Name: Drew from The Naked Sun
Hometown: Gloucester City, NJ
Current town: South Philadelphia
Job description: HS English Teacher
Background Info: We met on Craigslist, ha! They were looking for a female country singer, I was looking for young rock drunks. I guess you can say that we settled. Since, we’ve won the Beta Hi Fi Emerging Artist Contest, played the Dewey Beach Music Fest, played at the Beck Song Reader show, were featured on WXPN’s the Key, and BITBY did a music video for us. If you’re listening, kids, settle!
Upcoming projects: EP Release, April 12, Field House, Convention Center
Describe your music.
Our music is a basement journey through collective subconsciousness, beer induced relaxation, with a rude sneaky hangover; in a word, honest. We want people to say, “You know that rock and roll band the Naked Sun?”
What themes and concepts does your music generally revolve around?
Love. All the Beatles wrote about was love, all Dylan’s good work centers on love, all there really is in the universe is love, love and energy. It’s what anyone really writes about, essentially.
What instruments do you each play?
I play the guitar, harmonica and sing the songs.
Dave’s on drums
Tim’s on guitar and keys
Eric’s on bass
Tom’s the fifth man, off the bench, go to guy, our 5th Beatle, he’s on keys, guitar, vox, sexy dance moves.
What are you currently working on?
Currently we are mixing and mastering what will be our debut EP. A simple 4 song effort with some excellent art workby Ms. Hannah Myers. We are working on playing and performing two new songs and a cover for our EP release.
Amusing anecdotes regarding your shows/ performances/ fans?
We have a surprisingly older fan base, but played an all ages show and the kids loved us too, weird. We drink beer, good beer, and a lot of it. I rearrange lyrics often, usually because I forget and remember them by the end of the song.
What are you listening to these days?
I am currently falling asleep to Jim James’ solo record Regions of Light and the Sound of God as well as these old Motown and Stax records my Uncle rescued at an Estate Sale. I love Christopher Owens new record, and am really into The Viking Moses record The Parts that Showed. I also listen to a lot of different noise stuff that I just randomly find on Pandora, no one particular band sticks out, but if your familiar with the Baltimore Music scene you can think the Softhouse venue space in the Copycat building (is that still there?)
What was the last show you attended?
I went to see Christopher Owens at the Union Transfer. Awesome. Great band, great performance. And his encore was, this is super nerdy, like 3-4 songs in a row off of Dylan’s biggest critical flop, Self Portrait, and he ended with Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. Really good stuff. I love Girls, the band, and his solo stuff is just as good, if not more sophisticated. I’ve also seen a lot of Philly bands recently, like the local folk rock bands, The Lawsuits, New Sweden, Toy Soldiers, The Bailey Hounds, they all rock in their own sense, and we love them.
What are some misconceptions people often have about you?
I don’t think people know us enough to have any conceptions, period. But I will consider that a marker of our success once they do misconceive us. They’ll probably think that we are beer and music snobs, which is true. They will also probably think that we are young single guys that tour the globe rocking face and having one night stands with groupies, which is also true.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
Writing takes tons of time, so I write in the summer a lot, being a teacher, and on weekends. I need coffee, cigs, and beers (for later on in the night). I also need to stay up all night long to write a great song. It really throws off my sleep schedule for work, which is why I said summer. Putting a song together is usually a lot easier. I’ll record something that I just wrote, send it to the guys via email, we’ll work on it 2-3 times our next practice, then go from there. Some songs make it, other stick to the basement wall, and just kind of get trapped there. We might peel ’em off later, or I might go solo and record them for my major label debut in 2 years when Columbia discovers me and coins me “The Next Bob Dylan.”
What’s your music background / when did you begin really focusing on music?
I took piano lessons from the ages of 5-12. Then, I wanted a guitar, stopped playing the piano, and began teaching myself the guitar. Then, I started writing songs almost immediately. I’ve written a million songs, some of which I remember.
After college I moved to Baltimore to pursue music 100% of the time that I was not working. I played in Good Guise, Red Sammy, and started the streetgrass band Cityslides. Two of those bands are still active, actually, I am going to Red Sammy’s CD release this weekend. I worked on music, my harmonica playing, my songwriting. I got to play with the great MacGregor Burns and The Viking Moses; Wye Oak was around then just playing like house shows and stuff, Beach House was not really that big, it was really exciting to see all of your friends bands just blow up like crazy, and it was also nuts to see bands like Atom Fisher’s Good Guise and Mac’s project just kind of sit idle. It’s amazing what takes off and what stays grounded, but I feel like the true marker of success is those that stick with it. My violinist, the VCR, from Cityslides played every string track on Dan Deacon’s new album, un-real. Diplo used to hangout at the Copycat after Taxlo shows, now he’s on American Express commercials, and girls are Tweeting him pics of their upside-down backsides everyday. It’s just amazing all of that great music that came out of Baltimore at that time, BUT NOW IT’S PHILLY’S TURN!
What’s been happening in your life/ what’s next for you?
I teach, it’s nuts. Time is not something I have a lot of. I’m finally settled back into Philly. I even think I am saying Wooder again. Now that things are chilling out for me I want to get super arty on the new songs. I want to make inspiring, creative, and original work. I want to break onto the scene with merit of my work, not who I know, or what band I’m friends with. I know we are going to have to break in the back door in this town, but we will do it.
Describe your current state of mind / what’s inspiring you?
Love inspires me, love and death, mortality freaks me out, man, and love too. The human condition, this idea of world peace, how do we really attain it? I want to hand off the baton of Utopia to the next generation, so I write about it.
Do you have any shows coming up/ past shows you’d like to mention?
We were featured on WXPN’s the Key, so go check that out: http://thekey.xpn.org/tag/the-key-studio-sessions/. We are releasing our EP April 12th at the Field House with The Lawsuits. It’s a Friday, it’s FREE, so come on out.
Is any of your music political?
We live in a political world. Everything is political, so yes, our music is political. We have this song Fatigue off of the EP, it’s about a sweatshop in Mississippi that makes Army uniforms.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Just to start that deep meditation of life, death, and love. I would like for people to dance and think, and enjoy the music as I enjoy music when I listen to it.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an musician?
Time, we have busy lives, Tim and Dave have two kids each, Eric is an entrepreneur, and I work as an urban school teacher, time is scarce. Also, the business, the cool kids at school, “in” crowd mentality of the music scene is something that makes me want to say fuck it, and start calling people out and shit like that, but I have learned that it’s better to keep my cool. If we can change the game we will, that’s what real leaders do.
How has the meaning of your music changed over time?
I am searching for a more universal truth now, before it was very self centered. I want people to feel it, as raw human emotion. I am also moving away from politics, as I grow as a person I realize that politics is a game I don’t know how to play, nor do I want to. I feel like we think politics is the only way to get shit done, but that’s bullshit. The most accomplished things I have ever done and flown under the radar of everything; file under community, or personal freedom. We are the change, right?
What do you dislike about your music?
Ha, I dislike the drums, the bass and the other guitarist, seriously, who are these guys? In all truth I dislike very little about what we do. I wish we had rhodes and a Hammond B3, and some sick female vocalists.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I’d like to paint, I can’t draw to save my life, but I’d like to work with paint. I’d also like to make movies, weirdo art movies that you have to be altered to get.
What is your dream project?
My dream project would be to make a concept album that had video, art, lyrics, and music that just told a story from a central character. I would like to write a Bruce Springsteen album, but a modern one about kids on Oxy’s and students loans. A real Born to Run, not a rock fantasy, a rock truth. That and I’d like to own a writers bar, where people came and wrote and drank and posted their work on the walls for other strangers to read. It’d be a pilgrimage for all artists.
Are you involved with any organizations/ do you collaborate with other musicians?
I am setting up a screening of the documentary “Werewolves Across America.” It is an amazing film that chronicles a year on tour with The Viking Moses. It was shot by a London film team named D.A.R.Y.L. I am currently shopping around for a venue. Check our Facebook for updates.
What are a few of your favorite spots in (the city/ area in which you live)?
The Fountain Porter on 10th and Tasker is an excellent place to drink beer. As far as seeing music goes, The Union Transfer is amazing, but there are so many spots around town, too many to mention, Philly has a very good scene, but I always prefer a good basement/house show, haven’t been to one in quite some time.
What are you reading?
Currently, What is the What, Galapagos, The Tenth Man, and Tarantula.
Favorite authors, fiction:
The usual suspects are: Hunter S Thompson, Issac Asimov, Vonnegut, Greene. I read a lot of stuff that I don’t pay attention to the author. Also, my students’ work is sometimes breathtaking.
Favorite authors, nonfiction:
Howard Zinn, Lawrence Wright, National Geographic