Turbo Fruits is a rowdy group of three Tennessee dudes who like to have a good time on stage. I spoke to frontman Jonas Stein as the band drove from Ithaca to Buffalo. Make sure you check out their show at Terrace this Thursday – they’ll be playing along with Surfer Blood and it should be one hell of a show.
Q: How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your songs? Any particular influences?
A: I would say very rowdy, very fun, and very rock ‘n roll. As for influences, I think definitely MC5, CCR, and -- [to rest of the band in the tour van] Influences anyone? – oh yeah, and the Who.
Q: One of your biggest songs is called “Mama’s Mad cos I Fried My Brain”…how did that song come about, lyrically?
A: Well at some point in every adventurous kid’s life, they gotta start breaking rules. And as much fun as they have doing that, it’s no question that they’re gonna make their mother worried. So I think it’s about that kind of period I had a few years ago where I was just getting in trouble for shit before it was a comfortable thing for me to get in trouble. I think most people go through it.
Q: What other bands have you been listening to lately that you can recommend?
A: We’ve been into Love – the old band – and Sam Cooke lately. And we’ve had this CD by the Greenhornes called Dual Mono in our van for the past two months. Pretty cool.
Q: How important to you is audience involvement when you’re up on stage at a gig?
A: The audience is pretty important, but I’ve learned not to get disappointed if they’re not very involved or don’t know our songs. If they’re moving around it’s really exciting, but I know you gotta get big as a band before you can start expecting crazy crowds. Right now we’ve gotta be satisfied with strong reactions of any kind, but it’s definitely preferable when people are having fun.
Q: Do you believe the slight irreverence in your songs (drugs, alcohol etc.) is an essential part of your style?
A: I wouldn’t say it’s a big part of our style; it’s just kind of the honest, fun part of Turbo Fruits. We’re still young and like to go crazy and it’s part of our everyday lives. It’s what’s easy to talk about now, but I probably won’t be talking about that shit when I’m 40.
Q: What’s one of the craziest things that’s ever happened to the band?
A: [Much debate in the van about which story to tell]
Well, this one time we accidentally drove over the Canadian border without passports. We weren’t trying to go over there but the GPS was malfunctioning and we had some grass on us. We asked if we could just turn around and go home, and they said we couldn’t. They made it a much bigger deal. They searched the van, handcuffed us, took us into a holding room, interrogated us, strip searched us, and then finally let us go back after a while.
Q: What is your show at Terrace going to be like on the 15th?
A: Well what’s the crowd gonna be like? I hear people like to party at Princeton. It sounds like we’ll have a good time. We’ll try to make it as crazy as possible without pushing anyone too hard.
Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Sara Wallace ’12.