Ten Foot Pole recently announced their first Australian tour dates in a damn long time, much to the delight of many fans who may have been too young to catch them last time around. Tickets for all shows are on sale now. This week in The Hotseat, we catch up with Dennis from the band who also spends his time behind the mixing desk for everyone from Jimmy Eat World to Prince, to AFI and more. Expand this post to check out his answers and re-cap the tour information.
Name : Dennis Jagard
Band : Ten Foot Pole
Job In Band : Lead vocal, rhythm guitar
Website Address : www.TenFootPole.com
Hometown : Simi Valley, CA but now living in Boise
Hometown is best known for : Simi is an LA suburb, between Hollywood and Oxnard.
Best venue in your hometown : In Boise, there are new venues I’d like to try, but the Knitting Factory has had the most good shows I’ve seen in town.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : In Boise, Jimmy Eat World was pretty rad.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : In Boise, TFP had a sweet show on a Monday night that confused the club personnel, since it was a sold out show (rare on a Monday) and they had never heard of the band.
How did the band first come to exist? TFP evolved from a band called Scared Straight, which we started in the ‘80s in an effort to get attention from females.
How long has the band been going? Since the mid 1980’s, with different members and different intensities over the years.
Any particular story behind the name? Nothing worth bragging about.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… Our last album, called Subliminable Messages, was released by GoKart at the last minute due to some label issues with Victory Records, so it was not marketed as heavily as past releases, which is a bummer because I was very proud of it—it sounds exactly the way I want the band to sound.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Ten Foot Pole is not about achievements, it is about sharing good times at live shows and hoping people get something out of our music and lyrics.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? My dad had a company that provided sound and stages for events; providing stages to raw, dangerous punk rock shows, like Black Flag in the late 1970’s, was exciting. I was always a music fan, and a fan of simple music, like Black Sabbath and AC/DC, so it was only natural to want to be a part of an underground, DIY scene.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? No one band or album; there were a slew of favorites over the years including Pink Floyd, Placebo, Radiohead, Minor Threat, Fear, Seven Seconds, Lagwagon, the Beatles, etc… many acts, for many different reasons.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? We were called SOF which I wanted to mean “Surfin on Freeways” (we were skaters) but my singer wanted it to mean Soldier of Fortune, which he thought was very tough. We were basically a skate punk band, trying to be like Minor Threat crossed with Suicidal Tendencies.
Most prized music related item you own? I actually just sold my Les Paul Standard, which was a very nice instrument, but a bit too heavy for an experienced guy like myself with some lower back issues. Luckily I found a good home for it; my guitarist Keith. I just hope he learns how to use a polishing cloth once in a while, as that guitar doesn’t deserve to look like it got slimed.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? I’m a sound engineer for concerts, tours and events. Also I like to ride motorcycles, so I have a little track in my backyard in Boise; I run the sprinklers to get it all muddy and then practice sliding around in the mud.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… The moment when we know we have a friendly crowd and good sound at the first show, so we can relax and just have fun.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Getting all the merch organized, passports figured out, worrying if everything is in order and all the personnel and gear will make it to the venue on time.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? We really need water, it keeps us hydrated; if I had the budget I would bring the Adam Sandler Waterboy character on the road with us to keep us operating at peak efficiency.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Of course Australia, because the culture is so vibrant, the people unafraid to speak their opinions and have a great time.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? I have a very clear memory of a show we did in Green Bay, where the promoter was a super friendly huge guy, and it ended up he was a professional wrestler with the nickname “Time Bomb Tom.” I was unaware that he didn’t enjoy crowd surfing, so in one song while I was crowd surfing, I made my way over to him, thinking he would help me get down gently so I could run back on stage and finish the song. Instead, he took me straight from over his head, into a body slam on a cement floor. Later he apologized profusely, and was ready to pay to take me to a hospital to check out my back. Apparently “Time Bomb Tom” referred to an anger management issue.
Got a favourite song to play live? Any song where the audience is singing along.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? One time in Quebec City I had a bad egg in the morning, so during a show I had a trash can next to me, and if I jumped around a bit too much I got sick to my stomach; we never cancelled shows, but perhaps that was one we should have considered cancelling.
Any pre-show rituals? Yes, I like to check the sound system and tune my guitar.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? The fact that very few bands have enough income to pay the costs of the tour, much less the other costs of living.
Last song you listened to? “Little One” By Beck, on the album Sea Change.
Last album you acquired? Sea Change, by Beck.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? I’m studying Beck, because I want to do a great job mixing his shows in Australia right before our TFP tour.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Skylar Grey is amazing; I’m looking forward to hearing her album. I mixed a tour she did with Bruno Mars in Europe last October, and heard lots of her new songs, but since then she has written a bunch more. When she does a medley just vocal and piano with songs like “I need a Doctor” and “Love the Way you Lie” the sound and emotion are just unreal.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? If it fits into my schedule as a sound engineer, Ten Foot Pole could play some more shows—just depends on timing. Perhaps we will put together another album, depending on the timing and if the songs we write seem deserving of public scrutiny.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast, because it rocks.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? I would love to see how Johnny Cash would sing our tunes acoustically; his version of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails is one of my favorite recordings of all time.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Minor Threat.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? Would be fun to be on Saturday Night Live.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? I would love to be in the band that plays in the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, because I love those songs, the story line, etc.
Got any final words? I’m excited to hear the upcoming Jimmy Eat World album; they are great guys, great musicians and interesting songwriters! I recommend checking out the Beck album Sea Change; I didn’t realize how amazing his mellow tunes are.