Frank. What's the story there?

The story behind Frank is kind of a long one, but I'll make it short and leave a link to the article I wrote for Last Best News explaining more of it*. My grandpa used to own a gas station in Seattle that my whole family worked at. They were always redoing cars and one day was willed the Lancer from an old customer of his. Eventually another customer came in and ended with the Lancer through a trade between her and my grandpa. My family at some point down the line sold the gas station and moved to Terry, MT to start a farm. My grandpa ended getting the Lancer after it was willed back to him where it sat on the farm for years. When I was fifteen I got to rebuild it with my family and have been driving it ever since! 

*Read the whole story about MK's Dodge Lancer, Ol' Frank, here.

You've also been doing some work on a project called Backseat Sessions, in which artists perform songs in Frank's back seat. This seems like an awesome way for small artists to get content they can share online. How long have you been doing that? How did it start? Any future plans for the project?

So the Backseat Sessions have been going on for about five months now. They spawned from an old roommate and I hanging on the rims one night. We were chilling inside of my car and, being a musician herself, my roomie brought her guitar and started playing in the back while hanging out. I got the idea from that, and it turned into something a bit bigger because a lot of my friends are musicians. As for future plans, I hope to one day get Kendrick or something in the backseat so we'll see how well progressing toward that goes.

What's your favorite Lord of the Rings character?

Oooooh, LOTR is one of my favs. I've always been kinda in love with Aragorn.

To me, a lot of your stuff has an '80s feel to it - something like a hay-day sensibility. Bold colors and some sleek darkness, burgers and a highway. Maybe a gesture back to a time when cars were seen as more of a boon than a burden as they are now, with climate issues upon us. Is there anything in particular you try to capture in your photography, or do you just snap stuff you think looks cool?

I definitely try to focus on colors. I hate the goddamn beige epidemic happening in modern homes today. But really, I try mostly to document my life, and fit my car into iconic, classic scenes. I'd like to do more throwback type of stuff in the future though.

Top three things you're most excited for in the next six months? Ten years?

Damn, it seems like I'm always excited about something, but if I have to choose: I'm jazzed to climb Devil's Tower soon. I'm actually really stoked for Dreyfest. I'm always reeling for the day I get to become an organic farmer.

Dreyfest is less than two weeks away! What are you most excited to see?

Well, Phil, ya told me about that damn Richard Dreyfest piñata head and now I can't stop thinking about that thing.

Top three places you've visited with Frank?

My favorite places I've traveled to in Frank are probably Glacier National Park, The Redwoods, and Big Sur!

 

MK's Links:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Idaho Green

by Eric Toennis

First of all, who are each of you, and what do you play? And, why the hell should we care?

Austin Finn, I play guitar and sing. And it’s not my place to tell you what to care about!

I'm Caleb Addy. I play guitar and sing and you should not care.

This is Jordan on drums and you should care because we don’t care, and if you don’t care then we’ll have to care and I don’t think any of us want that.

All of you currently reside in Brooklyn, NY after moving from Montana. What drew you to the New York music scene? Why not somewhere else, like Idaho?

Austin: I think we sort of decided that if we were going to live anywhere other than Huntley or New York, we would just rather stay in Huntley. And Jordan and I growing up outside of LA made me like big cities, but fucking HATE LA. So New York it was.

Jordan: Idaho is the promised land so I don’t think we would need to play anymore. The farther we are from Idaho the better our playing. That’s why we’re thinking about moving to Mozambique so we can reach peak playing.

Yankees or Mets?

The Mets? The METS? We don’t watch National League baseball, we only watch the real teams.

Idaho Green has been around for quite a few years now, sporting a multitude of different lineups. What can you tell us about your current lineup and what it brings to the table as far as sound and energy? Does the change in lineup ever cause any problems with the consistency of your sound? As a bonus, list all of the former members of the band.

For Dreyfest, we will have all sorts of secret weapons. But which secret weapons, we’re not going to tell you.

We’ve always envisioned Idaho Green to be a family band, we actually hope one day to change the name to “Idaho Green Fambly (sic) Band”. With the sic included, by the way. But yeah, a la the Underground Railroad to Candyland or Los Campesinos! or Gogol Bordello or something. We can go as a 3-piece if we have to, but it’s waaaaay more fun when there’s like 12 people on stage going nuts. And as far as different lineups changing the sound goes, I actually really like that challenge. It’s like a puzzle, like “how do I get this group of 7, or this group of 4, or whatever, to sound good?” Because there’s really not one way to get a group of people together and sound good, no matter how individually talented they are. It’s like a soccer team. You can’t force a team to play a certain way if they aren’t equipped to play that way. You have to change your gameplan to accommodate the squad you have. It can be frustrating, but the challenge is the really validating thing for us.

