Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not just warming the bench

Finn Riggins is hotter than ever

Express Staff Writer

Finn Riggins from left are, Cameron Bouiss, Lisa Simpson, Eric Gilbert.
Courtesy photo by Bobby McHugh

Finn Riggins' music is written the way a patchwork quilt comes together, a little piece of history and a patch of nostalgia stuffed with the familiar.

The Boise-based band is headed to Whiskey Jacques' while promoting its just-released vinyl album "Benchwarmers." Band member Eric Gilbert gives some highlights during an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express.

The Chicago Bulls is using one of your songs, "Blackrock," for an advertising campaign. How did that come about?

We got called mid-February about the Chicago Bulls spot. Supposedly someone working on the project had seen us at a farmer's market in Idaho—which narrows it down to Moscow, Hailey or Ketchum since those are the three we've played—she picked up our album then and pitched "Blackrock" to the Bulls/NBA for the spot and they liked it.

How random is that?

Yep, pretty random. I play a lot of basketball and grew up watching sports and always liked the Bulls, so I was excited about it and honored. Not the first time that we've had our music on national television, but still exciting. I really like how the spot is cut—very cool

You just started touring with the new album "Benchwarmers." How's the response?

We just released it last weekend, so it's really fresh, but we played all the new songs on our tour to SXSW back in March and the response was great. I'm really excited for people to hear the recorded versions of the songs. I'm excited that we were able to release it on vinyl—sweet red-marbled vinyl—and am in general really pleased how this project came together. I feel really good about it and the record seems to be getting a good response thus far from those that have heard it.

Where's the title come from and what does it represent musically?

Lisa and I live in a really cool area of Boise known as The Bench. The song "Benchwarmers" was written after seeing Trey McIntyre's "Grounded" back in October and was for a collaboration with animator/artist Jason Sievers and the Trey McIntyre Project. "Grounded" was all about a sense of place and that place being Boise, so we wanted to run with that concept. We debuted

"Benchwarners" live in La Grande, Ore., during the Eastern Oregon Film Festival in late October and we hadn't yet named it. As we were preparing to leave town that morning, it occurred to me that the venue we'd be playing that night was called Benchwarmers, and that that would be a perfect title for this new song. Nice sports reference and nice imagery comes built into it, while in reality it was more referring to our sweet neighborhood we live in on The Bench.

Who is it that knows how to spell y'all properly and why are Idaho peeps using Texas talk?

Ha! We've toured the South a bunch, a couple of tours we were in the South for over a month—pretty easy to soak that culture in right quick. Y'all is just such an efficient use of letters and is forever fun to let roll of the tongue.

Where do you see this band going from here?

The plan right now is to tour regionally behind this record while really digging into writing another full-length record this summer and fall. Decent chance we'll do a smallish tour out East in the fall with the intention of recording November/December with the goal of releasing a new record around the same time next year with more extensive touring to follow. We'd also really like to finally take the plunge into touring overseas.

Is Idaho big enough for where you see this band going?

We're still very happy with being based in Idaho and have been getting a lot of inspiration as of late from being a part of the growing music scene in Boise and Idaho in general. This state is very much a part of this band and we'd like to keep it that way. I think living in Idaho, no matter what you do for a living, has it's tradeoffs, but I think most of us choosing to live in this state would agree that the tradeoffs are net positive toward quality of life. There's plenty to sustain us here and plenty for us to build off of, and with the way the Boise scene is going we feel like there's a lot of opportunity for growth here.

Why do you think the Record Exchange (in Boise) exists in this Internet age?

I think the Record Exchange, and stores like it, still exist in this Internet age because the Internet can't truly replace the community that can be built around the kind of human interaction that happens in and around a place like the Record Exchange. Downtown Boise in general thrives off of these kinds of locally owned and community-minded businesses. It's really inspiring and fun. Then there's the whole resurgence of vinyl, etc. The Record Exchange does a good job of balancing its roles—coffeeshop, giftshop as well—and playing host to the community on a regular basis with events. It's a really great place and great community around that place.

Why should people come to your show?

Because we're bringing our Boise buddies Atomic Mama along with us and they're really talented good-timin' dudes, play fun rock 'n' roll to prove it. And they are three really hot guys for all the ladies to feast upon.


Album release party

When: Friday, May 4, at 9 p.m.

Where: Whiskey Jacques' in Ketchum.

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