Interview with Countless Thousands
By Harriet Kaplan
L..A. based Countless Thousands has been characterized as “enthusiastic rock music” with comparisons made to Against Me!, The Aquqbats, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, The Clash and Fuzagi. Promoting their latest album, “You’re Goddamn Right,” released in October.
Countless Thousands is a four-member unit including Danger Van Gorder (vocals/guitar), Davey Munch (bass), Light Return (guitar/vocals) and Jonathan David (drums). Danger recently spoke to blackonthecanvas.com via email interview for a colorful, fun, lively and yes “enthusiastic” one- on-one convo about his musical family growing up, songwriting inspiration courtesy of Weird Al, source material for the songs themselves, the humor that keeps the band “sane,” and the thrill of touring and being front of live audiences and more.
Did you come all come from a musical families?
My mom is a singer and my dad plays guitar. The both of them are pretty darn good.
How did your families influence on you?
We never liked the same stuff, but i was certainly encouraged to pursue playing music for its own merit. Didn’t get to play with the nicer basses and guitars dad owned, but I didn’t lack a Squier to torture for those important formative years.
Which songs do you each remember most from your childhoods?
Basically anything from Weird Al, who miraculously now more relevant than ever. Weird Al showed me that you could be funny in music! Having a narrative hook in your lyrics means you can reach people on a whole other level on top of what’s in the music. Rad songs are memorable. Funny songs are memorable. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a rad funny song out there waiting to be written….
What was the strangest thing you all have been inspired by?
Hyung Sun Wol’s epic North Korean propaganda pop, “Excellent Horse-Like Lady”. We wrote a whole response song to it.
What is the greatest source material for writing songs?
This silly carnival we call the human race.
Would you say makes this new album different from your debut album?
Focus! We crammed 15 songs into the last CD. There’s six on the new one and we spent way more time on each track, which we could do because Jonny opened up his own recording studio and has gotten completely rad at recording music.
Would consider it vastly different stylistically from the first album or evolution of it?
Evolution! Same energy, same panache, same lyricism, but way more focus. Everything sounds bigger.
Do you dream in color or black and white?
Color! Who dreams in black and white? Is that a condition? Sounds so classy.
And how do your dreams influence your music if at all?
“Fickle” is a song written about a dream I had. Does that count? It counts.
How does being self-proclaimed geeks/nerds work in this band?
We like stuff and we like to like stuff, just like being a nerd in the rest of our silly modern times.
How important is it to have sense of humor in a band?
I’m sure there’s some bands out there who are completely humorless, but humor keeps us sane.
If you could have any musical instrument in the world, which one would it be and why?
The Doof Wagon. I would never leave that thing.
If you were able to sit under the table and listen to any two people speak who would it be? And why?
Neil Degrasse Tyson and basically anyone else on the planet. NDT is America’s best human being.
What type of venues do you frequent?
Bars, breweries, comic book shops, Trader Joe’s, Petco, gas stations – oh, sorry, this turned into a to-do list.
What do you think are the cool things to see and do in Los Angeles and Orange County?
The Game Haus in Glendale is a board game cafe. It’s basically the best place in the whole world. Go with a date and leave as a champion of love and romance.
If you could take only 10 albums to a desert island what would they be and why?
The Weakerthans – Left & Leaving (favorite album ever. best lyricist on the planet)
Vince Guaraldi – a Charlie Brown Christmas (favorite jazz recording ever)
Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze (Guitar radness and vibe)
And like seven other that i totally can’t think of. Ten is a lot and i gotta get to a show in a half hour.
Do you enjoy being in the studio or touring more and why?
Touring! There’s nothing better than performing for an engaged live audience. Their cheers course through my veins. Their love sustains me. It’s not always a healthy relationship.