Here is a list of everybody who has ever played a show with Idaho Green, also known as “cAPS lOCK bOYS” or “Spuds”-

Austin Finn

Jordan Finn

Caleb Addy

Phil Griffin

Dan Redinger

Damon Hartl

Leslie Metzger

Will Honaker

Ryan Andersen

Guthrie Brown

Richie Vallejos

Rob Smith

Julius ‘Lil Prodigy’ Ostby

Cooper Malin

Ron Bray

Handsome Dan Hansen

Jenni Long

Andy Ezell

Amos Helvey

Kelly “Handsome Boi” La Croix

Johnnie Lindell

Michael Seibert

Jordan Perkic

Henry Goodridge

Jared Benge

Carsten “Karson” Wright

Hayden Duncan

Garret ‘Yer Ol Dad’ Griffin

Peter De Maio

Alex Sonnemaker

Ashley Kossakowski

Evan Lane

I hope I didn’t forget anybody!

The band formerly went by the name Idaho Green and the Caps Lock Boys. When and why was this shortened to just Idaho Green?

Oddly enough, another band called Idaho Green and the Caps Lock Boys threatened to sue, so we had to shorten it to just Idaho Green. A similar situation happened when The St. Louis Cardinals made Ryan Adams and the Cardinals change their band name to just Ryan Adams. Or When Bryan Adams made Ryan Adams change his name to Albert Pujols. That of course prompted Albert Pujols to make the St. Louis Cardinals change their name to Albert Pujols and the Cardinals. And then of course Major League Baseball made them change back to just Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. Did you know people still ask him to play “Boys of Summer”? It’s not even a Bryan Adams song!

One of the calling cards of Idaho has always been all of the different crazy costumes and clothing combinations that you wear onstage (wrestling tights, girl scout uniform, animal costumes, French maid lingerie, colored suits, old-school sports jerseys, and sometimes just tight white undies are some of the ones I can remember off the top of my head). Where did the idea for this come about and is it something you guys still continue to partake in?

Austin: I sort of have a theory that all bands are already wearing costumes anyway, and I thought it would be cool to take that to an absurd level. Like, if you, as a performing musician, are conscious of what you are wearing on stage, and want to portray yourself in a certain way, then to me, you’re wearing a costume. Like, for example, there’s all these punk bands in new York that has this look where they wear leather jackets and white super tight tee shirts tucked into black skinny jeans with Doc Martins, or whatever. It’s so fucking lazy. It’s the epitome of telling and not showing. Like, “Hey, in case you can’t tell by my completely misinformed, shallow, and unoriginal music and lyrics, I’m super fucking punk.” And every genre of music has guilty parties of this. By wearing a costume, in the more traditional sense, it’s sort of my way of not telling, and not showing, but opting out of appearances dictating our artistic expression. It can become super distracting, and I don’t have to think about it.  It forces us to have to be able to express what we are trying to express without the medium of clothes. Which, ironically, is sort of an artistic statement by itself. I dunno. Also, David Byrne says that if you wear the same thing every day, people will remember you better. No idea if that’s true, but it seems to work pretty well.  

Caleb: I wear the french maid as a personal challenge. Every time I put it on, I'm pushing the limits of how bad something can smell, and how much wear and tear it can go through without evaporating into the vinegar cloud that I know it's fated for. Also, I just like looking pretty.

Jordan and Austin, how does the sibling dynamic work for you guys with being in a band together and spending so much time with each other? Do either of you have any secret plots to kill the other one in their sleep, or poison their drink?

Austin: Actually, we realllllllly didn’t get along from like ages 1-12(Austin)/3-15(Jordan). Jordan is 2½ years older than me (and he’s 2½ of a man!). So I think we sort of got all our fighting out of our systems for our lifetimes in that condensed period of 12 or so years. But BOY let me tell you, that sure was a rough time. But once we moved to Billings I think we sort of started to get along better, since we had nobody but each other. Cute, huh?

Jordan: Austin’s living on borrowed time for all I’m concerned. I’ve been irradiating his room for the past nine years with minute levels of polonium-210 vis a vis isotropic decay releasing a lethal dosage on track to shorten his lifespan to 31 years max. Unfortunately, we’re on really good terms nowadays so I keep waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats about my regrets. Then again, that might just be the radiation poisoning.

Caleb, how were you first introduced to these heathens and what makes you want to continue to be subjected to the Finn brothers’ tyranny?

I met Jordan at a garage show! It was a fundraiser for an Idaho tour? This was long before I joined the band. I met Austin through friends, but I will never forget the first night we really met. Austin and a mutual friend (Delow Sarb) got shit-housed and went to The Hobbit. They had to leave because they were so drunk. They came over to my house, and we continued to drink and watch Twisted Romance tour videos. Suddenly Austin says, "You should tour with Idaho Green!" And the rest is history.

To answer the second part of this question, love is something that isn't supposed to make sense.

Richard Dreyfest and Idaho Green are two synonymous names. This awesome festival literally wouldn’t be possible without you guys and now it’s in its fifth year running. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Dreyfest?

The very first roots of Dreyfest were before my time… local artist/musician/comedian/genius Rob Smith had the idea to have a show down at Devil’s Tower called Richard Dreyfest, where we would camp out,  get drunk and see punk bands. I think his idea was to have like Teenage Bottlerocket and Gamits headline, and then just have a bunch of local punk bands drive down and play with them, like a big 7-8 band show. But when it became apparent to us that this would be nearly impossible to pull off (the National Park Service was not too stoked on the idea), we decided to throw it locally, and move it to Wyoming once we got off our feet. But it ended up being so much fun doing it locally we decided to keep it in town!

