Interviews: The Fill Ins


On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Rock band, The Fill Ins, from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, did you plan it or came out just like that?

ALEX STIFF: The idea came from the original lineup in Roanoke VA. I had met up with this guy and played in his band for a bit, but eventually the bassist and I quit and started our own band. He was actually a guitarist and could sing better than I could so he was the decided frontman with me on 2nd guitar. We then met up with a drummer that played with us a bit in his band and started jamming, then eventually found a bassist and discovered he ALSO played in that same band before the rest of us did! I can’t remember exactly who said it, but it was said that we were “just a bunch of fill ins for that guy” and it just stuck. After that version of the band broke up, I moved to Charlotte NC to start new with the name; now using it in the more literal sense of “if you need a band last minute, call The Fill Ins!”.

2. What made you want to play rock n roll?

ALEX STIFF: I tried to listen to a lot of different genres when I was younger but nothing really seemed to click until I heard KISS coming from the living room one day. Mom was a huge closeted fan and started embracing it again about the time I started taking more of an interest in music; everything from the stage show to the music just grabbed me. Shortly after, I started listening to Black Sabbath and Ozzy, but the real turning point was being shown The Ramones. That shot me down the punk rock path and showed me that with basic knowledge, I can play music too. So learning from the Jonny Ramone, Ace Frehley and Joe Young (founding guitarist of ANTiSEEN) handbook, I just started trying to write the music I was consuming, and a lot of punk rock was coming out. That worked out when I was writing for the band because punk is king here on Charlotte, but I really wanted to morph the band into something bigger. Our first record is very punk influenced, and the second one was a bit more rock based, but when we released Hit The Gas in late 2016 being an unapologetic rock tune, the band had finally become what I was hoping it could be, and it’s just gotten better from there.

3. For how long did you know each other before the band was formed?

ALEX STIFF: I knew Mikey (lead guitar) a bit before he joined; being a mutual friend of the bassist that first played in the band when I reformed in NC, but we didn’t really start hanging out or becoming friends until after he joined the band. I met our bassist James at a Wednesday 13 show we were opening for. The aforementioned first bassist had just been let go but we had a gig opening for W13 so I just played bass for the show. James comes up to the merch booth chatting with us about the band and we exchange numbers. After catching him a few weeks later at a Danzig/Doyle show (and him pestering me for a band to play guitar in) I asked him to play bass and haven’t looked back since. We met Christian when he was playing in another band opening for us at a local venue. I honestly noticed his drumming being the best part of the band and with all our past drummer issues, I had put a little ‘tick’ in my head that I could hit him up if we needed. It wound up being where we needed a new drummer only a year or so later so he came right in and has been absolutely crushing it.

4. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

ALEX STIFF: Inspiration comes from many different places. Lately I’ll just think of a funny or witty line I could turn into a lyric and jot it down in my phone. A lot of times I’ll just hum a melody in my head and try to flesh it out after I get home from work and hope I can still remember what it was. Hahaha! Not a lot seems to happen when I TRY to write music or lyrics, most of the time it ends up being kinda subpar and gets tossed. Though the ones that just come to you seem to be the best ones at the end of the day.

5. Where was your last gig before this shutdown?

ALEX STIFF: Our last full live gig was March 7th in Norton WV at this badass club called The Rim. We were gearing up for the release of our new record NEVER HEARD OF EM and that was the only pre-release show we got to do. After that we were gonna tour it around some and spread the word, but that all got dashed. Hopefully we’ll be hitting the road again very soon!

6. Whom would you like to feature with?

ALEX STIFF: I cant think of anyone’s projects I’d want to be part of, but I could give you a huge list of folks I’ve love to have come play in our clubhouse. I’d love to collaborate with Paul Stanley, Eddie Spaghetti, Robert Pehrsson, Nicke Andersson, and Danko Jones just to name a few!

7. Whom not?

ALEX STIFF: I’m personally not a big fan of rap, and we get asked every so often to do beats or music for them and that’s just not something I’d be too interested in.

8. Have you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

ALEX STIFF: I’ve had mild bouts of stage fright, but nothing that’s ever kept me from wanting to get up and perform, or worry about freezing up. It was always about just worried about making sure everything goes as should. After a while, I was able to use that nervous energy to my advantage and translate it to excited and performance energy. Just know that no matter what your head wants to do to you, just remember you can knock this out; so go up with the same confidence you know you have alone in your room, and you’ll shine!

9. What bands have inspired you the most?

ALEX STIFF: The main 2 I always go to is KISS and Ramones. Those two bands really set me on the path I’m currently on. After finding them and diving into the world of music I now love; more bands that wind up inspiring me would be Supersuckers, Danko Jones, Sweet, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, Blondie and a lot of Swedish rock.

10. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

ALEX STIFF: I can't really think of anything too weird that a fan has asked me for to be honest. We’ve had some weird encounters like someone insisting my name was Willy, fire in the roof of the venue we were about to play, and someone saying we didn’t charge enough for our 7in vinyl at $5.. haha.

11. What do you think of your fans?

ALEX STIFF: They are simply the best! Not a lot of people really know about us so we really try to keep a close relationship with the folks that like our music. At the end of the day, we do this so we can make a musical connection with people all over. I know the way music makes me feel and how it’s gotten me through some really bad times, and if we are able to do that for at least one person, then we did our job. That’s why we appreciate and love every single person that’s supported us through the years. Without these awesome folks, what we do wouldn’t be possible!

12. What do you think of our site?

ALEX STIFF: I think it’s great! We did a feature with you all back in 2016 and it was a blast, and you have great readers on your platform!

13. Something to add?

ALEX STIFF: Thank you so much for taking the time to check us out and hope to catch you on the next go-round! Our new record NEVER HEARD OF EM is available everywhere you download or stream music, and it’s also pressed to random color vinyl + bonus tracks and available at www.thefillins.com/store

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