TUBEFREEKS – A Talk With PAUL VAN VALKENBURGH (Vocals)

Posted on September 13th. 2017

Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM



Jason: Hello Paul and welcome to Metal To Infinity. I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your very, busy schedule to speak with us. Where is home base for the band and is there much of a music scene there these days?

Paul: Hi Jason, thanks for having us on Metal To Infinity! Tubefreeks is from Maryland in the Baltimore / Washington DC region. There is definitely a music scene here. It is a little more fragmented these days with so many popular genres, but the hard rock scene is still strong in this area.

 

Jason: Can you please share with us how you first hooked up with the other members of the band and how you all came to form Tubefreeks?

Paul: Tubefreeks has been around for a while (The Dry Tide is our 3rd album). The drummer Geoff Burrell and I have been together since the beginning.  This last album we added new members lead guitarist Brian Murray, rythym guitarist / vocalist Todd Stevens, and bassist Jon Weed.  Most of us have known each other for many years from playing in various bands.

 

Jason: A lot of bands have told me over the years that one of the hardest things is always coming up with a band name. Could you tell me the story of how you came to name the band Tubefreeks?

Paul: Ha ha! Tubefreeks was actually used (and spelled the same way with two E’s in Freek) in a novel by Thomas Pynchon called Vineland.  He referred to these tubal abuse people who were institutionalized because they couldn’t stop watching TV!! ha ha ha!! Someone suggested it and it stuck!! But Tubefreeks over the years has had meanings attached to it from surfers to people who use tube amps to people who smoke illicit substances out of long tubes.  So, we like to say it means whatever you want it to mean!!

 

Jason: Do you remember what was the point in your life when you knew you wanted to take a shot at being a professional musician?

Paul: I grew up with a family of musicians, so I’ve been immersed in music since childhood. After discovering rock music, it has been straight on rock-n-roll for me ever since.

 

Jason: How old were you when you first started singing? Have you always been a lead Singer or like a lot of musicians did you start out playing other instruments first?

Paul: I’ve been singing and playing musical instruments since childhood. My natural instrument was drums and I converted to being a lead singer when I was in college.

Jason: Who were the singers / bands who had the greatest influence on you when you were growing up?

Paul: We love rock, so literally hundreds of bands / singers have influenced us, but if I had to pick some, I’d say Bon Scott / AC/DC, Rob Halford / Judas Priest, Robert Plant / Led Zeppelin, James Hetfield / Metallica, Jon Anderson / Yes, Steven Tyler / Aerosmith, Ronnie Van Zandt / Lynyrd Skynyrd, Layne Staley / Alice in Chains, Chris Cornell / Soundgarden, Scott Weiland / Stone Temple Pilots, Zack de la Rocha / Rage Against the Machine, Serj Tankian / System of a Down and Chino Moreno / Deftones.

 

Jason: Is everyone in the band involved with the song writing process or are you the primary song writer in the band being that you are the singer?

Paul: In the past, the guitarist and I would writer things, but for The Dry Tide I wrote most everything.  But it was just because of circumstances that this happened as we love collaboration. The new group of guys are all creative and have all already submitted new material.  So, we are already working on a new album which will be written by all of us.  New guitarist / vocalist Todd Stevens has a particularly strong creative side.

 

Jason: You recently released your third cd The Dry Tide. How happy are you with the way the fans have reacted to the new cd?

Paul: Well, we love the way folks have reacted to The Dry Tide.  We just wish we could get more people to listen, but it is hard (and expensive) to get people’s attention these days.

 

Jason: In regards to the new cd The Dry Tide, were all the songs written specifically for this release or did you also include some older material that might have been written for the other cds but never made it on to an official release?

Paul: The Dry Tide consists of all new songs written for this CD!

 

Jason: In regards to the recording of The Dry Tide. I was curious was everyone in the same room, same studio during the recording or was it done more the modern way where each band member records their parts separate?

Paul: It was a bit of a combination of both.  We like to record drums with the rest of the band there jamming so we have a live feel. But then we will go back individually and build layers with guitars, bass and vocals around the drum tracks.

 

Jason: I have respect for a band like Tubefreeks who continue to write / record / release new material when a lot of bands these days have made the decision to simply live off the catalog of music they already have and continue to play out live because people just don’t buy music like they used to. With the music industry being what it is today what motivates a band like Tubefreeks to continue to release new music?

Paul: First and foremost, the reason we keep writing and recording is that to us it is one of the most fun parts of playing in an original band!  There’s nothing like the feeling of having a new tune that you really like that then comes to reality on a good recording.  A lot of bands who don’t record might kick themselves in the butt down the road.  Recording leaves your legacy behind and gives you a way to go back and remember!! ha ha ha!  Plus releasing new songs can be a great way to hype shows.

 

Jason: For people who have never heard of Tubefreeks how would you describe the band’s overall sound?

Paul: To us it’s simple… it’s hard rock music with grooves, kickin’ drums and guitars, including leads, with melodic vocals and harmonies!! (Well, maybe that’s not so simple… ha ha ha!!)

 

Jason: In regards to the new cd The Dry Tide, can fans expect more of the same? That is to say would you say the new cd sounds a lot like the music that was on the first two cds or would you say there’s been a progression on the new cd?

Paul: One thing we’re proud of is that while you can tell the new music is Tubefreeks, there is also an evolution of the sound.  In the old days, great bands like Led Zeppelin, Beatles on down the line would do the same thing… where they would evolve but it would still be them.  There will definitely be more of this evolution with the new music we plan on recording in 2018.

 

Jason: I have to ask Paul when the band had finished the recording of The Dry Tide and you heard the playback of the album for the first time, how happy were you when you heard it yourself for the very, first time?

Paul: Well, I was actually in the producer role, so, there never really was that moment.  By the time it was ready for playback, I had already (be necessity) heard it many many times!! Ha ha ha!!

 

Jason: What plans does the band have tour wise?

Paul: We’re ready to hit the road!! Being unsigned, it makes it a bit more challenging to get decent out of town shows.  We’re at the point where we love going out of town, but there needs to be some way, including promo work we would do, that there is going to be at least some sort of crowd there.  But we already have shows we’re looking at in VA, PA, the Carolinas, Kentucky, NJ, and Florida for 2018.

 

Jason: Are you currently involved with any other bands/projects that you’d like to let us know about?

Paul: My main focus is Tubefreeks.  I try not to spread myself too thin.

 

Jason: Anything left to say to all Tubefreeks fans out there?

Paul: First off, THANK YOU so much to all the great people who have listened and liked our music.  We love you guys and are ready to hang out, rock and party with you!!  Secondly, for anyone who wants to check out the band, we are all over the web (our website, YouTube, Facebook etc) but MAKE SURE you spell the band name with two EE’s in Freeks!!  It is Tubefreeks, not Tubefreaks!!  ha ha!! Thanks again Jason!!  You rock man!!!

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