Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers blend carols and covers into sets during its holiday tour.
Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers blend carols and covers into sets during its holiday tour. (Submitted)
Band: Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

Members: Stephen Kellogg, Kit Karlson and Boots Factor

Who we talked to: Karlson

You go by Goose, right? (Laughs) It's about 50-50. Half of the people I know call me that.

Where did the nickname come from? It came from one night on stage. Stephen was goofing around and asked me randomly, "What does a goose want to do?" I said, "It wants to dance." From there, it just kind of stuck.

It sounds like you guys have a good time on stage. We certainly try to keep it fun. Our favorite bands like Tom Petty, Jackson Browne . . . and even groups like Bon Jovi and Whitesnake . . . all kept it interesting. During a show, we'll play (about 18) songs. We'll usually throw in one or two covers or maybe a little medley of some other songs. We just try to keep it honest. We try a lot of stuff, and sometimes it sucks. (Laughs)

So how did the Sixers meet Stephen? All three of us went to the University of Massachusetts (at Amherst). We knew about each other's bands. I was working at a local coffee shop, and Stephen was working in the box office (at a local theater). He was the assistant booker and booked a show for the band I was in at the time. We ended up talking and found out that we had mutual interests and decided to play. We figured the least we could do was to start a job we enjoyed for no money to start out. In the beginning (Jan. 2003), we really weren't touring. We were playing gigs on the weekend and were happy about that. We now play about 200 shows a year and are coming up on our 1,000th show together.


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Touring as much as we do has given us the opportunity to make new fans.

Since you tour all of the time, what do you consider home base? A couple of years ago, Stephen moved to Connecticut. I still live in Massachusetts, and Boots lives in Brooklyn.

Will you get to be home for the holidays? We get a couple days off. Then, from (Dec. 26) to New Year's, we go out on a holiday run. We play at smaller venues and will play some Christmas carols. In January, we're playing The Rock Boat (IX). Then, we're going overseas (to play) for the troops. We're really excited. We are going to Israel and then a number of countries in Europe (including) Italy and Germany.

Giving back seems important to you guys. You started a charity, right? We have a charitable outreach program called the Rellogg Foundation. We've been doing toy drives at shows and having charity auctions. We have a 2009 calendar and handwritten lyrics on sale, too. It grows a little more each year. St. Jude (Children's Hospital) is very dear to our hearts. We happened to get in contact them when we were in Memphis one time. We've played at the hospital before and have even played at their prom, which was amazing.

USA Today critics named "Glassjaw Breaker" a Top 5 album of 2007. How did that feel? It was great to see that. Sometimes, we get slammed by the critics because we have fun at shows, and some think music should be a more serious thing. It's been a useful tool to get our music out there. We consider ourselves music's working middle class.

You've toured with some pretty big names. Make any friends along the way? O.A.R. became really good friends. They're really supportive, and they're great people. You can call them anytime for advice. Josh Ritter is also a great influence. He's kind of showed us how you can make a career on your own terms. They can really relate to (us) and where we are in our career.

Are you guys going into the studio anytime soon? Our last five-year anniversary tour date was (Dec. 6). We're going into the studio (Dec. 13). We record in Maine, L.A. and in New York. There's no lack of cool studios in Manhattan. Our album will be out sometime in 2009. We signed a deal with Vanguard Records. We have a bunch of friends on that label.

Anything you hope to get for Christmas? I want to make the best record we ever have.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF