Category Archives: Interview

Stompbox Bassist Tells His Story

One of the cool things about having a blog site is just the total randomness.  I posted a blog a couple weeks ago about post-hardcore now defunct band Stompbox in my new Times Of Yore posts.

Apparently one of the former band members happened to come across my post and shot me an email asking if I wanted some elaboration on what really happened.  The band member was Patrick, the former bassist of Stompbox.

Well of course I did.  So I interviewed him…

I sent him back an email asking what really happened to the band and what he and the rest of the band members were up to these days.  Here are his responses collectively as I’ve mixed up the few emails we exchanged and categorized them with Patrick’s approval of course.

Stompbox Flyer - Vintage!!!
Stompbox Flyer - Vintage!!!

The reason Stompbox called it quits, what happened to the lead singer Erich, and what direction did the band members took:

The reason Erich left the band is that we asked him to. There are/were rumors flying around that drugs had a lot to do with our breakup, but that’s all blown way out of proportion.  Sure, Erich was doing drugs, (as were most of the rest of us) but it didn’t bother any of us much.  Erich was (and still is) kind of a dick. By “kind of a dick” I mean a real a–hole. In addition to that, he was… …uh, let’s just say he was an inconsistent singer.  When he was on, he was great, but a lot of times he was off. Way off. There’s some live recordings that Jeff has that are just brutal.  Also, we had some very fundamental differences in what we wanted to do musically.

Erich was in favor (and in hindsight, he was probably right) of “giving the people what they want”. All the kids that came to our shows really wanted the “big riff” so they could get sick in the pit and hurt each other, and (except for the part about hurting each other…we were very “Fugazi” about that and stopped a lot of shows when fights broke out etc…) he (Erich) was perfectly happy with that.

The rest of us wanted to be “artists” and “express ourselves musically”.  Again, hindsight (or maybe cynicism) tells me that we were probably foolish.

So, we gave him the boot and changed the name of the band to Slower.  We wrote a bunch of new tunes and did a couple more tours.  We added a second bass player (Mikey Welch, who later was in Weezer for an album) and I took over vocals.  I wish I had some good recordings of that band, but there just isn’t much around.  I’ve got some abysmal recordings from a show we did in Seattle, but it was straight off the board, so pretty much all you can hear is the drums and vocals.  It’s brutally bad.  There’s a tape from a live radio show that I have, but it’s in pretty crappy condition, much of it is all garbled up.  Zephan’s ex-girlfriend supposedly has a ton of live Slower video, but they didn’t exactly break up on very good terms.  I guess when your boyfriend breaks up with you by telling you he married somebody else, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Go figure.  Zephan is a phenomenal drummer, but he’s a bit on the self centered side!

We did one tour billed as Stompbox still, and used that to introduce the “new sound” to people who were into Stompbox.  Some people liked it more, some liked in less.  (On one of those tours we played with Jesus Lizard at Peabody’s in Cleveland…David Yow drank me under the table and then went out and played their show. I guess he’s got what’s called an “iron constitution”…Ha! I was so tanked I had to pass out in our van after about two Jesus Lizard songs. Good times!)

After those two tours, we just sort of imploded.

Zephan and Mikey Welch [went on to] play with Juliana Hatfield on her attempt at rocking out called “Juliana’s Pony”.   Jeff is [currently] the musical director for the Blue Man Group in NYC now.

Jeff and Zeph were also in a band called Milligram for a while. The CD called This is Class War is absolutely amazing if you can find it.  [Milligram] had Jonah the singer from Only Living Witness and Darryl from Slapshot/Roadsaw playing guitar. That cd is so good it STILL makes me jealous!  You can download the whole Milligram album This is Class War for free, which is a pretty sweet deal! That website has that whole album, plus the EP they did AND a bunch of punk rock covers.

