With the release of one last EP in the aptly titled Everything Turned Out Right, Treadmill Trackstar will play one last show Saturday night at New Brookland Tavern before closing the book on the band. Through the recording process of the EP and leading up to this show, Treadmill Trackstar had plenty of time to reflect on it all. It’s something they’ve been doing for the last decade really since deciding to reunite for a Rockafella’s reunion show in 2007. This time the nostalgia hits more than ever as the end is near.
It was a great and unexpected run with a lot of ups-and-downs and plenty of great memories. They tested the waters of the major label route in their heyday, toured hard while they could, and then later found a way to exist in the modern music era as a DIY band. DIY as in, they crowdsourced an album (before Kickstarter and IndieGoG0) raising $13,000 modeling after NPR’s fundraising efforts. They recorded 66 songs and wrote over 100 along with being one of the first touring bands to utilize the internet, keeping an AOL hosted tour journal dating back to 1994. While only a few entries survived thanks to paper, the rest are somewhere in the ether of the internet.
With their new release Everything Turned Out Right Treadmill Trackstar succeeded in continuing to make great records without a downturn musically. The new EP features their trademark sounds, with Angelo Gianni’s vocals cutting through with memorable melodies, along with the cello accenting that helped set them apart from the get go.
Saturday night Treadmill Trackstar are joined on stage by opening acts Milton Hall and Tarwater. We caught up for a Q&A with Treadmill Trackstar frontman Angelo Gianni chatting about the bands history and the nostalgic aspect of the final show.
What was it like compiling old footage for the fakeumentary and catching up with old friends and fans? Was there a huge nostalgia aspect leading up to this release and looking back over the career of the band?
Mostly it made me laugh my ass off. Those years are a bit of a blur and I’ve forgotten so much. Some of the stories people sent in are pretty astounding. One of our tour managers Nolan reminded me of a time in Florida somewhere where the hotel we went to after the show happened to have a swingers convention happening. Hilarity ensued. He also reminded me of our having to bungie cord our sound guy to a seat of the van because he was so insanely loaded he couldn’t sit upright on his own. A few of these stories are still on our Kickstarter page if anyone wants to waste some time watching them. They’re probably a lot more funny to us then they would be to anyone else.
Yes, the nostalgia is definitely flowing thick right now. There is just so much history and so many things that we went through together — so many weird situations and so many strange people and so so many places. I think that’s part of what this final show is for… It’s a way to try to purge ourselves of all of it so we can let it go and remember it fondly.
When you started Treadmill Trackstar how did you imagine the band playing out? Was the goal to get a major label deal and go from there? Did you think you’d be making a record around to 25 years later?
It’s probably obvious from the name we gave the band that we knew what we were up against. Our plan was to work as hard as possible knowing that we’d probably never ever get anywhere. And that’s pretty much what happened. I wanted more than anything to be in a touring rock band. I can’t imagine a better way to spend your twenties. And we got so close to making it… closer than I’d ever thought we’d manage. Getting a major deal was definitely the goal but we never thought it would actually happen. When it did – I really thought that maybe the rock star dream might happen after all. That thought was short lived! But it sure was fun while it lasted.
No – I definitely never thought we’d still be making music 25 years later. That’s insane. I was surprised we made it from 92 to 98. When we got dropped in 98 – I thought that was it forever. But we’ve been together longer and made more records since our reunion in 2007 than we did in our years in the 90’s.
Mike MIll’s is our longest standing bass player. He’s been with us for 10 years. We were rehearsing for the show the other day trying to remember the name of the radio station where Steve Gibson gave us our first radio play of Shouldn’t I Take from the first indie record. It was before WARQ – we never could figure it out. And Mike was like, “Yeah – I remember hearing that on the radio when I was 14.” Jesus.
Do you think the band would have gotten back together if not for the Rockafella’s reunion in 2007?
No. Absolutely not. I don’t think it was something any of us even thought about. When Angie (Seshun) called and asked me about trying to make it happen I was like, no way. I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but I was pretty bitter about how everything had ended and I wasn’t totally psyched to dredge it all up again. Plus – what if we sucked? Personally I was scared shitless to do it. But I’m so glad we did. When it was a career – there was a lot of pressure. In 2007 when it was just a hobby again – it was so much more fun. We owe Angie for the past 10 years.
How would you say you changed as a songwriter from the first era of the band to the second era post 2007?
Not sure I can be objective enough to really know. I’m still going through the same process and writing about things in pretty much the same way I always have. It’s definitely more enjoyable with nothing riding on it and with no time table. I like to think that the songwriting has progressed pretty much like it would have if we had become a massive band back in the 90’s and had stayed together. We go through little phases that are reflected in the records. I think things have definitely moved toward simplification. I’ve always written songs that I’d like to listen to with the hope that someone else might like to listen too. In that sense nothing has changed.
When you go back and listen to the early records now that you’re releasing your final release, do you feel like they sound dated because I don’t really feel that way. Listening back, a lot of the songs sound like they could come out today other than a couple of recording elements and things like that.
Yeah, they sound a little dated to me in the way they were recorded sometimes. Like certain types of vocal effects that might have been the thing at the time, or the way they’re compressed, or maybe a guitar tone is particularly “nineties” here and there. I also hate my voice on some of the early stuff – I think it’s gotten a little better over time. Not much better mind you, but…
I think the songs hold up pretty well all things considered. I always judge a song by – can it be played with a voice and acoustic guitar and still be good? And I think most of our songs just about pass that test to one degree or another.