After playing the record-release show for their new EP, Baptism, in Mahomet on Saturday night, So Long Forgotten will be featured on WEFT Sessions tonight at 10 p.m. on WEFT–90.1 FM. As always, you can also stream the show online at weft.org.
I traded emails with SLF lead singer Micah Boyce over the weekend, and he had a lot of interesting things to say about the challenges of touring with a grease-powered bus, the differences between playing in bars and playing in churches, and bandmate Dustin Hoke’s speedy recovery from a recent construction accident. Join us, won’t you, after the jump.
Smile Politely: I read your tour diary from this summer that was posted on SP. Do you still have a veggie-powered tour vehicle? I also read in the Indie Vision interview that your tour bus wasn’t working out. Was that the one? Was it veggie-related or were there other issues?
Micah Boyce: Ah yes … Gus. That is what we call our bus. “Gus the Bus,” short for “Gussle the Love Muscle.” Gus is still with us … and still running on grease; however, Gus hasn’t gone without his share of problems. In August we blew the transmission. The weekend that happened was a pretty crazy weekend. We played a festival in southern Tennessee. It was supposed to be a nine-hour drive and ended up taking us 14. Basically air kept getting in our fuel lines, and we couldn’t figure out why. We had to stop around five times and try to fix the problem. Dustin (guitar) and PJ (drums) were both covered in grease from head to toe at one point. We eventually figured out that we just weren’t getting the cap down on our filter tight enough … pretty stupid. I guess it’s hard to know if you haven’t dealt with one of these systems before. But it was like a pretty huge DUH thing. We eventually got to where we were going and the second we pulled up we realized we didn’t have any reverse. Our transmission had started to go, and we ended up driving back to Champaign without reverse or second gear. That might have been what we were talking about with Indie Vision. Gus has definitely made touring pretty interesting. We spend a lot of our days going around to restaurants and asking them for their used oil. We’re definitely a band that loves meeting new people. I think the whole veggie oil thing has just given us one more way to do that.
SP: How did your record-release show in Mahomet go last night?
MB: The release show was great last night. I think close to 200 people came and packed the place. We had all of our good friends’ bands play. It was just a really special evening. I will talk more about this later, but it was Dustin’s first show back since his accident. I think I can honestly say it was the best show I’ve ever experienced with this band. We definitely feel loved here in Champaign and Mahomet.
SP: Care to share a little of the history of So Long Forgotten for the expectant masses?
MB: Here’s the short version of the story of SLF. Cam (guitar) and I went to two different high schools that were so small that they had to co-op for sports and drama. So we got to know each other through a high school musical. ... Cam (Yergler) asked me to play drums in his punk band, Flak Jacket. We eventually had a big get together in our bass player’s barn and we asked this band from Paxton called “Nothing Public” to come and play. Dustin, Joe (Brown, bass) and PJ (Pence) were in this band. I ended up going to Paxton later to try out as a singer for Nothing Public. I got the gig and left Flak Jacket. Nothing Public changed their name to So Long Forgotten. Dustin was the only guitarist for about two years and then we asked Cam to come play with us. He eventually ended up leaving the band to focus on college. We got a replacement and then suckered him in to coming back to play third guitar. Cam’s replacement ended up leaving, and then he was just stuck again. And that’s pretty much it.
SP: How does playing churches compare to playing bars? Do you catch much crap from anyone for doing both?
MB: I think it depends on the church and the bar. Churches definitely pay better. Ha ha. We definitely don’t seek either out to try and play them specifically. We will almost play anywhere. We’re all pretty firm believers in that everything happens for a reason. So whether we’re playing at a church for younger kids and their awkward youth pastor, or at a bar with a bunch of people who just want to hear covers, we try to make the best of it. And the things that I just described, it’s not like it’s like that every time. You’d be surprised how inconsistent things can be. We’ve been treated very well by bars, and terrible by churches, and vice versa. We enjoy playing both. We really do. One’s typically cleaner than the other which is a plus, and the other usually has drink tickets which is a plus. I can’t really recall any times where people have given us crap for playing both. I think people know that we’re just trying to play our music for as many people as are willing to listen. So give us a venue to do that through and we will do it.
