Interviewing The Senate Band

The Senate is a hot upcoming Seattle band that has been together for several years now and have built up a rabid fan base, including many of my own friends. Two members of the band, Andrew Pulkabrek and Oliver Franklin, were kind enough to allow me to interview them for my blog. I recommend visiting their Myspace page in a new tab or window and listen to their music while you read the interview!

Joel: I first listened to The Senate’s “face-melting acoustic riffage” at a house party hosted by my friends Jeremy, Ashley and Andy about three years ago and was impressed by the unique musical sound you have created. How did you guys arrive at making this sort of music?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: By accident, sort of. We all have very different backgrounds, so what we do is a melting pot of rock and roll, afro-pop, jazz, metal etc.

Andrew Pulkabrek of the senate band The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek (pictured at right): More than anything else, it was just a matter of trying to make something that sounded good with unusual instrumentation. We all come from musical backgrounds where rhythm and percussion were dominant forces, and in the absence of percussion, we started to develop this rhythmically intricate percussive style of playing that I think we’re still learning more about as we keep doing this.

Joel: When and why did the Senate originally form? I read a little bit about your origins in 2002 on your website, but I was hoping to hear what the Oliver perspective on how it happened.

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Andrew and I have played music together in various groups since we were in 6th grade, so that collaboration goes way back. I went to high school with Nick Drummond but never really knew what he was about until I went to a show of his with a mutual friend right after we graduated. I heard a lot in his music that was refreshing to me, a dedication to making very polished, tuneful songs. So I suThe Senate Band Oliver Franklin, Andrew Pulkabrekggested we jam, and we wound up playing and writing together all the time until we had enough material to play some shows.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: I came in after they had played a few shows together and offered my services to hold down some low-end duties for them. I began to play with them after Nick got a show for the “band” at a benefit concert. I don’t think any of us knew what the addition of a bass would be like, but got together and played the show. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t awful either, so we kept at it.

Joel: Where did you originally learn to play music? Was it self-taught or did you take lessons?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: I started playing drums in 5th grade, and took lessons for 4 years. I’m mostly self-taught on guitar, though I did take a year of classical lessons after I’d been playing for a while. My mom has a degree in music, and she taught me the basics of music theory.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: I come from a musical family, so I started pretty young. I did a few years of piano at seven, a few years singing in a pretty intense boy’s choir starting at nine, bass lessons at twelve, and private voice off and on since high school. I tend to learn best on the job, and a lot of my skills have come from being in situations where I had to pick stuff up on the fly, but my early training has been the backbone for all of that.


Joel: The Senate has been playing excellent live shows for several years now. Are there any specific performances that really stand out for you?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Our recent CD release show (for debut full-length ‘Live at Solstice’) at the Triple Door was really great for us. The room is perfect, and we got to have a lot of our very talented friends come share the stage. And I always love coming back to our home at Cafe Solstice for our monthly all-ages show there, the place gets packed and the energy is really, really high. It’s a very enthusiastic crowd, but a very forgiving one, and we can take chances there that we might not feel so comfortable with in a different setting.

Andrew Pulkabrek rocking out for the senateThe Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek– Our CD release party at the Triple Door was really fun. It was a lot of work to coordinate all of our guest performers, sound people, lights, promotions, and everything else, but it was a great night. They had a fog machine, too!

Joel: If I were to lock you in a small cage for the rest of your life and told you I was going to put one playlist on continuous loop, which artists would you include? Any songs that you would specifically request?

Oliver Franklin of the Senate BandThe Senate – Oliver Franklin (pictured at right): I don’t know if any music stands up to continuous looping without becoming torturous, but I would probably include more ambient instrumental stuff than anything else. Brian Eno and Debussy would probably be on the list. As far as more song-oriented stuff goes, Jason Webley would definitely be good company.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek– I would request that all records put out by the Motown label in the mid- to late-60’s be on there, along with a whole lot of rock: Aerosmith, AC/DC, Styx, and Black Sabbath would probably be on my list. I would want the Duke Ellington and Count Basie libraries as well. I’d probably get bored of it all at a certain point, but that’s when I’d trade cages with Oliver.


