1. How did you get your band name?
We were really digging Tennessee Ernie Fords' "16 Tons": “16 Tons and what do I get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” We were originally called Rocco’s Midlife Crisis, but people thought we were trying to be cute referencing a Nickelodeon cartoon, “Rocco’s Modern Life.” Ten Ton Man is a poetic way of saying we are carrying the weight of the world, the weight we mostly create for ourselves.
2. How did this band get started?
I was tired of being in bands and collaborating with singers singing my songs. I figured I’d get in front of the mic and deliver the songs they way I wrote them to be played. I’ve played with Paul Triff before in someone else’s band, so that was easy. Paul Dugan was a craigslist find. I was very lucky the day he answered that ad. His contributions have really helped evolve the sound and the potential of Ten Ton Man.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
The obvious influences you can hear right out. Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, then growing up - Led Zeppelin and The Clash. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s album “Acme” got me revved up to grab my guitar and get out there. It just took a good many years to give birth to TTM.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
That’s a rough one. Would have loved to been around a lot of the bands in the hey-days of the late sixties. Going into detail would be incriminating.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
Burritos. Breakfast burritos, lunch burritos. Burritos.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
It’s a soundtrack to life. The hard parts, confronting loss, growing up, relationships, despair, revenge, falling down and getting back up. If your dealing with life’s challenges you’ll relate to the music. We also have a pretty eclectic bunch of songs. Familiar but new, it gets nostalgic but is topically current with enduring timeless themes.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Eddy Merckx, greatest bike racer of all time. His nickname is “The Cannibal.”
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank? My father and mother. They've supported anything I’ve done without any questions.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
It's amazing how homogenous it seems. I would ban auto-tune. I think I would have all kinds of music hitting the airwaves. Better radio would be great. I live in the biggest city in the US and we have the worst radio stations. People need a place to be heard and hear new artists. I was watching the Grammy’s last year and the awards show was full of happy music. Let's get real. Really?
10. Memorable tour experience?
I don’t remember.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Music for art's sake.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
In my home, The Clash, “Guns of Brixton.” When we play live, “Lifesaver,” I love belting that one out.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Well, Rome is amazing...the food, the people. But whenever I go to Tulum, Mexico, I always come home so relaxed. No place does that for me like Tulum, and the margaritas are excellent! I’ll head out mountain biking any day to Moab - a mountain bike mecca.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
My parents always played Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. I would sip the empty cocktail glasses. You can hear Kelly Pratt playing trumpet on a couple of our songs. It takes me back.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why? The power to heal, your health is everything.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
I can’t have a drink until the middle if our “Drinking Song.”
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I’m an excellent cook, Paul Triff is a walking Wikipedia page, and Paul Dugan likes a lot of sugar in his coffee.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
I think if we can get to the radio, I think a lot of people would find our music quite compelling.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I can turn my eyelids inside-out.