In this latest edition of our Spotlight series, we have an interview with Philadelphia music scene mogul Jamie Getz of Gods and Queens. Jamie wastes no time getting down to brass tacks with some interesting real talk as he discusses the tumultuous history of Gods and Queens, the Philadelphia scene, upcoming releases, and much more!
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for Blow The Scene readers around the World! Let’s begin by having you introduce yourself and declare your onstage weapon of choice with Philly’s own impassioned indie punk rockers, Gods and Queens.
Jamie Getz: My name is Jamie Getz, I was born in Allentown, PA, on March 4th 1977, I play guitar and sing in Gods And Queens.
Joshua BTS: Gods and Queens have seen two E.P.s released so far for 2011. Can you give us the skinny on these releases? When, where, and whom did you record with?
Jamie Getz: Our first LP was released on Robotic Empire in the US & by Adagio830 in Europe. We went directly to Europe to tour for the LP. For that record I had a master plan of touring Europe/USA/UK all right in a row. 3 1/2 months of touring in and out. About 2 weeks into the Euro tour, our drummer at the time broke his foot. That resulted in us having to cancel the remaining tours. That then started a chain reaction of our band never getting off of it’s feet in America but, we had already toured Europe, which meant people were semi aware we existed there. By the time we got a drummer situation worked out, the LP was out for a year and I considered it dead in the water. In the mean time we got another offer to go back to Europe and a little label out of Italy called Sons Of Vesta got in touch with me. We cranked out 6 songs, which became Untiteld 2: EP 1, and went to Europe again on what was a disaster of a tour, but people were aware that we were now there twice and not just another American band on their 1 time European vacation. I am very cocky and very ego driven. So after I saw how poorly organized that tour was, I started shooting my mouth off about how I could book a better tour myself. We came home and ran into another drummer issue, which was fine as this record wasn’t released in the states, so there was no rush to tour here. I started booking another European tour on my own, to redeem ourselves. Sons Of Vesta offered to put out another 7″ for us to tour off of, which became Untitled 3: EP 2. That tour was booked solid, we had a great time, the shows all but 1 were great. Again, that record was never released in the states. The last two EP’s were recorded by Jared Stimplf.
Joshua BTS: I understand Gods and Queens rotates through 3 drummers depending on availability, how does this affect the writing process?
Jamie Getz: There really isn’t a process anymore. I just kind of write the whole thing to the other people in the bands abilities and bring it to the table at this point. Gods And Queens doesn’t really exist in a band function. It’s hard to explain. If this was a car, it wouldn’t be firing on all cylinders. Maybe 1 1/2, and when that happens, that one cylinder gets really tired of dragging the rest of the car around, while the other ones just sit around like dead weight watching it work. Get the metaphor I’m using here?
Joshua BTS:The tracks remain “Untitled,” throughout your catalogue. Why the decision to leave the tracks untitled?
Jamie Getz: What’s the point of song titles. I know what song I’m playing.
Joshua BTS: What are some of the lyrical focuses of the E.P. 1 and E.P. 2?
Jamie Getz: The lyrics are something I used to be very guarded about. I used to not want anyone to know what I was saying. As I’ve gotten more comfortable with writing lyrics, I’ve gotten more excited for people to read them. If someone takes the time to read them, it saves me the conversation of having to explain to people what they’re about. Ha.
Over all it’s the same old story that most people with problems and a guitar write about. Self-imposed isolation, not having a clue what you’re doing with your life, over-all hopelessness. Things along that nature but, of course I think that my lyrics are much more important than the next bands, but that’s because they’re mine and I’m singing about things that are happening to me in the now. Sometimes I think I’ve gotten too personal with them, but at the same time, we sell what, 500 copies of our records at best? It’s not like I’m letting the entire world pry into my life to see what I’m talking about or anything, but I do think that I like the voyeuristic aspect to having very self confessing lyrics that are put out there for people to read and see. Maybe it strikes a chord with someone, maybe it falls on deaf ears, I’m not sure.
Joshua BTS: I’d like to zip back to the early days of Gods and Queens for those just tuning into the band. What were the circumstances surrounding the formation of the band and when did this take place?