Joel: The Senate has been growing in popularity and has even opened for the Paperboys and Everclear. Have you started to think of yourself as a future rock star?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: No.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: No. The possibility of quitting my day job still seems remote.
Joel: Rock stars are notorious for living a hard, fast life full of booze, sex, money and drugs. Have you had any wild and crazy experiences that you don’t think you would have had if you weren’t a member of the Senate band?

The Senate band live
The Senate – Oliver Franklin:

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Yes.


Joel: Do you have any moral or political messages that the Senate supports through its music or are you guys currently more focused on being the best entertainers you can be?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Our politics definitely have a presence in our music. We’re all left-leaning anti-authoritarian types with a concern for the direction our country continues to head. But you can have the best, truest, most urgent ‘message’ in the world and still make terrible music, so the craft comes first.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: I think Oliver pretty much said it. The moral message has always been that wimpy acoustic music is sinful, and God told me the other day when we went out for coffee that he was going to personally kick the ass of everyone who comes into Heaven without a copy of our redemptive full-length album “Live at Solstice.”

Joel: Does The Senate have a specific demographic market you target in making your music? If so, who?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: We have found a lot of success targeting college-age crowds, but if you come to our shows you’ll see an age spread from 13-70. It’s really cool that we seem to have an intergenerational appeal without it having been something we’ve striven for. The balance between genders looks fairly even, weighted probably 60/40 in favor of the ladies. No planning on our part there, either.

Joel: What are your goals in the short and long term for the Senate?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Concisely, to continue challenging ourselves as artists by expanding the range of our sound while simultaneously striving to get it to as many people as possible.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Andrew play bass! Sell many records! Make riffage! Riffage! Yarrr…

Joel: Is there anything about the music that you make that you don’t like or would change?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Never reveal your weaknesses; we can always improve, and I think we continue to getThe fans of the Senate band watching them rock out consistently better as a band. We three all have different things we look for in music, and accomodating each other’s artistic needs is part of the deal. So sometimes we might have a tune that we keep around for a given audience or situation, that is proven to ‘work’, even if it isn’t our most fully-realized piece of music.

Joel: As a Seattle band, many people inevitably compare your music to Nirvana. Does this ever make you want to pull a Kurt Cobain and use your shotgun for something other than skeet hunting?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Do people compare us to Nirvana? I hadn’t heard.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Who? I can’t see how anyone could listen to us and compare us to Nirvana. Did you just write that so you could use the phrase “use your shotgun for something other than skeet hunting”?

Joel: Pretty much, yes. 😉

Joel: Are you or other members of the Senate currently single?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Nope.

Joel: Where are your upcoming live shows? If someone can only see one or two, which shows would you especially recommend?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: The Tractor Tavern on April 30th!!! Bring your friends. If you’re under 21, then Cafe Solstice on May 2nd will be very fun.

Joel: Where can Senate fans purchase your music?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: At shows or online through senateband.com or cdbaby.com

Joel: Who would you say is your biggest fan? (family members and Jesus don’t count)

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: My mom and Jesus beg to differ.


Joel: What is your favorite sex positions?

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: The Levitating Missionary. It’s like the regular Missionary position, except you do it floating three feet above the floor.


Joel: Do you have a middle name? What is it?


The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Hanson. MMMbop!

Joel: Are you a full-time musician or do you have other jobs/ hobbies?
The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: The Senate is one of many other things I do. I sell kilts by day for the Utilikilts company, and at night I have a whole stable of theatrical and musical projects chomping at the bit.

Joel: Any Final Messages?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Come see us at the Tractor!!!

UPCOMING SHOWS BY THE SENATE BAND BELOW:

May 2, 2008 – 1:00 pm
Lakeside School

May 2, 2008 – 9:00 pm
Cafe Solstice
Seattle

May 22, 2008 – time TBA
Masa
Tacoma

May 30, 2008 – 8:00 pm
Conquest and WhAAM present:
The Senate @ WhAAM
All-ages in Bellingham!
Tickets $6 at the door.

June 6, 2008 – 9:00 pm
Cafe Solstice
Seattle

June 21st, 11:15 am
Marysville Strawberry Festival

June 21, 2008 – 4:00 pm
Legion Park
Everett, WA

July 23, 2008 – 7:00 pm
Auburn’s Shades of Summer
Game Farm Park, Aubrun, WA

August 3, 2008 – 2:00 pm
Everett Waterfront
Everett WA

August 9, 2008 – 7:00 pm
Olympic Winery
Port Angeles, WA

September 5, 2008 – time TBA
Whitman College
Walla Walla

September 6th, 2008 – time TBA
Boundary Bay Brewery
Bellingham, WA

“President Bush” (Will Ferrell) Harasses Jon Stewart

Will Ferrell, playing President Bush, and Jon Stewart interview one another.

“The Bush Library will not just be a library, but more of a paintball range.”

The Problem with Ethanol Fuel

World food supply going to renewable energy sources

Much of the world’s food supply goes to feed the sucking appetite of ethanol producers. Ethanol actually is more harmful to the environment after all is said and done than other sources of global energy.

Los Angeles

I am loving LA right now and having tons of fun. I have some photos from my expeditions and adventures, but I cant upload them from Jeremy’s computer at this point. Have patience though, you will see them soon.

Brief summary of events:

Friday night I arrived at 9 pm and Jeremy was anxiously awaiting me in his new Audi TT, a neato little present and a sparkle in his eye. We immediately went and picked up Levi, who took us to a hot LA party thrown by some art organization called PYT. The bar was full of uber-hipsters who made Jeremy look normal and made me stand out in my simple black t-shirt and jeans as somehow strange. Some new stories were created during the nights course of events that will live on in my memories for many years.

Saturday we went out to an all you can eat Korean BBQ Jeremy found near his studio. After spilling some Korean food on myself, we proceeded to a trendy yogurt place called Pinkberry. I got myself a bowl full of green tea yogurt which tasted like crap and I threw away the whole thing. Next, Jeremy and Levi and I went to a Mexican place with stellar margaritas. We finished the evening at the Cha Cha, which is owned by the same people as the Cha Cha in Seattle on Capitol Hill. I felt like I was home again minus Bimbos Bitchin Burrito Kitchen.

Sunday Jeremy and I surfed during the day in Malibu. By the way, the weather here has been cloudless and perfect every day. I love LA. After surfing, we went to a fresh shrimp and beer shack and ordered two pounds of freshly cooked jumbo shrimp and two giant pitchers of beer and relaxed watching the ocean, kite surfers and the sunset.

In half an hour, we’re going to go get all you can eat sushi! Woohoo!

Silver Joe Coffee – Vanilla Flavor

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The Silver Joe coffee company vanilla coffee case is very affordable which makes it a great gift to give to the coffee lover on your list that loves coffee and enjoys the rich and robust taste of vanilla cr¨me and rich coffee. Silver Joe coffee company also offers many other flavors and blends of gourmet coffees to satisfy your coffee taste buds for years. Anyone that loves coffee and decorative coffee gifts is sure to love this classy and practical care package of coffee and the decorative tin.

Silver Joe coffee company offers many other products and care packages with coffee and other quality products to satisfy anyone on your list. They also make great ideas just to show someone how much you care. Anyone who loves a good cup of coffee will love the gift of this vanilla coffee case.

Emerson Unconventional Edged Weapons – Set of 5 DVD’s

Emerson Unconventional Edged Weapons – Set of 5 DVD’s

The Emerson unconventional edged weapons DVD set has something to offer any weapon enthusiast. This 5 DVD collection set has the best to offer in the famous Emerson weaponry all in one convenient set of DVD’s. The instructional DVD set will bring you hours of instruction and entertainment.

