Delivery Boy is more than “the band who opened for Guster.” Their unique folk rock style adds violin, saxophone and acoustic bass to the usual drums, guitar and vocals found in the average rock band.
We caught up with the band at WRUR’s studio. Surrounded by records and equipment, drummer Steve Carlton, bassist and saxophonist Eugene Lee, guitarist and vocalist Jon Lee and violinist, guitarist and backup vocalist Joel Thompson spilled about the band’s history.
Campus Times: How did you guys get together?
Jon Lee: Eugene and I met the third day of orientation [at UR]. We talked and realized we both played instruments… Joel and I had a lot of mutual friends, so we met sophomore year, officially. I heard that Joel played guitar… Eugene and I got to the point that we were recording some songs and we gave a copy of that stuff to Joel and then he threw in his parts.
Joel Thompson: We only played altogether a few times before Colorado, like twice or three times.
JL: Before winter break our sophomore year we had only played a couple times but we were all kind of aware of each other. Over winter break we tried to go and record a CD, and at the time we had one of Joel’s friends drumming for us. But he didn’t go to this school. We didn’t really know what to do about a drummer. The beginning of junior year we learned about this hot, young stud named Steve.
JT: He had helped us record some songs here in the UR studio.
JL: But at the time we didn’t know he was a drummer and it turns out over the summer he added some drum tracks to some of the stuff we recorded.
CT: So you worked for the radio station and that’s how you guys met?
Steve Carlton: Yeah, when they came here to record some songs in the studio, I was there as the engineer.
JL: So he got demoted, from engineer to drummer.
CT: I think that’s a promotion, actually.
SC: [laughing] Yeah, I guess.
JL: Early September our junior year I saw Steve working sound at a concert here on campus… so I went up and asked Steve if he wanted to play with us. We switched contact info and all that stuff and then we got together and played. Steve was really good and we liked him. So that’s how we came to be.
CT: Were any of you in bands before you were in Delivery Boy?
JT: Yeah. In high school I was a skateboarder punk, so my band and I wanted to be like Rage Against the Machine… So that’s what we played.
Eugene Lee: I was in a couple bands in high school…
JT: Do you call orchestra a band?
JT: It’s a big band.
CT: It’s a band of sorts, but it wasn’t really what I meant by band. When did you guys first start playing music?
CT: You started with the bass?
EL: Piano… no violin, sorry. [laughing]
CT: What was the evolution of that?
EL: I started with the violin, then piano, then saxophone, then the bass.
JL: I got my first guitar when I was 13 because my friend played guitar and he wanted to start a band but none of his friends played instruments. So he convinced all of our parents to buy us instruments. So I got my first guitar to be in this punk band. It was pretty much a Green Day tribute band.
JT: I started violin when I was four. I played piano somewhere in there, and then guitar in eighth grade.
SC: I had plastic toy drums as long as I can remember and I was always hitting on stuff. I started formal lessons in fourth grade and I got my first drum set in sixth grade.
CT: What’s your goal in making music?
EL: Making people happy.
JL: Yeah. For me the point is just… I really want to connect to people. The music I listened to and the concerts I’ve gone to, that stuff has changed my life. If I could have a part in doing that for anybody else, that would be a dream come true. Just to influence people the way I’ve been influenced by music I’ve listened to.
SC: I think I’m much more selfish. I play music…
JT: To get girls.
SC: [laughing] Yeah… The feeling that I get while I’m playing and the interaction between the band members, rather than between the players and listeners.
EL: It is it’s own self contained musical pursuit that describes you.
JL: I’d have to chime in on that one too. The whole audience thing is important to me, but if you don’t have a solid band… I can hold myself up in my room and write songs and play guitar for as long as I want, but it won’t matter and it won’t be as good as coming to rehearsal and hearing everybody add their own thing to a song.
CT: Who are your musical influences? I know you already mentioned Green Day and who was it you said?
JT: You can really hear the Rage Against the Machine influence in a lot of our work. [laughing]
JL: I wouldn’t necessarily call them influences anymore…
CT: Do you have any more serious influences?
JT: With violin I never listened to any rock band with a violinist. So it’s really a classical influence more than anything.
EL: I definitely have more of a jazz influence – Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley.
JT: We all have individual influences, but we don’t have an influence as a band.
CT: What was your most memorable show?
JL: That actually is it. Guster was memorable, but…
JT: There’s no way that compares to Guster.
SC: She said memorable, not good memorable.
JT: It still pales in comparison.
EL: I don’t know, [Godfest] will be ingrained in my memory forever.
CT: So your best show then would be Guster?
JL: Experience wise, yeah.
CT: You played together musically better at another show?
JL: Yeah, definitely. Guster was good because of the circumstance and stuff. And all the mistakes we made playing for Guster kind of get nullified because we were playing for so many people. In terms of performance we’ve had better shows.
CT: What was going through your minds when you were playing [at the Guster show]?
JT: Lamar… I don’t know if anything really was going through my mind other than I was having so much fun.
EL: I was just very absorbed in the moment.
JT: Yeah, definitely no thoughts whatsoever. Everything I played was a total reaction because I wasn’t thinking very much at all. I was just in the moment.
CT: Where do you get most of your material?
EL: Jon writes all the songs and then we add our own parts to it.
CT: So lyrics come from Jon and then everyone adds their own piece?
JL: The music is all of us.
JT: Sometimes we come up with parts individually, sometimes we try to play off each other.
CT: Do you have any plans for a CD?
JL: We have many plans for a CD, but how those plans will pan out is yet to be determined.
EL: Hopefully in a couple months we’ll have one ready.
JT: We’ve been planning on having a CD for such a long time and things just haven’t worked out and we’ve gotten lazy.
JL: And then we get busy…
CT: You’ve got other things to do I’m sure.
SC: Yeah, this school thing is really bringing me down.
JL: Hopefully by the end of the semester at least.
If you’ve missed their past performances, or if you’re hooked and dying to see them again, you can catch the two time Battle of the Bands winner tomorrow, Oct. 17 at 10 p.m. at the Hive. Keep up with the band’s latest happenings. Check out their Web site www.deliveryboymusic.com.
Egan can be reached at email@example.com.