Turbo Fruits, a garage rock band from Nashville will be in melting faces off in Philadelphia tonight. That Mag’s Ashley McAteer spoke with the band member Jonas Stein (formerly of another Nashville band, Be Your Own Pet) about stories you should never tell your grand kids and other valid information you probably didn’t know about this quartet. It’s not too late to head downtown for the show at Union Transfer. Deer Tick, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and Lucero will also be there. All ages. $20-$22.
AM: I’m sure everyone is interested in where the name “Turbo Fruits” came from. Is there a story behind the name?
JS: I was on tour with my old band, Be Your Own Pet, in Scotland and I was gambling on a slot machine at this venue we were playing at. The machine was fruit themed and I hit the jackpot. The lights lit up and said “Turbo Fruit” So I put an “s” on the end and called it my new band! That was in winter of ’05.
AM: You guys had some music featured in the movie “Whip It.” How did that opportunity come about?
JS: I got a random email from my friend Jason Wilkins who runs Soundland Festival in Nashville. He told me some indie movie was looking for a rock band to be used in the film. Not knowing what it was or who was involved I blindly said yes. I sent him some music to give the film folks. Next email I get my friend Jason apologizes for being so vague and explains to me the significance of this “indie” film. We were submitted as 1 of 20 other bands. I realized it was a long shot. One week later I get a call from our manager and he tells me that Drew (Barrymore) handpicked us out of the bunch. We got to record some songs with Jim Diamond in Detroit for the film and I got to say a line in a 7 million dollar movie. One hell of a week that was.
AM: Your website says the band has “accumulated the kind of stories you would never, ever tell your grand kids.” Can we have an example of some of the crazy things you have been through while touring?
JS: I’ll tell you one. We were in Columbia, MO partying after hours at our friend Josh’s place and Dave (our bass player) passed out on the couch only to wake up to a 150lb great date humping him. It’s actually on You Tube. Check it out. “Turbo Fruits Great Dane,” I think that should get you there.
AM: How does a typical day on tour usually go?
JS: Wake up pissed off at each other, smoke a joint, laugh a bit, sit in the van for a long time, get to the venue and wait. Then we try to melt faces. Then we let the party take us into the mysterious night. Ya never know what’s gonna happen.
AM: How is your time off from touring spent?
JS: Writing, recording. partying, riding motorcycles, canoeing, craw fish boils, etc.
AM: Be Your Own Pet comparisons are inevitable, what would you say really separates your sound from Be your Own Pet and makes it conspicuous to fans?
JS: Be Your Own Pet was 90% balls to the wall. Turbo Fruits is 75% balls to the wall. That leaves a bit more breathing room for more dynamic songs
AM: How did the idea for the record label Turbo Time Records come about?
JS: I wasn’t getting any love from Fat Possum Records and I wanted to release several singles until we were ready for a full length. So I started doing singles for Turbo Fruits and Pujol at first. It was a great way to keep some momentum going while we were between full length albums. The label has already built up some great clientele and I’m really happy to have all the support we’re getting.
AM: Have you found any new bands that have interested you enough to work on putting out their album on the label?
JS: Fox Fun, a two-piece bands made of 16-year-olds out of Nashville. They have a single coming out soon.
AM: You guys just released “Sweet Thang” and I must say the lollipop vinyl is really rad. How do you think Turbo Fruits have shown a progression musically through this album from previous album?
JS: The best thing I can think of is that we’ll gain a lot of new fans while maintaining the ones we’ve had forever. And maybe our moms could get down with a song or two.