This instructional series is not only educational and full of information on unconventional edged weapons; it also provides you with a high level of sportsmanship and experience. It is a series of instructional evolutions that can enable you to increase your fighting skills with unconventional edged weapons. The DVD’s are taught in a progressive system using the Accelerated Learning Protocol, which takes you to a new level of dynamic and unprecedented skill in handling and mastering the Emerson edged weapons. This information is new on DVD and until this set was made, the information provided was not released to anyone.

This first DVD in the set shows you how to build a solid foundation in the core moves and strategies that are used by experts in weaponry. The first DVD in the series contains the principles and drills you will need to ensure proper foot movements, stances and fighting movements.

The second DVD in the series begins to teach how to put your individual skills together to be able to create a set of fighting skills that is impressive with unconventional edged weapons. This DVD will provide you with the drills and exercises you need to create and enhance your skills and techniques with Emerson edged weapons. Some topics that this DVD goes over are how to become your best ultimate fighter and more advanced skills and movements. There are also detailed sections that cover the proper stance and techniques you will need to do for handling unconventional edged weapons.

The third DVD in this series shows you more techniques and introduces the knife and how to use it with your other unconventional edged weapons and skills you have already learned. By showing you exercises and drills, you will be able to learn how to utilize more of the techniques and skills from beginning in the training and apply them with real weaponry. You will be taught a series of striking techniques; stance and movements that will help increase your fighting abilities.

The fourth DVD in the series shows the ability to move between one weapon and another. This DVD begins to show you advanced strategies and techniques of using unconventional edged weapons. You will be able to learn advancements from the first DVD’s and begin to learn how to put all of the moves together.

The fifth DVD in the series shows you advanced tactics of all of the combined lessons learned in this series of DVD’s. It will show you how to put together everything you have learned and apply that to the art of using Emerson edged weapons.

Engine Powered Reciprocating Air Compressor

When you are looking for a quality and dependable engine air compressor, the two stage engine powered reciprocating air compressor is just what you need to get the job done. This engine powered air compressor is reliable and makes any job you need to do a lot easier. This air compressor comes with a heavy duty two stage air compressor that is engine powered.

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The gasoline engine in the two stage engine powered reciprocating air compressor allows for a two wheel option for 8 and 15 gallon models. It comes with an air line filter, lubricator and the option for electric start. There are also other engine options that are optional on the model, depending on your individual job requirements.

The gasoline engine on this two stage air compressor has a constant run control that is set at 145-175 PSI. It has a high quality pilot valve, and a pneumatic throttle idle control. The engine used is the Honda GX Series OHV engine. When you are looking for an air compressor that can do any size job with precision and performance, this two stage air compressor can be just what you need.

The price is affordable, and the convenient way of moving and transporting the air compressor can help make any tough job a little bit easier, not to mention saving you a lot of back breaking labor and time. It comes with twin tank receivers that are powder coated and come in both 8 and 15 gallon size.

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ALC Keysco Siphon Feed Sand Blaster Kit

The ALC Keysco ALCF50 siphon feed sandblaster kit with 50 lb capacity can do the job for any of your sandblasting needs. This siphon sandblaster kit comes equipped with a 50 lb capacity for any size job that you need. From personal to professional, this sandblaster kit delivers what you need and with an affordable price has been getting good reviews.

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Key features of the siphon feed sand blaster kit with 50 lb capacity include 80-125 PSI, three steel nozzles that come in sizes of 13/64 inches, ¼ inch and 5/16 inches. It also comes with three air jets in sizes of 5/64 inch, 1/8 inch and 5/32 inch. The ALC Keysco siphon feed sand blaster kit also includes a two year warranty so that if for any reason you are not happy with the performance or durability of the sand blaster, you can get your money back.

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The large capacity of the siphon sandblaster can save time by being able to set up your project and not have to worry about refilling the tank like you would with a smaller size and capacity unit.

Paramount Viness Memory Foam Topper For Bed

The Paramount Viness 5 pound memory foam topper for beds is an excellent way to get the extra comfort that you need for your bed at an affordable price. You can add three inches of quality comfort to any mattress with this memory foam from Paramount Viness. This foam memory pad comes with a plush fabric zippered cover and is made of top quality material.

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