So I’m speaking with J. Scott Gavin of The Thieves About…thanks for joining me…
Q: So the band is from the west coast, San Diego area, to be more exact.. how and when did the band get together?
JSG: Well, I kept running into this guy at all the same Thai massage parlors around the airport and one day I caught his IPod playlist and it was the same as mine! We started talking music and turns out he plays drums. So that’s how I met Brian. Then we heard about this dude who was playing Bark At a The Moon on a kids’ guitar in the Wagyu beef section in the Carlsbad Costco, so we got a membership and convinced him to join our band. Then Brian met Andrew while bonding over Alkaline Trio tattoos, so there ya have it. Band Formation 101.
Q: Critics have compared you to the likes of The Foo Fighters & Jimmy Eat World…those are some really good bands to be compared to… what artists do you feel the band is most in sync with? Who are some bands you’d love to collaborate with?
JSG: Well, I am definitely flattered by the comparisons. Obviously two great bands that we’ve been influenced by, as well as the Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20…basically all those bands you jammed in your dorm room in the 90’s, while your crazy roommate dyed your hair and drank some Zimas. I’ve really been into Jim Adkins Songwriting Series on Youtube and I’d love to sit down with him someday and write. I’m currently working with my best friend from high school, Jae Daniel of Black Rock EPS, on some new stuff and that’s been a life long goal of mine. Honestly though, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to sit down with Dave Grohl and talk shop & crush beers?
Q: Your latest EP, A Joyful Terrorizing Ride, was just released this August. The track, Hurt Me Sometimes, immediately hits me with vocal comparison’s to John Linnell if They Might Be Giants so it definitely brings me back to the 90’s a bit. We Go Down’s guitar riff right off the bat sounds like something out of the 80’s then breaks into the Goo Goo Dolls “Long Way Down” sound. Torn Down reminds me of the band Live vocally. So you have all these musical influences coming at me and yet I love how each track sounds so different. Take me through some of the song writing process on he EP….and where did you come with the name?
JSG: First off, thanks so much because so much of what you’ve said hits hard. All big influences and again, I’m stoked on the comparisons. I grew up in a small town outside of Buffalo, NY and the Goo Goo Dolls were my first inspiration to write my own stuff. I was in the 10th grade, rocking Super Star Carwash on repeat and I decided right then that I wanted to do what they were doing. Hurt Me Sometimes spewed forth because I was sitting in my kitchen, fuming over the pile of dishes that was left behind and I started thinking about why the F would I keep putting up with it? And then it hit me like a dead fish thrown at me outta Lake Erie (true story) – maybe, just maybe, I liked it. Like I enjoyed the frustration and anger so I tolerate it. And then I started thinking back on some shitty relationships that I stayed in for way too long, and it made me realize that sometimes we stay, because we like getting hurt. Kinda masochistic, right? So, I left dishes in the sink and sat down and wrote that almost immediately. Take Me On was actually written a while ago, shockingly about a girl (I know right?) but I very much wanted it to be like Name from the Goo’s. Big chorus, same tuning, desperate vocals, tons of emotion. We Go Down was actually taken from the very first song I wrote – Serena – in the aforementioned 10th grade. I’d grown weary of it after playing it for 20 years, but it was always a crowd favorite. Fun to play, lots of energy.. So we started mixing it up at rehearsal and I decided to rewrite the lyrics to shake it up a little. Then John sends us the intro outta nowhere, probably Costco actually, and is like “ok, just give me this is a listen and let me know what you think”. We were all blown away and while part of us thought, “is this a little cheeseball?” the other part of us was like, “who gives a flying rip, it rocks!” So we kept it and then John absolutely destroys the solo, so that song should be on everyone’s playlist. Oh and the Joyful Terrorizing Ride comes from a line in that song. It was my thought of how sometimes we have to get a little crazy, go absolutely wild, in order to experience complete joy. Perhaps it would have been a Joyful Terrifying Ride, like when you’re doing 105 on the freeway and you’re scared out of your mind, but it’s such a rush. But then I thought maybe part of the joy is in terrorizing the pedestrians on the sidewalk as you jump the curb and almost wipe out their rovers cart. Torn Down was also written awhile ago, but has been revamped with some lyrical changes and more depth. I know it starts a bit like “Freshmen” by The Verve Pipe but I wanted the verse to build a but more than the original. The chorus is about empowerment and building myself up after a breakup beat down.
Q: You have 2 other releases, The Chaos Theory (2019) and your self titled EP (2018).. Btw, the beginning of Sideways sounds so much like Dropkick Murphy’s, Shipping Up To Boston, it’s great. Any chances you will put together more of a full length album rather than an EP soon?
JSG: I’m glad you asked. I have at least 20 songs in the hopper and I’m excited to be working with these guys to explore a bunch of options expanding our range. (One song is about getting sick at Christmas, it’s a true story). The interesting thing about today’s music climate is that singles are the rage. If we come out with a new single a month and keep plugging on the socials, then we keep thing interesting. I’m not saying we won’t do a full length album because they’re super key at live shows and the collection of tunes together, like if we did a greatest hits disc, it’s fun to have. But right now, attention spans are dwindling and we need to keep our fans interested.
Q: What type of merch does the band sell besides EP’s?
JSG: We’ve got a couple of t-shirt options, stickers & EP’s. Unfortunately our unlimited supply of free hugs is completely worthless since Covid started.
Q: When any type of music award shows are on tv, does the band tend to watch them or do you think they are a waste of time? Because basically you almost never see any alternative/rock bands on there and the VMA’s were on August 30th.
JSG: I haven’t really been interested in any of the award shows since the bass player from Rage Against The Machine climbed the scaffolding during Limp Bizkit’s acceptance speech in 2000. Here’s the thing, I love music. All kinds of music but there’s so much over produced hype out there that I’m not personally into it. I’d rather spend that time trying to work through some new tunes or spend time with the guys talking music instead of watching it. I’d rather watch a full concert via a band’s live stream then the VMA’s.
Q: And as far as COVID-19 goes, do you think the music industry can recover especially the independent music venues? It’s been really tough for many of them to stay open.
JSG: That’s such a difficult question. I know so many people (ourselves included) are really anxious to get on stage, or go out and see live music. But what will the new guidelines be? Will groups of friends and fans be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder, belting out their favorite lyrics without worrying about catching it? Will we as musicians be restricted by face shields or plexiglass to keep us from accentually spitting while singing? I think recovery is going to take some time. It’s super sad to see some of our favorite venues struggling. Our only hope is that some of the relief packages get passed and these places can stay open. These are places where magic happens. Where real life, unforgettable memories take place. We can’t let them disappear.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
JSG: On all major streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora etc), at www.thethievesabout.com, in my car, Lou’s Records in Encinitas and Spin Records in Carlsbad. You can also connect with us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we will send you an EP or some merch. We’d love to hear from you, so sneak into our DM’s.
Thanks for the interview.. coming soon we have interviews from Sixela, The Hellcats and many more..
Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda