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Interviews: Turkey Vulture

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Metal band, Turkey Vulture, 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, you planned it or came out just like that?

This is my third band in a row to be named after a bird in some way: first there was Jimmy Junk Bird and the Stiffs, then Owl Maker, and now Turkey Vulture. I guess I love birds! Plus, turkey vultures are a common sight where we live -- they are gross and majestic at the same time, which I like to think goes with our style of music.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

I wanted to insert American folk music into something heavier. Thankfully, Jim's been willing to go along with it.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Jim, the drummer, and I have been playing in bands together since 2008. Our first band was called Pink Missile. Then we formed Jimmy Junk Bird... And at some point in the late 2000-teens, we started dating. Jimmy Junk Bird broke up but we did not! Eventually we decided that we wanted to play in a band together again, so we started jamming the music that became Turkey Vulture in late 2018. We got married in November 2019. So yeah, we know each other.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Jim is sleeping right now, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Metallica. It's the only band tattoo of his many tattoos, so that's a good guess. For me, Thin Lizzy.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

For the music, it's just something we love to do. As far as the lyrics, it depends on who's writing them. I get inspiration from books, historical figures, old folk songs... Jim is a film buff and he's written a couple songs that are inspired by movies -- like "Age of Resistance" from our upcoming EP, which is about The Dark Crystal. Listen to it here!

6. Where was your last gig?

In our basement! We've been doing livestreams on Facebook about once a month since the pandemic started. Our next livestream is on July 18th at 5pm EDT, in the Facebook group Happy Hour with Heather and Guest. Join the group to tune in! 

7. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

It was hard for me to start singing in front of people because I had never done it before. I was very afraid of sounding bad and being judged harshly, after years of being known as a pretty respectable bass player in my local scene. But Turkey Vulture ain't exactly opera... By now, the stage fright has been surpassed by the fun of being on the mic. I think doing these basement livestreams is helping too -- we're playing to an audience, but we can't see them! So I get to practice my banter in a real but nonthreatening setting lol. 

Before our first show, I sent a message to a frontman I really admire -- Earl from Shadow Witch. I asked him if he had any advice for overcoming stage fright, and he said he was so nervous the first time he sang on stage that his leg wouldn't stop shaking. So he just started stomping his foot, and that became one of his trademark stage moves! It was reassuring to hear that someone with such powerful stage presence was nervous at first too. And guess what? Turkey Vulture's first show went off without a hitch!

So I guess my advice is to ask more experienced people for their advice! Also remember that, at least in the local metal scene, plenty of people get up on stage and sound like garbage all the while *thinking* that they sound great. The worst you can do is also sound like garbage. Then everyone claps and tells you, "Nice set, man," you have some beers, and you try to do better next time. What's stopping you???

As far as Jim and stage fright, I get the impression that he's unflappable! In all our years of playing together, I've never seen him nervous before a show.

8. What bands have inspired you the most?

Year of the Cobra is an inspiration for us because a.) they are awesome and b.) they are also a husband-wife duo. Plus, they have kids and still make the music thing work! Let's just say Jim and I plan to join that club soon... Like I said before, Metallica and Thin Lizzy are big influences. So are The Misfits, The Ramones, Social Distortion, Robert Johnson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Motörhead....

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

Luckily we haven't gotten any strange requests yet.

10. What do you think of your fans?

We think they're great! People have been very supportive of Turkey Vulture, from the bands in the Eastern Connecticut doom metal scene who invited us to play our first shows, to friends online like Heather Lawson, who runs the Happy Hour with Heather group. Curtis Dewar, Keith Chachkes, Duncan Evans, and Jamey Morris have also been instrumental in helping us get the word out online. One thing that's pleasantly surprised me: we have several folks who actually "subscribe" to us on bandcamp, which I think is a huge vote of confidence. Knowing that somebody out there gives a shit what we're doing and wants to be part of our secret club makes all this worthwhile!

11. What do you think of our site?

I think what you guys do is awesome! Thank you for giving underground bands a platform to share their music.

12. Something add?

If anyone wants to join Turkey Vulture's secret club, you can subscribe to us here! You'll get a bunch of exclusive tracks and a 15% discount on physical merch, plus our entire digital back catalog AND our new EP Time to Pay when it comes out. Speaking of which, Time To Pay will be released July 31st in digital and CD formats.

Thanks for reading! And thank you, Breathing the Core, for interviewing us.

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