Nothing rhymes with Orange. An interview with Daisy Caplan and Aaron McVeigh from Foxy Shazam.
Unique. It’s a simple term with a massive meaning. Most bands never find that element that makes them unique. For Foxy Shazam, that is not a problem. Each band member brings something unique to the table. The band itself, has always been something of an enigma to most rock fans. Some have said that the band is too far out there for them. That’s understandable, that’s what makes the world go around. With The Church Of Rock And Roll, their new album, Foxy Shazam has really harnessed all that potential, all that talent, all that uniqueness, and in my opinion, created one of the best albums of 2012. If you haven’t heard them, I strongly suggest you seek out the album, and give it a few spins. I had the opportunity to catch up with the band before their recent opening slot with Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators in Cincinnati, OH.
Listen to the entire interview below, be sure and listen to the antics after the interview. Funny stuff.
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Today, I’m joined by Daisy and Aaron from Foxy Shazam. I’m honored that they have taken the time to talk with us today. We’re at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, OH. This is a bit of a hometown gig for you guys, well semi-hometown for you at least.
Daisy: He’s from San Francisco, so you know. I call the Bluegrass region home. This is hometown now. I’ve lived here for like 7 or 8 years now. So, close enough, whatever. (laughter) We only played the Southgate House like once, and I don’t think I could make that one. I think Trevor played that one. I was in school in Louisville. I think Sky got kicked out for being like 15. (laughter) . Our piano player.
Aaron: 7 years later.
UM: 7 years later, and here we are at Bogart’s, where you have been hand-picked to play with Slash. What the he**, how did the journey get us here?
Aaron: Physically hand-picked.
Daisy: Here’s the thing, have you ever been around Slash?
UM: I have not.
Daisy: Slash is very mysterious. He just said a sentence to me earlier, and I was like, “Whoa.” If you’re Slash, you’ve got to be mysterious. I have no idea, how he heard us. We know for a fact that he likes us, and he did hand-pick us. How? Why? No idea. Your guess is as good as mine.
UM: From everything that I’ve read about your guys show over the last few years, is it’s grown into one of the better live shows in music. I’ll either clarify that, or argue it after seeing the show tonight. We’ll see. Having said that, from my point of view, a band or a legendary guy like Slash needs someone to push him. Because, when you play the same songs for 20 years, you can become complacent. So, if you have a high energy act before you, you’re going to bust your ass and go out there and put on a better show. That’s just my opinion.
Daisy: That’s a good theory.
Aaron: I appreciate that theory.
Daisy: I do as well, but, and I will not name names here. There are established rock acts, who do not take kindly to being upstaged, and I know in fact, will dismiss certain acts as openers, for being, as you say, “good.”
UM: Can we say something that rhymes with the band’s name? (laughter)
Aaron: Nothing rhymes with orange man. (laughter) Beyond us saying if someone is being afraid of being upstaged, you brought up an interesting point, where he may need or want to be driven harder. The big question then becomes, why would other bands not want that?
UM: Mind blown officially. (laughter)
Daisy: Obviously Slash is an adventurous musician and maybe he wants to be pushed. Not saying that we are on that level, what so ever, but we’ve taken out bands that are mostly unknown, but are really, really good live. Like, we took out the Bad Rabbits. Who, the first couple of nights, absolutely blew us off of the stage. They were great. We like playing with other bands. We like to be challenged, but I think there are a lot of rockers who are happy in their complacency.
Aaron: I guess we’re the same way. We take out good bands that people are going to have a good time watching the entire show, and might inspire us along the way and get us pumped up.
UM: I applaud you for that, for one simple reason. The music industry is on it’s ear. It’s changing rapidly, and live music is seemingly dying with everybody’s social media habits, and such. So, for me, a concert needs to be an event. I don’t want to go out there and see a bunch of guys standing there like trees.
Daisy: Yeah dude.
UM: I want to see somebody who’s moving, enjoying their music and knowing what the hell’s going on with it. So, I’m truly excited for tonight.
Daisy: I think it will be good.
Aaron: I think we’re all a little excited.
Daisy: I don’t think Slash knew if we were good live though. We don’t have evidence of that.
Aaron: He could’ve seen us at Download.
Daisy: That’s true, I forgot about that. That is definitely possible. I guess, in general, older rockers don’t want bands that are going to kick their asses, but maybe he does, and that makes him even more awesome.
Aaron: He does kick ass every night.
UM: Let’s go ahead and go at it this route. We’ll go ahead and start our own lie, and say that he wanted to be pushed by you guys. (laughter) I do want to talk a little bit about the new album. It will be on our Top 10 list. It will wind up, pretty close to the top. There are certain albums, if nothing else, need to be heard, and I feel that you guys are a band that I feel the same way about.
Aaron: Is that for like, all-time or for the year? (laughter)
Daisy: Pretty sure it’s for the year.
UM: One year at a time, we’ll let this grow, and fester a little while, and then possibly.
Aaron: 25 years from now, we’ll be in Cleveland getting inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
UM: Playing at the mistake by the lake. (laughter)
Daisy: Oh the Cleve. We love the Cleve.
UM: It’s a nice town…to travel through. (laughter) Back to the album, who did you work with on the album, I’ll ask you that first.
