Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Learning Personal Limits with Larry And His Flask





Sun May 27th – 11:31am

Most bands at PRB stay at the hotels near the venue, but not Larry.  Larry And His Flask were staying at an Air B&B about an 18-minute drive from the venue.  Paco and I pulled up to the place to find Jamin working on getting a trailer hitched to their tour bus.  We were invited in and offered bottled water.  The desert heat is sneaky, if youre not careful, you can become dehydrated quickly.  We sat down at a dining table and prepared for a hearty helping of Larry.

Whos Larry?

Jamin Marshall (Drums): Ah! Good question!  Larry is a theory.  There never was a Larry in the band, but technically I guess it would be me.  If there were to be someone named Larry.

Ian Cook (Guitar, Sings Songs): I agree.


JaM: So Jessie and I started the band technically before Larry existed.  It was called Jimmy And His Flask.  So the idea was a Country-Punk band pretty much.  There was never a Jimmy either, but we thought it sounded country.

Jeshua Marshall (Upright Bass, Harmonica, Baritone Euphonium): We were watching a lot of old-school western movies and we started writing these country ballad tales when we were like 13, 14 15.

JaM: We kept the Flask part, but that band didnt really go anywhere.  Our guitarist at the time was kind of this nut-job drug addict I think, and disappeared.  So then one Halloween, it was 2003, I needed a costume for a Halloween party.  I didnt have any, so I just wore my hat like this.  I had just gotten off work as a custodian for the school district.  I came to the party, had my flask in my pocket, and just I pretended to be Larry the drunken janitor, and that was my fuckin thing.  We needed a band name, and we thought why not Larry And His Flask?

JeM:  We put Larry on and kept And His Flask


JaM:  There were a couple times we were like Do we really want that band name? Its pretty weird…” and we were like Well, we gotta have a band name!  I mean Butthole Surfers had Butthole Surfers.  Why the fuck not Larry And His Flask?  I think its me sometimes It also meant whoever was the drunkest at the time.

IC:  Its a persona you become; it can be applied to anyone.

JeM:  Its like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Like, Im Jeshua, then Ill get all drunk and get all crazy and Ill be Larry.  Anybody can be Larry or Laura.

IC: [Laughing] Yeah.

How would you describe Larrys sound?

IC: We dont!  Were at a loss as much as everyone else is.  Its kind of an amalgamation of all of our influences going into one thing.  I think weve always been at a loss as to what genre it is.

JeM: Genre titles can be fuckin weird.

JaM:  Just to be simple sometimes I say Punk Rock Bluegrass.  Thats not exactly what it is, but its closer than being like [in a mocking tone] rock and roll, blah blah blah”…  Its Flask!

[We muse on genres for a minute]

How is the tour going?

IC: Good.

JaM: Started off pretty crazy.  We started in our hometown, then we drove the next day to Reno, and then we had to drive here OVERNIGHT to get here for the show yesterday.

JeM: And then we played in the sun.

JaM: But weve had a great time so far.

JeM: Its an honor to be back at Punk Rock Bowling.  We played in 2011? Yeah. Its super fun!


JaM: I think its an honor to be back on tour, too. To have people say like I came from Peru to see you guys play. Like yesterday... and thata blows your mind as a musician like, really? You came all the way from Peru?! To see US? Like what the fuck?!... All in all its nice to know that what we do, people appreciate!  Its amazing.

What are your favorite things about touring?

JaM: Meeting new people, seeing new places, and sharing our music.  Theres something romantic about being on the road.

JeM: Traveling in general is a real enriching experience; because you get out of your comfort zone, get to step into other peoples shoes a little bit especially when you do it grassroots.  Nowadays were fortunate enough to afford a place like this, but for years we just slept on peoples floors and wherever.  We got to know more about a place, staying at somebodys house, seeing what their lifes like.

JaM: You get to learn your personal limits too.  You push them to the brink and then realize you can push a little bit further. Something minor is getting to meet your idols.  Like playing shows with these bands we grew up listening to.  Meeting these people who were huge influences on us at the beginning when we were starting our band.  They kind of gave us the knowledge and tools to do it.

Least favorite things about touring?

JeM: Meeting people, the traveling - hahaha!  Im just kidding.

