One of the best discs so far this year is the debut self-titled release from Fall To June. In advance of a local tour date at The Machine Shop, I was able to grab some of bassist Jeremy Marshall's time during a rehearsal break. We got him to talk about the new disc, his influences, the lack of music on his phone, and more... Without further delay, a few moments with Jeremy Marshall!
Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking time out for us today, brother.
Jeremy: It's okay, man. We're just rehearsing all day today in Arkansas here. Our drummer's got a family farm out here that we come to as a sanctuary and rehearse. It's real nice, man. It's out in the middle of the woods, you know, fishing.
Toddstar: As far away from the rock world as you can get, it sounds like.
Toddstar: Again, we appreciate you taking time out for us. It's such a pleasure to speak to you. Let's talk about the new disc, man. This thing's killer, Fall to June, the debut disc, self-titled, dropped this week. What can you tell us about it?
Jeremy: Fall to June was a band about 10 or 11 years ago. They approached me back then to play with them. I was too busy with my other project, Cold, that I used to be in so I had to say no, but I did find them a replacement base player. Anyway, I declined politely, then about a year and a half ago they approached me again and said, "Well, we're trying to put the project back together, do you have time now?" I actually did have time so I jumped in on it and I fell in love with the guys immediately and I think it fills a void in the music scene right now that needs to be filled. It's a different style.
Toddstar: The thing I like about the disc is it's a straight-ahead rocker. It doesn't give you any of the modern touch or the heavier sound, it's just solid rock. But it has kind of that swampy, southern, soul feel to it.
Jeremy: Yes, absolutely. Every single person in the band is from the South. We wanted to keep it a real rock band. We're real musicians, we play our instruments, and we don't use computers or anything like that up on stage. When you come out, what you see is what you get; we just rock through our instruments. That swampy feel comes out of learning how to use your instrument right, bend your strings properly to make it sound that way. You don't just jump on the guitar and make those sounds. You know what I mean?
Toddstar: Sure. It's funny, you mentioned that you're former project, Cold; this is as far out of left field from Cold as you can get in sound. But in the basic structure, it's still kind of that same straight-ahead rock and roll feel that you had back then.
Jeremy: Yeah. Cold had a lot more songs, things that were written about more depressing subject matters. Even though they were uplifting in the long run, they're still talking about negative things. This band prides itself on being positive, keeping a positive aura around it, having synergy and just being all around good musicians and playing very, very well tied together. We love this band. I love this band. I didn't know I would when I first got in. I was like, "Let me just try it out." Now, I'm all in. You know what I mean?
Toddstar: Sure. I didn't know I'd love it until I started listening to the very first opening notes of “Redemption.” From open to close, this disc crushes it. It really does. And it is that uplifting rock sound that's been missing for so many years. When you guys came together and started putting these songs together, how did that process work out? You guys all have different backgrounds but that same southern feel. How did the whole writing and production process come together for you guys?
Jeremy: A lot of the songs, the other guys, Nate and Ben, they already had some of the songs together when I came in and then we put together the rest of the album. We like to get into rehearsal space with our instruments and just come in with a few ideas here and there and just see which ones work the best and then we work from there. Ben, our singer, he'll come up with a vocal melody on top of some riffs that we have. Or he'll even come up and say, "Listen, I have an idea for a song, but I want a swampy..." You know, he'll give us some kind of adjectives that we can write around. We write to his mood, if you will.
Toddstar: Okay. There are songs on there that seem so contradictory. I mean, you get the song “Super Angel” and the first thing I think is ballad. This thing comes out with such a heavy bottom end from you and Nate. It's so contradictory to itself that it just makes the song that much better. How much levity were you given to just put your bass stamp all over this thing?
Jeremy: They gave free reign. They told me I could do whatever I wanted bass-wise, they said, "There are the original ideas." So I came in and I wrote bass lines, we rearranged things and made them better and the end product is “Super Angel.” I love that song, that's one of my favorites on the album.
Toddstar: Mine too. Again, it just tripped me up because you see the title and you think, "Okay, here's a ballad." It just comes out and it just knocks your teeth out. It just comes at you.
Jeremy: Yeah, the very first punch on that song scares people. When you put it in the stereo in the car they jump.
