July 13, 2012 – Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
Away-Team writer: Marcy Royce
Fall From Grace member: Tryg Littlefield
Away-Team: Tell me about last night’s show in Lancaster, PA.
Tryg: Have you been to this place in Lancaster?
Away-Team: Yes, I have.
Tryg: Well, then you’re familiar with the sunken, kind of dance floor. There was literally no one in the dance floor but the whole perimeter was packed with people. I equate it with having sex with that really, really hot chick that just kind of lays there. Because there was loads of people there but nobody was on the dance floor.
Tryg: Well, there was a couple that came out but thankfully they were drunk, so. (laughs) It was strange. Everyone loved us, everyone had a good time. We enjoyed playing. We had a technical difficulty in the beginning. Our drummer, Jesse. We have this huge, epic intro and he has in-ear monitors and with the pro tools that runs through his ears and he was rocking out, jamming. But the rest of us couldn’t hear anything. I just looked at him, like, what are you doing? The rest of us use monitors. So thankfully last night we didn’t cause that would have been really funny. He was just so confused until we figured out what was happening. (laughs)
Tryg: It was an interesting show. The strange this is that when 2 nights before when we were in Vermont it was absolutely insane. It was one of the best shows that Fall From Grace has ever had. Almost 700 people before we ever walked onto the stage. It was like people were coming in from everywhere afterwards. We we selling merch left and right. It was crazy. It’s been very up and down, but a great tour overall.
Away-Team: When did you start this tour with Saving Abel? I know you’ve done the back to back thing with Eve 6 and then going right into this tour with Saving Abel.
Tryg: It was June 7th.
Away-Team: So how do the 2 tours compare?
Tryg: 2 completely different worlds, to be honest. The type of people that came out for the Eve 6 crowd were considerably different than the Saving Abel crowd. Lots of younger fans came for Eve 6, strangely enough. Because they had their big hit, Inside Out, in the 90’s. But they have been constantly reinventing themselves, unbeknownst to us. And so it was really neat to see a lot of young, fresh blood including bands that tour with it. It was more of a non-radio market tour. So bands like The Audition, and Greek Fire that were part of the band package, with different parts of the tour. Both of those bands don’t have any singles out there right now. And Eve 6 is starting work their radio campaign while we were on tour with them. It was really wonderful to see the type of people that came out. A lot of old fans, a lot of new fans. And then immediately coming to the Saving Abel crowd, it’s a very radio market. So people that are here tonight listen to the radio, or satellite, and they were acquainted with Saving Abel through that. And with Redlight King who were with us for the majority of the tour, who dropped off just a couple of dates ago. And there was another band with us too, Aranda. All 3 of those bands are radio bands and so night after night we kept getting “You’re a great band, but I’ve never heard of you. I listen to the radio all the time, when is your stuff going to be on the radio?” Well, it’s not out there right now but things will pick up. And it has. There have been several stations that playing us.
Away-Team: You were on hiatus for a little while.
Tryg: Yes, we took 3 years off.
Away-Team: What was the reason for the hiatus? And what brought you back?
Tryg: The reason for the hiatus. We toured and did the TV show in 2007. We did our previous record in 2008 and filmed 4 videos in that year. And in 2009, we toured for almost 7 months. And after the tour our rhythm section quit to pursue being at home, instead of always being out and about . They were starting to raise families and that sort of thing.
Away-Team: It’s a lifestyle. Being on the road.
Tryg: Absolutely! And Brian and myself got to work on the new record with our buddy, Mike, and we decided to spend more time with it. We took a year and a half to write that record. The thing about being in a band is that when you are out and doing stuff, and things are catching on, you have to be so fast because the attention span of some people is so quick. You have to pump music out. You have to tour. And you have to keep doing it over and over and over. So we said let’s just work on a new record. It was just Brian and I. We didn’t have a full band so we couldn’t immediately go out and tour. So we took a break after fulfilling our contract with BoDog. So then we signed with Indie Hell Road Records out of Seattle and we kind of put our game plan together. We were more strategically planning. So then we ended up putting the band back together with Ty, Justin, and Jesse. They all came in 2 years ago. We basically reformed the band and pretty much became a brand new band. We had the album but we all had been friends for between 10 and 15 years, knowing each other. There was no audition. We just asked “Hey, want to be in Fall From Grace?” And they were, like, yeah… cool, let’s hang out. Actually, I think the audition process was, how fast can you drink 18 beers.
