Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Borrow Tomorrow

The band that I am hanging out with today is a special treat for us here at I got the chance to watch these guys practice backstage at the Verizon Wireless Music Center with no one but their number one fan and myself. Playing originals and covers alike, these guys have a chemistry that is rare among bands that have crossed my path. Joking between songs while still having their game face on, these guys know how to produce an industry quality sound that you can see at a high school prom or a Friday night frat party. Having shared the judge’s table with the drummer, Andrew Newport, at the Ambassador of Rock battle of the bands just this past month, he has since led me into their music and I am shocked that I have not heard of them before. Hang out with me, as I am happy to introduce Borrow Tomorrow.

Where did you guys all meet?

(Andrew) Robert is my brother. We met via the womb. We are two years apart.

(Robert) Chris and I had a band in high school and we played football together, actually three of us did, and we all went our separate ways for college. About a half year after college I was talking to Andrew about getting the band back together, and we didn’t know it was going to work out and ended up backing out. Ran into Chris and things clicked pretty soon. I met Randall through a mutual friend.

(Randall) Everybody is always looking for a bass player. And the rest is history.

Are you guys all from the Indianapolis area?

(Andrew) Yeah, mostly. Chris is close to Chicago, but all the roots are here.

Who is the ringleader of the group?

(Andrew) Oh geez, that’s a good question. I am pretty much the slave driver. I call the band meetings. I keep their heads on straight. I just like to have a good time and it’s like, “Band meeting; twenty seconds.” In terms of behind the scenes, and what’s going on, it just depends. Randall has a knack for a vibe. I have a really good knack for what we need to do. Randall thinks it needs a vibe; a finesse. The other guys are the art, and we are more the business. When we get on stage, it is Chris commanding the stage. Off stage, everyone pulls his own weight.

(Randall) I look forward to the end of the night. Andrew and I are loading the truck. And the other two guys get invited back to the frat house for cheese throwing. But of course, it was girls inviting us to the cheese throwing.

Who writes all the lyrics?

(Chris) I do.

(Andrew) None of us have anything interesting to write about.

(Randall) He always has this little grey book that he is clutching. I don’t what happens, but a lot of good shit comes from there.

(Andrew) I think it’s really easy to be in a band. But when you sit down and listen, and read some of his stuff, it is an open portal. They are about things that are going on, or have been going on, that tell an interesting story. It is something that everyone can relate to. If you go back through the history books, and put the Presidents up against the Counting Crows, you can see who has been around longer.

Where do you get inspiration for a new track?

(Chris) I am naturally an introvert, so I draw inspiration from everyday experience. Relationships from people and nine out of ten things I write are honest and autobiographical.

(Randall) Explain the tenth.

(Chris) Usually it is drawn from personal experiences, heartbreak, tragedy, pain, and joy.

So how do you guys get the opportunity to practice out at Verizon Wireless Music Center?

(Andrew) It is a gift. It is my place of employment. Over the winter a couple of years ago, long before I was in a band, I had a set of drums. I had not played in a band in a few years. I talked to my boss and he said I could set up out here. I set them up in the dressing room. They wanted to have someone to keep an eye on the building and it was a perfect fit.

(Chris) It is a blessing. We do not forget for a second how lucky we are to have the space.

(Andrew) We can lock ourselves in and don’t have to worry about anything. It is a big motivational tool for me. Any time we get bored or stuck, we walk out on stage and remind ourselves how cool that would be. Not so much for us that we get to stand up and be “famous” but to be able to stand up and be able to relate to that many people is much more of a goal. We all make music because we want to connect to people.

(Robert) Petty, Santana, Aerosmith, and all the guys that we idolize have images plastered all over the place. They are around every corner. It is motivation, that’s for sure.

Is that your logo on your drum kit there Andrew?

(Andrew) Not really. It is a logo on it’s way out. It is phasing out. I first saw it on the side of a dumpster. It was originally just some graffiti. We took a picture of it and turned it to Randall to produce a symbol. It became our mascot. Then we realized that our lyrics were more serious than quirky and funny as the logo so speaks. The idea is that we are trying to get away from it.

