Felt Side Out
Members: Jimi McClane, lead vocals and guitar; Tyler McClane, guitar; Jason Trageser, bass and backing vocals; Jason Hellegas, drums; Matt Graziosi, keys and percussion
Who we talked to: Jimi McClane, 37
How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? We had started in 1996. It started out as just a few friends. Through the years, we changed members. A lot of people think that we're doing some kind of comeback thing, but, really, we never went anywhere. (Members) needed some time to take care of their personal lives. We recently added (Tyler, my 16-year-old son) a month ago. He shares a lot of the same views that we do as a unit and a lot of his influences flow from me. He listens to everything and takes it all in. We kind of share the (lead guitar) spot. We trade off.
Describe your sound/style. We like to throw didgeridoos in, and we like to throw in the spring drum. Our sound is comparable to old-style El Nino, Helmet, Pantera and that kind of stuff. We throw in tribal stuff. There is just something about that we like as a group. We're never big on covers. We do some . . . '80s songs and remake them and give them a heavy feel. We jumped into our roots and did some acoustic sets between shows. A lot of older fans have been coming out, and we have a lot of new faces out there.
How did you come up with the name? The name of the group was kind of funny how it came about. We all worked at York Wallcoverings and on the machines (with) the type of paper we ran, we yelled, "What side is out?" And someone would say, "Felt side out." It kind of started as a joke. We didn't expect anything to come from it . . . but everybody asks (about the name).
Who are your influences? Some members have backgrounds from listening to old Motown stuff to really hardcore stuff. There is a big genre of influence. When I was with my grandparents, they listened to Billie Holiday and things like that. With my mom, she was more of the rocker chick (and listened to) Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and all those bands. I started playing drums when I was in fourth grade, but I just kind of lost interest in it. I saw that the guitarists got more attention, especially after seeing Eddie Van Halen. I got my first (Kiss) album when I was 5. The interest (for me) was to draw the "Destroyer" cover. I was always into movie monsters as a kid and the whole chick rock thing . . . was cool to me. When I went to my first Kiss concert, I saw Ace Freely up close and saw his guitar on fire. I didn't really understand the craftsmanship of what they did as a musician.
Where have you played? We've been up and down the East Coast from Toronto to Florida. We only ventured out westward a few times. We do a lot of (music) conferences including . . . Millennium (Music Conference in Harrisburg) and South by Southwest in Texas. We're probably one of the only bands left in York that can say we played CBGB (in New York City). We've opened for (bands) from W.A.S.P. to Clutch to the Misfits.
What is coming up for you guys? We're getting ready to go back into the studio to do an album. This will be our fourth album. We're pretty excited about the new material. We changed a lot of things. It still has the Felt Side Out twist to it, but things get a lot heavier. There is more energy than there was before.
How has the scene changed? I remember when we started the grunge thing was huge. You had a handful of bands that really were at that point hardcore like Metallica and Pantera. The alternative scene took over everything. I see a lot more emo and death metal bands coming out now. Hardcore today is a little different than the hardcore we looked at then.
What is the key to longevity as a band? We just kept plugging away. No wasn't an option. Everything we did, we had to learn on our own. We had to go through the trials and tribulations. Not that we know everything, but we'd want to tell other bands coming through that you don't really want to put all your hopes and dreams on one point of interest. There will be labels that will say they're interested and then change their mind the next day.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
If you go
Felt Side Out will perform Saturday at Brenn's Pub, 1900 Pennsylvania Ave., Manchester Township. Doors open at 9 p.m. For details, visit www.colonyparklanesnorth.com.
For details about Felt Side Out, visit www.myspace.com/feltsideout.
To read more meet-the-artist interview, visit www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.