Seventy-five miles outside of Baltimore and Philadelphia is Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "August Burns Red is from here. Juliana Theory. Fuel," lead singer of Lancaster's neighborhood pop band, Brandon Ehrgood lists off bands in defense of the city. "Everybody's metal here so we're the only pop band," drummer Curran Blevins adds. "There isn't shit to do here so we play music." "And milk cows," says guitarist and Philadelphia native, John Becker. "We tip cows, we don't milk them," Brandon corrects. "We weren't really into the whole drug scene so we started playing music," Curran explains before Brandon cuts in to say, "Music's my drug, man" mockingly while thrusting a peace sign in the air.
While nothing other than “catchy” could properly describe the sound of the band that released an impressive cover of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” before most others, the tongue-in-cheek quartet of The Right Coast, tosses out all the other assumptions you would make about a pop band. "We'd like to go on tour with Eddie Money, Guns & Roses, Third Eye Blind, and The Goo Goo Dolls, and who's the last person?" asks Eric Camarota, the bass player that appears to be the quiet one in the band. "Jimmy Eat World?" John replies uncertainly. "Billy Joel," Curran, corrects definitively.
With decisiveness in his voice, John states, "I want to go on tour with Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Has anyone ever heard of them before?" Brandon replies "NO" as if he were Regina George saying "fetch" will never happen... "They do backing shit for WuTang!" John explains as justification. Ignoring the statement, Brandon adds, "The Blue Man Group or we could go on tour with Tiger Woods--the PGA Tour." "That would be awesome. It could be called Tiger's Wood Tour." "Except they should stop calling him Tiger and start calling him Cheetah." "You know, me and Curran have always wanted to go on tour with Shmeezy and the Smoozge--" John says throwing out another one of his suggestions. "What?! Shut the fuck up."
"Am I done? Do I have to sit through any more of this?" Curran says, putting an end to the discussion about their dream tours. "This is our asshole drummer, Curran." Brandon says introducing him and his opinions halfway through the interview.
Before these dream tours that may also include, "the circus," "a mime," "a magician," "Slayer," and "Brandon, the bearded woman," the guys have had to work their way up from the bottom. Though only approaching their two-year anniversary, the unsigned band has numerous tours under their belt, including a summer mall tour. "Every mall is the same, every mall is the exact damn same" they recap as if replaying a bad dream. "I hate malls now," Brandon says, "but it was really cool, real close-knit shows. Everyone would either like sit down or hang out. You got to meet everyone, it was like a meet and greet. We got to just hang out for a couple of hours. We connected with a lot of kids there so I think that's a good thing." "We got a good response," John adds to explain that it was worth the slight annoyances. The mall tour inspired the acoustic album the boys released later in the year, because they found that in many Hot Topics they couldn't play plugged in shows.
Now after putting in all that hard work, the boys are going on their biggest tour to date, The Revolutions and Resolutions Tour with The Audition, The Dangerous Summer, Runner Runner, and Sparks The Rescue. They hop on as the only unsigned band for the nearly two-month tour. "It's weird," Brandon says, "but as we've grown as a band, we keep bringing people with us, like people that want to help us out. Like Mike, our manager does a lot for us. All these small people that want to come up with us, help us out. It's like a small army of... 'Bitches.'" "We're spreading like the black plague," John says, "We should bring that shit back." "I feel like it's one of our more meaningful tours," Curran says, "because we've known Sparks The Rescue for like a year… We've played with them once or twice. It's nice to go out with those dudes because they're genuine dudes. Like bands like Anarbor, we love them. We love The Dangerous Summer. We love Just Surrender. We love the bands that have been around... Just Surrender took out We The Kings and all those bands and now you see We The Kings playing in front of Tampa at The World Series rolling out in eighteen-wheelers. That's crazy. You see bands like Just Surrender, we'll drink a beer with and they've been eating shit for so long, and I feel like we're one of those bands, we didn't get handed anything. We built everything that we have. We'll talk to every fan; we'll book these little tours."
"Like you said earlier, 'what has helped build your band?' Us." Curran continues, "Us as individuals. Last night I sat online and answered 50-something friend requests, and commented every person back. We take everything as much as possible into our hands. People can see that. That's why people give a shit about us. We really try, especially now that we were just robbed, none of us have laptops, so we do all our MySpace stuff on our phones and we stay there for hours and hours, when we sit and MySpace and Twitter people back."
