Sit-Down with Parkersburg, WV's Sludgy Stoner Rockers, Horseburner
I am so happy that I got to sit down with Horseburner before their show at the Athens, Ohio’s The Union, 2 weeks ago. They were hilarious, and so easy to talk with. They always had an answer for my randomness. 5 minutes (my “quick interview”) quickly and easily turned into 30, and they didn’t once act like they wanted to walk away, which was a good feeling. And honestly, these guys are so talented. They’re veteran performers and music lovers, and put their heart into every single performance they do. But you’d never know how awesome they are when you talk with them. It’s almost like they don’t know. Let’s just say I’m glad I got to talk with them before their set (when I was totally pulled into the jumping and head bobbing that took over the crowd). I probably would have fangirl-out, a little.
One of my favorite things in this world is to connect fans with their favorite musical artists, and help to show those musicians as the real people that they are. I like to share more story than what you can find on web info pages, because there’s so much more to these artists than that.
I like to give people a peek into what it might be like to hang out with the bands that I love. And I like to share it very candidly, giving you a play-by-play of our actual conversation. Hope you enjoy reading along as we get foolish and talk Horseburner:
There was so much to share, I’m just gonna get right to it. We began by Chad (Ridgway) sharing that he was a certified minister, and could technically marry someone tonight at the show…and it would be legally binding (metal wedding, anyone?).
HTN: Do you have a clergy tag?
Chad: I do.
HTN: Shut up!
And then we quickly got “off topic”, verbally swirling around where you can park when you’re a clergy member, and the history of everyone’s dads…
HTN: So serious question, who ate the most hotdogs?
Adam (Nohe): Tonight?
HTN: No, I saw that picture (that was posted online)…
Adam: I think Zach (Kaufman) ate the most hotdogs, I think.
Zach: I ate at least 6 or 7.
Chad: I think I only had 3 or 4.
**Then I found out that huge spread was for a video shoot.
Chad: Adam did pour whipped cream on one, and I’ve got to give him props for that. And he ate it.
Adam: I almost puked. It tasted real bad. And the hotdogs were cold at that point…
We were actually just talking about the appropriate ratio of whipped cream to pumpkin pie earlier, and deciding on that.
HTN: Yeah, cause sometimes, people have that little slice (and then I gestured for a massive amount of whipped cream allll over it)…
Adam: That’s what I wanted. You know, I would like interviews way more if they were all just about our pumpkin pie preferences.
HTN: Well, here’s the thing-here’s what I want to do in life. I want to do an initial interview, and then I want to find out what you really want (as a band, as people) from life, and that will be the second interview. (laughter)
Adam: I’ve always said that the level of success I want to achieve is if we get catering. (laughter) If someone will pay us in food, I am there.
HTN: So what would that entail? Pumpkin pie…
Chad: Cheeseburgers, hotdogs…
Adam: Anywhere, yeah…just burgers, in general, I think.
**We then devolved into my singing praises about Swensons. If you’ve never been to Swensons, and are in Northeastern Ohio, my humble suggestion is to drop everything you’re doing and go right now. They are a drive-in restaurant that has the best cheeseburgers, ever. And peanut butter shakes. And fries.
Chad: As a man of the cloth
HTN: Yes, sir.
Chad: I can’t deny the existence of magic.
**I got way excited, because this made me think of an interview I’d done over the summer with Water Witches, which basically talked about believing in the existence of magic**
HTN: Wait, did you read my interview I did about magic??
Chad: No. I don’t know who you are. (the band and I all crack up about his honesty)
HTN: Fair enough. But it was funny because I was just talking about this.
Chad: I just don’t know all of the names of things in this genre, because I’m not used to being in this scene. Like, my first ever punk show was a year ago.
Adam: We broke his punk show cherry, and he was terrified.
Chad: I was terrified and confused…I’m a minster.
Jack (Thomas): (the band called) Boner City. If you’ve never heard Boner City, they are a treat.
