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The Frisbie Interview Part Two: Steve Frisbie

By Jocelyn Geboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 25, 2005 3:22PM

In part one of the Frisbie interview, Chicagoist interviewed Liam Davis, one of the voices and songwriters of Frisbie -- one of the bands that the Chicago pop cognoscenti fancied a new favorite headed into the next millenium.

In the last five years, the band shared shows with Matthew Sweet, Matt Wilson and Ike Reilly, and Cheap Trick.
steve frisbie by g. milas But in the time that elapsed from the relase of their debut, The Subversive Sounds of Love and their second offering, period., the band went through some growing pains. The loss of three members, including their drummer, Zack Kantor, who was responsible for writing some of the songs (“Let’s Get Started,” “Wrecking Ball”) that helped define Frisbie’s unique sound, forced them to take a break and regroup.

Frisbie has begun to play out again – electric with a full band. The lineup has changed, but the sound is as strong as ever. This is part two of the Frisbie interview, with Steve Frisbie, the band's namesake. He talks about his vision of the band's future and seems to share the same culinary tastes as his bandmate Liam...

Chicagoist: You guys have been sort of off the scene for awhile. What have you been doing since Subversive Sounds of Love? Have you been working on solo projects? Working together on anything? Are there day jobs?

Liam and I started writing together about a year and a half ago, and since then we've found some smashing new fellas to play with. We're aiming for a new record, and some touring will follow. We both do some freelance work to make ends meet.

It's a good thing we're answering these questions separately, becuase if he says that he's working on anything other than Frisbie, I'll just die.

C: You released period. in 2003 but there didn't seem to be a lot of follow up to support that record. It seems like no one's really heard it except for die hard fans. There are some great songs there: "i know what's in store," "girlfriend," "another story". Are you absolutely never going to play those songs again?

We play them when we do acoustic shows, but I don't anticipate playing those tunes with the band. Those were Zack's songs (Zack Kantor was our original drummer), and anytime I feel a pull to put one of his songs in a set, I try to respond by writing something of my own.

C: There's been some live shows recently with a full band and nearly all new songs. You sound like you're still at the top of your game. When can we expect a new record? Will you tour behind it?

Yeah, we're feeling great musically. Getting everyone together in a room has been a little tough, but we will finish another record. As for when, I'll let Liam answer that, since he's more optimistic about that. Touring will likely follow.

C: Trip Shakespeare, another band who broke up and rearranged themselves, held two reunion shows in their hometown, Minneapolis in 2003. Unfortunately, they were not joined by their drummer, who has faded into obscurity. Is there any hope for an 'original' Frisbie reunion?

No. (How's that for pithy?)

C: Some of your songs always receive huge audience response. One of them, off your first album, is Vertigogo. Did you try to get that turned into a single? Will you actively pursue radio play with this new album? What, if anything, will you do differently with this album?

We'll do whatever we can afford. With SSoL, Hear Diagonally Records paid for publicity and college radio promo, and it made a big difference. Hopefully, we'll do that again. Re: Vertigogo, we've talked about trying to license it to extreme sports shows, with dudes falling out of planes and shit.

C: Where do you see this band in the next year?
C: The next 5 years?

By hanging round and staying creative, who knows what we'll stumble into, and who may stumble upon us. Music is a part of our lives, and it's not going away. I'd like to keep playing with this band, and I feel strongly that Liam and I will keep playing together. Part of me still believes we'll get our "big break," and the other part doesn't care, because I like what we do. That's a balance I can live with.

C: Who do you admire in music today?

I think the Sufjan Stevens "Illinois" record is wonderful. The New Pornographers freakin' rock. I've recently discovered Dwight Yoakam, and really like him. Ab Rude is a hip hop artist from LA, and I think most of what he touches is gold -- Abstract Tribe Unique and Haiku d'Etat in particular. Steve Dawson of Dolly Varden is a marvelous singer and songwriter, and there's a guy playing around Chicago now named Scott Ligon who is an unheralded badass. And y'know, The Shins, Wilco... I could go on like this forever.

Who inspires you (today or from any time)?
The embarrassing truth is that very few people inspire me; instead, I often respond to great musicians by getting upset that I'm not as good as they are. I'm getting better at putting that feeling aside and just doing what I do. I have drawn inspiration from Andrew Bird and Jeff Tweedy over the past several years, not only becuase their respective evolutions have been so remarkable, but because you can hear their focus and hard work in the music. They just went after it. I'd like to be more like that.

C: Time for the Chicagoist local snapshot:

What's your favorite place to eat in Chicago?

Midori is great for affordable sushi in a vibe-free setting. Japonais and Marai are great for punishing your wallet while the pretty people watch.

Favorite place to buy clothes?

Village Thrift Stores, though my sizes are always the first to go.

Best activity for $20 or less?

I have yet to do it, but I'll bet that parking next to O'Hare and having the planes fly over you totally rules.