Toddstar: I'm sure it does. All right, so you guys are going out, you're hitting the road soon. You're going out with, locally you are going to be playing with Black Stone Cherry...
Jeremy: Black Stone Cherry, you're in Michigan, I think we're doing The Machine Shop there, coming up soon.
Toddstar: Yeah. Are you guys taking this out on the road? Are you prepping for a long touring cycle this summer?
Jeremy: Oh, absolutely we are. We've got a few things lined up I'm not at privy to say right now. After Black Stone Cherry, we're still going to keep on going. That's what we're here in Arkansas doing; we're just refining our show and getting ready for the road, getting ready for a long, long trip.
Toddstar: Cool. Being an opening band, you guys are relegated to. Obviously you're not going to get the hour and a half set. How are you guys going to go through and pick your set list? You got 9 killer songs plus the acoustic version of “Delta Breakdown.” How are you guys going to curtail your set list to be able to include as much as you can?
Jeremy: We've already been doing that. That's what we're doing right now. We're trying to fit in as many songs as we can in as little time as possible so that people get the most out of the band, you know. We don't want to sit up there and talk a lot because we don't have that much time. We're going to just rock your face off, you know, we're going to melt faces, that's what we're here for. We've already got our set list chosen, when we hit the road, we'll see how it works. If it doesn't work right, we'll tailor it to make it work right, because we're all professionals here, we can make it work.
Toddstar: Of course. The thing that I appreciated about this disc myself being an older guy, you stuck to like a 9, 10 song format. I remember when you would play 4 or 5 songs, flip the big piece of vinyl over and play another 4 or 5 songs. Was that something you guys kind of thought subconsciously, "Let's not throw 15 songs on a disc?" Or did you guys just say, "This is what we are, this is what we do and let's do it?"
Jeremy: It started off, we had an EP, a 5-song EP. We got a record contract with the 5-song EP. We were just going to release that. Then, in the last minute, the label said, "We want a full-length album." So we went into the studio and wrote more songs and recorded them and put them out real quick and that's how we ended up with a 10 song EP. But, what we liked is, we had other options for different songs that we were going to put on there, we could have had more. But we were like, "No, let's not put this on there, it's not good enough. Let's just put all the best stuff on there and leave it at that and just have it simple, sweet and everything's good. Why put any crap on there?"
Toddstar: That's the way to do it. I think, coming in with “Delta Breakdown” at the end with an acoustic version. It's funny, even when I did my review of it, I mentioned that you may have unplugged the sound but certainly not the power of the song.
Jeremy: Right, exactly.
Toddstar: How did you keep that song as strong as it is without cranking everything up to 10?
Jeremy: Well, if you really listen, you will notice we slowed the tempo down just a little bit and we brought in a banjo to keep the rhythm flowing. Man, we just know how to play that song and deliver it. That song was written on an acoustic guitar originally so we knew it would translate from rock to acoustic. So we weren't really worried about that, we just played it the way we play it, just a little slower.
Toddstar: Cool. Again, it's as powerful as the full version.
Jeremy: Yeah. Thank you.
Toddstar: You brought it up. Let's talk about The Machine Shop. You guys are coming here May 9th. You guys are just going to blow the walls off the place.
Jeremy: I love The Machine Shop.
Toddstar: What is it about The Machine Shop?
Jeremy: It's the people. First of all, it's an excellent bar and stage, it's a cool club out in the middle of nowhere. Everybody comes from all around because there's not really much to do around that area. The people are awesome, it's hard to play The Machine Shop without the show being crowded, you know what I mean. They come out from everywhere. Plus, Kevin, the owner, and his brother, those guys are excellent people, they always treat you right. It's one of the coolest venues on the planet as far as I'm concerned. I love the merchandise, they have cool t-shirts and all that good stuff, you know. Good sound system in there, I love that bar.
Toddstar: Wait 'till you see it, man, they've just upgraded all the lighting and everything, it's awesome.
Jeremy: Oh, yeah. I haven't seen it in a few years.
Toddstar: Yeah, we miss you up there. So you're not at liberty to discuss what's going on beyond this but you mentioned there's other stuff. Are you guys constantly working new material while you're doing rehearsing or is this simply you guys are in focus for touring?
Jeremy: We are focused on touring but during the touring process, we did bring a recording rig with us so we are writing new songs as we go because we're gearing up for a second album already.
