Harvey Girls, The - 05.16.10
The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:
The Harvey Girls
The Harvey Girls are Melissa Rodenbeek and Hiram Lucke, a married couple who started playing music together in Lawrence, KS, in 2003 and now live in Portland, OR. The questions were answered by Hiram with assistance by Melissa.
1. How did you get your band name?
We started in Kansas and Melissa and I wanted something that was historically linked to our home state as well as something that would look good. The Harvey Girls were sort of the first fast food waitresses who worked at Harvey Houses in the west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These were started by a man named Fred Harvey and the first one was in Kansas. There's also something nice about the juxtaposition of a male name and the word girls.
We were almost named Milk Milk Lemonade, but then I remembered there was already a band named that.
2. How did this band get started?
Melissa and I moved in together and soon were married. I'd been making music for a long time and Melissa has a wonderful voice and can play the keyboard. We also have a huge music collection, so it seemed inevitable.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
This is the not-so-short short list:
The Beach Boys, Jorge Ben, Bjork, Kate Bush, Can, Captain Beefheart, De La Soul, Dr. Octagon, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, King Tubby, The Kinks, Fred Lane, Stephin Merritt, The Muppets, Os Mutantes, Milton Nascimento, Neutral Milk Hotel, Prince, People Like Us, the Shangri-Las, The Swirlies, T. Rex, Tall Dwarfs, Townes Van Zandt, Bukka White, and The Zombies.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
Hmmm, The Flaming Lips. We love their music and have for a long time, they're from the same part of the country that we're from, we appreciate their work ethic, and think that it'd be a whole hell of a lot of fun.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
An ocelot. They're cute.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because they like music? This is always a hard question for us: you either sound pompous or end up communicating in business-speak, hoping that people are proactive in our unit movement. See! Wow, that sounds dirtier than it should.
If you're the type of person who overthinks while shaking your ass, then you'd love us.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
We still haven't played that damn game. We tend to like shooting things. Um, "Green Light (in your heavy metal mind)" (http://www.theharveygirls.com/sounds/green%20light.mp3) I guess.... Probably wouldn't be too hard. Then again, they have an Aerosmith game, don't they?
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Our family, our friends, and Richard Matheson.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Well, it's a problem of the world in general, but the fact that even with DIY/"indie" these days, money tends to equal acceptance and importance.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Not really a tour, but our friends Notes & Scratches (http://notesandscratches.com/) came to Lawrence from Chicago for a long weekend of shows a few years back. We hung out all weekend and that Sunday just happened to be Easter. Melissa made us all Easter baskets, something that I didn't know she was doing, so they had chocolate for their trip home and we had chocolate while watching movies. It was just a great time hanging out with great people all weekend.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
We like your wide variety and byline.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
At the moment, it's our song 'Puss' (here's a live version: http://www.vimeo.com/10740668) from our forthcoming album "I've Been Watching a Lot of Horror Movies Lately" on Circle Into Square (out June 29th!). It's based on a line from the book/movie "Let the Right One In" and is just a lot of fun to play.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Thailand or Costa Rica would be wonderful, but it's usually the backyard thanks to the economy.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
I think for both of us, the easiest answer is The Beatles.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
The power to end pain of any kind. Seems self explanatory to me.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
I think that we've accomplished a lot and in most every way we have "made it." One of our favorite success stories is this: We once wrote a song called "For Sheila Behman." Sheila is the little girl (now woman) who sang"Desperado" on the Langley Schools Music Project album "Innocence and Despair." Sheila's life story as she related it in an interview struck a nerve with us--we both had crazy childhoods for different reasons--so we wrote a song for her. So, someone who had interviewed Hans Fenger, the teacher behind the Langley Schools Project, sent him a copy of the song. Hans, wonderful man that he is, wrote to us and said that he had played the song for Sheila and that they both really liked it. In some ways, we could have just stopped being a band at that point and been happy. It was touching. We've also been able to commune with friends we roped into the band, make albums with artists we love (we did an EP with Feedle from the UK under the moniker holland buffalo, have sang and played on albums by Wow & Flutter and cars & trains), and generally use it to stay creative.
But yeah, I'd love to be able not to have a day job. Wishes, horses, etc.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
We like bomb pops.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Our anniversary. It's not everyone's holiday, but it's ours.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read, play games, watch movies, create stop motion videos, play with our cats. Nowadays, I look for a job.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Melissa can sing like Alvin from The Chipmunks. Hiram can dance like Bill Cosby. We can both edit text like no one's business. Of course, if we didn't edit this, it's by choice, man.
Great interview. Lolarious and honest.