Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam on Twitter, Meat Loaf, and Musicians Becoming Mythical Creatures
Smallz & Raskind
Move over, Tiger. No matter what ancient Chinese wisemen say, 2010 is the year of the Fox. Or at least Fozy Shazam. The theatrical rockers have definitely made a name for themselves in 2010. The band just began their highly-anticipated tour and has us excited for what they'll bring to the table when they come to Phoenix.
Foxy Shazam will be tearin' it up at the Rhythm Room tonight with Free Energy and Hollerado. We can't wait to see what they'll do this time. Will lead singer Eric Nally eat cigarettes on stage? Will he sing while hanging upside down?
Up On The Sun spoke with Nally about an alternative onstage personality and judging artwork.
Up On The Sun: Your live performances are spectacular. They really leave people with a lasting impression that has them talking about the show for days afterwards. But the band is practically a different group of people when they're onstage versus offstage. If you guys are so chill offstage, what's in you that comes out onstage that makes for such a wild performance? It's like unleashing a beast.
Eric Nally: You know, I don't really know what it is inside me that changes. I think it's really interesting. I haven't really been able to figure it out myself over the years. I feel like when I'm on stage I'm an entertainer, and when I'm offstage I'm a spectator. I just watch and observe things. I'm really quiet. I think maybe it's just everything that I've observed is coming out. That's kind of what an entertainer should be like when it's his time to entertain. He takes everything that he's learned [while] sitting back and observing and just puts it all out there. That's the best reason I can come up with myself.
UOTS: In September, Foxy Shazam held a Photoshop contest in which fans could redesign the album cover. You also recently launched a contest for fans called the Cover Yourself Foxy contest. What's that all about? What does the winner get?
EN: I kind of wanted to keep things going online and give all our fans a fun little thing. Before we did that contest with the cover songs, there were a few little [videos] here and there that fans put on YouTube that were interesting covers of our songs. I always enjoyed watching them, so I thought it'd be cool to encourage it and tell kids to do that so I could watch more. Really the only thing that they win is...we [pick a winner] randomly. We don't really judge because I don't want to ever judge somebody's art or somebody's efforts to make a song cool. So we just pick a handful [of winners] and send them a really nice message saying how much we enjoy it. There aren't really any prizes. It's just to interact with fans.
UOTS: You also made a tour announcement video in which you said you want to remain a mysterious character, and that you don't really like much online engagement with fans; you prefer it in person. Why is that?
EN: Well, I think that nowadays with Twitter and Facebook and all these online things, all these people...I feel like back in the day, the musician was something like a really mysterious person, and that's what made them so...Fans would treat them like something that didn't exist and wasn't real. I think that's what made music and going to shows magical. Everybody would gather backstage to catch a glimpse of this mythical creature as it walked from backstage into the bus or something.
You don't really see that too much anymore because they're just so present. You know what they're doing at all times because they're [tweeting] about it. They're [tweeting] about what they had for lunch and what they do in their day. I think that's just unnecessary. I think in order to be a magical figure, you should remain mysterious and don't let anybody know about what you do and who you are. Just live the myth and not really live like a real person, as far as they're concerned. But little do they know, you're just a normal person.
UOTS: Since 2008, you guys have been pretty damn productive. You've toured with The Strokes, The Young Veins, and Bad Rabbits. Plus, you contributed to the songwriting process for Meat Loaf's album Hang Cool Teddy Bear. What was your involvement in that?
EN: It's funny you mentioned that because on my way to practice...There's this oldies station that I listen to all the time in Cincinnati. My mom has listened to it every since I was a little kid. I heard Meat Loaf on the oldies station, and it was weird for me because I never really thought about him as being an "oldie," I guess. It was funny to hear that.
But anyway, I wrote two songs on his new album. I co-wrote them with Justin Hawkins from The Darkness, who is one of my best friends in the world. It was a really good experience. They asked me to come out and do it because they thought I'd be good for it. I hung out with Meat and with Rob Cavallo, the producer, and we wrote two songs, and it was awesome. It's a good notch to have on my belt because for being so young, not a lot of people get to experience something like that.
UOTS: You hate being compared to Freddie Mercury. Wouldn't that be an honor for most people? How come you feel that way?
EN: I am honored in a way. When people say that, I get it. He was a great singer and a great front man, and that means a lot. I guess a lot of times people say it because I'm a good singer and I have a mustache. Other than that, I don't see too much of a resemblance. I've listened to our record, and I have in my head, "Why do people say Queen when they hear this? What reminds them [of Queen]?" There are a few things. Our music's theatrical and Queen was theatrical. But for the most part, we're a completely different band and we really pride ourselves in being unique and doing things that are different. [We're] trying to write our own history and not follow someone else's.
But comparison is going to happen. That's just how people look at music, and that's how everybody figures out if they like something or not, because it reminds them of something else. In a way it's fine with me, and in a way, every musician hates to be compared to something. It's going to happen no matter what. I'm doesn't upset me. I'm just kind of in the middle about it. I'm not really flattered by it because I want to be unique, but it's also really nice because at least I'm not being compared to some crap singer.
UOTS: You guys have a tour through the UK coming up in November. What else is next for you guys after that? When will you be going back into the studio?
EN: We always demo songs. Writing songs is like a habit for us. It just happens...like smoking a cigarette: it's an addiction. We can't really stop. Literally every day we come up with a new idea. When we go on tour, we record demos nonstop. This whole tour we'll be doing that. We already have enough material to make the next record. I like to spend a lot of time on ideas and evolve as a band a little more so we can write some different songs from the last record. We'll be pumping out albums as much as we can.
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