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The Gallery on Being Mistaken for Confederates and Their Love of Matchbox 20

by Patrick Doyle on Feb 14, 2011

. Photo by Pete Gill .

When did you guys start playing?
Ryan [Cooney, drums]: Brendan and I started jamming together when he was maybe 15. But we started taking it really seriously in 2007, when we started talking about relocating from Massachusetts to Palm Beach.

Playing to a new crowd, who do people say you sound like?
Brendan [Cooney, guitar/vocals]: A lot of people say the new stuff has a Tom Petty feel – I think it has to do with his raw, natural sound. This time in the studio we went in with the idea that we wouldn’t do anything that we can’t mimic live. Our live shows sound bigger than our recordings, which is rare these days.

Who do you actually think you sound like?
Brendan: We say a bit like Tom Petty or Oasis.

If you had to choose: Beatles or Stones?
Brendan: The Rolling Stones took the blues and made it into their own thing, but I think we all listen to the Beatles more. I can remember in the car we were listening to “Get Back” – that part of the song where McCartney goes, “Get back, JoJo,” and George does a little solo. We were dying about that one.

How do you get to your shows?
Shea [Brennan, guitar]: When we found out that we were going to drop out of school and go on tour, we found the cheapest, most reliable van on a random website: a 1999 Dodge Ram. It’s lasted three or four laps around the country, so we’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth.

Brendan: Someone donated a trailer with a bunch of stickers on it. On the side, it says “The Pecos River Band: We plays oldies, country and rock and roll.” We pull up to shows and people think we’re a country band. Unfortunately, there’s also a couple small confederate flag stickers. The other night in New York a bouncer at the venue was like, “Hey man, what’s up with the sticker on your trailer?” and I was like, “No offense, that wasn’t even our trailer. We’ve tried to get it off!”

Have you ever trashed a hotel room?
Ryan: Quite the opposite. We tip every time. There have been a couple of hotel rooms that were trashed before we got there. I remember one in Fayetteville, North Carolina, there were toenail clippings on the ground, love stains on the sheets and it smelled like an ashtray.

You guys have to have some guilty pleasure music.
Ryan: Dave [Mozdzanowski, bass] really likes jazz. Sometimes in the van he’ll put a jazz song on – Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis – that will go on for 20 minutes. We’ll all have our headphones on.

In the van, what’s the most-played song or artist?
Ryan: At night, we listen to a lot of Death Cab. They have a ton of good songs you can put on loop. The most-played song is “Push” by Matchbox 20.

Brendan: Yeah, “Real World” and “Push,” by Matchbox 20. I grew up on that.

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