Fuzz guitar fans fear not. SF’s Terry Malts’ debut LP Killing Time is out now on Slumberland Records. With steady beats and sarcastic lyrics clocking in at record speeds, you may not know what hit you. Fortunately the trio’s bassist and singer Phil Benson was nice enough to take the time to answer some questions about the band and the new album.
Judging by the lyrics it sounds like there’s been a recent heartbreak amongst the group. Is it autobiographical?
Pretty much all Terry Malts’ lyrics are autobiographical. I think it's safe to say that's the only way I know how to write. I do however attempt to keep most lyrics vague enough to be somewhat universally identifiable, if only to convince myself that playing this music for other people isn't just completely self gratifying.
I love the almost iconoclastic use of Beach Boys' “California Girls” at the end of “I’m Neurotic”. It’s a warbled, distorted version of such a highly recognizable song. Do you have a favorite Beach Boys song that just won’t get out of your head? Would you ever cover them?
"Don't Worry Baby". I absolutely love that song. Gets me every time. I am not opposed to covering the Beach Boys at all; though there are a bunch of covers I'd rather do first. We've actually done a handful of covers at this point, one of which appears on our record (Negative Approach's "Can't Tell No One").
How’d the band come up with the name?
We came up with the name while walking around drinking tall-boys in the Excelsior, killing time before the Slobber reunion show at Pissed Off Pete's. We'd all agreed that "malt" had to be involved in the name somehow, being that the whole inception of the band was based mostly around drinking a bunch and then coming up with songs. The addition of "terry" just made sense to our beer soaked brains I suppose.
I read in your band bio that graffiti was a common bond between band mates? Are you still into that?
That bio was pretty much fabricated, honestly. The last time I wrote anything on a wall was when I was 17 I think. Never really got into that sort of thing. [However] I do have a place in my heart for really funny bathroom graffiti. Who doesn't enjoy a chuckle while visiting a public lavatory?
“Mall Dreams” takes on consumerism. Do you feel jaded by it or is this merely commentary? How do you avoid sounding commercial or are you going for broad appeal?
It's mainly commentary. I've reached a point in my life where I'm like 'Is this it? I just work and make money and then buy things and that's my life?' Whatever makes you happy I guess, but when it becomes a status thing is where it gets me.
As far as our music is concerned, we aren't catering to anyone in particular, aside from ourselves. We make this music because we like it and because it's fun for us. If other people get something from it, then great! We'll drink to that. That's not saying much though, I suppose. We'll drink to most anything.
You can drink with the Terry Malts at one of these upcoming shows:
3/9 at Rickshaw Stop (w/ Crocodiles and Bleeding Rainbow) 9 pm.
3/17 at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records (w/ Manatee and Kids on a Crime Spree) 8 pm.
3/31 at Bottom of the Hill (w/ Young Prisms, Cold Showers, and Cool Angels) 9 pm.