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From Eastcoastromper.com

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Sprung Monkey - First "at-the-Bronze" Band Interview

By Stephanie Stevens

Thursday 23 October 2003, by Webmaster

"If I knew it was going to be a really big show (BTVS), I would have asked her out (Sarah Michelle Gellar)" For over a decade SPRUNG MONKEY have been roughing it and giving it everything they have. From the beginning in Southern California selling CD’s out of their trunk to making their debut disc MR. FUNNYFACE which got them radio play with their hit GET EM OUTTA HERE, helped them enjoy a little taste of success. Now a days SPRUNG has taken their experience and created the newest creation GET A TASTE. With a mixture of upbeat, well crafted, melodic songs you will be turned on by a true Cali experience. Steve Summers-vocals/guitar, Mike Summers-guitar, Ernie Longoria-percussion, William "Chuck" Riley-guitar and Tony Delocht-bass are stepping up and showing their musical potential in tracks like BEAUTIFUL, UNEXPECTED and PARTY LIKE A ROCK STAR. I had the chance to sit with vocalist Steve before his show at Lupos in Providence, R.I. and I got to know his thoughts on his band, how he enjoyed acting and what Hawaii has given him.

Did you grew up in Hawaii ?

I was born in Hawaii, didn’t actually grow up there. Lived there for a few years, we go back every summer, try to at least. I grew up in San Diego. My dad was a Navy guy, went over and stole himself a Hawaiian lady (laughing)

So actually your influences come from California ? Is that where you started doing music ?

Yeah, definitely

No Hawaiian influence in you at all ?

Definitely the Hawaiian influence because we go back there all the time, it’s something different, very spiritual, very natural. The things that people....I’m actually from Kona, which is not like the big island, I mean, it’s a big island, it’s not like it’s Hawaii or Waikiki or very money oriented, it’s very ..not poverty, I don’t want to say poverty, but very family knit, just a good environment, I think I get a lot of the values from that side of the family. Not to say my father’s side of the family isn’t wonderful too, but every time we go there, I always leave different, ya know. It’s a vacation mostly for the mind, not just for the scenery, and generally a little vacation for the mind to get a different prospective on things.

Have you guys ever thought about going over there to write a whole album or have you ?

If it fits the budget, most definitely, we go, we’ve gone over and just like spent a week as a band, just kicking back. We have been fortunate enough to play there a couple of times, too. It would be a wonderful place to write an album. Might be too yellow over there, ya know

How was the Zebrahead tour ? Was that before the album came out ?

Yeah. Zebrahead, we actually played with those guys a few years back, it didn’t really matter much then, we only played a couple of shows, but now they pretty much have done well for themselves, so when we went out on the road, all the shows were great. There was an extended period of time, I think like a month, so we got to know each other pretty well, they’re really nice guys. That’s the weird thing about, it’s almost like receptions, ya know, you see a band, it’s harmless but like most people judge, you kinda assume what you think they’ll be like, then you realize, there’s the show and then there’s the people. Great guys and fortunate for us with our music and especially our new record, it went so well with what they’re doing and their audiences, like we were winning over the whole crowd instead of just a percentage of it. So, it was a fantastic tour, probably one of the best tours that we have ever been on. That one and a tour we did in Europe, probably two of the best tours we’ve ever been on. Yeah, we owe those guys a big favor.

Is this your first tour with the new record playing over here (east coast) ?

Yeah, the record only came out two weeks ago. So, how do you feel, like was there pressure from MR.

FUNNYFACE to this album ? Did you guys feel there was anything writing ?

Hm...not a pressure but like an understanding, ya know, like with MR. FUNNYFACE, that song GET EM OUTTA HERE did very well for us, we got our foot in the door for radio. We had a disadvantage already for taking so much time off in-between cause we got off one label and then trying to get onto another label, so there was all that to do. It was a conscious effort to write a record that we knew would be received by our fans, radio would embrace hopefully, ya know, if we shoot a video, they will embrace it, just a very positive... I write a lot of music and all the vocals, so I wanted to put a lot of melody into it. I’m a big Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Jeff Buckley kind of guy myself, so I always wanted to put just something that you walk away singing and you don’t even know why you are and almost pissed off that you are. I wanted to do that. With this record, we were all in tune on the same page and wanted to do that also. So, it wasn’t pressure just understanding, we want to be a band in the music business and music is the music business. The hardest part was writing songs that we also liked. We did it, we took the time, we spent about six months writing and it came out just beautifully.

