Hello Floyd McFeely and thanks for the interview. Let's talk about the concept behind Super Geek League: how it started, how it's evolved, and where it's going.
I started doing shows in 2003, just me and my iPod with three guys: one in a gorilla suit, another in a chicken suit, and another dressed as a stripping nun. They all played air guitar while I sang on top of the music from my iPod. From there, it gathered momentum, and I was able to book more shows and a few headlining dates. I started doing bizarre things up on stage, kind of like cabaret on acid. I started building a band around it, but the music was secondary. Eventually, the music became the focus and the stage show complemented it. Then I asked friends and family to create their own characters which they sent to me. I created a soundtrack around those characters, compiled everything into booklets, and I gave them to everybody for Christmas. It exploded from there and turned into a superhero circus with a nine-piece band that is augmented by a huge production where characters are re-enacted for parts of the songs. It's like a punk-rock Cirque De Soleil. After playing a few dates on the Warped Tour and receiving a nice response, we released our first record. We're trying to get Super Geek League to the next level with a national push and bigger shows. We're also trying to leverage the Super Geek League name into a never-ending world that reaches any medium we choose. Online, there are comic book illustrations of the characters created so far. People visiting our website can create their own new characters to interact online with others from the Super Geek League community. Here's a link to our interactive album and online community: http://supergeekleague.com/sgl_extras.aspx
Before reading the press release about your record "Peppermint Rainbows", I dove right in and just listened so I wouldn't have any preconceptions. Your record, from the first spin, had "concept album and/or "soundtrack" written all over it. Tell me about your sound.
Super Geek League's sound pays homage to our many influences, like Frank Zappa, who was the last great American composer. I'm a huge fan of his and hopefully it's reflected in our lyrics. Like Frank, I had 15 years of classical training. I was forced to take piano as a kid, and I hated music because of that. I picked it up again as I got older and applied it to rock music. Devo, another of our influences, was the first to make pop art and performance art cool. We pull from everything: from classical to rock to punk to pop. With "Peppermint Rainbows," which was released in late March 2007, we tried to capture what we sound like at a live show and bring a "bigger than life" feel to the record. What you see is what you get and no synthesizers were harmed during the making of this record. It was challenging to make good music that's accessible and fun. A lot of people will look at this project and think it's "shtick." I wanted to prove that we had an incredible band and that our music can stand on its own. People need to have an emotional response to the music before they can gravitate to the concept as a whole. There's plenty of screamo bands and pop-punk acts. We want to be the "Prozac for the New World." We try to dream big and live even bigger. Musically, we want to be a force that has to be reckoned with, and our live show speaks for itself. With "Peppermint Rainbows," we consciously did everything digital. After all, it is the "digital age." Eventually, people will be able to download our music at iTunes and a bunch of other places that I'm working on right now. Until then, everything is exclusively at our website, and we'll sell fans the record if they use PayPal. We donate 10 percent of all our proceeds to the Special Olympics; it's an important part of the enterprise. It's always good to give back.
What's the Seattle music scene like these days and will Super Geek League only be touring regionally in 2007?
Seattle has a huge independent music scene. A lot of passive spectators go to clubs to hear new music and just watch. We pull them up on stage, and the people really get into it when they attend our show. Some spectators have told us that we're the best live show they've ever seen. Hearing that in Seattle, which is home for a lot of really talented acts, is very rewarding. We have a lot of opportunity to do regional shows, but we became our own worst enemy with our type of production. We can't compromise, and we can't downscale. We need to be bigger than life every time. That's our vision, and we truly believe that the right opportunity will present itself to leave the Seattle region and tour nationally. We're also trying to get a standing show in Las Vegas, which would be fantastic for the type of show we do. With a standing show, we can draw the bees to honey and try to build it up instead of taking the dog-and-pony show out on the road.
Talk about Super Geek League's live performance. I'd imagine that touring with an elaborate production becomes cost-prohibitive, yet the Internet can make a large world smaller by bringing you closer to your audience.
Cirque de Soleil, and Barnum & Bailey, had a bigger influence on the live performance and production side of Super Geek League than theatrical rock bands like KISS or Alice Cooper. We're over the top and a lot of fun. People at our shows can cut loose and lose their minds! With a massive confetti machine, balloons falling from the ceiling, and projectiles, a Super Geek League show is a full-on fireworks show for the hour we're playing.
The nature and size of our production makes it extremely challenging to take it out on the road. With 20 to 30 performers, massive props, and a nine-piece band, I'm sure you'll understand. With the fragmentation in the music market these days, people like live entertainment and live shows are where the money's made for bands. The top-grossing bands are those that continue to play live shows and tour nationally for their fan base. People will always pay for live entertainment. That's great for us because people will remember us and have an emotional response if they see Super Geek League perform.
The Internet and MySpace desensitizes the music market. There's so much music available that you can listen to. It's a challenge for us and any other band, but you can find an audience if you know where to look. Super Geek League has to go after our audience with videos, pictures, and social networking. A big positive of the Internet is that it gives fans a one-to-one connection with a band, and that opportunity didn't exist in other musical eras. New fans that see a band perform can go home after a show, visit your MySpace page, check out your website, and join your fan network before the night is over.
Introduce your band and feel free to promote anything else you'd like that applies to your band.
Barry McCockiner is the Theremin player. Trixie Hamburger plays keyboards, accordion, and various noise toys instruments. Knuckles is a percussionist who also plays trombone, keyboards, and sings vocals. Sir Chalice of Metal is one of our vocalists. Sky Kensok is our lead guitarist and backing vocalist. Mia "the Ringmaster" Kensok is the female vocalist. Gil Chowder is our drummer. P-Word is the bassist. I'm Floyd McFeeley, the grand maestro. I play keys, guitar, and I sing vocals. I also wrote and produced the album. There are videos of Super Geek League scattered around the Internet if music fans search for them. We will have merchandise available soon, but right now our only product is the album. We have t-shirts available at our shows, but not online so come to a show and say hello. I just hope all the fans will stop by, create their own character, and join our "anti-social" network at the Super Geek League website. Down the road, fans should expect more outrageousness, with bigger and over-the-top shows. I'm talking to some Hollywood special effects people about creating customized character costumes like a 7-foot-tall fat cannibal. They're going to see things that they've never seen in a live venue before!
Please share your thoughts on the senseless murder of Dimebag Darrell.
Pantera was a force and they rocked supreme. Senseless violence like that is so tragic. He was doing what he loved to do: entertaining people and having fun. It's so unfortunate that he was murdered doing what he loved to do. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but from me and everybody in Super Geek League, our condolences go out to his family and friends. I think that vulnerability is one of the risks in our business. Music creates an emotional response from people in the audience. Fans have reached out to us for help, and I found that strange because we're so bizarre. It's unfortunate that Dimebag's killer couldn't communicate that he needed help and instead he took a gun to a show and shot somebody. That's scary. I've seen a lot of crazy stuff at a lot of crazy events, but at the end of the day it's all about the love. I think what you're trying to do by keeping Dimebag's memory alive is a noble thing. Nobody should ever be forgotten.