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Jeff Kummer (The Early November / Your Sweet...
|It's been about a year now since The Early November announced their hiatus. How do you feel about the band's success overall?|
Iím extremely proud of what we did with the band. The Early November was a huge part of my life. Within the same month, i graduated highschool and left for my first tour. That band was my main priority for such a long time. To watch it grow like it did was a very exciting experience for me.
I always felt like TEN was a band that made music and decisions for the right reasons. When it came to the point where we had to make decisions for the wrong reasons, we ran into some problems.
When you hear comments like "Your band's changed my life" and "-insert TEN album- is one of my favorite albums," do you ever regret taking the hiatus or feel like it was a mistake?
Thatís something thatís always been flattering. It makes me feel great to know that I was part of a band that had such a positive effect on their fans. Hearing that now hits me harder than it did when we were together.
To be completely honest, I think we made the right decision at the right time. I dont have any regrets. I always knew that TEN was a special band. I knew it from the first time we practiced. It was hard to let something like that go. Everything does happen for a reason and I believe in that.
Now, along with the hiatus announcement, you guys also mentioned plans for a b-sides record and a DVD of footage from your last shows. Can we get an update on this? When will it be released?
I specifically emailed Drive-Thru about this because..
a) I knew i would be asked this question
b) I didnt know the answer
c) Itís something that Iíd also like to know
Here is what i was told..
The DVD / live cd package will be released in June. Apparently it will be released in a jewel case. The DVD is going to be our entire final show. Final show being the one at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. The live cd will be the best of both trocadero shows (because there were two). Theyíre going to try and get me the release date ASAP. If or when I do receive that, I will promise to forward all info to ap.net to post.
The B-sides record is still in the air but I am told that it will still happen. I do know that I have all of our b-sides including..
- The first Early November 5 song EP
- An Excellent Attempt at Next to Youism
(11 song full length before signing to Drive-Thru)
- 2002 Unreleased EP
(3 songs that I dont even think Drive-Thru has heard yet)
- The Rooms Too Cold b-sides
- MMP b-sides
Iíve kept all this stuff for a rainy day. Ace has them all lying around somewhere but probably canít find them haha. Iím guessing the b-sides will most likely consist of stuff from that though.
Iíve been amped on a b-sides for a long time. I told Drive-Thru that when we do it, I would really like to be a part of it because i have alot of stuff that no ones ever heard. Iím sure Ace has alot of demos that he would like to use as well. I would love to make that really special for people that have been with the band since we started as a 3 piece.
Your current band Your Sweet Uncertainty started around a month or so before TEN ended, but was at first called Grace Period. How did the band originally come about?
We decided that The Early November was going to end before we left for our last tour and wound up announcing it mid way through. During that time I did a lot of thinking and planning. I freaked out for a while because I couldnít figure out what my next move would be. At first, I was planning on recording my own record. I started writing songs but I wasn't happy with where they were going so I put it off. I got to a point where I was constantly getting anxiety attacks. So I told myself to chill the fuck out and not worry about it.
I randomly started playing music again with Mike and Steve. One night we started messing around with a song that Steve wrote which we eventually named ďThe Rock OutĒ. Within the next couple of weeks, we decided to write and record an album with Chris Badami. The second after we wrote our last song, I booked us some studio time with Chris. And that was that.
I remember last summer, on Grace Period's myspace, you were listed as only a "touring member" and not an official one due to your contract with Drive-Thru. Was there any interest in working with each other again, on either side? If not, why?
Iím not really sure. I personally did not want to work with Drive-Thru. Itís nothing against them by any means, but I wanted no ties with them. I was starting a completely new band and I wanted a fresh start.
When we got really heavy into promoting the record I received an email which stated that I was in violation of contract by recording with another band. My label demanded to hear demos.
Iíve known Richard and Stefanie for years. We've had our ups and downs and still remain good terms to this day. I thought this was kind of messed up. I mean I was in a new band and I wasnít writing or singing. I was playing drums. I assumed that this wouldnít be a problem. But at the same time you need to realize that this is a business and I didnít plan ahead.
This is when I changed my status in the band to a ďTouring MemberĒ until we could get everything straightened out. What it came down to was that they didnít own my new band, they owned me. So in reality, the only thing they could release is a record of me drumming. So thatís what I did. I sent them my drum tracks and told Richard I wanted to title my album ďJeff Kummer Ė Fucking DrummingĒ.
To sum up this story, we went back and forth for a while and settled some personal issues that weíd had in the past. Business and friendship are an extremely hard thing to balance. As a band and label we were constantly butting heads. It comes along with the territory. I was eventually released from my contract and I thanked them for that. All is well and good now and I have dinner with them every Sunday.
It seems like YSU had a rough beginning though especially due to the whole name-changing situation. Can you give us the whole story about that?
Before deciding on the name Grace Period, I did your normal search. I came across a band called ďThe Grace PeriodĒ which was what I thought to be a random project that was started and forgotten about. I remember reading that the band had broken up in 96 but I was wrong. I really didnít think that I half-assed searching the name, but apparently I did. This just happened to be another time I jumped the gun on something without checking it all the way through.
In October of 07 I got an email from Chris Ott, who owned the name. Hereís what it said..
ďGuys Iím sorryÖ
We've got a problem. I own the name The Grace Period going back to 1996. I'm registered with the library of congress.
I like your stuff - more Face to Face than Fallout Boy, a little Hum even - but I have an album coming out in December via Ratatat's label and I can't afford to have two Grace Periods out there.
