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Iron Frenzy Interview
An Email Interviewed by Josh McConnell
What do you get when you have a band that is working on a new album; preparing for the next big tour; this time with Ace Troubleshooter, John Reuben, and Relient K; and have worn Star Trek uniforms on stage? Five Iron Frenzy, of course! Recently, I interviewed Leanor "Jeff the girl" Ortega, saxophonist, and Keith Hoerig, bassist from the Christian ska band "Five Iron Frenzy" via email.
McConnell - So who's everyone in the band? Who plays what?
Ortega - I think you can probably find this out in an album but here it goes anyway--- Keith on bass, Micah on guitar, Andy on drums, Dennis on trombone, Sonnie on guitar, Reese on vocals, Brad on trumpet, me (Jeff the Girl) on saxophone.
Hoerig - Everything she said was a lie. Really the band is made up of an elite fighting force of super intelligent space aliens from the planet Venus, sent here to conquer the human race!!!!! Beware meddling humans, your time has COME!!!!!!! (Ok, not really, but it sure is fun to pretend anyway.)
McConnell - Where did you guys meet?
Ortega - I have known some of the guys from way back, like back in the days when long hair was in for guys and Mohawks were in for girls. Consequently when I met Keith and Reese they had metal hair down to their butts while I sported a Mohawk!
Hoerig - It's all true. Reese, Micah and I used to be in an aggro-indurial thrash metal band. Jeff and Brad used to come to our shows sometimes. This was back in like 1991.
McConnell - What's your favorite album you have ever made (you can include your upcoming one)?
Ortega - I really enjoyed making Our Newest Album Ever, I was used to the recording process by then and the horn parts were interesting to listen to and to play. Right now I am enjoying writing the new songs. This album is less interesting horn-wise but the songs themselves are more thought out than any of our previous songs. This may be the first album of ours that I will listen to on a regular basis.
Hoerig - Right now I would have to say Hype, but Electric Boogaloo is looking like it will be one of our best albums. We have just barely started recording, but the tunes sound awesome and the songs are better than ever. We are more like a band than ever before with everyone offering input into the song writing process.
McConnell - Speaking of your albums, could you give us some info on your upcoming one __Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo__? How do you like the sound of it?
Ortega - I like the sound of it quite a bit; takes me back to fourth grade and cardboard breakdancing. I can recall the beautiful faces of Turbo, Ozone and Kelly as they get ready to destroy any one who dares breakdance against them!
Hoerig - This album is gonna be one of our most rocking albums. People can expect more rock than they have heard from us before, not punk, rock and roll. Still hints of punk, and an obvious ska influence, of course.
McConnell - How did you get the name of the album? Who produced it? And how do you feel you progressed with this album?
Ortega - I have yet to record, in fact Dennis may be annoyed that even as I type this I am cutting into much needed rehearsal. Masaki Lui is producing, no tapes this time, he has a new system called radar, some type of high tech instrument crucial to us sounding live and in your face, hope it works eh?
Hoerig - Yeah, we are working with Saki again. We love him. I think that people will see a musical growth on this album, which is what we always try to do, but I think that it will still sound like an FIF album.
McConnell - Could you give us some info on The Electric Youth Tour with Ace Troubleshooter and John Reuben in the fall? Where will you be touring? And how long will the tour be?
Ortega - Well, first off Reliant K will also be on that tour, let's not forget. I am so excited; John Ruben provides a fresh sound and maybe someday we can have a rap/freestyle battle on stage. This tour is going to be different in that we will actually know each other's songs and names.
Hoerig - Yeah, it will be a big two-month nationwide tour. All the bands are great, so we are really looking forward to going out with them. We have some plans to make it be more than just us playing songs. We want there to be a theatrical aspect to this tour as well. Those of you who saw us on the tour where we all dressed up like Star Trek characters and had a script will know what I speak of. But this time we will have more time to work with since we are the headlining band.
McConnell - Are you coming to Canada anytime soon?
