In a perfect world the Valley Culprit and I call home would be ten minutes from the glitz and grime of Hollywood. And while the incessant traffic makes me suicidal, it doesn’t kill Culprit’s bassist, Zach Blumenfeld’s excitement for his hood, “…having the advantage of a short drive to Hollywood to catch a show, promote the band a bit, meet new people and network, is huge and definitely beneficial to our band’s growth.”
All this talk of Culprit, let’s back up…How rude of me not to introduce you. They’re a rock band compiled of four amigos ready to say adios to the City of Angels and hola to everyone from their hometown to the Lone Star state when they head out on the first ever Mind Equals Blown Tour, from here on out referred to as MEBTour. They’re getting ready to hit the road with Happy Body Slow Brain and The Paper Melody November 2nd, but their man, Zach took some time out of his day (or night, whenever he chose to sit down and answer these) to let us in on such topics as; expectations, junk food and trees?
Kendra: Analogue’s out now, and instead of you telling me the run of the mill, “this is what it’s about,” I’d like you to compare the album to a tree, yes, a tree. For example, if Dashboard Confessional were a tree, they’d be a weeping willow for obvious reasons…So have at it, and don’t forget to say why.
Zach: Awesome question, especially because the artwork on the cover of Analogue is a depiction of a tree-house on a hill, suspended in this space-like atmosphere with several connecting bridges. Jason came up with the idea and the bridges are meant to portray different paths in life that may have revealed themselves at one point or another, meanwhile the tree-house with a glowing light represents music and our choice to follow our passion. As far as a tree comparison: Hmm… I guess Analogue would have to be similar to that of an oak tree; huge, with lots of branches, or in our case layers/musical elements.
Kendra: You take on the Mayan calendar in a way with “Redeemer” on Analogue, so if in the end all of life’s biggest questions are answered, what one would you want the answer to? Mine, most definitely would be about the dino disappearance.
Zach: The pizza is round…the box is square. Why? Haha…on a more serious note; I’d probably want to know if time travel was possible.
Kendra: Sticking with the big questions, really quick…Pot, legalize it or not?
Zach: Sure, why not? Well, most of us are pretty strong advocates of this pastime so of course this answer is gonna lean in that direction. Honestly, I’m not sure how much would change besides the raise in cost and the decriminalization of it all…but I could be wrong. Maybe a lot would change.
Kendra: And apples in kids meals at fast food joints, necessary?
Zach: Necessary? I don’t know…I mean if you’re gonna eat healthy, go to a market. If you’re gonna eat junk, go find a drive-thru… seems pretty straight forward. It is definitely a thoughtful attempt though.
Kendra: I’m sure you’ll encounter a lot of junk food when you hit the tour trail in a couple weeks on the MEBTour. How do you all prep for tour? Are there day jobs to lose?
Zach: Well, the upcoming tour will definitely be our first full tour (by that I mean first tour lasting longer than a week), and for most of us will also be the first time we’ve been on the road for that long, period (with any band or at all). Regardless, we’re all extremely excited to head out. Fortunately, no one has to give up their job quite yet for this tour, so we will have jobs to come home to. Jason (our drummer) and Nate (our manager, also tour manager for MEBTour) are also definitely no strangers to the road (toured together while playing in the band Down For The Count) so we should have some good guidance. As for the junk food, I’m sure there’s really no way we can avoid it; Taco Bell, Jack In The box, Five Guys, you name it…we’ll be there. Hopefully during some downtime, If I’m lucky I’ll get a chance to go for a run and get some exercise.
Kendra: I’m assuming you’ll be in your new van that was purchased with the help of Kickstarter. Now, I was reading the rules, and it seems pretty strict, so how did you guys get the word out to raise the money?
Zach: Yes, we will be in our new van…She’s also yet to be named, so all ideas are welcome! We couldn’t believe the amount of love and support we were able to gather with the help of Kickstarter, and are incredibly grateful to every single person that made this possible for us. We are actually just finishing putting together everyone’s care packages and they should go out before the end of this week! It was tough to spread the word, but through blogging, re-blogging, re-sharing, re-tweeting, etc., our friends were able to help us out and soon enough very many generous people turned our hopes into reality.
Kendra: Being the first MEBTour, what are some expectations you think others have for the tour, as well as some of your personal expectations?
Zach: It’s a little tough to say what the other bands’ expectations are for this tour…but ours? I don’t know, I think we’re just expecting to meet a lot of new people, get really solid by playing every night, hopefully establish some great relationships with the other touring bands, do a lot of driving, discover some great food and coffee, and overall just to have an incredible time spreading the Culprit word for three weeks. Oh, and I think we’re definitely expecting to be limited to a shower every few days…
Kendra: Also, do you feel any pressure being the ones to start the MEBTour?
Zach: Interesting question, because honestly I didn’t feel much pressure before I read this question (laughs)…I don’t know, I guess maybe there is a bit of pressure for things to go well in reflection of MEB’s name, but I think we’re all far more excited to be one of the first bands to be a part of the MEBTour than we are pressured.
Kendra: When you hit LA you’ll be playing with a band that’s near and dear to my journalistic heart, Back Pocket Memory. You both have songs titled “Strangers,” can attendees expect a mash up between yours and theirs? Just throwing it out there…
Zach: We LOVE Back Pocket Memory. Those dudes are some of our best buds and we’re stoked that they’ll be playing the LA date with us. We wouldn’t have it any other way. “Strangers” mash up? That would be crazy! Unfortunately I don’t think there’s enough time for us to try and put anything like that together before hitting the road, but you can definitely bet on hearing both “Strangers,” haha.
Kendra: How important is it for not just yourselves, but all bands to connect with other local bands?
Zach: Extremely important. I’ve always thought it was super key for local bands and friends to support and benefit from one another, all the while building a “scene” together. There are so many ways bands can help each other. Even as a local band from LA transitioning into a touring band, I speak for all of us when I say that we plan to meet and hopefully make friends with the local bands opening up the tour in their respective areas.
Kendra: Back to “Redeemer” and the supposed end of the world, what’s on the “must do” list for the next year?
Zach: Write. Record. Tour. Tour. Tour. Write. Tour. Eat. Sleep. Tour. Work. Tour.
Kendra: Last one, it’s time to make us over here a mixtape. If Culprit was hosting a NBA finals party and we needed some music at half time, what songs would you put on that mixtape; top 5?
Originally published on Oct 27, 2011