Daisy: We worked with a kind fella named Justin Hawkins, who is from a little band. This little two-bit, hardly anybody knows who they are, called The Darkness. You’ve probably never heard of them.
UM: No, never. They’re tiny. I hear they’re big in Yugoslavia.
Daisy: Me too. Actually, I talked to their bass player the other night, and they were in Estonia of all places. They were playing with Lady Ga-Ga. They’re doing it up right now.
UM: I brought that up for two reasons. I knew the answer before I asked the question.
Aaron: Trick question.
UM: It was. You guys were on tour with them before, but I’m going to continue for a bit about the album. To me, you guys have always been right at the edge of having that polished sound. You’ve always had that rawness about you. Justin seems to have really pulled more out of you on this album, more so than any other album than before. What was it like working with him? Was it an inspiration? What was so different working with him, than with anybody else?
Daisy: I can only compare it to the other experiences that we’ve had. It was more of a matter of like, controlling in the right way. If that makes sense. We’ve had a few guys, who were like controlling to the point that it was awkward, and I don’t think they had ever dealt with anything like us before. Then we’ve worked with people, who just punch record basically. He had a pretty good mixture of pulling in the reins when necessary, and then also letting things happen naturally when necessary.
UM: The reason I ask that, is you were out on the road with them earlier this year, and I feel that was a perfect match. Sound wise, theatrics…
Daisy: We’re cuter than them though.
UM: I’m not going to argue that point. I’m not here to judge. (laughter)
Daisy: Except Frankie. Frankie is cuter than all of us.
UM: Do you feel that your experience with him, helped you sort of learn what it takes in the songwriting aspect, or what do you feel he brought to the table for you guys?
Daisy: Well, you learn one piece at a time. You know? We’ve made lots of records, so it was another piece. It’s like a cabinet of awards, you’re getting one piece at a time. Like the Legend of Zelda or something. I feel like we are gaining one piece at a time. We let it hang out a little more with Justin.
UM: They’re nice big round balls and I’m glad they’re hanging out.
Daisy: Thank you. I appreciate you lying to me. One is a lot smaller than the other one.
UM: That’s pretty common I think. It’s all good man. I want to ask about how you feel about something. I recently interviewed Tommy Victor from Prong, and I asked him about playing festivals, and he’s not a big fan of them. You guys played Bunbury, this was their first year, so I thought I’d ask you about that festival. How it was ran, and if you would be open to coming back in years to come.
Daisy: I had a great time. I’m also, not the biggest fan of playing festivals. It just doesn’t seem like the way God intended for us to see live music. I feel like, when God made live music, he wanted it to be in an air conditioned building, painted black, at night. BUT, we live in America and freedom of choice is important. So, if you want to get sunburned, and pay $15 for a Bud Light, then God Bless you.
Aaron: It was good. It was ran well. It was a good festival. Food was good, well decent at least. The stage was awesome. Our crowd turnout was amazing. We played right as it was getting dark, so there were glowsticks and stuff everywhere. I feel, or at least I felt, that we had conquered something with that set. We had just finished a long tour run, and we were off for a week or so after. There was just something magical about that night.
UM: Alright, I always end on a random question. So, I think I’ll keep it game related. Sonic or Mario, and why?
Daisy: Pfffffft, no. (laughter) Do we have to come to a consensus here?
UM: No. This is your guys question, answer however you like.
Daisy: Mario is so like, one dimensional. It never really expands upon the base. I feel like Sonic goes in so many directions.
Aaron: Sonic, literally, only goes in one direction. That’s forward, really fast, and an occasional loopdy loop.
Daisy: How is that different than Mario. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about thematically. The theme of Mario never changes. I feel like the soul of Sonic the Hedgehog is more dynamic.
Aaron: I don’t think I ever appreciated the rhythm or speed of Sonic. I just never got into it. The way it moved.
Daisy: Yeah, because you can speed through the whole game in like 30 minutes, but there’s these subtleties and complexities to every game. You’re rewarded for going slower.
Aaron: I just like Mario. (laughter)
Daisy: I don’t dislike Mario, I just like Sonic better.
Aaron: One, it’s obviously an amazing classic. Two, it’s so weird. Like everyone is on mushroom Trips, and you go into like night, reverse, weird worlds. Three, you can hide behind things, and there are so many different vines that you can climb into the clouds. You can fly. I don’t know, but that’s not one dimensional.
Daisy: I don’t know man. It seems like a really watered down , Americanized version of a Japanese video game. When I play Sonic, there’s more bright lights, and music throwing you off the trail.
Aaron: Sonic is like the Las Vegas of video games.
Daisy: Right, and the Super Mario is like the Kansas of video games. (laughter) What’s your point? The music is also way better on Sonic The Hedgehog.
Aaron: I’ve never heard anyone cover a Sonic The Hedgeghog song.
Daisy: Dude, I have an entire CD of a band that went out on tour with us last time, that only covers Sonic The Hedgehog.
Aaron: You’re high.
Daisy: No, they’re called Random Encounter, and I have the CD laying in my bunk right now. We should throw on some Random Encounter. Well, they actually do some of their own songs too, but they have a Sonic Suite. It’s like eleven minutes long. It’s the bomb.
UM: Well, I’m going to cut us off before I break the band up over this. I appreciate your time, and the site and myself wish you and the band nothing but the best.