Our favorite time of year is coming, concert season, and this year is shaping up to be a doozy! It is no secret that we at NUG love our reggae, and are always on top of what our favorite bands are up to as well as looking for more bands to add to our playlists. So when we were offered the chance to interview Ballyhoo!, the newest band signed to Pepperâ€™s label Law Records, of course we jumped at the chance!
â€œAcclaimed by fans to be â€˜Americaâ€™s-Favorite-Feel-Good-Party-Band.â€™, lead singer and guitarist, Howi Spangler, has a reputation for mixing slick lyrics with his smooth but powerful voice. Drummer Donald â€˜Big Dâ€™ Spangler lays out the hard-hitting beats, which are underlined by JR Gregoryâ€™s funky and witty bass lines and Scott Vandrey (aka DJ Blaze) rounds it out on the turntables and keys.â€
Who writes the songs?
Blaze: Howi has done most of the songwriting in the past.Â There was more collaboration on this last record where someone would come in with a riff or an idea and everyone would build on it together. One of my favorite songs, â€˜The Getawayâ€™, was written in the studio right before we started recording â€˜Daydreamsâ€™.
Do you have any pre-show/post-show rituals?
Blaze: Nothing too crazyâ€¦ A few cold beers, a warm whiskey shot, 8 orange skittles, 8 red M&Ms, 8 green sour patch kids, and a raw, aged ostrich egg.Â And of course a little stretching.
Any epic band moments come to mind?
Blaze: We had a great time snowboarding in Red River, New Mexico on our Daydreams Tour that we just finished up. We got hooked up with rentals and passes and had all day to shred some fresh powder.Â One of the locals we met the night before acted as a mountain guide for us, showing us all the best trails and even getting footage on his two Hero Cams he had mounted to his helmet.Â Good times!
Any crazy fan experiences?
Blaze: Weâ€™ve actually been pretty lucky so far [knocks on wood]. Nothing too crazy.Â Well there was one incident, but the crazy fan promised if we ever mentioned it in an interview or called her out, sheâ€™d cut off another toe.Â Iâ€™m happy to still have 9 right now.
Is there anything we would be surprised to know about you?
Blaze:Â I have a degree in chemical engineering.Â So of course all of my friends from high school gave me the same speech when they found out thatâ€™s what I was heading to college for: â€˜Dude! You gotta figure out how to make <insert drug name here: synthetic THC, ecstasy, acid, etc…>!! You make it and Iâ€™ll sell it! Weâ€™ll split the profits!â€™ Looking back now, it wouldnâ€™t have been such a terrible idea to help supplement the musicianâ€™s income. Ha!
Do you have any fears, phobias, or conspiracy theories?
Blaze: I have dreams at least once a month where weâ€™re playing some huge show and everything that could possibly go wrong does, in front of thousands of people. For instance, the lights will drop and weâ€™ll walk out on stage and none of my gear is set up, itâ€™s still in cases off to the side of the stage.Â And then Iâ€™ll look over and JR is playing Mary Had A Little Lamb on bass in the middle of our song â€˜Grooverockâ€™. Oh waitâ€¦was that a dream?
Name three things on your bucket list (or in case the world ends in 2012)?
Blaze: 1) Hang out and drink with Maynard from Tool or Mike Patton from Mr. Bungle/FNM/Fantomas/etcâ€¦Such crazy and amazing music, I would think theyâ€™d be pretty fun and interesting to chill with.Â 2) Fly a fighter jet; maybe even blow something up with said fighter jet.Â 3) Smoke a bowl with Bill Clinton, making sure he inhales.
What are your thoughts on San Diego?
Blaze: Beautiful beaches, beautiful women, great nugs, and great weather. I love it!
Whatâ€™s the cannabis scene like where you are from?
Blaze: Not as cool as where you are from! Itâ€™s still very much illegal in MD. We have some good connections, but we also have people at the bar trying to sell you $30 quarters of â€˜Jamaican Red Hairâ€™. Complete with seeds and branches.
Whatâ€™s your favorite way to partake?
Blaze: With some good friends and a Silver Surfer Vaporizer! (Thanks Matt!) Edibles are also pretty awesome.Â A friend in CO hooked us up with THC containing ice cream, mac & cheese, and soda in addition to the normal brownies, cookies, etc.Â Itâ€™s amazing what you can get a buzz off of these days!
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid? Any favorite strains?
Blaze: I prefer Sativa or Sativa-heavy hybrids, but again, we donâ€™t live in CO or CA, so we pretty much take what we can get when weâ€™re not on the road. I did get some â€˜Cinderella-99â€™ recently that was pretty incredible.Â Never built a tolerance and one hit would put me on my ass every time.
Any regular cannabis related rituals?
Blaze: Not really. When Iâ€™m home from tour, there are usually a lot of cartoons involved. Mostly ATHF and South Park.
Any thoughts on legalization?
Blaze: I would love to see it at the very least decriminalized everywhere.Â The thought of going to jail over a joint is completely absurd to me.Â As for legalization, Iâ€™d also love to be able to walk to the corner store and buy a gram of my favorite strain as easily as a 6-pack of my favorite IPA and not have to worry about shit.Â I could list some of the 420 arguments for legalization, but I bet any pothead reading NUG Magazine is well aware of them all.
What other songs/bands are on your playlist right now?
Blaze: Opeth is in very heavy rotation, Mutemath, RX Bandits, Mastodon, Foo Fighters, Mr. Bungle, A Tribe Called Quest, and of course Slayer. I really dig the new Gotye song thatâ€™s huge right now. I guess itâ€™s a hit for a reason.
What is your ultimate venue to play and/or band to play with?
Blaze: We would LOVE to play Red Rocks in Colorado.Â And it would be double awesome to share that stage with Incubus. As long as they played at least 3 or 4 songs off S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
What is your favorite show played so far?
Blaze: Iâ€™m gonna go with the Pow Wow Festival.Â It was a great venue (Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Florida), with great bands (311, Sublime with Rome, Dirty Heads, G-Love, Deftones, etc.), and great vibes. We played one of our best sets ever and the crowd was super charged up and responsive.Â We had such a good time on stage.Â I feel like my on-stage performance and just the amount of fun I have at a show has stepped up since that show.
Any sponsors? Shout-outs?
Blaze: If any whiskey distilleries or dispensaries want to see your name here in future interviews, hit us up! The people at Silver Surfer Vaporizers have been super supportive of the band and always take care of us when we swing through Colorado.Â Love using all their gear! Very smooth.
Where can someone find out more about the band?
Blaze: Great source of info on the third moon of Jupiter.Â Or you can Google us.Â Ballyhoo! Thatâ€™s B as in bong rips, A as inâ€¦.
Thanks for the time and the laughs, Blaze! We are definitely looking forward to checking out Ballyhoo! Live at this yearâ€™s Warped Tour, at Cricket Wireless on June 27th. Make sure to keep an eye out for more music news, reviews and interviews, as well as coverage of our summer concert shenanigans, at www.nugmag.com.
Ballyhoo!â€™s upcoming schedule is packed with high-profile events to look forward to:
Â· Vans Warped Tour 2012: 6/16 â€“ 8/4 www.vanswarpedtour.com
And for more information on Ballyhoo!: www.ballyhoorocks.com