full name is Joseph Michael John DePasquale or generator of things
Mike: Michael Shrader......aka Arson Walker
How much time do you invest in Fallout
Mike: Never as much as I should.
the funny thing about $100 Fallout is that we are sort of a bi-polar
band. Sometimes we'll get together and practice every day for
2 weeks straight and other times we won't even talk for a couple
weeks. The best thing about it is that both have their benefits.
When we get together after not meeting for a while, we usually
come to practice very fresh and ready to rock. When we practice
a lot, we iron out the little idiosyncrasies of our songs, things
that usually get glossed over. I guess that since I'm usually
running through songs in my head and thinking about music, I
probably put a lot into Fallout per week - probably like 200
hours or so, not that I keep count or anything.
Brian: Well, as a local band with no hired help,
we have to apply ourselves quite a bit if we ever wanna play...Back
in those carefree days of college and touring the Friends' Dorm
Rooms Circuit, I never could have foreseen all of the busy, busy
stuff you gotta do beyond the obvious musical creation and practice.
There's booking, web design & upkeep, mailing lists, recording
& mixing, instrument & equipment maintenance...I'm probably
leaving stuff out...place a 9-5 or syllabus on top of that stuff
and there's only so much you can do a week and still get sleep.
Once your name is recognized and you have friends who help in
landing us gigs (who get MAD props from me...THANK YOU, you know
who you are), it gets easier.
How many hours?
Brian: On busy weeks, as many as 15-20. When recording,
you can triple that. Of course, there are plenty of weeks where
other stuff is going on and you just can't get to it.
What role do you play in Fallout?
Joe: I've never really given much thought to my
"role" in the band. I guess I provide the "low
end" to much of the songs. Now that I think of it, one thing
that I really love is that Brian, Mike and I sort of fit together
(gel as they say) as musicians. I kind of enjoy the role that
I play in live performances. Being the bassist for most songs,
I can just sort of hang back, lay down the rythm, see the music
developing, sort of drift in and out of the scene - its all kind
of low key. I like not having a prominent position in the band
at times like that, which is part of why we, as a band, fit so
well together. In practices I usually end up bringing a new (skewed?)
perspective on songs that Brian and Mike have been playing for
a long time in a certain way. Sometimes in practice, Mike and
I will start playing some weird song or something totally out
there and Brian will bring us back to reality, then other times
Brian and I will see how much noise we can make with effects
pedals and stuff and Mike will fall asleep on the couch or floor
or wherever he can - practices are fun.
As one of the newer guys in the
band, do you feel this is as much your group as say, Mike or
honestly, at first I didn't really feel like a part of the band,
but it was no fault of Brian or Mike, just me. I was just like
this guy that was called up from the minors to fill in or something,
I mean, I was grappling with learning the bass as an instrument,
and learning all the songs; I sort of felt like it could have
been anybody doing it. Then, somewhere along the way, things
really started coming together, and I began to notice how we
all played off of each other. I started writing things that I
liked for different songs and I realized that I was actually
becoming a member of the group, perhaps even a 1/3 of it. Now
when I think about it it seems that the group isn't something
that can be "mine." The group exists when we are all
together playing. The group is a tangible manifestation of the
musical energy that we have when we play - it's really cool.
Which do you enjoy, or get the most
creative satisfaction: writing lyrics or music?
Mike: Wow.....that's tough.......I'd probably have
to say lyrics. Music usually comes relatively easy, whereas
lyrics are like a quilt that have to be slowly crafted. I
always give myself a big pat on the back when I write good lyrics.
Which (music or lyrics) do you think
blends best with the rest of the band's sound?
Mike: That's the especially cool part about this band.....One
of us will bring a song to the table, and the others can really
adapt and mold it. Just listen to songs like 'Gray Words...',
'Train...', 'Irish....', etc...these songs sound so completely
different now than they did when Brian and I first started playing
them. I really think it's a testament to the talent in
these guys and how well we're in tune with each other.