I was in another band for a while called Placer.  Noisy arty stuff.  We did one CD called Summer on Dopamine Records, a teeny indie label out of Boston.  You can find the Placer album on iTunes.  Even if you don’t want to buy it, you can hear little samples of the songs. I played steel guitar in that band. Oddly enough, when I quit that band, Jeff (guitarist of Stompbox) too over my spot on steel.

If you want to hear what Slower sounded like, Jeff’s got a homemade video up on YouTube.  The sound is from a radio show we did, and you get to hear me totally flub the second line of the song.  Slower was in many ways the opposite of Stompbox.  Stompbox was music that made us laugh with words that were brooding and self indulgent, while Slower was words that made us laugh with music that was self indulgent!  Jeff also did a pretty cool video for “Jake Song” with the original demo track we did. It [can be found] on YouTube too.

These days Erich’s living in Los Angeles. I don’t really know what he’s doing for sure, I think he runs sound in clubs.

I had pretty much dropped out of the music biz after Slower dissolved. I decided that maybe it would be fun to find out what it was like to have money to live on. As it turns out, it’s pretty cool!

I live in Toledo now, and am a stay at home dad. In fact, until about a year ago, we were living in Lakewood, not too far from were you are, I guess.  I used to go to My Minds Eye a lot.  Cool record store.  Bent Crayon too.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Cleveland in general, but I REALLY liked Lakewood. In fact I kind of miss it, which I didn’t think I would when we moved.

The real story about the departure from the record label:

The deal with Columbia was that our A&R person left and went to Maverick. That left us at Columbia with nobody who really cared much about us, so we were sort of in limbo.  Finally, we asked them (Columbia) if they’d let us (Stompbox) go with no strings attached, and they said “Sure!”  Mary (the A&R person from Columbia who went to Maverick) wanted us to come over to Maverick with her, but this was all happening at the same time as we were getting ready to kick Erich out of the band.  After we booted him, she kind of took it personally and said “Oh, well f— you too” and signed the Deftones. (as it turns out, that was a good move…in fact, I still have to say that they were a pretty cool band. I don’t know if they are STILL a cool band, cause that sort of thing can change over time…)

Thoughts about the unofficial Stompbox MySpace Page:

That MySpace thing is pretty funny. I don’t know who started it, but it’s pretty crazy that so many people even remember us.  On the list of Stompbox’s friends, we (the individual former members of the band) are the top four friends. It makes me feel important. (har har)

Videos:

So there you have it.  That was a greatly appreciated dose of information from the source itself.  Patrick, props to you for offering to tell your side of the story.

Trever Keith vs. Me – An interview with Face To Face front man Trever Keith

Any fan of punk rock music has probably heard of a certain SoCal punk rock band called Face To Face. Formed by Trever Keith in 1991 the band gained commercial success with their ideal punk rock style and soon achieved commercial success. Trever Keith was the only original member to stick through the good times and bad times and sadly the band decided to call it quits in 2003

With the decision to go their separate ways Trever Keith did not stop there. He continued on with his passion for music and started recording solo material as well as maintained his own record label. On top of that he worked on other band projects including Legion Of Doom, a mash-up project of out of this world proportions. He is without a doubt one of the busiest punk rockers out there and it not willing to call it quits anytime soon.

Recently I learned that Face To Face had reunited for a small tour and possibly more. I decided to get in touch with Trever Keith to ask him some questions of his past, present, and future. Trever Keith was more than happy to take time out of his busy day and answer some questions for me.

Trever Keith
Trever Keith

B:  So I guess my first question would have to be what finally prompted Face To Face (F2F) to reunite for a few tours? I remember reading an interview a while back that you did not think it was going to happen.

TK:  Scott [Shiflett] and I missed it and the offers started getting a lot more interesting.

Any specific offers in general?

Bamboozle 08 in Los Angeles was the clincher.

Who is all playing alongside you when you tour?

Scott of course. Sometimes Chad Yaro (depending on his availability, LA area shows are the most likely) and Danny Thompson on drums.

Any chance of expanding the tour? I see that F2F is playing some shows in California in November as well as a few select dates overseas in 2009.

