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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interview with Jimmy Vee of Forty Lashes and Seized Up

Jimmy Vee interview

1. When did you start playing music? Did anyone particular influence you to do this?

I started playing music when I was in the 6th grade, probably around 12 years old. One year for Christmas my Uncle and parents got me one of those Squire Strat guitars and I’ve been playing ever since.

2. What music did you start playing at first? How did you progress?

Growing up I was really into any kind of hard rock and metal. When I say metal for instance I mean bands like Ozzy, Pantera and Metallica, not what everyone today calls metal (think of any lame screamy Victory records band). When I first started out playing I would jam along with AC/DC records, KISS records; you know bands along those lines. Eventually I started hanging out with people that introduced me to bands like AFI, Anti-Flag and Suicide Machines. The music had a lot of energy and was fun to learn/play. Especially after I started going to shows of various punk bands, I was hooked.

3. What bands were you in before Forty Lashes, if any?

Before Forty Lashes, I was in a few bands that probably nobody has ever heard of beside a few people I went to high school with. They we’re mainly hard rock/metal bands.

4. When did Forty Lashes start? Where did the band play their first show? Who was the line-up?

Forty Lashes started back in 2005 when I was a senior in high school. It was a six piece band and the lineup consisted of Eric Plunkard on bass, Vince Troia on saxophone, Matt Ortisi on trumpet, Phil Carpenter on trombone, Stephanie Petritis on drums and me doing guitar and vocals. As for our first show I forget the exact day or month, but it was at the Hayloft sometime before fall in 2005.

5. How long did it take to get the Forty Lashes name out as a regular Detroit band?

Hmmmm….. not really sure to tell you the truth. I think a breakthrough though was when a few promoters gave us a chance and we started opening for a some bigger bands in the punk scene.

6. When did your first EP and Watch Out for Bears come out? What about the first full-length? Are there any unrecorded Forty Lashes songs?

The first EP came out in December of 2005. It’s the only Forty cd with the original 6 member line up. After that the rest of everything that we recorded was done as a three piece. Watch Out For Bears came out in late 2006/early 2007 and Let’s Get This Done Before We Die was released in June of 2008.

7. Why did the band ditch the horns in the ska sound?

To summarize it, all the horn members eventually quit by the summer of 2006. At the time we we’re starting to do few out of state gigs, shows up north and were booking our first tour of the Midwest (it was like a 10 day tour). The horns didn’t want to travel or try to take it to the level that Eric and I wanted to at the time. So they agreed to play our tour kick off that year and that was that. For a while after they left we kept looking for horns and nothing was working out and eventually said fuck it, we’ll just be a three piece.

8. How did you come up with the title ‘Let’s Get This Done (Before We Die)’ for the full-length? Is it a personal philosophy or motto you live by?

I actually heard it from my guitar instructor back in 11th or 12th grade. We were working through a book and came to a piece that I kept repeating (I think we worked on it for 3 or 4 weeks) and he wrote on the paper after one of the times “Let’s Get This Done Before We Die”. The name stuck with me and we ended up writing a song a few years later and called it that. The song is about just being able to accomplish what you set your mind to. Sure things might not go your way but don’t give up or give in so easily, you have to give it your best shot.

9. What is your favorite Forty Lashes song, personally speaking? Why?

I’d have to say my favorite is Let’s Get This Done Before We Die. I like the meaning behind it and I think it’s a fun song to play.

10. Why did the band decide to go on hiatus? Is there any hope of a reunion (or at least a future cover with Seized Up)?

After we got home from touring in 2009, Eric pulled me aside and told me that he didn’t want to do the band anymore. The last couple of weeks on the road for him were rough and he wanted to stop for a while. He told me that he would be fine if we found a new bassist, but I didn’t want to. Eric and I were the only originals left in Forty and I felt that it wouldn’t be right to continue on without him. As far as a reunion, I mean it could happen but doesn’t look like it at the moment. In all honesty, we gave it a good run and if that’s that, at least we had the opportunity to do what we did. It gave me plenty of good memories and stories.

11. When did the idea for Seized Up come to fruition? Who came up with the idea for the band and the pop punk-ish sound?

Dan Stover (Forty’s drummer) and I wanted to keep playing music after Forty went on “hiatus”. We we’re listening to a lot of Bouncing Souls and Gob at the time. His then roommate, Roger started jamming with us on bass around late 2009 and Kyle came into the picture in March of 2010.

12. How many songs does Seized Up have written? Recorded? When do you have plans to release this material?

Seized Up has a total of 11 songs written and 4 recorded which can be found at seizedup.bandcamp.com. We are planning on releasing it in early March but for now you can stream the songs at the site. Check em’ out!

13. How many shows (approximately) has Seized Up played? How many are in the works? What kind of shows and venues would the band be interested in playing?

Only a handful. We have a few in the works and are interested in playing wherever will have us.

14. What do you think the future holds for the band?

I’m not sure. We just take it day by day.

15. What are some of your favorite local bands? Did you meet any particularly good bands on the Forty Lashes tour in 2009? If so, who?

As for Detroit area bands I’m currently digging The Hard Lessons, ATG, Shared Arms (Windsor), and Hellmouth. I can’t remember all the bands from the 2009 tour but I’ll just put together a general list from all tours that everyone should check out. Project 27, 10 Cents Short, Left Alone, Voodoo Glow Skulls, SSCP, Thrashantos, Iron Minds, Have Nots, A Billion Ernie’s, Fatter Than Albert, Stuck Lucky, Detonate, Informant, This is a Stick Up (TIASU), I could go on for much longer but you get the picture.

16. What’s the best show you’ve ever played? Attended?

I would have to say that the best show I’ve ever played was in Rochester NY at a place called the Dubland Underground. As far as the best show I’ve attended, it would have to be the Suicide Machines 2005 holiday show.

17. Are you a believer in vinyl records? Why or why not?

Yeah. I’m not a huge collector but I have a few. It seems like vinyl’s are coming back as a more personal way to share/sell music than an itunes download or a cd. You get all the artwork and inserts that come with it and I think that most people like to hold onto that stuff and feel more of a connection with the band because of it. Most vinyl’s come with digital downloads too.

18. What else would you like to include?

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