Tryg: And 20 minutes later we’re high fiving it and you’re in. (laughs). But seriously, it’s been great and we just started playing locally again. And then we hit the road. It’s been awesome. We’ve been getting a lot of love with the new record. I’m really excited about what’s next. We’re gonna write a new record as a 5 piece because now we have 3 other influences coming to the table.
Away-Team: That’s great to hear.
Tryg: We get home in 12 days and we’re going to take a couple of weeks off. Because we need a little break from being in a van together for 3 months.
Away-Team: Tight quarters for that amount of time.
Tryg: Yeah. Well, you get use to it. But we will all have a bit of separation anxiety.
Away-Team: You guys will be calling each other up and checking in to see what’s going on. (laughs)
Tryg: Yeah. We’ll be asking each other if we’re drunk yet.
Away-Team: Too funny!
Away-Team: Ooooookaaaay. (laughs) Let’s continue on with another question. (laughs). What did it feel like stepping on stage at the Download Festival in front of 80,000 people? What is like “Oh. My. God!” Or was it like “HELL YEAH!”
Tryg: Do you have a fear of heights?
Away-Team: Yes, I do.
Tryg: Have you ever gotten onto something really, really high where your toes kind of tingle and your fingertips kind of go numb. You’re so filled with endorphins that you don’t know if you’re going to fall and die? That feeling? That is what it was like.
Away-Team: For how long?
Tryg: Just for like the first few minutes. Because when you’re on tour, you’re so in tour mode that once you strike the chord you’re just in. No matter where you are playing, you’re in front of a million people and you play a good show. No matter what you’re so plug and play at that point. Walking out there was very much like, “are you serious?” You can’t focus on just one face because you’re there are so many.
Away-Team: Just a sea of faces.
Tryg: And you have to give a different type of show. You can’t integrate with just 70 people, or 100 people, or 500 people. There’s so many people, you just kind of have to just give a performance. I can’t even explain it well. It’s just a different type of show. It’s amazing to feel the roar of that many people.
Away-Team: And how about the energy back and forth, the exchange from the stage to the crowd and back?
Tryg: The weird part is that there is not much of an exchange. Unless you give a time delay. (laughs). I would say something and it seemed like 10 seconds before the roar of the crowd came back to the stage.
Away-Team: Okay. I didn’t what that would be like for a show such as that. I’ve never been in such a huge festival like that being a photographer in the pit. I’m more accustomed to shooting bands in the situation as Rams Head Live, or Merriweather Post Pavilion, or any other number of venues that don’t exceed 20,000 fans. Here there is instant energy back and forth between the crowd and the band on the stage.
Tryg: Yeah. There’s always interaction.
Away-Team: I always get caught up in that. And I love it because it’s so wonderful to witness that between the fans and the band.
Tryg: It’s very intimate. Actually prefer smaller shows to be honest. Because it’s one of those wonderful times when your band can be that big to be enormous. But honestly I like the intimacy because then it’s like you play a show and then go into the crowd. And when you hang out with the people. We can exchange with them on a more personal level that they, and us enjoy so much. I like that, I prefer that. Know what I mean?
Away-Team: Yes. I do enjoy that as well when artists that I really care about, and admire, really love their music. When they really connect with me after a show, or even before. Like this. I love this! I was really excited when Shauna and Doug asked me to do this. Then I get nervous. (laughs)
Away-Team: How has it been with Saving Abel the last couple of weeks?
Tryg: Honestly since day one we’ve become instantaneous best friends. Jared and his wife, Nicki, and their daughter, Koda who’s two, are on the tour. The very first night we hit it off and we’ve all been hanging out ever since. We’ve had dinner with Jared & Nicki’s family in Dallas and I sing with the guys in Saving Abel every night. Their from a small town in Mississippi. Yes, they are this huge rock band with six singles and they are about to blow up again but you would never know it. We all hang out and drink and party like rock stars and as friends.
Away-Team: That’s awesome!