As long as there is an interest from fans, we will be back out playing shows. We’re not looking at being back out on the road full time for F2F, but we are definitely planning some more stuff for 2009. We’ll just see how it goes.

Does this reunion tour mean there is a possibility that F2F might be back to record new material?

I suppose there is a remote chance. Although there are no plans.

Any real reason why F2F ultimately called it quits?

A desire to try some other projects and a sense that we had really run our course as a band. We didn’t want to overstay our welcome. But the fans have proved that the reality of that is completely the opposite. So we’re back as long as there is a demand.

Trever Keith
Trever Keith

Enough about F2F, let’s talk about you and your continuing vision with music. Even after the band departed you continued forward. You released a solo album on your own record label. Can you tell me a little bit about both?

I have a label called Antagonist. I had an indie distribution deal that was a complete disaster. I’m out of it now. My plans for Antagonist are sort of changing with the landscape, but I at least know it’s a place for me to release my own music in the future.

My debut solo record was in limited release but is currently not available. I had initially had it available for download for $5.00 on my website and I pressed up about 1,000 limited edition CDs for sale only at shows.

These were things I wanted to do for the core fans. I am looking at an “official” release for early/mid 2009.

Will your “official” solo release be under your label or has anyone else shown interest is having it on their label?

There is interest, but it will be an Antagonist release regardless of whether I’m involved with another label or not.

You toured in support of your solo release. How were the shows you played at? Were there a lot of old school punkers there checking you out? Were a lot of people asking about the band you used to front?

Most of the shows were amazing. They were small sized clubs. Some were better attended than others but most of the time that really didn’t matter. The people that came were so cool. I made a point of hanging out a bit after every show and it was really something special. Many of these people are F2F fans but also really appreciated the work I am doing on my own and that was really the point of this small club tour; to really just get out there for the die hard fans and get the music to them first. Now my challenge is spreading it to a bigger audience.

Any plans for a second solo release?

Sure but give me a chance to promote this one properly first!

Face To Face
Face To Face

What is Viva Death all about?

It was a project that Scott and I thought up about 5 years ago. The first record was really a joint effort but on the second record it started to become more of Scott’s thing. He is just now finishing up the third Viva Death record which from what I’ve heard so far is amazing. He played all of the instruments on this one, even drums. It’s really a testament to what an amazing musician Scott is. You can check out his MySpace for more info. www.myspace.com/vivadeathmusic

I have read about a possible other project in the works as well called Pablum? Not much is known about them. Anything you might like to share?

Pablum is just an early name for my solo effort. I decided to go with my own name for simplicity.

How did you become involved with mashing up songs in Legion Of Doom?

Chad Blinman is a longtime friend. I sort of convinced him to start this mash-up thing while him and I had some downtime. We really started digging in and get hooked into the project. We decided to give ourselves a name and some soundtrack and remix work followed. It’s a project that is an amazing creative outlet for us that is unlike anything else we’re involved in. It’s something I look forward to doing for a long time. There are many ideas in the works for Legion of Doom.

Where did the idea come from to do such a thing, mash up emo/punk songs and even add a little hip-hop action? I admit the first time I heard it I was hooked?

Well I’d be lying if I said it was all my idea. I was doing some work with Darren Doane at the time and we always had this knack for discussing all sorts of crazy ideas for projects and stuff. He had this idea to do DJ style mash-ups of emo/hardcore bands. Since he’s in film and music videos he didn’t really have the know how to pull off such an idea so I ran with it.

The CD Incorporated is out of print and pretty much impossible to find. Do you think you would ever consider re-releasing it?

Face To Face is back...but for how long???
Face To Face might just be touring at a city near you.

We don’t have the permission from labels or publishers to release the CD, so probably not. Come to think of it, who made those first CDs anyway?

So you had nothing to do with the CD being released or do you have no comment? Haha.

No comment.

What is your favorite mash-up so far that you have helped create? I personally love the Coheed vs. Senses Fail mash-up called “Devil In A Blue Dress”. It seems like the two songs were meant to be mashed.