Which has changed the most in the last
few years, your musicianship or writing?
Brian: Easily, the musicianship. To be honest, the
writing has always scared me, and without total comfort (or a
disregard for the comfort factor), it's hard to really experiment
too much. I still do my writing when my heart feels full...but
the establishment of a "real" band (as opposed to the
dorm thing) has made me more conscious of where a songwriter
fits in on a collaborative level, and on a local level.
Do you feel your playing is more
methodical or improvisational?
Brian: Nice cop-out answer: both. There has to be some
stuff that remains standard, play-every-time kinda stuff. Otherwise,
you just end up sounding like an unrehearsed high school band.
And I even have methodical patterns in my songwriting. But, I
LOVE Fallout's improvisation...if you listen to our mp3 for 'read
this 1st', and you hear that part after
the solo where it breaks down, you're listening to a very shortened
version...we've been known to drag that out quite a bit on stage,
and it's never the same twice. Just about every song we have
has some sort of up-for-grabs arrangement to it, something that
we can mess around with and change in front of a crowd...and
it's a cool feeling when you just know those people seeing you
for the first time can't even tell.
Mike: It's a little of both but definately favoring
Joe: I feel that my playing is both methodical and
improvisational. This is part of what I really like about playing
in the band. In practice, I usually come up with some skeletal
form of what I want to play and then I usually mess around with
it when we play it live. There are some songs, like "Train
to Culver" that I never really play the same way twice;
the songs are continually evolving. What is really cool is sometimes
I write the best stuff when we're playing it live. I pretty much
wrote what I do in "Grey Words" during a show and then
some other stuff evolved out of practicing. We are definitely
a lot more improvisational then some people may think. There
is just so much energy on stage in the live situation, we each
draw on eachother's energy when we're playing and some of the
best stuff happens then.
You've done some solo writing...is the
result different from the band work, the collaboration?
Mike: Some of my solo stuff is similar to Fallout
stuff......some is completely other side to the spectrum.....I
think my influences are so broad that I could write 5 songs that
sound nothing like each other.
Joe, have you written any lyrics?
pretty much suck at writing lyrics. I usually try not to plague
the band with my awful lyrics. Actually, I haven't even tried
to write lyrics since I was in a band in high school and they
were bad then too. I just usually feel that my lyrics are so
trite and they end up in the trash before I finish them. I really
like the stuff that Brian and Mike come up with, and I am very
content with working on the music end of things rather than lyrics.
In fact, much of the music I listen to is instrumental, I generally
pay attention to music more than lyrics.
Is music one of those things you
have to do?
Brian: ...yes, I have to do it in some way. Fran Healy
from Travis has said it best...the act of singing really is an
opiate...brings you up when you're down...it just makes me happy
to sing, and that's a happiness that almost no one can replace.
What's your take on collaboration?
Brian: The way I see it, you have your bands, and then
you have your artists who are backed by a band...$100 Fallout
is definitely the former. The way we've worked, Mike or I will
write a song, play it for the others, and then we learn it, work
on it, play around with different sounds, and then voila. Collaboration
is definitely a virtue of Fallout...in fact, we haven't written
too much for the band since Joe joined...we've just been elaborating
on old stuff, kinda dressing it up. I give Mike and Joe the credit
for that. They've made songs of ours that I like into songs I
can really love.
Mike: Collaboration is definately cool; not only
does it keep you in a constant state of creativity, but it also
brings other influences back to the band. It's somewhat
of a motivation factor.
Brian: I also should bring up Greener, my band-on-the-side...There
with my buddy Cliff, we're more of a Lennon/McCartney type of
team (in nature, of course--I'm not as brash as to say so in
stature!): Usually, Cliff will write a song and then we'll mess
with it for a little while until we're happy with it...I guess
the bottom line with collaboration is that you've never exhausted
every cool idea until you've bounced it off of your bandmates
What kind of gigs have you played recently?
