airport noises
By DJ Ivan

This month I, your trusty host DJ Ivan, get to put the editor of EAR CANDY on the hot seat. HE gets to answer the questions this time about HIS band. Yes, its "the band that will not go away", as they sang on the "Yes Its Us Again" track from FALL FROM GRACE. I'm talking about the power-pop band, "airport noises". No, they aren't a major label band that you'll hear on your average gen-x, "alternative-to-what?" rock station. All the pressings of their indie tapes in Texas are long gone, long since sold at one of their many live gigs there. All that's left of their Texas years are stories about their wild gigs and the shenanigans of the 'Dannelley' brothers, who could easily have given the 'Gallagher' brothers of Oasis a run for their money in the substance intake. There is only one CD released by the band, after the Texas lineup was long gone. But, just ask anyone who saw the band live in Texas. There was something - a glimmer. And, true to the song, "Yes Its Us Again", the band once again rose like the phoenix in Georgia to reform. So, is there a future for this power-pop band? I talk to Ron about the Texas years of 'noises' and to John Thomas, the new bassist about the re-fueled version of airport noises.

Right: airport noises in 1991

MACH I - the TEXAS years

E.C.: Why did the first line up of airport noises break up. What are the other members of this line up doing now?

Ron: Well, like the scene from the Rutles, "things got so bad that members of the band got married." That's a slight exaggeration, but two of four members got married. That's usually the death knell for any musician! Like the Stretford bandleader, Carl Normal once told me, "women just don't get rock and roll." But, in airport noises, there were no lineup changes for 4 years, and as anybody in a rock band can tell you, that's a minor miracle. Eddie (rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist) graduated from College and got a 'real job'. Ken (drummer) graduated and is now teaching, but still playing in Austin area bands. And Bill is working for an Electronics firm in Austin. I moved to Georgia with my then-wife, eventually to drop my "baggage", re-marrying someone who had an artistic mentality and started to play music again.. I see everyone pretty regularly except Eddie, who I haven't seen in years. In fact, Bill taped/directed the video of the new airport noises that went to number 1 in December of 1999.

E.C.: The obligatory musical influences question: which bands influenced airport noises?

Ron: Oh god, where to start...mine are: Beatles, Who, Kinks, Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, Buzzcocks, Clash, Sex Pistols, Gram Parsons, Bryds, etc. I know I'm forgetting some. But each member had his own tastes, so that kinda added to our style then. One member liked more punk stuff, another liked hippie-rock and yet another Moody Blues stuff. And this reflected in the covers we did.

E.C.: Have you played with any other bands besides airport noises?

Ron: Yep, but nothing as good or as satisfying. But everything from Country (hell, I WAS living in Texas) to Heavy Metal, to Punk to eighties rock.

E.C.: Is there any chance that your self-released cassettes will be re-released on CD (or re-released at all)?

Ron: I don't know. We put out 5 original indie cassettes in 5 years, selling pretty consistently at gigs. Plus, I've got tons of live gigs on tape. Hell, we even had a Spinal Tap-ish video that we gave to friends - it had funny videos of us all throughout our Texas period. Yeah, I'd eventually love to put these on CD, especially now that the technology has caught up to do this at a reasonable price!

E.C.: In your estimation what is airport noises "best" song?

Ron: My personal faves are "Page 13" and "No More Time". Those seem to be the essence of airport noises.

E.C.: Regarding your songwriting. I see the Dannelley/Dannelley song writing credit on some of the noises songs. What exactly did the other Dannelley contribute to your songs? How much did other members offer to the song writing process.

Ron: Finding a good songwriting partner is a rarity and that's what I miss the most about the Texas lineup. Ken was the perfect springboard for my ideas and visa versa. I respected his opinion & and there aren't many people that I do! Despite the distance, we have written a few songs since, like "Topsy Turvey". So, I think there is still a lot more songs left in us! Plus, I remember Bill coming up with the ending for "Personals".

E.C.: Would you explain the Nazi symbolism that appears so often in Airport Noises lyrics/music/CD artwork (the stuka dive bombers on the first cassette, the Seig Heil on the hidden track of "Last Flight In", the song "Stuka over Padre"....)

Ron: Well, people might get the wrong idea, but that's their fucking problem, ain't it? But, seriously, there is no hidden meaning. Both Ken and I are history freaks (he's even a teacher now) and he had this cool book of nazi aircraft of World War II. Some of the photos got used on the first cassette cover, I'm not sure who's idea it was. Plus, there is the part of our name, "airport" that we tied to it. And, there was a sarcastic joke song, "Stukas Over Padre" on the first tape. Just three coincidences that were loosely tied together with no theme. It just stuck after the first cassette, when we realized that there were endless black and white photos (great for flyers) from World War II that we could use. Plus, Bill knows German, so I couldn't help but put a little German message here and there on the stuff. We used his German on the "Fall From Grace" tape. Plus, I added him on the 'hidden' track on the CD. Just a bit of fun, comparing the modern democratic party to Nazi Germany. They are nothing but closet fascists anyway if you look of the true definition of 'fascism'.

E.C.: Describe the strangest airport noises gig ?

Ron: Well, there was the Weberg Furniture gig - pretty bizarre to get paid (money AND food) to play in a warehouse full of furniture in a balcony! Then there was the "Rushlow Acid Barmitzvah" - "with individual acts of perversion, so disgusting that our quorum prohibits listing them here..."(love that quote from 'Animal House'). Finally, the "Monkees gig" had to be one of the strangest. At least it was the most surreal. Three days of wine, women and song, well almost. To get paid mucho dinero AND get to throw beer on Davy Jones? And a lot of them are on our videotape. Ha ha, but unfortunately, the 'Rushlow Barmitzvah' is not.

E.C.: The "where are the skeletons buried" question: I saw a few gigs when there was quite a bit of tension on stage between band members. Now give us the dirt. Which band members didn't get along?

Ron: It wasn't so much that we didn't get along. We had all known each other for years. The main problem was that we had one member who had gone through his party phase and was clean and sober. This while the other three thought nothing of doing various substances during breaks. That he stayed with us for 4 years is a testament to his character, I think. Ha ha, I definitely wouldn't have put up with all the shit we gave him.

E.C.: Who was the airport noises band "asshole"?

Ron: I guess that would be ME, because of my 'leadership' in noises. I had just been in too many bands and noticed what happened when nobody took charge. "Too many cooks in the kitchen syndrome". I prefer Machiavellian tactics myself. So, I figured if I was writing the songs, I would call the shots. Simple.

E.C.: Which member(s) of noises partied the most?

Ron: It depended on which night? Refer to one of the previous questions, it narrows it down to 3 out of 4 members.

E.C.: Which noises member threw the bottle out the window at the Monkees fan club convention and splashed Davy Jones?

Ron: I think it was the drummer, at least I said so in my statement to the hotel manager. No, seriously, it was I.

E.C.: What is your biggest regret regarding airport noises?

Ron: That we didn't get a CD proper recorded during our Texas days. Live, I have NO regrets. Nobody could touch us live. We normally played these places that wanted a band to play 3 hours a night. Ken always jokes that its like the movie portrayals of the Beatles in Hamburg, Germany. We are NO Beatles, but we got a quick education in playing live. So, in no time we had more than 100 covers. We would mix fun covers with our originals, 50/50. Finally, when we got to playing gigs as supporting bands, it was a cakewalk to only have to play 45 minutes! Plus, we sold a lot of tapes at these gigs, so that was another kind of acceptance that is satisfying. And if you look at each cassette we did, there was a natural progression. We grew by leaps and bounds, both in production and songwriting.

E.C.: How did the band's CD "Last Flight In" come about? Wasn't it done after the band actually broke up?

Ron: "Last Flight In" was actually made after the group had broken up and there were no plans to resurrect it. I was talking to Ken about how it was a pity that we didn't get into a recording studio proper to record some of our songs. He suggested that we spend a weekend at a recording studio in Georgia. With 5 cassettes out, we had plenty of material, so we picked a CD worth of material. Ken drove to Georgia from Texas with his drum kit, we practiced for the first time in a few years and went into the studio the next day. Boom! In two days, had it done. Not perfect, but done. It was basically for us, but at that time the minimum number of copies pressed was 1000. So, we had a few, ha ha!

E.C.: So, what brought airport noises back from the dead?

Ron: Like I said, we recorded "Last Flight In" as more of a personal momento for us and our friends, who had seen the band. There was a casual friend of my wife's, named John Thomas, who played bass in various thrash metal bands. Well, with 1000 CD's, you give them away to anybody who might vaguely be interested, ya know? I gave one to John without thinking much about it. A few weeks later, he called and asked if I was interested in doing a 'new' version of airport noises. But, one with more 'bite' to it. The same songs, mind you, just cranking the instruments up more, giving it more of that punk flavor. I always thought it was ironic, because for years in Texas, Ken had been wanting the same thing.


Before we move along with part two, we'd like to present the one and only airport noises CD, "Last Flight In". But, instead of a new review, we decided to just print what has been said about the CD by the rock press. Here are the reviews for "Last Flight In":

USGIGTV: A grass roots indie project that fills one with inspiration and energy with catchy rhythms, a driving beat and lyrics which border on angst and surrealism. Don't miss their CD "Last Flight In", it's a hit! -Rusty James-

Insert Clever Title Here!: This is top of the pile pop. This band has some good songwriting going for it. It really emphasizes the pop in pop-punk. This band has been around for a while but this is the first I've heard of them. Lucky I did, cuz this is good!

Moe Magazine: Last Flight In is a good collection of homemade power pop songs. This is the work of someone who feels compelled to get his music out to people at any cost. Airport Noises are pissed off at the world and they aren't going to wallow in self pity or go quietly. I can relate to that!

Babysue Review (received 4 out of 5 stars): Really good sing songy bubblegummy pop music with a definite sixties flavor. The band's quickly strummed ditties are short, direct and to the point. Fourteen chart toppers (in a perfect world)...

Bad Trip: Airport Noises write very catchy songs, songs that need to be heard!

Right: airport noises in 2000

MACH II - the GEORGIA years

E.C.: Regarding the newest airport noises line up: How did you find your new members? Have the new members affected the overall airport noises sound? What drew John to airport noises?

John: Like most bands we utilize the local trade paper with the musician's exchange. We go through auditions and choose the best at the time. So far as we add members we have been moving forward. There are a lot of talented musicians out there. I liked the '60s flair combined with the heavy new punk beat.

E.C.: The current version of noises sounds a bit harder/faster than the earlier line up. Why the new philosophy of sound? Which bands influenced airport noises now?

John: I think we have been listening to the current music. Music is ever changing and I think airport noises has simply changed with the times. We are harder, faster and louder now. I really listen to all styles of music.

Ron: I think the 'new' sound was there all along. Like I said, Ken had been saying for years that we needed to 'punk it up'.

E.C.: Why did you go through so many drummers?

John: They tend to disappear under mysterious circumstances.

Ron: It's just hard to find someone who shares your musical vision. For years in Texas, airport noise did without a bass player! Bill covered the bass on keyboards. And that's the reason, really. Hard to find someone who has the same vision. I wish we would have filmed our drummer auditions! Was actually quite entertaining.

E.C.: What are the musical releases of the newest Noises line up? I know there has been at least one live CD?

Ron: We were just about to do a whole new CD when the drummer quit (right before a gig, I might add). Than I got into doing lucrative session work, so the new 'noises' CD was put on hold & hopefully soon, though! As for the live CD's, we just had a couple of gigs transferred to CDR and used them for promotion and to give to friends. They aren't for sale in a store or anything. But, there is one site on the web, which has a whole gig on mp3 files.

Oh, and we've 'snuck' some songs onto the radio. We did a jingle for a local "alternative" station and it got continuous airplay! We just put new lyrics on "Little Miss Trendy" for the station. You sometimes have to be crafty to get your songs heard!!!

E.C.: What is the fastest land animal? (just seeing if you were paying attention).

John: Wasn't it the cheetah? Hey, that's a cool name for a band! Got any beer ?

E.C.: According to your website, your old drummer came to play a few gigs with the new version of "noises"? Explain the circumstances behind this.

John: Yes, we were actually in-between drummers and Ken was nice enough to fill in for us.

Ron: We had a live radio show lined up, plus a live gig scheduled; and we had the usual airport noises drummer problem. So, Ken drove from Texas with his kit to play with us. The radio show went off great, we made a CDR of that. As for the gig & well, it was one of those "interesting" gigs. We dubbed it "the gig of the blue hairs (and I ain't talking about punk rockers!)".

E.C.: Given how catchy noises songs are why didn't you guys conquer the world (or at least record an actual CD sooner)?

John: airport noises still plans to conquer the world. Just give us a minute, will ya ?

E.C.: What is more important for a song: a song that "rocks" or a song that is "catchy"?

John: Catchy.

Ron: The ideal is a perfect mix of both! That's what truly makes a 'classic'.

E.C.: What is the status of airport noises now? Any future plans for new airport noises releases? airport noises is currently working on new and older material.

Ron: Like I said, 'noises' was on hold while I was doing this session gig. But, we've still got plans for a new one. In fact, we've got a hot new song called "Topsy Turvey" which promises a return to classic 'noises'. Its only available as a live track on the website, but it will eventually receive its proper studio treatment. Plus, we've got a rock and roll Christmas song planned, that didn't make it this year, so we are gonna have it ready for next year. You see, if we can't come in the front door, we'll come in through the freakin' window! Infiltrate, ya know?

As for the future of 'noises'? Hell, we thought 'noises' was done for even before "Last Flight In". But, we keep coming back...

Click here to visit the official airport noises website