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”-
Julius ‘Lil Prodigy’ Ostby
Handsome Dan Hansen
Kelly “Handsome Boi” La Croix
Carsten “Karson” Wright
Garret ‘Yer Ol Dad’ Griffin
Peter De Maio
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.