Break It Down: Sam Champion
Wed, 27 Aug 2008 17:24:42
Sam Champion Videos
There's no denying a band's high hopes when they name themselves Sam Champion. A runner-up's moniker this is not. Now with the release of their second album, Heavenly Bender, the Brooklyn four-piece seem to be tapping into the potential needed to carry the tag. In reality, the band say they borrowed the name from a high school principal in Texas, but it's a lot to live up to either way.
Heavenly Bender finds the band confidently crisscrossing genres from dusty roots rock to distorted punk. It's all held together by the smiling harmonies and general good nature of the songs themselves, which is surely what's made them an indie act to follow this summer. As if the goodwill wasn’t flowing their direction before, they're twisting open the tap even further by pre-selling their album on AmieStreet.com for only three dollars until 8.29.08 when the price jumps up to a whooping four dollars before it's proper release on September 2nd. Looking to cash in on the wave of generosity, we gave vocalist Noah Chernin our Break It Down questions and he gave us insights into the Dylan catalogue, Elton John lyrics and a workout plan you can take anywhere.
What have you been listening to lately?
I just alphabetized my vinyl and found a bunch of records that I never knew I had. Right now I am listening to Cat Steven's Tea for the the Tillerman. I've also been listening to a lot of Mingus, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, and 660 WFAN Mets Radio.
Where's your favorite place to chill?
What's the most dramatic thing you ever did to save money as a starving musician?
I ALMOST gave up my apartment and moved in with my dad. But then I realized that that was a terrible idea and paying rent wasn't so bad. So I got another job.
Tell us one of your favorite song lyric?
She said, "Where ya been?" I said, "No place special."
She said, "You look different." I said, "Well, I guess."
She said, "You been gone." I said, "That's only natural."
She said, "You gonna stay?" "If you want me to. Yes."
…from the Dylan song "Isis." I don't even know if he wrote those words. This other guy wrote a lot of lyrics for that album. But he sings it real good.
What is your most cherished musical instrument or accessory?
My Musicman 210 amplifier. See all those amps onstage in he Last Waltz? Yeah, that's it.
If you could change one thing about the music industry today what would it be?
If record labels gave young bands a chance to succeed, I think today's climate would be a lot different. Artists like Bruce Springsteen, or even Neil Young, had a chance to really craft their identities over the course of a few records. Their first records didn't sell well right away. I think a lot of young bands now are forced into the spotlight after they've only written 10 songs and played a handful of shows. That's just dangerous for everyone. Let bands develop. And get rid of 360 deals. Gross.
What never goes out of style?
Blue Jeans… The Clash.
What's the theme song to your life?
“Mellow” by Elton John. Ooooohhh yah make me mellow…
What movies, artists, authors or athletes inspire you the most?
Ryan Church (NY Mets), Bob Dylan, Anthony Bourdain, The Royal Tennenbaums, Robert Moses, Sean Bones, Marlon Brando, Kevin Nealon, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, American Movie, David Berman, etc..
What's your favorite way to stay in shape?
What non-musician would you most like to meet?
Anthony Bourdain. I want his job.
What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Is Top Chef a guilty pleasure?
MySpace or Facebook?