Flyer Profile: The Plaid Jackets

For a two-piece rock band, The Plaid Jackets make a hell of a lot of noise.

It’s a good thing, too. The band, made up of Brandon Adkins (Guitar/Vocals) and Matt Johannesen (Drums/Vocals), will have to rock above the roar of Bikes, Blues & BBQ this weekend when they release their new CD, “The New Adventures of The Plaid Jackets” at Smoke & Barrel on Friday, Oct. 1.

The show is free, and locals The Family Dogs will open.

The Plaid Jackets are known around town for their quirky songs (Ode to Chewbacca, Adam West is Batman), their lovable nerdy-ness, and their high-energy live show, but what has always perplexed me is how in the heck a two-piece band made up of just a guitar, drums, and vocals sounds like an army of rockers on stage.

We got in touch with the band this week to to ask them about that, and to find out more about their CD release party Friday night, their new album, and why bands still have MySpace pages.

FF: What have you been listening to lately?
The Plaid Jackets: To be honest, we have not been listening to much of anything lately, being so busy with everything, but when we do cue up the ol’ iPod, the first things we go for are the likes of The Strokes, The Hives, Beatles, and Queens of The Stone Age. I did listen to The Family Dogs the other day to get ready for the show.

Poster by Chuck Bame

FF: Where did the name The Plaid Jackets come from?
TPJ: Good question. We were starting this two-piece and we wanted it to be fun, first and foremost. We went through names like The Cheesy Poofs and a few other goofy ones. We also wanted to stick with a nerdy theme but show people nerds can bring it live. Plus, there were some references to plaid that we liked, like in Spaceballs where they go plaid, and nobody wears plaid anymore. It sounds fun, it’s clean, it’s vintage, and it’s the image we wanted, plus when people ask us what kind of music we play, we could say, “it’s plaid rock”. I think we actually came up with it while waiting for our food at Taco Bell. Matt was throwing out stuff with the word sneakers in it and I just had jackets on my mind. I blurted it out and we made references and BAM! We had a name.

FF: How in the heck do you guys get such a big sound as a two-piece?
TPJ: I know I have been strict on never using pedals or effects. I know that makes a difference. I use a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe tube amp and that’s all we ever need. Matt takes very good care of his drums and knows how to play them (not just beat on them). But we think the biggest contributon to that sound really is how we try to remain very tight. We love to write where we stop and start exactly at the same time within our songs. We are really proud of that tightness, and having played together for the last seven years makes it very easy for us.

FF: Tell us a bit about the new record.
TPJ: Matt and I are very proud of it. It’s the best thing we feel we have done to date. It is 10 songs, some nerdy fun, and a couple serious ones. We hope they are catchy and make people wanna move. I like to write about stuff we are into, like comics, games, movies or movie characters. If you hung out with us you would constantly be hearing us quote movies and laughing at stuff we can remember. So it comes out in our music. We recorded the album in just a few days, but the artwork took the longest. When we get something in our head, we know excatly what we want to see. Chuck Bame did the artwork and we are very proud of it. This album has a comic book theme and it’s called “The New Adventures of The Plaid Jackets.”

FF: What is your philosophy in the studio? Should a recording try to capture a band’s live show, or should it take on a life of its own?
TPJ: Awesome question. YES, we think it should capture the energy of the band. We record live in the studio, not seperately. We may tweak the recording where needed, but it’s very important to us to capture that fun, live energy.

FF: According to your ReverbNation page, you and Brandon met “at a circus event that went horribly wrong, then (you) both started to fight crime.” Is that true?
TPJ: I never thought anyone would ever call us out on this, lol. No, this is not true. Matt and I get bored with all the bios we have to put out there and we decided to have fun with it. We don’t think we are very interesting. Two guys who like stuff we think is cool, and we have played in bands before and don’t want to stop. So we just used the Batman story there, that’s where Batman met the first Robin, at a circus event. I was Batman and Matt was Robin. We don’t mean to offend, but hopefully people are entertained, and that’s our job. On another one of our sites, we use Stars Wars as a bio.

FF: When are more bands going to abandon crappy MySpace and move over to something (anything) else?
TPJ: I could not agree with you more. I hate MySpace. It’s slow, I rarely check it. Now that you have said that I am really hacked at myself for leaving MySpace on our CD as our contact. I thought about removing it so many times, but it’s what we have so we will use it. In the next couple months, we will have our actual website up and I’ll be happier. Right now we use Facebook the most, but I’m really liking ReverbNation even though it’s still new to me.

FF: What are some other local bands that you like?
TPJ: The Family Dogs, Well, Well, Well, A Good Fight, Dreamfast, Randall Shreve, Apartment 5, and that’s just off the top of our heads.

FF: Anything else folks need to know about your CD release at the Barrel on Friday?
TPJ: It’s a free show! We will also be selling 11×17 posters of the artwork, and we will have some poster/CD combo’s (kinda like a limited edition thing for an even better price). Family Dogs start at 10 p.m., and we play after. It will be fun!

FF: What’s next for you guys?
TPJ: We love writing skits and have some commercial ideas so we wanna do a couple of those. Then make a couple videos, and if the record sells well enough and people want more, we would love to record some more and keep doing this. Our ultimate goal right now is to play at the San Diego Comic Con, and meet some of the people we write songs about. As long as we are making people happy and entertaining them, we are having fun.

Click below to hear Lost Love, by The Plaid Jackets