Whalebones are strong representatives of the garage/blues rock scene in the city of Seattle. In their back pocket, they keep drummer Faustine Hudson, who might not only be the best female drummer in Seattle, but she’s pretty much the best female drummer I’ve EVER seen.
I had hoped to catch up with Hudson to pick her brain about banging on the drum kit for Whalebones, but unfortunately she didn’t make the trip to Bumbershoot with her band mates as she is out of town on another music adventure. My luck had not run out however as lead singer/guitarist Justin Deary was happy to chat. The sounds of SOL near by were a little too loud, so we crawled into the beaten and battered Whalebones van to talk for a little while, giving Deary the ability to keep re-filling his cup with his bottle of wine.
Randomville: With Faustine out, who is the drummer working with you today?
Justin Deary: We’ve worked with him before, his name is Mason Lowe.
Rv: “City No More” is pretty much my favorite song of yours. Did you write that completely on your own?
JD: I did.
Rv: Where did that come from?
JD: Uh, Seattle in the Winter time can be a tough place, so that song is exploring feelings of depression. I guess I just saw a lot of friends having a hard time and it’s not just a rant against the city, but also things that go with city life.
Rv: So this one you wrote from personal experience. Do you create stories too?
JD: Yeah, I do both.
Rv: Which are better, your personal stories or the ones that you made up?
JD: Usually the personal.
Rv: What are some of your favorites?
JD: Oh geez. I really like “Love is a Desert” quite a bit. I like “Sister.” Sometimes what’s fun to play vs. what is the best well written don’t always mash.
Rv: Are you still working a day job?
JD: Oh yeah. I’m doing plumbing right now. Carpentry, kind of general, handy man kind of stuff.
Rv: How close do you think you are to no more day jobs?
JD: Oh, that’s not really (long pause), if that happens, it’s great. There are bands that are much bigger than us that once they stop touring, the money runs out. You have to be on the road a lot to make money and record sales don’t really bring in enough money.
Rv: Is it difficult to get time off of work to do tour?
JD: Oh, no. Our record (Self Titled) just came out and we have a West Coast tour coming up in October with Gold Leaves and Case Studies, two local bands we like a lot. I mean yeah, touring is a great way to lose money. It’s a lot of fun, but gas is really expensive. The older you get, the less fun it is to have to pay to play. I mean it’s like over $100 to drive to Portland and back. And if your whole band takes two days off work, then you have gas, hotel and food and you end up getting, like $200 then you don’t get to split anything really.
Rv: Have you guys toured out to the Midwest or East Coast yet?
JD: No, part of the barrier there is that it’s a 20 hour drive to the next show. We’re going to focus on the West for a while. We’re doing this on our own and decided to release this record ourselves, play a lot of shows and see what happens.
Rv: What is the one thing that annoys you the most about the music industry?
JD: Ahh, geez (long pause). The cost of gas (laughs).
Rv: And the one thing that has been your favorite thing that you didn’t expect?
JD: I love recording and I’ve met so many people and made great friends from playing in a band.
Rv: Are you originally from Seattle?
JD: Yeah, since I was about 15.
Rv: Were you here for the grunge era?
JD: Oh yeah. I saw on the Nevermind tour. Here at Mercer Arena. Nirvana was one of the things that got me into playing guitar.
Rv: Does it feel ironic that you were likely here at Bumbershoot as a teen listening to many musicians and now you will perform to a bunch of them today?
JD: It doesn’t feel ironic, but I don’t know, it’s a good feeling that after playing music all of these years, to be finally playing out here.