Whiskey Mountain

Whiskey Mountain (Alternative Punk) - Idaho

-Interview- (1/13/24)
1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Whiskey Mountain" and is there any meaning behind it?

I have been looking at the rock and roll world since I was 14, my cousin asked me to attend his demo recording and I was hooked. Soon I had a bass guitar in my hand and was in his band. After that I had the classic "best friends" band in high school. My neighbor was the bass player, I drummed and my best friend was vocals and guitar. Now, it’s funny, I am on guitar and vocals. I have played it all in a rock band!

We played music halfway through college, had a van for a while. Tried our hand at it. It was great. Then kids happened. And fast forward 21 years and here we are. Now the kids are old enough I can dedicate this time back to a passion I have always had. This is a flat-out midlife crisis project. At least my band isn’t a sports car!

The sound we have is just a mix of the things I love. I am a gigantic nerd at heart - so I love those nerd rock bands. And I am a bit of a punk. As much as you can be with an 8-5 job. Weezer meets the Distillers is a good intersection of the musical style. But as I get older my "no pop in my punk” sensibility has worn off. Now I am writing hooks and what feel like pop songs to me. it is great. Honestly, I love it.

The band has been great to get onboard as well. The OG of Whiskey Mountain-er is Charles. We met via the power of social media, and he has stuck with me and on the bass! He has the more - "faster, more punk rock" sensibility. He keeps me honest. Mac is on the lead guitar, we have known each other since college, hell I was in his wedding. This is his first band ever - he is killing it. Soon he will be taking some vocal duties on and the sound we make will adapt to him. I am stoked for it. Lastly is Oscar the backbone. He rocks - no freaking question. He can sit on my own drum set and make me sound like an amateur.

The name Whiskey Mountain is named after my favorite place in the world - a little area in the Owyhee Mountains - named well "Whiskey Mountain"...it’s an area I grew up in. I hunt there, I hike there, I camp there, I ride my UTV there. It is my spiritual home. I love it. I figured I could not do wrong in naming my band after the place that I love.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

I want people to know it is not to late to pursue a passion. I took 21 years off being in a band, and now I am back at it. And you know what – I am getting nothing but love for doing what I love. That is the coolest part. No one is yelling get off the stage or move on. This has been pure love.

Sonically I want people to know that deep issues – philosophical things, dark things, hurtful things – can be talked about in a fun way. The music we make has some resonant lyrics but the overall tone is fun. That is my goal, make fun music that gets things off my chest and out of my soul.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

I tend to quote Lemmy – “We are a rock and roll band, like the Beatles” …but then I say we make Alt-Punk music that sounds like Weezer and Rancid had a modern sounding love baby…

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Big bands? Interrupters – I have a crush on Amy and FREAKING LOVE the tunes they make. Seriously, great stuff.

Less than Jake – I have a crush on Chris Demakes and Freaking LOVE the music they make. They have been around forever, and they just put out song last year that is a freaking banger! Their song “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” reminded me few years ago how much l loved music. It actually inspired the first song I ever wrote end to end. Heroes.

Lastly I would like to tour with Fuck Money from Austin. I don’t know them from Adam but think they have the coolest band name ever. And, AND I have a shirt I bought from them with my money. I loved the music too, so wild, so nuts.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

It is the CAUSE OF WHAT I DO. This whole thing started because since I as 14 I wanted to own a recording studio. I used to dub stuff on Karaoke machines and tape cassette. So, in covid I converted part of the garage into a recording studio. We were all locked at home, and I had previously traveled a lot for work. Basically, I just started buying stuff on reverb. When the studio was built, I started recording bands. Then my wife asked me when I was going to be in a band. I scoffed at first, then about 6 months later I am rehearsing in the studio with Whiskey Mountain. She is an oracle.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Rock?

In my area, I think it is great. We have a community and a group of folks that show each other love. Overall, I think that music can be a little sanitized in the recording process. I think the quantized drums and the perfect vocals are a little much. Rock is a rebellion – lets keep it that way. The good news about music and style and taste is that it will change. Rock is not as culturally influential as pop, hip-hop and rap right now. And that is ok. Rock is, as should be, the counterculture.

From a Marxian point of view, we are bound to have a synthesis of all of this at some point. We are bound to move forward. Who knows when theremins are going to be the next big thing. Who knows when guitar rock will make a comeback? Is that what we even want? Do we want rock stars as pop stars? Or do we want to be the counter – the alternative to the excess, the vanity and the shallow. Or do we want to be the shallow, the excessive. It is a debate, but I like going against the grain.

7. What's the current music scene like there in Idaho?

See above.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Man, pay artist fairly. I don’t know what that is. I know this, for me, is not about money. But money is what makes the world go round. From an economics perspective this system tacks. Music production and recording is SOOOOO cheap. Now that the creation of the art has a lower barrier to entry it is not a wonder that it is also valued less. You have so many songs out, so many artists that can make BANGERS in their bedroom. And that is amazing. But with that ease of access come a lower price point. Its is kind of like any other commodity on the market. Scarcity brings value. So good songs bring value but a lot of good songs come out every day.

Now the question comes – since we know that this music production produces a commodity and commodities do not have a high value what are we gonna do about it? I think we need to take the farmers market approach – small farms (artists) cannot compete against Walmart. The eggs at the farmers market are always more expensive. BUT YOU CAN KNOW THE FARMER at the market. You can tour their farm, meet the chickens, say hello to his cow. Buy some milk too. That is where I think we need to head. Know your local musicians. Buy a shirt from them – do you know how many streams you need to make the same amount of money off 1 shirt sale? Its stupid, thousands and thousands. One shirt. Buy a CD. Venmo them $10. Steaming music is a commodity, like it or not. Bands need to change the go to market strategy.

9. What's next for Whiskey Mountain?

The ROAD – we hit the road for the first time later this month. We are headed from Boise to Salt Lake and playing a show on the way there. Again, helping make a community for the area. I love this. I love finding this community.

Also – we recorded our album – 12 songs - in my studio (@5kingsrecording) and will have it out this spring! That is a lifelong dream, a lifelong dream.

10. Any shoutouts?

For sure – Jake with Alaric Radio, you are the man. Don from Kraken Entertainment – this is all your fault. Sef – the keep up the mixing. Nick – keep on rocking. Lance – to hell with Texas. Hattie – you called it. My Boys – thank you for telling me I don’t suck at this.

Mac, Charles and Oscar – gents I love you. Thank you for going on this ride. You are making a dream come true. I hope I never disappoint you. Thank you for playing music with me.