Finish this sentence:

Idaho Green ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______, and also ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ balls.

Austin: Idaho Green buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo, and also buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo balls.

Jordan: Idaho Green balls hard, nothing but balls, balls, and also balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls.

Finally, the question we’ve all been anticipating...Favorite Richard Dreyfuss movie?

Caleb: American Grafitti.

Austin: The Graduate. Even though he’s only on screen for about 5 seconds, I still consider it a Dreyfuss vehicle. Hoffman was just along for the ride. What About Bob? is great as well, but I don’t trust films whose titles are questions. Make me uneasy.

Jordan: Jaws.

 

Links for Idaho Green:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Ernav K

by Phillip Griffin

Ernav K, what is your position on scrambled eggs? Do you like them more or less forked such that there is more or less distinction between the yolk and the white?

Scrambled eggs are safe. It's hard to screw up and they get the job done. If I'm making them, my white-to-yolk forking ratio depends on how long I can fork before losing interest.

I’m super stoked about having you at Dreyfest, having seen your work at a show I played at the Haufbrau in Bozeman. You describe yourself as the following: "Ernav K is Ethan Hoerr’s psychedelic audio-visualization project combining multiple formats such as analog video synthesis, video feedback, cathode ray oscilloscope graphics and liquid light projection. With an emphasis on analog techniques, correlation between sound and light is made on the fly by human interpretation.” This sounds more like an engineering project in outer space than a psychedelic light show… On the other hand, maybe the two have a lot in common. How did you get into this stuff anyway? How long have you been doing it?

My first exposure to analog video synthesis was watching Nick Ciontea, aka brownshoesonly, performing at Knobcon 2013 in Chicago, a fantastic synth convention. He was kind enough to explain the principles to me, but I waited until November 2015 to buy my first video module. By this time I was in Peoria Illinois playing keys in a psych rock band, The Golden Fleece, when we decided to incorporate a live visual element into our shows, and we also made a VHS-only visual album for our first release. The tapes sold out, but you can find a ripped copy on YouTube.

Had you done much visual art before you got into projection work, or is Ernav K your first venture into the visual realm? 

Apart from making home videos as a pre-pubescent, this is the most involved I've ever been in visual art. The transient nature of using an analog modular synth is really meditative and almost humbling in the sense that you're never going to create the same patch again. I've grown to appreciate that, as I don't actively think like that in my daily life.

You obviously spend a lot of time at shows. Do you play any instruments? Do you currently or have you ever played in a band or music project?

I started out on bass guitar before picking up guitar, drums and keys. Apart from writing occasional solo psych rock/pop stuff. The Golden Fleece was my last stint before I moved here in August last year. They're doing well for themselves in Illinois and I'm really proud of them. Other than that, I've picked up my bass again with a few other musicians in Bozeman, and I have a good feeling about what the future holds.

Last fast food joint you ate at? Did they have sour cream there?

Taco Bell in Belgrade. They definitely have sour cream but it actually surprises me that they don't offer packets of the stuff, whereas when you get a baked potato at Wendy's they pack the bag fat.

What is your favorite piece of equipment in your setup? What does it do?

I like all my fancy video modules and random gear but creating video feedback is probably the most fun and economical video trick I play with. I either point a video camera at the display it's connected to, or you can send the output of a video mixer back into itself. You can get really great fractals or smeared tracer type effects that way. Watch any Earth, Wind, and Fire music video from the early 80's, like September or my personal favorite, Let's Groove.

It seems like you’ve got a whole “retro” thang going on there, with the mumbo jumbo about analog and fluid human interpretation. As far as I know, Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were among the first to come up with the concept of the light show as its own form of art. Do you know/like those folks? How do you see yourself fitting into that sort of lineage?

I have mad respect for those magic bus riding freaks. I'd like to think I would have hopped along for a ride back then. I owe a lot to the liquid light and video art pioneers from around that era; I see myself as one member of perhaps another "wave" of video synthesists. Many artists from back then are still active today; Joshua White of the Joshua Light Show maintains a Facebook group and is very open about his oil techniques; Dave Jones makes video synthesizer modules and drops wisdom bombs every now and then. I dabble a little in oils, but video synthesis is my bread and butter. Up until the amazing folks at LZX Industries made modular video synths accessible to individuals, the only way you ever would have got to play with one without building it yourself was in the 70's and 80's in a university setting. 

What does Ernav Koepp mean?

The meaning is open to interpretation, but it's a nonsense name I made up in 2007 when I thought someone was stalking me on the internet. There are many ways to pronounce Koepp, I usually read it as "cope" but "co-ep" is pretty common. I guess a lot of people actually have that last name, I got a lot of Koepp friend requests shortly after making my Facebook profile.

You’ll be playing at a couple different spots for Dreyfest, on Friday at Smiling Dog Records and Saturday at Nova Theater. Have you ever been to Dreyfest? What can the attendees expect from your performance?

