The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:
The Bay State - (Tom Tash - lead vocalist/guitarist) [myspace]
1. How did you get your band name?
When I was going to college at UMaine - Machias, there were a lot of revolutionary war monuments referencing dates back when Maine was part of Massachusetts. It's simply a little reference to that, Massachusetts being The Bay State.
2. How did this band get started?
I (Tom) first started writing songs and playing them acoustically as "The Bay State" in October of 2004. I reached out to my long time best friend & drummer in previous high school bands, Drew Hooke. We dabbled with members for a few years, picking up Evan James on viola about a year in. After some time to writing material we would be proud of and focusing on what we wanted to accomplish in the band, we set out looking for a new bassist. Close friend & long time merch person, Susanne Gerry, grabbed a bass and learned to play it within a month. Since then it's been a blast doing this as best friends.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
I'd say our influences are all across the board. For me personally, I grew up with The Get Up Kids and The Starting Line and even took a lot from the bands my parents listened to like The Outfield and Marc Cohn. Drew has his roots in rock music as well, but also has really been into electronica for almost the entire time I've known him. You can hear that in our songs. Evan has a great deal of classical music experience and also interest in progressive rock, bands like Cursive and Braid. Susanne has always stayed true to the singer/songwriters of the 60's and 70's. Nick Drake, James Taylor and Art Garfunkel to name a few. I believe the only thing she'd choose over this band would be maybe getting a chance to go back in time and be around during the Woodstock era.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
Oh man, that's tough. For me it would probably be Blink-182 (circa Take Off Your Pants & Jacket), from an outsiders point of view it appeared that this was the peak of their success while they were still having fun and being goofy! I would have loved to have been around that. All Time Low (now), because I don't think I could ever get sick of watching them play every night. Lastly fictional band Stillwater (from the movie Almost Famous), because... well... watch the movie and tell me that touring with them wouldn't be the greatest experience ever.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
A cat. Without a doubt. When I was little I used to get so mad at the cat for being able to sleep on the back of the couch all day while I had to go to school.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
We've tried our very best for the last 5 years to reinvent ourselves in small ways musically every time we put out new tunes. We're not afraid of having an album where no two tracks sound alike. Each song, for us, is a chance to tell a different story that means something to us and we want it to mean something to the listener. We've used Rock, Pop,Ambient, Hip Hop, Folk Rock, Classical and many other genres in our songs and I tell people, "You may not get an accurate feel for our entire band by listening to just one song".
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you
want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to beat five-star on expert?
I think our new song "Liars", which we just posted online from our upcoming EP "The Haunted EP" and won't be out until 12/11, is probably my favorite to play on guitar. It's just an upbeat song that I have a lot of fun with. I am not very good at Guitar Hero or Rock Band so I'm not sure I've ever tried a song on expert and definitely wouldn't get five-stars, BUT it's not a super hard song to play. So, I think people would do well with it.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
My Mom & Dad, both were/are HUGE supporters of everything I've ever done musically. My entire family has been great. Also all the members families and friends that have stuck by us for the last 5 years, and of course all the people that have helped us out professionally in any way since our first show from the Peder Moe who ran sound at my first open mic to Jared Kaner our manager, all the way to Mike Cubillos our PR guy that helps us get the word out. Every single person deserves a thanks. I think they'd probably have to bust out the "wrap-it-up" music for us, haha.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
That musicians would succeed and people that aren't musicians would move on to what they're supposed to be doing.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Just recently we played shows in New York City & Boston. In the same day. You can probably paint a pretty good picture of that experience in your mind!
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
I think of AP.net as the web's version of Times Square for Punk-type Rock music information. It's like a virtual crossroads for all related genres, bands of all success levels, and news from every aspect of the industry. It's a huge part of what keeps this music together.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
I love playing our two new songs, "Liars" and "Haunted". I know, you said "song". But in "Liars", our bassist and female vocalist, Susanne takes the mic and gives me a chance to really run around and go crazy interacting with the crowd and such. In "Haunted", a mid-tempo ballad-y type song, I get to experiment with different types of music then we've used in the past and I'm just always excited to see what kids think of it.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine. It's not even out of my home state. I've gone there most summers of my life and it always blows me away. I'll go back there until I die and hope my kids do the same. You should all hit it up at least once! And if you do, hit me up @tomstate. I'll meet you there!
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Marc Cohn. Unbelievable Singer/Song writer. Most well known for his song "Walking In Memphis" from the early 90's. If you haven't heard that entire album, you're seriously missing out.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
I'd freeze time. Sort of like Adam Sandler in "Click" but with more control over it.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
I will never feel that the work is over. I honestly believe that as soon as you believe you've made it, is the point where you start to go downhill the other way. These days in music there is always something else you can work to achieve.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I've never taken guitar lessons or vocal lessons. Looking back I wish I had, but I've tried to make up for that with daily practice and continuing to push myself.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Christmas by far. If you knew me personally you would know that I talk about Christmas all year round. I start decorating and playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. It reminds me of being young and believing in everything and spending time with my family.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I'm not filling my spare time with band work I like to travel. I'm currently on a mission to see the 36 State Parks in Maine before next summer. It's been a blast and I've seen 7 since September.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I'm really into graphic design and web design code. I spend a lot of time creating things for bands and companies. I can also say the alphabet backwards really fast. I work with little kids during the weekdays and they ask me to do it all the time, haha.