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Thursday, May 13th
The Hot Sweat
Hana Pestle
Hana Pestle
School Boy HumorWinner of this month's You Gotta Know, School Boy Humor seems to be a band that promises. With a recently released self titled debut, this quartet from Little Rock,Arkansas has come a long way from their rock bottom start. Currently on tour with Rookie of the Year, Phil, Caleb, Anthony and Greg are trying to get some airtime on Radio Disney while conquering their scene, punk fans. We sat with the band during the Chicago stop of the What is Love tour to get to know the people behind the songs.

Cristina: First of all, introduce yourselves
Anthony: Anthony, I play guitar and sing
Greg: My name is Greg and I play drums
Caleb: My name is Caleb and I play bass
Phil: My name is Phil. I sing and I play guitar.

CC: How would you describe School Boy Humor? Apart from the usual responses I get of catchy, fun, rock
A: I don’t know. Cool?
G: Ha this is us. We’ll find the only way to complicate a question.

CC: Well how would you describe the four of you?
P: We’re a pop rock band. We like to have fun and tour. Just a group of kids
C: We like to find stuff to do.
G: We like to take funny pictures. We have a lot of friends across the country we like to crash with.
C: We like free food.
P: We like to be personal with our fans.
C: We don’t do drugs or drink. And we worked really hard.
P: We sacrificed a lot to be where we are now.

CC: Yeah, can you tell me more about that and how your band was formed?
P: Eighth grade, end of seventh grade…
A: Basically, we just started playing music. Like Blink 182 stuff.
P: We sucked
A: Yeah, we sucked.
P: It was me, Anthony, and two other people.
A: Eventually they quit. I met Caleb in gymnastics; we used to do gymnastics together. And we just knew Greg.
P: We got the final lineup together about two years ago and just started touring.

CC: So what were some of the sacrifices you mentioned?
C: Not necessarily to start the band but to start touring and stuff like that.

CC: Were you guys worried at all? I mean, a lot of bands try to make it out into the music scene
P: We were always a little worried. Not in the extend of what if we mess this up. But we would always talk about “what if.”
G: We all dropped out of college, first of all.
A: As far as sacrifice – college, girlfriends. Girlfriends don’t handle it very well.
C: I don’t care about college as much ‘cause you can always go back. But I personally, did gymnastics for ten years and I was on the Olympic path. So it was a big deal giving that up. I sacrificed a lot of effort and money that went into that.
A: Parental support…
G: Some of us didn’t even have a house for about a year. Or cars.
P: Yeah, none of us can afford our own cars right now.
CC: But it was worth it…
G: Yeah. We’re working on it.
P: It’s definitely what we want to be doing know so we don’t regret it. If it wasn’t for this I don’t know where I would be at right now.
G: We’ve hit rock bottom before.
C: Several rock bottoms. But like, as low as you can go. Like when you’re broken down in the middle of nowhere and you only have $14 in your bank account. And your motor just caught on fire. It’s that bad.
G: We’ve all been in the negative side of money at some point.
A: I only have 6 cents in my bank account right now. But I have $30 in my wallet.

CC: On some brighter news your CD just came out.
G: Yes
CC: Let’s talk about that.
G: No.
A: Well it’s got twelve tracks and there are some bonus tracks on some of them.
P: Itunes has two bonus tracks.
A: You can buy it on Itunes, FYE, and Hot Topics all over the nation.
P: We’re really proud of it. It’s a compilation of songs we’ve been writing since early High School up until now. It’s lot of cool stuff – songs about relationships, being on the road.
C: Living your dreams…
G: It’s like our life story in a nutshell.

CC: Did you have a specific sound or feel you were going for in this record?
C: We just wrote about ourselves and what we know. But I guess we just want to be as catchy as we can.
G: What Caleb and Anthony do is they write a melody and if they think it’s good they’ll sit on it for a couple of nights.
C: I don’t automatically try to record or write down melodies. If I don’t remember them in a day then that means it wasn’t good or catchy enough to begin with.
P: This record was actually way overdue. We have had the songs for a while, we just didn’t have money to record. We finally got signed and a label finally gave us the money to record and we wrote a couple more songs on the spot. I don’t know what we were going for, just a really good, catchy rock album.
A: That people could relate to.
C: The record is new to people but it’s so old to us. I mean so songs are years old.
P: Like some melodies and words are very very old, like eight grade even.
C: I feel like our sophomore is going to be a real new record.

CC: Did you feel it was outdated in a sense when you put it out?
C: Maybe a little.
P: Yeah to some extent
C: I don’t know if it’s outdated to the music scene now though. It fits well. But I guess. It was definitely played out.

CC: I mean that was your life back in eight grade and you’re much older now.
P: Well we haven’t changed at all.
C: We’ve been writing to pop, punk rock stuff since then and then the metal thing hit for four or five years. We were the kids who were playing for four or five people because all the music scene was concentrated around that. We never did that. So when it came back around to the pop rock wave that is going around now we fit right back in.