This will be my first Dreyfest, and I am beyond excited to be performing! Expect a lot of colorful abstract patterns that pulse and wiggle along to the music. I don't want to reveal too much, but I recently got an overhead document camera, like the ones used in classrooms, and have been searching for a Ouija board...

 

Links for Ernav K:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Will Thomas

by Colton Young

Can you tell us a little bit about your comedy experience and accolades within the comedy scene in Montana?

So it's been a wild ride for me. First I was just a guy doing comedy up here. Then I was wanted in other cities in Montana. Posters with my name and face were appearing everywhere. I felt like I couldn't just blend in anymore. Had to keep moving from city to city! Then suddenly I'm winning competitions out here and now I'm ready to perform at the Art House!

If you were trapped in an elevator and had to choose two people to be stranded with, who would you choose and why?

I think I would choose Solange Knowles and Ray Rice. That would be a better fight than McGregor/Mayweather!

Have you any background knowledge on Richard Dreyfuss and or Richard Dreyfest?

Dreyfest, no. This just popped up on me. Dreyfuss though? Who doesn't know the man that brought wonder to the masses in Jaws! Do you know that Jaws doesn't even show the shark until halfway in? Kinda like my comedy-it dosent hit until you least expect it!

So, I hear you used to be a paleontologist, what kind of skills have translated from that to your success in comedy?

Whoa! Who you been talking to? Looks like I didn't bury those bodies far enough! Yeah, I did that for a while. I'd say patience, and the ability to hammer and brush at something (or someone) for minutes on end until I unravel its mystery. Still working on the mystery of women, though.

There has been speculation on you operating an underground, top secret Dino facility. Could you possibly shed some light on these rumors?

Hmm. I can't tell you everything. Just know I've leased an island from the Costa Rican government for a...pet project.

What made you decide to pursue comedy and have you always enjoyed the arts?

I've always enjoyed plays. Opera, not so much-but I can really get down with a good cast and story. As for pursuing comedy-sometimes life hands you a lemon. Life threw a bag of lemons at me repeatedly. In fact, I'm pretty sure it assaulted me. But I'm out here making Lemonade that rivals Beyonce's.

What’s the last TV show you watched and why did you choose it?

Ok. So I'm a huge Netflix guy. Give me a good series and I'll binge it. The last show I watched Kimmy Schmidt-Titus Andromeda is off the charts hilarious!

What’s it like being 35 and looking like your 21?

I don't know! I'm not 35....yet! But looking young, why thank you. It's the lotion. Always with the lotion!

If you had the opportunity to either have a Pokémon or Dino as a lifelong companion which would you choose and why?

Oh man, you're hitting the deep cuts now. I love me some Pokémon, been playing since ‘97. I'd have to take a dinosaur though, give me a Ankylosaur anytime, mainly cause they move two miles an hour, so everyone sees you (a dollar for the first person who gets that reference).

Rumor has it you’re a 90’s music guru. When its time to coax the crowd, what’s your go to karaoke song to perform?

Man! Selling my soul here. If I get the chance to wow a crowd, it's Regulators. If it's to woo a damsel, I'm breaking out the N'Sync. Tearing up my heart! Got the dance and everything!

I know you happen to be an improv studmuffin as well as a talented jokester.  How would you describe your style of comedy?

Observational absurdist. A little racial humor and a lot of physical exertion. Basically, I have a ton of stamina.

Will's Links:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Johnny Hoffman & the Residents

by Jordan Finn

*J= Joseph Krassin      D= Dylan Miller

 

Are you real?

J- I like to think so.

D- I'm the realest.

Who is Johnny Hoffman?

J- Fallen Hero.

D- A man; A Legend. 

Who are the Residents and what have they done with my wife?

J- I ain't no snitch.

D- ...

Is there any backstory on the formation of Johnny Hoffman & the Residents or did the band one day generate a form from random space goo slingshot around Jupiter's moon Io from the nether reaches of deep space?

J- We picked up some instruments and just kept writing.

D- I really don't think there is an explanation on this.

So Everett's where Boeing's production facilities are, making planes which makes Montana a "fly-over state". Do you take any responsibility in contributing to making our state the butt of many a coastal joke?

J- You guys should stop talking down about your state.

D- We love driving through Montana and always make a point to visit our favorite city...yes, Billings!! Third time performing and partying here.

How is Everett these days? How would you describe the local "scene"?

J- The scene in Everett is beautiful, creativity everywhere.

D- No comment.

If you could purloin the secrets of any band and steal their magic powers which would it be?

J- Probably Royal Bloods management company so I could open for Queens if the Stone Age.

D- Warner Bros. manager for the gifted bands group???

Does the Everett born singer song-writer, fictional radio DJ, and guest star of the ABC Seasme Street special "Elmopalooza"  Kenny Loggins have any affiliation with Johnny Hoffman & the Residents? 

J- Second cousin twice removed neighbor.

D- I know him from Jo. 

Do you have any exciting plans for the band's future? Syndication perhaps?

J- Europe in November and new music. 

