Remember that time back in November when we had Ton Taun and MC Isis stop by? James sat down with the guys of Ton Taun after their set to talk about poetry class and having their songs stolen by Jeff Tweedy.
James: Hey! I’m James. I’m here with uhhh… I guess I should introduce you as FORMER DJ of DCW…
James: Uh, WDCV.
Jordan: WDCV 88.3, the Voice… of Dickinson College.
James: He’s got it. Jordan Capizzi, and Ton Taun, which is..
James: Alright. So I got a few questions for you guys. Where’d you form? Give me the backstory of Ton-Taun.
Doug: We were born in the… [laughs]
Jordan: We all went to high school together. We were formed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. What was the first time we ever played, “Wake Up,” we played “Wake Up” by the Arcade Fire. And um, Lewis was not there–
Lewis: I watched you guys play though.
Jordan: You did.
Doug: The first song we played was at that.. Save Darfur thing.
Doug: No it wasn’t. Yes. No. It was um.. we played….
Jordan: I don’t remember.
Lewis: This Must be the Place? Talking Heads?
Doug: Nothing But Flowers? Let’s call it Nothing but Flowers.
Jordan: The first song we ever played was Nothing but Flowers by the Talking Heads. We uh, we went to high school together…
Doug: We’ve had such a long career together that, obviously we’ve forgotten [laughs]
James: What was that first song?
Jordan: And, then we got Lewis… so that was the end of that.
James: Oh. That’s pretty convenient. So, uh, what would you guys say–well actually, you just got done with the show, how’d it go?
nJordan: Um… it went great. We’re really happy. This is–we thought it went great, we had trouble to adjusting to how big the room was though, this was like the biggest place we’ve played thus far. Aside from Madison Square Garden.
Jordan: Those four nights–
Mario: Four nights in a row, Madison Square Garden.
Jordan: Sold out, sold out.
Mario: No opener or anything, it was all us.
James: That was your unplugged show, right? When you did the stripped-down acoustic?
Jordan: Yeah we did.
Doug: Not only did we strip down the instruments, we–
James: You guys were actually naked for that.
Jordan: Um, no microphones at all. No lights in the place either, no electricity.
James: It was during your Amish Period.
Jordan: Yeah, exactly. But uh, no, we had a great time, we really did. We really appreciated the stage and… you know..
Lewis: I had trouble with the monitor. Did everyone have trouble with their monitor? I had trouble with my monitor in the end.
James: Alright. So, what’s your Zodiac signs, fellas?
Jordan: Um… I’d say… I’m an Aquarius.
Lewis: No idea.
Doug: Whatever September is.
Mario: FIRE. Is bald eagle a zodiac sign too?
James: I think bald eagle is an acceptable answer. So what would you guys say is your biggest musical influence, like personally, not as a band.
Mario: Ask Jordan.
James: I’ll ask you first.
Mario: The Grateful Dead.
James: Old Nickelback?
Jordan: You’re serious right now? Let’s go around.
Mario: Alright, we’ll all go around and say one.
Jordan: We don’t have to stand up. Um.. Wilco. Jeff Tweedy from Wilco.
Doug: What did you say?
Jordan: I said Wilco.
Doug: You stole mine… [turning to Mario] If I say Radiohead, will I steal yours?
Jordan: Don’t say Radiohead.
Mario: So I’m gonna be different… Who’d you say?
Jordan: I said Wilco.
Mario: Wolf Parade!
Others: You just said that, that’s not true at all.
Mario: Oh, mine, personally?
James: Yeah yeah yeah, yours personally, not as a band, you know. Like what do you–
Mario: Phish. P-h-i-s-h. Woo!
Jordan: You’re making Phish fans look really really intelligent right now.
James: So, Jordan, you played a song that I personally workshopped in a poetry class.
Jordan: Ah, yeah.
James: I workshopped one of your songs, and you didn’t give me a writing credit.
Jordan: Oh, well I apologize! Actually, I didn’t take any of your notes.
James: Me and Mitch were pretty pissed off about it.
Jordan: I bet you were.
Doug: What song was it?
Jordan: Well, Merit O’Hare, the greatest poet in Dickinson College history, which, I’m not saying that I don’t agree with that, wrote on my paper, and I quote: “You are a crazy genius.” So, I was like, that was a very high compliment.
James: There you go.
Mario: Every other song on the album, I wrote when I was stuck in a cave. I had to write it on the cave walls. I had to sing the chord progressions to figure out what would happen next.
James: Oh, I see. Well… I don’t know, I don’t have any more questions.
