Today’s Feature – October 16-17: Tickle Me Pink

October 21, 2008 at 2:36 am (Today's Feature)

July 1st, 2008. The unreal dichotomy of that day will likely stay with the members of the Fort Collins based Tickle Me Pink for the rest of their lives – the day their debut album released nationally, and the day their bassist/guitarist Johnny Schou died far too early at the age of 22. Death at such a young age is tragic enough, and it certainly hasn’t been a simple task for Sean Kennedy, Stefan Runstrom and Steven Beck to continue their work as usual. To their credit, especially as such a young band, Tickle Me Pink is still doing exactly what Schou would want them to do, playing their asses off for audiences everywhere.

Enlisting the help of long-time friend Joey Barba to join them on the road as guitarist, Tickle Me Pink is now busy sharing the lyrics intensive, guitar slashing sounds of that debut full length album, a collection called “Madeline.” Judging from the content of the record, the band is used to dealing with some serious subject matter. The group says “Sometimes people hear our single (Typical) and assume that we should be lumped in with all of the other pop/punk bands, which is completely understandable. However, songs like ‘Madeline’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Ending’ deal with things like mortality and drug use; both of which we have been force to deal with on a daily basis since Johnny passed away.” They dive head first into subjects most young, emerging acts hide from; topics such as suicide, loss, and the trappings of suburbia.

Expect something different from this album – a jump back to the way alternative rock was made in the mid-90’s, when guys like Dave Grohl ruled the airwaves. Much like the bands of that time, Tickle Me Pink is hitting the road like mad men, likely performing for much of the next two years. Catch a show – they’re definitely coming out near you, wherever you are. Learn more about Tickle Me Pink in the XXQ’s below. You’ll be glad you did.

XXQs: Tickle Me Pink

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Having been involved in music for a very long time, how and when did Tickle Me Pink first form as a band? Was it an instant connection from day one?

Tickle Me Pink (TMP): Sean and I met at our high school talent show our freshmen year.  It was our history teacher who initially persuaded us to start a band.  The first time I played with Sean, I was blown away with how serious he was with his music.  I was use to jamming with a bunch of dopers on the weekend.  Needless to say, it was a welcomed change.

PEV: Hailing from Fort Collins, Colorado, what kind of music where you listening to growing up? Does the band all agree on the same tastes?

TMP: We listened to a lot of Third Eye Blind and Foo Fighters.  A lot of our song ideas/structures are derived from those two bands.  Nowadays, we’re so critical of music.  I think after being in a studio for two months, you get a little jaded to the whole songwriting process.  It really makes you appreciate bands that did all this before pro-tools.

PEV: When and where was your first live performance? How have you changed since that first one?

TMP: Our first show was at some Christian Coffee shop in Fort Collins. It was terrible, we hadn’t really practiced.  I think my sister and her boyfriend were the only attendees.  We were just like any other naive band.  We expected to get signed and sell 100,000 albums before the end of the year.  You learn real quick how hard it actually is to promote yourself. We did the whole tour thing and played locally a lot, but ultimately it was the time we spent recording our songs that really took us to the next level.

PEV: What can fans expect from your debut full length album, “Madeline”?

TMP: Madeline is an album that we really poured our heart and souls into.  I know every band says that, but Madeline is different for us because a lot of the underlying subtext hits really close to home.  Sometimes people hear our single (Typical) and assume that we should be lumped in with all of the other pop/punk bands, which is completely understandable.  However, songs like Madeline & Tomorrow’s Ending deal with things like mortality and drug use; both of which we have been force to deal with on a daily basis since Johnny passed away.

PEV: How is this album different from other music out today?

TMP: We strive to not sound like a ipod infused band.  We’re not into all that digital shit, I think that’s why we idolize bands like the Foo Fighters.  A lot of older people have often told us how our band is “a breath of fresh air”, and that we have a “unique” sound.

PEV: When you sit down to write music, what kind of environment do your surround yourselves in?

TMP: We really don’t have a songwriting “process”, we just kind of write when the inspiration is there. Obviously we’re not inspired when we’re in a room full of people.  Coffee usually helps.

PEV: What is your take on the current mainstream music scene today?

TMP: Seeing as we are a part of the “mainstream music scene”, It’s hard to say anything about it.  We have a very distorted view of things. There are a lot of really good bands out there, and there are a lot of really not-so-good bands.  Sometimes I’m completely blown away by bands that go platinum, and sometimes I can’t even fathom how these amazing bands aren’t signed. It’s a very fickle industry.

PEV: How has your musical styling changed since your first years in music or over the years?

TMP: A lot of earlier songs were really self-indulgent and didn’t really go anywhere.  It’s a lot easier to write fifty bad songs than it is to write one solid tune.  We really strive to sift through the dirt and find that one really good song.

PEV: Tell us about the first time you stepped into a recording studio as a band. What was going through your head?

TMP: I think we were scared shitless.  It’s very overwhelming – and expensive… We had saved up money and all went in 25% on a four song EP.  We put a lot of stress on one another to make a really good EP… Ultimately, it came out pretty good. I don’t think we sold more than a hundred copies though.
PEV: Constantly performing and playing on this year’s Warped Tour, and hitting 40 cities across the US what is “road life” like for you? What are the best and worst parts?

TMP: Being on the road is like a fantasy world… I never really know what day of the week it is, or what city we’re in. Thankfully I’m not a tour manager.  You really get use to it, and it just becomes your everyday life.

PEV: In all your travels and having lived overseas, which city (International or US) do you think offers the best music scene?

TMP: Any place we go pales in comparison to our hometown. There have been very memorable shows in a number of small towns around the US, but our home base is unbeatable.

PEV: Who is currently in your CD player or on your iPod right now?

TMP: Hmmm… Finch.  We’re on tour with them, so we’re constantly reminded how fucking good they are.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band that you think we should all be listening to?

TMP: There’s this solo guy named Ryan Lindsey.  I heard him awhile ago, and our whole band really likes him.

PEV: Having played with several elite artists in the business who would you wish to collaborate with that you have not had a chance to yet?

TMP: Dio.

PEV: What do your friends and family think about your musical career?

TMP: Our parents are hands down the most supportive people involved in this whole endeavor. They come out to every local show and have even been known to fly to other states to see us. They are more rock stars than we are.

PEV: What has been the most memorable part of your career so far? Why?

TMP: Getting signed was pretty memorable for all of us. It was such a relief to finally have that weight lifted off our shoulders. It seems like a practical joke, like none of this is really happening. Needless to say, we are extremely lucky to be in such a favorable position.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Tickle Me Pink?

TMP: We’re not vegan’s… Surprise!

PEV: Where do you think Tickle Me Pink will be in 20 years?

TMP: Playing wedding gigs.

PEV: What one word best describes Tickle Me Pink?

TMP: Burger

PEV: So, what is next for Tickle Me Pink?

TMP: Lots and lots of touring…. We will hopefully be on the road for a good portion of the next 2 years. We have an album to promote so it’s become our goal to see this thing through to the end.

For more information on Tickle Me Pink, check out: www.ticklemepinkrock.com

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