“My name is Daniel, and I'm here for the Gang Bang!” It's less than ten minutes into my interview with The Postelles' Daniel Balk (vocals, guitar) and John Speyer (Bass), and somehow we've stumbled onto the topic of the little-known McDonald's secret menu.
We're sitting backstage at The Independent, the location of this New York City band's first-ever concert in San Francisco, and the band seems eager to show the Bay Area hipsters what they have to offer.
And what they have to offer are succinct, endorphin-inducing songs that sound like the brainchild of The Strokes and Phil Spector after drinking dozens of Tom Collins and playing vigorous rounds of canasta.
After being in San Francisco for just a few hours, I ask the guys what excites them most about the city, and what they've had a chance to see so far.
Daniel: We've heard it's a great city, so I think everything excites me right now.
John: I think it's also like a really rich city, in terms of musical history.
D: And rich people.
J: That's what's really exciting, we're hoping to meet some rich people! (laughs)
What have you guys seen so far?
D: We got here an hour ago, so not much.
J: We saw this Jordanian kebab place (laughs).
D: We saw you!
J: We got some great coffee.
It was really good coffee! (Note: It was at Bean Bag Coffee House on Divisadero)
J: Yeah, at the bean place. It was really good. I got the Sumatra blend.
Ooh, fancy. Was it like Fair Trade, and organic?
J: I hope so, because I only drink that. 'Cause that's really easy on tour.
I guess so.
J: No, it's not at all! (laughs) Organic food is the hardest thing to buy on tour.
D: McDonald's is easy!
Did you know that McDonald's has a secret menu?
J: No, like In-N-Out?
I dunno, I was reading this article and I saw that they have one called 'The Gang Bang.'
D: The 'Gang Bang'?
J: "Hi, welcome to McDonald's, I'm here for the gang bang!" (laughs)
D: Are you sure they were talking about McDonald's?!
Yeah, apparently it's like a Big Mac with a chicken sandwich stuck in the middle.
J: Can you order it animal-style? "Can I get the Gang Bang, animal-style?"
D: "I'm here for the Gang Bang...animal-style!" It sounds better in my voice.
J: Yeah, you are the singer. It's more natural. Your vocal quality is higher.
I think you guys should sing that tonight. You should make a song about the Gang Bang.
D: When I walk on stage I'll say, “My name is Daniel, and I'm here for the Gang Bang!”
Getting Poked By Chuck Berry
Feel like getting gang banged by The Postelles? You can try your luck on Twitter. Like many up-and-coming bands these days, The Postelles are no strangers to the power of social networking. So how has new media has affected their interaction with fans?
D: It makes it more personal. Because immediately after a show you're already getting a few responses like, “Great show!”
J: Or, “Terrible show!”
D: Yeah, “Terrible show!” And then we say, you know, “Fuck you!” back (laughs). No, it definitely makes it more intimate.
J: I think the coolest thing is we went on Facebook and asked where should we go. And people actually told us.
D: We literally went on and said, “Where do you want us to play?”
J: And half of them were St. Louis for some reason.
D: Probably because of the Kings Of Leon.
J: Oh yeah. So we were like, “Ok, we're going!” And we went!
D: It was funny because there were like 70 responses and we were like, “I dunno. Should we go to St. Louis?” And the next response was from Chuck Berry. And he was like, “Yeah you guys should come to St. Louis!” (Jon laughs) And then he poked me!
Wait, Chuck Berry poked you on Facebook?
J: That should be your headline!
This is breaking news!
D: And then I poked him back. (laughs)
J: He's totally lying. I actually have a friend who works at Twitter who's coming tonight, so there you go, social networking!
D: Nice change of subject! Jon's actually a pathological liar.
J: You're a pathological liar. Twitter's actually gonna be here! I'm gonna tweet my friend from Twitter, here, from the stage.
So how was Chuck Berry?
D: It was awesome! Supposedly he “dug” us.
He dug you?
J: According to the keyboardist. We're telling everybody that!
Are you gonna put that all over Twitter?
J: Chuck Berry says, “I dig you!”
D: I actually tattooed it to my chest.
That is a good tattoo to have.
J: You don't wanna know where it is.
D: I said chest!