Ortega - Hmmm, I wish but don't you have to be officially invited in order to enter oh Canada?
Hoerig - We want to come play Canada, but something always seems to fall through so that we can't.
McConnell - One of my favorite Five Iron Frenzy songs is "Handbook for the Sellout." What is the meaning behind the song?
Ortega - It was directed towards the kids who always heard, saw, or owned "it" first. Why keep good music to oneself just for the sake of feeling "cool" in one's own mind? It's sad.
Hoerig - Yeah, just because a band becomes popular does not make them sellouts. They are only sellouts if they change what they are doing for the purpose of becoming popular.
McConnell - What was your best concert experience?
Ortega - I got to see Kiss from backstage once, and Backstreet Boys from underneath the stage and I met Sarah McLachlan. I work for a company that does staging for the Pepsi Center in Denver so I get to see a lot of rad shows for free, the only requirement is that I push equipment around, work with a lot of cords and back line and occasionally carry cyber lights. They are heavy.
Hoerig - I assume you mean for FIF, but it's more fun to talk about other bands. I saw Elvis Costello play in New Zealand once. I saw Joe Jackson in a little club in Boulder, CO. I saw Stryper at Red Rocks. I saw LSU and Mike Knott and the Altar Boys reunion show at Cornerstone. I saw Mortal at the Mercury Cafe. I saw U2 at the Pepsi Center. Those would be some of the best shows I have ever seen.
McConnell - What was your worst/weirdest concert experience?
Ortega - I was wearing underwear over my pantyhose to keep them up, (don't ask) and I was also wearing a short skirt, as I was Ohura from Star Trek this particular tour. The stage manager came up behind me cracking up and to my absolute horror the white underwear had fallen and were just kicking it at knee level! I had to run behind Micah's amp to adjust myself. No more pantyhose!!!!
Hoerig - I once tripped on stage and finished playing the song lying on my back.
McConnell - Are you planning on coming out with a new music video?
Ortega - I don't even know my parts for the next album so yeah, much is yet to be decided. I hope to do more though; I think we will since our creative juices keep flowing.
Hoerig - Videos are tough because they cost a lot to make and don't get seen that often, but we would love to make one for this album if we can.
McConnell - Do you listen to other Christian music? If so, what bands/artists?
Ortega - I love Pedro the Lion, a band called Further Seems Forever, Stavesavcre, Five o'clock People, and check out a Florida band called saGoh (servants after God's own heart). Also my boyfriend Caleb is in a hardcore Christian band called Season at Sea. I like their music quite a bit and I'm not saying this purely out of obligation.
Hoerig - I listen to tons of music. Some of the Christian bands I like are: Charlie Peacock, Mike Knott, LSU, Mortal, the Altar Boys, Scattered Few, Pedro the Lion, Over the Rhine, Dead Artist Syndrome, Vengeance, Rage of Angels, There are tons more, but I have to go eat lunch now. . .
McConnell - If you weren't playing the instrument you play now, what would you be playing?
Ortega Guitar. I am slowly learning. It's my dream to someday be a rocker woman with wrinkles, tight pants and a raunchy voice. Like Pat Benetar or Lita Ford.
Hoerig - Scrabble.
McConnell - What song of yours do you think has the strongest message?
Ortega "New Hope" and "Farenheit." I couldn't pick just one. For "New Hope" I believe that the message is strong because the subject of Columbine High School has a strong message to begin with. Fear and why.... and "Farenheit" speaks of homosexuality and how it is a sin just like every other sin. In fact homophobia is an equally bad sin. Not many Christian bands want to tackle this sort of thing.
Hoerig - It's a hard question, but I would say "Every New Day."
McConnell - If you could say anything to your fans right now, what would you tell them?
Ortega - Christ will sustain you, enjoy His presence, enjoy being an American and live in gratitude for all the crap you get but definitely don't deserve.
Hoerig - Seek God and He
will find you. Seek the truth for yourself, not what someone else says
is the truth. Thanks for your support of our band. We appreciate it.