For about 2 weeks, I had been looking forward to the Suburban Legends show at the Old Brickhouse in Phoenix, Arizona. I have just recently become an SL fan, so seeing them for the very first time was something I was extremely was looking forward too. And I of course wanted an interview, so I sent out a few e-mails, but never got a response. A friend of mine, Kelly, said he had received an e-mail from the bands PR, and offered to forward it to me. I made the e-mail to the PR, got the interview set up, and was a very happy camper. In the e-mail, we were told to arrive before the show at 6pm, and the band would be available for an interview. We got there early, and ended up waiting for almost 2 hours, but never able to catch someone in time for the interview. So I made my way towards the front of the stage so that I had a good view for pictures, and decided to wait until after their set to get my interview, and I’m extremely glad I did. I found Tim Maurer sitting at the SL merch booth, and I decided to show him a picture I took of him, which in my opinion, was a very good picture, and asked him when he or the band was available for an interview. He immediately knew who I was, called his brother over to the merch booth, and lead me, my brother and our good friend Blake outside for the interview. We haven’t had the chance to do an interview for SPS in a while, so this interview was something me and my brother have been looking forward to for a good while, and thankfully, we were not let down. This interview was unlike any interview I’ve ever done, and once you start to read on, you’ll understand why.
Savanna: Can you tell us who you are and what you do in the band?
Tim Maurer: My name is Tim, and I sing in the band.
Savanna: Ok, cool. So, with the elections coming up, I have to ask… Are you voting?
Tim: I’m a firm believer in voting for what you want.
Savanna: Who are you voting for? Can you tell us?
Tim: That’s between me, and the voting booth!
Savanna: Ok! (laughter) You’re stage shows are theatrical and well planned out. Was that something that just naturally happened, or was it something that was planned out, and you said, “Ok, this is what we’re going to do!”?
Tim: Well, what happened was… Years and years ago when we started the band, our feet were planted to the ground and we couldn’t move. We were… stuck in this… thing. I – we were all in theater – I was in musical theatre and everyone was doing their own thing in the theatre, whether they were in the pit or up on stage doing their thing, and we just started the band, and it was like, we had to move! We heard voices from the sky! Aliens came down and talked to us and told us our mission in life was to move! More than just the swing back and forth, or the rock out, or the kicking and stuff, you had to actually… move in unison, and do back-flips, and form the trombone monster and the glorious other things we create on stage for all our fans out there! So that is why, and how, and then… there you go!
D.T.: Very well put.
Savanna: Wow. That answers my question! This is actually good, because I wrote a question just for you!
Savanna: It says in your bio… It says your influence was Reel Big Fish, and it was their energy that influenced you to start the band.
Tim: Who told you that?
Savanna: It was in your bio!
Tim: Ok, that’s cool.
Savanna: So, who are your other influences?
Tim: Wow, I’ve got a lot of musical influences… I really like… okay, if you look at… I have so much – I love all kinds of music. I really love the music from Jamaica – the ska, the reggae – Desmond Decker, Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals (?), um… all those good motherfu–guys.
Savanna: You can say fucker. (laughter)
Tim: I don’t wanna cuss; it’s bad for me!
Tim: I like… I like… Reel Big Fish, love The Specials, Madness, I’m a big fan of Liberator, Bad Manners, Slackers, RX Bandits – Great bands – um… The Tortures… God, there’s so many bands out there! Those are the Ska bands… I really enjoy Greenday, The Sex Pistols, love The Clash, John Denver, Bob Dylan, uh… Stevie Wonder…
Savanna: This is a long question!
Tim: You told me!
Savanna: Ok, go on – Stevie Wonder….
Tim: The Beatles, The Who… We’re still going…
Tim: Simon And Garfunkel – I’m a huge fan of them!
Savanna: I love them!
Tim: Then we’re gonna go in that genre – that direction – I really like The Shins, Belle and Sebastian, I love, uh… The Killers are fun, The Hives are cool – I like how he moves. The Rolling Stones…
Savanna: There’s where we differ. (laughter)
Tim: That’s ok, I understand – He’s sexy!
Savanna: Oh, is he really?
Tim: Oh my God…
Savanna: I prefer Steven Tyler.
Tim: Dude looks like a lady? No!
Tim: Anyways, back to my musical talking…
Tim: I enjoy Travis, I enjoy The Vines, I enjoy… I already said Bob Marley, but I’m saying it again! I enjoy musicals of all shapes and sizes. The producers, I enjoy Steven Sondheim. I enjoy… Radiohead is cool – When you want to cry and feel bad about yourself. Uh, I like…
Tim: A lot of music.
Savanna: That is a lot of music…
Tim: Oh, James Brown! Don’t forget the James Brown! Oh man! That guy, he’s like… he moves like… (Tim starts singing, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and starts dancing, and mimicking the sounds of a guitar) POW! He’s just so freaking… on the edge. He’s so energetic! (Starts singing again) He’s just so soulful, you know, that R&B from the early movements.
Savanna: We’re going to go onto the next question, is that ok?
Tim: Yeah, sure, go, go, go!
Savanna: What about local bands? You didn’t mention any local that I know of.
Tim: You’re opening up a huge can of worms; there are just so many great local bands!
Savanna: Well, just name five, your top five…
Tim: Detricks (?) I like… God if I forget anybody they’re gonna kill me. I have so many friends in bands that are local, so, uh…
Savanna: So just say everyone…
Tim: Everyone! (laughter) Cross out that first one, and say everyone! Work Shirt Wonder! There you go, I can’t forget those guys!
Savanna: Ok, next question. 962 shows in the year 2002, most of which were at Disneyland. Can you tell us about that experience?
Tim: It was very musically great and happy. It was like musical boot camp, you work your butt off, and you get tights, you make fans – It’s like going on a world tour with out going anywhere. Seriously, you meet people from like… England, and freakin’ Detroit, and then from like, other parts of the world, you go to like Australia, China, New Zealand, And then all the sudden someone is from like, I know this sounds weird, but freakin’ Maine.
Tim: It was cool, I liked it, it was good – We got a lot of our hardcore fans in Orange County. I was good for me. It was a lot of hard work – 4 shows a night – I was my most physically fit. Now I’ve gained some weight back, you can see I kind of got that love junk going.
Savanna: Love handles are hot.
Tim: I’m just kidding, I’m down with what I – but I was freakin’ stick boy. I was working so hard, but yeah, it was good hard work.
Savanna: Ok, cool. So you guys covered the Gummi Bear song. What made you decide to cover the Gummi Bear song?
Tim: Have you ever heard of like… You know how Germany’s was bummed out because they’re like… Oh, we had the Holocaust! You know, everybody’s like “Germany equals Holocaust” – it’s like “Suburban Legends equals Gummi Bear Song.” I know it’s kind of racy to say, but I’m just saying, you know, we started playing that song when we were like, 16. I’m 24 now. I’m 24 now – do you understand the math? We played that song and it was fun, and kooky, whatever, and people latched on to it, and said, “Suburban Legends equals Gummi Bears!” And it’s been good to us, because people always want the Gummi Bear song!
Savanna: Do people bring you Gummi Bears, now?
Tim: They throw Gummi Bears at us. It’s a dangerous occupation.
Tim: And I was just kidding about the whole Germany thing, don’t put that in there!
Savanna: Oh, we will.
Tim: You will? Well, okay. Well, I love them!
Savanna: We don’t censor. (laughter)
Tim: Well I was just kidding. If it looks bad, take it out.
Savanna: Ok! (laughter)
Tim: And take what I just said out too, about taking that out. (laughter) Anyway, go ahead.
Savanna: Ok, Your music influences and appeals to a lot of different age groups. If there was one message you could bring to your fans, what would it be?
Tim: All you need it love! (laughter)
Tim: No wait, someone already said that – That was uh, Paul – was uh, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Right? (laughter) No, uh… Geeze, I would say… Live for the moment – Be happy, you know? And vote!
Savanna: And vote? Good one. We’re all about voting!
Tim: Voting is very important. I don’t think there’s ever been an election in recent memory that is as important, as tight, and as close, and as controversial, as emotionally — it’s great, and I’m happy with events of voting, like how crazy culture – like, how everyone is pissed off. I think it’s good that everyone got pissed off because now, finally, we’re not – we’re no longer going to be an apathetic nation.
Tim: Yeah, so anyways.
Savanna: Ok, Zanzibar… So what’s up with that song? It’s very different. I love it, but it’s not the usual style that you hear…
Tim: (joking) Are you bashing Zanzibar?
Savanna: No, I love it, but it’s different, it’s so many different styles, it’s very eclectic. Where did you guys come up with it?
Tim: My younger brother, Chris Maurer, he plays bass in the band…
Tim: Whoop Whoop.
Savanna: Whoop Whoop? (laughter)
Tim: That’s for Chris. He wrote the song. He’s a genius. He’s a musical virtuoso. And why he wrote the song? I don’t know! He just thought it was cool. We thought, “hey it’s a dark song – lets do it!” It became a vocalist song, and not just instrumental – we have some humming and hooing, and some chanting.
Savanna: Yeah, what language is that?
Savanna: What are you saying?
Tim: I don’t know! I took Latin for two years and didn’t learn crap. I was just spitting out random Latin words. Plus, I was going to church as a kid, so it was just something about spitting out random words. It was something about girl, boy, god, light, hands, something, it was weird.
Savanna: Ok then… (laughter) How long have you all been playing as Suburban Legends?
Tim: Well, we were first… conceived in high school.
Savanna: All of you?
Tim: No, just three of us. Then after that we got more people. Then more people left and more people came, Then more people left, and more people came again. So I’d say about six, seven years, you know, as playing these songs – The Gummi Bears, and all those songs people ask for.
Savanna: All right. How did you all get to where you are in terms of musicianship and skills? I know some of you were in marching band, and theatre classes, but did you ever take actual lessons, or did it just come naturally?
Tim: Do you remember what I told you about the Aliens?! (laughter)
Savanna: It was all the aliens, right?
Tim: Yes! Actually, that helped, but I’ve been singing all my life. I sang in choirs growing up, I sang in bands growing up, I was in musical theatre, you know, I took some voice classes (makes a farting noise). My brother has been playing bass since he was 12. He’s 20 years old now, he’s freakin’ awesome. Brian Klemm has been playing guitar, playing blues, for a long time. Vincent Walker, the trumpet player – is a brilliant guitar player too he’s up there with Brian Klemm, maybe a different flavor of what he does -but he’s been playing a long time, trumpet in high school. A lot of the kids, like Aaron, and Dallas, Brian R. played in high school in marching band, and in musicals in the chamber pit orchestra, sonic boom thing. And uh, Derek Lee Rock – he plays a lot of instruments. He plays guitar, Sousaphone, and he plays the drums.
Tim: The Sousaphone is a very hip new thing!
Tim: Yeah, don’t ask me about it again. But they’re all great. Derek takes lessons – he gives lessons – he’s that good. So yes, there you go in a nutshell.
Savanna: So aliens, lessons, and marching bands.
Tim: And time. And just playing. And accepting that you’re shitty. I mean, poopy!
Savanna: If you could share the stage with one band, who would it be and why?
Tim: Alive, or dead?
Savanna: Doesn’t matter.
Tim: This is like the question you asked me earlier, remember?
Savanna: A can on worms, I know. (laughter) Name one band.
Tim: Aaaahhhhhhhh… Well, you know I’ve already played with a lot of bands that I admired growing up – RX Bandits, Reel Big Fish, you know, played with great bands like The Specials – a lot of bands that I really like. Bands that I haven’t played with that I would really like to play with, that would be a good show.
Savanna: Well, It doesn’t matter if it’s a good show – it’s just whoever you’ve like to play with.
Tim: I’d like to go see a lot of bands, like I haven’t seen Radiohead, but as for putting on a show, it would be important to hear – we’re taking all the bands I like, right, we’re trying to find one band that would work with our band…
Savanna: It’s doesn’t matter…
Tim: Yes it does!
Savanna: Then what band?! (laughter)
Tim: I would love to play with like, you know, Toots and the Maytals, you know, that’d be fun. You know, that’s me, ’cause I’m a silly Ska boy – pretty much the silliest Ska boy in the band. Everyone else would say like, Oh, Backstreet Boys or Avril Lavigne, Or Jessica Simpson! They’re big into pop – a lot of the guys in the band are big into pop, which is fine, we’ll let them be, because that’s what the aliens told them to do, and we can not question the aliens. Ok, Next question! (laughter)
Savanna: How are your traveling conditions since there are eight of you? Is it paid for, or do you have to pay for it?
Tim: Well, I’ll try to answer that as best I can. First off, we have a 15-passenger bus, I mean, van. And we have a trailer – we put our stuff in the trailer and we sleep in the van.
Savanna: Sitting up? (laughter)
Tim: Well, one person… Brian K. gets the back bench by himself. Next up is Aaron’s, next bench up is Chris, I’m on the floor, then it’s Derek on the next bench, and Vincent is on the floor, and then Brian R. and Dallas are up in front. Now varying who’s driving… the spots on the floor will change between Dallas, and me and Vince and Brian R. We’re the four most drivers – we’re the drivers.
Blake: So you guys just drive through – You don’t stop at any motels or anything?
Tim: Um, Motels are expensive and pointless because we’re usually done with shows by 1 o’clock in the morning, and we have to be out of there at 10 o’clock in the morning… BALOGNA! So we try to stay at people’s houses if we can, sometimes we do hotels, but that’s very rare.
Savanna: That was the last question, but I have one more. You guys recently went to London. Can you tell me about that?
Tim: It’s an island in the middle of the Atlantic.
Savanna: (laughter) No, tell me about the experience!
Tim: Oh! My experience? It was an experience. It was a fun experience – the best experience I’ve had as a band. I liked it a lot. We did a lot of fun things. Like play there, and go through customs, and ate food.
Savanna: Wow, you ate?
Tim: You don’t understand. They have crazy, weird food. But it was fun – It was an experience. We slept there – we had the greatest time ever. We played for a lot of cool kids. London was amazing. I bought, you know, bought things for my family, and friends, and my girlfriend and my daughter. She’s three years old – the love of my life.
Savanna: What’s her name?
Tim: Her name is Cossette. It’s like Cassette, but with an O. And I know we’re running out of time, but I just wanted to tell you that London was totally rad. You can quote me on that. It’ll be the headline of the article. TOTALLY RAD.
D.T.: I have a question – who did the art on the website and on Rump Shaker, and all those cartoons?
Tim: His name is Nic Cowan. He’s a genius artist. He also worked with… (Pauses to look into cell phone for a name) I don’t want to say his name wrong, I’m horrible with names… Don’t put that in there! (laughter) But anyway, one of our friends Nic Cowan and his brilliant beautiful artistically great partner… Have you seen that movie Surf Ninjas? You know the guy with the little fuckin’… game thing? The small ninja? That’s him! That’s him! He did the fucking artwork. He was my friend for like a year and then he tells me this! You tell friends if you were in movies, for Christ sakes! With Leslie Nielsen, and Rob Schneider! Come on! (laughter) I’m remembering those guys’ names but not the other guys’ names…
Savanna: Well, that’s it! Would you mind posing for a picture?
Tim: All right, cool!
Savanna Carel / SPSmag.com