Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Explosive Rock Of Star Off Machine

by Gary Schwind (writer), Laguna Niguel, November 27, 2008


Three members of the Orange County rock band Star Off Machine discuss how the band's sound comes together, and what they have learned from headlining bands.

At the 2007 Orange County Music Awards, Star Off Machine was nominated for Best Live Band and won the award for Best hard Rock Band. At the Huntington Beach Beer Company, Jeremy (far left, bass), Tut (2nd from left, drums), and Robin (far right, guitar) discussed the band's influences, shows, and what they have learned from headliners they've played with.

Tell me about the name Star Off Machine.

(R) It’s from a Dr. Seuss book called The Sneetches. It’s about conformity. There was a machine built that put stars on the belly. Everyone wanted to be a part of it so they jumped through the machine and had it tattooed on them. Somebody came along and said, “Nobody be the same. Here’s the star off machine.”

(T) It’s about following trends and cliques. It’s a pretty intriguing story. I never knew what it was when I was growing up. It’s a cool point. Going through school, you realize how prevalent it is in life. People tell you it’s cool and they want you to follow. It has a cool ring to it.

(R) Our fans call us STOFMA for short.

For someone who has never heard you, describe your sound.

(R) It’s active rock.

(T) It’s very energetic, explosive. It’s not really something we shot for. It just ended up that way. I think that’s what people get from us. Very energetic, explosive music.

Was there anything you were listening to that influenced you this way?

(J) To tell you the truth, we all have individual influences. Me personally, I try to play as much different music as possible. Then when we bring it all to the table, we just go from there.

(T) There are so many different bands I like in all genres. I think when you have four guys each with their own influences, you come up with your own baby. We all had a history, the three of us [including Robin and Erick]. We’ve known each other for fifteen years and in the last couple years got together and said “Let’s go for it.” We put everything into it and let’s see how it does.

(R) All of our roots are different. My roots are heavy. I think Jeremy’s are too, but on completely different sides of the heavy spectrum.

(T) I was more into funk.

(R) We all have our twenty-five percent that we put into it and it makes something really interesting. I might start with a riff that I think is awesome. Erick will sing over that and then say, “Let me work on that.” He takes it home, my baby, and he brings it back and out of his own head, a different riff would come up that’s really cool.

(J) We write it, ruin it, then rewrite it. There’s definitely a method to his [Erick’s] madness as far as songwriting. We just gotta be on the same level with him and go with it.

What have you learned from some of the groups you’ve opened for and what are some of the favorite bands you’ve opened for?

(R) Tut and I were together a long time ago before we were in this band. We opened for a lot of those same acts then, which allowed us to open for them now. Just watching them is one thing. Some of them would say, “never worry about your stage show until you’re going to be on the road for a month." There’s a lot of little tips. They’ve told our singer what to gargle before shows to get the most out of it. They give rules of the road if you’re out there touring.

(T) Favorites. Sevendust, for sure. Apex Theory. There’s some I really disliked. I won’t name them. Some of them weren’t so open-armed. I think some of the bands in that spot forget that one time they came from the spot where we are. I got turned off by that a little bit. You have to respect them for what they’ve done and take what you can get out of it.

(R) We opened for Mudvayne. They were some of the smartest guys. A lot of great advice. Someone who didn’t have great advice was V-Ice, also known as Vanilla. He was kind of a jerk.

(T) I wasn’t a fan of his new sound. Pissing Razors was cool.

What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

(J) I’m always going to make music. You can always make a living making music of some sort. You prefer to do it your own way.

(R) I was five years in the NASA program. I always wanted to set foot on Mars.

(R) All of us come from a musical background. My old man, and my brother and I played when I was a kid. It was instilled in me that I would play music. That’s what I wanted to do.

(R) I’d have to be beind a mixing board producing.

(T) Robin is anal.

(R) I am extremely anal. I worked really closely with our producer on this record, just to fix a couple things here or there. I’d be on the production end, or on the business side. I think I could do that too.

(T) I’d probably building or welding or something of that sort. I’ve always gravitated toward that stuff.

About the Writer

Gary Schwind is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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