Now, did you guys stay in San Diego to record it ?

No, we recorded it up in Santa Monica actually, a guy name Jim Wirt and a guy named David Darling. Really I think a lot of the flavor of this record, for the first time, is equal parts, equal part band, equal part producer because he really had a big part in this record especially ya know, with my vocals. He spent a lot of time with me on them working on different harmonies, different arrangements and it just came out phenomenal. He’s the man, Jim Wirt ! He did MR. FUNNYFACE also. He’ll probably do our next record if we’re lucky enough to have one.

I had never heard MR. FUNNYFACE at all so I was thinking you were a new band, but I have to say BEAUTIFUL is my favorite song and SHUT UP. SHUT UP’s just angry, I like SHUT UP ! We’ve been getting a lot of BEAUTIFUL. A lot of people have been saying that. It’s really weird because originally I wrote that song really slow acoustically. It was for my girl and it sounds really good acoustically too. I write most of the music on an acoustic guitar and we actually go and do acoustic sets. Change it up and it’s being received really well. Right now, WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY is the single they’re pushing, they’re kinda tossing around what should be the second single when it gets to that point.

So, are you saying that your surprised people are saying BEAUTIFUL ?

No, there’s just so many ways to go. It’s just really weird that like a lot of people say that song BEAUTIFUL is great, that’s that candy that I’m talking about.

In GOT A TASTE, who does the scratching on there ? Bobby B from The Kottonmouth Kings.

Oh, all right. If you guys do that song tonight, does he help you out ?

He wants to do it, we haven’t. We’ve been playing it depending on how the crowds are. Sometimes that song is a little too mellow for the crowds. We did a song with Kottonmouth on our last record called DEAD. So, he came out and did some scratching on three of the songs on this record.

So, you’ve know them for a while ?

Yeah, since pretty much the beginning of them.

So, this tour is like everybody knows everybody else ? This tour yeah, exactly, an all friends tour.

That’s cool. PARTY LIKE A ROCK STAR, I know that was on the Dude, Where’s My Car soundtrack ?


Do you ever, like when you get on a soundtrack, go well, I don’t know if I want to be on that because of the movie or do you not care, just to get your music out there and on soundtrack ?

We were told that that movie how it was gonna be, what kind of music it was gonna be but it was actually a good movie for that kind of music. It could have the possibility of becoming classic type movie, they had a good cast, they had people behind them. We knew the movie was going to have a big promotion behind it. So, it was a win win situation for us.

You guys were on Ten Things I Hate About You ?

Yeah, I haven’t seen that movie either. We were also on Varsity Blues. That was a good movie also.

Oh, all right, so you guys have done a lot of soundtracks ?

Plus we were on the first Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.

On the TV show ?

Yeah, the very first show.

That’s what I was going to ask, how was that ?

Really good show. It was really awkward because that was like our first thing with television or movies, so they said you want to be on it, we said yeah, I guess so, OK. If I knew it was going to be a really big show, I would have asked her out, if I had known because they were all very humble too, ya know. (laughing) Everybody was very cool there. Now, I probably wouldn’t even be able to say hi to any of them. It was weird, we were actually the band playing in the club where they did some vampire death or whatever they do. It was really tricky because we start playing, actually fake playing, but the music was going real loud so your getting into it, then they cut it and you have to act like your still playing but you can hear the actors dialog so you can’t make any noise and then they put the music in later. So, we kept jumping around, they cut a couple of times because of us making noise, like jumping on the stage. It was really weird for a second there because the director of that, remember Toad from American Graffiti ?

