Heath! (Rock)

Written by Jonny Havoc

Posted Sep 1, 2006.


Stephen Heath-guitar and vocals, David Rhee-drums and vocals.
Dave currently resides in New Zealand, so the search is on for someone local
What is music to you?
More important than food. I prefer to eat cds, they take awhile to digest so I dont need to eat as much. Music keeps me balanced, its the center of my life I relate to everything in terms of music, its what keeps me happy, its how I document my life.

What is the best thing about music?
Joy, fun, elation, it captures those moments when I was a child, that were so fun and happy and full you thought your head would explode.

What is the worst thing about music?
It can make daily life pale, seem really uneventful. But it comes from daily life, so Im stretching here.

What do you want to see happen thru music in the future?
I dont know if I want anything to happen thru music I believe music will have the ideas and philosophies of the songwriter present, and, if people are looking for it, there will be something to learn/ information to gather from any piece of music, or art. I dont think music is an effective tool for changing the world in the way it needs to be changed. And art in general, for that matter. The arts are necessary and wonderful for passing on information and ideas, and for changing peoples perspectivesbut the people who are receiving this, are the people who are open to it, the people who are seeking it, to some degree. The people and places that need change in this world have other means of functioning, and modes of communication, and it is useless to try and get a deer to do what you say, if you are going to insist on speaking Spanish to it, if you know what I mean.

What other instruments can you play?
I (Stephen) play drums, piano, recorder, harmonica, melodica, bass. Dave plays guitar, keys, hes also a graphic artist, and is really great w/ found object sculptingcoat hangers and stuff. The cover I had in mind for our CD was a series of coat hanger sculptures Dave did, 10 of them, one for each panel of the cd booklet. Theyre very M.C. Escher.

What do you guys do for work right now, other than playing music?
House sit, construction, chauffer, landscaping. Dave is a librarian. I need a new job right now.

What were some of your favorite bands growing up?
Stephen: Van Halen, Judge, Cro-Mags, Mr Bungle, Faith No More, Scorpions, Ratt, Crue, Hank Williams, ABBA, Beatles, John Denver, Metallica, Bad Brains, so many more

Dave: Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Journey,
Newer bands? Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peaches, QOTSA, Muse, Iron & Wine, Lightning Bolt

Did your parents like you playing music and the person you are today?
Yes, theyve always been super supportive, and happy to see me happy. I dont think Daves parents are too stoked about the music as a career in general, but they love to see him traveling and seeing the world and playing shows.

Is there a venue or area you would like to play that you have not played before?
Pretty much everywhere. Extensively everywhere. We havent hit much of the states. Id love to play all over Europe: Spain, back to Italy, France, UK. More SoCal all ages shows, they tend to be more fun,

What is your favorite venue or area to play shows?
England. There are a few places weve played that were so fun. The Fox and the Firkin, Windmill Brixton, Deptford, New Cross in South Londonthe whole scene there is so fun. Really nice people at the venues, great audiences, really excited and ready to have rock.

When, Where and how was your first show?
Our first show as this band was at The Joint on Pico in Los Angeles, about 6 years ago, I think it went well, well enough for us to want to keep rocking. Although, if it went poorly, we still wouldve kept rocking.

Where was your best show? Why?
One of our best shows was when Dave couldnt get a kit, so he played percussion on a chair and some glasses. It was so fun, we had to change everything up, and focus on different aspects of each song. A broken string, or other unexpected things are very important to be open to, as they make you deal with whats actually occurring in front of you, and the audience is treated to something real and organic happening on stage in front of them.

How did you come up with your band name and what does it means?
Its my last namemy brother plays guitar and sings, so my plan was both of us in the band, and were called HEATH!, following the Van Halen thing. I was putting stuff together and my brother wasnt interested in being in a band, hes doing a lot of activism, really good important work so anyway, I showed Dave a bunch of names I was considering, and he chose HEATH!. Hes a mellow, not very Check me out! kind of guy, and I am, so it works. Also, all of my songs are very personal lyricallyabout growing up, my family, so it ties in.

Did you have any previous band names? (with same band members)
Im saving em! I still dig all the other names; I have a list that I keep adding to.

What would you say to a kid who has no faith in himself?
I dont know if I would say anything about his lack of faith or belief in himself, but more along the lines of start exploring things that would build confidence and belief. Get involved in something that takes time, so having one conversation about it might not be that helpful, ya know?
Hey, you should have some faith in yourself! Do stuff Im sure theres something youre good at. See ya!
I think it really takes some guidance, being around people who will steer you right. People who see what you can do, and the way the people around you treat and relate to you.
If someone was asking me for a bit of advice, Id try to ask some questions, questions that we need to ask ourselves to change our focus when things are tough. What gives you a little satisfaction in life? What kinds of things put you in a good mood? What is something, a situation maybe, that made you feel worthless, and what is another way to look at it to see what else might have happened that you didnt see at first, and what can you do about itso, say, someone said something really nasty that made you feel like you cant accomplish anything. Well, maybe you think about who said it, and whymaybe they were feeling horrible about themselves, and now you have an opportunity to make someone feel good by being nice to them, or youve gained some knowledge about how people work, so you can avoid doing something like that in the future. Talk about ways to see gain where you werent able to before.

Who do you one day want to play a show with the most?
hmmmmm I'd love to play with, and sit in with, QOTSA

Why do you play music, what makes you strive to be heard?
I play because it makes me happy, and a decent amount of the time, it seem to make other people happy when they see us play. I feel like I have something to say, a perspective that can be useful and entertaining to listen to.