Joe: Our most recent gigs have all been benefit
concerts at Villanova University where I currently go to school.
In October, we played a show to benefit a mission trip to Ecuador
and just the other day (Nov 16) we played a benefit for hunger
and homelessness awareness. So lately we've been into philanthropy
and stuff - its cool, we get to help other people out and have
a lot fun doing it. They're fun gigs because theres not much
pressure at all - we just go up and have fun playing - I'd love
to do that all the time. We need to get more gigs though.
What kind of venue/audience do you prefer?
Mike: Smaller more intimate venues.....not that we've
ever played anything big......actually, any venue that's not
Marita's Cantina. As far as audience, not that I don't
love friends coming to see us, but I really prefer playing for
mostly "strangers" to the band. I think any show
is a success if we get just one new 'fan' of our music.
Admit it, you get all the chicks...
I don't - Mike gets all the chicks in this band.
Mike: No......I don't really have a plethora of
chicks...plus, you never really get the ones you really want
to be with.....at least I don't.
Another softball question: favorite
Brian: The blood of the nonbelievers.
Are the bands that influence you
as a person different from the ones that influence you as an
Joe: Thats a tough one. Sometimes I don't even know
what influences me as an artist, I just do things and someone
will say - hey that reminds of so and so's sound or something
without even realizing it. I'd have to say that maybe with a
few exceptions the two are connected, I try to listen to a lot
of different music and it is always on my mind so I would venture
to say that it pervades both aspects of me. I would have to say
that listening to Aphex Twin is the one case that influences
me more as a person than as an artist. Richard D. James' ability
to twist and contort rythms and construct musical soundscapes
is beyond me and I love it, but I'm pretty sure it dosen't make
its way into my playing.
Brian: The more I learn about the persona of most
signed bands, the more I feel as though I can't relate. There's
something that happens when fame enters the picture that causes
a lot of musicians to elevate every action and sentence within
public view. I can't even read Rolling Stone anymore...it's the
nature of the business, but everything is so INFLATED. If anything,
it influences me not to think myself more important than I am.
The very idea of an interview kinda contradicts this, and admittedly,
this feels weird, but I'm just another Joe Schmo in the scheme
of things. I'm sooner influenced personally by my peers and my
teachers then some rock band...after all, rock bands are just
dorks with guitars! People always forget this...
Mike: I like to think that every band I really love
influences me both ways......obviously some are far more apparent
than others, but the list is probably endless.
What's one song by another artist
that just really affects you?
Brian: "How To Disappear Completely" by Radiohead...it's
so haunting. If in the past year, you've said something to the
effect of "Man, I'm tired of all of these teeny-boppers
and aggro bands," then buy Radiohead's Kid A. You'll most
likely hate it at first listen, but if you want the evil LimpSpearsSync
demons to go away, listen to the album until you like it.
Joe: Well, this usually changes very often depending
on what I've been listening to the most lately. Right now I'd
have to say "How to Disappear Completely" by Radiohead,
and that's been since I bought Kid A on Oct 3. It definitely
strikes a chord somewhere deep within me.
Explain how important $100 Fallout is
to you as an artist...
Mike: This goes hand in hand with that 'meaning of
life' question... wow........well, what can I say, I love making
music with these guys. There's such a complete satisfaction
from it that even my solo music can't touch.
Joe: I don't know if I can put it into words. This
is definitely the best thing, musically, that has happened to
me since I started playing music. Its the first time that I've
really felt musically connected to other people in a serious
way - for the most part we're all on the same musical wavelength.
As an artist I really feel that this is the biggest outlet I
have for creativity and emotions and stuff. There is just something
about playing well with other people that really fills a certain
void in me.
Which would you rather have: success
with a strangling atmosphere, or relative anonymity with a relaxed
Mike: I'd settle for standing on the middle of the
seesaw. I really don't know. I don't want to end
up bitter like Thom Yorke, but it would be nice to be able to
support myself solely from music.
