San Francisco’s only rock and roll beer festival, The Bay Brewed, is back for a fourth year of pairing outstanding local beer and local music! Taking place at The Chapel on March 29, 2015, this year’s festival offers performances by four great San Francisco Bay Area bands and unlimited tastings from eleven San Francisco breweries all day long thanks to the SF Brewers Guild.
Today, we’re talking with Jeremy Lyon and Rob Fidel of Tumbleweed Wanderers about local beer, touring, and busking, (which helped them develop their early sound). Their new sound is more rock-oriented than their earlier work, and as you can see from the video for their brand new track “Bad Blood”, they put can their new found fuzz to good use.
The Bay Bridged: Which brewer’s beers are you most looking forward to sampling at The Bay Brewed?
Jeremy Lyon: Fort Point’s Westfalia Red Ale is my favorite beer at the moment. It’s really smooth, malty, and refreshing so I’m looking forward to tasting some more of their beers. I’m also a big fan of Magnolia. They have a great spot on Haight St. and our buddy is a bartender there, so I’ll definitely be checking out what they’ve got.
TBB: When you’re on tour, which Bay Area beer do you miss most?
Rob Fidel: We have a great friendship and taste for Lagunitas and are super proud to be included in their crew. They support us and fill our bellies with more beer than we can handle. The great thing about Lagunitas is that they provide us with beer that we can take on the road so we don’t have to feel too home sick.
TBB: What’s your favorite recent song or album from a Bay Area artist, and why?
JL: I’ve been obsessed with this song “Yeah, That” by Battlehooch. You’ve got to see the music video so I’m throwing in a link to it here. The song coupled with the video makes for quite an epic otherworldly little trip. Their last album Hot Lungs is great as is their new EP Wink. The performances have a lot of energy, the arrangements are tight, and the production gets spacey and trippy without losing the raw “band in the room” vibe.
TBB: How did the massive amounts of touring have an effect on your songwriting for Realize?
RF: Most of these songs were written entirely while touring over the past year or so. We almost titled the album Lower 48 because of how much road life had inspired this album. Most bands say that it is difficult for them to write while touring but I find it to be the complete opposite. I feel much more distracted at home and find it harder to set aside time to sit down and write.
TBB: What’s the best lesson you can share from touring coast-to-coast?
JL: Be social, because there are good people everywhere. Stay with friends whenever and wherever possible. Hang out at your merch table after the set. If someone at the gig seems chill and offers you a couch to crash on, go for it. You’ll build friendships around the country that way and end up with better stories than if you just hang out in green rooms and stay in motels.
If you’re not in a band, I’d say be in the front row at shows. The band always sounds better in the front. You’ll have more fun, and the band will play better than if there’s some awkward gap between them and the audience. This isn’t a middle school slow dance, so don’t leave room for Jesus.
TBB: Do you guys busk any more? Favorite busking spot in the Bay Area?
RF: It has been quite a while since we have busked. Before it was easier to translate our songs to a busking set up because they had more of a folk element to them. With our new album we are more focused on being a rock n roll band with fuzz guitars and synthesizers. Also after so much touring we really value our time at home to see our friends and family so that cuts into our busking opportunities. Our niche was busking outside of shows. We had many great nights playing outside of the Greek and the Fox and although we’ve scaled back on the busking these days, we’ll still whip out the old trash can and tambourine after a good show from time to time.