Chicago band Inchworm‘s latest release ‘Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing’ has been in my iTunes player for a while now, and the tracks continue to shine with each listen.
Inchworm is a band that I feel quite passionately about, as I really like their music, with endearing vocals, top notch songs, quality musicianship – and they seem like a cool group of people!
Someday I’d like to see them play live, but in the meantime, it was a treat to have the opportunity to interview them.
Inchworm interview with Jenny May
Jenny May: It looks like congratulations are in order regarding your song “Waltz Through the Ashes”. Will it be appearing in a film? How did this occur?
Matthew: Thanks, yes it is. The film is called We Believe: Chicago and its Cubs. It is directed by John Scheinfeld who made the documentary “The U.S. vs. John Lennon”. It’s the first documentary to be sanctioned by the Chicago Cubs so we’re hoping it turns out being a big deal. The way it happened is Dan, our bassist, saw an ad on Craigslist looking for songs to be in a contest to be part of the movie. Being a lifelong Cubs fan I said “what the hell” and it turned out that of over 300 entries, ours being the only original songs, fans and web visitors voted both our submitted tracks into the top 5! The director then chose “Waltz…” as his pick for the film. Pretty cool indeed.
You’ve signed up to Twitter. What are your thoughts on the social network? Have you been networking?
Mike: Ah, networking… ya gotta keep up with the kids, right?
Brian: Honestly sometimes it’s annoying as hell. I have a “smart” phone and decided to install the Twitter app. I uninstalled it four days later because of all the pointless “news” that was sent to me. People LOVE talking about themselves. Maybe it’s just the ones Inchworm follows…
Dan: As annoying as it is though, we know it’s a necessary evil. With the amount of time people spend online nowadays and all the information that is forced into their heads, it’s important to keep your name in front of their faces, otherwise they’re gonna forget you exist.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of yours. Any plans on coming to England to play?
Mike: Thanks again Jenny, we do appreciate it. We’d love to come across the pond and play. However, with the economy the way it is, it’s looking pretty grim. If we do manage to make the trek, you should hook us with an opening spot for the Guillemots.
Do you have any plans on touring the US?
Brian: Kid Rock once wrote a song called “Devil Without A Cause”. One of the lyrics in that song is “I’m goin’ platinum”. This was long before he sold a single record for the major label he was signed to. Inchworm, Inc. has decided to adopt this business model and write some new songs: “Platinum Sunshine”, “Platinum Stuck In My Teeth”, “Platinum Umbrella”, etc. If “Field of Dreams” taught us anything, it was “If you build it, they will come”. We write about platinum, the platinum will come. U.S. touring will ensue. In the meantime we’re gonna keep playing local and regional shows, continue to build our fan base, and branch out from there.
If you could go on tour with any bands/artists, who would it be?
Are you signed to a record label? Do you have a manager? Would you like a change in your current situation or are you happy with the way things have been going?
Mike: We’re totally independent, but we’d welcome change. Change is good. Anybody who is willing to help us gain exposure and financial independence is somebody who we’d be interested in meeting with and talking to. So if you know anyone who fits that description, give ‘em our number.
How long has the band been together and how did you meet?
Dan: We’ve been together for some time now. We all met through Twitter! J/K. Brian and Matthew have been playing in bands and writing music together since high school and a few years ago through a mutual friend, met Mike as he was between bands. A couple years ago, a buddy of mine was playing a Halloween show with Inchworm as Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band and said they needed a bassist. I showed up and we had a jam, had multiple laughs, a helluva lot of beer, and we all became buds. I joined the band directly after.
How did you come up with the name Inchworm?
Matthew: It’s a long story full of ghosts and hammers, lovers and saloons. Head to the media page for the whole story. It won’t disappoint.
Mike: And if you don’t believe that, it’s also the name of a John Coltrane song.
What is one of the best live shows that you’ve attended?
Brian: Radiohead at Rosemont Theater (2500 capacity) in 1997.
Mike: Recently, Dr. Dog at the Double Door.
Matthew: Neil Young alone and acoustic in 1999 at Rosemont Theater.
What is one of your favorite things to do when not playing music?
Writing music. Enjoying life. Playing video games. Crossword puzzles. Reading. Getting the occasional beer at the bowling alley. Go see our friends play music.
How often does the band practice?
Twice a week for the most part.
What is your song-writing process as a band?
Mike: Matthew and Brian bring in some bones, then the band puts on the meat.
Brian: Nobody likes skinny cows.
Dan: I want to barbecue.
Why the title ‘Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing’ for your latest release?
Matthew: We’d been brainstorming for a few months trying to come up with something that was relevant to our situation. Mike, an amateur semanticist and etymologist, was playing with words and twisted the cliché “wolf in sheep’s clothing” late one night. The more we all said it the more we liked it. It kind of summed up how we felt about ourselves and how we imagine most people thought of themselves. Most people are genuinely good humans finding their niche in a hard world. I mean, nobody wants to be the wolf, but we all know you gotta grow teeth if you want to eat.
How have you been recording music (studio, home etc.)?
Dan: We write and record as much as we can. We recorded “Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing” entirely on our own at a couple different locations, one being Mike and Matt’s home studio: The Holtz ‘en Baugher Ranch. We do a lot of work there with demoing new material and piecing together arrangements and ideas over time. It’s good to have a home base we can play with sounds in.
Brian: Recently we started working again with the engineer who recorded our previous release “Porchlight EP”. Matt Dewine is his name and he runs Pieholden Studios in southern Illinois. The studio is owned by the late Jay Bennett (r.i.p.), and runs strictly analog. We’ve been having a lot of fun with the great selection of vintage gear and odd instruments they have down there, and we’re underway on what we hope will be a new album released late this year. We’ll definitely keep you posted!
All: Thanks a lot Jenny for setting this up and for the support you give us. It means a lot to us. Take care and we’ll talk again soon!
Matthew Baugher ~ Vocals, Guitars, Keys
Brian Morrissey ~ Vocals, Guitars, Keys
Dan Ingenthron ~ Bass, Bkgd Vox, Keys
Mike Holtz ~ Drums/Percussion, Bkgd Vox
More from Inchworm:
– We’re giving away a free download of “Waltz Through the Ashes” in appreciation of the support we got from the fans for a limited time. www.inchwormmusic.com/waltz
– Next show: June 22, 2009 @ Schubas Tavern (3159 N. Southport., Chicago, IL) @ 8pm w/ King Sparrow, The Main Drag
– “We Believe” film premiere: June 12th @ The Chicago Theater (thechicagotheater.com)