Sep 18, 2013 11:58 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
High Fives and Hell Yeahs
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The Morgantown punk rock band High Fives and Hell Yeahs consistently puts on tight and energetic live shows fans love. With three songwriters and singers switching off on lead vocals, their shows keep you captivated and eager for the next gig. The band is currently working on self-recording an album, creating a Kickstarter fundraising website, and producing more merchandise. High Fives and Hell Yeahs is Brian Persinger on drums, Scott Rhodes on guitar and vocals, Dustin Sigler on guitar and vocals, and Adam Chuck Staats on bass and vocals.
The band originally formed in 2007 as the Revisionists but has since revamped its style, went on hiatus a couple of times, got a new guitar player, and wrote a bunch of new songs. We recently stole a few moments of the members’ time to see just how things are evolving.
Q: So, how is the music different these days?
CHUCK: We’ve evolved as songwriters. Our newer material feels more complete. The process has remained pretty much the same, but there seems to be more thought put into it, not just the same tired old verse-chorus-verse-chorus-done.
SCOTT: We’re always trying to keep the songs energetic, and there aren’t too many lulling rhythms these days. We’ve been writing more complicated songs than ever; either faster tempos or more guitar leads.
Q: Brian, talk about your drumming technique. Do you practice a lot?
BRIAN: I listen to music all day and hear what people are doing. After you play for a while, you change what you are actually listening to. Everything I do is self-taught and I have never had a lesson … We have a few new songs and those require more thought at some points. We spent the first half of this year jamming every weekend. These would be full sets with limited stops. In June (2013), we moved into recording mode and things let up. Currently, I am not playing at home, just at Scott’s. I practice technique and conditioning at my house when I have the time. It is challenging to play that tempo for an hour straight—I won’t lie.
Q: You have three songwriters, and three people who sing lead vocals. What do you like most about this shared songwriting and singing dynamic?
CHUCK: It’s great because we each get to take a little bit of a break every few songs, which I think helps keep the energy of our shows up, and it keeps our material more diverse than if it was just one of us writing everything.
SCOTT: It’s stress-free. You get a break from singing until you have to do backup vocals, and you get to have more fun than standing in front of a microphone stand. I really enjoy doing backup vocals and singing with my buddies.
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