MEB staffer Eric Spitz had the chance to conduct a phone interview with drummer Eric Owen of Black Pistol Fire to get some insight on future tour dates in support of their new album Hush or Howl, living on eggs and potatoes, performing with the likes of Weezer, and more. The band is also currently working on a new music video for “Alabama Coldcock” off their new album Hush or Howl.
MEB: First of all, I was looking on Facebook and saw that you guys are based out of Toronto, Ontario, but then you moved to Austin, Texas, you and Kevin [McKeown, vocalist/guitarist]. What made you decide to make that move and go down there?
Musically and stylistically, the type of music that we play, rock and roll, there just didn’t seem to be a scene for it. We’re really known for rock and roll and blues, so we kind of just took a chance, we didn’t really plan on moving down together or anything. We both individually went down, met up and started playing again, and it just kind of happened. There wasn’t really a concrete plan to move, it just kind of happened, life happened.
Okay, sounds good! I also saw on Facebook that you lived in poverty, or I guess a steady diet of potatoes. Do you want to explain that aspect of your life a little bit?
Well I mean, that was a long time ago, a couple years ago. We couldn’t work in the U.S., so we were just kind of writing music and doing that, so we had a very low budget. We had a little bit of money for groceries. We were just eating potatoes, eggs, and basically just writing and playing music every day. We’re definitely not that poor anymore.
Not that we’re that much further ahead, just looking back at things as they once were, and that’s a good thing.
I mean, eggs and potatoes are still delicious, we’ll still eat them, but they’re just not a total necessity anymore.
Right, right. Definitely understand (laughs). Okay, well, what major bands inspired the sound of Black Pistol Fire?
Eric: Hey Kevin, what major bands would you say inspired the sound of Black Pistol Fire?
Kevin: Bands? Um… Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater….
Alright, so that’s Kevin back there?
Awesome, tell him I said hi!
Anyway, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club and Hendrix?
Kevin: Yeah, Hendrix!
Eric: Yeah, throw Hendix in there!
Why not? Um, first two Kings of Leon albums of course. Yeah, those are the bunch of them. Oh, and Mr. Neil Young! He’s a goddamn national treasure.
You have to include him in the mix.
Definitely! So, let’s see, what’s the coolest venue you’ve performed at with Black Pistol Fire?
It would have to be the Webster Hall in New York City, for sure. We were opening for a band called State Radio. It’s a great old historic venue, it’s got a huge open hall. And yeah, it’s just beautiful, the sound, very iconic place to play. Oh, and the Belly Up in Aspen, Colorado.
Awesome! That does sound good. Who’s been your favorite band to tour with in the three years you’ve been with Black Pistol Fire?
Probably when we played with Weezer. They were a band we grew up listening to, their sound may not necessarily be influential, but at the same time they’re a band that we loved in high school and their sound is kind of a nostalgic trip. It was just kind of mind-blowing, time warp man. Definitely I’d say Weezer, it’s really crazy how things come full circle, playing in your garage in high school and playing Weezer songs and the next thing you know you’re playing with them in the U.S. So yeah, definitely really cool.
Yeah, definitely, awesome! If you could collaborate with any band, who would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a good question. Um, I think Dave Grohl [Foo Fighters], if we’re going specifically musician-wise, big hero of mine. He’s a pretty versatile guy, he can drum anything.
Awesome, yeah. Sounds good, he’s a great musician.
Big hero of mine, he’d be down for that kind of stuff. Hey, if you could set it up, make it happen!
Haha, I know right? For sure (laughs). Anyway, what was your initial reaction when you saw that “Dimestore Heartthrob” was number one on the radio station FMQB sub-modern chart?
I was very, very thrilled! I’ve never had a song be number one, and that’s as high as you can go! So yeah, it was really cool. Kevin and I did a little miniature celebration on our own. Yeah, because you can’t go further than number one! So yeah, it was really cool, more of that to come!
Yeah definitely! Sweet.
And it’s a good song, so why not?
Yeah, exactly! I noticed your new album Hush or Howl was available a week before the official release date on Spotify. Was there any reason you decided to do that?
Yeah, people over at Spotify have been pretty good supporters for awhile and we always love the people at shows that come up to us and say “oh yeah, we’ve been listening to you on Spotify for a long time!” It’s a big source of musical discovery, for people that have found Black Pistol Fire somehow. It seemed like a good thing to do. And they’re also able to do a social media push, which is definitely a perk to doing that with them. And yeah, it’s just a cool idea to do, and why not?
Sweet! Sounds good. Is there a track you’re particularly proud of on Hush or Howl?
I guess “Dimestore Heartthrob” just because it’s already done so well. We still like all of the other songs, but that one, from start to finish there’s nothing wrong with it. Sometimes in songs we’re like “oh, that one thing I didn’t really like in it,” or whatever. But that one is pretty spot on, we’re really happy with that one I’d say.
Okay awesome! I’ve just got one more question for you: do you have any upcoming tours in support of Hush or Howl?
Yeah, we’re doing a shooting for regional stuff coming up here now, just in Texas. The Texas/Louisiana range, we’re doing the Baton Rouge Blues Festival in Louisiana. There’s some stuff I can’t really say until it gets confirmed, but as of right now we’re going to the pacific northwest, Seattle, Portland and the University of Oregon in May. There’s something else I wish I could tell you right now, it’s very big, but I can’t say until whenever it gets confirmed.
Gotcha, no problem.
When it gets confirmed it’s going to be very, very big. But yeah, we’ll make our way everywhere this year at some point I’m sure.
For sure. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to do this, good luck with your music video and everything else!
I’m about to go dominate it man! We’re about to rock off.
Alright, that’s what I like to hear!