"The Big F" Interview

We know that John Shreve is in a band. And, we know the band is associated with Elektra Records. Outside of that, not much else is known about "THE BIG F". We set out to get the record straight.

Q: Your record company biography doesn't tell a whole lot about "THE BIG F". Is this a deliberate attempt on your part or is the record company surrounding the band in mystery?
A: Not really a deliberate attempt. Our main idea was to try and get everybody to focus on the music and not really concern themselves with the periphery sort of stuff that can become more important than the music. That's how we're trying to differentiate ourselves from most of the other stuff going on these days. We want people to realize we put our heart and souls into the music. That's the thing we want everyone to pay attention to. I think our miscalculation was that when you don't provide more information like that, you tend to get ignored. That was probably a mistake we made. We're not trying to hide anything.

Q: As a name, THE BIG F is certainly a stand-out among band names. Why did you choose THE BIG F?
A: It's just something we like, 'cause it's aggressive. Obviously, it connotates something right off the bat for most people. And that's fine. It's not meant to be anything specific. We consider ourselves a really aggressive, sort of on the edge band, and we think that name is cohesive with that. It fits with our sound. There's a marriage with that name and the sort of music we make. So, we're real comfortable with that.

Q: Were you influenced by the hard rock music of the early 70's?
A: I think what we've tried to get across, is to bring about all the various influences that we each have as we've gone through music in our lives. The era you talk about is important to me. For me it's sort of the punk rock era of the late 60's. It's a real important time, even back to the stuff that we were to young to have paid much attention to. But, still, because it's so timeless, we listen to a lot. Cream, Hendrix, stuff like that. Really good, edgy, energetic music. Anything that struck us as being passionate and forward on the music scene. We try very hard not to specifically take from other bands. We're very proud of the fact that we think we've achieved our own unique sound.

Q: Is it true that you guys don't get along that well? What's to say that tomorrow you or one of the other guys won't leave?
A: Well, that's possible. We agree a lot about the music. Our fights exist around music. We fight about what each of us believes is right for the band. There isn't a hierarchy here with one person leading and the other two following. All three of us are equal with our power in the band and our love for it. In the end we fight until every body is happy with what's going on. It does take a little longer, but, there's no compromise in what we do, therefore we feel it comes out a little bit stronger. We respect each other a lot musically and as people. We're not best friends but we get along fine.

Q: You produced your debut album. That's kind of unusual. Why did a major label like Elektra allow you this kind of freedom?
A: Well, we weren't really allowed, we sort of demanded it. We wouldn't have signed to any label that wasn't trusting enough to think we could do it. Elektra was very open to the idea because they had heard our demo tape and realized we could do it. Whether or not we'll do it for the next one, is still up for discussion. It's hard to be objective about what you're doing, as you're doing it. It's kind of weird. That's the only difficult thing about producing ourselves. We wanted the record company to understand what kind of band we were. We're not gonna hire a Mutt Lange and have him turn us into what he sees as huge radio stars. That's not our style. That's fine for Def Leppard or other bands he works with, or other producers who do that sort of thing. But, we want to maintain our sound. We worked very hard to achieve it. We signed a contract with Elektra that our lawyer told us had the most creative control for a band that she had ever seen, big bands or small bands. We told everybody what we wanted and we weren't going to compromise on it.

Q: Did "THE BIG F" compete on the local bar circuit?
A: We spent a long time rehearsing in our little studio, trying to work out the sound that we thought was truly us and truly original. I think a lot of bands get involved in wanting to go out and get their ego satisfied, so, they put together kind of a mediocre sound and then want to go out and hang out with the girls and play the clubs. We weren't into that. We were into honing in on a sound before we presented it to anyone. So, I think we rehearsed a little longer than most bands. We got signed pretty rapidly. I have to give credit to our manager. We were fortunate enough to hook up with a manager who believes in us and is somewhat influential. So, I'm sure that helps a lot.

© Gary James All Rights Reserved