What is the largest crowd that you have ever played for?

(Andrew) We did the Chicago House of Blues for about 450. We did the Music Mill a couple of times for over 200. We did a Birdy’s show around Christmas and packed that. We are playing Rib Fest this year. I would say between 450-500.

(Robert) Andrew and I played for 4,000 at a high school pep session. Andrew wrote a blues rap that talked about all the guys on the team.

(Andrew) Dude, that wasn’t this band. It takes a long time to get to this point. When you first start playing and you see your friends. That is the biggest compliment to give up a Friday to come see you. Then when your friends start bringing friends and their friends start bringing friends, we start to feel good about that. They are telling others to come see it.

(Robert) When your friend’s friends offer their barn, an RV, and their horses to party with then you know you have made it.

The smallest?

(Andrew) That’s a no brainer. I even hate to tell this story. We were on this big booking streak back in December. We were picking up shows all over the place. We booked a show on February 2nd on Cincinnati, also known as Super Bowl Sunday. We were doing a show Friday, which was our CD release party, then the Music Mill on Saturday, then to Cincinnati. But, little did I know what we were getting ourselves into. We did a little bit of advertising. We show up and there is a high school band there. They were called Super Tuesday. They bring their family, I mean, they are a high school band with ten or twelve people.

After Super Tuesday plays their hit song, Rape Rape, Ahh, and their dad finished laughing, we are hoping the late crowd start coming in. We played the show for sound guy, the light guy, and the sound guys wife. Three was the low point for Borrow Tomorrow. And the sad thing is none of them paid to get in to see the show.

If you could only drink one beer
for the rest of your life what beer would you choose?

(Chris) Upland Dragon Fly for me.

(Andrew) Heineken.

(Robert) I am on a Leinenkugel classic amber kick right now.

(Randall) Stella Artois is my choice.

Do you have any plans for a nation wide tour in the near future?

(Andrew) As soon as we get one, we are on the road. We do, and we talk a lot about it. Our strategy is to build a strong regional following. We are looking at places like Madison, Louisville, Nashville, and some other regional places. We want to hit the Midwest and get on a rotation. We do not want to burn anyone out, and it is tough to get people to see you once, let alone once a week. We want to build a fan base on this regional level. Our goals are world domination in the end.

Tell me about your fanny pack Andrew.

(Andrew) Let me go get it. I was at an Eric Clapton show in 2004, at Conseco Fieldhouse. After the show that absolutely blew my mind, I had to get some merchandise. So I go buy a poster. And I see this little bag. It is about 8 inches by 4 inches tall, with some different pockets on the front. At the time, I had just graduated college. I was traveling for work, and I could use it when traveling. I buy it, and it was like $35. I got an Eric Clapton toiletry bag. I take the wrapper off, and it was a fanny pack. It was the biggest fanny pack I have ever seen, too. You could easily put watermelon in it.

(Randall) It might be a goal to get those to the merchandise table.

(Andrew) So I am walking in the parking lot and I can hear people laughing at me. I don’t know why that ever seemed like a good idea.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

(Andrew) Stone Temple Pilots, 2000, here at Verizon Wireless. Hands down. The house lights go down and they come out. They just busted out and during their intro chords, its just strobe lights. Then, everything goes black.

(Robert) In 2003, I think, second season I worked security, they had me at the barricade for the Who. I caught a few glances even though I wasn’t supposed to be looking at the stage.

(Chris) I think I want to go with the first time I saw Ben Folds in 2002. I might come up with something better, but I had just graduated high school and I was in route to New York City through Chicago. It was his solo piano tour.

(Randall) The Stray Cats. When was that show? It was last year. To be that close to them was absolutely incredible. And to see a guy play with so much emotion with nothing more than his blonde fender, and reverb unit, was absolutely amazing.