He’s the director of that. I went up and called him Toad. He didn’t like it. Hey, what’s up Toad, he’s like how are ya doing. It was a good experience and lasting because that show keeps getting syndicated in other countries, so we still get checks from Buffy, so that’s OK.

Cool. So, did that help you guys in doing videos ?

Nah, videos aren’t as awkward as that was. Videos are actually like really fun times. Maybe we’ve been fortunate, the directors that we work with and the types of videos we’ve been shooting. One was on the beach in San Diego, no brainer, ya know, chics everywhere and the other one we did....have you seen the GET EM OUTTA HERE video ? No Really nice video. It had big floats and things, had stunt men doing all these things dressed up like me, so it looks like I did all this rad motorcycle shit and all this stuff. And you always say yeah I did that ! Yeah, absolutely, but it was a good time. Adventurous because it’s really a big scale video just to see how many people are involved in things like that. You don’t really get an understanding like of a movie you watch exactly how much work goes into something like that. It’s pretty amazing and it’s good to be a part of it.

Would you or anyone in the band, if you decided not to be in a band, would you get into acting ?

Hm.....no, I like watching movies. (laughing) Yeah That’s pretty funny cause I was actually talking to this movie guy last night in Boston. He was telling me you know I really like your beard and stuff, you’d be awesome as an evil drug dealer, so have you ever thought about being in a movie ? I’m like, evil drug dealer, that’s how you see me ? A drug dealer ! ! !

You guys actually have three guitar players in your band ?

We have two guitar players and then I also play guitar. Sometimes I’ll play a couple of songs in a show, but not mainly. Just that I can and just to add a little different dimension to the show, to break it up a little bit.

Now, you and Mike are brothers ?


How is that being in a band together ?

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t view him as my brother, we’re just two dudes going through the day. They’re all pretty much my brothers, we’ve been together for ten years, ya know, so they’re all pretty much my brothers, but there are those little instances where you can tell we are brothers especially the people around can tell, maybe we’ll get on a little thing and we’ll start arguing a little differently than the others would. Then they’ll be oh Satan Brothers or sibling revelries so every once in a while. Then also you know there’s just that bond like if he’s in trouble or something, needs money, if he’s hungry, whatever, ya know, just a little bit more looking out. The things that I find most gratifying about it is mostly aspects from my parents. I know it makes them feel really good because of the upbringing they had especially my father, how he and his brother are now a days that he really finds it special that he and I are growing up together, experiencing life together and all that stuff. Plus, ya know, our dream is the same dream and they can support it.

Your family totally supports you ?

Yeah, my father’s a musician so he’s definitely down. You know how they say how parents live vicariously through their children, yeah they totally do. They always instilled in us that they didn’t care what we do as long as your happy doing it. So, it’s not about money, it’s not about things. If you go to a job and you hate it, your life really sucks, ya know. Nothing else matters if in fact we only get one chance at it.

Does you dad enjoy your music ?

Yeah, my father actually played on the new record. Oh, cool ! He played horns on UNEXPECTED, saxophone player. Oh, so he’s gotten into it to. Take him along on the road ! Yeah, he enjoys it now but I remember years back, he came out to see us for the first time When you were local (laughing) Yeah and I asked him well, how did you like the show ? His answer was "the people seem to like you". I said what kind of answer is that ? The people seem to like you ! That’s him.....he enjoys it....he’s very proud of us. I can tell. He likes to golf...when he’s on the golf course he’ll wear our jackets and our hats. He’s always talking about us. It happens so many times that I’ll run into someone and they’ll be hey was talking about you to your Dad, dude.

Did he work on the first album with you ?

No, just this one. Did you ask him Hm....I think this was the first time we ever used any horns Yeah. We just needed it, actually our bassist played trombone on it too. He used to be in like the school marching band on trombone, so

From when you were local to now, how much has your music changed ?

