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Adam Stephens of Two Gallants
Two Native Sons
by Matt Crawford on Dec 19, 2008
San Franciscoís native sons Two Gallants will share their last performance of the year -- and likely their last show together for several months -- with local fans on December 26th at The Fillmore. After recording and touring behind their self-titled third LP, released September 2007 on Conor Oberstís Saddle Creek label, the duo is ready for a break to work on other projects, according to singer/guitarist Adam Stephens, who spoke with SF Station during a phone interview.
SF Station (SFS): Do you have anything special planned for the holiday gig?
Adam Stephens (AS): We havenít really played at home for awhile, so I donít know. We might have a few little tricks, or Auld Lang Syne, or something like that. We havenít really planned it all out.
SFS: Is it special for you to play The Fillmore?
AS: Itís definitely a special place. We grew up in San Francisco, so it was the place to go see shows when we were younger. Some of the first shows that I can remember were there -- Weezer, Jawbreaker, and stuff like that when I was young. Tyson and I went to most of the shows together because we were really good friends growing up. Itís nice to go back and be invited there because it was such a significant place in our formative years.
SFS: Itís a long way off from your first gig on the corner of 16th and Mission. What led you to decide to perform there?
AS: We didnít come up with the idea, or anything. It was something that Mission bands were doing for a long time before us. We just wanted to play. We had been playing together in different bands since we were 12, but we had been doing this thing for maybe a month or two before we played our first two shows.
The band Full Moon Partisans, who are good friends of ours, just asked us to play a street show. Back then, the police seemed to be much more lenient and allowed things like that to go down. I think they had their priorities a little bit more in line because they were focusing more on the people who were dealing heroin right next to us on the street, instead of young kids who were trying to play music. The last time we tried to play, they told us to stop before we made any noise at all.
SFS: As a music fan, when did the San Francisco music scene peak for you?
AS: I donít know. It probably peaked before I was aware of it. I went to shows when I was young, but it was mostly national touring bands. I wasnít really in tune to the scene when I was younger.
I wouldnít say it was a peak, but during the first two years that we played, it was nice and there were some really good bands that we were close with. We played shows all of the time and spent a lot of time together. A lot of those bands broke up or moved away so that tightness has gone away. Itís kind of sad, but it comes up in different forms now.
SFS: What do you have planned for 2009?
AS: I donít know, Iíve never been one to make too many plans. Tyson and I both think this will be our last show for awhile because we both have some other projects that we will be working on for most of the next year, I would imagine.
SFS: Why are you doing other projects now?
AS: Weíve already been doing them for the last few months. We have no desire right now to go back on tour and record. We just want to take some distance from it. Tyson is in a band called People People and he has been recording some of his solo stuff. I have been doing my own little solo thing and touring a little bit. I think we just want to focus on other stuff for a bit, and refresh our enthusiasm for Two Gallants.
SFS: Do you take a different approach for your solo work?
AS: I was motivated to do it because I have been writing a lot of songs that I donít really think work for Two Gallants. A lot of people come to our shows with the expectation of it being really loud and progressive, and I didnít think a lot of the songs that I was writing really fit into that. I wanted to try them in a different format. It wasnít a matter of choice, it was a matter of consequences.
SFS: You have played some out of the way venues with your solo work. Do you like performing in those spaces?
AS: Not necessarily. The tour I did was a last-minute thing. I mostly just wanted to go on tour to practice. I have trouble getting familiar with songs without performing them. I canít play them in the same place for two weeks in a row everyday. I wanted to play the songs more for me than for anyone else, really.
SFS: Do you have any resolutions for 2009?
AS: Iím sorry, I donít. I donít really believe in New Yearís Resolutions. I have resolutions for every single day, not just for some big momentous occasion that comes around every 365 days. I feel like itís too easy to slip if you only do it once a year.
SFS: Can you share a recent resolution?
AS: I decided to take better care of my plants because I feel like Iíve been neglecting them a little bit lately. They are starting to look really sad and depressed. I decided to take better care of them, and give them better pots and real estate in the sun.
Two Gallants performs at The Fillmore on December 26th. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $20.
by Matt Crawford on Dec 19, 2008