Jamie Getz: I used to play in a band called LickGoldenSky, we were part of the Escape Artist roster (Isis, Anodyne, Time In Malta, etc), ourselves and Anodyne moved over to Level-Plane and became tight with certain members and fractions of the bands on that label. I had recorded one song alone, under the moniker of Gods And Queens on the Level-Plane sampler 80 Records And We’re Still Not Broke, the point was that Gods And Queens was going to strictly be my solo project. Mike Hill (now of Tombs) and myself had both just disbanded our respective bands and attempted to start another band with members of Hot Cross, and Orchid. That band was called Versoma. We went on a few short tours with Pelican, Daughters, and Isis and it just didn’t seem like it was going to click. Too many line up issues too fast. I bowed out of the band, and started playing with the fill in drummer from Versoma under the basic idea that he would play drums in my “solo” project. It took entirely too long to get Gods And Queens proper off of the ground, and the idea of it being my “solo” project evaporated into it being a full band. In hindsight I should have kept it strictly mine.
Jamie Getz: Right now, I’m super burned out on all bands from Philly, and bands in general. There’s this whole like weird freak fold thing happening. A sort of bad American rock thing that I am not interested in. There is also an underbelly of post Cap’n Jazz/Chicago ear guitar work, which when done right I am still a fan of, but when it’s done wrong makes me cringe. There are a few bands that are exciting to me, but that’s because they aren’t doing the standard rock band thing. In the sense that they are using guitars, bass, and drums they are but what’s coming out of their amps, is not. Satanized, Birth Noise, A Stick And A Stone, Drums Like Machine Guns, Hot Guts, Arc In Round, those bands are interesting to me.
Joshua BTS: You are just coming off of a brief stint with Coliseum on their latest East Coast run. How did the mini-tour treat you?
Jamie Getz: That was honestly pretty brutal. This goes back to us not having any records really released over here. There’s no point in going out on tour over here without a record available. Even just that short run of dates which we were very appreciative of Coliseum to take us on, proved my point that our band can not tour America on a grand scale as it would be entirely pointless.
Joshua BTS: Best aspects of being in band based out of Philadelphia?
Jamie Getz: If you take advantage of it, like I did when I was younger, you can be playing shows every single weekend in your surrounding area. NY, NJ, MD, DE, OH, VA. All of those states are easily attainable in weekend runs of being in a band. You can run circles around those areas and attempt to build up a nice little local following in those states if you play your cards right, and still make it home in time to go to work on Monday morning.
Joshua BTS: Worst aspects of being in a band based out of Philadelphia?
Jamie Getz: Philadelphia isn’t a very supportive city. I’ve seen it happen to bands over the past 14 years, everyone will hype the bands up for 6/9 months, then POOF gone. I’m not sure if that’s a matter of the “local hero” band buying all the local hype, or if it’s a matter of short attention spans, or what. But I mean lets be honest, while it’s nice to see your band featured in the Philadelphia Weekly, ultimately who gives a fuck. That’s a one week push in the Philadelphia area. I’d put money on it that a local band that can sell out Johnny Brendas who has all the hype in Philadelphia, can’t draw 25 people in Bethlehem, 50 minutes up the PA Turnpike. I’ve always been more concerned with drawing 25/35 people anywhere my band goes any night of the week than being able to play local hero for one night. That’s not being in a band to me, that’s having an absurd ego. That’s the worst part of Philadelphia to me, band wise. The local her syndrome.
Joshua BTS: Apart from Gods and Queens, what other projects or artistic endeavors are the members also involved with?
Jamie Getz: I have some stuff in the works but nothing is ready yet. Jeff plays in Armalite, and a new band with members of Pink Coffins, Dave plays in Gholas, and Psychic Teens, Mook plays in War Hungry. Those are all the drummers that help us out.
Joshua BTS: Where is the best place for fans to keep up with Gods and Queens online?
Jamie Getz: The infamous facebook, or www.godsandqueens.wordpress.com
Joshua BTS: What does the rest of 2011 look for Gods and Queens?
Jamie Getz: We have another 7″ coming out on Adagio830 again, as well as another split 7″ planned on a little larger label that we are used to working with that still has to have some things get worked out.
Joshua BTS: Thank you for taking a few minutes with Blow The Scene readers from around the world and we look forward to keeping up with your future endeavors. Any final thoughts or shout-outs?
Jamie Getz: Nah man, all good.
More info at Gods and Queens Official Facebook
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