Monday, February 28, 2011
[spinner.com] Rick Froberg has called Brooklyn home for more than a decade, but the Obits frontman cut his musical teeth in the San Diego scene of the early '90s, playing first with Pitchfork and later Drive Like Jehu -- bands whose dusty garage-influenced rock 'n' roll was the antithesis to the alt-rock and grunge then sweeping the rest of the nation. At the turn of the last century, Froberg reteamed with his old Pitchfork/Jehu bandmate John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt) for Hot Snakes, but it's Obits and the East Coast that keep him busy these days.
In addition to Froberg -- the singer, guitarist, and main songwriter -- Obits features guitarist and vocalist Shoran Habibion, bassist Greg Simpson and drummer Scott Gursky. In March, the band follows its 2009 Sub Pop debut, 'I Blame You,' with 'Moody, Standard and Poor,' a set of melodic blue-collar garage songs that add some West Coast surf and just a touch of rootsy twang. Froberg talked recently with Spinner about his long and winding rock 'n' roll road.
Why did you name the band Obits, and do you mean it in the sense of obituary?
Yes, it's short for obituary. Why? I don't know why. Well, my wife worked at a magazine, and she would frequently have to work on obits for people. She used the term quite a lot and it stuck in my head. It's short, and it's loaded.
Was there any particular moment when you knew music was going to be a large part of your life?
Yes, I've always felt that way. I've always wanted to be in a rock 'n' roll band. I just really love it. There's something about it that really engages me. I don't know why. I'm probably a fool.
Do you have any particular musical heroes?
There are so many greats; there are so many heroes. I can't just say, "Oh yeah, Bob Dylan is the guy." But, yeah, I love Bob Dylan. Sometimes they can be a hero for five minutes, sometimes they can be a hero for their entire career.
Has what influences your music changed over the years?
Definitely. You're in a different place in your life ,and you're playing with different people. So that changes the skill set you have to work with. Everything changes. You work with what you have. That always changes. I'm the same person, but I'm older and my taste and opinions have changed. I tend to take things as they come and work with what I've got.
Still, both Drive Like Jehu and Obits have a basic garage-rock influence that comes into play. It's all straight-up rock 'n' roll at heart.
Yeah, that's the kind of music I like. It's better than any other kind of music. That kind of music has always been what inspired me.
What would be your biggest influences?
That question would have been easier to answer 15 years ago, before the Internet, before you could hear so much music from all over. There's so many things, you have access to so much more. I don't tend to feel there's any seminal influence. I tend to go by the song or the piece of music more than going by the artist.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Nothing in particular. I never have a playlist. A lot of times, it's about what you don't like as much as what you do. When the group is all together, it's usually at a bar and someone is playing music, whether it's a DJ or a playlist. We all get together and agree on what sucks and what's good. That informs the band. Everything's an influence.
Anybody particularly sucking at the moment?
I have a policy of not shiting on other bands
Is that because of Karma?
Well, you never know when you'll have to deal with some people at some point. I don't have to like everything. As long as people aren't jerks or prima donnas, then it's all fine.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 8:00 PM