20 Questions: Tom Thacker (GOB)
August 19, 2014
Recently Live Fast got the chance to chat with Gob frontman and Vancouverite Tom Thacker over the phone from his new home in East Harlem, New York. As per usual, we did what we here love to do. Pick 20 questions and let him have it... So check out the full interview below for a better look inside Tom’s life and the upcoming Gob release Apt. 13.
1. Who are you and what is your profession?
- My name is Tom Thacker and I play Guitar and Sing in the band Gob… And I play in a couple other bands and sing too (laughs).
2. Where are you from?
- I am originally from Vancouver, BC. I grew up in the suburbs, Langley. And I’ve lived in Vancouver for years, and now I live in New York.
3. What first inspired you to first become a musician?
- Umm, whoa.. It’s hard to say, I mean everybody likes music. But I always loved music and loved playing on my Grandmas Piano and I didn’t even know how to play it. So I wound up getting a Guitar and I was into like Metal and Punk-Rock, and I think it was just sort of my fate to be a musician. It was like it chose me more then I chose it. Like, you know I always did alright in school, I just never really felt like doing anything other then playing music and that’s what I do.
4. What album(s) helped serve as inspiration when you were first starting out?
- I think the first album that really got me playing a lot or into the music was and like I learned it note for note was Guns n’ Roses - Appetite For Destruction. It was kind of, I mean it was a pretty popular record so it wasn’t the most original choice but it like, it fuckin'’ had everything from Punk-Rock to good Metal and Rock-and-Roll and that was one that I sat down and learned it note for note, like all the instruments. I mean I couldn’t really sing it… I was a kid and I only started singing out of necessity cause I had no one else to sing the songs I was would write (laughs). So you know that was the first one.
5. What's on your playlist right now?
- I honestly have like a pretty odd playlist. What would be on my playlist? Let me take a look… I was just listening to Deer Hunter. Umm what else was I just listening to? Sly and the Family Stone. Nation of Ulysses, a hardcore band from DC. Sloan now, Canada rock. I recently found this record its supposedly, it’s like, it’s thought of as the first Rap record, and it was this dude who was a poet that just played with, I think it was Kool and the Gang. It’s called Lightnin’ Rod - Hustlers Convention, and this guy just Raps off these limericks over this fuckin’ sick Funk music. And I guess like back in the Bronx, back in the day all the Sugar Hill dudes and stuff knew those limericks word for word and would like play those at block parties and shit. You know I don’t know where I found that one recently but it’s fucking awesome. Now I can listen to that one a lot… I think it’s important, if you want to be a good song writer don’t just listen, you know what I mean if you play in a Punk-Rock band don’t just listen to fucking Punk-Rock. You’re just going to play exactly what they play. You know there is only so many notes and beats and fuckin’ words that you can use so you’re gonna end up sounding exactly like another Punk band. So get your fucking influences fro elsewhere.
6. What inspired you to get back in the studio and record a new album?
- Well I mean it appears (laughs) that we had a fuckin’ hiatus or whatever for the past two years but we didn’t really. We put out Muertos Vivos in 2007. We toured it for a couple years. At the end of 2009 we were like lets put out a record quick. Lets not have a 4 year gap like the last record, and so I had a bunch of songs, I don’t know where they came from cause I was touring back and forth with Gob and Sum 41 constantly, and so I don’t know when I had the time to write a bunch of songs. But we showed up, got together and had these songs and started recording them right then in 2010. There were just tons of things, like obstructions in the way. You know, like we, I ended up working on the Sum (41) record and that came out pretty quick and started touring again. So when I was off touring I would go back and start working with Theo [Goutzinakis]… Eventually it just was taking too long. All the other Gob dudes had day jobs and so it was hard for me to justify being in Vancouver or waiting around to get work done. So I just finished it off in my apartment in New York. So, you know it took a while (laughs) and we had to find a label and stuff so, it wasn’t like… We intended to have this record out in 2011. So I mean fuck this is what we do so we want to do it but sometimes it takes a little while.
7. Where did you record it and how long did it take you?
- It wasn’t like there was a ton of time put into the actual recording. I mean it was like however long it takes to make a record, it was just kinda like getting around to getting it done and you know changing circumstances. Some of it was done, we did the drums in the Armoury Studio in Vancouver. We did most of the band in our Bass players parents place. They were away so we made a makeshift studio. We basically brought all our amps and vocal mic and everything and all sorts of shit, and I just you know finished up at home. We also mixed it ourselves.
8. What is your favourite track off the new album?
- Dude, that’s tough. You know, I don’t know. I love them all. I think once you put out a record there is one that starts to bother you. At this point (laugh) there aren’t really any because I mean we haven’t even been playing, we’ve only been playing one or two songs live so far. We are going to be playing a bunch at our record release show. My favourite right now might be “Walking Alone.”
9. What was your process like when working on this album?
- This time around I was the only one that brought any songs to the table. Theo and I in the past had like sort of written equally and then he would write some songs and didn’t feel comfortable singing them, so I sang some, and then he just wrote a little less. Ya I wrote all the lyrics for this one and the music, and this other guys helped out with the arrangements and stuff like once we had all the demos together. But I mean two of us live in New York now and two live in Vancouver so we’re not really together all that much. We’re not like a band in a jam space. We honestly like rarely rehearse. I would like to rehearse a lot more then we do but it’s just everyones schedules are pretty busy and it’s hard to get… (Laughs) You know I would do four hour rehearsals and fucking go over the whole catalogue but everyone can’t do that.
