Cleveland Heights, OH (May 20, 2018) – As we gathered in the green room at the Grog Shop for an interview on this grueling three-gig day, Them Evils were gracious and ready to chat with Splice Magazine. After our initial introductions we chatted lightly about their trip up from Columbus earlier in the day before getting the interview started. These road warriors were not going to let two prior gigs today and a three-and-a-half hour drive deter them from sitting down with Splice – and they had plenty to share with us. From the ups and downs of being on tour, the current state of social media and music streaming, to a haunted concert venue. Enjoy our twenty minutes with Them Evils!
David: It was actually kind of funny, because we knew we were gonna be on Carolina Rebellion and Rock on The Range, we honestly didn’t know we were on Welcome to Rockville until they (Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP) & Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)) announced the thing. We were just like, wow this is a really cool lineup.
Jake: Yeah, it slipped past management somehow.
David: They forgot to give us the memo.
David: We’ve been around those festivals for a while now and we have a good relationship with DWP and AEG. They’re super awesome as far as taking care of us, letting us come back time after time.
You got bumped because of the storms (Saturday) at Rock on the Range, and played today on the main stage. Splice contributor Cheyenne Comerford was in attendance as a fan and said you guys were awesome. She said you did an awesome version of AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds.
David: Yeah we did! We usually do Ace of Spades but this time we decided to change it around.
Do you tend to throw a few covers into your sets here and there?
Jordan: We usually try to throw one cover in per set as a crowd pleaser ‘cause many people don’t know our music yet, so we gotta get ‘em pumped.
Jake: And something to sing along to. Everyone likes singing along at shows whether or not they admit it, you know. That’s why we like to throw them in there every now and then to stoke people up.
Have you ever thought about doing any covers outside of your genre?
Jake: Yeah, we talk about that a lot.
David: We’ve never settled on one.
Jordan: There’s a few floating up there in the cloud.
David: It seems to be the thing to do lately too.
Jordan: You can hit gold with a good cover.
Some people give bands a hard time about covering songs. Through rock and roll it’s always happened. From Elvis to…
When you’re playing the festivals, like Rock on the Range, versus the smaller clubs, there’s gotta be a different vibe there.
David: Yeah definitely. We feel that when you go to a rock festival, you’re gonna get music blasted in your face all day, and they’re ready for it. When you play a club, someone might just stumble in to this place and not know what’s going on. It’s like, okay let’s win this person over and show them what’s up with us.
Jake: Yeah, like with festivals people go there prepared to see all the bands and generally people are stoked at festivals no matter what. Where as smaller shows, people are stoked to be there, but you feel like you have to win them over a little bit more.
Jordan: It’s a collective vibe, a collective energy at a festival, everybody’s there to f****n’ party and listen to music, fist pumping and banging their heads and singing along. At clubs you get people that are just sitting at the bar, that didn’t necessarily come to hear your music, so you’ve gotta convince them to go home and go “I wasn’t even here to see this band and they blew my mind, go check them out”.
Now that you are on your own headlining tour, how does that compare with opening for Red Sun Rising?
Jordan: The shows are little bit smaller, as they (RSR) have a little more of a following, but it’s still the same.
David: We’re still ourselves. We’re still considered a small band to people. It can be sort of a reality check. You’re not relying on the people there to see the other band.
Jake: When your opening for other bands, you gotta keep busting your a** to get to the next level.
David: It’s like motivation to push to get the better gigs.
Jordan: I think the biggest motivation on this tour was playing that stadium show (Rock on the Range) and seeing most of it empty and just envision, if I work my a** off, and I keep doing this, that’s going to be full one day.
What’s the hardest thing about being on tour?
Jordan: Eating healthy.
Jordan: Smelling like S**t!
Jake: Just like everyday stuff you take for granted, eating healthy, staying healthy, staying in shape. It’s just the simple things like that you can take advantage of when you’re home.
David: …or even like sitting on your a** in bed.
Jordan: Your own bed! Your own pillow!
David: Yeah, your own bed, watching Netflix all day.