Why would anyone want to hear your music and what you are saying thru it?
I think our music is original, taking a different look at many day-to-day things, or people in our lives, that we may take for granted, or not pay attention to. I hope itll make you feel good, or bad.
Its about the challenge of not having enough, but having that push you, and give you more. We try to be bigger and louder, and we have to be more creative because there are only two of us. It sparks our creativity; it pushes our playing, and makes us think of angles we wouldnt have considered.
I have a hard time with this type of thing, because I can get really bogged down in it. If I start thinking too much about what it means, and what I want to say, and how people will respond, it can freeze me as a songwriter, and as a performer. It takes the inspiration out of it all, and can turn an artistic process into a responsibility. I really work off energy, and spontaneity

What brought your band together?
I wanted to start a band for many years, but was never happy with my song writing. I had been in bands forever, but finally though, I have to start my own band, or I will regret it for the rest of my life. By this time I had about 10 songs, and I just decided that I was going to play these songs live, and I wouldnt consider Are they good/bad..will people like themetc etc?. Once I made that call, I was in the market for a drummerDave and I worked at the same restaurant, and he told me his band, Los Hueros was playing at Spaceland, so I went to see them, and they were great! I really dug the way he played, very attentive, really focused on the little things, he was really concentrating, and he could really sing! They had all these really involved three part harmonies, so I asked him if he wanted to jam, and he said yes. We practiced like 3 times a week for about 6 months, looking for a bassist and second guitar, and finally decided to start gigging as a duo just so we could play some shows. I switched to acoustic guitar for our shows, and started fooling with distortion pedals and amps to get a big sound, which really sounds cool with an acousticlotsa feedback, hard to control, but fat enough that people kept commenting about not missing the bass, and asking what we used for a backing track (there wasnt/isnt one), so we decided to stick with the two man band.

Any funny or interesting stories?
We were coming back from our first show of the tour in Brixton, and as we stepped on the tube (subway) some drunk guys saw my guitar and yelled at us to play something. It was late at night, so it was packed, by the way. I whipped my guitar out and broke into some Johnny Cash, Dave broke out the sticks and joined in, and everyone started rocking and clapping along. About a minute in, some guy got up, walked over, got in my face, and said SHH! real loud. I kept playing, but the dudes who got us playing in the first place got angry, and started chanting Who the F are yoooouuu!? Who the F are yoooouuu!?. For a brief moment it seemed to whole place was going to erupt in a drunken brawl, but everyone singing Jackson along with us brought our friends attention back to us, and we had a rousing finish as we jumped off the train at our stop, thank yous and hi fives abounding, only to discover, we were supposed to stay on that train, as it was the last train of the night. It took us 2 ½ hours to get home by bus after that, but it was worth it.

How long have you been a band?
About 6 years

If you guys could open for one band, who would it be?
Ever? Beatles or Van Halen these days.Id love to open for Muse, or QOTSA, maybe the Black Keys. Bjork.

What do you wish for your band to be in 5 years?
Touring, always touring, and able to do so without having it upend our lives financially. It would be amazing to be able to support ourselves. Also to be the biggest band in the world, thats all.

What is the best thing about being a band?
Not to be simple, but playing music, and second to that, playing music in front of people.

How old were each of you when starting to play instruments?
I learned recorder in 1st grade, violin in 3rd, clarinet in like 6th, started guitar in 8th, bass sop#re year. Fiddled around with piano and drums the whole time, finally got a real handle on drums a couple of years ago.
I think Dave was early teens when he started playing drums.

What inspires each of you to play?
Everything, being sad, being happy, wanting to entertain, dust, bugs.

Have you ever been on tour, how many and how did you go?
Many short trips back and forth to San Francisco, but we recently got back from three weeks, NYC, London, and Paris. It went as well as humanly possible. The response we got was phenomenal, huge for us. Nine shows around London, one in Paris, two in New York. I went to London solo last year, and were planning on going again in January maybe.
Our last show was in Brockley, in south London, at a place called Moonbow Jakes. It was part of a local festival called the Brockley Max Festival, and it was the last show of our UK tour in June. It was amazing; we had almost all the crowd singing along! They knew all the words, which just blew me away, to have 45 people singing all the words in unison, I got teared up. Great little venue, small and intimate, so youre all packed in the corner, a nice feel.

Your latest cd, what do you guys think about it and what did your fans say about it?
We just finished it, and Its called, Fache Brute, The Further Adventures of Spondoolix and Sizzerinctum. We recorded it live on an old reel to reel 4 track. We wanted a very accurate version of what we sound like live, and although the sound is not as big as a live show, I think its got the energy. It was a challenge as well, not having the option to go back and fix mistakes. We had to pick the take with the best combination of sound quality, fewest/coolest mistakes, and best performance. So far the response has been greatwe sold a bunch when we were on London and Paris, and people came back to shows with lyrics memorized, singing along to all the songs, it was sweet. Its pretty lo-fi production wise, so some people I play it for dont really get it right away if they havent seen us live, because it doesnt sound like top ten radio. But thats good too, narrows down the audience to the kind of people we wantnot just Whats on KROQ etc. But my friend Dave said Its the best!

Where can we get it?
Soon itll be on CD Baby, also thru our website via PayPal, itunes in a few months, and were looking onto some other digital distributors as well. In the UK its available at some record store in Brockley, s. London, but I cant remember the name!

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