Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with The Last Good Year

he Last Good Year has made an immediate impact on the Indianapolis music scene and I am happy to have the chance to sit down and pick their brains about what it’s like to be a true rocker. I have known these guys for a long time and they deserve every ounce of success they receive. Guys, how the heck are you?

You guys have released an incredible debut album. What was your drive to have such a well polished product to start with?

(Joe) Initially we went to Nashville in hopes of recording a five-song demo. We didn’t have enough money to pay for the time it would have taken to record a full length album, so we picked the five songs we thought best represented the band and went to Nashville and banged it out in five days. Immediately we were extremely impressed with Jon’s ear for producing. He really brought the songs to life and challenged us to look at them in a different light. When we finally got the mastered copy back we were blown away with how it sounded and thought to ourselves, “do we really want to use these as our demo?” We had just entered the Battle of Birdy’s and were
getting busier with shows and life etc., so we shelved the demo and decided to focus on playing more shows. After we won the Battle, we knew exactly what we were going to spend the prize money on. So we scheduled another 7 days at Jon’s studio and recorded the remaining seven songs. We really wanted our first record to be legitimate; something that set us apart from other independent bands… something that immediately grabs your attention makes you stop and listen. I think we have achieved that and then some.

You guys recoded in Nashville. Tell me a little bit more about what it was like to record down there.

It was an experience. You can head over to our MySpace page, listed at, and watch some of our video blogs from when we were in Nashville.

How did you guys get hooked up with your producer?

(Josh) I met Jon King back in ‘03 when I was living in Phoenix where he was studying recording. I worked with him a bit out there on my own on some small projects and around the time I moved back to Indianapolis he moved to Nashville to build and open his own studio. So we kept in touch and when it came time for us to start recording I gave him a ring and we got started.

What is the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

(Steve) When we opened up for Jon McLaughlin at the Music Mill on New Year’s Eve last year there were about 750 people there. It was wild. Actually, I think the biggest crowd may have been at the IU Dance Marathon a couple years ago. I think there were about 1,200 people there.

What are your plans for a tour?

(Steve) We will continue playing throughout the Midwest starting in early 2009 and have plans to put together a larger tour in the spring and summer.

You are headlining at Verizon Wireless. Who is opening for you?

(Josh) Win With Willard. (Joe) If we ever reach that level of success and had the choice? I would have all my friends and their bands play. It would be one giant party with all kinds of people sitting in and playing with us. We haven’t been around that long and owe a lot of our success to our friends in the local scene. It would be great to return the favor. We’d all go to the Alley Cat afterward, too.

Who writes your lyrics?

(Joe) That depends on the song. For the most part I write the lyrics for our collaborative songs, though that isn’t always the case. Sometimes one of us will come to rehearsal with an entire song written or parts of a song that might have some sort of lyrical backbone. Even when someone has a complete song written, there are always ideas thrown around about how to make the song better. They are always changing and getting tighter. I think you could say that about the band itself, we are always trying new things to make ourselves better; just like the songs.

When can we expect a video of ‘Racecar Driver?’

(Steve) If anyone knows a good producer, or has a concept idea, give us a shout. We are looking for someone that can capture the vibe of the song and produce a professional product; and that will work for Combos.

Who has the most tattoos?

(Josh) I think I do. 5? Give me time. (Joe) Josh. I think he has 5. Mine are the coolest though.

If you could sing one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

(Steve) Probably “Love You Right”. I find myself singing that song out of nowhere. “Stick with me baby, cause one of these days, I’ll love you right.” Many of our songs hit on issues that people can relate to. There are times we want to love and be loved. There are times where we want to get crazy. We try to capture those times in our songs. There are no hidden meanings. I think that AC/DC has proven to be a great example of how to write a song, not that we can compare to them in any way, but they write songs you instantly remember. And that is what we try to do.

What are you drinking when you are on stage?

(Josh) Well we have a band tradition of starting each show with a shot of Jack on stage. Other than that we’re working towards a lifelong Budweiser sponsorship. (Joe) Jack to start; always. Then usually beer. An IPA if they have one. Not that I am a beer snob. PBR tall boys are fine too.

Where would you be without music?

(Josh) Bored. In a big way. Yeah, I don’t even want to think about that. (Steve)

How long have you guys known each other?

(Steve) Josh, Ryan, and I have known each other, in some capacity for about 3 years now. Ryan and I had played together for about a year or so before we formed TLGY. Josh and I also played in a band together before forming TLGY. Joe was the final piece to the puzzle, and we really lucked out finding him.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

(Josh) A McChicken sandwich, hold the lettuce and mayo, add tomato, a bowl of Fruit Loops, and a protein shake. (Joe) Other bands.

What is the one band that you would love to play with more than any other band?

(Josh) For me it would be U2. (Steve) And for me, Jimmy Eat World.

You guys have a very distinguished image. What was the motivation for that and how did you manage to establish that so early on?

(Ryan) We have always tried to be ourselves. There are no gimmicks here. We are about playing rock music, plain and simple. That is how we look. If you run into outside of a show, we will probably look the same.

I always like to let the bands get the last word in. Go.

Stay in touch. We have a lot in the works right now and expect 2009 to be a very productive year. So hop on over to the MySpace and add us as a friend. Keep an eye out for shows that we have coming up and come out and rock with us. Also, head over to iTunes
and download the record.