Posted On 24 Oct 2017
Get to know the psychedelic grunge act The Oxford Coma, who released “Everything Out of Tune” on Friday, October 13th. The album was engineered by Steve Albini and was born out of leader Billy Tegethoff’s frustrations, addictions, neuroses, and grief. The collection’s lead single, “Cartoons” has an accompanying music video out now about animated pornography that is a metaphor for Tegethoff’s range of behaviors.
As a part of the LGBT community fronting a hard-rock outfit, Tegethoff’s concerns are even more illuminated. “The culture of social media wars, 24-hour streams of videos of cops committing atrocities, fucking Donald goddam Trump, nationalism, racism, misogyny, and other forms of violence has had me alternately furious and depressed for the last several years,” he says.
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Learn more about The Oxford Coma in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
You caught us during the rare occasion that we’re all in Phoenix. The only music in the background is my tinnitus flaring up from an 11 hour day of practice yesterday. When I’m working on something musical I don’t listen to much music other than the music I’m working on. I’m not sure what that’s about, but that’s how it goes. We all listen to pretty different stuff anyway. Doug has been looping that old Mudvayne song Dig. Casey likes “electro-swing”. Mert likes hipster metal and weird indie rock. I listen to the same stuff I liked in high school: weird 90s rock/metal.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? How differently did you all approach this year then you did 2016? What all are you most excited about for 2018?
We didn’t do anything in 2016 other than work on this album. 2017 has been spent executing on that work. 2018 will be spent touring on it. I’m just excited to get on the road again. It’s been too long.
Can you recall the moment you all realized that you could really make music together and be this band? Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create? Where did your name come from in the first place?
This is at least the fourth iteration of this band. There has never been a romantic gestalt moment when we realized we could make music together as this band. It happened over years of playing with these guys in different bands and different combinations since we were teenagers. Doug and I had a moment in high school (or shortly thereafter) when a particularly poignant psychedelic experience really made clear that we had something special. With Casey, it’s been less dramatic. We’ve just kept playing together in different bands for the last decade plus. That builds a high degree of trust and musical chemistry. Mert has only been with us since February, but he’s the only guitarist I’ve met in the last twenty years to whom I’ve felt comfortable giving the bulk of the playing responsibilities. I’m looking forward to writing with him on the next record.
What does it feel like to have released your album, “Everything Out of Tune”? Did anything surprise you about the whole process of creating it? How long did it take it to put it all together? What was the inspiration for it?
It’s a relief. I’ve been working on this since July of 2015. The inspiration was that I was sick of the band and wanted to do something different. It was originally going to be an entirely new project, but I was advised somewhere along the line that abandoning the name would be like throwing away five years of bullet points I worked to put on a resume.
How creatively involved were you with the making of your music video for “Cartoon”? What are other songs on the album that you are excited for to people to hear?
I directed, edited, and ‘acted’ in it. I did set and costume design as well. I’m excited for people to digest the whole thing. It works best as a cohesive unit. The track order was deliberate, and designed to create a flow from start to finish.
Do you have plans to tour much this fall with the album?
We’re doing short runs in Texas and a run with our friends Bitter Lake (SF) in the Northwest this year and plan to tour more extensively in 2018.
With the summer over now, what was your favorite part about it? What was something fun that this group did or tried for the first time?
Summer is never over in Phoenix. We recorded with Steve Albini. That was fun.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
Tool, Primus, Nirvana…typical white-guy-in-his-thirties fare. I’d like to jam with Tim Alexander and Justin Chancellor. Maybe put Josh Homme on vocals.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
That music is too powerful a medium to be fucked off and re-done. If I hear one more song about how cold so and so is, or how empty you are inside, I’m going to go postal. Have some valid or at least debatable commentary (through sound, attitude, or words) or keep your fucking mouth shut. The last thing the world needs is another Three Days Grace or Shinedown.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
Find something else you’re good at and can tolerate too, because unless you’re the next Metallica or Tool, expect to spend time struggling to find an audience and make ends meet.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about the band or your music?
No. Just listen to it. If it resonates, sweet. If not, that’s ok. It’s definitely not for everyone.