Tryg: And it’s amazing. I fully intend on having them up to Seattle and going to visit them in Atlanta. We’re friends for life from now on. Which is good. That to me is more important than playing in front of thousands of people every night, it’s about having good friends in your life that are warm, incredible people.
Away-Team: I know some bands will join each other on stage. Have you guys ever traded like that? Some of your members of Fall From Grace going on stage with Saving, and vice versa?
Tryg: I sing with them on New Tattoo every night. And I have since Dallas, when I joined them for the first time on stage. Ever since then it’s every night.
Away-Team: That’s great to have that relationship with them so that you can do that.
Tryg: It’s gotten to the point now that it’s so fun. Jared and I, we almost have physical banter with each other on stage. He makes fun of me and I let him, and it’s all great.
Away-Team: It’s that stage relationship that works together.
Away-Team: And you have fun with it. And it’s not a job even though it is a business and it does pay the bills.
Tryg: Yeah. But, we all do it because we love it. We do it because we’re passionate. It’s not about punching a clock.
Away-Team: You do what you love.
Away-Team: And a lot of people could be very jealous of that. Because there are many people that don’t get to do what they love.
Tryg: My favorite ones are the people that I’ve experienced in the past. There always bands that are helping each other out and doing shows together. And then once one of those bands gets their break, then the other band gets all pissed off about it. And they bitch about it. And start saying “those guys use to be really cool but now their dicks.” Have you ever known what it’s like to go out and tour and have press every day? And get overwhelmed with life? It’s a different world.
Away-Team: Some people become different when you rise.
Tryg: Oh, absolutely. You find out that you’re not a big fish in a little pond anymore, but that you are little fish in a huge sea. It’s a different world. So, that was a little hard for me, personally, to experience in the beginning of this band. With the uprise in 2005, 2006, 2007. But honestly at the end of the day, the people that I have met from being on the road, many of them are still life long friends. I mean, I’m a minister also. Not with the church or anything like that. The Universal Life Church, one of those guys. I’ve done 6 weddings. I did one last summer for a buddy of mine who is a singer in another band. And that couple will be friends of mine for the rest of my life and always will be in my life. It’s stuff like that when you make those kind of friends, and it’s a different kind of friendship, too. It’s not an industry relationship, but true friends that you always will be friends with.
Away-Team: You just had the January 2012 release of the Romance Years. How are the songs being received at the shows on both of these tours you guys have done?
Tryg: Great! Everyone seems to like them.
Away-Team: Everyone is excited?
Tryg: We’ve been with the Eve 6 market which is more of the pop, the rock, the pop punk market. And a little bit of dance. And people love us there. Then we came over to the more active rock market. You can’t get more active rock than Saving Abel and Redlight King. And again, people loved us. So, we’ve been really well received and we’re very thankful for everything we’ve had. It’s just been great.
Away-Team: How long was the writing and recording process for The Romance Years?
Tryg: A year and a half.
Away-Team: Did all of you write together? Or is there a main songwriter?
Tryg: It was me, Brian, and our buddy Mike back in home that did the record because we didn’t have a rhythm section when we did the writing. We just spent a lot of time doing it. Each song took almost a month each to write and record. We had 15 or 16 songs for it originally. We whittled it down to 12.
Away-Team: I noticed the 12 tracks listed when I saw the cd listed. So, did you write some, record some, write some, record some? What was the process?
Tryg: What we did is demo’ed for the new record in the beginning and the demo’s ended up becoming the full deal. So, we were writing a song and then demo it and build it. We spent 3-4 weeks building that song and then we would move to the next song and do the same thing. Some songs we would build in 3 weeks and then we might decide that we just didn’t feel it. Production-wise, we tried to be polished. We had loads of guitars, and voices, on it, and chimes, and tambourines. And we just may have not felt it for that song. One thing we found out was, if you are writing a song that doesn’t make your singer sound good then you don’t have a song. You need to just move on. Or change the key that the song is in. We had a song that was called Heroine that was about the association of a shitty relationship to being addicted to heroine. The song just drug on, the tempo was too slow, the key was too low. We sped it up, changed the key, changed a few parts in the song, and it became a pop song at that point. We decided that it was a really happy song, we can’t really sing this about being in a shitty relationship. This just doesn’t work. So we made it a happy song and it’s now called A Train That Leaves London. That’s the version and title that made its way onto the record. We had the opportunity to do that because we were using our buddy, Mike, his recording studio. There was no time limit. We didn’t have a full band. So we decided to take our time with it. When its done, it done. Then we will go out with it, tour it, and it’s been great. It’s been awesome actually because Ty, Cotton, and Jesse joining the band completed things. We’ve been friends for so long that it was so cool to get great talent in the band, but also old friends. It’s been fun touring, too, as this group. We’ve had a lot of fun and we appreciate every moment.