Destroy All Vampires [My Chemical Romance vs. A Static Lullaby mash-up]

Just curious on how Cleveland artist Derek Hess was recruited to draw up the cover for the CD?

That was another Darren Doane connection. I met Derek through Darren.

A couple of the Legion Of Doom songs were featured in movies such as Saw II and Resident Evil: Extinction. Any plans on having more mixes pop up in future movies?

I’d love to. Nothing confirmed at the moment. The last thing we did for a film is a placement in the movie Pathology which just came out on DVD.

Eyes Front is a movie released on Antagonist Films. Any relation to your own Antagonist Records Label? What all did you contribute to the film? Is this just the beginning of you working a little more in depth with a movie?

Antagonist Films is the same company as Antagonist Records. The Legion of Doom did all of the original music for the film and I was a producer on the film. I would love to do more work in film, but I’m not currently involved in any projects at the moment.

How did you land the role of producing the movie (Eyes Front)? Have you had previous experience producing film?

Again Darren Doane was the one who got me involved with the film. I have had no previous experience.

Speaking of movies it seems like you take samples from older movies and add them to the mix, how do you come across some of those?

There are websites with such material. Just gotta know where to look.

Have you seen any of the fan made videos of Legion Of Doom mash-ups on YouTube? What do you think about your fans creating them?

One of the most satisfying things about creating something is knowing that people really get it. Seeing those music videos to me is proof that people out there are really getting what we’re doing and they’re taking it up a level by adding their own creativity. It’s a humbling experience.

What is next for Legion Of Doom? Would you/have you considered touring? Will there be another CD released?

We’re getting ready to release an entire album of new original material.

When you look at all that you have accomplished musically, how does that make you feel? Any advise to share with anyone looking to be successful in a musical career whether it be creating or remixing?

I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I feel lucky to have had some success and I am proud of the body of work I have created. And on the other hand I want to achieve more both as an artist and performer. The only advice I could give is you have to be relentless.

What’s next for Trever Keith?

World domination.

The Legion Of Doom
The Legion Of Doom

Look for Trever Keith’s official release of his solo album in early/mid 2009. For more information about what cities Face To Face is touring or to check out all the projects Trever Keith is currently involved in check out the following links:

www.facetofacemusic.com www.treverkeith.com www.the-legion-of-doom.com

Interview: Derek Hess

One of my goals this year was to have an article I did featured in a magazine.  I achieved that goal earlier this year with help from Cleveland artist Derek Hess.  He was kind enough to answer some questions and the article first appeared on DeviantNation.com (NSFW 18+).  To my surprise I submitted the article to a music magazine and it appeared in a June 2008 issue of Hails And Horns.  I was thrilled to have the article take up three pages of a metal magazine that was in color.  The issue is now a back issue now but I am sure you can grab a copy on Interpunk.com.

I thought I would post it here for anyone interested:

Derek Hess print "Burnt Out"
Derek Hess "Burned Out"

Derek Hess is one hell of an artist.  Throughout the years, this pro-Cleveland resident has created some memorable works of drawings, CD cover art, and even concert fliers that have art collectors going mad.  His work is commonly known through the music and tattoo scene and is even featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Louvre in Paris.

The easiest way to describe his art is to see it for yourself with help from the Derek Hess website.  His art is a little dark and a little ingenious.  Some works are dark lines morphed into faceless humans holding bleeding hearts while others show more empathy and detail.

Many bands have had the privilege to have Derek Hess’ art grace the covers of their CDs.  His  art showcases have traveled the globe entertaining many.  There really is not anyone quite like him.

Not only has he has great success with his drawing abilities but Derek Hess also launched the successful clothing line Sthress Clothing and even helped formulate the Sthress Fest music festival.

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Derek Hess.  He was more than kind to answer some questions I have been pondering over for quite some time.


Derek Hess "Noose Proof"
Derek Hess "Noose Halo"

First and foremost, I am just curious how you got your start as an artist.

