Western Star Discuss the Difficulty in Finding a Great Drummer and the Joy of Working a Day Job Together As a Band

February 16, 2016

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

The first two years we had a red mini-van and it was tight… on space. But because we always have one long haired driver, one bearded passenger and tons of crap in the back cops tended to think we were a hot soccer mom and some ex rock and roller with two kids on a long road trip… So it’s safe to say we never got pulled over on those trips because of this.

Now we are driving a 15 passenger Dodge Van with 60K so it’s more comfortable/sleepable. And it should get us through the next few years.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

We generally start the tour by cramming our floorboards with canned foods and breads. And always protein powder. We hit up groceries for deli meats when we can and often load up on nuts and fruit and gatorade. However by the end of tour were usually relying on venue food. So.. if you have some food, we’ll take it.

Also, The Grey Eagle in Asheville has the most excellent tacos.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

We change our strings before every gig, so somewhere between $1500 and $2000 a year if you’re count strings, plectrums, cymbals, batteries, drum hardware, pedals and all the countless other oddities we buy and or replace instrument wise.

Where do you rehearse?

We rehearse at Orion Studios. Total prog rock world. Bunch of bands rehearse here and love it like we do. It’s a big warehouse spot in west Baltimore. They do shows for crazy prog rockers from Japan and Europe on occasion, but mostly just bands rehearsing.

Not Blood Paint did a fallout show at Orion with us, when a venue dropped, and it was awesome. We had a decent chunk of people in our little 12×18 space and it got sweaty. Really sweaty.

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

We had a bunch of songs rolling at the same time for those first few rehearsals, but you can check out most of what is on our minds as far as first songs on our Bandcamp page.  One of our favorites that didn’t make the cut for the full length was “Quiet One.”

Max Jeffers: Thousand Heartaches… “Every city I go, Every road.”

Nick Jeffers: Clockwork… “What are the chances, yeah, the chances are good!”

Describe your first gig.

Holy Underground or Crab Ranch. Undecided amongst us really. Holy Underground was put on by chance that we ran into the cousin of a good friend of ours from back home in Virginia. He runs a little basement venue here in Baltimore. Super fun because there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure, just a ton of love from some strangers looking for music. The floor was tile and it was kinda damp but totally fun. Our first paid gig was at this place called the Crab Ranch.

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

We all do construction except Max who does audio engineering and stage production work. All our favorite jobs have been working on the ranch in Texas. Together.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

It has made the band more sustainable. We aren’t constantly pouring out the contents of our wallets into the gas tank. Money from shows and merch has started to come to an even keel and let us sail with a little more money in our pockets.

In 5-10 years we all hope to be making a living playing rock ‘n’roll. The hope for now is that we can do this along with our day jobs until our day jobs become music and touring and writing and recording take over permanently.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

We wish we had known about Bob Shade. Max and Justin spent a way long time doing the solo and duo thing. Drummers are hard to come by. Also tuning is crucial.

Western Star were raised mostly in a holler on the border of West Virginia and Virginia but formed this past summer while working on a cattle ranch in East Texas. This family band is a second generation alt-country four piece that brings garage-rock speed and power, southern rock harmonies and Modest Mousey punk pomp to their music.

After working, practicing and finding their sound, Western Star jumped headlong into playing as many shows as possible: Texas to Baltimore, Baltimore to Boston. Regularly gigging over the past two years, they’ve opened up for Old 97’s at a sold-out 9:30 Club in Washington D.C., are able to pack the Ottobar in Baltimore, and, hitting Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge early on as a headlining act, Western Star has been rocking nightclubs in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Asbury Park, Baltimore, Harrisonburg, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Greensboro, Nashville, Mobile, New Orleans, Shreveport, Tyler, Dallas and Austin, getting around and doing two week legs and weekends as much as they can handle.

Fireball, the band’s new album, is available via Saustex Records.  You can connect with them online and on the road.