Toddstar: Okay. You read press releases and it talks about Jeremy from Cold and it talks about... it gives everybody's resume. This isn't like a side project or anything, this is a band right?
Jeremy: This is my new band. I'm signed in as a member, I'm a part of the team and we are a unit. This is my new band. Cold is in my past. I'm still friends with the guys, we still communicate a lot. I live close to them in Florida, you know what I mean. But, this is my new project and they've already got another bass player so it's working out.
Toddstar: Good, because I'd hate to see this fall apart after one disc like so many of the quote unquote super groups do.
Jeremy: Right. No, we're going to keep it together, man. This is what we do, we rock 'n roll.
Toddstar: Let's talk about you for a minute, Jeremy. You're getting ready to go on the road. What are those few things that you look around your house and you think, "I can't forget to take this?"
Jeremy: Baby wipes, got to remember the baby wipes. Ear plugs, blindfolds, things that you need when you're touring in a van so that when the sun comes up and you still need to sleep you need them. There are so many things around the house that you just got to make sure you bring it, and if not, you buy it.
Toddstar: You do things to a bass that a lot of guys can't do. Who inspired you to pick up a bass and do what you do?
Jeremy: The very first inspiration for me was Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath. That was the first one. Then I got exposed to the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was young and Flea is awesome.
Toddstar: Okay. Is there anybody out there today that still inspires you or brings something to the table that you think, "I wish I had done that?"
Jeremy: Oh, yeah, all the time. Stone Temple Pilots, I just went and saw them in concert the other night and their bass player is just amazing, he always has been. He still inspires me, I listen to stuff he does and I just go, "Oh, man." I don't think I would rip him off but I'll use his influence in our songs, I'll tell you that, he's fun to listen to. There's more, but on the spot, I'd have to go through my mental rolodex and pick them out.
Toddstar: Speaking of a rolodex, it's not quite the rolodex, but if you left your phone behind, let's say at The Machine Shop next week and a fan picked up your phone and they're going through the music on there, what would they find that would surprise them?
Jeremy: Well, probably that I don't keep music on my phone. You know, probably if they went to my Pandora stations, The Cult is one of my favorites, I love The Cult. The electric and the one with "Sun King" on it and all that, what was it, Sonic Temple. I love The Cult, that's one of my favorite bands; they're a major influence of mine. But then, you'd also find Amy Winehouse, you know. I like a wide plethora of music. I even like crooners, you know, Frank Sinatra and stuff like that, Christmas music during Christmas time. They might even be surprised to find that on Halloween I listen to Edgar Allen Poe all day long, just people reading his short stories in the house, you know.
Toddstar: That'd be cool.
Jeremy: Yeah, it's not really music, its short stories but its Edgar Allen Poe, it's awesome.
Toddstar: Sure. Which phone number would they write down and make sure they kept?
Jeremy: Oh man, I couldn't tell you. Maybe Lajon from Sevendust or Aaron from Staind or Jasin Todd who is in our band now here. Shoot, man. There are a lot of people in the industry that they'd probably want their number, depends on if they were a lighting engineer or a bass player or a drummer. You know what I mean?
Toddstar: Fair enough. Listen, I know you're busy, I know you're trying to get some rehearsing done. So I'd like to close with this, with everything you've done, and you've had the storied career, you've done a lot, if you could look back and pick a couple things that you're most proud of or that you wanted to be remembered for, what would they be?
Jeremy: Probably my gold albums, first of all, I love having those. Other than that, I had a signature series, Bass Guitar through ESP Guitars, that's a crowning moment, something to call home about. Those two things together are pretty much something that I'll never forget.
Toddstar: Couldn't pick two better things myself. Listen, man, we wish you all the best. Again, Fall to June, the debut self-titled disc dropped earlier this week from MRI Distributors, this thing's killer. We wish you guys the best of luck getting this out there and we cannot wait to see you guys at The Machine Shop May 9th tearing it up.
Jeremy: Thank you very much. And Todd, I appreciate your time as well. I'll see you there. I love that place, I can't wait to get there.
Toddstar: All right, brother, we'll see you in a couple weeks.
Jeremy: All right, bro. Later.
FALL TO JUNE LINKS: