Interview: Turf War
(Photo by Bekah Cope)
Turf War are a band made up of five dudes (John, Cecil, Brian, Brad and Ian) from Augusta, Georgia that have now made a name for themselves with their new EP, entitled The Great Escape. Their sound is heavily influenced by classic rock and roll, which I'm a massive fan of, but there is also a taste of the South, where the band grew up. Below I talk to frontman John Robinson about the importance of that one band Nirvana, how where you live can influence your sound, and how the Strokes are still up there for him, and probably all of us. - Maddie
First off, how did you guys meet and start playing together?
We all grew up around each other with the exception of Ian. A few of us played in crappy punk and hardcore bands in Augusta when we were younger so we knew each other from that scene. We come from a smaller town so you can't be picky about who you play with. There's a small minority of people that are into the music I was into, and they all played in Turf War at some point.
Did growing up in the South have any influence on your music?
Yeah, big time. We like simple pleasures. My parents grew up in rural Alabama so they're some sweet home Alabama chanting motha fuckas. My mom listened to a lot of '90s country, some Clarence Carter and my dad got me into good country and Tom Petty, I also grew up listening to CCR a lot. I always thought they made the perfect music for what I thought of the South. Then I watched "Behind the Music" and found out they're from California. Oh well. Shit happens.
(Photo by Tim Song)
Your new EP, The Great Escape, definitely has some true rock and roll roots. Did any specific artists influence you when writing and recording the songs for it?
I take influences from the wide variety of music I listen to. For The Great Escape EP I wanted to go more roots rock than the first album. I don't think the title song is roots rock but the rest of it is more rock 'n' roll that anybody can get into. Kids, moms, dads, hipsters, druggies, homeless people... anybody.
How did you decide on the name 'Turf War' for the band?
Everyone asks that question. There really wasn't that much thought put into naming the band. I thought Turf War sounded cooler than the other names I came up with, and John Robinson and the whatevers just didn't have a good ring to it.
What is the album that had the most influence on you growing up that you still listen to today?
Nirvana, Nevermind. I can't escape the influence that Nirvana had on my life from age ten on. That was the first band that I knew who all the members were and I studied religiously and dressed like them and wanted to be them. We'll never be Nirvana but it would be nice to influence at least one kid the way they influenced me.
Since you guys are touring and will be playing Hopscotch Festival in North Carolina in September, who would your ultimate festival headliners be?
Man. That's a hard question to answer. I'm so fuckin' excited about Spiritualized headlining Hopscotch. That's a dream in its own. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers would be an amazing headliner.
Last but not least, what album could you never live without?
I would love to lie and say something cool like Exile on Main Street or a Replacements album, but honestly the first Strokes album is a time capsule for me. I can listen to that with some folks my age and for at least half of the record I feel 19 again. I don't get straight outta Compton I get straight outta high school.
Check out The Great Escape on SoundCloud, or get the limited white cassette tape here!