CC: So you never changed your music to fit the scene at the time?
P: Yeah. We hope this record reaches everybody. Metal kids, pop kids.
C: Kids are starting to open up more.
G: It’s pretty diverse within the genre. But when we write a song, we really focus on that specific one. We don’t really think about how it’s going to fit everything else.
C: Yeah, that has caused a lot of reviewers to say that some of the songs sound like they should be on different records. But we don’t really care.  When I pop in a record I don’t want to hear the same song twelve times.
A: Yeah.  That’s  why people listen to the radio. There’s a different type of song every time.
C: Our songs are not polar opposites though, they’re remotely the same. But there are differences. You have “Don’t Look Back” which is super poppy and is on Radio Disney and is just complete… pop. Then you have “Paint Me Envy” which is dark and more Paramore-ish.
A: and “What If” is more acoustic.
C: We just really do whatever.
P: And then we have a song called “Good To Meet You” and I think it’s very 90’s mainstream.
C: I think people have the misconception that if you’re in a band you can only do and can’t do certain things. Actually, I’m in band and dropped out of school so I can do what I want with my music. I want to fit everything and do our own thing.

CC: I guess that shows up in your fan base, which is very unique. I know you draw in the Radio Disney crowd along with the Hot Topic/Scene punk rock kids.
G: It’s funny. There are kids that hate other kids within our fan base.
C: A lot of people  tell us that we have to pick a side… but why?

CC: Is it hard to deal with?
G: At first, when we started getting exposure from Radio Disney we started to get a ton of messages telling us we were selling out and stuff. If they really supported us from the beginning and they’re a true fan they would understand how beneficial that exposure is for us a band. They shouldn’t hate us.
C: I’m scared to death to pick a side to be honest. I mean, we write so differently. Sometimes I write “Don’t Look Back” type stuff or I go into a “Paint Me Envy” type mood. If I pick the Radio Disney side, I’m basically screwing over the Warped tour and Hot Topic and scene crap. But if our next record sounds like Paramore what do I do then?
P: We are just going to ride on both sides for as long as we can before we have to pick a side if we have to. I mean, Paramore is on Radio Disney sometimes but then they do Warped and AP (Alternative Press) covers. I think Paramore, The All American Rejects, and Fall Out Boy are kind of keeping that balance. I know that’s three bands out of the entire world but if we can do it it would be ideal.
C: It’s interesting because the scene has opened up but still there’s kid that like us but will never turn on Radio Disney, even if their life depended on it. But there’s the kids who listen to Radio Disney who think they’ll get their head chopped off if they go into Hot Topic. It’s cool to reach both with our music.
P: Yeah and some people think we sound differently live than we do on the CD. We’re definitely more rock live.

CC: Yeah some people in the back of the show were wondering that you guys were doing head banging…
P: It’s in our roots what can I say. We grew up to New Found Glory.

CC: So what are some of the other artists that have influenced you apart from them?
C: Every true punk rock band. Goo Goo Dolls, Paramore, Blink 182.
P: Yeah that stuff is what brought us into music in the first place. That’s is who we are.
C: They come up pop, but to us we’re still a rock band.
G: Yeah it’s who we are. We don’t have live choreographed dance moves or something.
C: We might do it for fun one time to see people’s reaction.

CC: So what is in the future for School Boy Humor?
P: Touring. A music video is one of our more short term goals.
CC: What song are you guys planning on right now?
C: That’s a big decision we have to make with our label. It’s probably going to be “Don’t Look Back,” “Camera Shy,” or “Turn It Up”
P: One of those three. I don’t know how or when we’re going to decide
C: Yeah one of those three. And if our label doesn’t want one of those then we’re not doing it anytime soon.

CC: Any Summer Tour planned for now?
P: We have some stuff up in the air but we can’t release anything yet.
C: But we will be on tour, somewhere, with someone over the summer.
P: From now until we are thirty years old. We don’t really take breaks from touring. This December we took the month off because we toured all year and recorded the record. But we are always on tour.

CC: So you are one of those bands that constantly have to play to prove you can be just as good live?
P: Exactly. I personally think we sound much better live than we do on the CD because I think we bring it harder
G: We get a lot of comments for that and I think it’s good.
P: Our tour manager makes a list of good and bad stuff we do. It makes you think about how you can constantly improve.

CC: So where do you see yourselves in five or ten years?
C: Hopefully in a tour bus.
P: That would be awesome.
C: Hopefully selling out venues consistently.
G: In the next couple of years we just want to grow.
C: We want to grow as big as possible whether it is in ten years or five years we want to get there.

CC: So you see yourself going all the way…
P: Yeah it’s our dream and what we dropped out of school for.
C: Yeah I wouldn’t want to go back to school at 28 sitting next to a 19 year old. I feel like we’re too close now..
P: Not to like making it or anything
C: I mean we’re farther than we ever thought we were going to be.

