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If Kinch doesn't become the next Phoenix band to earn national acclaim, it won't be for lack of effort. The guys have been spending plenty of time on the road recently, and drummer Jake Malone confirms that the band members have essentially committed themselves to music full time.
"I quit my job a year and half ago because they were not cool with me taking time off to tour," Malone says. "[Keyboardist/vocalist] Andrew [Junker] also recently left his job, and [bassist] Wayne [Jones]'s job primarily was going to school at ASU, which he just graduated from. So we're all pretty unattached right now — but when we are in town, we do freelance work and odd jobs to keep us afloat."
The near-constant touring means the band plays fewer Valley shows these days, but Malone says it ultimately makes the band tighter.
"I'm not sure exactly how many shows we've played out of town, but we're all okay with being on the road for half the year or more," Malone says. "There's no better practice than playing almost every night for a month, and it makes it that much more fun to play here in Phoenix to familiar audiences when we get home. We've been very fortunate to be on some really good tours with bands we're fans of, and hopefully that will continue."
The idea of touring the country in a rock band holds an enduring romantic appeal, especially to music fans who've never actually done it. In reality, life on the road is typically mundane, with hour upon hour of driving punctuated by the occasional touring van breakdown. Every now and then, however, something will break the monotony.
"We saw a heroin junkie go into a Starbucks bathroom in New York City at 6 a.m. to shoot up," Malone says when asked to share some crazy stories from the road. "That was weird, but also just annoying, since we all had to go to the bathroom and that guy took forever. Another time, a fistfight broke out in front of our van — none of us were involved — and we had to clean blood off the hood. We played with a pirate band — which is exactly what it sounds like — at a skate park, and a few months back, we played a block away from the Jonas Brothers' movie première in Hollywood. I've never seen so many riotous teenage girls in my life — not even at a Kinch show, if you can believe it."
When they're not on the road, Kinch stay busy in the recording studio. The band's first album, Advances, came out in 2008 and was named "Best Local Album" by New Times music editor Martin Cizmar. Since then, the band has released a pair of EPs and Ziptape: Volume One, a compilation of remixes, rarities and live and acoustic performances.
Up next on Kinch's radar is recording 10 "personalized" songs that fans paid $100 apiece for. Fans who bought songs provided a topic and some background information, and the band is currently in the process of recording them. The band can complete such a song in just a couple hours, Malone says. Surprisingly, there weren't many bizarre requests, save for one that came in too late.
"For the six we've recorded so far, it hasn't been too difficult," Malone says. "Andrew certainly has a way with words. He's been able to write a really fitting song for each topic just based on the few details that each person provides. We stressed that we'd write the song about whatever you want, so we didn't turn any down. Most have been about an individual, a birthday, a wedding, and other sentimental subjects. My brother-in law-was going to purchase a song about the show Breaking Bad, but we had already sold out. That would've been interesting."