I booked a club here in Cleveland [called] the Euclid tavern from 1989 through 1995.  At the same time I was studying printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  Since the shows were my responsibility, I started making fliers to promote them, which then became prints.  The two came together beautifully, the union of two of my favorite things, music and art.

Do you have any artist influences that helped motivate you?

My father, Heinrich Kley, and Gil Kane all were big influences on my art.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?  Were you into the music scene as a kid in Cleveland?

Metal.  I was born in 1964, so when I turned 13 it was the big three: Kiss, Queen, and Aerosmith  (only up to draw the line), which then lead to Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, UFO, Judas Priest, AC/DC, [Led] Zeppelin, etc…  I was into the scene here when I got a little older, mostly the metal scene, then in the mid-eighties there was an awesome crossover scene where the metal kids and the hardcore kids would attend both shows.  One night I might be at a Voivod or Raven show, and then the next night Circle Jerks or the Dead Kennedy’s.

I remember when I was a kid seeing your concert flyers of your work posted all over the concert venues and coffee shops (Arabica coffee house in Coventry).  Most notably Cop Shoot Cop and Helmet stick out the most to me when I think back.  How were you able to create these posters for these now classic artists?

Those were shows I booked at the euc [Euclid Tavern].

When did the concert flyers become less of an advertisement and more of an art?  How did this come to be?

It [fliers] happened in the 60’s with the psychedelic posters.  The counter culture at the time was just that, counter the culture, so they made the poster works of art to go against the gain of strict graphics.

You seemed to have kept a low key for a while and soon your artwork exploded all over the music and art scene.  Can you tell me a particular piece you drew that possibly gained you a lot of attention?

I guess there were several things, a story in Newsweek in the early 90’s, the Louvre [in France] requesting a body of my work around the same time, the grand opening concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame poster, and the two Converge CD cover[s] are a few that come to mind.

Speaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Louvre in Paris, some of your artwork is showcased at both locations.  How does it feel to have your work on display at these two impressive museums?

Well, very honored and lucky.

Seriously, what has kept you in Cleveland all these years?  Seems to me when people get big in this area they usually pack up and leave.

I’m pro Cleveland.  The people here are real, most tours stop here, and the Browns have no logo on their helmets.  They play on natural turf in an open air stadium on the shores of Lake Erie in the elements as it should be.  I’ve been to many places, but nowhere else I’d like to live, except Germany, Switzerland, Detroit, and Omaha.

Derek Hess "Hemorrhage"
Derek Hess "Hemorrhage"

One thing I have always admired about you is your prices for your work seem to be affordable.  I have been to recent shows and have purchased posters for a mere $15.  Friends of mine have gotten actual prints for less than $300.   Not that I am complaining, but why do you sell your work for so cheap?

I feel art should be available to the masses.  Not everyone has the money to purchase big ticket items but they still want a piece of art.  Prints only cost so much to produce and artist that charge huge prices for prints and posters are being unfair to the buyer.

Your art has also become a staple in the tattoo community.  How does it feel to have your artwork become a permanent piece on someone’s body?

Extremely flattering.

Speaking of flattering, you were voted one of Cleveland’s sexiest men of 2007.  Any thoughts on that?

Yeah, must have been slim pickings last year.

Your clothing line Strhess is amazing and I see a lot of people including myself sporting it.  How did the idea for a clothing line come about?  How does it feel to run into someone on the street wearing your art?

We realized not everyone could afford $200 for a print or even $50 for a print so we wanted to develop something that was in a price range that everyone could afford.  It always feels good to see someone wearing Strhess [clothing], but at the same time I can’t… like… it’s a little weird…ha ha.

You helped illustrate some comic books in the past.  Can you give me a little incite of how that came to be?

I’ve only done three covers for Captain America which was a huge honor since he’s been my all time favorite [super hero].  They [Marvel] came to me about the job which was really cool.  Apparently one of the Marvel guys saw an interview I did in a tattoo magazine and they showed one of my cap [Captain America] tattoos, so he hit me up.

