Back to the Future…Meet 1-800-Band


I’ve always been a sucker for rock and roll with pop hooks. Back in the 70s (yeah I’m old) I remember waiting by my Dad’s tape deck for songs by Graham Parker, Marshall Crenshaw, The Records, or Bram Tchaikovsky to come on the radio.

So it’s no wonder that 1-800-Band’s, new record High Beams (Almost Ready Records) has just vaulted high onto my records of the year list, because I would have stayed up all night to tape a song like Judy’s Glass.

The amazing thing about 1-800-Band is that they draw on the new wave, power pop and country rock of the late 70s while sounding contemporary. I was hooked five seconds into the opening track One Time Goodbye.

The fact that they list the somewhat obscure Canadian country rock legends Blue Northern (featuring Billy Cowsill) as an influence and the record is produced by the legendary Mitch Easter (Let’s Active) hammered it home. High Beams would’ve been a flawless record of power pop in 1978 because it’s flawless record of power pop in 2016.

We asked the band a few questions.

Describe your sound as a cocktail – what would it be called and what would be in it?

Polly: The Peach Schnitz

Rob: What would be in it?

Al: Something and gin

Polly: Maraschino?

Al: Maraschino is a cherry

Steve: It’s also a liqueur

What song do you remember most from your childhood

Al: the theme from the Rockford Files by Mike Post

and where does it take you?

Polly: Rocky’s trailer?

Steve: To a trailer in a parking lot

If you could pick any time and place to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….?

Polly: 1979

Al: The blizzard of ’78

Rob: The 1983 US festival, the one with Triumph.

Steve: What? with Santana on stage and his curls blowing in the wind?

Rob: They had New Wave Day, Heavy Metal Day, Rock Day and Country Day. It’s the perfect festival.

What tunes are currently on heavy rotation for you…?

Al: I was listening to Linda Ronstadt “Simple Dreams” because Polly was listening to it and left it on the turntable.

Rob: Blue Northern S/T and Jerri Bo Keno – Here it Comes (And Here I Go).

Al: (laughing) the last record I listened to was “Exile on Main Street”

Rob: that’s good, that’s true. Its like the number one record on every list but… its a really good record!

Polly: Mama, from Chicago. they are good.

What would 1-800 Band do with $100,000?

Polly: I’d buy 1/20th of an apartment in NYC

Al: AquaTour 2017!

Rob: no one knows what that means…

Al: one night on tour last month we ended up sleeping on a boat, like a nice fancy boat with multiple bedrooms and in the morning we were thinking about how much more fun it would be to tour by boat than in the van so we came up with AquaTour.

Rob: so…waterways.

Give us your 10 song playlist for the tour van/bus/plane

Polly: oh my god, that’s easy – the van only has a cassette deck in it and on the last tour Rob brought two cassettes, one of them was broken and the other one was “Here’s Larry Williams” on Specialty records from 1959. It has ten songs on it, and the cassette deck has auto reverse so we literally listened to nothing else besides these ten songs for 6,000 miles…

Short Fat Fannie
Make A Little Love
Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Peaches And Cream
Give Me Love
Bony Maronie
Little School Girl
Dizzy, Miss Lizzie
Tear Drops
You Bug Me, Baby

What’s up for the rest of 2016?

We’ve just released a new record “High Beams” on Almost Ready and we’ve been touring that this summer. In the fall we’ll be getting on the road again playing the Hozac 10th anniversary in Chicago and plenty of other shows.

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Domestic now, but spent early to late 80s playing drums in a hair metal band in Toronto. Since then I've lost the hair and have found new ways to scratch the rock and roll itch.

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