CC: A year ago, where did you think you were going to be at today?
P: Definitely not here.
A: I thought we were going to be in school hoping we could play music.
C: Yeah hoping we would get a record deal. When you get signed you’re really ignorant. You think you’re going to get huge, but that’s not how it works. Everything is so slow. I mean, we have to wait a month, a month and a half to get the budget for our music video.
P: Yeah so we just tour and tour a lot and you wait for the label.
C: You have to let them take care of business and you do your thing.
P: Yeah, we were taking about that the other day.  We just got a new manager and it’s been weird transitioning.
C: We’ve been a very do it yourself band. If we need something done, we do it ourselves. But our new manager, he’s been with Circa Survive and My Chemical Romance. So it’s weird going from a small time manager to someone who has done it. We’re going to the point where we’re not doing it ourselves but are putting our career in someone else's hands and it’s hard. It’s hard to trust people.
G: We’ve gotten ourselves this far it’s hard to let someone else take everything you’ve worked for on the line.
P: He’ll tell us to just play shows and he’ll take care of the rest. But it’s in our nature.
C: Yeah they definitely want us to chill out and relax.

Fan Questions

Do you have any before show rituals?
A: Some of us do some vocal warm-ups, go to the bathroom.
G: Some drumming..
C: I never thought about saying this but I call my girlfriend every night when we’re literally on stage. Before I put my phone on the amp I call her and say tell her.
P: I drink a bottle of water before.
C: Yeah nothing too crazy. Sometimes we work out.
A: I did today.

Who spends the most time of Myspace?
A: It kind of varies. Lately, I have.
P: But we usually have jobs.
C: Yeah someone had messages and someone had comments, friend requests…

CC: Is it hard to keep up with it now?
C: Yeah, it’s hard specially since we’re on the road and don’t have Internet access all the time. But we do try to spend the time. Whatever stands out we take the time to read, especially the one that say “we’re your biggest fan”
CC: You’re getting a ton of that stuff nowadays...
C: Yeah, how can you not love it. The only things I mind are the people who are like, “you’re on the radio. Boo I won’t listen to you”
A: Yeah, one time when we were asking for people to vote on Musiqtone this girl was like “I would vote for you, but you’re on Disney so no”
C: Well, sorry but I don’t want to live in a car for the rest of my life. I guess most people confuse Radio Disney with little kids singing but you turn it on sometimes and listen to Paramore, We The  Kings, Boys like Girls. Then you go on the pages of these people and see that those are the bands they have listed as their favorite. So, I’m glad you don’t like us.
P: Those bands just don’t take the time to promote it like we do because they’re already huge. We’re not.
G: Yeah it’s funny people think we’re bigger than we actually are. Kids will come to our shows and say they’re surprised the place isn’t packed.
A: Yeah people tend to think we’re so famous but we’re not. This one girl was saying she couldn’t find our show on Ticketmaster and she only had $50 for a ticket. First of all it’s only about like $5 and our shows aren’t even listed there.
C: *laughs*Next time just send us the money and we’ll take care of the ticket.

What is your dream venue to play at one day?
A: Any arena.
C: Madison Square Garden.
P: Maybe like  a huge House of Blues tour.
C: Dude, The Superbowl. That would be huge.
P: That would be epic.
C: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or New York’s Eve in Times Square.

What’s your favorite song?
A: Of ours it would be “Camera Shy.” By someone else, anything by Angels & Airwaves. They’re my favorite band.
G: Of ours, “Paint Me Envy.” New Ryan Cabrera is very good. I know he looks like Johnny Depp now but this song of his, “In Between Lights” it’s good.
C: My favorite song of ours is “What If.” By someone else “Heels Over Head” by Boys Like Girl. “That’s What You Get” by Paramore is also a very good song.
P: “Realize” is my favorite song of ours. Even though it’s a (Colbie Caillat) cover it’s very fun to play live. Also, Third Eye Blind “Can’t Get Away” is amazing.

Do any of you have any other talents?
A: Me and Caleb used to do gymnastics.
P: I’m a body builder.
G: I like to draw. I learned to cut hair, and I’m the hair cutter of the band.
C: I’m an actor.

If you could have any super power what would it be?
G: This is the hardest question of all time.
C: I would have the super power that would allow me to have any super power I wanted.

CC: That’s cheating. You have to come up with something.
P: Invisible
A: To be invincible
P: Well if you were invisible, you could disappear in front of a car something.
C: To fly, I know it’s cliche but it’s cool. Or breathe under water. Shoot water out of my hands.
A: Or like the guy in the movie Jumper. But then you would have Samuel L. Jackson chasing you around. That wouldn’t be cool.

Kim KaminskeCristina Carrazza is the assistant regional head for the Midwest for Musiqtone.com. You can reach her at cristinacarrazza@musiqtone.com.

(C) 2008 Musiqtone. All Rights Reserved. Any part of this interview cannot be used without written express consent from both the representatives of Hey Monday and Musiqtone.
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