Interview with Jim Fitzgerald (Falsetto Boy)

Jim Fitzgerald

Jim Fitzgerald

My brief foray into running an independent website resulted in some great interviews and a lot of album reviews, which I will be slowly trasnferring over to this site.  I will eventually bring them all over, but would like to start with the ones that really stuck out for me.  One such person is Jim Fitzgerald.

Falsetto Boy (Jim Fitzpatrick) is an incredibly talented musician who released a split with Dogbreth.  Jim recently took some time to answer a few questions for us.

How did you get into music?  How did you come up with the name Falsetto Boy?

I got into music when I was pretty young I guess.  I bought my first CD in fifth grade.  It was Megadeth’s Cryptic Writings. I also got into Face to Face around the same time. So I got into punk and metal around the same time I guess, and everything seemed to splinter off from there. Also, my dad exposed me to some really great music when I was a young kid.  He used to put on records in the basement when I was a toddler, and we would dance for hours with my older sister. He showed me Ray Charles, The Drifters, The Beach Boys, Gene Pitney, The Animals, The Stones, The Beatles.  I started playing guitar and taking lessons in middle school, which my parents supported full force, and started playing in bands shortly after high school started. The name Falsetto Boy came from a song I wrote one afternoon when I was 17.  It was about a kid whose older brother poured chemicals down his throat, banishing him to a life in which nobody wants to hear him speak. It’s on the first Falsetto Boy EP, titled Falsetto Boy.  You can download it for free here on bandcamp!

How is the songwriting and recording for you

I imagine it isn’t easy to do all of it by yourself… Well, on the Buzz Ballads tape split, my friend and former band-mate, Jon Hellwig played the drums.  I can’t play drums worth anything, but I did play everything else on it.  Also, it was recorded by my friend Brad Schumacher of Oodelally Audio, and mastered by Thomas Knecht, who also happened to record my last full length, Feeding the Birds, in addition to other releases of mine.  I definitely can’t take full credit!  I also perform with a revolving crew of musicians, including Tristan from Dogbreth on this last tour.

You have a undeniable garage rock sound that reminds me of some of my favorite bands.  How did you settle on that sound, and how long have you been playing it?   Hmmm, that’s a tough question to answer because I don’t feel like I settled on that sound, per se.  Most of my previous releases are solo acoustic songs with power pop and folk elements.  I definitely have a sweet tooth when it comes to writing, and I love fuzzy guitars, but this is the first Falsetto Boy release that was recorded to sound like a full band.  I had played a show with Dogbreth a few years ago in Saint Louis, and we both performed as solo acoustic acts.  He came through town the next year with a full band backing him up, and a rippin’ awesome full length to boot.  I found that pretty inspirational.  We decided to do a split together, and I thought that it would be great to take some more rockin’ Falsetto Boy material and record it full band and start playing shows plugged in with other musicians.  I’d say the sound off of my side of Buzz Ballads comes from my enjoyment of 80’s and 90’s indie rock, powerpop, and punk bands.  I’m a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr, The Replacements, early Weezer, Sebadoh, Pavement, Built to Spill, Superchunk and so on. It’s a blast playing rock and roll with Falsetto Boy, but I’m positive that I will continue to write and perform quiet acoustic songs as well.

Have you always been a self-contained unit, or have you tried to play with other bands?  Falsetto Boy began as a solo project while I played in a different band in high school.  I continue to collaborate with other people in other projects, and I keep the Falsetto Boy material to myself.  In fact, I don’t think Falsetto Boy can exist in a genuine manner unless I am playing in other bands, because this project has always been an outpouring of creative ideas I can’t necessarily satisfy with other people.  That being said, I love inviting people to play in Falsetto Boy, because playing live music with other people is an absolute pleasure.

What part of the country are you from?  How is the indie scene there?

I’m from Saint Louis.  The underground scene here has potential, but my biggest complaint is that it’s pretty pocketed and cliquey.  There are a lot of creative and talented people here, and a handful of very talented bands that have been playing together for a long time, but I feel like the communication between the different pockets of the music scene needs to increase.

Who are some of your influences?

Early Weezer, the first three Dinosaur Jr. Records, Big Star, The Replacements, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Fugazi, Bruce Springsteen, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Moss Icon, Rites of Spring, Pavement, Built to Spill, Superchunk and all of my friends who are artists of some kind and remind me that I need to continue creating.

What do you do when you aren’t playing (job, hobbies, etc)?  I work full time at a middle school supporting students with disabilities. When I don’t work or play music, I enjoy reading, jogging, playing some video games now and then, and playing made up sports with my friends.

Any plans down the road (touring, recording another full length record, etc)?

Pretty soon I’m going to be doing an artistic collaboration with my good friend, Jordan Knecht, a phenomenal visual artist and independent musician.  I plan on releasing a Falsetto Boy single, and Jordan will be creating an accompanying piece of visual art for the song.  I don’t want to give too much away, but the formatting will be unconventional. Bradley Schumacher of Oodelally Audio will be recording me in an empty grain silo for this one. I’m pumped!  As for full lengths and touring?  All in good time!

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