J: Yeah, but that's not true. (laughs)
Their Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard
True or not, it's hard to imagine Chuck Berry not digging The Postelles. Because what other band would play my ridiculous photo game?
What is the photo game? Let's start with a brief background story:
I found a used roll of film in a camera at a charity shop in London. A small donation later, and the mysterious roll was mine!
Last week, I finally made the trip to CVS to get it developed.
The following photographs were the only pictures on the entire roll of film. Let me just reiterate that I have no idea who these people are, where these pictures were taken, or even when they were taken.
So I've asked Daniel and John to look through the photos and decide what music these people might be listening to in each one.
D: I would say “YMCA” by The Village People.
J: The second Girl Talk album!
D: I would say “YMCA” again!
D: Ooh, “My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard”!
J: Yep! Yep, definitely.
D: Uhh...”Thong Song”!
J: “Thong Song”! (laughs)
(Both are momentarily consumed with laughter on this one.)
D: I would say “Smells Like Teen Spirit”!
J: That was sweet!
D: That was a fun game, can we keep playing that game?
The Postelles: Coming To An Underwater Venue Near You! (Maybe)
The photo game may be over, but it's never too late for the money game.
Ok, so if you had all the money in the world...
J: Which we do.
D: Yeah, because we're robbing a bank tomorrow, like we said before.
What would be your dream gig? I'm talking location, line-up, everything.
J: We would probably play underwater. Like, accessible only by submarine. And, uh, you know that John Lennon is still alive? He would probably headline the festival.
John Lennon would headline the festival?
D: Huge, breaking news!
J: Dude, he's been living in Argentina all this time!
D: Juan Lennon?
J: Yeah, and Elvis is still around. He's old.
D: And where does he live?
J: In Argentina! Yeah dude, and Tupac! So John Lennon, Elvis, and Tupac would headline the festival under the sea, accessible only by submarine. And Roy Orbison would probably open for us.
D: You did not answer that question, at all! You know what? You're a pathological liar!
J: You're an avoider!
D: We're breaking up!
So much breaking news in one interview!
D: This will be the first night we're not sleeping together in one bed.
J: That's true.
Aww, separation anxiety?
D: We both have girlfriends, and when we get back to New York we have to tell them that we won't be sharing a bed with them.
J: For two nights! And then we'll do a four-person bed.
D: And so the girls will have to stand on the side of the room and just watch while we hold hands and cuddle.
I guess that kind of answers my next question...
D: Do we have girlfriends? Yes, we have girlfriends.
No, how do you unwind on tour?
D: Well, I like to preserve water in the shower. Let's put it that way...
J: Billy (Cadden, drummer) and I do crossword puzzles. Or I try to do Ab Ripper X.
J: Yes! Well, this is more hypothetical. Billy's like, “You know what? I'm gonna drink a lot tonight and then go home and do Ab Ripper!”
D: But we have gone to the gym.
J: Yup, we have been going to the gym.
What, the YMCA?
J: No, we've actually gone to the gym! It's hard on the road to stay in shape, but we try to do it. Brian, our tour manager, is actually our life coach.
D: Our life manager!
He's like the Tony Robbins of the tour?
J: Yeah, and he's also an amazing driver.
Breaking News (again!)
Ok, so you guys have probably heard that Coachella has sold out.
D: No, breaking news!
Yes, breaking news again! How would you go about sneaking into Coachella?
D: It'd be nice to actually play Coachella.
J: We'd dress up as a band, probably. Just walk right in.
D: People always say I look like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so I'd probably just walk in and say I'm Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
J: Billy looks like everybody. Billy's one of those people that people always say he looks like someone, every attractive person.
So what's been your proudest band moment so far?
D: Wow, good question. I would say playing in Iceland was really cool.
J: Yeah, Iceland was cool!
And finally, what's next for The Postelles?
D: We have a show in like, twenty or forty minutes. That's literally what's next for us! Well, we're gonna be touring a lot. Our debut album comes out in April.
Thanks, guys! To hear the full, unedited (but shitty audio quality) interview, click here.
The Postelles are Daniel Balk (Vocals, Guitar), Billy Cadden (Drums), David Dargahi (Lead Guitar), and John Speyer (Bass). Be sure to check out their website here to stay up-to-date on the latest news, and to listen to some sweet tunes!