SP: There were a lot of references in your MySpace comments to wishing Dustin luck, but I couldn’t find any reference to what happened there. Could you shed some light?
MB: Oh, Dustin. When we aren’t touring, Dustin works for his dad’s construction company building big sheds. Dustin was at work about three weeks ago and had climbed up on the roof of this building to do something and a piece of the sheet metal that makes up the roof tore beneath him and he fell 18 feet to the concrete below and landed on his face. He was in a medically-induced coma with a tube down his throat for the first 24 hours and they expected him to be in it for five to 12 days. But he’s a bad-ass and he ended up coming out of it the next day, and was home by the end of the week. He has at this point over 40 fractures somewhere on his face and skull. He now has three plates in his jaw, and a much more fiery personality.
SP: Have you played for a radio show before? Any complications or advantages that you expect?
MB: We have played for a radio show before, but both times we did before we played acoustic. I don’t really know what to expect. Usually when we play live were playing for an audience. This is just going to be like band practice but with people listening somewhere else. I’m not really sure what to expect but we’re all looking forward to it.
SP: How would you describe your sound for someone who’s never heard your music before?
MB: I would say beautifully intense. Epic and soulful. Dirty and grooving.
SP: Was there a moment when you realized that you wanted to be a musician? How did that come about?
MB: My older brother played guitar in his room for years while I was growing up. We shared a wall, and I could always hear him writing these songs, and I think it was just the natural thing for me to do. I’m not sure about an exact moment, but It was definitely inspired by my brother. And there was always just music playing in my house. My father was an artist. He wore his heart on his sleeve and so I think it’s just something inside of me that I can’t ignore.
SP: What’s a singer or band that you’ve been compared to that you don’t think is representative at all, and why not?
MB: We played a show in Colorado while we were on tour in the summer of ‘07 and we had to play acoustic. It was a last minute show that we hopped on and all the acts were acoustic. One of the guys that played that night though, came up to me after we finished playing and told us we sounded like Hinder. I thought he was joking at first … but he was definitely serious, and I think I’ve never been more disappointed in my life. But there probably isn’t a band I would rather not sound like more than Hinder, ha ha.
SP: What is the greatest album of all time? Why?
MB: I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but my favorite album of all time is definitely OK Computer. And I guess I would say it’s the greatest of all albums. Collectively as a band though, I think I will say the greatest album of all time is either How to Start a Fire by further seems forever … or Catch for Us the Foxes by mewithoutYou. These two albums changed the way we we listened to music and wrote music. A close second for me is Diorama by Silverchair. That could almost take first place … but it won’t. OK Computer is the perfect album to me. It’s genius in its simplicity … but it’s so unique … yet incredibly focused. Damn, what a good album.
SP: What was your favorite band when you were in junior high?
MB: My favorite band in junior high was definitely Green Day. To this day I can still sing all of Dookie word for word.
SP: What do you like to do in your spare time? Are you all full-time musicians or is this an on-the-side-type deal?
MB: All of us have jobs when we are home, but the band probably takes up most of our time … so you could almost call it full-time. I think we tour about five months out of the year. When I am home I live and work in Chicago. Cam does as well. We actually both work at a place called Media Recall. We basically take old World War II footage and put it on a hard drive. Joe and PJ both work as maintenance guys for an assisted living company in Champaign. And Dustin works for his dad’s construction company and on occasion spends a week in the hospital, ha ha. All of us really enjoy riding bikes. Cam also has his degree in film editing and does freelance editing. And I do some graphic design work here and there … and we all like to read. Joe hunts. Dustin rides a motorcycle. PJ gets tattooed.
SP: Would you like to say anything else that wasn’t covered in these questions?
MB: We will be at the Canopy Club Sunday, November 23 with Colour Revolt. Our new EP, Baptism, is out. Come see us. GRACE AND PEACE.