Joe Vocaturo: guitar, vocals
Daniel Smith: guitar, vocals
Cindi Merklee: bass, vocals
John Steele: drums
1. How did you get your band name?
Joe: In certain Gnostic and mystical traditions, the number 65 is considered a symbol of LVX (Light), illumination, and gnosis. LVX in Roman numerals = 65. One of us is a practitioner of a Gnostic tradition, so the name of the band serves as a constant reminder of that which we should make every effort to attain.
2. How did this band get started?
Joe: I knew Dan for years, as we were both part of a small scene of punk and indie bands from northeast Jersey in the '90s. We also played briefly together in a project with Inger Lorre of the Nymphs. We reconnected online a few years back and started hanging out. His house was close to the job I had at the time so I would stop by after work pretty frequently, we’d have drinks and bullshit. Dan is really into recording and was working on a home studio at the time so we started recording some acoustic demos, often drunken ones, and it all sort of progressed from that. Dan would put backups, bass lines, and guitar parts on my demos and email them to me. I thought they sounded great so it kept evolving. I decided that I wanted to make a record out of the demos and then asked John, who was playing drums with me in The Dark Brothers at the time to record some tracks. Without getting into too many details, the idea of just making a record turned into it being a full time band, with Cindi coming on board a little later. It’s been a lot of fun. Dan and I have often laughed about how the band started with drunken demos in a makeshift home studio.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Joe: I love Dylan, The New York Dolls, The Stones, The Faces, Fugazi, Husker Du, The 'Mats, Social D, and I’m really into a lot of punk stuff like Leatherface, The Damned, The Germs, Minor Threat, The Misfits, man I could go on for hours…
Daniel: Everything is an influence, either in a good way or in a ‘wow, that’s fucking awful’ way.
Cindi: The Replacements, Husker Du, Guided by Voices, Robyn Hitchcock, Elliott Smith, Throwing Muses, Uncle Tupelo, Carson McCullers. Oh, sorry....you said bands. My bad.
John: My personal influences range from the Stones to Tom Waits, Led Zeppelin to The Ramones. Anything played with soul, from the heart. I absolutely can't stand anything made with auto tune and shit like that. Sometimes I take the John Lennon approach and say I'm my own biggest influence, though.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Joe: That's easy. The Rolling Stones. Why? C'mon, who wouldn't want to hang and party with Keith for a whole tour?
Daniel: The Who, so I could watch Keith Moon implode in person.
Cindi: The Replacements circa 1985/86. Bob was still with the band. They were still raw but there's an amazing beauty, desperation and swagger in their songs from that era. I was too young to get into clubs back then so if time travel were possible, I'd go back and tour with them in a heartbeat.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
Joe: Sharp provolone cheese with crackers and pinot noir.
John: When riding from place to place, pizza flavored Combos, Snapple iced tea and 7-11 coffee. But when in town, find out where the locals eat breakfast the day after your show and go there, it's usually the best and cheapest.
Cindi: Mac and cheese.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Joe: People should listen to our band because we are a raw, honest, catchy, in your face rock 'n roll band.
Daniel: Because we're a cross between Bon Iver and Bon Jovi.
Cindi: Because I said so.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Joe: He's not playing anymore, but I'd have to say Keith Hernandez. Why? Because he's Keith Hernandez.
Daniel: Jack Lambert
Cindi: Esa Tikkanen
John: I'd have to agree with Joe, although Keith was more of a rock star than an athlete.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Joe: Is this a serious question?
Daniel: It'd probably be a lot of fun to get plastered and hurl on a presenter.
Cindi: Bob Stinson.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Joe: The music industry is perfect as it is.
Daniel: The music industry is getting its just desserts.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Joe: One time in Chicago, we lost Cindi. She went into a store for a protein bar and a latte; John and Dan were sleeping in the back. Dan woke up, got out to piss and got back in. I was driving and thought it was Cindi getting back into the van so I took off. Our cell phones were dead. Those guys went back to sleep and I drove for 2 hours before John woke up and said "Where's Cindi?" We had to go back and drive around Chicago looking for her. We found her at some dive bar on the south side partying with a Guided By Voices tribute band, totally loaded. It was great.
Daniel: She also started a bar fight in St. Louis once and got me, Joe and John arrested.
Cindi: I plead the 5th.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Joe: I've just discovered it.
Daniel: Animal porn?
12. What is your favorite song to play?
Joe: I know this is probably a lame answer, but I really can't pick just one. I truly feel that this record is a strong, honest, and consistent record. I'm really happy about how it came out and the group of songs that we ended up putting on it, and I really enjoy them all. But in an effort to not be so lame, I'll go out on a limb and say "High School," because it's such an angry song, it's a rush to play it.
Daniel: Joe's new one.
Cindi: I'll be an egomaniac here and say "Apples" (Cindi's song, not on the album), only because I had been playing it solo acoustic for so long and never quite feeling right about it. Bashing it out with the band gave it a whole different vibe - one it was meant for, and I think it's a bit of a change up for the band, too. I like change. Change is good.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Joe: The Rocky Mountains.
Daniel: Any beach with decent waves.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Joe: Early Beastie Boys and mid '80s Bruce.
Daniel: Pink Floyd, The Wall.
Cindi: The Kinks.
John: Chicago, Sly and the Family Stone, Al Green.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Joe: I'd have to go with being able to read people's minds.
Daniel: Invisibility. I've been working on that for a few years, actually.
Cindi: The ability to make people fart whenever I want them to.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
Joe: Superstitions? No. If drinking could be considered a ritual, then having a few I guess.
Daniel: Doubles of Jameson, neat.
Cindi: Doubles of Jameson, dirty.
John: My superstition is to have a shitty practice beforehand, something has to break.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Cindi: I'm an American Civil War buff.
John: I considered being a priest as a child. I'm obsessed with the JFK assassination. I collect cereal boxes and vintage food packaging.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Joe: FM radio is horrific. The only station worth listening to, at least in our area, is WFMU. I have Sirius satellite and that is encouraging. There are some really cool stations on there, and there is room for more. I think that satellite radio could be a place where we could find somewhere to sit.
Daniel: I only listen to sports radio these days. Meanwhile, I don't even really like sports that much.
Cindi: I only listen to WBGO 88.3 FM right outta Newark.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Joe: I hang out with my wife, family and friends.
Daniel: Long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, animal porn.
Cindi: Stalk my favorite musicians.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Joe: My wife would be very upset if I shared this information with you.
Daniel: Laundry. The trick is to separate darks, colors and whites, then double soften that shit. Liquid softener in the wash, fabric sheet in the dryer. Also, hang dry everything but socks and underwear. That's key.
Cindi: I bake a killer danish.
John: I'm a ventriloquist. As a kid the dummies used to scare me, so I became one to conquer the fear.