Aside from creating prints and shirts you also have drawn out CD covers for bands.  What are some of your favorites?  I myself dig the Converge cover you did.

Yeah, I like that Converge one too.  The first Murder Your Darlings from 2005 [is another].  I’m pretty happy with the In Flames one too.

Derek Hess Flyer
Derek Hess "Clutch Flyer"

Do you still do artwork for any bands?  Can you tell me who you may have recently worked with?

Yeah, but I really haven’t been doing posters much anymore.  I’m working on a CD cover right now for Since Yesterday, they’re a hardcore band from Turkey.

You actually had some of your artwork banned by Wal-Mart.  I believe it was the Methods Of Mayhem CD cover art?  How was it working with Tommy Lee?

It was very cool, and Tommy was the easiest client to work for.   Everything I sent him he was all about [with] no changes.  They [Tommy and crew] were “off the hook, go with it”.

You seem to surround yourself around the emo, hardcore, indie scene.  What is it about those genres of music you like so much?

Well, it’s fresh (or was when it started).   The content of the music is solid, as is the presentation.

What was it like to be on LA Ink?  Did you see more people checking out your website after that episode premiered?

It was cool.  I was a little weirded out having my shirt off for the country to see….maybe I’ll get some modeling jobs out of it 😉  The web site did get a ton of hits the night it aired and the MySpace page got like 600 new friend requests.  TV is good.

Photo by
Photo by Eric Mull for ClevelandMagazine.Com

You have a lot of art shows worldwide these days at various galleries, where was your first overseas show and how did it turn out?


May of 1999 in Hamburg, and it was great.  I’ve always done well in Germany.  You can check out all shows, past, present, and future in chronological order in my exhibits page (off of my news page) on www.derekhess.com.

What is next for Derek Hess?

We have several books in the works, and [will] continue to do the gallery shows.

If someone has never heard of you, Derek Hess before, how would you describe your artwork to them?

Overrated.

For more info on Derek Hess visit www.derekhess.com

For more info on the new Derek Hess book or to order it visit StrhessPress.Com

Interview: Shanti Wintergate & Gregory Attonito

It is not often you hear about couple who happen to both be musicians/artist create a book together. I Went For A Walk is a children’s story book full of great illustrations by one of the cutest couples ever, Shanti Wintergate and Bouncing Souls lead singer Gregory Attonito. The book digs deep into your imagination and takes you on a wild journey for both kids and adults of all ages.

Recently I was able to interview the punk rock couple about the book via email and they were more than happy to reply to me. I asked a few questions pertaining to the book as well as personal life inquiries.

Shanti & Greg
Shanti & Greg

Musicians have done a lot of projects on the side but writing children’s books is not something you hear about a lot. Did you two ever think that you would be creating a children’s book?

Greg: I don’t think we talked about it at all before Shanti wrote the story but we always enjoy exploring creative things together. It was just a matter of what might take off for us. We make short films, have comedy skit ideas and write songs together all the time.

I am curious as Google only allows me to find so much — do you guys have children of your own? How long have the two of you been married?

Greg: We have been married for six years and we have no children.

I Went For A Walk is a great story that intrigues the imagination. Is this story about anyone in particular?

Greg: That’s a good question! In my perception the story is about all of us and it’s for all of us. You, the reader, are on the journey as you turn the pages of the book.

Do you guys have certain parts of the book that you like the most?

Greg: The part where the character is picked up in a cloud of dust and ends up shrinking down to the size of a tiny little atom. From this vantage point we see another amazing universe to explore just inside the space of a tiny little atom. I love the way that part shifts my perception and the way I see the world. It helps me remember there is so much that makes up the tiniest little thing.

Shanti: I love so many parts of the book but I think my favorite is waking up from what might be a dream and pancakes are waiting for you! Maybe it’s just because I’m really hungry right now.