Adam: And our friends Scuzz Master. It’s kinda like a 90s rock thing, but super fuzzed out…if you like Harvey Danger and early Smashing Pumpkins (you’d like them).
HTN: So hey, speaking of, let’s talk about music…what were each of your first musical memories?
Zach: My dad was a guitar player in a very terrible cover band…
HTN: Was that the Beetles?
Adam: No, that was my dad.
Zach: My dad was in a band called “BC and the Longhairs”. My favorite band of all time was Motley Crue, and first heard them on Motley Crue themed pinball game on the Sega Genesis. And I remember my mother cussing at it, because she couldn’t beat the Dr. Feelgood level.
Adam: Same thing I was thinking about this the other day. My dad played a lot of Beatles (while I was) growing up, and he was in a Beatles cover band called “The Beetles”. And I just thought it was the coolest sounding thing. And they wore the Beatles’ wigs all of the time. And I guess one time at school, some bullies tried to take his wig.
Chad: Did he fight them off?
Adam: I don’t know. He used to be boxer, too…
Chad: Is he an ordained minister, though?
Chad: I have something over your dad.
**The consensus is that Adam’s dad is awesome.
Jack: My parents took me to my first rock concert when I was 10 or 11 years old, and that was to see the Allman Brothers.
Adam: Knowing your dad, that’s the least surprising thing, ever.
Jack: What I specifically remember was beforehand, my dad turned to me and said: “Okay, if anyone tries to hand you a funny smelling cigarette, don’t take it”.
Adam: Do you remember the time your dad brought home a bag of do-rags? And there was one covered in pot leaves?
Jack: And there was one covered with badass, flaming skulls?
Adam: Jack’s dad is one of my favorite people.
Zach: My dad used to wear flesh-colored shorts around my friends.
Adam: I remember being over at Zach’s house when I was younger, and your dad was laying on the couch…and I thought he was just naked. He had those beige underpants on. That was Zach’s dad. Daisy dukes, flannel shirts, unbuttoned.
Zach: My dad used to power walk, and he would always wear these daisy dukes with the pockets coming out of the bottom. He’d always buy the packet of Hanes shirts with the sleeves cut off, already…and he would come home, and instead of throwing those clothes in the stuff that needed to be washed, he would hang them on the flagpole out front. So I would get off the bus, and everyone would just see a pair of short shorts and a shirt, hanging from my porch. And I went through a phase where I painted my fingernails a lot…my rebellion was strong.
HTN: You didn’t paint them a beige color, did you?
***This seemed like the perfect time to note, if you've never checked out Fashion Dads in Instagram, be prepared to be amazed. And, you're welcome.
Adam: Chad what was your first musical experience? Was it seeing Toy Story, and Randy Newman playing?
Chad: No, even though Randy Newman’s awesome. Also, the theme song to Monk.
But that’s not it! That’s not my first memory. Those were just milestones. No, I was in like, Junior High, maybe 7th grade, and…it’s gonna be really cliche, but I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time, and it blew my socks off.
Adam: It blew your doors down.
Chad: It bought my farm.
I didn’t understand why everyone wasn’t listening to them (Queen) all of the time. So, that same evening, I went out and bought (and I guess at that time, I was like “hey mom”) the platinum edition of the Queen collection. So it was like, 3 CDs. And I heard songs like “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You”, and I didn’t realize (until then) that those were Queen. And I realized “Oh my God, they wrote everything”. So that’s why Queen’s my favorite band. And then I went out and bought a bass (and yeah, I didn’t buy a bass, my mom bought a bass), and I learned all of the Queen songs I could on it. And I did that…and that’s why I hate punk (music).
Zach: That’s all well and good, but you forgot Bicycle Race.
Chad: I hate that song.
Zach: Well then, we’re done here. (laughter)
Adam: If “Don’t Stop Me Now” comes on, I start driving way too fast. Yeah, that’s a great tune.
HTN: The Flash Gordon soundtrack (done by Queen)…
Chad: Dude, Flash Gordon is my favorite movie. If you’re gonna ask where I found my inspiration to become a clergy member, it was that movie. At that time, I thought every single member of the church looked like Ming the Merciless. And that’s fine. That’s better to have a group of people walking around and looking like that, than just one person.
The only big band I’ve seen is Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is awesome.
Adam: When Horseburner first started, the three of us, and a bunch of our friends did a Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute band in the area, called “Trans-Appalachian Orchestra”, and we did all these shows around the Mid-Ohio Valley, and we did a food drive (admission with canned food), and we collected a bunch of money for local shelters, and we did it for like, three years, and it got bigger every year, and it was really cool.
HTN: So what happened to that?
Adam: It just kinda fizzled out. Trying to orchestrate 8 or 9 people, scheduling was really tough.
Jack: As much as I enjoyed playing that music, having to start playing Christmas music in August every year, and taking every ounce of my free time.
Zach: Plus with work schedules, it almost always had to be late. Getting everyone there….
Adam: The best thing that ever happened, was that we played City Soul Ministries in Vienna-they’re the church that I play drums for-and Zach wasn’t out of work (yet)…and we were texting him, trying to figure out where he was. And Zach told us “they’re not letting me go”. They’re not letting him go for this charity concert we’re putting on (in a church, mind you). And so my dad was the mayor at the time (of Vienna), and he’s in the crowd, waiting. He calls Sam’s (Club), and he’s “This is Mayor Nohe. I need Zach Coffman, right now”. And I guess Zach is throwing stuff in the back room, all upset, and his boss is like, “Uhh, the mayor needs you”. (laughter)
And so Zach came, and played the show, and it was awesome.
HTN: Well no wonder everyone loves your dad. Look at him save the day!
Adam: He’s a pretty good dude.
HTN: So…the “clear yellow” albums are all gone, right?
Jack: Those are gone.
HTN: Right. So are Jack and the bandana still for sale?
Zach: What’s your price?
HTN: That was the next question.
Zach: Jack is always for sale. (laughter)
Adam: He’s pretty cheap, though.
HTN: I know it was on the table, so I was just clarifying.
Zach: He’s free or cheap, and always for sale.
HTN: But the bandana…
Adam: I would think at this point, the bandana would just be attached to him. So it would probably come with him.
HTN: There was an awesome (Horseburner) post right after Heck Yeah Fest, which I wish I’d known about it in advance. It sounds like it was a great time.
Adam: Dude. It was such a good time. There was a fire breather when we were getting that one interview, there was a fire breather, and there was a trident that they lit on fire. in the middle of the road where I was standing.
Chad: I have been in the church for TWO years (laughter), and I have never seen anyone breathe fire, or a trident.
HTN: I bet they would join you for a sermon, though. It could be a part of the damnation speech.
Chad: That’s awesome.
HTN: So yeah, with regards to Heck Yeah Fest, there were a lot of good feelings wrapped up around the local music. One of the things I’m so excited about (with Hold the Note) is featuring Ohio and West Virginia musicians, because there’s a lot of ‘em. And there’s a lot of talent here. And you don’t have to live in Nashville, or New York, or LA, to be really good…
Chad: You just have to live there to get paid. (laughter)
Jack: A fair assessment.
Chad: Anyway, I agree.
HTN: But I’m hoping that’s not always going to be the case. I’m sensing something is bubbling up. Something is changing.
Adam: You know, I agree. Because Jack and Zach and I came up at a time when we has all-ages venues in town. We had Caffeine Kelly’s, and then Rte. 21. And I was actually in bands, playing at that time. Then after a while, the all-ages venues closed, and so we rented out warehouses and community buildings, and we did shows like that. House shows, garage shows, but at a certain point, people just stopped coming. I guess a lot of people “grew up and moved on with their lives” and we were all like “no, let’s play rock music”. It seems like for yeas, people would wax poetic about “back in the day” you know…and for us we said it’s cool, that was good, but it’s passed.
Jack: You can still make things happen if you…
Adam: Get out of town. Get in the van and go tour.
