5 Questions with Greg McGowan of Time and Distance
WANT TO GO?
Time and Distance, Blue Ring and The Red Lights
WHEN: 10 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St.
INFO: 304-345-3914 or www.facebook.com/timeanddistance
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After his band's three-week Southeast tour in March, which included a show at South by Southwest, Time and Distance singer/guitarist Greg McGowan has been enjoying some downtime. On Saturday, he's back onstage in an Empty Glass show with Blue Ring and The Red Lights.
In advance of the gig, he talked to gazz about what it's been like fronting the Charleston pop punk band since its inception more than a decade ago.
Q: How did the tour go?
A: "It was really great; we had great weather and mostly great shows. We met some awesome people, ate some really great food and made a bunch of friends.
"We finished off with a super fun show in St. Louis that was one of our favorite shows we've played in a really long time. Then we got home and ended up playing an all-ages show at the old putt-putt building in South Charleston, which was totally awesome and a great way to end the tour properly."
Q: You grew up when the local young music scene was thriving. What are some of your favorite memories of local shows?
A: "I remember the first local show I ever went to in Charleston was a battle of the bands at Common Grounds. I'm pretty sure 69 Fingers played; I know Shindig and a couple of the other mythical bands of the 'old days of Charleston' did.
"I thought it was so cool that there was somebody from my town who was willing to open up this dirty old building to give all these bands a place to play and even cooler that kids came out to watch. It really just reaffirmed my already existing thoughts that that was what I wanted to be doing.
"To me at 13, if I could play Common Grounds to 100 kids on a Friday night, that was the biggest thing that could possibly ever happen to me. If you'd told 13-year-old me that by the time I was 23, I would have been signed to and split from a record company, played shows with my most of my idols and gotten to see the entire country with my friends, I would not have believed you for a second."
Q: So many bands fold after just a few years. How have you kept Time and Distance going over the years?
A: "It's so hard sometimes. I think I'm just too crazy to quit trying.
"Everybody involved understands that T&D is my baby; I've been doing it for 10 years. But I would not call it MY band. It's all of ours, even if I may be the one who writes a lot of the material or sends the emails or whatever. I think we have a good understanding of how things work well for us, and we kind of just try to stay in that mentality."
Q: What is music about for you after all these years?
A: "I long ago gave up any 'rockstar' aspirations in favor of just being stoked that I'm one of a small number of people who are fortunate enough to be able to do what I do. I may never make a million dollars or even be able to pay my bills every month on time, but when I'm 70, I'm gonna have so many cooler stories than anyone else."
Q: After 10 years, is it still as fun as it was in the early days?
A: "I still love it just as much, if not more, than I ever have. In the years I've been doing this band, and all the years before that, music is the one relationship I can always come back to no matter how bad I might mess everything up or how many times I fall on my face in the process of trying.
"I love creating music; I love the process of hearing a song come together from an idea in your head to a finished recording that people react to. I love when someone comes up to me and tells me a song I had a part in creating touched them or helped them in a positive way.
"Music to me is about moving people, not dollars and units."
Reach Nick Harrah at email@example.com.