Not a lot....we’ve always been a band that was very diverse from song to song and it could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing cause I noticed that through the press release and through people, they always like to label you, pigeonhole you like this is a punk band, this is a metal band. We’ve always fallen through the cracks because nobody really knew how to categorize us. If they don’t know how to talk about you, they just don’t talk about you. It’s been kinda cool because we’ve had little steps of success. It’s kept us going this long and looking back at things now, a lot of those bands that were stereotyped and pigeonholed that almost believed it, they are not bands anymore. The fad left and so did they. Really with us, people realize for one that the band is very talented, we’re good song writers and that’s all we really want them to know and now this new record GET A TASTE is still the dynamics of thought but still the tunes are very different from song to song. I think we did that because if you like the first song, your gonna like the last one and there’s like thirteen songs that everybody seems to be enjoying. There’s not one like oh that song sucks or this song.....we know that we did something really good and we’ve just got that nervous anticipation stirred, just looking that just everybody is going to GET A TASTE of it. Because we know it’s good, just the way, we’ve had smoke blown up our ass before, and we believed in it. But looking back we know it came from, but a lot of things are happening now that are very special and they’re all coming because of the music. We had people that we’ve wanted to work with for a long time and they told us no and they’re calling us now. They’re saying I heard your new record, I can’t believe that is you guys ! Congratulations, ya know.

Yeah and your going well I’m kinda busy right now ! (laughing) Yeah (laughing) but that’s like real, ya know, we’re not buying their services, there’s no hype or fad going down, it’s the integrity of the music that’s speaking and we’re so happy about that.

All right now, what are you guys doing for summer, after this ? Any festivals ?

Ya know, everything’s being dealt right now. This tour has about a month left on it so they’re working on what we’re gonna do about this. We asked if we could have a least a week off because we went from Zebrahead right on to this, not even a day off. I have a family reunion in Hawaii in July and they said don’t book the ticket because your gonna be busy. At least they tell us we’re gonna be busy until Christmas. That’s all we really wanted to do, do as much as we can for ourselves and hopefully they’re doing as much as they can too. If they want us to work, we want to work too. We don’t want to sit at home, if we’re sitting at home that means nothing is getting done.

o, you guys like the road life ?

Hm....today for you, it’s our first day in the bus. We’ve been in vans for two and a half months traveling, nine of us living in vans, so I think it’s gonna get a lot better (laughing).

Right (laughing) So, how has the new label been working out ?

Surf Dog Records, we’ve always been on Surf Dog, Surf Dog Hollywood was MR. FUNNYFACE. Like I said, we found out where we were going to be as far as a priority with that label, we had to get off or else we’d end up on a shelf somewhere. Fortunately for us, the relationship that the owners Surf Dog had with Hollywood, they were friends already, that’s how we got the deal originally. They said so as to not destroy this band, just let us go on and then said OK. With everything I’m hearing, that is a miracle in this industry. They let us go with no hard feelings, no nothing and we were ready to sign a deal with this other label when out of the blue this Red Line Entertainment came into play. We’re the only act, or at least we were the only act, I don’t know if they picked up any other bands, but we’re the only band on their label and they have a lot of power behind them through their different tentacles. They just came in and pretty much changed the whole complexion of the band. When you have nobody believe in you as admirably as they do and especially, I mean it sucks to say but, money talks sometimes. When they’re throwing it down, to me that shows conviction towards the cause, ya know. It sucks that you have to see that, but a hand shake just doesn’t do it anymore. They came in with the whole idea to blow themselves up and to blow us up. They’ve been doing everything and anything they can. I can actually call the president, he said here’s my cell, call anytime, and I’ve called him just to say what’s up, how ya doing, how ya feeling, that kind of vibe. The best thing about him and about the label, they came out to a show in San Diego, it was right when the Mets were getting ready to play the Yankees in the World Series, they came to talk to us there and I told him I’m a huge Yankee fan. We talked sports, he’s into sports and stuff like that, told him all about that. Then when we did the signing, he brought me a Yankee hat from the series, ya know, the 2000 Subway Series. I was like....that’s the shit.... that’s ..that’s It’s like the Godfather Soprano shit, right there. (laughing) But that’s the way they are, they’re pretty down to earth, they try to do what they say as much as they can, they can’t do everything for you of course, but they’re working hard and Surf Dog, Dave from Surf Dog, he’s been down for us, he’s been up and beyond because he really believes in the band.

Is Surf Dog from San Diego ?

Yeah and he took a chance on us way back when and he’s been fighting for us since, everybody feels it’s gonna happen, it feels like the time, everybody is just like rooting for us, like we’re these Underdogs (laughing) Yeah, not like the underdog, but like nobody can say we don’t deserve it. Everybody feels for us. That feeling is almost like sad at times, ya know, cause everybody’s rooting for us so hard. We want to put in our liner notes in the CD, we owe so many thanks to everybody and the only way we can truly say thank you is to continue on with what we’re doing. So many people believed is us for so long.

What’s on radio right now ?


Has that been doing good on radio ?

It’s been doing really well. I don’t know stations by you but I know it’s been out about three weeks and it’s been doing rally well, so they’re telling me. I think they’re just waiting to lock into some of the major stations, I’m sure that will change the complexion of what’s going on. It’s doing very well, it’s a good song, it’s a very positive message which I think is good for us, too much negativity in music, a lot of people just screaming at ya too much. It’s a good message, it’s a good song, especially what was going on in San Diego at least when we left, I haven’t seen the news yet. Kids shooting up the schools, to me that say "lack of hope" and WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY is a song about faith. If you don’t have faith, you don’t have hope. Hopefully the kids will embrace it and they will hear it and maybe change somebody’s mood for at least a day, that would be great, even for a minute.

Do you always try to write in the positive manner ?

No, that’s the scariest, most wonderful thing about this new record. Usually I have always written as a vent, to vent frustration or anything so our music has always had that tone to it, like sound of fear, not really feat but just getting shit out and I don’t know if I’ve just been happier lately or what but this album has nothing but a positive vibe to it.

Well, SHUT UP isn’t too happy ?

It’s not negative either ! Oh no, it’s not negative (laughing) That’s probably like the one SHUT UP, there’s a song called LAUGHING which has like a satirical feel to it. "I feel like laughing since I left you" ya know like I’m happy about it, but for the most part it’s a very beautiful positive song. Like UNEXPECTED is a very positive song, BEAUTIFUL is very positive, WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY is very positive. LUCY is just a fun song, EVERYBODY KNOWS EVERYTHING is a great song, FRIENDS that’s like, that song we had like two days left in the studio and that was like this little rhythm I had, the producer said why don’t you break that down and slow it down and let’s try it like this. I was wow, that’s great ! And so we recorded it in it’s original tracks and he said let’s have a party. So, we called up like thirty of our friends from San Diego, everybody came out and got wasted in the room, in this little studio and he just kept playing the song over and over. By the end of the night, everybody was drunk and singing the song and he was recording it, so nobody knew it was going down and then he chopped it back in the song, so that’s like the perfect period to the statement of that record. So, our friends tot to be involved in it and I’m sure they feel special when they listen to that song as I do when I listen to it. Shits all good.

Where did you guys come up with the name SPRUNG MONKEY ?

SPRUNG MONKEY’s been a long, long road. We originally called Love Slug and thank goodness there was a band called Love Slug because what a terrible name that would have been. But just being drunk and throwing it around, we kinda stuck to the same feeling. Now a days we say the SPRUNG MONKEY was just being crazy, just a liver, you just want to live and get out there, no worry, no problems just do what you want to do, say what you want to say, feel what you want to feel, be who you want to be. Just be SPRUNG !

So, can we say you guys are all party animals, then ?

Hm....we all have our moments, we’re trying to, we’re actually in therapy right now. There are people that are drying up right now, but we’ve been doing it for so long, we’ve been in the band for ten years, like I said, we’ve seen some things and we’ve done some things that we’re not proud of. On this tour and on this record, we’re pretty much humping down and we’re working hard, ya know, we keep our partying to a minimum, but everybody definitely still loves their vises, they’re just trying to make them work to their lives to be better.