IC: I think exhaustion. The drive.  Getting from one place to another is rough, but thats how you have to do it.  You have to fuckin drive.  Sometimes long drives can take it out of you. Like what we did to get here yesterday, overnight is something we had to do.  Sleep in the van, fall out and do sound check.

JaM: We were pretty exhausted at that show.

IC: But when weighed against the positives, its overwhelming on the positive side.

JeM: It makes it worthwhile.  Theres definitely really stressful moments in the driving and crazy methed out truckers that are trying to run you over.  The cops that are waiting to bust your balls, but it's always worth it when you get to see the smiles on people faces after you play.

IC: Even if your hours late, and the fans, even if theres three of them, are totally fuckin there for you and psyched.  That makes it worth it.

JaM: And a more rare thing thats bad that happens on tour is if something happens and we have to cancel a show.  Those are the lowest moments of touring.  Like being detained at the border, being held back so we cant make a show or something like that. Or yeah, if something happens to the van.

IC:  Our baby.

You get an interesting mix of people at your shows; what is the craziest thing youve ever seen at one of your shows?

JaM: When we first started doing the more acoustic, rootsy style shit, in our hometown in Bend there was the original punk rockers that were into our hardcore shit, and then there was this new group that weve never experienced and they were like Stay-At-Home-Moms and shit.  I dont know what they were doing there.  They were like more in their 40s and they liked the music but they both converged on this one show, and that was at the beginning before it worked itself out.  This one friend of ours was standing outside, I think it was after the show.  He was pretty lit up drunk, but this lady in a minivan with her daughter pulled up and he was blocking the exit.  She honked, Get out of the way! and he was like Fuck you! and she just guns it and bowls him over and he goes FLYING over the minivan!

JeM:  That was one of our first shows!

JaM:  Now, thats not what happens anymore at all.  I dont want to make it seem like that.  What that lady did was more fucking insane than what any of the punk rockers were gonna do. They were just drinking beer in the parking lot – SHE RAN THEM OVER!  I think he was lucky he didnt get hurt too bad!

ITs the soccer moms we need to worry about.  Yesterday before the pool party, they were removing giant game pieces from the patio, the Jenga pieces, the Chess pieces.  All gone, because punk rockers are dangerous
[sorry, let me do that again]
PuNk RoCkErS aRe DaNgErOuS! Its the Soccer Moms they need to be worried about.

 The energy, Jeshua especially!  You ascend!  Where do you get the energy?

JeM:  Honestly, its the music and the people.  I felt like such dog shit before we played.  I know that once we start playing Im gonna feel it.  Yeah, I dont know where it comes from, really.

IC:  It moves you when you get up there.

JaM:  What some of the first punk rock bands that we really admired, were from Oregon and they would play Bend all the time.  We watched them and thought, Man, this energy they have, and we need to figure out how to do that!  And also Bad Brains and shit like that influenced our live energy; but yeah, I dont know, it comes from the audience.  Its a cycle that feeds itself.

JeM:  It bounces back and fourth.  What you put out to the audience it comes back to you and its circular.

IC:  Its always been really important to us from the beginning to be a band thats interactive and energetic with the crowd, because its more interesting for everybody, and more fun for us and them.

JaM:  And for the sake of putting on a memorable show.  You can love an album, love a band and listen to them, but you go see them and theyre just standing there like, I could just go listen to the record.  You want an experience where you feel that theyre passionate about what they do.

What is your favorite drunk food?

IC:  I would have to say probably hands down unanimously would be burritos.  Like a really great tacorita.  Thats one of my favorites.

JaM:  Well, I actually quit drinking three years ago, Jeshua quit drinking five or six years ago now.  When I was drinking, it was just about anything.  My favorite would be like a burger or a chicken burrito.

JeM:  Pizza.  Pizza always happens.  I dont even drink anymore, but I like having pizza.

IC: Thats something that the promoters get you when theres a lack of anything else, and youre just like FUCK YEAH PIZZA!

Whats your favorite place to travel to and play?

JeM:  Well, Las Vegas – heh!
JaM:  What stands out to me is the first time we went to Europe and the first time we went to Italy.  We were driving through the alps between Switzerland and Italy and it was raining.  And just that – as far as experiencing and traveling.  Because a lot of times we dont get to take it in, we just go quickly and were asleep, but that drive It was just gorgeous!  There was an island in one of the lakes with a castle on it!  I remember that whole drive was just breath taking!  As far as the crowd goes or the experience with the show, I dont play favorites.

