By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
By Tom Murphy
By Tom Murphy
By A.H. Goldstein
If you heard Forth Yeer Freshman's 2001 debut, Drunkinomicon, and then listened to Regulators, the band's new album, and thought you were hearing two completely different bands, you'd be right. As it happens, this is a completely different band. Literally. The only member remaining from the original lineup is frontman Aaron Howell.
Since that record was released, the outfit's sound has changed as dramatically as the lineup, from rudimentary gutter punk to the kind of turbo-charged hard rock that saw dudes through the latter part of the Reagan administration. Only instead of being as earnest as their forebears, the Forth Yeer guys offer up mouth-breathing lyrics that give off the distinct impression that there's a winking sense of irony attached to everything about them. Howell spoke with us recently about touring, making the new record and being born three decades too late.
Westword: You guys did an excellent job of channeling the Sunset Strip circa 1989.
Aaron Howell: Thank you very much. That wasn't what we were going for, but I'm sure it will sell.
It's just got this late-'80s glam-rock feel to it.
Oh, very cool. We put so much fucking reverb on that thing. Bart from Frontside 5 recorded it, and he was like, "Are you guys sure you want this much reverb?" We're like, "Fuck, yeah! Have you ever heard Appetite for Destruction?" We cranked the reverb on it and did as much cheesy stuff and had as many wanking solos as we could. Except for, like, cover bands, nobody really does that stuff anymore.
As ironic as your music seems, it also seems like there's a sense of reverence, like you guys really dig that kind of music.
I mean, obviously, we love Guns N' Roses and Van Halen and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Honestly, more than the '80s, I'd say the '70s — Ted Nugent, all the stuff where the lyrics are just fucking retarded but the guys are so serious about it. And now here we are, guys that were born twenty to thirty years too late, trying to pull off the same effect. When we hang out with bands in our own age group, they name the hot up-and-coming bands who they sound like, and I have no fucking idea who those bands are.
For more of our conversation with Aaron Howell of Forth Yeer Freshman, visit blogs.westword.com/backbeat.