RNW: I know that the name Epstein’s
Mother comes a phrase that was used quite a bit in the sitcom Welcome Back
Kotter, but how did you come to name your band after that?
Shawn: I was on a softball team
that had the name, Epstein’s Mother. I figured if we named the band
after the team we have at least 9 guys at every show. It worked for
a while. We have even joked about naming our fans, The Sweathogs.
The band has done much better than the softball team ever did and I think
those guys are a little bitter now. Maybe we should look into changing
the name to Fonzie’s Cousin.
RNW: Speaking of Welcome Back Kotter,
any plans to cover a John Travolta song?
Geoff: I don’t think we will
be doing that but with us, you never know.
RNW: Shawn, on all of the songs you
play acoustic guitar to complement the rockin’ sound of the band which
really adds a depth to your overall sound, how did that idea come about?
Shawn: I am a big fan of the sound
of the acoustic
and electric guitars together as long as they are not playing the same
thing at the same time. That combination gives the overall sound
of the band the depth that you mentioned we have. I still like to
cut loose and bash on an electric every now and then, but for songwriting
and rounding out our sound, there is nothing like the sound of my Taylor.
RNW: How did you land Mike Sak as
the producer for your debut, “Subtle”?
Geoff: We were recommended
to him by another band in Las Vegas that he was working with. We
were really not aware of his history until we started working with him.
We knew that he had worked with the Goo Goo Dolls, but we didn’t know of
much more than that. We brought him some demos of about 30 tunes
that we wanted to record. We also had a list of 15 or so tunes that
we thought would go on the record. I think only about 5 of those
tunes made it on to Subtle.
RNW: When you guys land the right
kind of record deal, will you ask Mike Sak back to produce that record?
Geoff: It is too early to
have that answer. We enjoy working with Mike, but you never know
where we will be when that deal happens.
RNW: Geoff I understand that as a
kid your first passion was Baseball, how did music come to play the dominant
roll in your life?
Geoff: I met some friends
in High School that loved music more than anything. I learned from
them that music is something you can always find an outlet for creativity
but more importantly education
from. What I mean is that I love learning and I know that I will
always be able to learn about music. This happens on a daily basis.
I try to show my students this as well. I do still love sports, however.
RNW: I understand the Chris (Morrison)
and Jeff were in a Jazz Fusion band together in while attending UNLV, how
did you end up teaming up with Shawn who I have read was doing an acoustic
rock thing before the band formed?
Geoff: Chris has always been
my favorite drummer to play with, since I met him at UNLV. We were
able to alot of various types of gigs. I played on his recitals,
where we were able to play music of some of our influences like Pat Metheny.
He played vibes, drum set whatever. When our original drummer did
not work out, Chris was the first one I thought of to be in the band.
He is just such a talented musician and I am so honored to be in band with
Chris: Geoff and I were roommates.
Shawn had a disco revival thing with Geoff, happening during the last half
of 1996. The group with their drummer, at the time, would rehearse at the
house so that’s how Shawn (I believe) became aware of me. when Shawn
was ready to put forth a demo of some originals that he had written I was
the one who ended up doing the disc. Incidentally, it was with this
post-UNLV fusion group (which Geoff was involved with) that Shawn first
got to hear and see me play.
RNW: You have new member to the group,
how did you find Brady? Did you put him through any hellish initiation
Geoff: Everyday is a initiation
for him. We have not done anything worth mentioning yet because we
are waiting until he is comfortable. We will get him when he least
RNW: You’ve seen how I describe your
music sort of a modern day Steve Miller band meets the Commodores. How
would you describe Epstein’s Mother to someone who has never heard you
Shawn: I try to stay away
from comparing us to other artists because there is not one band that we
sound alike. We have been compared to Tonic, Splendor, Sister Hazel,
matchbox twenty, Steve Miller, Creed, Edwin McCain, Goo Goo Dolls,
etc... So I would rather just describe us as four eclectically influenced
musicians who play thought provoking modern rock with an underlying of
everything! I think I am going to write that on a bathroom wall.
RNW: along those same lines who are
your major influences?
Geoff: I am influenced by
so many things. I love jazz, straight ahead and even the really out
stuff. Chris and I are huge fans of the jazz-fusion music of the
60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I also love classical and of course rock and
roll. Brady is a big fan of rap and he also love the shred guitar
sound of the 80’s. Shawn is the hardest to describe as far as influences
because he is a fan of great songs regardless of the genre.
RNW: Were you surprised the first
time you noticed that you have cross over appeal? I mean come on you had
to notice head bangers dancing at your shows!
Geoff: Honestly, not really.
We also enjoy all types of music so we expect our fans to as well.
You can’t deny good songs and that is what matters the most, not the style.
RNW: Just a couple more questions.
At a recent show I witnessed something that simply can’t be described to
the reader, it was your offhanded cover of Limp Bizkit’s Nookie. How did
that come about?
Chris: Ahh, yes, da Nookie.
The band was planning to do something unique for the end of our cd release
party for Subtle, which was in January of 2000. Shawn had been
slamming to the tune all weekend on a drive to and from California so the
song was on his mind. We figured
we’d do a cover and stick the chorus of Nookie somewhere in the middle.
Well, we all asked for copies of the song to learn. On the drive back to
my apartment I thought that I might give this ridiculously mean tune a
shot. I called Shawn up and left a message saying, very Sam Kinison-like
“give the song to me.” I transcribed it, worked it out and we rehearsed
it for the party. We were going to have everyone from the opening
bands on the gig come up and do Jack and Diane and cut into Nookie with
me up front. But, because of time restrictions we never did the tune,
which is too bad because the entire front section was ballistic teenagers.
The tune would have worked, big time.
Geoff: We have played it at
many shows. One night in Winter Park Colorado we decided to do it
because the audience was unfortunately, so lame and we wanted to do something
different. It was the highlight of the night. We are going
to retire it. I think you saw the last version. We will probably
come up with something new soon.
RNW: What next for Epstein’s Mother?
Geoff: In March we are playing
The South By Southwest Music Conference, in Austin Texas. We are
really honored to have that opportunity. After that, we will keep
writing and playing. As a matter of fact we are going to go back
in the studio soon to demo a bunch of new material we have. We will
also keep playing as many gigs in Vegas and out of town as we can.
It is a lot of fun playing to audiences in other towns to see their reaction
of Epstein’s Mother. So far everywhere we have gone has been such
a positive experience. Obviously we hope that a lot of the momentum
and “buzz” that is happening for us will keep going. We feel that
the right deal will happen. So we will just keep doing our thing
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