Naming your band after a member of the influential English rock band Wire, AND releasing your album on a label named after a song by said English band, can be seen as either unshakeable dedication or grounds for a restraining order. Fortunately for Pittsburgh post punkers The Gotobeds, option A is the more likely choice.
Comprising of former members of Pittsburgh native band Kim Phuc, The Gotobeds perfectly fit the role of class clowns that are waaay smarter than any of the faculty members give them credit for. Underneath the guise of beer swilling, goofball punk rockers lie the souls of contemporary poets, offering up some of the more witty and insightful lyrics you will hear in modern music.
Underneath a parade of bouncey riffs, thrashing guitars, and boundless energy, the group rails against the homogeneity of the current music landscape, a generation of iPhone zombies, and even offers up a thoroughly convincing argument against living in the Big Apple (“New York’s Alright”).
***This band has become my third favorite thing to come out of the Steel City, right behind the 1970’s Steelers and 2000’s Steelers.***
The unrelenting greatness of their debut album, Poor People Are Revolting, has secured them a permanent place on my playlist. Vocalist/Guitarist Hazy Laser was kind enough to take a few questions from my butt kissing self…
KralTunes: First off, Congratulations on signing with Sup Pop Records! How does it feel to be corporate music whores?!
HAZY LASER: FEELS GOOD MAN 🙂
KT: Lets get the most important question of the way…With the resurgence of the Pirates in recent years, do they have a legit chance of becoming the darlings of Pittsburgh, or will it forever be STEELER-NATION (and do the Penguins ever have a chance at being the city’s top team)?
HL: Steeler-Nation for sure, Pirates fans have had too many disappointments making them pretty fair-weather for our boys to ever trump football-mania. Pens maybe when Lemieux was in the game, but not currently, no matter how big Sid the Kid or Malkin are. (I like this answer!!)
KT:So how did you guys get together as a group?
HL: We pooled like loose change, just knew these various people who were interested in what we were doing even when the early stages were pretty rough and most smart people avoided it. Cary had never played drums and I couldn’t sing so we were a perfect fit to just fuck around until something made sense.
KT: What is the thought process when writing these songs? Is there one person responsible for the lyrics? Is it a completely collaborative effort?
HL: Songwriting is usually in excited bursts and it usually led by either guitarist that has something on their mind. It’s fairly intuitive in that we don’t talk about it before hand we just show up and when there’s a minute of downtime someone starts playing something new and it just goes from there. Lyrics are my bag, baby. Don’t think anyone else cares to write ‘em though occasionally Gavin who plays bass and sings backups will change a line if it’s something he’d rather sing and he’s bigger than me so might makes right in those cases.
KT: Whats THE GOTOBEDS idea of the ‘perfect’ album?
HL: The Kinks ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ or the Buzzcocks ‘Singles Going Steady’ though that last one cheats a bit cause it’s a comp. Perfect Lp’s flow well, have amazing artwork and say something different beyond what their peers had/have said. One thing I think is important is having some downtime or songs that are less interesting, like ‘just sitting their by the riverside’ not being the strongest track leading into ‘Animal Farm’ does more to set up that song than having say a better song precede it. My little brother once said they all can’t be bangers or else you’ve just written a ‘Greatest Hits’ lp and then you blew yr load.
KT: Tracks like ‘To And Fromme’ takes shots at contemporary culture and how homogenous it has become. Is this the bands consensus on the current music landscape?
HL: Anyone denying that corporate rock & radio are homogenous or fed by the same few bullshit labels are as bad a climate change deniers. History will not look kindly on yr narrow-mindedness young man! I like lots of bullshit that is considered pop but there’s a disposable element that’s inherent in that stuff so giving it anymore thought or credit is a waste of time. Large music sites writing dissertations on it is pretty funny though.
KT: I see a lot of people comparing you to the likes of Protomartyr (I don’t know if that is your experience, but I have heard their name brought up several times already when mentioning you). Do you find it annoying as hell that people, rather than appreciate what a group is bringing to the music scene, immediately have to compare them to something similar?
HL: It’s an easy thing to say to someone ‘hey you like A so you should like B’ – though getting compared to the same thing wears thin but if it helps someone hear it at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Not everyone that listens to music listens to it in the same way that the scene’s that’ve fostered us does: it takes some real steps like doing SXSW or having sub pop interested in order to get different people involved. And that’s not good or bad, just the way it is.
KT: Speaking of Protomartyr. You recently concluded a tour with the group. How was it touring with another underrated gem of a band? Side note: Next time you come around to NYC, try not to schedule a show in the middle of winter on a Wednesday please!
HL: Protomartyr is the SHIT!!! Though this question is dated cause I was mostly drunk in a van and couldn’t eloquently elaborate on any of this shit on my phone but ideologically, musically and personality-wise those dudes were a great fit. We’re all fans of their band so we were honored that they asked us to come along on their magic bus. Though complaining about us being there on a Wednesday makes me laugh internally: we’re treating Brooklyn like most touring bands treat Pittsburgh – a midweek stop on the way to the REAL MONEY $$$$$$.
KT: Yes, you just released a new album mere months ago, but being the content whores we all are, we demand more of your time! What are your plans in 2015?
HL: More songs! Some good! Some not-so-good! Really just recording for the next LP that’s title is so great I can’t spoil the surprise here, so look for it at the sub pop airport store in early 2016.
Find The Gotobeds Here:
Other Artist Spotlights: