Q&A with American Babies
American Babies, a Philadelphia-based band, will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., with special guest Andrew Altman from Railroad Earth. For the first outdoor First Friday of the year, the American Babies will be performing songs from their current album, “Flawed Logic,” as well as their first album, “Weight of the World.”
Tom Hamilton started the band in 2007, when he went searching to be more than just a solo musician. In the past, Hamilton was the lead singer for electronic rock band Brothers Past. After a few temporary members, American Babies solidified their line-up after the release of “Flawed Logic” in 2011.
The Sun-Gazette recently chatted with the band, discussing their upcoming performance, their musical influences and what’s in store for American Babies for the rest of 2013.
BETHANY WIEGAND: So ,who makes up American Babies and what roles do they play in the band?
DAVE BUTLER: Tom Hamilton plays guitar and writes the songs; he steers the ship. I play drums and am responsible for making things run smoothly. Adam Flicker plays keys and makes us sound really nice. Nick Bockrath plays bass and guitar and will literally do anything if we give him a sandwich. We all do a little singing but Tom handles the lead vocals.
BW: Where is the band based?
BW: Lead singer Tom Hamilton is from Philadelphia and you’re (Butler) from Brooklyn. Both of these places are a mecca of undiscovered talent. Do you have any local favorites that you’re just waiting to burst on to the scene?
DB: For Philly, The War on Drugs makes cool records and we like Hezekiah Jones’ songwriting. Tom and I just played on the new Rich Mystics album, that’s gonna be a good one. In Brooklyn, we like Scott Metzger’s band Wolf! They rule.
BW: How did you begin your journey with music? Is this where you always saw yourself?
TOM HAMILTON: I moved a few years ago, and as I was unpacking, I found this bag of random stuff that I had been moving with me since I’ve been living on my own. Every time I would move, I would see this bag and think to myself that I need to go through it and see what’s in there but I always forgot. This time I finally remembered. In this bag of nostalgic goodies, I found an autobiography that I had to write when I was in fourth grade. Each page had an assigned topic (family, interests, etc.) and the final page was supposed to be “What do you want to be when you grew up?” I said musician. Here we are.
BW: If you could perform with any musician or band, dead or alive, who would it be?
TH: Either Jerry Garcia or Bruce Springsteen, but I’d want it to be us on acoustic guitars sitting around tossing songs around.
NICK BOCKRATH: Hendrix and Ravi Shankar.
ADAM FLICKER: Steel Pulse.
BW: Who did you look up to as a young musician?
AF: Bob Marley and Louis Armstrong.
NB: Jimmy Page, Blind Blake, friends and local musicians.
BW: Imagine that you’re auditioning for “American Idol.” What song do you pick and why?
AF: “Babylon Makes the Rules” (Steel Pulse), because that is, indeed, what Babylon does.
TH: “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen because they make the rockin’ world go round!
BW: Where are some of your favorite places that you’ve performed?
DB: We love hometown shows but Colorado and Northern California are magical places.
BW: What’s the band’s status with groupies? Do you have any crazy fans?
TH: We have amazing fans and I appreciate each and every supporter of the band. Are some of them crazy? Absolutely! They’re our favorites.
BW: You’re having a special guest, Andrew Altman of Railroad Earth, perform with you for your Williamsport appearance. Do you have anything special up your sleeve?
DB: Andrew is an amazing bass player and a good friend. He puts a new spin on our songs and should be interesting to see where we can take it. It’s gonna be a crazy night.
BW: What’s in store for American Babies for the rest of the year?
TH: We’re in the final stages of recording a new album, which will be released this October. From now until the release, we’ll be playing select shows, here and there but mainly doing a lot of rehearsing getting ready for the tour that will support the album release. I’m also interested in film, shooting and editing, so we’ll be making videos through out the summer to go with some of the songs on the new record. It’s fun to be able to add another dimension to the material.
For more information about American Babies, visit their website www.americanbabies.net or check them out on Facebook.