Von Ehrics, The - 04.11.11
The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:
The Von Ehrics (answered by Robert Jason Vandgriff)
1. How did you get your band name?
We took it from a legendary wrestling family with a tragic history from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
2. How did this band get started?
Years of playing in bands that played music we thought people wanted to hear lead to the Von Ehrics. We made a conscious effort to incorporate the country and gospel influences with the punk and metal influences. At the time we felt like no one was making music for the punk rock kids that grew up in the country. So we decided to do it ourselves.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Anything and everything. Steve Earle, Motorhead, Dinosaur Jr., Rancid, Aretha Franklin, Waylon Jennings, Social Distortion, Bob Wills, Al Green.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
We have played so many shows with so many great bands. Reverend Horton Heat, Hank III, Supersuckers, Throw Rag. We would tour with anyone if the bill worked. It sucks to see a bill with two throw away bands and a good headliner. The most important thing about a tour is loading the bill with great artists that go well together and giving people a quality show from start to finish.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
We try to be healthy but you have to have Italian in NYC or deep dish pizza in Chicago. Most of the time when we get somewhere, we eat what people from that city eat. And not the touristy places. We eat and drink at neighbor bars and restaurants. Something specific to that location.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because we're fucking good. More importantly we offer something that is truly unique and authentic. We were raised in rural Texas listening to church gospel and dancehall country music. We grew up and found punk and metal. But that didn't make us forget about what our foundation was. We just incorporated everything and that's what makes our sound what it is.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
This is Texas and football is king. So basically anyone that wears a star on their helmet. Why? For the same reason we got into music - sex, drugs and rock and roll.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Each other. None of this would be possible without the Von Ehrics.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Being force-fed crap by major labels on commercial radio. That is the main reason the preset 1 is NPR....that and we like news.
10. Memorable tour experience?
So many. We had a guy volunteer to be hit on his bare stomach with an ax handle wrapped in barbed wire for an autographed disc and free shirt. One guy set a band t-shirt on fire because he misunderstood something we said and thought we didn't like that band. That lead to his beard catching on fire and me wasting a pint of beer on his face to put it out. People have been married at our shows. Endless stories on the road.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
It's a way to be introduced to bands we might like and find out news on bands we are aware of. Not only that, but the forums and blogs are great. Growing up you really had to go out of your way to find new and interesting artists. AP.net makes that a lot easier to do.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
The last one of the night.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Home is a nice vacation. If not, somewhere quiet and secluded. Maybe the Texas Hill Country or the Virgin Islands.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Early 80s honky tonk, old Metallica, Bad Religion, NWA.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
The power to get 8 hours of sleep each night. It's not really a super power but it would really come in handy.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
Not really. A few beers and a few laughs. Sound checks are kind of ritualistic, but that is about it.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
You meet a lot of people who think you are a superhero because you're in a band. The reality is: we're all pretty normal. We sit at the end of the bar and drink our beer just like everyone else. We go to the grocery store, water our yards and cut our grass just like the next guy. We just have really weird jobs compared to most.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
A lot of it is predictable. But you get that one gem that is a little different every once and a while. The Von Ehrics could do well in commercial radio because our songs are listenable. We have a unique sound due to the diversity of the influences but we don't lean too far in one direction or the other. We have some songs that could do well on Americana, some for commercial and some for indie.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
There hasn't been a lot of spare time since about 2003. We will let you know when we get some.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
The ability to spend countless hours driving down highways and interstates. It takes a certain kind of person to spend 12 or more hours at a time in a vehicle whether you are driving or not.