Away-Team: I cannot wait to see you guys on stage. And the energy and the interaction.
Away-Team: I hear that you are like Energizer bunnies.
Tryg: We can be. We have our moments.
Away-Team: I just wish I had more than 3 songs in the pit to capture the true essence of what happens on that stage. But that’s the rules.
Tryg: You can only capture 3 songs? Nobody is gonna bitch because you catch 6. Ya know?
Away-Team: Rules are rules. But I’ll try to shoot from the house later in the set, as well. Sometimes that is an off limits thing too, but tonight I don’t think there will be a problem with it.
Tryg: I don’t like that rule.
Away-Team: Some bands like the rule, some bands don’t.
Tryg: Personally, we wouldn’t mind. Just tell security it’s okay with us. (laughs)
Away-Team: Are you writing on this tour?
Tryg: No. We’re drinking. (laughs)
Away-Team: Ok! (laughs) I just know one of my favorite bands, Def Leppard, wrote while on tour for the Songs From The Sparkle Lounge cd. I always try to ask that, if a band is writing during your down time while on tour.
Tryg: We’ve done it. Everybody’s done it. However, writing on the road can suck.
Away-Team: Does it?
Tryg: It’s because your shifting gears. You’re constantly playing shows, constantly doing all this other stuff. Things that break the routine are more press, or girls are in town that you know, or family, or friends. And then there are fires you have to put out. Then to say we need to write songs, it’s just very difficult.
Away-Team: I imagine it’s a mindset you need to put yourself into.
Tryg: It is a entirely different mindset. I like shift gears and just shutting my phone off for a couple weeks and getting down to it, writing songs.
Away-Team: It’s part of the creative process with being an artist.
Tryg: It just makes it more sterile. It definitely takes the passion out of it when you must write on a tour because the record company is pushing for that next big hit.
Away-Team: Yeah, the pressure.
Tryg: It’s all about people’s attentions spans being short, sometimes.
Away-Team: What musicians have influenced you? You’re 35, so I’m interested to hear your answer.
Tryg: I would say, Motley Crue, who is the first band I put up pictures on my wall. Next would be Bon Jovi, Skid Row, The Cult… that whole genre of rock. That made me want to play guitar. I’ve always been a guitarist. I only began singing in 2001. And that was because I just kept getting rid of singers because they just couldn’t sing. As far as singer that inspire me, Perry Ferrell from Jane’s Addiction, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, Glen Danzig because I just love the way he sings even though he can be, well, you know. Freddie Mercury from Queen and Sebastian Bach from Skid Row.
Away-Team: Totally awesome to hear all of those as your answer.
Tryg: These are singers that when finding my voice, I tried to emulate.
Away-Team: I love Freddie, good choice there.
Tryg: I grew up on R&B, black music from Chicago, and music from the 60’s & 70’s. I had great things to listen to. I didn’t even know who Johnny Cash was until I was in my mid 20’s.
Away-Team: That’s great to discover artist even when you’ve grown older and still are learning.
Tryg: Yeah, yeah it is.
Away-Team: You guys are based out of Seattle, Washington. Where were you raised?
Tryg: I was raised on an island off of Seattle called Vashon Island. It’s a really small, little island.
Away-Team: The music scene in Seattle, and growing up there…
Tryg: There was no music scene. I went to my first concert when I was 18. Everyone else in this band was at concerts at the age of 8, 9, 10. Not me. You had to get on a boat to leave the island and then go into the vast city of Seattle. My parents weren’t really into that.
