Interview with Sherwood: The Element Of Surprise

SherwoodCalifornia pop-rock band Sherwood may have made one of the smartest decisions of their career when they elected to sign with MySpace Records, the label offshoot of the beloved networking site. Since the release of their second album, A Different Light, last year, the band has graduated from the opening slot on tours with bands like The Academy Is… and The Rocket Summer to their own headlining slot. Guitarist Dan Koch discusses what this means for his band and their future plans.

Is this your first headlining tour?

This is our first proper headline, yeah. Well, since the beginning days when you had no choice but to headline. In the last three years, though, this is our first proper headline tour.

Do you feel ready to be doing a headlining tour?

Do you feel ready to be a father? You know? When are you ready? Do I think it was the right time, yes. I didn’t know I was going to think that, but after the first week or so I do think it is the right time. That’s really cool. But we’re ironing out kinks. Every night we have a band meeting to talk about what went well, what didn’t go well, if we need to change our set list. It’s totally a learning process. It’s like opening a new branch of your company —there’s way more responsibility, there’s way more things to think about. And then there’s all those things that when you’re a support band you get mad at the headlining band for doing and you find yourself doing them. It’s just new decisions you never had to make before. Your decisions didn’t affect three other bands until now.

What’s an example of one of those decisions?

I wonder if there’s specific things that have happened that I can think of. Little communication things have come up, like ‘Oh, we need to be more communicative about the hospitality and catering situation every night.’ And in terms of taking time for soundcheck. Some of the things I used to get frustrated about I understand now why they are important. So now it’s like, ‘Okay, I forgive you everybody.’ It’s too late, of course, because I’m not on those tours anymore. But when you’ve got a full light show, your own sound guy, you’re playing three different guitars and you’re playing for an hour, you really do need a long soundcheck to make sure everything’s working. In the past when we were playing six songs opening up for somebody and they would take a long soundcheck, I would get mad at them. Now I realize, ‘Oh, there’s so much going on that they had to make sure it was working or else the show can go totally awry.’ I now forgive all the people I was mad at. It’s really interesting to be on the other side of it. Now whether the show is a success is up to us. More or less it’s on our shoulders and that’s actually really rewarding.

How long is your set each night?

The full thing is about an hour. We do about an hour, which is twice as long as anything we did last year. It’s a little bit of an endurance test. My legs are hurting a lot. I’m an old man, though. Everyone else’s legs are probably totally fine.

How long did you spending rehearsing your set before you left for tour?

We spent about 10 days. And we reworked four or five songs. We made medleys out of some songs. We’re doing a cover. We strip down to an acoustic section. We really did pull out all the stops. Not to mention, all that and bringing a lighting director out. It’s really way above anything we’ve ever put together before.