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Long Distance LP – Six Crucial Questions for Evan Thomas Way

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Evan Thomas Way & the Phasers produce alt-Americana tunes that leave you all warm and shimmery.

The band’s latest LP, Long Distance, drops in late May, and is currently featured in NewsWhistle’s Spring Catalogue.

As the band’s press material states: “Evan has given his listeners an album with which to make sense of their own lives. His lyrics provide a voice for those who are hurting while his music is a comfort for those who are healing. Immediately accessible, yet unfolding the true strength of its songwriting and musicianship over subsequent listens, Long Distance is a small jewel.”

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SIX CRUCIAL QUESTIONS FOR EVAN THOMAS WAY

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1. What is your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memories are probably being taught piano and recorder by my mom, when I was growing up in San Bruno, CA. Those were my first instruments, and I remember playing duets and trios with my mom and sister for an audience of one (my dad). Also very significant, I remember when I first started messing around on guitar (again, on my mom’s guitar — which is the acoustic guitar I use to this day!), up in my room, slowly discovering chords, figuring out how to put a few together in an order that sounded good — it was a really revelatory moment for me, realizing that songwriting was so accessible, that it wasn’t just some supernatural event only accomplished by famous people.

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2. What has been your most embarrassing musical moment?

I’m having a hard time thinking of one! I don’t really get embarrassed when I’m on stage … of course I’ve messed up countless times on stage, wrong chords, botched lyrics, and so on and so forth. But no fail so epic that I was embarrassed by it. In fact, I kind of enjoy the occasional mistake. It tears down a wall between you and the audience, breaks some amount of pretense or tension that is there, and I think loosens everybody up to actually have a better time in the long run.

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3. What do you like and dislike about touring?

I really like MOST things about touring — it’s something I love, and miss being able to do more often (having three kids and being in a band with your wife complicates touring quite a bit!). I love spending that sort of constant time with my band — I know, that’s a rare and lucky thing. But I’ve always been lucky to be in bands with my friends, people I love dearly. And there’s nothing better than driving around the country with your best friends, playing music, goofing around in the van, taking in new sights, developing inane and complicated inside jokes. It’s a very special experience, and the amount of stories I’ve collected just from our times touring, I will always cherish. I think my least favorite thing about touring is tour vans — because they always seem to break down. It’s crazy how many times our vans have broken down, and nothing stresses me out like van trouble on tour. Oh, and my other least favorite thing about tour is when it ends and you have to figure out how to get back into your everyday-life routine. It’s the pits!

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4. What is your favorite record store, anywhere in the world?

I gotta say, probably Amoeba in Los Angeles. I just have so many great memories of that place from when we lived there. Just a HUGE place where you could lose yourself for hours digging through records. I had so many friends work there, I discovered so much great music there. And way back in the day the Parsons (my other band) got to do an in-store there, and it was just the most fun. There isn’t another record store like it.

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5. Other than your own music, what is your favorite song or album of all-time? Why?

This is a hard question, and you know it! Hm. Well, I am one of the many people who thinks that the Beatles are easily the greatest band of all time, and they made the greatest records of all time. But I feel like that doesn’t even have to be said – we can just acknowledge it, and then I can give you a couple other favorite records of all time that are a little more interesting.

Luna – “Penthouse” – this was a game changing album for me. I’d never heard anything like it, and I was obsessed with the band the moment I heard it, and have been ever sense. Beautiful guitar playing, perfect production, perfect vibe. It’s a classic.

Tom Petty – “Wildflowers” – masterclass in song writing. Huge long record, without a dud on it. Well … I’m not a huge Cabin Down Below fan, but it’s still pretty fun. Sometimes you gotta just have fun, even if you’re Tom Petty.

The Blue Nile – “A Walk Across The Rooftops” – there is no album quite like this, and no band quite like the Blue Nile. Paul Buchanan has the perfect male singing voice, and his lyrics just break my heart and make me feel hopeful for humanity at the same time.

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6. You wake up in a seedy Berlin hotel room with no recollection of the past 96 hours. Who is your first call?

Ha! This is much easier than the previous question. Of course I’d call Brette, my wife. I think she’d be quite concerned, if not full on furious. Waking up in a seedy Berlin hotel would be kind of exciting, but the whole memory loss thing … not ideal.

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Images Courtesy of Lung RecordsEvan Thomas Way & The Phasers, and Noisy Ghost PR; Portraits of Evan Thomas Way by David Beach