Bands on Bands: One Hundred Percent on Led Zeppelin, Cursive and Van Halen
One Hundred Percent has always been a loud-as-Hell rock band. Graduating from Bay Area acts like The Creeps and Switchblade Riot, it’s no surprise that the three members of San Francisco’s latest buzz-worthy band will bring the noise. Yet, just being loud is only half the story. What they don’t tell you is just how solid One Hundred Percent is at the heavy, guitar driven, and intensely layered indie rock which they do in fact bring. In one motion, One Hundred Percent can bring up a soaring and hazily sky written shoegaze melody that seamlessly morphs into a searing blitz attack of post-punk percussion, and finally clocks in with a devastating Sonic Youth-esqe freakout. Since early 2012, the band has been not so quietly perfecting their evocative concoction in and around the city.
San Francisco’s One Hundred Percent name Wipers, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, and Jawbox, among many others, as major influences on their debut full-length, All Teeth and Nails. Some great influences, no doubt, and ones that definitely came across on their LP, which dropped in November, on 20 Sided Records (Ash Reiter, Trainwreck Riders).
But there are other influences. And the boys weren’t shy about sharing them with Ghettoblaster. This is what they told us about Led Zeppelin, Cursive and Van Halen.
What is your favorite album?
Jay Fruy: Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti.
Ryan Christo: If someone can tell you what their absolute favorite album is, they’re probably lying. That question is WAY too hard to answer for any music lover! I can’t say what my favorite album is, but one of my favorite albums in my life would be Cursive’s Domestica. And now I’m listening to it again…
Matt Habegger: It’s so hard to pick ONLY one! Since my top favorites changes constantly, I’m going to go with “highly influential”, which for me has to be Van Halen by Van Halen. I can’t actually remember when the last time was that I listened to it, but when I was maybe 13 or 14 it was responsible for getting me excited about learning to play the guitar. So, without it, I probably wouldn’t be here now answering this question! Fortunately I am old enough now to not care that much about how lame it is to admit to having liked Van Halen. Although to be fair they used to be a lot cooler.
Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?
Jay: I remember being 16 and driving around in my parents’ Chrysler Voyager mini van blasting “Kashmir” on a bootleg cassette, memorizing the count on the kick drum and having my mind blown Bonzo’s impossibly fast drum fill at the end of the song
Ryan: I remember downloading Domestica over either Napster or Limewire in 2002 (I bought it later!). I had recently heard the Burst and Bloom EP and wanted to find more for a trip to Japan I was about to take. I ended up taking Domestica, Mates of State’s My Solo Project and Our Constant Concern, and I think Black Keys’ The Big Come Up. I mostly ended up listening to Domestica on repeat for a month, wandering around Tokyo without knowing any Japanese.
Matt: I had a cool rocker-dad type guitar teacher who I am pretty sure is the one who put me on to them. I was really into it and tried to learn some of the songs but for obvious talent-related reasons, they were too hard. Fortunately this was in the ‘90s and Nevermind and Dookie came around and gave me something a little easier to tackle.
What is your favorite song on the album?
Jay: “Tens Years Gone” always has a way of taking me to another time and place.
Ryan: I don’t think I can pick a favorite on that album. It’s a concept album, and I can’t imagine one song being better than another when really the album as a whole is what makes it so good.
Matt: “I’m the One.”
What resonates with you?
Jay: The song was written about a girl who made Robert Plant choose between her and his music, and he chose the music.
Ryan: I think the way the band was able to balance the storytelling with the music. You can have a great story with great lyrics and singing, but if the music sucks, everything sucks. They really nailed each side of it.
Matt: Listening to it now I realize it has so many of the guitar sounds I still love, like harmonics, dive bombs, and all that. Plus it’s really fast which helped bridge the gap to punk, hardcore, and later metal which I got really into when I got to high school.
Have you ever covered a song from the album?
Jay: “Houses Of Holy” countless times on my dashboard in my car.
Ryan: Nope, and don’t plan on it. I’ll leave it to Cursive to play Cursive songs.
Matt: No, I am not nearly good enough at playing that style of guitar, which is actually funny considering how it got me into playing in the first place.
What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?
Jay: It’s the pinnacle of their work, created in that sweet spot of when the band was completely musically mature but still had their swagger.
Ryan: It’s not my favorite album from the band, but the point in my life when I found it definitely solidified it as one of my favorites. Favorite Cursive album distinction goes to Ugly Organ.
Matt: It’s their first so they were free to just have a great time with it. Also it was released at the tail end of the ‘70s which means it still has a classic hard-rock sound, instead of that horrible ‘80s sheen that basically ruined an entire decade of music for me.
Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone? What were the circumstances?
Jay: Yes. It was my go-to gateway album for anyone who isn’t into Zeppelin. I most recently gave it to one of my best friends.
Ryan: Um, probably? Most likely I said “this album is amazing, so listen to it or I will stab you.”
Matt: Ha, ha. No. But I did almost get dumped one time by a girl when she found out I liked them. I learned a lot from that.
Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?
Jay: All Teeth and Nails. We wrote and recorded the album over a two year period. It was tons of fun watching the songs continue to grow and evolve in the period between when they were written, then recorded, and they still continue to evolve afterwards. Some of the songs we had been playing out for almost a year before we recorded them, and a few were being written up until the moment we put them on tape (so to speak). It was an amazing experience taking a complete DIY approach, which was such a formative part of the creative process for the band.
Ryan: That’s easy. We only have one record, and if you haven’t heard it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?
Matt: We’ve only done All Teeth and Nails so far, though by a narrow margin it’s still my favorite when stacking it up against other bands I’ve been in. It’s the first record I’ve done as a vocalist, so I have a lot more invested in what we’re expressing with these songs. More risk, more reward!
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
Jay: It’s so tough to choose, but I think I would have to go with “Freak Crime”. I think it is one of our most complex tracks, not only in the ups and downs in the way the song is written and performed, but also in the way we recorded it. I had a ton of fun layering on additional drum tracks at the right parts, creating a unique sound from anything else in our collection.
Ryan: That’s like asking me to pick one of my favorite children. No comment.
Matt: “Little Deaths”. We recorded the jam at the end of a grueling day of recording and getting to play that part felt like a reward for the rest of the hard work. Just blasting it out at maximum volume was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had making music.
(Catch the band live here:
April 1, 2014
UME, One Hundred Percent
8pm, $10-12 (all ages)
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