Well, it must be hard too being on the road and getting shit faced every night ?

Oh, yeah, it wears you down. Especially like me singing, like I’ve really tried to kick out drinking, alcohol’s not good for you, I’ve cut down smoking a lot and tried to like, ya know, we actually brought some jump ropes on this tour.

(laughing) To work out ?

Yeah, trying to a little bit, ya know. It’s like we get tired before we actually get anything really done.

You mentioned BEAUTIFUL being an acoustic song, have you ever thought about doing an acoustic record ? Yeah, absolutely, because I do a lot of music on the side, it’s all acoustic based music, I love it, like ya know, Cat Stevens, John Buckly fan but it’s not that I like it more, it’s just an escape. There’s a lot of things we do musically, SPRUNG MONKEY is SPRUNG MONKEY, there’s a lot of things that I write, I bring everything to the band first and there are some songs yes that fall into SPRUNG MONKEY and some songs that don’t. Like on the new album, WHATCHA GONNA DO, that was an acoustic based song, WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY was written acoustic and you know once they layer the electric guitars, you hear it different, the drum beats coming in, it turns more aggressive and more upbeat, but yeah we do. Like I said we also play these songs acoustic. I think when we get back, I think it’s like late June, there’s a, I think it’s like a big surfer magazine, some sort of compilation CD that’s coming out on, I believe Capitol Records, don’t quote me on that cause I’m not positive, it’s really weird because we’ve had as much success doing soundtracks for a lot of surf videos, Taylor Steel and all his videos and I don’t know where the poll came from but they did like a top twenty songs in surfing and one of our songs was chosen. Isn’t it crazy with like the Beach Boys and all these weird surfer bands, that one of our tunes and so we’re gonna go do an acoustic up there.

Do any of you guys surf ?

Oh, we’ve all definitely had our day in the water. I live at the beach right now and I can honestly say I don’t even think I’ve touched the water in three years. There’s just no time for it and what it is, it’s mostly like the beach life has become hanging out with friends and just drinking and people watching pretty much. The beach is great for people watching. Girl Watching ! (laughing) Yeah, girl watching, I just said people (laughing)

(laughing) OK. Can you describe a live show to me ?

We’ve always been primarily a live band. It’s very energetic, I like to let the crowd sing as much as they can or as much as they know, get them involved. We’ve watched a lot of bands who have a very choreographed show every night, ya know, you hear the same joke every night. I understand why that works and how that works but I feel too goofy trying to do that so it’s more impulsive, more just we’re down to earth. We’re just, it’s really weird how many people have opinions on how you should e. There was a long time when I used to try and listen to it all, they’d say, ya know, you need to be looking at you as some kind of super here, ya know, then you have the other guy who says it’s great because your like one of the people, so it got to the point where I realized not everything said about you is gonna be good, so you need to really like who you are and just do what you do and pretty much that’s it. We’re just like five dudes that go out and we play our music. I you like it, great, if you don’t great, because we know we’re good. That’s one thing nobody can take away from us in the end. If you say to yourself it doesn’t hurt me like it used to cause I really don’t care. So, it’s pretty much spontaneous and just a lot of energy. We still enjoy what we’re doing.

Do you guys mix it up, are you doing more new stuff now than older stuff ?

Yeah, we’re hitting some markets right now that everything will be new but yeah we try to play 60-40 maybe. Mostly for ourselves too, just to get us familiar with the newer songs. People do enjoy us at the shows and they go and buy the record and are like totally shocked, God, one of those songs they played is on this record. They’re like oh yeah, I remember that song, I remember that song ya know.

OK. Do you have any last comments ? Anything you want to say to fans ?

Hm...just that we’re going to be touring, full view, we’re gonna be somewhere, somewhere close to ya for sure. www.Sprungmonkey.com you can find all our touring info so they tell me and all our merchandise and stuff like that and call your radio stations and request it, that’ll help us out a lot. Thank You Thank You

Official Website : http://www.sprungmonkey.com/