Shoeglaze and psych rock’s very own Tombstones In Their Eyes discusses their new album Sea of Sorrow, the inspiration behind the name and thoughts about diversifying genres. As we deep dive into the enigma of TITE, we are pleased to have John Treanor give us an intimate interview behind the band and what awaits the future ahead.
Concert Crap: It is an extraordinary pleasure to have you chat with us. I have a few curious questions off the bat, first, please elaborate the inspiration behind your name?
John Treanor: Thank you – great to chat with you! The band name comes from a Hoyt Axton song called The Pusher. The song was covered by Steppenwolf and featured in the Easy Rider movie, so everyone thinks it is a Steppenwolf song. It includes the lyric “You know, I’ve seen a lot of people walkin’ ’round with tombstones in their eyes.” I liked the imagery and ended up going with that for the band name. It may have been a mistake, haha, as it sounds like we’re a doom band, but it has been ten years now and we’re not changing the name.
CC: Tombstones In Their Eyes’ perfectly blends with the style of your music. I listened to “No One to Blame” and “Hey,” which I really enjoyed. I feel that many of your songs embody the emotional angst of the nineties during its rock revival. Music of forbidden stories. It is a thing that will never grow out of style. What influenced you to start making music in the genre of shoegaze?
JT: That’s a tough question. My musical journey started early in life with stuff like The Rolling Stones, Elton John, The Beach Boys, Kiss, Aerosmith, etc. and then really changed in the 80’s with punk and underground music. I come from the same generation that made a lot of the 90’s “alternative” rock, so our influences are probably similar. I also got into the neo-psychedelia scene in the late 80’s. Bands like the Lyres, Miracle Workers, Fuzztones, Spacemen 3 and later, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dandy Warhols, that kind of stuff, really influenced the direction of TITE. I think we’re not your typical shoegaze band, and also consider us to be a psych rock band, as well as just straight rock and roll with some darkness thrown in.
CC: Who is a musical pioneer that has had an impact on your music?
JT: I’m going to go with Spacemen 3 on this one. Their music was one of the bright spots of the late 80’s and they really made an impact on me, as far as taste and songwriting goes. They were like fusing psychedelia, punk, blues, repetition with lots of fuzz, reverb and delay. Loved them and was fortunate enough to see them in 1988 in Saarbrucken, Germany.
CC: There is a mystery behind TITE that we are eager to know more about. Tell us a little bit of your backstory.
JT: It’s a cool story, the formation of the band. The band started when my old friend, James Cooper, and I reconnected after many years of not seeing or talking to each other. I’ve known James since I was 13 years old and we were pretty tight up until we turned 18. I moved back to LA from San Diego and James stayed in SD, playing with bands and touring, eventually ending up in NYC. I did my thing, as well, playing in many bands and writing songs that weren’t great, haha. About 30 years after we went our separate ways, I was having coffee with James’ sister, Jessica, and asked how James was doing. From what she said, it sounded like we should talk, so we reconnected and became instant best friends again. I had taken a break from music for a bit, but James pushed me to write some songs with him. We started in Garageband and shared the projects or songs through Dropbox. I would write something and the next morning, James would have mixed it, added drums, moved things around, etc. The first songs weren’t great, but eventually the TITE sound and style started coming together. I then got some local LA friends to help me record the first record, Sleep Forever. I feel that the record wasn’t totally cohesive in terms of our sound, but it was a great start and in the mixing process I met Paul Roessler, who became our producer and friend. Paul really helped us to grow and evolve into the TITE that exists now.
CC: Many artists in the music business today have multi genres in their portfolio. Would you be willing to experiment with other genres besides rock if you had the option?
JT: I think I’m officially a rock dinosaur! At this point, I feel like I’m writing good songs in our style and whatever genre TITE fits into, so I don’t feel the need to switch up.
CC: I am officially involved with the TITE army. Your style is right up my alley. Curious, do you have a name for your fan base?
JT: Not yet, but I like the TITE Army! I’ll have to come up with something good for our fan base and that’s a great start.
CC: May 16 is coming up quickly. How do you feel about your upcoming album Sea of Sorrow? Are there excitement or jitters about the release?
JT: Mainly excitement to get these songs out into the world and see how things go with the record. Sea of Sorrow has been done and ready for a while, so very happy that it’s finally gone to be out! I keep writing tons of songs, so there are more releases forthcoming. We already have enough material for a couple of records to follow.
CC: Does TITE have any plans for a tour sometime in the near future?
JT: Touring is tough and our band members have busy lives, jobs, etc. I think our immediate goal is to hit some West Coast cities in mini-tours and then maybe the East Coast at some point.
CC: Would you like to share anything else with us such as side projects?
JT: No side projects at this point. I’m enjoying writing TITE songs and feel like I keep getting better at it, so, for now, that’s what I’m focusing on.
CC: Where can we follow Tombstones In Their Eyes’ on social media?
JT: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Interview by Christine Rios
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