D- New songs / Dreyfest 2017

If you could answer in pig Latin, is punk dead?

J- Nuhdago.

D- I can't handle this...

 

Links for Johnny Hoffman & the Residents:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Chad's Friend Bill

by Ty Herman

Hiya fellas, who are you? Do you think the earth is really spherical?

Spherical is lyrical. 

Your band name is very intriguing, and I sense a lot of hidden meaning within it. How did you come up with it?

We are bad at coming up with band names. Our first official gig, wherein David Cleaves asked us what our name is and we said we didn't know, he introduced as Chad and his Friend Bill. That was too long so we shortened it to Chad's Friend Bill...

Have both of you lived in Billings for a while?

Chad was here for a while, then he escaped, then he came back. Bill has not been here for a while. 

I'm a huge fan of some of your atypical melodies and groovy syncopated drum patterns. Who are some of your biggest influences and what have you been listening to lately?

Chad's major influences are the band Low, and Radiohead. He has been listening to Low and Radiohead. Bill's influences: Sergio Mendez, Elise Regina, and Pavement.

Chad interjects, "Bill have I told you about my Lord and Saviors Low and Radiohead?" 

Bill responds, "No, I am not interested in Low and Radiohead!"

I’ve heard that zombies are piss poor fighters, but do you think a zombie apocalypse is a significant possibility? If so, what would you do?

It’s always a possibility. My advice is to give in. Zombies are way less stressed and sad during those things. Bill recommends the album "Across the Fall of Sunset" by the band Wagner and the Zombiemen. All the answers are in that album... I mean all of em' baby.

Bears are scary. What's your favorite kind of bear? 

We like to drink Street Fight at Angry Hank’s Microbrewery. We have been getting more and more into lagers. Budweiser is nice and we like sours. Not sure why you are scared of bears.

Where did you boys learn to play music? Do you have any tips for the people out there that are learning and just starting out as bands?

Look up the song "In my Room" by George Possley. That’s where we learned. We learned ourselves real good. Then Bill got a fancy ass degree. He always reminds Chad. If your just starting out stick to it, have fun, and don't do what we do to get famous.  

Do you think the Rothchild's are a bunch of smelly lizard people?

The other day I was walking my dog and I saw a lizard.  Then I was walking my lizard and I saw a smaller lizard. Then there's the thing about the Rothchild's, who can really say.  But back to the tiny lizard; he looked up and told me that one day I would name my son Jim Moron-son and he would free the people from their scathing wealth and poor bodily hygiene. Didn't think much of it though till someone asked me about my fear of da bears.

Both of you have been playing music for quite a while and in a few different cities, what are some of your most crazy or memorable gigs?

Arthouse.....Michelle painted. It was good. This place Chad played in Minneapolis had the most amazing urinals you have ever seen!!!!!! It's called the Stasiu's Bar and they have beautiful stately urinals, fit for a KIng or Chad's Friend Bill.

Thank you guys very much for being a part of this year’s festival, I love hearing your music! Would you rather sweat a gallon of peanut butter every week of your life or have Cheeto fingers until you die?

I want both, says Bill.

Yeah seriously why would you make us choose, says Chad.

 

Chad's Friend Bill's Links:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Cayden Taylor

by Colton Young

Anyone that has seen you perform knows you are one of the young guns of the Billings comedy scene, how long have you been doing stand up for?

I have been doing stand up technically since January of 2016 when my friends urged me to tell them some jokes, but I've been performing in front of public crowds like Laugh Jurassoff since April of 2016.

Being only 17, and a the new owner of a drivers license, what made you want to pursue comedy at such a young age other than the hope for possible female interaction?

What actually drove me to write and perform was dealing with a bit of depression after some heartbreak during my sophomore year, which I've gotten over thankfully. Also, I am a really big fan of Bo Burnham and Donald Glover who got their start in comedy at really young ages, so that made me want to at least give it a try.

What’s it like having your parents in the crowd while tastefully delivering dick jokes?

It is something that should be awkward, but my parents and I have an understanding that I am trying to be weird for the sake of being weird, so they know it's not 100% me on stage.

I’ve gotten the chance to see you perform some musically inspired and comedic poetry on stage in the past, any chance we can expect to see something similar at this year’s Dreyfest?

There is a very good chance people might see poems and/or music in my act this year, but the only way to find out is if you come see me and my friends at Dreyfest!

Before this interview, did you know who Richard Dreyfuss was? 

Unfortunately, I hadn't. However, that is the cool thing about this festival, you get to learn about the talent around Montana and be able to enjoy the different varieties of art and culture that those talent created. I have heard of some of the bands that will be playing, such as Silverbow Society (make sure to check them out as well!)

Whats your take on Bigfoot?

My take on Bigfoot? Over 7 ft. tall, girls dig a man that's over 7 ft. tall.

What does life consist of when you’re not bumming around in school or cracking jokes on stage?

My life consists of working at a restaurant, listening to music, attempting to write something comedic, and of course lots of eating and sleeping.

An English speaking garden gnome walks through the door wearing nothing.  What does he say, and why is he there?