We're starting to blur into each other on MySpace. I have a request into them to revert graceperiod to me.
Sorry to be a bummer,
This all happened a month before our original release date. The news sucked but it could've been a lot worse. We could have pressed all of our CDs with the original artwork and lost A LOT of money. I emailed him back and thanked him for telling us then rather than later.
Your self-titled debut with Your Sweet Uncertainty came out a few months ago. How has the overall response from fans been?
Our actual ďfansĒ always have positive things to say. I had expected some Early November gripe to come along with the new band and it did. But most of that has faded away by now. Itís understandable and I donít get hurt about it all. When I think bands suck, I let people know. So it is what it is.
Is there going to be a music video shot for one of the songs? If so, what song? If not, which song would you choose to be the single?
That is something Iíve definitely thought about. I think if anything, ďHey BabyĒ would make a great single. Iím sure the band would agree with that. Thatís the song that we hear the most feedback from.
Are you happy with the sales of the new album so far, and are you pleased with how the album turned out as whole?
I am extremely happy with how the album came out. It was exactly what I expected and it came out just how I wanted. The sales were also very good and have been going very well. I try not to set my expectations high when it comes to selling records. You can say that you donít care, but you always want to know how many people are listening to your music.
It feels like the band has been a little quiet ever since the release of the album. What are your future plans? Can we expect an upcoming tour or possible label announcement anytime soon?
Iím talking with one major as of right now. It's very breif and nothing crazy but weíve both been in touch for a while now. Weve also had a few indie and upstream offers. But I truely donít feel the need to rush into anything. Right now, everyone is still trying to figure out what is going on with this industry. Iím hesitant about jumping into something with people who donít have their own shit under control. I just feel like no one knows what their next move is.
Touring was something I wanted to start doing in February. After we finished the record I got an office a job and suddenly found myself paying more bills than I was used to. Steve also got married and bought a house. So touring has really been on hold for a little while. Right now itís really difficult to do a full tour and make ends meet. Iím still trying to pay off the album haha. God knows how bad I want to be back on tour again. I think about it all the time. But Iím going to be honest and realistic with this band. Well tour soon but I donít know how soon. I canít jump in a van without any questions asked like when I was 17. Iím 23 now and I have a lot more weighing me down.
We've recently started writing again and were going to start demoing for a second album. It might be too soon by traditional standards but its fun anyway. We donít plan on officially recording any time soon though. I already canít wait to record another CD.
Besides Your Sweet Uncertainty, are there any other projects that you are or are going to be involved in?
One day I would really like to do an album on my own. Iím still not sure if Iím ready yet. But Iím going to demo a song or two with Ace sometime soon. I want to get a feel for recording everything on my own. If whatever we make is worth listening to, I'll throw it up online for everyone to hear.
What are the chances of The Early November ever doing a reunion show, or even getting back together for another album? Is it something you'd be/the other members would be interested in?
The chances of The Early November getting back together for a reunion show are better than shitty. Itís not like we all hate each other, so weíve got that going for us. But even if that did happen, it would be somewhere far down the road. Thatís not something that I could realistically see happening soon. No one has talked about that at all. Itís not something I call the guys to talk about. Iíd rather see what theyíre up to and make sure theyíre doing well.
An album is a different story. Thatís something I feel everyone would have to be 100 percent on. Itís also something everyone would need to be completely dedicated to, meaning that the band would be together and be serious about its ongoing future. Iím sure thatís why Ace said in his last interview that he doesnít plan on it. His head is in a completely different place. I would think the same way if I was him. How could you think of writing another record when youíre completely dedicated to something else? Itís different when youíre doing a side project, but writing another TEN record is not something you do on the side.
If the band ever decided to do a reunion show or tour, you can count on me being there. But I am talking if it were to happen a while from now. Everyone is finally sounding like theyíre adjusting to their new lives. Weíre regular guys just like everyone else. Doing TEN again is something that you canít just jump back into. Thatís like trying to get back together with the first person that you ever loved. If anything, itís going to take time, a lot of time.
07:54 AM on 03/26/08
"I sent them my drum tracks and told Richard I wanted to title my album “Jeff Kummer – Fucking Drumming”." hahaha priceless.
08:30 AM on 03/26/08
great interview! i'm glad you came through with this one - because the lord knows there are a few interviews that have been announced but not followed through with (chuck ragan, the gaslight anthem in particular)
08:48 AM on 03/26/08
I love that he sent them his drum tracks. Hilarious.
Jeff has always been such a down to earth guy and great with fans. Great interview.
08:49 AM on 03/26/08
Hahaha, exactly what I was going to post about.
08:59 AM on 03/26/08
solid interview. when i first heard about his new band i felt like they were getting star treatment here and i didn't really care for it...but after hearing his thoughts and ideas, i like it a lot more.
09:22 AM on 03/26/08
Great stuff... I like YSU's stuff so far, and I'm glad to see he's happy in life after TEN.
09:52 AM on 03/26/08
bring on those bsides!!!!
10:01 AM on 03/26/08
awesome interview. jeff is such a cool, laid back guy. i wish the best for ysu (i really like the disc) and i am definately going to pray to moses, jesus and allah for a TEN b-sides record.
10:28 AM on 03/26/08
haha yea. smart move, I wouldn't have thought of that.
10:48 AM on 03/26/08
cant wait for the dvd.
11:00 AM on 03/26/08
More than anything I'm glad to hear he's happy with his life these days. The possibility of another TEN record even many years down the road is something that I will hope and wait for gladly.
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