Jordan: Want me to tell you about our new album? We have a new album out, it’s called Exporter, and… we all wrote it together and recorded it over the summer in Mario’s basement. It’s available on iTunes, and on cdbaby, but only digitally, right–oh, I’m sorry, it is on Amazon, but you have to pay $9, I wish you only had to pay $3–I wonder how you get the $3…
Jordan: It’s not on Napster.
Mario: Yes it is.
Doug: You can get it on your Verizon cellphone, it’s ridiculous.
Jordan: Oh, really?
Doug: It’s on everything.
Jordan: I want a cellphone like that, that’s f*cking awesome.
Doug: How much of a d*ck would you feel like if your phone went off in a room and it was you, like, singing a song?
Jordan: I wouldn’t feel like a d*ck at all.
Mario: Was that the first song we ever recorded?
Doug: That was the first song we ever played.
Mario: Original song we ever played.
Lewis: That was the first Ton Taun song.
Doug: First Ton Taun song recorded was “Burning Building”.
Jordan: We stayed up all night, we didn’t sleep.
Mario: Except for, um, we did record “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” Um, Wilco actually stole it from us. They now have the copyright, which is b*llshit. F*ck you Jeff Tweedy.
Jordan: I was six years old when I wrote the entire Wilco catalog.
Lewis: What song did you–Didn’t you submit one of our songs as like a poem in seventh grade?
Jordan: No.. um
Lewis: Animal III!
Jordan: I submitted all the sh*tty songs I used to write as poems in high school.
Lewis: You told me you submitted–
Jordan: It was here, it was a poetry class here, at Dickinson. I was a freshman in college.
Jordan: A lot of the songs on the first album did get workshopped in classes. I took absolutely no notes from anybody.
James: That’s fair.
Jordan: I mean, not that they weren’t good notes, but not that they were really poems either. If everyone had critiqued the chord structures and the melodies, maybe I would have changed that. But probably not.
James: Right, probably would have ignored it anyway. So if you could steal any song–
Jordan: This is a conversation I have all the time! What did I say? What was the last thing I said?
Lewis: You’re between–
Jordan: Oh yeah! I would steal “Let It Be,” so I could get all the money from “Let It Be,” and be famous and get deals, or, and it changes all the time, the first one is Gospel by the National because it’s the most beautiful song I ever heard… ever, ever written, it is the greatest piece of music that exists.
James: What about you guys, you got any songs you would steal if you could?
Lewis: Yes. Uh… It’d have to be some Phish song, I don’t know. “The Curtain With.”
Doug: Um… I would steal… “How to Speak Clearly.”
Jordan: I changed my mind, I would steal whatever this is here.
James: I believe it’s “Jerk It.”
Mario: I would steal… what would I steal…
Lewis: I would steal “May You Never” by John Martin.
Mario: What should I steal?
Doug: If you steal something, steal “My Body is a Wonderland.”
Mario: Because my body is a wonderland?
Doug: If you steal something, you have to try.
Mario: If I could steal any song… “National Anthem” by Radiohead.
Lewis: That’s like the worst Radiohead song!
James: Okay… um… oh! I understand that you guys don’t play together often, so what’s that been like, and what’s the last time you played together?
Mario: Let me get this, let me get this.
Lewis: Me and Jordan wrote something for a school project I did.
Mario: Before that, the last show we had was at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster. It was a pretty awesome show, it had a good turnout..
Doug: It was two months ago.
Mario: Yeah, two months ago. And actually… if Jordan starts to do it, because he’s lazy, very lazy…
Lewis: Yeah, he’s lazy. We just finished our second album and he still sent me like five f*cking songs.
Mario: Hold on! We’re trying to make an album, or an EP, across, you know, state lines. We’re gonna try and throw like three or four songs together, record your own part and send it to the next person. Jordan’s really lagging on that though.
Lewis: That’s such b*llshit! He’s the only one recording songs.
Mario: We should’ve recorded the MSG shows!
Jordan: That’s something we talk about all the time. It’d be nice to get a live recording, throw it up, either on iTunes or for free or something.
James: Did you guys actually end up webcasting this?
Jordan: No, because–
Mario: There’s no excuses, we just didn’t get enough interest.
Jordan: Every time we say we’re going to webcast something, we always put it off too long and forget about it–
Doug: We did do it twice– There were nine people who viewed it, and they were probably looking for something else, something Star Wars-related.
Lewis: People were talking to me about watching it.
Doug: Yeah, but they probably came to the show.
James: Speaking of Ton Taun, you obviously get the name of your band from Star Wars. It’s the beast of burden on Hoth.
Doug: Actually, it was the first words that Jordan said.
Jordan: It was. It was the first sound I made, my mom recorded it. We were watching home videos.
Lewis: Can you give me an interpretation of what it sounded like?
Jordan: It was just like… “ton ton…”
James: Alright. So, that’s it. End of the interview. Listen in to WDCV.