The gnome says "I'm killer keemstar" and he's there because I'm not iDubbbz and he knows I won't hurt him. (By the way, both are pretty funny dudes, I recommend watching them)

Congrats on making it all the way to the finals of the Montana Comedy Competition this year. That’s no easy feat. I’ve noticed you have a pretty large following of young folks at all your shows. What do you refer to this legion of loyal lads as? Some have loosely labeled them as “Caydens Comrades” in the past, but what do you as their master call them?

I call them family; they've stuck with me through my really bad and really good times. I cannot thank them enough for that, and I am forever in debt in giving back to them.

 

Cayden's Links:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Parker Brown

by Eric Toennis

Hey there, Parker! Looks like you're a Billings guy. Are you from Billings originally?

Yeah, I am…In most ways. I think I drank ditch water enough to have it affect my DNA before my family moved out to the glacial lakes of Coeur d'Alene, ID when I was eight. I ended up coming back to Billings when I was nineteen and now I have ripened to thirty-four .  

You've got a band you call the Bleeding Hearts. Is this some LIBERAL PROPAGANDA or what? Are you going solo for Dreyfest, or will there be a Bleeding Heart or two with you?

Hahaha! It’s a total ploy.  But also, when I thought about it I really liked the idea of us all being a sensitive band, ya know, a bunch of feelers, so I just put it out there and as it turns out I think my band mates are maybe even more emotional than me. I am going to talk at least one member to join me at Montana Gallery for the show. 

On your website you've got a picture of you playing guitar, drums, AND upright bass. 1) Did you invent a cloning machine?  2) If you are not just one of a series of clones, what instrument did you start on?  3) Would you say you have a "favorite" instrument to play among these?  4) If you are one of a series of clones, is the real Parker Brown still alive?

1) I almost had a cloning machine, but the prototypes proved to be a little too dangerous, so we scrapped it. I always liked how brothers or family members intrinsically have this “thing" that happens when they play music together. I think that Parker, Parker, and Parker could probably come up with some pretty intense music together (or a super solid law firm name). I am sure that ultimately I would get sick of myself and we’d break up. 

2) My first official instrument was the upright bass in fifth grade and after two years I quit orchestra and went to electric bass. Then I went fully to guitar until I was about twenty when I picked up the upright and electric again and I started making money as a freelance musician playing bass. So, it’s always been good to me.

3) Now I am kind of finding a nice balance with all my obsessions with other instruments and each instrument that I play is may favorite in certain contexts, but upright bass and I have always had a really deep relationship together. I think that is because when I was younger the music that was the most powerful and “spiritual” to me had the upright bass in it, i.e. Mingus’ “Ecclesiastes” and Albums Oh Yeah and Ah Um; John Coletrane’s album A love Supreme and most of his later catalogue; as well as the great trio of Bill Evans, Paul Motian, and bassist Scott Lafaro.

4) I like to think of it like Rick on Rick and Morty. There are an infinite amount of Parkers out there in the multi-verse, but they all know that I am the greatest, or whatever. We all get along well when we get together though. 

My father and I used to watch you play years ago with your first big act that I remember in the Montana music scene as The Tyler Burnett Band and later just Tyler Burnett. I remember being a young lad and going to what seems like dozens of your shows, and you guys being a big influence on the younger generation of musicians. How would you say this experience has helped shape you as a musician and what kind of influence do you hope these early years had on the music scene in the Big Sky?

Wow! Thanks! I feel like we cracked something open that was already about to burst.  I would like to think that what we did just looked fun and was also a bit professional looking. That seems to have possibly been our influence on a few of the kiddos. That band helped me know who I was on stage better and learn the ropes of the business from booking gigs/tours, band dynamics, handling money for a band, writing songs, mailing posters and albums to venues and reviewers; recording, setting up sound, "turning on" in high pressure situations. It was an incredible learning experience for me. 

Describe your music using the words "pizza," "particles," and "wooden." Oh! And "firey Hollywood car crash.”

Imagine a person who has eaten far too much pizza, saddened by all the fiery Holloywood car crashes he’s seen on the television, writing songs about particles of energy connecting us together (mostly unconsciously) on a nice wooden instrument.  

 The Bleeding Hearts at the Pub Station in Billings.

The Bleeding Hearts at the Pub Station in Billings.

Your website also says you're a freelance musician. What does this mean? How do you like working as a freelancer?

I love being a freelance musician*. It means that I can get hired for almost any gig and be able to perform the music as if I was a member of the band (or on a recording). I learn the parts and come in and play—it usually ends up being a permanent spot in the group, but it also moves around a lot, especially in jazz settings. I used to do a wider variety of projects as a "hired gun," but now I have a few outfits that I play with regularly and it just spreads out around on the ol' calendar. Adding my own group to the list has been interesting as well as challenging. Basically, I am a freelance musician in my own band as well. 

*I also teach as kind of a freelancer as well. I am adjunct at Sheridan College, Rocky Mountain College, and this fall I will be at MSUB as a bass instructor. I also have my own private studio where I teach private lessons.

Do you have any other talents besides being a stellar musician that the adoring public may not know?

I can do a couple of tricks on the old skateboard still…  

I noticed that some of your lyrics reference some pretty cosmic shit, like the Earth's rotational velocity. Is this the "neomystical" aspect of your music? Do you consider yourself a pretty spiritual dude?

Well yeah. I like to think about that stuff a lot, like gravity, vibrations, energy, breaking down things and getting as micro, macro and as meta as my brain will allow. Phil Griffin and I talk about it a bit and try to pin point just what neomysticism means - he's the one that used the term to describe my music - but it’s hard because I think he’s making up some new shit with that one. I am just trying to fit into it because I love the term. I spent a lot of time going through the tunnel of modern/not-so-modern Christianity and I have been trying to unravel a lot of things in that arena as well as the things that we take for granted or are unaware of because our system doesn’t allow us to look beyond the walls in which we’ve placed ourselves in—what ever that might be, whether it’s religion/thought, food, Netflix, or capitalism, etc. I believe that there are some pretty fantastical things happening around us that are generally missed by most of the population because of the distractions of everyday life. So yeah, something simple like voluntary actions in the body or the earth spinning and us not even feeling it is something that I like to find joy in. It’s pretty fucking incredible…uhhh…at least to me. 

Read any good books lately?

Yeah, I did. I just recently finished Dave Caserio’s book This Vanishing. Whew. It is some of the most beautiful poetry that I have ever read (and there is a lot that I haven’t read), but his writing really hits me right in the heart. There were many times when I would finish a poem and just set the book down to let it soak in. I highly recommend it. Before that it was a Rumi compilation of love poems and David McRaney’s book You are Now Less Dumb. They both flip you out in their own way. 

If you were on death row and were being served your last meal, what would it be? 

Most definitely a medium thin crust with pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives from Dominoes. I’d eat it in one sitting and then just be blissed out for the chair. 

Can you kindly give the dear readers some links??

Richard Dreyfest Interviews The Photoshoplifters

by Nels Jensen

Who are you two?  Where are you from?  What do you play?  Do you know who Richard Dreyfuss is?

We are Justin Senger and Maddie Murray. We have both lived here nearly our entire lives! Justin plays guitar and vocals, and Maddie plays drums and programs tracks. We didn't know of Richard Dreyfuss before we were contacted about this festival!

I couldn’t help but notice the references and alien imagery.  Is this a nod to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” or something else?

We both have a love for aliens, ufos, and the supernatural. It was an idea for our artwork on our first EP and from there we continued the theme of aliens.

You guys started in 2016… and you already have a release… you’ve obviously been busy!  What does the songwriting process look like for you?  Were these songs all new, or were some of them songs before this project was started?

Justin had 4 songs written before we started this band. We currently have 14 songs officially from the many others Justin has written over time. He writes the lyrics and songs, and Maddie writes the back tracks. These tracks include the bass guitar, synth, orchestra, bells, keys and any electronic elements we want to throw in.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone in town doing a similar thing to you two.  As far as influences go, was there anyone local that helped you solidify the sound you were going for?  Or just national acts?

We also noticed that no one else seems to be doing what we are doing locally. No one locally influenced us it's more on a national acts level. Starset, Linkin Park, Blink 182, and Twenty-One Pilots are some major influences for us.

Do you not like bass (guitar)?

Justin's main instrument is actually bass guitar! He's played bass for several bands around town. When we started up, we tried to find a bassist, but no one seemed interested or didn't want to be in our band. We have bass written in our back tracks, so fear not my friend!

Do you not like bass (fish)?

We like fishinnn for bass!

Do you not like phish (because I could totally understand that… I mean… who likes jam bands)?

We don't know enough about the band to answer that question, ha ha.

The perfect show would consist of ________________, and _____________, and ____________.

The perfect show would consist of Weird Al, Sarah Mclaughlin, and Twisted Romance (just kidding ha ha).

The perfect show would consist of Starset, Linkin Park, and Breaking Benjamin.

Before someone sees a Photoshop Lifter’s show for the first time, what should they know going in?

Before people see a live show, they should know its not just live music they'll be hearing. It will be an experience to remember. And they have to be prepared to be abducted.

 

Links for The Photoshoplifters:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Abby Rausch

by Mary Kate Teske

Your name is what and you hail from where?

My name is Abby Rausch. I was born and raised in Helena, and recently graduated from Rocky with degrees in Studio Art, History, and Political Science.

Did your parents celebrate in any certain way when you exited the womb?

My mom’s line was "get this shittin kid outta me" and my dad missed the birth because he was stranded on a broken down boat on Fort Peck when his pager went off. However he did show up at the hospital with celebratory cigars.

Tell me about the stuff you create and get your hands on.

I make prints, like to paint with acrylic, and use various found items in my pieces. Everywhere I go I try to collect things - I've been in DC the last two months and so far have found many feathers as well a squirrel tail I picked up in George Washington’s botanical garden at Mount Vernon. Almost all my art has animals in it, but it's not western at all, rather it has a very illustrative or graphic quality. Also, I just got into making crystals, ha ha.

A squirrel tail? What other strange types of items have you found for your work?

