How and when did the band form?
Justin and Gary were members of Hopped Up! The band split up in 2005 when the singer, Scotty moved out of State. Justin, Gary and Shawn Burrell (the bass player in Hopped Up!) formed Quarter Mile Combo in 2005.
Did you have any line-up changes?
Justin, Gary and Shawn auditioned for singers and Tyler Terrell joined the band in 2005.
This line up released a 4 song demo CD with covers of Mean Man Blues, Tear it Up, False Hearted Girl and You’re My Baby. Shawn left the band after a few months and Todd joined on upright bass. Tyler left the band in early 2006 and Nettie joined on vocals. The current line up has been together for over three years.
Is this your first band?
No, we have all played in other bands. Nettie has performed with a number of bands and is currently a member of another popular San Francisco Bay Area band “The Mighty Slim Pickins”. Todd was in local bands “Revival Revue”, “The Hellvis Angels” and “The Distractions”. Justin has played in a number of local bands including “Crop Duster” and “Blue Ribbon”. He is also currently a member of “St. Peterbilt”. Gary has played with Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp and “Cari Lee and the Saddle-ites”. As already mentioned Gary and Justin played together in Hopped Up!
Where does the name of the band come from?
“Quarter Mile” is a drag racing reference. We didn’t know how many band members we would end up with when we started, We figured “Combo” would give us more flexibility than trio or quartet…
Let's talk a bit about your influences ?
We all have different influences and we come from different musical backgrounds. We think this reflects in our original songs. Nettie really appreciates ladies with big voices and bigger personalities. Etta James, Dusty Springfield, Wanda Jackson, Janice Martin, Shirley Manson and Beth Ditto are some of her favorites. Justin’s influences are Bill Kirchen, Luther Perkins, Cliff Gallup, Don Rich, and Eldon Shamblin. Todd’s come from early rock and roll and punk music, from Elvis and Jerry Lee to The Ramones and Dead Kennedys. Gary developed his appreciation for music as a teenager in late 70’s England. Some of his influences are Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and The Undertones. His rockabilly favorites include The Shakin’ Pyramids, Planet Rockers and The Blasters. Influences aside, we’re really trying to create music that is original and sounds like us. We’re not trying to, and don’t particularly want to sound like anybody else. Our music has some influences from the past and we have great respect and appreciation for that music. We made the conscious decision not to go for a traditional rockabilly sound when it came to recording. It wouldn’t really fit our playing style. We have made some records in the past that were fairly traditional. We decided that this time we wanted the production quality to stand up to any other modern recording regardless of genre. We recorded at a professional and well respected recording studio, spending quite a bit more time and money on the recording process than we would have if we were going for a more traditional sound. We’re happy with how the record turned out and feel that the extra time and expense was worthwhile.
Your album is made of originals? Tell us a bit about the songwriting. And do you play covers on stage?
When we first started, all the songs were covers because we had no songwriters in the band. It was important to us to be performing original material so we needed to figure out how to write songs. “Good Lovin” and “Knockout Punch” were two of the early songs. Gary wrote the lyrics and Justin wrote the music on those two. When Todd joined, the dynamic changed. Todd writes lyrics and music. “Rodeo Show” was the first of Todd’s originals to be written and worked up after he joined the band. “Kitten” was another early song that started with Justin bringing a napkin to rehearsal with a handful of lyrics and a couple of guitar licks. That turned into one of our most popular songs. Most of the songs now start with Gary’s or Todd’s lyrics and maybe some basic music ideas or Justin’s music to which we add lyrics. Nettie helps weed out the good ideas from the bad, both with the lyrics and the music and works with us to develop the songs into something that she can feel excited about singing. We bring the songs to the rehearsal studio and they often change quite dramatically as everyone brings their ideas to the table. It’s a collaborative process and everybody has a lot of input that ends up shaping the finished songs. We do play some covers. Our live set these days is probably 75% original songs and 25% covers.
What are your plans for the future?
We are playing Viva Las Vegas in 2010 and will be coming to Europe for a two week tour in June 2010. The tour will be mainly in Holland, Belgium and France. We are all really looking forward to playing in Europe. We always hear from other bands that there is a much better appreciation for this style of music in Europe than in the States. We would like to do more travelling now that the CD is finished.
Do you have something to add for our readers?
We hope to see our European friends at a show next June. Keep an eye on our myspace page for details www.myspace/quartermilecombo. Oh, and the CD is available at CD Baby and iTunes.