Hailing from ‘The Swamp’ in Queens, NYC Frog returned recently with the long player Whatever We Probably Already Had It on Audio Antihero, the follow up to their 2015 sleeper hit Kind of Blah. A frantic collection of emotional garage rock, wyrd Americana and broken power pop. Their 2018 Kings of Blah tour documentary film is out now.
Hi, how are you?
I’m great! My cat is sleeping on my legs so I’m at my tip-top.
What’s the weather like?
It just got really cold. I’m freezing.
How do most of your songs start life?
I pick them out of the aether, unborn, like stockings balled up on the floor of my lover’s room. I usually come up with a melodic idea that sort of comes with a lyrical idea, and then it sort of just unfolds from there. Sometimes it comes out all out once, but not usually. If you like it too much you’re apt to overwrite it and then its very difficult for it to work. I find that every melody has a secret lyric that it’s most at home with, but you can poke and prod and flex it to your liking if you have an idea you want to swim deeper down into. Then I record it and write parts for it with Tom, usually at the same time now. Some of the best Frog songs were written from start to finish with Tom in the room, and those are the most fun. Music is really fun with friends, but I also really like to be alone as well.
What was the first single you bought?
I don’t usually buy singles, but I think I bought ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ when I was like 10 or something.
Have you ever been starstruck?
On my 16th birthday, I met Stephen Malkmus after a show in Central Park. This was pretty much akin to meeting Kubrick or Elvis, or Jesus. He was really nice. Any member of Pavement, especially including Nastonovich, who I hugged when I met, can have the same effect on me. Ibold used to swim laps at a pool where I lifeguarded, and I think he thought I was weird. Those people are American royalty as far as I’m concerned.
The Royal Family: should they stay or should they go?
I don’t understand anything about British politics, or for that matter, many things about American politics.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?
I don’t know exactly if I’m actually ‘doing’ this, but I appreciate the question. I’d like to be an industrialist of some kind, perhaps not one of the famous ones, but someone rich enough to live like a maniac, and take cabs around London solving crimes having to do with the Occult sometime before the first world war. Either that or maybe like something in Data analytics.
What’s your favourite book?
The last time I had a real answer to this question was when I was 10, and I read Shogun. I recently read the Patrick Melrose novels and they were hilarious and amazing.
What were you like at school?
I was in a pretty wacko mind space, and I made a lot of interesting choices. Basically, people thought I was an idiot, which to their credit, was true.
What’s the music scene like back home?
This is home. In New Rochelle when I was coming up – and I’m dating myself – Ska was really popular for some reason, and a lot of my friends had Ska bands. Now, I don’t know what the kids listen to, probably like double double whammy type shit, which is a great label.
Best gig you’ve played so far?
I’ve played many gigs, but I really liked playing the Hug & Pint in Scotland and Servant Jazz Quarters in London. I love Glasgow.
What’s your favourite single?
I’m not sure how to answer this question. I like Prince’s singles in the early 1980s a lot, maybe that counts?
What do you listen to in your tour van?
Slayer, or Life by Keith Richards, which is an insane book.
What were your favourite artists growing up?
I loved Pavement in high school. When I was like five I really loved The Who and Tommy.
Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?
Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?
I stream because it’s easy. I love all forms of music, though.
What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?
‘Love Buzz’ obviously.
Tell us about your recent release?
Whatever We Probably Already Had It came out November 30th through Audio Antihero! It’s full of hits.
Any hopes for 2019?
I said it was going to be my year, which maybe it was after all was said and done. The world is an obelisk, opaque, black glass. Who knows what it means? My cat is very cute, and me and her are really getting fond of each other, so I feel as though 2018 was really our year.
What would be your dream collaboration?
I’ve always wanted to make a song with my little brother, but I think he’s too cool for me. I’d love to collab with anyone! Hit me up Y’all.
Photo: Andrew Piccone