“Forgive me, I’m stoned,” chuckles the charming Bryce Wayt of LA’s brand spankin’ new rock band Tinfang. Who says rock & roll is dead? Not these guys, who clutched the stage of Harvard and Stone with all their might. In one swooping note, they transfixed the crowd with an explosion of songs that will soon be gracing the airwaves. I could attempt to enumerate all the ways this band shocked and shook me (‘all night long,’ as AC/DC’s frontman Brian Johnson might’ve attested) that very first night; however, why bother? Damaged Magazine merely supplicates you to see them live, and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. Tinfang is what rock & roll tastes like, what drips and bleeds like a Stairway to Heaven with a dash of Back in Black. They’ll walk through Laurel Canyon to scoop you up and take you back to 1972. So leave your Raybans at home.
I’ve always found myself to be drawn to the bad boy, the chase, the I-just-don’t-give-a-damn attitude. These guys look the part (right down to Josh Daum, the bassist, with his Robert Plant hairstyle and kind eyes) yet underneath, instead of the cocky air that accompanies many musicians, there is a unique realness that isn’t as prevalent in LA as we would all hope. As Tobin Dale, lead guitarist, stated during our lovely Griffith Park tea party interview (Mad Hatter attire included), “There’s a lot of come-and-go trends in LA. It’s more like an image or a flavor of the week kind of thing.” Josh Grolemund parlayed that with “Yeah, it’s like people who streamed a Muddy Waters compilation on Spotify and think they know about the blues.”
I could tell right off the bat that these guys weren’t new to “the scene,” weren’t pretentious egomaniacs, and they certainly weren’t trying to vie for a spot on my iTunes playlist. They were quite the opposite. After they all introduced themselves under the outdoor sun of a makeshift tea party, I understood that Tinfang was more than what replicates and replenishes itself in a city cursed (and possibly damned) from a golden era of true Rock n’ Rollers. I understood from the tonality of their bluesy progressions and their ability to interlace a Zepplin-esque anthem that starts off slow and crescendos to the bellows of pure Rock N Roll, that Tinfang was no fly-by night bar band.
How dare I compare this group to the rock gods of old, you ask? Simple. Because I can. I’m not saying they are the second coming, but what you’ll get out of this interview is that these four close friends, who call themselves Tinfang, certainly do dare to risk it all; who leave caution to the smokey haze that fills their late night set, and whom err on the side of texture and tone, not simply rhythm and rhyme.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Well then how come I haven’t heard of them?” In the avoidance of proclaiming the obvious antidote to that question, I’ll confidently declare that, “you will.” The members of Tinfang are the musician’s musician. Just like the axiom of a “guy’s guy,” these gents understand what it takes to form a collaborative sound, one so unique and
talented, that it would’ve made the holy union of the famed Yardbirds jealous. Yes, I just made that reference.
Here now, is in inside look into member’s of Tinfang, their tastes, their music and their style:
How did you guys start?
JOSH (Drummer, Producer)
The band started with some ideas that I had. So I got my friend Bryce involved where he helped write the initial EP. When Bassplayer Josh (the Robert Plant look-a-like) came back to LA from Atlanta, he tracked our bass and then we all sat down to discuss how we were going to be a live
So the first call was to Tobin, because we knew he got the vibe and he could do the (guitar) parts…and that’s how it bubbled up.
Josh, you mentioned that you made a record with Bryce before, was that considered a Tinfang album?
Well, no. I was in a band called Last American Buffalo and we were about to literally hit record on a new record until the lead singer, Kevin, invited someone else into the band. Like, what?! We already had preproduction meetings and knew what we were going to do. So, we have a meeting at my house and Kevin brings Bryce over and immediately we realized that this guy (Kevin) was the odd man out in terms of musical taste….
And anyway, we do the record with that guy. But Bryce and I both ended up leaving that band.
And actually, I met Bryce while I was in the band Nasty Souls. We were playing in a strip club called CHEETAS. [they all laugh]
But what it comes down to really, is that there is a relatively small amount of people that are into what we’re into, that are as passionate about it and can do it with an authenticity and prowess that we all can.
Bryce, what was your first record that you remember buying?
BRYCE (Frontman, Singer)
The first record I bought was Bleach by Nirvana. I felt like a badass when I listened to it, ya know. And the first CD I bought was Big Ones by Aerosmith. And thats who I am. Case closed.
What’s a song that changed your life?
“Rock n Roll Singer,” by ACDC. It’s track two of the first side of their album High Voltage. I used to listen to it when I was a kid. It was all about not conforming. It was almost punk. Well, it was punk in it’s own way. That song changed my life, for sure.
Bryce, what about you?
This is gonna sound redundant, but when I lived in Toledo, Oregon. I was in 3rd grade. We all piled in the back of a truck and we had a CD that my mom just got. And it starts…BUM BUDDA- DUM BUD-DA-DUM…and it was Back in Black, AC/DC. I didn’t know what the f**k it was! It was fucking rad and I was like I’m playing guitar now. It was life changing.
And Bryce, you’re married I hear?
Yes. She’s a rock blogger. She’s the coolest chick I ever met. We got an Elvis wedding in Vegas. You know, we did it right.
What’s your favorite guitar to play?
Well, I have a lot. I actually set them up next to my bed so I can stare at them at night.
You’re being serious?
Yeah, I’m being serious. Sometimes it’s my Martin HD-40, it has these beautiful horseshoe inlays and dice in the neck and its the most beautiful sounding acoustic I’ve ever heard in my life! I mean, this guitar…it’s the “Tits!”
Josh, are you the quiet one?
JOSH (Bassplayer, Vocals)
Yes I am.
What song changed your life?
JOSH (Bassplayer, Vocals)
Mine would be Hard Days Night by the Beatles. When I was in Kindergarden, my teacher for some reason would play that song. So I would get a few friends and we would get up and act it out.
(To Josh) Do you sing?
Yes, he’s our high harmony.
Yea, he gives us class, and he plays the mandolin too. And mother f**kers are trying to poach him on bass too. He’s solid.
Tobin, what about you. Song that changed you?
I don’t remember the first record I bought. But the first song that made me want to play guitar, as when I heard “Hey, Jude” by the Beatles. Nastiest thing I’d ever heard and I was like this is what I want to do with my life. But when I started to play guitar, I got into slide guitar, which is where I fit in. The guy that was mentoring me turned me onto Blind Willy Johnson and the song that really changed me was Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground. There are no words in that song. Just slides and moans, but it’s the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.
What do you like about the music scene in LA? What are your dislikes?
Wow, that’s such a loaded question. There’s not a whole lot to like now. Now is as bad a time as any to try to make money as a band. The thing about it is, it is what you make it. The side that stinks the most, is how poorly musicians are treated. Im not gonna name names of some of these clubs, but you have to bother them for a month to get paid! Where is that okay?
I think because there are a high concentration of interest and people, I think people are sort of jaded to when something cool comes along. Thats why its kind of hard to play to a room full of strangers because inevitably, there’s no shortage of live music here, you just really have to have a voice to be heard above the draw.
And when you play your first note of a show, it’s kinda like people are sitting back with theirarms folded waiting to be impressed.
Well, Tobin, Bryce, Josh and Josh…you’ve impressed us.