ORLANDO, Fla. – If you’re a child of the 80s and you are into rock band T-shirts, dirty jeans, and mullets–yes, mullets–the Boston-based rockers American Hi-Fi will guarantee you the ride of a lifetime.
Founded by Stacy Jones– the former drummer for Letters To Cleo, Veruca Salt and Aimee Mann– the group includes Drew Parsons (used to play bass for Tracy Bonham), Brian Nolan (formerly of Figdish), and Jamie Arentzen (of Boston’s Sky Heroes).
Jones proved to be a gem of a singer-songwriter and guitarist, complementing AHF’s sound, which features everything from the booming rock with edgy undertones to infectious pop-punk, creating an “arena rock” feel to their music.
Jones and Parsons arrived for dinner at a small Italian restaurant a few hours before taking the stage for their first of 17 headlining shows. A mild rain sprinkled outside, yet it did not spoil the spontaneous, happy-go-lucky mood of the guys as they sat down for a rather intimate interview.
Since the release of your album in February, you have opened for bands like Eve6 and Everclear. How does it feel to be the headlining act for the first time in your career?
Stacy Jones: We are really stoked to do it. Obviously the events of this week [Sept 11 terrorist attacks] have been really heavy and really weighing on us and we really think that it’s really going to affect the tour, certainly.
We have already had shows canceled and we’re all feeling kind of weird about it. It’s kind of like: “Should we be here parading around like a bunch of idiots when there are some really serious stuff going on?” It feels really heavy. It feels like we are trying to move forward but at the same time it’s really hard to do that, to have this sense of normalcy based on what a heavy week it’s been.
Do you think that people will come to the show as a way to forget about everything?
Jones: You know, ultimately it’s what we want. I think that right now it’s really too early, like the show tonight, I will be very surprised if it’s crowded. I think people are not ready to go out and have a good time yet. But maybe, you never know. Maybe that’s the outlet that people need.
You based your video for your first single “Flavor of the Weak” on the 15-minute 1986 documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot. How do you feel watching your debut video?
Jones: We are really proud of that video. I think the director just nailed it completely. It’s definitely the most fun I’ve had watching that video.
When did you first watch the Heavy Metal Parking Lot documentary?
Jones: It’s just been one of those cult things that have been floating around for years. I think I first saw it when, I can’t remember how long ago….quite a while ago.
What made you want to recreate this video?
Jones: Because we lived that, you know. I was younger than the guys in the video.
Parsons: We all grew up around that scene and that music.
Your new single “Another Perfect Day” features the character “Carl the corn dog.” How was he created?
Jones: He was a creation of the Malloys [the directors]. I remember when we first read the script we were laughing hysterically. This single was supposed to come out this week and now it’s gonna be next week, hoping everything gets back together. We are actually thinking of taking “Carl” out of the video and just making it a performance video – just because it seems that just the air is so heavy in the country right now, and to trivialize this corn dog and his problems, is nowhere near the scope of what’s going on.
Let’s talk about your fans a little bit…
Jones: Do we have fans? See, we are about to find out if we have fans.
Parsons: Yeah, this is our first headlining show so we don’t really know.
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to get close to you?
Parsons: Yeah, someone’s mom jumped on you the other day, that was pretty weird.
Jones: [Laughs] Yeah, that was pretty weird. She broke my glasses!
What is the weirdest thing you have ever autographed, you know, maybe some body parts?
Parsons: We’ve signed some boobs, some butts, some underwear….
Jones: Yeah, I prefer butts to boobs. I like autographing butts.
Parsons: Female butts right?
Jones: Any butt. Hairy, sweaty, pimply….love it!
Favorite artists that you would like to tour with in the future?
Parsons: We’d like to tour with Weezer, [planned for November], and the Foo Fighters would be awesome.
You are touring in the UK and Japan…you haven’t been to Japan, right?
Jones: Not yet, I think it’s going to be awesome.
Parsons: Hopefully it will be young, Japanese girls going crazy!
Jones: They are very fanatical. They are polite but they also freak out a little bit, but it’s cool.
Parsons: ….and bring you gifts. I am excited for some gifts!
Jones: I want to have like 10-12 Japanese girls in my hotel room every night [laughs] just hanging out.
GQ Men of the Year nomination for Best Band of the Year?
Jones: I know, what’s up with that? I have no idea! I don’t know how that happened, I mean obviously we are not going to win.
Who is running against you?
Parsons: I think it’s like U2, Travis, and Coldplay….I think Pat Riley is going to win, he wins every year. We are the big underdogs on that one. It’s an honor to be nominated, you know?
What song in the album has the most meaning to you?
Jones: It’s either “Another Perfect Day” or “Wall of Sound” for me, they are about the same….I don’t want to give too much away, but the same thing.
Parsons: “Wall of Sound” would be for me just because I have the strongest memory of Maui and recording in the studio. Every time I hear that song I remember like, specific times, something about the war that was created in the studio.
Now, what’s up with the mullet?
Jones: It’s a hairstyle, you know, short on the sides, short in the top, and long in the back.
Are you still growing yours, you gave up on that or what?
Jones: I kinda gave up on mine. I still had a little bit of one, but I think I am going to get my haircut soon.