Interviews: Quiz Show

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

1. Chris, what is the story behind your band name?

We actually had a lot of trouble finding a name for the band that we all liked. Something was always off. Quiz Show came to mind in part because I like the Q and the Z but it stuck once I found Pete Seeger’s song “Quiz Show” which is about the fraud behind television quiz shows in the 1950s. Check it out:

2. Why did you want to make music in the genres of music you play? 

I came up in the DC music scene in the 1980s. I loved playing in bands and writing songs. Before that, I loved classic rock (Zeppelin, Hendrix) and new wave (Talking Heads, Devo, XTC). Then I met people who were into the Dischord punk scene which led to the founding of Shudder to Think with Stuart Hill, Mike Russell, and Craig Wedren. Not really being at the center of this scene, we were free to follow our own path which translated into music that wanted to be punk but was also something else. I think this is still the method at work in my process.

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

What is your backstory?  The original Quiz Show lineup was Kevin March, Frank Gibbons, and me. Even though I kept my instruments, I did not play much music after departing Shudder to Think in 1992. My plan was grad school and a career in archaeology and academics. This I did, but I was also very lucky to end up teaching in Montclair, NJ, an NYC suburb where a lot of other musicians also settled. Kevin and I bumped into each other at a music event and started playing together in a cover band. We soon shifted to writing songs together and then started playing with Frank, who lives around the corner from me. Kevin is an amazing source of inspiration and I owe him tons of credit for getting me back into music-making. Kevin was also friends with another Montclair musician, Ray Ketchem, who had a recording studio in his home where we recorded the first Quiz Show tunes like Sound of Kissing and Pom Pom Boy. Now we record our music at Ray’s Magic Door studio and release our music on the Magic Door record label which Ray along with Kevin and Renée Lo Bue runs. Go team and go Montclair! The Quiz Show lineup evolved in 2021 after the pandemic with Jesse Krakow on bass and Joe Billy on drums along with me still playing guitar and singing. This trio recorded and released two three-song EPs through Magic Door and will have more new music to come soon.

4. What is each of your favorite bands? 

This is tough because my opinions change a lot. The ones that seem to stick around are Velvet Underground, Replacements, and Built to Spill.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs? 

I write songs because I love doing them! My writing starts with finding workable ideas on the guitar. It’s a pretty random process usually defined by having time to pick up the instrument. Vocal melodies come before lyrics, which I usually figure out by finding a phrase that fits the rhythm and building the story around that. My academic work is focused on heritage and social justice, so I tend to write lyrics that chip at inequalities and injustices with an occasional story about love, money, and madness.

6. Where was your last gig? Are any other gigs coming up?

So far, our shows are local. Our last show was at Jimmy’s in Kearny NJ. The next one will be at Tierney’s in Montclair.

7. Where would you like to perform? 

The Black Cat in DC. 8. Whom would you like to collaborate or perform with?  Lou Reed for the song writing and Jimi Hendrix for the guitar

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that? 

Not really. I started playing shows when I was too young and stupid to care. I think you just have to know your stuff and let the little mistakes go. Live is live! 

11. What artists or producers have inspired you the most? 

Ian MacKaye, Jeff Nelson, and the rest of the Dischord crew have my utmost respect for both the music they make and the way they have remained authentically punk.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for or done at one of your shows?

Turn down the volume

13. How important are your fans in terms of what you do?

Do you have a special relationship or dialogue of sorts? I wish we had fans that I could have a dialogue!

14. What do you think of our website? 

It's great! Keep it up!

15. What are your plans for the next year or so? Is there anything you'd like to add?

We will relish our moment in the sun with the new album and then get back in to record more new material for another one. I’ll probably also spend some time at the beach and hanging with my almost adult children. Please do stop in at our Bandcamp and listen to what we’ve got for you

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