With Green Line Operator, Everything Comes in Threes

Green Line Operator knows how to leave an impression in a crowded scene and with a very distractable music editor: Easily digested, arbitrary show ideas. The THR33 Show is, as its flier helpfully points out, three bands with three-word names playing three sets of three songs for $3 at, and this one just might be overkill, 7:33 p.m. (In addition to Green Light Operator, you've got Darkness Dear Boy and Watch for Rocks.)

Green Line Operator, the ringleaders, play a kind of unmediated guitar pop that might have gotten them signed 20 years ago in the same batch of post-Green Day major-label acquisitions as Superdrag and the Smoking Popes.

The THR33 Show is tonight at the Trunk Space. We talked to singer/guitarist Desert Muserelli about getting your (three-word) name out there, how they came by their early-Warped Tour influences, and what we can expect, numerology aside, at tonight's show.

Up on the Sun: You described your music to me, in part, with a Tony Hawk Pro Skater analogy. What led you toward those turn-of-the-millennium pop-punk influences?

In the early 2000s, we were bored teenagers, disinterested in radio pop. Pop-punk fell through the cracks via things like the early Tony Hawk soundtracks, and all three members of Green Line Operator have a soft spot for those kind of tunes.

We like to say that we're a blend of '90s alternative and early Tony Hawk video game soundtracks. The former describes our music better, but the latter describes our attitudes a lot. We like to have a very punk-ish DIY mentality, but we like to emphasize the things we loved as kids, [so] video games with punk music in them makes for a concise analogy. All of our guitar straps are hand-drawn and feature things like The Iron Giant and Catdog. We've handed out a few more blank guitar straps to friends and artists so we can wear their art at shows.

There are a lot of hooks in Sixteen Ounce World, and a lot of familiar reference points, but it seems there's something melancholy animating a lot of it. What's behind that?

Most of the songs on the record were written over a period of three years in which I faced a lot of change and challenge. I moved twice, dealt with dishonest roommates and friends, had our house broken into, piled on work stress . . . There was a lot of good in those three years as well, a lot of lifts with the drops, and it was a basis for the record's title.

The title of the album is actually a Mitch Hedberg quote, where he talks about putting a frog in a 16-ounce jar. I drank a lot of energy drinks, and quite a few pints of beer in that time, to get through it all, both of which are 16 ounces. Plus, there's the lyric in "4,3,2,1" that goes, "Plastic Cups aren't deep enough to drown the music out." Standard plastic cups are also 16 ounces.

I think that the melancholy comes from that bounce between pints and Monsters. It left me kind of feeling like a frog in a jar.

I can't lie -- part of the reason your band caught my eye was the weird gimmick in your show tonight, all those arbitrary threes. 1) Is that something you did intentionally? and 2) do you think it's important for small bands to think about -- if not marketing, just the way they separate their show from everybody else's show?

The THR33 Show's main intent was its round-robin style setup. All three bands will set up at once. One band plays three songs, then the next plays three, then the next, etc . . . We'll go through the rotation three times, so nine songs per band. From there, it was really fun to see how many threes we could load this show with; I really like trying to think outside the box while inside the box.

We have to thank The Trunk Space big time, for giving us the third Thursday and letting us lower the door price to $3. JRC also came up with the show name. Then we got three bands with three-word band names and have been running with it since. We're to the point where we'll be doing three-related trivia during the show, handing out 3 Musketeers bars and third-place ribbons as prizes.

I think it's important for small bands to have that marketing mindset, but confidence and creativity are a big factor. You can post 1,000 flyers and still put on a boring show. Bands like the Aquabats, Peachcake, even Playboy Manbaby are some of my favorites because of how creative they can be with their shows.

It's tough to do something both original and approachable, plus it's a scary trying to step out of the box. We're always trying to find ways to separate our live show from everyone else, but we also like working with everyone else. The cool thing about this show is that it'll be three bands working together to create a unique show.

Can you tell me a little something about your fellow THR33 Show bands?

Finding bands for this show was really tough, since they had to have three-word band names and be solid enough to co-headline. That said, I couldn't be more thrilled with the bands who stepped up. I had heard the name Watch for Rocks a time or two on the Internet, so I went to check them out. Their music is a really great style of indie. They're female-fronted and very keyboard driven, and I was ecstatic when they agreed to play. Not to mention, the show falls on their bassist Danny Foley's 30th birthday.

Darkness Dear Boy is the other co-headliner, and I was once again psyched when they agreed to play. I saw them at Long Wong's a while back. Their music is a kind of dynamic romp with bits of rock, reggae, honky-tonk and punk. It's very solid stuff and they're really pleasant guys as well.

The THR33 Show is scheduled for Thursday, June 20, at Trunk Space.

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