I have boxes of bones sitting in my parents’ house waiting to be turned into a project. I smuggled a flattened out snake with me from the Italian Alps, was gifted a chunk of elk vertebrae, found a fish skeleton by a dried up lake in Arizona. I collected snail shells from the Burren in Ireland and smuggled those across the border, and I've got many deer and elk bones, as well as a good-sized collection of feathers and rocks. For my graduation my cousin gave me a juvenile robin skull, so it seems to be fairly well known that a good bone is something I love. I try to pick things up everywhere I travel.

I see you have a love of politics as well as art. Do you see yourself pursuing anything in the realm of democracy the future?

Yes, I am very interested in politics, specifically international relations. I have been in Washington DC the last two months working on a nonprofit journalism project for Palestinian youth, and participating in an institute for economics and international affairs. I'd like to work for the State Department or the UN someday.

Okay, one last question, if one of the animals you collected for your art came back to life and turned you into a piece, what would you want to be?

I'd like my skull to end up as a prop for a Hamlet performance. I've got a gold tooth that would look great.

 

Abby's Links:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Bull Market

by Kelly La Croix

Hiya. Who are you and what do you do in the band and where can find a decent pair of jeans?

Phil: I'm Phil and I play guitar and provide vox. I'm actually a bit obsessed with my jeans - they're raw denim and I never wash them. I recommend The Unbranded Brand. Some real hipster shit.

Nels:  I’m Nels, I hit things.  Decent jeans?  Pissed.

Tell us about your band's sound using a school-style analogy:  Bull Market is to ____________, as _____________ is to ______________.  

Really Kelly?  “School-style analogy”?  I’ll give you a school style analogy… we’re playing shows all the time, and kids are hearing us, but are they really listening?  If they were, I’m sure they’d realize that they need to invest… not in a few years, not next week… NOW.  Compound interest, people! Get in at least with some index funds.  You want to be affluent investors, get your head in the game.  Now.  INVEST!

If you were to start an online petition, in an effort to get thousands, if not millions of signatures on, what would the stated purpose of that petition be?

To get some decent interview questions...

What band was your gateway drug to the seedy world of rock and roll?

Phil: Ooo. I dunno, there's probably a few. I'd just happen upon a cd and get kind of obsessed. I remember once getting a live Backstreet Boys album from a Burger King in Minneapolis when I was like ten. That was weird, looking back. I've never seen that since. Another time in 4th grade I got Highway to Hell and listened to that for a long time. There was also some Blink 182, Good Charlotte, and RHCP through middle school and high school.

Nels:  I’m not sure I tried to grab every one of a band's albums before Nirvana…  

Phil, you are currently part of Beatnik City Council, could you tell us a little about it?

Phil: Yeah! So me and a gal named Brie Ripley and a guy named Ty Herman started meeting weekly with the goal of opening a DIY venue in Billings. We decided to reach out to other artsy groups in town to see about common interests and ran into some folks with a project called Artspace. They were trying to get a fancy live/work space for artists built downtown and had a hearing with the city council coming up. We decided to show some solidarity and testify on their behalf - personally I was pretty pissed about the political goings-on and wanted to make an appearance on behalf of artists in Trump Country. Some old white guys in the council made comments about "beatniks" so we cheekily adopted the term for our name.

As far as the DIY space goes, we realized it was gonna take a lot of work and $$$ to make it happen, and have since refocused our efforts to put on shows (including DF!), gauge community interest, and hopefully-maybe apply for some grants in the next year or two. You can read more about BCC here.

Nels, you have had a long and storied career as an nighttime astroturf layer for several major stadiums. How is that going?

Nels:  I’m liking it mow and mow as time goes on… I mean, I’m makin’ some real green because I’ve been in the business for such a lawn time.  It’s actually the only “side” job that I’ve got at this point… all of the other jobs weren’t cutting it, and I didn’t see the growth potential that astroturf has.

Most fun thing you've done in the past year:

Phil: I've been experimenting with ice baths and hot-cold therapy. There's a great hotspring outside Missoula I always make a point of visiting because you can dip in the icy creek and alternate with the spring. I grew up taking saunas and jumping naked into the snow, so it kinda makes sense. I also got married last summer, that's been a weird kind of fun.

Nels:  Oh man… I dressed up in a suit with some of my friends (bow ties) and pretend to play a song at a bar… there was all of this drama, like this girl threw her phone before the first chorus, and then this guy busted a prop bottle over her head. There were fights and explosions… but we just kept on pretending to play. People were running around with X-mas lights on…and slicing fruits with swords…people were eating other people's faces, but you know, we are young.  

Most challenging thing you've done in the past year:

Phil: I worked in a law office for the entirety of 2016. That was tough. But I quit in January and decided to pursue art stuff full-time, nannying, walking dogs, and house-sitting as a side-hussle.

Nels: I had to listen to Phil complain about his job at a law office.

Stupidest thing you've done in the past year:

Phil: When I decided to play in a band with this yayhoo! Nyuck-nyuck-nyuck.

Nels: We don’t have that kind of time, Kelly.

 

 

Bull Market's Links: