Smile Politely

Beyond their years

If you’ve yet to acquaint yourselves with The Jips, this week will offer you two opportunities. Tonight on WEFT Sessions at 10 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM, they’ll be playing a live radio set (which can also be streamed online here). Then, on Saturday, the high school phenoms will take the stage at Taste of Champaign-Urbana at 11:30 a.m. in West Side Park.

Tyler and Boston joined us through the wonders of email, while Alex had a very specific prior engagement.

Smile Politely: Can you give a little history of The Jips?

The Jips: We started out at the 8th grade talent show and then it was just Tyler and me and we’ve gone through a few band member changes since then. It got pretty rough in there, but now we’re back up to full power.

SP: Are you all from Farmer City? How do you like it?

TJ: BOSTON: Nah Alex is from Monticello. But Tyler lives here and we have band practice in my basement (in FC) so basically we’re from here. Hmm, how do I like it… boring. But that’s me!

SP: Will you go with your standard lineup for the program?

TJ: BOSTON: Yeah, we did a sort of “Talent Show Reunion” a week ago where we used our original lineup (drums and guitar) but we usually go with the power trio.

SP: Have you played for a radio show before? Any complications or advantages that you expect?


SP: How does the songwriting process work for you?

TJ: BOSTON: I usually write the music before the lyrics, play it a few times to see what melody could possibly fit, and once I’ve got that down, I show it to Alex and Tyler. They’re really great at being able to take my musical ideas and make them concrete.

SP: How would you describe your sound for someone who’s never heard your music before?

TJ: TYLER: Different. BOSTON: The Rolling Stones meets The Clash. And I realize I am setting a high standard there.

SP: Was there a moment when you realized that you wanted to be a musician? How did that come about?

TJ: BOSTON: Well right after I got my guitar there were only two guys in the whole Jr. High who had drums. I was already friends with Tyler so in the school bathroom (where all important decisions are made) I asked Tyler to play a few songs with me for the talent show.

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?

TJ: BOSTON: We played at the Battle Of The Bands at my high school (where we won) and one of the songs we performed is called 45. I announced “This song is called 45- like a record or a gun” and everybody went crazy. We couldn’t figure out why until afterwards and some hoser said “Hey, that wasn’t a Shinedown song!” No it wasn’t. OUR 45 is better.

SP: What is the greatest album of all time? Why?

TJ: BOSTON: Uhh that Jonas Brothers Live CD was pretty tight… KIDDING. Man that is such a hard question. TYLER: Michael Jackson Thriller. BOSTON: But if you really want a solid answer I’m just gonna go with David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. It’s great.

SP: What was your favorite band when you were in junior high?

TJ: BOSTON: Zeppelin, Zeppelin, Zeppelin. TYLER: Wolfmother

SP: What do you like to do in your spare time?

TJ: TYLER: Play Xbox, read, play basketball. BOSTON: Pole vault.

SP: Would you like to say anything else that wasn’t covered in these questions?

TJ: TYLER: Nope. BOSTON: Sorry Alex wasn’t available for this interview, but she was fishing for lemon sharks off the coast of Puerto Rico.

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