Shanti, when you wrote the first bit of this story did you anticipate it turning into a children’s book? Did it take very long for the entire story to be written?

Shanti: As soon as the first few lines were written, some part of me knew it was going to turn into something more. Thinking back now, after those first few lines were written I remember looking at them and thinking, “This would be a fun children’s book!” It only took a few more weeks for the story to be “mostly” completed. I say “mostly” because I continued making slight adjustments throughout and up until the project was sent to press.

Greg, can you tell me how you came up with some of the illustrations for the book? I heard you like to draw a lot on the road. What did you use to draw them? Were the illustrations created before the novel or after Shanti told you she was writing the book?

Greg: Shanti wrote the story first and I brought it with me on tour, along with a sketchpad and a bag full of paint pens. I used paint pens and markers but mostly paint pens because I love the bright colors and the convenience of them. Some visual pictures came into my mind and translated to the page very easily and some did not. There are a lot of pages of art that did not make the book. Developing a look and a style to the book took a lot of trial and error for me. I’ve learned so much.

Your slogan is “Creating Something From Nothing Since 1997.” Can you tell me why you came up with this slogan?

Greg: Shanti and I have known each other since ’97 so you could say that was the start of our creative collaboration together. We came up with the slogan to go with our company name “Hollywood Jersey.” It can be pretty fun to see one of your ideas come to life and bring some positive energy into the world. We are celebrating and exercising our ability to manifest love and all the rad stuff that comes with it. We created this book by using our love and our minds, two things that aren’t necessarily tangible — essentially “nothing”

Making something from nothing is definitely our favorite pastime.

On average how much time do the two of you get to spend together during the year?

Greg: In the past six years the Bouncing Souls have been on tour for six to ten months out of every year, give or take. There has been some pretty long stretches of time apart. Last year I was away from home for 250 days. Long time.

You have been touring together a lot in support of the book. How are the readings going? To my understanding Shanti reads while Greg plays acoustic music. Is that correct?

Greg: The readings have been a blast. The kindergarten kids are so much fun because they have no social filters. They just say what they are thinking and share their feelings. We have had some amazing off the wall comments during our readings. For example: Shanti asked a class if they understood what the future is. One of the responses was, “It’s where cars fly.” I love that. Shanti and I have been trading off with the reading but she ends up reading most of the story. We both stop to talk to the kids and ask them questions during the reading. The music comes after the reading and we both play acoustic guitars and sing new children’s songs that we’ve written.

When was the last time the two of you toured together? I imagine that this tour is a lot less stressful than that of a punk rock tour.

Greg: Shanti was on the Warped tour for a month in 2006. I was on with the Souls so it was great to be together for that time. I even had the opportunity to play guitar in her band. Yes it is less stressful than a punk rock tour. It’s a lot simpler.

Have you two ever thought of putting out an album together? How about a children’s album?

Greg: Yes! We have loads of ideas for all kinds of music! We have a handful of children’s songs that we will probably start recording in the next few months. Everybody who heard the songs on our tour wanted to know where to get the CD, so we better get busy. We have a great numbers song!

What plans do the two of you have once you are finished touring? Can we expect to see another adventure by the both of you?

Greg: Yes. We a have a few more book ideas already and we want to start printing up bilingual versions of I Went For A Walk. There is always another adventure around the corner.

You two seem to have a lot of love and happiness in your relationship. Any tips for the rest of us?

Greg: Well you have to like being together. It sounds kind of silly but I don’t know if some couples do sometimes. Honest communication about everything! We always have to look into ourselves and be honest about what we really want out of a situation and go from there. Without that real honesty issues will arise. Through love and honest communication we can all achieve things that seem really difficult and maybe even have a good time with each other along the way.

Shanti: I couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh and of course… I’m always right! Wait, I will add one more thing — don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is hard no matter how you slice it, so appreciate what’s good about living, loving and laughing.

I Went For A Walk is available for purchase on their Myspace page. You can also check it out now via a narrated video of the book: