At the Boston stop of Warped Tour 2011, Foxy Shazam’s Loren Turner graciously joined me for a short interview, where we touched on the finer points of Foxy’s songwriting process, but more importantly, how Sky White is a filthy slob.
MEB: Stylistically, you’ve changed quite a bit between Flamingo Trigger and your self-titled record. Was this a conscious decision or a natural progression?
Loren Turner: I think it’s just a natural progression. We never really want to make the same record twice, but then again we never really try to go for a certain sound. I guess the older you get, the more you change, and I think our music reflects that. From the first album where we just wanted to make noise and get on everyone’s nerves up to this, we’ve developed as songwriters and as musicians too. We’re definitely a lot better on our instruments than we were back when we did Flamingo Trigger.
Do you think Eric [Nally]’s becoming a father has had any effect on your songwriting?
It’s definitely been the backbone of some material. The song “Oh Lord” is about Julian. But every once in a while his youngest son Francis will say something kind of funny and he’ll throw that in a song.
Has fatherhood mellowed him out at all?
I don’t know, I feel like he’s the same guy. He never really was a big crazy wild guy, except on stage. You could definitely say that he has matured.
What does your songwriting process entail?
There’s really no rhyme or reason to it. For the most part it’s pretty collaborative, but it could start from a piano idea, guitar idea, bass idea, or a vocal idea. A lot of our stuff starts from vocal ideas and gets worked on that way. Whoever has the initial idea will kind of run with the torch, or lead the charge or whatever.
Has the inclusion of Alex [Nauth]’s horn playing affected that process?
Yeah, he’s actually a good songwriter too, so if anything it’s definitely affected the way songs have been turning out. He’s a good arranger, and he has a lot of musical knowledge. He knows how to really piece the music together, whereas some of us don’t really know that much and we’re just like, “Oh, that sounds cool!”
Eric has said that Aaron [McVeigh] is the most organized member of the band. What does that say about the rest of you?
Well we’re not complete slobs. You can tell a lot about a person by his suitcase. Aaron’s definitely the most tidy. You know, everything’s got a separate container and everything is well-organized. I probably fall in between. I’m kind of organized, but I don’t have everything sectioned off like he does. I try to keep my stuff together. Sky [White] is the worst. Every time he opens up his suitcase, it’s like a clothes bomb goes off. That’s just how he is. To him it makes perfect sense.
Your stage show seems very… strenuous. Have any of you sustained any notable onstage injuries?
Eric has fractured a rib. He sprained his ankles really badly too earlier on this tour and they’re just now starting to heal. I think he’s sprained his pinky finger. I’ve gotten bruises, but nothing serious. Actually, the backs of my knees have been hurting really badly. I don’t know what I did. I wish I could say I broke a bone.
Are the majority of your stage antics premeditated or spontaneous?
It’s usually spontaneous, but if you stumble across something that works, you stick with it for a while until you get sick of it or think of something cooler. When we rehearse, we don’t really move around or anything. We just stand there and play the songs and make sure we’re playing tightly. When we play live is when we experiment with stuff.
Have any of you discovered any new bands on Warped Tour this year that you particularly like?
I’ve been really getting into The Devil Wears Prada. They’re non-stop heavy, kicking your ass from beginning to end, and they’re really nice guys too. I’m about to go check out a band called Lion Eyes. I know Eric and Alex have been raving about them, so I’m going to check them out after this interview.
What would you say to a person who has never heard Foxy Shazam?
I would say, “Help me think of something cool to say for this question.” (Laughs)
Thanks to Loren for taking the time to talk with me. Check out Foxy Shazam at Warped Tour on the Skullcandy Stage if you want to witness the Michael Jordan(s) of rock n’ roll, and possibly cigarette eating.