10. What is your worst road experience?
- I remember we were driving through New Brunswick one time and our Bass player lost control of the van on black ice, and our trailer broke off and like… I mean it wasn’t that bad really you know, it was scary because we were stuck on the highway and trucks were barreling by and our trailer was broken off. But it could have been much worse. Our gear could have been all over the road but it wasn’t, just the trailer was all fucked up. But I remember kind of having a meltdown and I was like (in a kids voice) “I’m going to the airport.” And Theo was like “What airport?” and I’m like “I don’t care the nearest airport…” And he was just like “There is no airport for miles man.” So I was just like “blahhh” and so I was going to quit the band and quit touring for about 10 minutes. Then I was like “Alright…” But I mean that was part of like you know I can be grumpy, and anyone can be grumpy waking up anyway but after an automobile accident, that fucking sucks. But it could have been way worse (laughs).
11. What is your best road experience?
- One story I remember, we were hanging out with the Sum 41 guys and Theo was doing some thing were he like pulled his balls out or something and so he was dancing around with his balls, and like pulling the curtain and he’s got these big red balls. I just remember there was a dime sitting there and I was like 15 feet away from him and I just kinda flicked it with my thumb and he was just standing there shaking his balls around and the dime flew across the room and it hit him in the balls and stuck to them. I remember just laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe and there was like no end. I wasn’t really laughing I was just in a gasp and I remember looking at Deryck [Whibley] and we had the same expression on our face and I was like fuck I’m going to faint or like die of laughing too hard because of this dime that got stuck to Theo’s balls. And that is stupid and it’s kinda horrifying (laughs) to think that guy is pulling his balls out when you’re on the road, but I mean you do what you do you know to pass the time (laughs again).
12. If you could work with anybody in the studio or on stage who would it be?
- Right now I really like LCD Soundsystem so I would fucking love to make music with that dude, James Murphy. I don’t know he is probably a pretty sought after producer right now so I don’t know. I just like the way he like marries like Punk-Rock with fuckin’ dance music and stuff and it’s awesome. Like dancy beat with… I don’t know that is one person I would like to work with in the studio. I don’t know if that’s going to happen… Playing live I don’t know I was just thinking I would like to play a song with Sloan… Those guys are rad dudes and an awesome band.
13. In 5 years where do you want to be?
- I really like where I am. Now like I am fucking living in Spanish Harlem in New York, I’m married now, and everything is awesome. I’m now super excited about the record coming out, now I love the people we are working with. So here is good… I mean it would be awesome like to put out another record by that time, that would be awesome and just touring more. I think that this last record we just toured Canada basically which is fucking weird for a Rock-and-Roll band. You know like nowadays you can like tour anywhere in the world pretty much. Like I’ve played shows in China and Bulgaria and 5 shows in Russia the last time I was there. So I want to be like off playing our music around the fucking world. So in 5 years, I mean as much as I love being here at home, I would love to be playing anywhere, the weirdest fucking place in the world. India or like Mexico or some place that you usually don’t play. You know whatever. Playing music, that’s where I want to be.
14. What are you most proud of in your life so far?
- (Sigh) A lot of people are more proud of the most successful things they have done or whatever and of course I am you know. I mean we’ve had success but I try to not like think of it that way and try to just judge what I do more by how it would make me feel. I guess what I would be most proud of is still fucking making music They say a rock band has like a 5 year life span and that’s maybe the case for most bands and I mean we’ve done that times 4 so that;s something to be proud of. So yeah… Longevity.
15. Would you rather burn out, or fade away?
- I guess as much as burning out sounds great, I mean it depends (laughs) I think I feel like fading away now. It feels like a much more comfortable thing to do.
16. What is your favourite drink?
- Seltzer water I guess most of the time and then maybe at night a beer these days. A nice craft beer.
17. Peanut Butter or Jam?
- Peanut Butter.
18. How many tattoos do you have?
19. Who is your favourite superhero?
- Kick Ass. When we were in, fuck where were we? Oshawa? Walking the street and there was a real life Kick Ass dude. Like he was walking in his fucking gear. It was like this makeshift thing and he was part of this organization (laughs). I mean they don’t call themselves vigilantes because I mean then they would be in trouble with the law. The cops would juts shut them down. But they just go around and try to keep the streets safe. There is a picture on our Instagram account, I can’t remember his name is but it was fucking awesome. But that guy is actually my real life favourite superhero (laughs).
20. Will you ever stop?
- No. I don’t really see the point in stopping. I mean it really just depends, like touring maybe like when I am super old. But I just feel like… I mean why would I ever retire from music? Like it’s the fucking best. Thing. Ever. I mean there may be a time when I’m like agh I don’t want to write songs anymore but I don’t even think that because I just… Writing songs is just a natural thing that I do. I’ll walk down the street and the fucking rhythm of my footsteps puts and idea into my head. I will always be doing that so I guess as long as the inspiration is there I’m going to keep doing it.