Jake: That’s not a thing.
David: It’s a machine that keeps churning along. But, we’re in for it! We’ve been doing this for three years, touring and stuff, so there’s no stopping us.
Jordan: We’re used to it!
You’re very active on social media. Is that you guys doing your own social media?
Jordan: That’s this guy! (Points to Jake)
How important do you feel social media is today?
Jake: It’s everything. It’s as big as record sales having a social media presence. The world’s moving along way too fast with technology and you can’t afford one second without an online presence or people will forget about you. Plus, the short attention spans, you can’t go stagnant or not be relevant or inactive, in my opinion. It’s a make or break thing for bands.
With so much streaming music today, what are your thoughts on that format versus formats of the past?
Jordan: I think it helps promote us. People still listen to our music, I’d rather have a million CDs sold, than a million streams. It is what it is.
David: I guess it’s a matter of everyone adapting to the situation. Because of streaming now, there is no really such thing as earning money from physical sales until they figure out how that’s going to work to benefit everybody. Vinyl sales, that’s a whole other thing.
Jordan: I heard in 2019, Apple Music is taking away iTunes. There’s not going to be any more iTunes only Apple Music so you can only stream, and you can’t purchase and download music anymore, you can only stream and that’s f***ed.
Jake: Instead of them being able to hold a platform where people can pay artists for their music, they have to pay just Apple to listen to their music.
Jordan: Yeah, and then we get pennies on the dollar, maybe a penny on the dollar, maybe a fraction of a penny on the dollar. And that’s what it’s like being in a band.
It’s not that far off from the 2000’s when you had to sell alot of CD’s just to make money, as the record companies and affiliates would make most of the money.
David: Mostly from touring constantly, and merch, that’s how bands make their money.
Your video that just came out for You Got Me Rockin’, it looked like a blast, was it fun to make?
Jordan: It was probably the funnest music video we’ve ever made.
David: Untold was live music footage, She’s Got Nothing was studio space. This one, I wrote a script and we all worked on it together putting a story together to tell everyone about the song. It was super cool, we had professional cameras and playbacks screens. Watching everything come to life through that, it was really cool. Watching my dad get a cake thrown in his face… it was just a lot of fun.
Jake: It was awkward making out with someone in front of thirty-five people.
David: Everyone trying to hold in their laughter. The director’s like – “More, more… aggressive… lick his face like a dog now!”
Jake: Getting coached on how to kiss a girl from the camera crew was really annoying.
David: And she got coached on how to kiss you like a dog. Great stuff!
Do you have a favorite venue, like the smaller clubs?
Jordan: The Wayfarer for us is our hometown spot. It’s the venue we started at.
Jake: Oh! That one was my favorite, yeah.
Jordan: It’s probably the coolest venue you’ll ever go to.
Jordan: Yeah, it’s haunted. It’s got a haunted pool where a few kids died… Jeffrey Dahmer would go there to pick up his victims.
David: There’s just a lot of dark stories there. I guess we like to talk about that the most, so that must be the favorite all around.
We appreciate your time, do you have anything else you would like to add?
David: Go watch our video for Got Me Rockin’ and get our new EP Rollin’ Stoned and Livin’ Free. Follow us on all of our social media accounts, and hopefully we’ll see you out there… I’ve become the plug guy!
As we chatted informally after the interview, we talked about some of the prior bands that have scribed their name and artwork onto the walls inside the (orange) green room. Some of those bands have achieved stardom after playing the Grog Shop. It was another sign that Them Evils are on a path travelled by many before them, sort of a right to passage one might say. They have the talent, personalities, songs, and determination to push themselves to the top.
As they continue their takeover of the United States, Them Evils are heading back to California for one last tour gig in their hometown of Costa Mesa at The Wayfarer.
If you like straightforward rock and roll you cannot go wrong with Them Evils.
Check out our review of “Rollin’ Stoned and Livin’ Free” EP – HERE
Check out our review of the Them Evils concert at the Grog Shop – HERE