10 Years (Unplugged)
1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This event is 21 and over
After a year and a half on the road touring 2010’s Feeding The Wolves, 10 Years reached a turning point. It was time to move forward and take full control of their career by launching their own label, Palehorse Records. In addition, the band decided to self-produce their fourth album, Minus the Machine, at drummer/guitarist Brian Vodinh’s Kashmir Recording.
Splitting up with a major label after five years was “a very scary step to take,” Hasek admits. “It’s like breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. You’re used to the motions, but when it becomes stale and unhappy, you need to move on and get energy back into your life. There was no anger on either side. We just painlessly parted ways.”
Working together as a band for the first time since writing the Gold-selling album The Autumn Effect helped 10 Years go back to their roots, without label-enforced pressure to create a radio-friendly “hit,” and free to experiment with the hard rock sounds that lie at the core of their music. “Our true fans who buy the albums, not just the singles, understand that our singles, for the most part, misrepresent the entire album,” says Hasek. “As a band, we like to explore more and go a little left of center with song structures. We wanted to create an album that has no boundaries, and where we didn’t have to make every song ‘three minutes and 30 seconds’ for a label to approve it. There’s a fine line with that, of course, and we’re very aware of it. We all grew up on rock music, and as many albums as we’ve written, the way we’ve written them, it’s ingrained in us to work within a time frame that fits radio. There are definitely songs that work well for that, but as a whole, we wanted this album to represent a journey in a sense.”
This chapter of 10 Years began in 2001, when Hasek took over as vocalist. Three years later they released their independent album, Killing All That Holds You, featuring the groundbreaking single “Wasteland,” which led to their signing with Universal Records. “That song was created in 2001 or 2002,” says Hasek. “We weren’t seeking to write a smash single. We were just writing music.” The Autumn Effect (2005) led to widespread radio and video play, a fiercely loyal fan base, and tours with heavyweights like Linkin Park, Korn and the Deftones. When their sophomore effort, Division, was released in 2008, 10 Years had cemented their place as one of hard rock’s top contenders and most sought-after live bands. Still, says Hasek, despite the success, “it all came to a head” with the band’s 3rd major label release, Feeding The Wolves. “When you feel like you’re being told to go through motions and jump through hoops, it takes the heart out of it,” he says. “We know that we need a hit and we understand that it’s important. However, as musicians, we’re not a band that says, ‘We’re going to make a hit.’ It’s better to do what comes naturally and then figure out the after-effect.”
With that in mind, 10 Years created their most powerful songs to date for Minus The Machine, with Hasek again relying on personal experiences for his lyrics. “Everyone asks about my inspiration for lyrics, and the best thing I can give them is a very generic answer: life,” he says. “Life is the experience — it’s everything you go through: the ups, the downs. I tend to gravitate more toward the therapy method. I’m not great at writing happy pop songs. So, I usually get the negative emotions out through music. As a person, I’m very happy and thankful for my life, but when it comes to lyrics, it’s therapy for me.”
One thing that won’t change is 10 Years’ connection with their fans. With the release of Minus The Machine, the band is looking forward to hitting the road, performing in close contact with their dedicated audience. “After the last touring cycle, we realized where we should strive to be, and that’s to be totally fine in the club environment,” says Hasek. “We don’t plan to chase after arena rock or amphitheaters. If things like that happen, then so be it, but we live and die by the loyalty of the club audiences. Our fans are loyal. They travel with us, and they want us to be loyal to ourselves. That’s what keeps them coming back. What we tried to do on this album is really give them what they want and what they need because they’ve been so good to us through the ups and downs of our career.”
“First and foremost, when it’s all said and done, we’re proud of this album in its entirety,” he says. “That speaks volumes to us because we’re our own worst critics. We pick everything apart. An album is your child, it’s your baby, and you know it better than anyone. To sit back and be 100 percent proud of what we’ve accomplished is so gratifying, and we think everything else will fall into place. We hope that everyone will enjoy what we’ve tried to do.”
Trapper Schoepp is a young man who’s befriended a strange and diverse cast of characters during his 25 years. That small army of rogues and rebels, drifters and dreamers, soldiers and schemers populate his songs, their tragedies and comedies, their lives and deaths recalled in his finely etched musical vignettes. The Minnesota-born, Wisconsin-based tunesmith and teller of tales (both tall and true), returns with his second effort Rangers & Valentines (Xtra Mile Recordings). The record follows his critically acclaimed 2012 debut Run Engine, Run, with his band the Shades. That LP earned notices in Rolling Stone, American Songwriter and Paste, with the folks at Huffington Post calling him a “master storyteller” and PBS hailing his "story songs that explore and explode the conventions of rock and roll." On Rangers & Valentines, Schoepp defies the limitations of the standard-issue Americana platter, hopping genres – you’ll hear lots of brass, backing singers and B-3 -- as the songs build to delirious musical highs. His narratives, meanwhile, find subjects in the narrow margins of society, the strange twists (literal and metaphorical) in the weather, and the vagaries of a troubadour’s transient life – with lyrics that flash a lacerating wit and humanist streak that’s at the core of his craft. Produced by pop polymath and Raconteurs member Brendan Benson at his Readymade Studios in Nashville, the record finds Schoepp handling vocals, guitar and harmonica. He’s aided by an array of estimable musicians including his brother and musical-foil-since-birth Tanner Schoepp (providing bass guitar and vocal harmonies), Steve Selvidge (The Hold Steady), John Davis (Superdrag), the McCrary Sisters -- even comedian and WTF podcaster Marc Maron chips in on background vocals and lead guitar. Schoepp shines up the well-worn clichés of singer-songwriterdom and renders them anew. Evoking a series of vivid protagonists and settings (fittingly, each track will have its own accompanying video, solidifying the cinematic quality of this set) his work variously recalls prime Prine (John, that is), the nuances of Newman (Randy, of course), the boozy bonhomie of The Replacements, and the unflinching language of someone well-versed in the Zevonian dialect. Schoepp mixes fact and family lore to conjure the hardscrabble history “Ballad of Olof Johnson” and chides modern-day wannabes on “Lost Cowboy.” The road story “Ogalalla” answers the question: what happens to your mind when you’re snowbound in Nebraska with nothing but a bottle of Nyquil and The Hobbit at the local picture show for company? Meanwhile, the arch love song satire “Talking Girlfriend Blues” deftly explains how to preserve your dignity while hitchhiking to a date – and what to do when your ride turns out to have eyes for the same girl. Elsewhere, ”Don't Go" offers a poetic post-9/11 story of love and war; while “Settlin’ or Sleepin’ Around" questions modern-day swipe right, hook up culture. Schoepp continues his affinity for songs set in hospitals with "Mono Pt. II" – which explores the kissing disease and the institutional runaround of health care in America (unfortunately a familiar subject for the young man). And he pays tribute to old friends and outsized characters with “For Jonny” (dedicated to his longtime drummer Jonny Philip) and the heart-rending requiem “Dream.” Having released his debut on SideOneDummy, Rangers & Valentines is being put out by London-based Xtra Mile Recordings. Hipped to Schoepp’s work by fellow singer-songwriter Frank Turner, among others, Xtra Mile honcho Charlie Caplowe quickly signed him to the label. Schoepp – who’s already crisscrossed the country sharing stages with fellow travelers like The Wallflowers, The Jayhawks and Old 97's – will be back on the road throughout 2016 in support of Ranger & Valentines, starting with a 3-week run throughout the UK and Europe supporting Jesse Malin and a month around the USA with labelmates Skinny Lister. Like the album, it’ll be another opportunity to catch a young journeyman at work.