Joe: I just want to make music and if it affects
people in any way at all than thats just fine with me. If I had
to choose I think I'd rather have relative anonymity with a relaxed
atmosphere. Thats probably more an extension of my personality
than anything else, I usually just like things laid back.
Brian: For me right now, relative anonymity IS success.
It is a triumph to find happiness in the release of that need
for attention. When I was four, I wanted to be a rock star singer.
As I grew up, people told me how hard it was, but I wanted to
press on. Now at 24, I see the cramped lifestyle, the reality
that one has to compromise in the biz just like a politician
with his beliefs...and I am happy playing small venues right
now with musicians I love to play with, for people who can appreciate
thoughtful songs and uncompromising music. It's really been a
Think you could do a cool video game
Brian: The closest I came to that was scoring a sort
of video yearbook for a private school's summer program, but
I'm not sure what happened to that in the end [Editor's
Note: We don't know either.]...so,
I have little idea of my capabilities there. Musically, I'll
try just about anything once...
Mike: Yes.......I'm waiting to get the score to
Final Fantasy X.
How involved are you with $100 Fallout's
Brian: Mike and Joe are worthless. I've done it all,
everything, every last html code. Haha. No, I did initiate most
of the pages and built the horrendously pathetic site that you
now see at www.angelfire.com/music/100dollarfallout, but the stuff to come is very much a collaboration.
And the upkeep of the site and the e-mails has mostly been split
Joe: I'd like to think that I do a good deal of
internet stuff. Brian and I did a lot of brainstorming in the
summer to come up with new website ideas and graphics ideas.
We taught ourselves a lot of Adobe Photoshop stuff to make cool
looking things. Some day we'll actually put those ideas into
use - it'll be cool.
Mike, you're on a desert island and
can pick out 5 of your CD's to take with you...but then that
bastard Brian switches your bag with his...what are 5 CD's that
Brian loves that you aren't all that crazy about?
Mike: the 5 cd's Brian would put in my bag to piss
me off are:
1. The "She's the One"single (World Party)
...and he would have 5 copies of it.
Joe, same for you but Mike does
know, that Mike really is a bastard. I can't believe he switched
my bag. Ok well to be honest, these two guys have introduced
me to a lot of new great music and so far I've really gotten
into it all. I don't know if I could name 5 cd's that he has
that I'm not all that crazy about - party because I can't remember
the names of the bands that he shows me. So I'm sorry but I can't
really answer this one [smles].
Brian, Joe gets to your bag...
Brian: Joe has horrible taste in music and so I'm sure
I'd hate whatever those 5 are. Joe, you're out of the band.
What's a song or artist that your
bandmates would be surprised to learn influenced you?
Joe: We talk about music a lot so I don't know if
I could really surprise them. But they might be surprised to
hear that when I was a kid my mom listened to Abba all the time
and I have a secret obsession with them. Uh - wait. . .nevermind.
Brian: REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Styx...My dad
had some of those albums when I was growing up, and I have to
admit, there are some solid songs there. Just don't expect any
covers from us...
Lastly, How long do you see yourself
in a band? Is it one of those things you have to do?
Mike: I see myself in a band for a long while......I
see myself making music as long as I'm alive.
Brian: It always feels great to play with musicians,
but actually having a band isn't ALWAYS necessary...if I was
stuck on that aforementioned desert isle, I'm sure I'd apply
myself musically in other ways. Collaboration surely is rewarding,
Joe: Forever - it's definitely the best source to
get feelings and emotions things out and dwell in the land of
musical possibility and creativity. I love it and I thrive off
of it - it's like a drug, with no nasty side-effects.
Watch Skewed Perspective.com for
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on Skewed Perspective
$100 Fallout Holiday MP3
"Christmas is Broken
(Never is Long)"
Have a listen to this incredible
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$100 Fallout/SP Holiday MP3
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