Interview by: Mike Farley
Riding high on the success of their sophomore album,
North, Something Corporate guitarist Josh Partington took time out during the band’s recent tour to catch up with
Mike Farley: So how long has Something Corporate been together?
Josh Partington: Six years in September, I think.
MF: And North is your second record?
JP: Yes, this is our second major label release.
MF: You guys have had good success lately with the record and with film and TV placements. Are you pleased so far?
JP: Yeah, definitely. We had a decent amount of success with Leaving Through the Window, our first record. I think that North only built on that. Nothing’s really declined, but there hasn’t been any abnormal growth -- we’ve been growing steadily.
MF: For those people out there who haven’t heard you guys yet, how would you describe your sound and your live show?
JP: We’re just a rock band, but we’re a little different because we have a piano in the band. But other than that, I think we’re pretty much just a rock band. We’re not that different from anyone else.
MF: I thought the piano added something, almost a Ben Folds feel, but kind of rocked up. And I thought that was awesome.
JP: We definitely get comparisons like that because Andrew (lead singer) plays piano. But I don’t think any of us think we’re very clever because we have a piano in the band, because pianos have been in bands for so long.
MF: But it adds a cool dimension.
JP: Yeah, I think it’s just a little more visual when you see us live, because we carry an upright piano with us everywhere we go. It’s kind of a stage piece.
MF: Can you describe a typical day on the road for Something Corporate?
JP: We get up, walk into the venue, look around, play some PlayStation, chill out, read a book. I’m usually reading a Dan Brown book of some sort. And then sound check, do a meet-and-greet or a radio station interview, then play the show and have a good night afterwards. It’s the best job you could ever have, without a doubt.
MF: How would you describe the groupies at your level?
JP: I wouldn’t say that we necessarily try to take advantage of our situation, but I don’t think we deny it either. So we’re somewhere in the middle. You don’t want to be the guy who really takes advantage of the fact that he’s in a band, but then again you don’t want to take that for granted. So hopefully, the single guys in the band like Clutch and I…well, we’re somewhere in the middle, but maybe I’m wrong. Laughs.
MF: What is your favorite city to tour in?
JP: In America, Chicago, and abroad probably London or Tokyo. Those are the coolest places to play shows.
MF: What about your least favorite city?
JP: Well, one of the toughest things is playing in your hometown (Orange County for these guys-ed.), only because after you have a certain amount of notoriety, then all of your friends and family want to come to the show and you don’t have that many tickets. So you have to pick and choose who’s most important to you, which really sucks. You always end up feeling like you shafted somebody. The show is always probably one of the best shows on the tour, but that day everybody wants to see you and you just don’t have the time. Every other day on the tour is relaxing, but the day you’re at home, not at all.
MF: So what is the songwriting process for you guys like?
JP: Usually myself or Andrew will come in with a completely finished song, lyrics and chord structure and then we’ll all arrange it together.
MF: Who are your influences as a band and for you personally?
JP: As a band we kind of draw from different things. A lot of people say we’re like a cross between Counting Crows and Weezer, which is kind of a weird hybrid but a good way to put it. I don’t think we’re as guitar-heavy and poppy as Weezer, but I don’t think we’re as dark and slow as Counting Crows either. That’s probably the closest to what we sound like, and all of us are huge fans of those bands.
MF: To me you guys sound like Jimmy Eat World, Goo Goo Dolls, Nine Days and maybe even Radiohead in spots.
JP: Yeah, we did this thing with the guitars and I was listening to a lot of Radiohead at the time and kind of drawing from that. The cool thing about albums like OK Computer is that there are a lot of things that are not necessarily tight, but work because of the artistic value within it. It’s kind of like you mess the track up just because it kind of adds a little bit of depth.
MF: What about for you personally?
JP: My favorite guitar player has always been Stevie Ray Vaughn, who was one of the best guitar players ever. Also probably as a songwriter, Nine Inch Nails. I think that Trent Reznor writes amazing music, and really has a way to make things dark without making them hard. You listen to a song like “Hurt” or “Piggy” and they’re not super hard songs, but they’re so dark. He’s definitely one of my favorite songwriters, definitely in my top five.
MF: I wouldn’t immediately draw that from listening to your album.
JP: Yeah, not really. Then again I’m only one of five guys, but if you listen to songs like “Only Ashes,” there’s a little bit of that Nine Inch Nails-type darkness in there.
MF: What are you listening to right now?
JP: I’ve been listening a lot to this rapper called Atmosphere. He’s awesome, and I think he’s going to be the next Eminem. I’ve been listening to a lot of BT and dance stuff, like Paul Oakenfold. It’s weird, I’m into this dance thing right now.
MF: Who’s your favorite celebrity babe?
JP: My favorite celebrity woman would have to be Jennifer Aniston. She’s pretty cute and seems pretty fun. I’m a real “personality” guy when it comes right down to it.
MF: Are you guys sports fans at all?
JP: I am, yeah.
MF: Are you following the NCAA tournament?
JP: A little bit. Is Duke playing Arizona? I’m a big anti-Arizona guy, because I went to ASU.
MF: Do you have any Final Four picks?
JP: Duke…I just think they’re gonna win it all. Probably Duke and Stanford, and then make up two others. Laughs.
MF: So what plans do you guys have for a new record?
JP: Andrew and I write pretty much all the time. If we had the time we could do another record right now. We’ve talked that if we don’t tour this summer, we might do another record. I know we’re planning on filming a live DVD during this tour with Yellowcard, which should be out toward the end of the year, and the plan is to put out another record early next year.
MF: And you’re happy with the label you’re on so far?
JP: Yeah, we’re playing sold out shows, so somebody’s doing something right, whether it’s us or them. Hopefully it’s a little of both.
MF: You have anything else you want to plug?
JP: No, just the website, www.something.com