If a band can overwhelm you with a first flourish of sound, there’s a good chance that you’ll be impressed forever. SAFETYSUIT likes to make a big splash. That’s why they blast their way through “Someone Like You” to kickoff their disc, Life Left To Go. They’re asking questions all over this album: how much emotion can one relationship handle? What do you do if you believe the end is near? Isn’t holding on better than letting go? Singer Doug Brown, guitarist Dave Garofalo, bassist Jeremy Henshaw, and drummer Tate Cunningham love their music to punch the air – fierce yet graceful, their songs have a way of soaring. They know about catchy refrains, too. Fans of Rob Thomas and U2, the southern boys (Nashville via Tulsa, y’all) bend their influences to come up with something unique. The are one of our latest You Oughta Know bands. We spoke with golfing fiend Brown about a variety of subjects.
ODDLY, YOU GUYS ARE A ROCK BAND ON THE MOTOWN LABEL. GOT A FAVORITE R&B SINGER?
It’s weird, right? R&B isn’t my main focus, but I like Ray Charles. Unless of course we’re going to go straight to Brian McKnight, and then I’m going to go with “Back At One.” If you say you don’t have a favorite Brian McKnight, you’re a liar.
YOU LIVE IN NASHVILLE. EVER BUMP INTO A COUNTRY STAR IN THE GROCERY STORE?
Well, I saw Faith Hill downtown at a Mexican restaurant – you don’t expect to her when you’re reaching for a taco.
IS THERE ONE ICONIC ARTIST THAT YOU GUYS CAN’T AGREE ON?
Great question – ha! He’ll kill me for saying it, but Tate our drummer appreciates every single Sting song ever. But if you actually listen to every Sting song ever, you’ll find that some are not worth appreciating. He’s got lots of great ones, but some you have to say “that just might be one of his weaker songs.”
AND THE ARTISTS YOU DO AGREE ON?
That will reveal the depth of what we’re into. I’d say U2, Springsteen, Coldplay – we all know they’re great. Though lately [there’s some differences about] “Outlaw Pete” on Springsteen’s new album. I think it’s brilliant. The story is awesome, and the fact that he calls him Pete is great. Not everyone agrees. One of our promo guys is a massive Springsteen fan, and we go “Hey “Outlaw Pete,” awesome, right?” And he says “Ehhh…” But turn it on, and I guarantee you’ll fall for it.
DID YOU TWEET BEFORE YOU WENT TO BED LAST NIGHT?
I did it yesterday, when I was playing golf with Jeremy. It said “Playing golf with great friends…and Jeremy.” He actually got the update while we were on the course.
DO YOU FOLLOW ANY CELEBS ON TWITTER?
I’m a sender mainly. But I think John Mayer is one of the more clever Twitterers/musicians out there. The guy is hysterical. I don’t know if you’ve seen his stuff he does for fun, but he’s got a great sense of humor. He’d be a great hang.
WHAT TV SHOW DO YOU FAITHFULLY WATCH?
24. Every week. Lost, too. I think it’s possible that minus the first season, that this will go down as the best season of 24 ever. Jon Voigt is unreal! He’s a step above.
YOU GUYS HAVE HAD SONGS ON TV SHOWS. IS THAT GOOD OR BAD FOR TV?
I think it’s good when it’s not blatant product placement. There are some songs that come on, ie, back in the day when Gray’s Anatomy was red hot and The Fray’s “How To Save a Life,” came on it was an epic moment and the song worked. Now, shows are writing their show around a song. I don’t mind hearing the music on TV, but I’m not necessarily looking for you to rewrite yr show around a song. It’s like me saying “I’m going to wait to write the next album until I watch a bunch of cool TV shows.”
WHAT COVER SONGS DO YOU GUYS DO?
We do Foo Fighters’ “Hero.” We experimented with “Message In a Bottle.” We did Pink’s “So What.” We’ve go to give tribute to Journey every once in a while.
What song? C’mon, man, “Don’t Stop Believing.” What song? That’s a good one. “Just a small town booooy” – you know what I’m talking about.\
WHICH SAFETYSUIT SONG DRIVES THE CROWD WILD THESE DAYS?
“Apology” – it’s very interactive, it’s got the “oh ohs” in it.
NAME A FOOD YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
I’m a burger guy. There’s a new place called Burgers-N-Cream down here that’s pretty sweet. Then Wolfgang Puck has a pretty sick burger, too, even though he’s pretty frou frou for a burger guy.
PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION – YES OR NO?
I’m going to go with…Yes, it’s genuine, no if you’re one of those couples who do it just to get attention – that’s annoying.
TWO TOP SONGS BY THE BEATLES?
“Blackbird,” “All You Need Is Love,” umm…such a hard question. I care deeply about them, so I want to get it right. “Hey Jude” – can’t forget that.
ROB THOMAS IS COMING IN FOR AN INTERVIEW SOON. ANY MESSAGES FOR HIM?
Thanks for starting me off in songwriting. Call me!