I spoke with Rob Thomas from Sunburned Hand of the Man about the band’s past, influences and the art of raking leaves.
Boston Hassle: How did the shit spangled banner form?
Rob Thomas: Rich Pontius & I were bored & desperate, we knew Moloney was a psycho & a drummer & we coaxed him into it by telling him that we wanted to sound like a hybrid of Sonic Youth & Melvins although, at that point (’93/’94), Rich & I were primarily inspired by The Dead C.
BH: How many members have you had over the years?
RT: not enough
BH: What’s your take on the difference between the Boston scene and the western mass music scene?
RT: There is more parking in Western Mass
BH: What are some of the most memorable shows you’ve played?
RT: at the moment, I can personally recall enjoying shows we played in london, cleveland, lisbon, cork, nantes, montreal, munich,santa cruz & hadley, ma.
BH: How did you end up working with Four Tet?
RT: Kieran got in touch with us around 2003 & asked if we wanted to open some shows for him.. we did a tour in ’04 then he engineered & mixed 2 albums with us, “Fire Escape” which we recorded in London in ’06 & “A” which was done in Vermont in ’08.
BH: Your music at times is quite improvisational. Who are some of your more experimental influences?
RT: John Godbert, Phil Franklin, Chris Corsano, Mick Flower & the No-Neck Blues Band have been just some of the many experimental influences on us.
BH: What should we expect from your set at the Hasslefest?
RT: We’ll let you know when we get there.
BH: Where do you get inspiration from outside of music?
RT: I got some interesting ideas today while raking leaves.
BH: What music did you listen to this week?
RT: Every year around Halloween i get obsessed by music that makes me think of demons & witches, so this week i listened to hundreds of tunes in that vein.. examples would be Salvatore Martirano, Jean-Baptiste Barriere, Krzysztof Komeda & Jani Christou as well as Alice Cooper, Butthole Surfers, Bushwick Bill, King Diamond & Ruth Garbus.