Chief Magazine: How would you describe your band?
I would describe us as friendly. …Definitely bizarre and a little bit hyper active.
What motivated you to start The Trucks?
The trucks formed in March, 2003. I had just graduated with an Art degree from Western Washington University and I was working at a coffee shop and not quite sure what to do with myself. I was good friends with Kristin, and sometimes she and I would get together and she’d work on her music (her solo project is called Kristin Allen-Zito) while I drew comics. We ended up inspiring each other, and she mentioned us forming a band but I didn’t really take it seriously since the last music I played had been trumpet all through high school, which I hadn’t touched since, and then more recently a toy xylophone, which I just messed around with. Anyways, I went on vacation (a road trip with friends) and by the time I got back, Kristin had hooked up with Faith and they’d started working on some songs. They already had a show booked up at Western Washington University when I got back and they were like, “Okay, we’re a band now! Get out your xylophone.” So I did and we had a great first show, which is actually where our record label scouted us. That was three years ago and we are so grateful we’re still writing and playing and recording and people are coming out to see us and buy our music.
Another big reason for starting the band was sexual frustration! A lot of my comics at the time dealt with that too.
Sexual frustration – how so? What were you guys so sexually frustrated about?
Well, I was dating a Vegan boy who was always saying the most amazingly ridiculous stuff. For example, he said, “I’ve never gone down on a girl” because he doesn’t eat meat and it would make him sick. I am serious. I think we went out for like a month. I made a bunch of comics about it and actually two of the songs on our CD stem directly from those comics – “Why the?” and “Come back.” Faith was in the process of a big breakup and a few songs came from that – “Old bikes” and “March 1st.”
“Titties” asks “What makes you think we can fuck just because you put your tongue in my mouth and you twisted my titties baby” and “Diddlebot” is about a dildo. We just were all dealing with dissatisfaction in our relationships and the idea of “how do we get what we want” kept running through our heads. Lindy was the only one who really had it good in that regard, but she humored us.
What kind of comics do you draw?
My comics project is called “sparkylittleheart.” I draw really sloppy but true comics about real situations in my life – usually just one or two panels, usually one-liners. There’s an element of sarcasm, sadness and strength in the characters. Most of them are autobiographical and starring my friends, especially Kristin, Faith and Lindy because they are all really funny and they crack me up – also starring ex-boyfriends that deserve some humiliation.
Lately, I’ve been getting into computer drawings too, which are different from “sparkylittleheart” but still pretty fun. (http://groups.myspace.com/welovemarissa39struestories)
Why did you start drawing comics?
I started drawing comics to organize my life, get things in perspective. Like you can handle it if you just put it in a box..
Who influenced you and what comics did you read as a teen and what kind of comics do you read now?
Well, when I was little, my dad always got all the Far Side books. I liked the twisted humor and just thought they were amazing. I was never really interested in the “strips.” They just weren’t pretty, sad, or funny enough for me. Then in high school, I discovered Love and Rockets, then Lynda Barry, and was just amazed that someone could portray humanity so truthfully. I guess in the category of “comics,” I’d include anything combining drawing and words. Now, I love the artists of the Royal Art Lodge, and Jeffrey Brown and Chris Ware, Maakies, Teppei Ando and, of course, still Lynda Barry.
Have you ever met Lynda Barry?
No, I’ve never met Lynda Barry. I’d love to.
What would you do if you did? What would you say?
I’d want to talk to her about how to stay calm and get things done. She’s pretty private and solitary, and I’d just love to sit around and see how she does it.
What are your aspirations with your comics? Is it just a hobby or is it something that you take seriously and put genuine effort into?
I take it seriously. I went to college for it and, actually, it’s incorporated into every creative project I do. Some of my comics are on the CD cover and always on the flyers and posters for our shows. Faith and I designed most of the T-shirts too. The band is really busy now, so most of my creative energy is going toward that, but there’s lots of room for the comics in the Trucks. I would like to publish them once I get a cohesive set, but in the meantime, I’m jotting down stuff, sketching and filling my notebooks, storing ideas for when I have more time to make them pretty. I’m working on a website right now and I have a few self-published ‘zines, available at www.clickpoprecords.com.
Do your band mates have other hobbies/talents other than music? If so, are they published?
Faith makes the craziest, most brilliant drawings. Stuff like shrimp kings with sand castles and vein hearts and dancing shit microbes. Whenever she fucks something up, she just paints a big, sloppy American flag over the whole thing. Her art is on the CD cover too. Kristin has had a solo music project for several years. She has two records out and her latest, “Helium,” is also on Clickpop records (www.myspace.com/kristinallen-zito). Lindy’s a really great drummer and just generally kicks ass. When we’re on vacation, she’s in two other bands – Everybody’s Debbie, and Flacid Wolf.
You mentioned that you incorporate comics into every creative project you do – other than comics and the Trucks, what other projects are you involved in?
I incorporate comics into my gallery shows, which are usually one-panel comics with more detail, writing, acting, video, animation, personal diary, everyday life. I have a strange sense of humor and it’s showing constantly.
Who are you digging right now?
We really like Hot Chip and I love the Blow. They’re kinda experimental and art electro-pop. We’re really, really into local music and are supportive of a lot of local artists. We just like people who sing about things that are real and have a sense of humor.
Tell me about the process of your work – from song writing to album recording, live show to preparation, inspiration to actual drawing.
It’s really spontaneous. There are four of us and we all have different personalities. As soon as we get together, we just build on each other’s ideas. One person would write the lyrics and another, the instrumentation. It’s absolutely a collaboration. It’s pretty flexible and I think that helps us a lot creatively.
