1. How did you get your band name?
In August 2001 my former band, Pencey Prep, was on the verge of breaking up and we were staying at my future wife's house in Fairmont, Minnesota. It was then and there I decided to start a new band with her hometown as our moniker.
2. How did this band get started?
I had been in punk bands and screamy bands but was ready to do something new and take a shot at singing. What started as a solo project later evolved into many lineups. Our current lineup includes boy and girl vocals, guitar, keyboard bass and synths, pianet, drums and glockenspiel.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
I think every member of the current band has brought different things to the table. Our drummer loves Guided By Voices and Built To Spill. Our female voice and glockenspiel player is the youngest and enjoys a lot of newer stuff from Kings of Leon, As Tall as Lions and Arcade Fire but also has a deep appreciation for 60's Motown. Our keyboard player loves the doors, of course, but also enjoys a healthy dose of 80's like New Order, Depeche Mode and The Cure. As for myself, I am fond of 60's garage rock like The Kinks and The Sonics, and of course the classics like Dylan, Stones, Beatles, Queen and The Who. But I think throughout our career other favorites like Joy Division, Violent Femmes, Husker Du, The Pixies and more all can be heard subtly here and there and newer bands like Radiohead, Portishead, Nada Surf have all had a great influence on the way I write.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I have loved the Pixies forever and I think it's one of the few bands that Fairmont has a lot in common with. I feel like we'd get along well even though, after waiting over a decade and a half to see them, Frank Black didn't even mutter a word between songs when I saw the reunion tour. A part of me can completely relate to that. I also wouldn't mind organizing a gigantic Mint 400 Records tour and trying to do some shows with all the bands on the roster because I think they are all just great.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
I would want to be a grizzly bear; mostly to devour people who I find displeasing.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Have you ever drank a really good imported beer or coffee, or smoked an amazing cigar? Those are things that uneducated, unwilling and naive young minds cannot comprehend or enjoy. I'd like to think we are like one of those things - that to the few who get it, we are their favorite thing, near euphoric; and for the rest, I guess they'll never know and I'm ok with that .
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 five-star on expert?
It wouldn't matter the song but I'd imagine it'd be easy to play on any level. Sorry all you Eddie Van Halen fans, shredding is not a concern in our songwriting process.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
I'll worry about it when we win.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I'd like to remove the "industry" part of it and return to a time where artists actually created art and had some dignity and integrity. The last decade it's like everyone thought "Hey you know KISS was really onto something here, let's merchandise the shit out of ourselves."
10. Memorable tour experience?
Ha, how much time do you got? We once had a stalker pretend to be someone they weren't and ended up almost completely breaking up the band and creating a situation that has forever changed all involved.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
I'm happy to see smaller bands like our friends The Narrative get coverage.l AP has always been very kind to Fairmont, as well. It's a community with a great forum for discussion on everything from booking shows to producing records.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
Whatever is newest, this changes on a weekly basis.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
I'd like to go to Easter Island someday, it's kind of expensive at the moment. Aside from that, anywhere that is dreary and bleak and has lots of record shops- I'm looking at you London and Seattle.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
For some reason my dad stopped listening to new music in 1963, so growing up in an Italian household in NJ I was brought up on a lot of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. That and anything doo-wop reminds me of my childhood.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
I'd like ultimate knowledge, to be the guy that actually knows everything. No one ever says that, but I think that would be the most useful.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
Is this a trick question? I'm happy with what we've done and hope I will be happy with what we do in the future. As far as "making it" I always said I never wanted to be Nirvana, I wanted to be one of those obscure bands that influenced them like Flipper or Daniel Johnston. With my previous band, Pencey Prep, the first song I ever sang on was a joke hidden track called Fat and Alone. Over the years on youtube and hundreds of kids myspaces and facebook pages I have seen the song mentioned, quoted or covered. I guess seeing some 15 year old somewhere covering Fat and Alone in their bedroom on an acoustic guitar is enough for me and everything else is just bonus points from here on out.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I feel like the people who have heard my music or have seen my artwork would never guess that I work as a day job with kids with disabilities. I find that way more rewarding of an experience, yet I still try to succeed with my band. Sometimes I think of how bands, including my own, have whined about how hard it is to make it and then I think of the kids I work with who have a hard time just doing day to day things. I often feel ashamed for even spending time making music when I could be helping out something that actually matters. I really look up to my wife who coaches Special Olympics and does lots of other wonderful things with kids with disabilities. If ever Fairmont was successful in a big way I would love to really do things that would benefit the students that I work with. Recently when I saw the founder of Facebook had given 100 million dollars to Newark schools, I was happy to know that at least some of the young people with boat loads of money care a little. I would love to some day be in that position. I can't think of anything I need personally if I was handed a million bucks tomorrow but I sure can think of a lot of things that the people around me need, specifically students from poor areas.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
All of the ones where I don't have to go to work.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Mint 400 Records is the label I started in order to release Fairmont's material when I became utterly disgusted with all the rejection after years of sending stuff out to labels. Currently we are up to an eleven band roster and growing, and I have had a helping hand in producing some records. Aside from the label, the band and work, I try to do artwork whenever I can. I have done a few gallery shows and have a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, so I feel anxious when I go too long without drawing in my sketchpad. I have a batch of new paintings and am just waiting for the opportunity to show them. Recently my wife started a little craft company called Zang and I am doing some artwork that is being turned into refrigerator magnets, I'm pretty excited about that. I've been very into tiki and robots lately, I hope to post some more art on my homepage eventually.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I think the above pretty much talked about that. Aside from that, I have been called the worst driver ever by my band mates. Recently we were coming home from CMJ and I had bought some hot soup to bring home with me. The container had holes in the lid so I had to drive extra slow and careful or it would get everywhere. Our keyboard player mentioned that it was the first time he had ever felt safe while driving with me and in the future we should always pretend there is a hot bowl of soup in the car. Does that count as talent?