If you were given a chance to sign a record deal for $250,000 but it was a rap album and it was someone else’s lyrics, would you do it?

(Andrew) No.

(Robert) Yes. Wait, I kid, I kid.

(Randall) Where do I sign?

(Andrew) As a band, we have distribution. We have a product. The only thing we lack is promotion and an ability to reach the masses. It’s easy to make music. A lot of people can make music. There are a lot of bands out there that are musically incredibly talented. But no one will ever hear of them. They do not know how to market themselves. Where as the record deal used to be your ultimate goal, the record label’s model is broke. The goal is connect to people. Everything else will fall in its place. Some bands give their music away. Is that the right way? I don’t know. But it gives a certain perception about your band.

If you could tour with anyone in the industry today, who would it be?

(Andrew) Wilco would be great. Do we want to shoot bigger? I would have to say Dave Mathews or Coldplay because the demographic is right. We would play super cheap so we become a more attractive option.

(Randall) You have to be different so you don’t upstage them.

(Andrew) I have no problem walking off stage every night and pissing on Chris Martin’s shoes.

This one is for the number one fan. What keeps you coming back show after show?

(Ryan) I just believe in these guys. I was there when they were having the band-naming meeting. I have seen them grow from nothing. They pulled themselves from nothing and I have seen them create something. I truly admire that they have created something original. That is it. Its fresh, original, and I saw it from the beginning. I was one of the originators.

What are your thoughts on MySpace?

(Andrew) It is dying. MySpace is still a viable social networking site, and will be for quite a while, but I think that people that think they are going to launch their band from fans don’t realize that you have to work harder than that. People get bored with it. Who knows, I might be wrong, but I think that it is transparent. They know the difference from when you get a message from a friend or you get a message from a salesman.

(Randall) The fact that you put in Borrow Tomorrow into Google and it is your number one link says something. But you have to maintain it. It is a single click from getting Borrow Tomorrow to your ears.

(Andrew) It is a tool and it is only great to the extent to create interest in it.

Can I follow you on Twitter?

(Andrew) Of course, we just added it last week.

Does your bass player have the swine flu or do you just make him practice too much?

(Andrew) We just make him practice too much.

(Randall) I just have the creeping crud that is going around.

(Andrew) When this band takes off and gets some success, no one will deserve it more than Randall. I feel comfortable in saying that. To know what he has done in the past couple years is pretty incredible. We care about music, but if you want to know someone that knows life, talk to Randall. He can tell you all about it. The ups and downs and he knows all about it. He will never sit there and tell you that things are bad. He will never tell that things are tough. You can barely tell it by even hanging out with him. If anyone deserves a thing in life its that guy.

Do you have any pre show rituals?

(Andrew) I try to warm up. I try to engage. Robert is usually, “Guys, this is what we are going to do.” And it never happens. No matter how hard we plan it never happens. Chris is usually a little bit nervous about something. I try to keep an eye on Chris to make sure his blood pressure doesn’t get too high. Randall is usually chilling and getting a little time in with the wife. I just want to warm up and make sure I know what we want to do. You are who you are, and there is no more honesty. We leave everything on the stage and we are not going to stand up here and pretend to be someone else.

(Randall) She thinks I am a jerk before shows. I just want to listen to music and I don’t want to talk.

(Chris) I freak out. Then a little band huddle and we are on.

(Robert) We have a package of gummy worms. It is a tradition before a show. I compare it to a wrestling match or a football game. You don’t want to do anything at all but be prepared for the show. I just need to have my moment and forget about the outside world. Focus on the show and what I need to do. After the show is the time I like to talk to everyone, hang out, socialize, and thank everyone for coming.

Where can I get a copy of your EP The One That Stays?

(Andrew) Anyone that you buy fine m
usic. iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby,, Amystreet, Rhapsody, Napster.

(Robert) Out of the trunk of our car after the show.

(Andrew) Our first royalty check was $0.03. What a better way to remember your roots.

What are your thoughts on the Jonas Brothers?

(Randall) They nail their stuff and they have a wonderful stage presence. Of course it is easy to scoff that rose to fame through the Disney channel. They are younger but they are making millions.

(Andrew) Those kids can retire in the next two years.

(Robert) I don’t know what they know about pain but like Chris said earlier, tragedy, suffering, I mean, I don’t know.

(Andrew) What they are singing about and whom they are singing to it is the right time. Everyone has his or her likes and dislikes. Anyone that can strap on a guitar and do it as a job, and you have to have a respect for that. I respect what they are doing. I would not be surprised if one, if not two or three of them, do something musically when this is all over. I was not playing guitar when I was that young. They are living their dream. The one that we all wish we were. Except they still live with their parents.

Let’s say you are about to headline at Verizon Wireless Music Center. Who would be your opener?

(Andrew) That is a good question. Coldplay or Dave Mathews. (Laughs)

(Randall) I would like to be in the opener position before I have to think of someone to open for me. I would have a list a mile long that it would not be.

(Andrew) I think Carrie Underwood. (Laughs)

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

(Andrew) Hopefully better musicians. We want to grow as people and grow as musicians. One of my favorite lines says, “I don’t think I may have changed for the better. I don’t think I have changed much at all.” You always want to be better than the day before. But I am always thinking am I better than I was a day ago? Or am ai better than I was a year ago? Am I better husband than I was the day I got married? I hope that as a band we grow as people. I hope that we grow as band members. I hope that we grow as entertainers. I hope that every show we play is better than the one before it. I hope that every day is better than the one before it. The possibility is endless.

(Robert) I hope that we grow as a band. We are growing as a band and we are getting tighter on stage. Everything clicks at one moment. It is where you realize that everything has clicked. You just hope that you can get to the point where your whole set is like that. It is a two-hour escape for the people in the crowd. How do you get there? You are just always trying to connect. You want to transfer that from your head to your guitar. For me, as a musician, to twist emotion into a sound is something incredible and only the greatest can do it. And when all four of us can do that and form a team and create that emotion musically it will be a special thing. Hopefully in five years, if we are still together, we will be able to stretch that out for an entire show.

(Andrew) We want to be place makers in people’s lives. Where an album can make you look back on your life and remember something. Like Tom Petty and Wildflowers. There are other people that have been through this and I could think of twenty-five albums I can sit here and list, but the great bands that you can relate to more than one album. These albums remind me of happy, sad, or whatever the time may be, times. The idea is not to connect one, but to keep doing it.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

(Robert) Go ahead Andrew, you take this one.

(Andrew) I think the thing I like about this band, I know the thing I like about this band, is that you won’t meet four more honest or sincere people. Any one of these guys you can tell in seconds what is going on in his life. It really translates in what we are; who we are. The way that he has related to me, and when I hear his lyrics, he has created a time date stamp in my life. This band is so fun for me because it is so honest. I think that at the end of the day we want people to have a good time and to have had the complete experience. Their music speaks to me. It tells a story. Things that they have been through. But, at the same time, I don’t want to take it too serious. We have all been given some great gifts. We have all been put together, the four of us. As long as this is fun and as long as we can get together and laugh at each other it is a pretty damn good start.
(Robert) it is an escape. When I look around, my life sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense. I have two or three jobs right now I don’t know where my life is headed, except for this band. It is the foundation. Everyone in this room can all get together and escape together. We have the band safety net to come together and we are all there for each other. It is very comfortable. It keeps me getting up in the morning. We are creating memories together.

(Chris) What could I possibly add to that? We are all in the same frame of mind. It is a lot of fun playing in this band.

(Andrew) If you are into discovering new music, check us out. We are as honest of a band as you are going to find and at the end of the day we are nothing without our fans. If you like, come see us again. That is the most that we can ask. We will give you 100% of what you got. Listen to the EP and tell us what you think. At the end of the day we want the opportunity to entertain people and hear what we have to say. We are exactly like you, we do the same thing that you do, and we want to experience it with you.