Natural – Interview

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Natural

Mark

Heard you guys are busy.

Yeah, we’ve got a twelve-hour rehearsal today.

That’s a lot of work.

We love it thought. I mean, it can’t get any better than this.
Ben

What do you think of the boy band tag?

I really don’t care.

Mostly because of Trans-Con.

I know. And I don’t get it, but even when it’s all five of us walking down the street we get people yelling ‘Backstreet Boys.’ We look nothing like them, Michael has blue hair. (laughs) It may be because we are with Lou or because we are five guys.

Do you think if you didn’t sign with Lou that you wouldn’t get the boy band tag?

Yeah. Everyone says it in a demeaning way. It is a title that has a low ranking, but before we signed with Lou we were together for a year and a half and we were called a boy band then. I have no problem with NSYNC and Backstreet, there is a reason they are so big.

Does it bother you that other artists feel like you guys perhaps aren’t real musicians?

We’ve recorded with respectable groups like the Monkees, we recorded “Stepping Stone”, “Daydream Believer”, and “Valerie”. “Stepping Stone” came out amazing.

You know a few punk bands covered that song. I guess you’d call the most well known being the Sex Pistols cover.

Really. I’ve heard one cover of it and that was Smashmouth.

I think Minor Threat did a cover too, they are old school early ’80’s punk. “Valerie” is a great song.

I know. You know, when we were on tour with them, I was really surprised to find out how many of their songs I actually knew. I was like, ‘ “Mary Mary”? They did that song?’

Were you worried at all about the fact that original the Monkees weren’t even a real band?

Yeah. Apparently, as they describe it, Peter and Mike are musicians and were musicians. But they didn’t know it was weird and got a bad rap. We’ve worked with artists that people know so I think that might get us some respect.

Did the guys from the Monkees give you advice?

They went through everything. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had with Davey. Mickey was more into being professional onstage. Peter was the guy you could really sit down and talk to about music.

Peter was actually a folk singer back in the day, I believe.

He’s still doing his own thing. He has two bands now.

It seems like you could worry about people putting ideas together about you not being real, but honestly, if I had a band and could tour with them, I would. Just for the wealth of knowledge alone.

I know. They were really, really cool. Their crowds were great.

Michael

Was picking the brains of the Monkees great or what?

I’m so glad it was our first tour. They gave us so much inspiration and advice. It was unbelievable, I don’t think any tour could have prepared us this much.

What about your parents? Were they freaking out?

Yeah, my mom was like, ‘I want to go backstage and meet Davey Jones.’ (we both laugh) We were doing the Monkees tour and we were doing things with Claires, and Mickey came by one of the malls and acted like he was a fan. He was screaming and yelling. It was funny.

How long were you guys playing instruments before the band came together?

We’ve all been singing, dancing, and playing instruments most our lives. I have been dancing since I was four.

So no one just threw instruments in your hands?

No. We just started playing and singing together in Jay’s garage and Ben’s living room on the karaoke machine. (laughs)

What kind of band would you say you are?

We are a pop rock band, but we sing and dance. I think the boy band label is true in our case and not in other groups’ cases.

Were you originally worried about the tag and being accepted by other rock groups?

We’ve always been labeled but we draw people from all different musical backgrounds. I think the singing and dancing for a lot of people is getting old. I think people like us because we are real. I think we’ll always be labeled.

How hard was it to play and sing?

Harder than people think. It’s difficult, but dancing and singing is also difficult.

Patrick

How hard was it to get everyone on the same page as a group?

It’s complicated. Technically there are a lot of little things.

Have you guys ever listened to the Beach Boys?

Yeah, we like them.

It would seem like you’d be into them.

We are, but I love the Eagles. They do the same things, but they don’t dance. (laughs)

Do you want people to accept you as real musicians?

Yeah, we want it all. (laughs) There is nothing like one of your peers talking about you.

When you got signed, did you think you were ready?

No. We were rehearsing when Lou walked in. It wasn’t planned.

So you were surprised?

I was like, ‘Why does he like us?’

You guys did the Germany thing.

Yeah, we did some shows and tv there.

Was that after you got signed?

No, we had just met Lou.

Jay

How is life?

It’s surreal. It’s weird that we even got this opportunity and there are thousands of people who’d want to be in our shoes. There are artists in our area that are guy bands who ask if we can help them out. I mean, we walked into it ourselves, so I don’t know how we did it.

It must be weird to get asked something like that.

It’s impossible to say. I mean, we were in the right place at the right time.

Why do you think he signed you guys?

Well, the thing is that the industry is changing, the fans are getting older and Lou was looking for a crossover and we just happened to be there.

+ charlie craine
Honestly, I read the bio and still don’t feel like I know anything about you guys.

Well, not many people do. (laughs)

How did you come together?

I moved out from Boston to Orlando and I met up with Ben, who is from California, and we wanted to put together a group of five-part harmonies and could dance. So we’re at this party and we met Michael and Patrick who were friends their whole life. And then we met Jay through his vocal coach. So we were rehearsing together for a while and then got a rehearsal space at Trans-Contintental, and we were rehearsing and Lou Perlman walked into one of our rehearsals and signed us.

Was there concern on his part because you weren’t a typical pop group?

We were one of the first groups he’s signed that wasn’t already put together. He did want to see if we could dance and sing a cappella though.

Are you bringing your instruments and playing live?

We are playing live. We are just like a rock group. We have a lead guitarist, guitarist, drummer, keyboardist, and bassist. So we are a full band. We play some songs and then come out from behind the instruments and we sing and dance.

You are probably going to get compared to BBMak a lot too, right?

Yeah, them and Hanson, but the difference is that we are a full band.

Is it funny that people think this is a new concept even though it’s been around since the fifties?

I know. There are people who think it’s a new idea where people sing five-part harmonies and play instruments.

So are you running from the boy band tag?

Well, people say we put the band back in boy band. (we laugh)

Did Lou Perlman want you to scrap the instruments?

That wasn’t an issue. Our deal was that we play our instruments, we like to dance, but we want to cross the bridge between rock and pop.

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