Away-Team: The scene that you guys are use to dealing with now, from where you’ve come with roots in Seattle, how does that compare to the rest of the country? Is there a huge difference.
Tryg: Yes, it’s quite different actually. Bands like Pop Evil, for example, are a great rock band but they’ve never come to Seattle. The people in Seattle don’t even know who they are. It’s just strange. They have great radio hits and they tour extensively. But, they just don’t come to Seattle. Seattle is a very finicky market, it’s very niche. It’s very Indie, Folk, like the sounds that are coming out for the Alternative. And that is what Seattle prides itself on. It likes to be different, it likes to be artsy. Active rock does do well there but when I say that, I mean bands like Motley Crue. Huge names that everybody knows. And of course Queensryche is from Seattle so they do great.
Away-Team: Well, the ‘old’ Queensryche since they’ve had this recent split.
Tryg: Well, yeah. Right.
Away-Team: The just played here in Maryland at the 2012 M3 Festival back in mid May, Geoff was insane. It was like he was on something, he was just so intense. More than his normal theatrical and instense self. I recorded the last song as a video and one of my fellow journalists as Away-Team made the comment that Geoff wasn’t even there for the end of the song. So I really looked at it, and he was right. The other 4 guys had to finish the song. Dear God, what the hell happened here?
Tryg: Parker is a personal friend of mine. We talk. He’s a great guy and an even greater guitar player. It’s great to see him grow into his position with Queensryche over the years.
Away-Team: I love watching Parker play that white Gretsch of his. His almost swallows him.
Tryg: Yeah, he’s a smaller kind of guy.
Away-Team: But I love his energy. He’s a joy to take in. And I’m sure the energy you have with the crowd tonight will also flow through me.
Tryg: Oh yeah. I’m sure it will.
Away-Team: I just love feeling that energy pass from you guys on stage, to the crowd, and back to the stage. I just love that. It’s so intense. It gives me that rush. I love being a photographer in touch with that and using that energy to capture all the magic that transpires. I love when the engaging process happens with musicians.
Tryg: Oh don’t worry, there will be energy and engagement this evening. (laughs)
Away-Team: Well, I’m down to the more personal questions now, Tryg.
Tryg: Oh boy. Just kidding. (laughs)
Away-Team: What do you do on your down days for fun? What are the top tunes in your iPod?
Tryg: Slow down. I know you’re excited to find out this stuff (laughs). We’ll take it one question at a time.
Away-Team: (laughs) Sorry! I’m just so into all this and finding out the answers to my questions.
Tryg: It’s okay. I understand.
Away-Team: What do you do for fun on your off days?
Tryg: I drink. A LOT!
Away-Team: You still drink on your off days, too! (laughs)
Tryg: Of course! We’re a drinking team with a music problem (laughs)
Away-Team: (laughs) Can I use that? (laughs)
Away-Team: And I see beer is coming into play as we speak. Too funny!
Away-Team: Why thanks so much! (clink)
Away-Team: Ok. Back to biz. Sorry. What’s in your iPod?
Tryg: Pick a mood. What kind of mood. What time of day. What has happened. That determines the songs.
Away-Team: How about the first 2 hours after you are up in the morning.
Tryg: Jimmy Eat World – Chases Life (AT: I hope I got that right in transcription), it’s one of my favorite records of all time. And Rise Against – Appeal The Reason.
Tryg: Jimmy Eat World is very ambient. So very rocking but just epic. And Rise Against is usually my running record. The drums are very, snap snap snap. It’s just very fast so it’s very good to get yourself pumped up and go for a run.
Away-Team: When you guys are done your show, and you are leaving the venue to move on to the next, do you listen to any music? If you do, what do you listen to?
Tryg: It depends. If we are really wiped out and we just want to mellow out, we…
Away-Team: Barry Manilow! (laughs)
Tryg: I don’t think we have any Barry Manilow. But I do think he’s a hell of a song writer. Postal Service is a good one. Enya. Sarah MacGlaughlin. I like everything, know what I mean? Stuff like that.
Away-Team: Okay. What do you miss the most when you are away from home?
