Somewhere in the backwoods of Appalachian Ohio lives an unorthodox-yet-affable sapient creature knit together of volatile melodies, visceral power-pop energy, and scathing intellectual prowess — and its name is Cutler Station. Named aptly after the closest thing to a convenience store that one would find near the band’s hometown of Vincent, OH, the rock ‘n’ roll four-piece simmers with a controlled nervous energy that translates into music that smolders with the corporeal melodic intensity of Dayton’s Guided By Voices paired with the brainy oddness of Devo, all dressed in a smattering of ultra-aware country-western, ala Tyler Childers. Made up of Steve Lipscomb (keys, guitar, vocals), Jason Swiger (drums), John Evans (bass, vocals), and Kirby Evans (keys, guitar, vocals) the band has known each other for decades and formed their current lineup in 2011.
Cutler Station’s forthcoming LP is entitled Meat, No Sides (out July 31), referencing the band’s embodiment of the quintessential “meat, no sides” variety of rock ‘n’ roll – all porterhouse and no gristle; all sustenance and no fluff.
Today, Culter Station has shared the video to their single “Cellophane & Plastic.”
We also had the pleasure to catch up with the band to ask a few questions.
How did the band get together?
The band has a long history of playing together in various forms. John Evans(bass and vocals), Kirby Evans(guitar, keys, vocals), Jason Swiger(drums), and Steve Lipscomb(guitar, keys, vocals) all attended high school together and formed various bands that would eventually lead us to the current sound and lineup. The current Iteration of Cutler Station sprouted in December of 2017. Following the release of the first full length, “Happy Campers”, we really started to develop our sound as we played more shows together (something not done for some time due to the expansion of everyone’s families). A number of songs were brewing within the band but had yet to be developed into what would become the self-titled album. Love and friendship bond the band in a shared common theme: “Making music together is awesome”. With 11 kids between all of us, the band is just an extension of our personal and communal lives.
The video made me begin to reminisce about being in high school and the countless activities that took place. How did this idea of incorporating a yearbook feel?
So as we started to plan for an album release, it was evident that a global pandemic was going to try and spoil our plans. Fear not. John is a bit of a collector(some would call it hoarding) and he dug out a number of old VHS tapes and began to review them for any content that could be used for a potential Cutler Station video. This video was spliced together using various clips found from the Warren High School News channel that John was an anchor on in the years 2000 and 2001. Some would call it news, but it was mostly just a way to goof off in front of the entire school and to promote our band. The idea was to make it feel like another episode of the WHS news set to the song.
With the single, I hear some surf rock/folk influence. What has been some of the influences that are ingrained within the band?
We draw from a number of plots on the musical spectrum. Some of us grew up listening to 90’s Weezer, Nirvana, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd and bands like Ozma, Nada Surf, and Superdrag. While others grew up listening to 90’s country, Metallica, and Yes. We also draw a lot of our influences from bands like Monsters of Folk, My Morning Jacket, DEVO, and Bright Eyes. But, more importantly though, we just try to stay true to ourselves. I don’t think we ever set out to “write a song like this band or that group”. It usually goes something like this: “Check out this cool melody I have and here are a couple chord progressions and here are some lyrics I came up with. How can we form this into a Cutler Station song?”.
What’s the meaning behind the new album title?
We think Meat, No Sides is more of a state of mind than it is a statement. “What’s the best thing we can do right now, at this moment”. But it really started with the meals we would consume as a band family. We’d show up to Steve’s, with our families for a cookout, and it would be two different kinds of chicken, a brisket, a smoked pork butt, and a side of ribs and we’d all just start cracking up laughing. So, it just kind of became this running joke of “Meat, No Sides”. We started to fold that into our ideals regarding the band as well. Asking ourselves “Is that the best setlist we can play? Is that really the best we can do?”. It’s a lot better title than ‘Guttin’ Deer’, which we often say to each other as we are getting ready to take the stage. Who knows what the fuck that means. Just get in there and start “Guttin’ Deer”. It makes me really sad to type that because we haven’t gotten to say it to each other as we are setting up on stage.
Going into recording, what were some of the objectives that the band wanted to reach for the album?
Early on in the writing process, but mostly in the daily discussions between Steve and John(they have a scheduled 3 PM phone meeting everyday, where Steve calls John on his way home from work and they over analyze everything from band related activities, politics, and their kids youth sports) would discuss what it would sound like to make an indie rock country album. Ultimately, we just wanted to make a better album than the previous one. From song writing and structure, lyrics and vocals, recording, mixing and mastering, to capturing the best sounds we could, we just wanted to out-duel ourselves.
What are some of the upcoming plans for the band?
So we had anticipated Meat, No Sides would hopefully open up some various avenues for us, including getting into some new spots to play, but that looks like a bust for 2020. So the goal is to just keep practicing, writing, and recording during our standing weekly sessions. There isn’t much to look forward to on the show side of things, so we just control what we can, head down, grinding it out. We really just love making music together, so as long as we can keep doing that, it’s a win and a sweet release. We have a few songs we have been recording in hopes of releasing an EP in the fall and we have already started writing and recording for the full length follow up to Meat, No Sides.