Jack: It’s a pain in the ass, don’t get me wrong…but it’s very rewarding.
Adam: Exactly. And then bring bands back here, back to West Virginia, that you meet on the road. And we did that, too. And we’d bring in bands from like, France, to play in Parkersburg, and there would be 6 people there. We did a show for our 7” a few years ago. And a band we really loved called Marmora from Chicago. They came in and played the release show with us-8 people. And we had friends from Maryland come in-Cavern-some of our best friends. We had Emcee Kilgore come in and do a HipHop set. 8 people. 8. So I don’t know. People can talk all they want about “let’s do this”. But if they’re not gonna put their money where their mouth is, they’re just talking. But I would like to see the rumblings of something coming. The Jesse Smith show this summer was awesome. We had a great time, and we don’t normally play in Parkersburg very often. I spent 10 years of my life, playing here almost every weekend. So eventually, you wanna get out there.
So now we try and make it a big deal…I dunno, cause it’s still us. But maybe make it more than just “let’s get 10 people out and do a show”…let’s make it an event. We played (in Parkersburg) twice this summer, and both times were really great. So maybe there is something happening.
I would love to bring bands from out of town and have people actually see them.
Jack: Especially in the past year, since we’ve been touring and meeting other bands on the road, and they’re coming to hit us up when they want to tour. And we’re like…(laughter)…uhhh…let me point you in this other direction.
Adam: You know, Athens is super close.
Jack: There’s Morgantown and Huntington, those are pretty good.
HTN: So as a wrap up, say someone hasn’t heard your music…yet. But they see this interview…and they decide to come to one of your shows.
Zach: Big mistake
HTN: What would you hope they would say about your music, about your performance, at the end of the night?
Chad: You guys look like you’re having a lot of fun up there. (laughter)
Jack: I dunno. I always like it when we get comparisons to other bands.
Zach: That we like
Jack: It’s kinda rare, but it’s always a treat when it happens.
HTN: Do you ever get compared to bands you don’t like?
Jack: We get that, too.
Adam: People will come up and be like “You sound like this heavy stoner band from Yugoslavia”. And we have no idea who that is…
Jack: But Electric Wizard’s really cool
Chad: I dunno, I think in music journalism these days, there’s a lot of “this band sounds like these other 6 bands”…but that’s not…
People telling us they had a good time is really important for me. Because there’s this transfer of vibe between crowd and performer, and if we can get someone who’s had an awful week to come out, and for 30 minutes, they forget about all of that crap going on…
Adam: And tell us it was the best show they’ve ever seen…
Zach:…and tell us it was the best show they’ve ever seen (laughter), that’s (what matters to me).
Chad: Or ya know, “hor” our (band) name up.
HTN: Like “Horburner”
Adam: Yeah, Horburner, Houseburner…
Jack: Burnhorser. That was the best.
Chad: Just being able to tell people are actually enjoying it. That’s it. We’ve had plenty of shows where we’ve played to bigger crowds, and everyone just stands there. But even if they’re just nodding their heads…if they’re at least enjoying it, that’s all we really want out of it.
Zach: Especially when they look like they’re getting their ass kicked by the riffs (laughter)…because I’ve seen that. People actually look like they’re going through a spiritual experience…
Adam: Which you’d know about…
Chad: Which I know about, as an ordained minister. (laughs)
HTN: He feels it on a deeper level that any of us every will.
Chad: Yeah, just people saying they enjoy it.
Adam: Or people coming up to us afterwards, and offering to buy us food.
(The whole band): Ehhhhh?
HTN: Like cheeseburgers or burritos?
HTN: Anything we can promote? I know you’re going back on tour in 2017…
Adam: Oh definitely. We’ll be doing a couple of tours in 2017, and we have some cool stuff brewing behind the scenes that I don’t know if we can comment on, quite yet…but some big news is coming for us. We’re gonna keep touring on this album for a while. We finally started writing new songs which is cool. We haven’t done that in about 2 years. We spent so much time on this record-writing it and rewriting it.
So be on the lookout.