Interview: Larry And His Flask
Tim Dodderidge got the chance to talk to Jamin Marshall, drummer of Larry and His Flask, during the band’s tour supporting Frank Turner this fall. Marshall discussed the band’s recent EP release, the origin of their name, and reasons why they love performing on street corners.
How’s the tour been so far?
Really good, man. Just getting to know Frank [Turner] and the dudes and having a blast out on the road with everybody. We’ve had good crowds so far and perceptive audiences. It’s been a lot of fun.
You guys have a new EP out. Since you just came out with a full-length last year, what is the purpose of releasing an EP this year?
It’s kind of a bridge between what we’ve done in the past and our next full-length, which will come out next year sometime. It’s half old songs that we did – three old ones and three new ones.
What are your feelings concerning the full-length you released last year? How has it helped shape the path of your career?
I think it’s helped a lot. We kind of built on that a lot and it finally had something to give to people. We went for like two years without an album and it was ridiculous. So now it’s good to actually have some music at the merch table to sell (laughs).
The band used to be straight-up punk rock, but recently transitioned into more folksy-bluegrass punk. What sparked this change?
Just kind of an accident, really. Our drummer at the time quit the band (the punk rock band). And we just decided that we were going to start jamming with all of our friends. Andrew [Carew] wasn’t in the band at the time, Dallin [Bulkley] wasn’t, and Kirk [Skatvold] wasn’t. And we just started having living room jam sessions in my old house. Then we kind of moved it onto the street and people dug it, so we just kept the name and started touring on that. The sound just keeps changing little by little, so yeah, it was kind of an accident. It definitely wasn’t thought out. We didn’t sit down and think about how we were going to change it, but it just kind of happened.
I hear you guys play on street corners a lot. What do you like about that type of atmosphere?
I like the surprise in it. People coming around the corner just minding their own business, and they’re like, “What the hell is this?” They might like it, and hopefully they dig it. You kind of just attack people with music and hopefully they respond good. It’s a nice attack (laughs). It just kind of surprises them, like a bunch of clowns jumping out of a box playing.
Yeah, here in downtown Lawrence there are always tons of street performers. They always catch my attention. What are some of your favorite songs to play live? Any covers?
In the past year, we’ve done a Marvin Gaye song all the time. We currently aren’t doing it on this tour because we’re trying to get our new stuff into the set. One of my favorite songs to play is “Beggars Will Ride.” It’s funny because we’ve played that probably more than any other song we’ve ever written, and I still like playing it every night.
I also hear that the band name came from a the name of a fictional character. Can you tell me a little bit about this?
Yeah, it was like Halloween 2003. And I never celebrated Halloween before. My family just never did it. So I didn’t have a costume and I was invited to a party. I was like 20, or 21 (laughs). So I went, and I was a janitor at the time, so I just made up this goofy-ass character named Larry the drunken janitor. And everyone needs a band name, so I just threw that in there. Then Larry and His Flask came to be. And now it kind of transferred into anybody in the band or anyone we know that has had maybe a little bit too much to drink that night, and that’s the Larry of the evening (laughs).
It’s a catchy name (laughs). Who are some of your biggest influences as a band and why?
We always get this one, of course, but I never have a solid answer. In the band, it’s really splintered. Everyone in the band likes very different things. As far as influencing what I do and how I play live, like the energy and everything, it’s from a lot of punk rock bands back in the day that I would go watch when I was younger and a teenager. Mostly Oregon-based punk rock bands that would give it their all and play their asses off. That influenced me more than anything musically at the time. I just really got into those bands and watched them every chance I got to go out to shows. After a little while, we were playing with those bands, and then they all broke up and went away, and now we’re still going. I guess yeah, it’s them. Their attitudes and their live performances always got me.
What have been some of your favorite bands to tour with? I know you’ve opened for the Dropkick Murphys, Streetlight Manifesto, and a few others.
Every band so far that we’ve opened for has been awesome in their own way and the way they are as people. So far, Frank Turner and the guys are such sweethearts, such nice guys, and it’s really great being out with them on the road.
What’s it like hanging out with them. Have you done any fun activities or anything?
Well, we don’t usually have time – other than drinking at a bar or something (laughs). We usually, unfortunately, don’t have a lot of time. We did get to do Riot Fest with them and the Murphys. There were a lot of bands there. Rise Against was there.
Oh okay. Was that the one in Chicago?
Yeah it was huge. There were like 30,000 tickets sold or something. So when you do festivals like that, it’s way more like a social event. You get to hang out with all of your friends and all of the crew members you met from other bands. Hot Water Music, too – we’re buddies with a couple of those guys.
Anything else you want to say to your fans?
I don’t know. Rock and roll, baby (laughs).