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Friday, February 15, 2019

Screaming Fastcore Interviews Dennis Jagard (Ten Foot Pole)

Ok guys, this band is so well-known and loved by all of us, that it needs no introduction. Recently, Dennis Jagard (Ten Foot Pole lead guitarist and vocals), sat down with our SF boy, Felipe (who's living in Canada), and talked about band future plans, new projects, tour anecdotes, and many more... So, let's begin!

馃憠 Musical influences:

Which are your main musical influences?
That's a good question that people ask a lot and I always used to answer that with the kind of music I used to listen to back in the 80s and 90s but as a song writer, I didn't try to copy other songs, I know it sounds like a silly thing to say, but I know a lot of people actually take a song and then try to change it and make it their own. I always thought that that was boring, so I've always tried to pick up the guitar and create a melody or something new.

Which are your favorite bands and music genres nowadays?
I listen to all kind of different stuff, nothing that you would think is terribly exciting. On the last tour, we turned on Freddy Eaglesmith and if you look him up, he is a folk trucker guy and he has really depressing beautiful songs.

Do you know any punk bands from Latin America?
We played with some bands like 20 years ago in Mexico, when "Insider" came out, but I can't remember any of those bands... The best I can do is, I was a sound engineer for Kinky, and traveled all over Mexico and some US with them.  Not exactly punk, but very cool.

馃憠 Knowing the band:

Can you tell us about the old and new members of the band? We've seen so many changes over the years...
What I would say is, I think a lot of people had a different band and they played in a band for a while, then they played in a different band and then they played in a different band. I guess it's kind of strange that I've been in the same band since 1982, just with different band names and members over the 35 years. But I'm kind of stuck with it and I don't know if that was a smart move or if I would've done better if I would've switched bands a lot, but it started when we were kids and I was always the guitar player and started to write more and more songs and eventually in 94/95 I started singing.

Do you consider Ten Foot Pole a band that should be playing more at least in European or Latin American festivals?
For me, the problem is the calendar. I am a sound engineer, I've done sound for Prince "Weird Al" Yankovic and Jimmy Eat World a lot. Right now, I don't have a job so it's very difficult to plan anything in the future with the band, because in my line of work if someone calls me they might need a whole year of touring. I committed to do some touring in June, but because of that I'm worried. What if I get a call that says: "Hey, come on tour with us" and I have to say no, because I have this one tour in June. It's funny because in the past we talked about baseball blocking us from touring but really anything blocks us from touring now. Maybe I should become a teacher, when you know you'll have 3 months off in the summer...

How do you see Ten Foot Pole in the punk scene nowadays?
At different times, we were at the same level with some of the bigger bands, but then by splitting our audience when we changed singers that hurt us a lot. When Scott Radinsky was in the band if we would've kept him in the band and kept going who knows what would've happened, but also me leaving to do my audio career some other bands got bigger and we didn't. If you think about Lagwagon or No Use For A Name, they just kept going and going. And with Ten Foot Pole, I stopped to be a good sound engineer. Which I don't regret. I had some great times, I did sound for Prince, AFI, Jimmy Eat World, Weird Al, Rise Against, etc. I love doing sound; if I just play in the band, I get bored, but if i just do sound I get bored. So I like to go back and forth.

How's your relationship with old bands from Warped Tour and Punk-O-Rama era? I named those ones, because that's how I first met TFP.
I have some contacts and occasional meetings. One time, I ran into Fat Mike in a festival in Germany. I was doing sound for Jimmy Eat World and I didn't even see him, I just heard: "Hey there, Dennis Jagard!". We talked, and he played me some of the songs for his Broadway show and in fact, I said: "Do you need any actors? I'd love to sing in a Broadway show that would be fun!" and he said: "I've got a perfect role for you that'd be cool!" and he described a character who's a dad who sexually abuses his daughter. Ew! I'm was really flattered but I didn't really want to be in the creepy guy role!!! I understand that's art and acting but considering what I do and my band, I didn't want to be associated with any kind of creepy vibe. I'm kind of know some people in some of the bigger bands but I'm not well connected enough to get a lot of offers to be in a lot of the tours, you know. Fat Mike knows me but when he's deciding who's going to be on his beer festival, obviously I'm not on the top of his list, and it's hard to say, specially Fat Wreck Chords there's a motivation for him to take bands he makes money their records sell, or bands with a really strong draw like Bad Religion. There's extra incentive for him to have those bands, if he put us on the bill it'd be kind of, he would be doing us a huge favor and I would love it he does, but I certainly don't expect it.

Do you keep contact with old members of TFP? Have you ever consider a "reunion show", maybe having Scott and do shows with Pulley, I ask because they were just announced in a couple festivals for European Summer 2019...
I'm not against the idea, but I don't really want to put energy into that. Let's say, if Scott wanted to do Scared Straight and he booked it and did all the work, I'd be down. I'm open to all kind of suggestions. I thought about Scared Straight stuff and I played some of the Scared Straight songs on the guitar, it was fun for a few minutes and then it got boring. The reality is, I'd rather spend my time writing new songs, working on the new record... When you guys hear this record, I mean, I can't guarantee all the 90's punk fans will like it, but I think even a lot of people who aren't punk people are gonna like it. Some of the songs are really catchy.

馃憠 Band plans:

Any new music soon? Can you tell us a little bit more about this new material you've been working on? You did a couple good songs in the latest TFP record, "Setlist". And I listened to a new single too. Are we gonna have a new TFP record this year?
I expect the new record to be out in April, the first people who get to hear it are Patrons (people who subscribe to Patreon), which is a monthly subscription, like a dollar a month to help us record.

Could you tell us about this new project to collect funds for the new record? www.patreon.com/TenFootPoleband
The basic idea is that we didn't have a record label, so I paid it for myself and now I'm trying to get support from the fans and hopefully we get to do an acoustic record next. So, the minimum is a dollar a month and then for that you get the hear the songs first, so when the music is ready, I'm gonna start putting songs out on Patreon. Then eventually we'll release them to the public, on Spotify, etc, and eventually we'll have vinyl out probably on Thousand Islands Records. So, at the end of the day if somebody pays a dollar a month at the end of the year they'll be paying as much as it would cost for a record, but they get to hear stuff first, get newsletters, and get access to other content, like podcasts.

Tell us about this acoustic project you started a few years ago, we were lucky to have a show in Chile. What do you remember about that show?
Yeah it was awesome, and you also gave me some sweet video footage, so I can remember. I think that was the second time I ever had a real Ten Foot Pole acoustic show and it was just great, so fun.

Are you planning on continuing this acoustic solo career?
My dream is to do that every night, just it could be a little place where to play the songs and talk with people, I would love to do that for a living.

What should we expect from Ten Foot Pole new record in 2019?
The new record that we're doing is a little different, more expanded than the 90's punk records. There's a few songs with similar double time drums, like the memory of the 90's, but most of the songs are more just kind of straight forward mid-tempo. I don't know, it's still kind of the same vibe and the same aggression and energy, but not always fast double time drum beats. I don't even know how to say it, it will be different, and I hope people like it. I think the album is gonna be called "Don't Be A Dick", because there's a really good song on it and it's called "Don't Be A Dick".
Sean Sellers from Good Riddance is playing drums and "Little" Joe from Lagwagon who used to be in RKL, is on the bass. Guitarist are regulars me and Scott, plus some guest guitar players doing solos like our old member Keith Divel and Dan Palmer (from Death By Stereo and Zebrahead). There's one new acoustic song and the rest is full band.

馃憠 Touring:

Do you guys have any plans on touring outside North America?
In June, we'll be playing in Canada, on a festival with Face To Face and I'm trying to arrange other dates around there, I'm asking promoters if they would like to set some shows across the US on the way to Qu茅bec, then across Canada on the way home.

I have mentioned to you the "We Are One Tour" in South America. Have you been contacted already?
We got an offer from one promoter in South America a couple a months ago, but unless I have audio work already lined up, I just can't afford to book things with the calendar so far away. I'm open to offers, but the timing can be difficult.

Would you guys like to go to South America?
Yes, of course! Claro que s铆! Maybe if the band gets bigger, after the new record in the future, maybe we can have an acoustic tour through South America.

馃憠 Message to the fans:

Do you know the site Screaming Fastcore? What's your opinion about sharing music online?
I don't know, I mean, music's always been a hard thing to do. There're a few bands that make money and they are successful, and there's a lot of bands that just lose money. So, it's kind of those things if you really wanna make it, make it a priority. Maybe you get the kind of job when you can leave your job and go on tour and still have a job when you come back. It was my choice to be an audio engineer because I really love doing that.

What message would you like to send to your fans?
I'd try to centralize it to www.tenfootpole.com. It's a bit DIY website, my boy runs it, so the art is very simple. But I wanted it to be very simple way to get a hold of us. It's really frustrating to me just to get the word out. We have social media now, but it's still not easy to just make an announcement like on Facebook you have to pay to advertise just to reach our "friends".  So, by becoming a Patron, by subscribing to www.patreon.com/TenFootPoleband at the minimum of a dollar a month you don't only get to hear new songs, podcast, videos but you also get on a mailing list where we're in touch and we can create a network where we can get word out right away. Cause to me, it's what the point of having social media and connection if we are not really connected... So, Patron give us the chance to be have a strong connection. But even if not, at least you have www.tenfootpole.com to go to and I try to be active on Facebook and Instagram... And why not? To try to keep in touch with the fans. We really appreciate people who like us to keep playing and traveling around even the acoustic stuff, I'm glad to have the opportunity to do this music, I think that the new songs are worthy and so far the people who've heard them seemed to really like them. So, I'm super excited about them to coming out.

Live photos by:
 Barricade Punk
www.barricadepunk.com / www.facebook.com/barricadepunk
Video from acoustic show in Chile by: Shinesse

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