"I've been listening to The Dangerous Summer for three years now," Curran confesses, "since their first EP came out. That was like my summer EP for two or three weeks. And then when Reach for the Sun came out we heard a sneak peak when we were recording with Paul Levitt and thought, 'this record is going to be huge!' and then it [wasn't and I] was like 'damn, why?' We just heard the new Just Surrender album, and everything I've heard off it is amazing, and we just cross our fingers because we want these bands to finally get it. That's a little music business for you."
As for their own music, the boys have done pre-production for their new album, and are currently writing. "It's a long ass process," Curran says. "[You can expect it out] next year, probably Spring or Summer-ish" Brandon says. Between The Audition tour and the album, the guys will be doing "Cool shit. We're going to cure swine flu." "We're off until March. [Our manager] wants to record all of April." Curran says. "As long as he puts us in that place in Huntington Beach, I'm down," John exclaims. "Hell yea!" the rest of the guys respond immediately, high fiving each other across the table. "We're still up in the air for Bamboozle and South by [Southwest]." "Of course we are," John says bitterly under his breath.
"Five years, I'm gonna be pretty jacked. I'm gonna work out a lot. Probably gonna have a hot ass wife," Brandon says. "You're getting married in the next five years?" "Oh, not wife! I'm going to have wives, several wives," he says correcting his previous mistake of monogamy. "In five years, I'm just gonna be doing some cool shit. Probably doing the same shit I'm doing now," John says sure of himself. "Well the goal, for me at least, is to be playing music. Whether I'm writing or anything else, I'd love to be in music and hopefully in this band with--" Brandon cuts himself off upon looking around the table at his band. "I don't want to be with you. No way, dude," John rebuttals. "Curran definitely going to kick it, before any of us do," Brandon states matter-of-factly, "I dunno, in five years I might be doing Disney on Ice," Brandon says as if this has always been a viable option. "No, he's going to be playing the mop. I'm going to Google that right now," John says. "Just wear a brown leotard," Curran adds. "I would absolutely do that," Brandon responds enthusiastically. The future may bring a label to the currently label-less band. "We've been talking [to labels]; I don't know which route we're trying to go. Being an unsigned band is rewarding if you can do it," Brandon says. "Then we're going to start our own record label and it's going to be nothing but Death Metal." "And then we're going to start our own religion, The Ragetarian Church."
"Tell me that's not Brandon flipped upside down!" John exclaims showing a picture of the mop from Fantasia 2000.
"This Is Now" is the title track of their EP; they consider it the song that defines them the most, "because it's about a personal vendetta for people that suck." "It's about this," Curran says sticking out his middle finger to the tape recorder. "You can write that in quotations." "Well ‘This is Now’ because it's really about what I'm doing with my life, what we're doing with our lives. It's so hard to explain in words," Brandon says getting frustrated with trying to summarize the song."
"I'm amped about the tour we're going on because all the bands we love/have eaten shit." Curran says, "Like The Audition has been around for years, and The Dangerous Summer has been around for years, and they've never gotten that break, while all these bands just pop out of nowhere now. It's all the bands that have busted their ass and didn't get the overnight success that a lot of bands are getting now. Whether it's like BrokeNCYDE or Millionaires. I hate talking shit." "It's the same way the music industry has always been." Brandon says, "There's people that last, and people that don't. The whole electronic scene is coming in. I hate people with shitty messages." "I really like BrokeNCYDE," John chimes in. "Fuck you." Curran responds quickly.
"My biggest pet peeve [is] people that put off the wrong vibe and teach kids this and that but it doesn't mean shit to them," Curran says. "They just do it, and they get in this place of power. Other people put them there and they didn't even do anything. Like you see bands doing video blogs like, 'I'm flying to LA and doing photo shoots and they're like 18 and 19 and we're just like... what? They're like, 'yea this is our first band! This is the first song we ever wrote on Garage Band! And Sam Hollinger wrote it for us.'"
"There's bands like The Audition who have been on tour with like every band out there. Like, they just did a UK tour with All Time Low, and how are they not huge over here? Look at the Plain White Ts doing sold out UK tours and over here, they eat shit. When you're like The Plain White Ts, everyone's like 'oh yea, that Hey There Delilah band.'
On a different not, speaking of the band name, “It’s just The East Coast," Brandon explains. "It's where we're from, Rep That Shit." "Every time someone asks that I just want to make up a different lie." "The Ouija Board spelt out The Right Coast." "This is what happens when you put a tape recorder in front of us," John says with a grin. "If you give us time, we'd talk all day. Are you going to be able to use any of this shit?" [CO]