I know you said the songs are a collaboration, but how do you come up with the names of your songs?
Usually, it’s whatever shorthand we call them at practice.
We’re actually from Bellingham, it’s an hour away from Seattle. Bellingham is where the band started. It is extremely supportive of local artists. There are a lot of music magazines that only deal with local artists and several venues that are supportive of it. We love the area.
When I moved to Seattle, I really missed it. It’s just easier in Seattle for music. It’s a bigger city. All these other artists are coming up with stuff. There’s a lot of competition. You go see a show and it’s high energy.
What are you listening to right now? What’s the music in the background?
I’m at a coffee shop right now, so I don’t know what’s playing. But I was listening to Tiny Vapors earlier. They’re a Seattle band.
What do you like about Tiny Vapors?
It’s a woman. It’s just her and a guitar. It’s not the typical singer-songwriter stuff. There’s a grainy quality that makes it really intimate and the songs are haunting. There is also mythology in the lyrics. I personally just really like that.
I’m actually thinking about moving to Seattle.
Oh really? You should. The Northwest is a really nice place to live. People are really nice.
Speaking of people, how does MySpace factor into your band and fan base?
We resisted doing MySpace at first because it seemed impersonal. None of us were really on it so we didn’t know how many people used it. But it’s really valuable for us. It helps our fan base because if we’re on a page of a band someone likes, they can swing by our page and listen to a couple of tracks and see if they like us.
I think it’s beneficial for bands like us – bands just starting up. It’s a way for people to familiarize themselves with our music without paying $10 for a show and not liking it. It’s also great to find artists to tour with. It’s great for us to find artists doing things we’re interested in.
What’s up next for the Trucks?
We have a tour coming up in March. We’re focusing the next month or two on writing new songs. We just got back from our first tour and we settled back into writing new material.
We have a new distribution deal with NY-based SpinArt Records and our CD is being released nationwide on January 24th. It’s a really big deal for us and we’re super excited about it!
How was your first tour?
It was excellent. It was really great.
A lot more stressful than we thought but it was great. We have a really good booking agent. All we’d have to do is show up and play. She is so efficient with that. It was just a really good experience. There was a good turn out at our shows. We were prepared to play night after night to no one but that wasn’t the case and I’m glad. It was a nice surprise.
Who’d you play with?
We played with Ultraviolet in Los Angeles. They were extremely fun, which is really funny because it was our worst show because we were
We also played with Hott Pink in San Francisco and we played with Monfrere when we got back home. Another band we played with were Ice Age Cobra and they were really fun to play with.
What was the best show the Trucks ever played?
Bellingham at the Nightlight with two of our favorite bands, Federation X and A Gun That Shoots Knives, on October 14th. We hadn’t played there for a long time and were about to leave on tour and it was packed to the brim and everyone was so into it. It made us feel so loved!
What band or bands would you just die for in terms of performing with?
The Go-Team, the Beastie Boys, Le Tigre, Hot Chip, the Blow. Oh yeah, and the Flaming Lips!
What city have you not performed in that you’d like to perform in?
We really, really want to go to Tokyo. We love those kids.
Does your booking agent choose all your shows or do you have a hand in it?
We chose our shows based on what we want to support and by what bands and venues are involved. We’re not interested in doing the whole kiss this or that industry ass and get somewhere. We work with people we like and not people we don’t. Our record label gives us all the space to be ourselves. We weren’t even thinking about money from the start, so that’s just an added bonus at this point. We’ll do a show for less if it’s for something we believe in, like all ages venues and charity benefits.
Our booking agent basically helps us arrange shows, taking our suggestions of bands venues, and events we want to be a part of. For example, we really wanted to be in the Seattle PRIDE parade and she’s helping us get that arranged. But no one tells us what to do.
And what are you planning to do for the holidays?
Some of us are going out of town for the holidays so we’re taking a three week vacation, which just started. When we get back, we have a new practice space we’re moving into so if we like it, we’re going to write new stuff. The shows won’t start until three weeks into January. I’m spending time with family. There are two members who have really substantial relationships so they are looking forward to spending time with their significant others. You’re in Brooklyn, right?
Yeah, New York.
We were just in New York. It was really nice. We’d loved it, but of course you got to. It’s New York. We were there for five days and filmed a music video in Central Park. We also got a photo shoot in the Central Park zoo. One of our songs is about riding bikes through New York City.
And for what song did you shoot the video for in New York?
“Afros.” It was written from Faith’s dream about riding bikes through NYC.
How about a crazy story? Just for kicks.
I don’t know. There are two crazy things I want to tell you about. The first one, we were driving through Northern California and we saw signs for elk crossing and when we were driving around the corner we had to slam on the brakes because cars were stopped waiting for elks to cross. They were moving really slow. We realized that one of the elks was limping and the rest were keeping pace and protecting him to make sure he wasn’t left behind. We didn’t think we were going to die. It’s just a really cool story from the tour.
The second one, our van broke down near Los Angeles when we were going through the Grapevine and we were stuck at this truck stop for six hours, so when we finally got to the hotel in Los Angeles, we wanted to die. We weren’t sure how bad the van was broken but it ended up getting fixed and it didn’t cost a lot.
One more thing, how were you when you were a child and how does it differ from now?
Well me personally, I was really shy when I was young. I’m 28 now. At 18, I started getting into art. It was a creative outlet. But it was when the band started when I was 25 that I realized I really love attention and like to show off. I love to entertain. I’m a lot more of a show-off and an extrovert now than I ever was before. The band really helped me stop being shy.