Sunday, January 23, 2011

10 Questions With...Tin Horn Prayer's Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas of Tin Horn Prayer

As everyone who regularly comes to this blog knows, I'm music obsessed.  I've had the opportunity to know some great bands and musicians over the years, but also be a fan.  When I like something, I want to tell people about it.  So, what better use of this platform than spread the news of good music.  As I review albums, I hope to get the chance to do an interview as well.  I've always enjoyed reading about the members of bands and learning about members.  So this is my attempt.

Derek Johnson:  Start at the's boring but, it's where everything starts unless you're Quentin Tarantino.  How/When did you start playing drums/guitar?  Did you take lessons early on?  What or Who made you want to start?  A basic, early overview of your musical roots.

Andy Thomas:  I started playing drums when I was around eleven.  It was around the time that everyone was being forced to play an instrument.  Most people got stuck with flute or clarinet or something like that, but I wanted something cooler.  I had to “try out” to be a drummer by patting my head and rubbing my stomach and vice versa to see if I had the right dexterity – luckily for me, I did.

As far as guitar, I can’t really tell when I started. I was in my first band when I was about 13 and everyone used to leave their gear at my house. When they would leave I would pick the guitar up and play for while. I’ve never been formally taught at guitar, but just being around them I learned to play. I probably should take a lesson one of these days. I’m still not very good!

Who were your early influences and who are they now?  Basically, any particular drummers and now, singer/songwriters/guitarists...etc.  Godzilla, Barney...Anyone like that.

As far as overall musicians, I’ve always like Dave Grohl because of the whole drummer to guitarist/singer transition.  Plus, he just seems like a cool guy I could listen to music and drink Coors Light with.  Keith Moon from the Who was always one of my favorite drummers, but I don’t claim to be anywhere near as good as he is.  As far as songwriters go now, I really like Frank Turner, Joe Pug, Justin Townes Earle,  Chris from Fake Problems, Tim Barry…I have a huge list!

How did Only Thunder come about?  How was your time in the band?  When did you guys know it was over?

Only Thunder started with a bunch of friends finally deciding to play music together.  We never really had an agenda or style other than playing music that we really liked.  I had a great experience in that band and wish it would’ve lasted longer. 

What's the Denver scene like?

There are tons of great bands from here.  But it seems like the majority of bands who “make it” out of Denver, are total garbage and a poor depiction of the group of musicians I hang out with.  I don’t think any city has one distinct “scene.”  Denver is made up of many different ones.  Since Denver is a smaller city, people from different places always seem to assume I know every musician in town.  When I was on tour with Ghost Buffalo, I can’t count the number of times I was asked if I knew the guys in the Fray.  Those guys are great musicians, and I’m sure they’re nice people, but they were so far removed from my “scene” when they were here, that I never even bumped into them.  I love the diversity of music in this town, but I don’t feel a particular kinship to most of the bands.  If I was asked to put myself into any scene it’d be the “old guys who drink too much scene.”  I’m ok with that.

How did Tin Horn Prayer get together?  Are they a full-time band?  I know other members were/are in other bands?  Will the focus ever be just on THP?

Mike and his friend Dan Beachy wrote some of the songs while Mike was still in The Blackout Pact.  He recorded some demos that he brought back to Denver that I just fell in love with.  I think he talked to people for awhile about setting up a whole band around it.  I think at first I was supposed to play drums.  When we finally got everyone together, it was just Mike, Eric, myself and this other dude all sitting down playing acoustic guitars – there wasn’t a lot of dynamics to it.  We started adding a lot more instruments and now we’re a full on rock band, but we still play some of those great songs that Dan and Mike wrote when they first got together.

As far as being a full time band I think we absolutely are.  Tin Horn is certainly my main focus and, even though I would love to play drums for another band, this is still my main priority.  Mike is actually the only member who plays in another band right now, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.  Other than that, we’re all very focused on this band.

Will THP ever "get in the van" and tour?  Speaking of touring, what current (local or otherwise) bands would you want to tour with?  Regardless of the years of existence, put together a dream day long festival featuring Tin Horn Prayer and what other bands from history??? ( 5 or 6 bands, THP can headline if you want, just do the set lineup for the day)

We hope to tour a bunch this year.  We have a west coast tour planned in February and again, hope to travel wherever anyone will have us after that. 
Right now, I would love to tour with; Lucero, Gaslight Anthem, Justin Townes Earle, Titus Andronicus, Two Cow Garage, Fake Problems or Trampled by Turtles.  We would also love another shot at the Revival Tour with Chuck Ragan.  Our first show ever was with Chuck and we all respect the shit outta that guy.  Anyone associated with any of those bands listening?!  Give us a chance!

I can’t speak for the other guys but a great festival for us would feature all of those bands I just mentioned and maybe some classics like Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt or the Replacements.  I bet that would make for a good time.  (I'd pay to see that show, definitely)

What is your favorite venue to play with a band and solo?

Three Kings in Denver has always been good to us.  Other awesome places in Denver are the Hi-Dive, The Summit and the Larimer Lounge.  One of the coolest places I’ve ever played outside of Colorado is The Triple Rock Social Club in MN.  I hope we can make it there soon!

Speaking of solo performances, talk about your solo album and if you plan on writing another one, someday?

I still write songs as a solo artist and still perform from time to time but I don’t have any plans for another album anytime soon.  I do have a plan to post a bunch of bathroom demos on bandcamp pretty soon, but another full length in a studio just seems like too much of a daunting process to me and I don’t know if I’ll ever be totally satisfied with anything I record as a solo artist.

Talk about the program you helped create with Illegal Pete's.  When I was on tour, this would have been huge for us, especially after seeing their menu.  Any other projects in the works?

It’s called the Starving Artists Program and we basically give away free food for any touring band that promises to give us a little promotion on Twitter and Facebook.  So far the response has been overwhelming and I think it’s created a music friendly image of Illegal Pete’s which is what we set out for in the first place.  Because of the program, we’ve managed to bring in some big acts to perform in our restaurant; like Frank Turner, Ben Nichols and Lenny Lashley.  We’re constantly coming up with new ideas and are super excited to see what else we can do to help out musicians of all kinds.

What are your 5 All-Time Favorite Bands?
Damn, good question. I know I’m gonna go back and regret what I said on this list, but here goes. These are in no particular order:

Frank Turner
The Replacements
Lawrence Arms
Against Me!

I know that was more than 10 questions, but you get more than you bargained for, due to the fact that I can't count.  I'd like to thank Andy Thomas of Tin Horn Prayer for being my first interview victim.  Hopefully, there will be more to come.

Please checkout Tin Horn Prayer here and here.

For any other bands/artists out there that are interested in being reviewed and interviewed, please contact me.  Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. First off, I took myself from the top, back to THE BOTTOM! LOL Im currently enrolled in BRA... Blogging Rehab Anonymous, I've been 2days without messing with my blogs appearance!! I THINK..anyhow, thank you for finding it!

    I was kinda skeptical of bluegrass/folk rock/punk and what it might sound like. Listened to Better Living and I LIKE IT! I like bluegrass and folk/rock, but the Punk had me questioning what they sounded like.