Tryg: I live right on the beach so I miss my beach community and my favorite bar. And I miss my girl. Danielle is my joy. She’s been out twice on this tour. She came out recently for our 1 year dating anniversary. We got to go to Dollywood in Tennessee. She’s kind of my ray of sunshine. Because this touring thing is really hard. It’s really exhausting. I can become edgy and having her around…
Away-Team: Grounds you?
Tryg: Yes. And centered. Totally! Not that I’m not grounded but I use to have the ego-driven, eccentric, lead singer, dickhead attitude and when she’s around…
Away-Team: That’s where she centers you.
Tryg: She’s my better half.
Away-Team: So you two work very well together.
Tryg: We do. We really, really do.
Away-Team: That’s awesome. Guess you could call me one of those romantics.
Tryg: Awwwww. It was totally love at first site when I met her at a Hard Rock Café. I can’t wait to get home to see her.
Away-Team: I bet.
Tryg: Her and my car. (laughs)
Away-Team: What is your favorite food on the road?
Tryg: Steak. Porterhouse, mainly. A Filet, a Sirloin. Any kind of steak. Now you’ve got me drooling. I haven’t had a good steak in months. I could really go for a good steak right about now. I did have lobster when I was in New Hampshire. That was pretty fantastic! Lobster back home is really expensive and here on the east coast it’s fairly inexpensive because it’s more readily available.
Away-Team: I get it.
Tryg: But I miss me some STEAK!
Away-Team: (laughs) Well, have some soon!
Away-Team: What question have you never been asked, but you would like to talk about?
Tryg: What advice would I give to other members of other bands?
Away-Team: I like it!
Tryg: If I had to give advice to somebody that was in a band, what I would say is don’t let being in a band or in a touring band be your identity. Don’t let that be who you are. Because when you allow that to happen you lose touch with reality and you lose who you truly are. Because I lost myself in it in 2009. When the rhythm section quit our band, I didn’t know who I was. And I didn’t know what the future of the band was going to be. And with that, I didn’t know what my future was going to be. It was very weird. I had to completely rebuild who I was. Looking back now it was one of the greatest things to do, rebuild myself. I was able to find identity for myself. But if I had to give advice to any artist that is blowing up or have the opportunity to go out and do things, don’t throw people under the bus and try to be a good person. Take care of the people who take care of you and don’t lose yourself in it. You will lose yourself in it to some degree, just don’t become slave to it.
Away-Team: Be mindful, be aware.
Tryg: Surround yourself with people who will keep you on your toes. There are bands out there where you have that one person, that one person who seems to be on top of the world. Seemingly. One thing about this band that is remarkable is that there is no one person in this band that is the shiner and everybody follows behind. We all support each other, and we are all very individualistic. We are a group of friends out creating music together. In turn, this will keep you grounded and you also have to retain your own identity. Plus we are all older, wiser now. We’ve all been there and we’ve all made those stupid decisions.
Away-Team: I totally get what you’re saying. And it’s great advice.
Tryg: Honestly, if you love it enough do whatever it takes to make it happen. And expect nothing out of it. It’s the people that super high expectations when they sacrifice things and don’t get those expected things that bitch and really never understand. They got what they were supposed to get. And if not, it was a learning experience for them.
Away-Team: That good for anybody out there.
Tryg: It’s about life. I see younger people that are pissed off, jaded, that feel they were robbed of something. Expect nothing, celebrate what you do get, you achieve. I had a weird childhood. And my stepmother is the reason I do this. She gave me that swift kick in the ass that made me accountable and taught me how to be tough. I didn’t understand it at the time, and I hated her at that time. But she truly helped me so that I could get through some really rough shit. It’s not about using what has happened to you in the past as a crutch, it’s about learning how to not be a victim, but to learn from it and move on. And be that better person. That’s what people should do, especially in music. It’s such a tumultuous, A.D.D. nature.
Away-Team: As the saying goes, put on your big boy or big girl panties and deal with it.
Away-Team: And on that note, I want to say thanks so much Tryg for all your time and your patience with this interview.
Tryg: Truly my pleasure. Thank you for being here.
Away-Team: I wish you all the best on the remaining days of this tour. And have a safe trip back to Seattle.
Tryg: Thanks. Enjoy the show tonight.
Away-Team: I plan on it!