Motel Beds Reflects on Days Gone By


Photos Courtesy of Motel Beds/Bill Franz

With the sophistication of a garage band and hooks that hang on, Motel Beds is everything that still rocks about rock. High-energy performances with plenty of Midwestern soul have set Motel Beds on the fast-track to success. On February 1, 2014, the Dayton, Ohio, band will take the stage at Morgantown’s 123 Pleasant Street with The Phantom Six and Ghost House. The band will be promoting its upcoming album, These Are The Days Gone By, available on CD and iTunes in April. Limited edition vinyls of the new record—with covers hand-painted by artists at the non-profit We Care Arts—will be available for purchase at the show. Motel Beds is comprised of Tommy Cooper (guitar), Ian Kaplan (drums), P.J. Paslosky (vocals), Derl Robbins (guitar), and Tod Weidner (bass).

Q&A with Motel Beds

I've seen Motel Beds described as rock & roll, indie rock, and alternative. Where do you guys feel like you fit in?

Tod: I think indie rock has recently become as much of a meaningless catch-all genre as alternative has been for some time now; I recently saw Arcade Fire, who are a major label, super-high-profile group, described as “indie rock.” That pretty much nullifies the term to me. The one descriptor that never seems to lose relevance is “rock.”  So I guess we're rock.

Where do you find musical inspiration?

Tod: We are sonically indebted to a wide range of music. I believe if you mixed The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Who, The Velvet Underground, Duane Eddy, The Pixies, and Swervedriver in a giant blender, you'd visually have a huge mess on your hands but, sound-wise, you’d have us, or something close to us.

You guys have been making music together for more than 10 years now. What’s changed since those early days?

Ian: So much has changed in the past 10 years for all of us, it’s hard to narrow it down to a short list. I’d say we are definitely more driven and more interested in “the band” as a thing through which we identify ourselves. We’re also 1,000% more responsible now, in general, which is a really good thing.

Your upcoming album These Are The Days Gone By is a compilation of sorts. How did you decide what songs would make the cut?

P.J.: Tommy put all the songs on the retrospective together. He did a great job on such a large undertaking.

Where did you record the album, and what was the process like?

Tod: We have a rehearsal space above a piano store in Dayton—kind of a clubhouse. We rehearse and record there, a little self-contained cottage industry. We’ve tended to work pretty quickly in the past, not belaboring the life and vibe out of our ideas. For our next album, though, we’re changing that up a bit. We’re tinkering with arrangements and treatments of the songs, and making sure we’re really satisfied with the end result.

How did the hand-painted album covers from We Care Arts come about? Can you describe some of the designs?

Ian: Leo, our fearless leader at Misra, came up with the idea and made it happen and we could not be more pleased with how the project turned out. The designs are just incredible. It was very cool to see how our music inspired the artists at We Care Arts. The covers range from abstract expressionism to impressionism to something you might see in a graphic novel, and that’s actually a pretty narrow description. They really span a huge range of artistic styles and are just fantastic. My description here really isn’t sufficient—you just have to see them.

You’ve been on tour with many bands. Do you have a favorite? Is there a particular tour or venue that was especially fun?

Ian: All the bands we’ve toured with are our favorites for one reason or another. Touring with Motel Beds, outside of the fact that you’re in a van that smells like old Pringles and dirty clothes for hours on end, is always a blast for me. I don’t think I've ever had a “bad” tour with this band.

After the album comes out in April, what are your plans?

P.J.: Music, music, music and more music! Playing live, writing, recording and then hit repeat!

Ian: We’re going to continue working on our next release and then tour as much as we can. This year is going to be really exciting for us.

Tod: More of the same, really. Working on the next full-length, traveling about, peddling our wares to the masses, listening to the screams of our enemies and the lamentations of the women. Oh, and probably some festivals, too.

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