IC:  I definitely would say Europe was a highlight experience-wise.  The crowds were really fun too, it was a different vibe.  I think a more attentive audience.  Theyre definitely there to watch you.  Its dead silent between your songs.

JeM:  Its weird though.

JaM:  Its a little off-putting for Americans.  Youre like, Wheres all the fucking noise?  Where are all the people that are talking?

IC:  Theyre waiting.  Pin-drop quiet for your next word.  Youre like, Wow this is pretty cool, that theyre paying that close attention!  but its also kind of nerve-racking.

JaM:  I think theyre taking notes and shit.

IC:  Thats cool about the crowd over there, its a very different vibe.

JeM:  One of my favorite places to travel to play is Alaska.  Because we drove up there and we also played in this place called Dawson City, Yukon.  It was one of the coolest festivals Ive ever experienced.  It was like a mix of folk music and not punk rock.  We were the most punk rock band there, but bands like Pokey LaFarge, some old school soul music.

IC:  It was like a blues and folk kind of mix kind of festival.

JeM:  But they did these cool mash-ups.  They put us together with this French folk band and we got to play together on the stage.

IC:  Its like a workshop.  We just get together and just trade song-for-song with this band.  They play along with our songs, we play along with their songs, and theres an audience watching us play.

JeM:  And weve never done – like weve never met them before.

JaM:  We were way out of our element.

IC:  We were like, What do you mean!?

JaM:  It opened our minds.  They also did another thing called Pot Luck where they took all the bands and broke up all the members, so theyd create new bands.  A drummer here, a bass player here, and then you just jammed with them on the spot and try to figure out what youre gonna play.

IC:  Youd get one song.

JeM:  Youd get 15 minutes to learn a song together and then play it on stage.

JaM:  And somehow – they did their homework – they have long, dark winters, so a lot of time to figure out what theyre gonna do.  They figured out – like who prefers marijuana or whatever and put you in the house with the people that grow the weed in town or like this kind of whiskey.

IC:  The people that live in the town a part of the festival put you up in their own homes because theres not enough hotels.  You stay at these peoples houses and they take care of you the entire time.  It was a really cool festival, and the sun never goes       down because its the middle of summer.  Its like 3 am and the suns still up and everyones just fucking raging.  Its awesome. It was a really great experience.

JaM:  And up there its just so beautiful too.

JeM:  We took the Top of the World Highway Its on the border of Yukon and Alaska, but you go and theres just one border patrol.

IC:  He didnt even look at our stuff, like if youre here, you dont even know where you're going.  So Im not even gonna look at your passport.

JaM:  Its a dirt highway on the top of a mountain.

IC:  Like each side is like [head explodes from the magic of the scene]

JeM:  The most incredible place Ive ever seen!

JaM:  We stopped to take a piss and I stumbled out of the van; I heard a caribou come rumbling down beside us.

I was going to ask what the farthest youve traveled was, but it sounds like youve been to the end of the earth!

JaM:  It feels like it sometimes.  As a band, the farthest east weve gone was the Czech Republic, and the farthest west is Hawaii.  Farthest North is Alaska, and farthest south is Florida, or Bahamas, I guess.

You have a new album coming out, what can we expect?  Whats gone into it? Tell us, we want to KNOOOWW!!

IC:  We had a lot of time in between since we put out any music We had a lot more time to work on this one, to work it out.  The studio were working in is in our home town, so we had a lot more time to put into the songs as far as production-wise goes Its a very recognizable Flask sound.  I think we really wanted to hone down our sound into what is our most recognizable like – This-Is-Us kind of sound.  I think we did a really good job of that.  I feel like By The Lamplight had a lot of different stuff in it.  We were experimenting with different sounds.  The songs turned out really cool, they were a little darker, but this one we wanted to make a big, bright, sunny album thats all super Flasky.

JaM:  It has instruments on it that we dont usually work with.

IC:  Yeah, we got a chance to do some string stuff, some piano, some extra little bits.  Its very fun.  It was super fun to make.
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To learn more about LAHF, you can find tour dates and more at larryandhisflask.com
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1 comment:

  1. I have been to this place several times. The perfect event starts with an extraordinary location, like this. Thanks to my friend for introducing me to these San Francisco venues. I will definitely be coming back.

    ReplyDelete