Sunday, April 11, 2010

Interview with These Cities Passing

Who: These Cities Passing, and more
What: Metal band, in concert
Where: Elks Lodge, 41- S. Main St., Pocatello, ID 83204 - map
When: Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

There is a metal show at the Elks Lodge in Pocatello next weekend - as far as I can tell, it's a first for the venue. Earlier this week I interviewed Versailles; These Cities Passing is also on the billing for the show. I caught up with front man, Neil Johnson, to find out more about this new Pocatello-based metal band and their music.

SLG: Describe your genre of music in as much detail as you like. Maybe list your three best crowd-pleasing songs? Can you explain in what way do you most appeal to your fans?

NJ: Well first of all, everyone is this band has very different tastes in music which helps bring about our unique sound. I personally love hardcore and punk, while Casey loves death metal; Colton loves mainstream metal, and Shaun loves pop punk. We identify our style as metal with a little hardcore thrown in there. We have all the aspects of a metal band such as leads, but we still maintain the hardcore and punk feel by having 2 step beats and breakdowns. I love to throw in singing with harmony lines and fun sing-along parts with the occasional shout out.

Our best known songs are "Gheppetto and the Belly of the Whale," "Rectify and Rebuild" and "Last City on the Left." Many of the compliments we've received include the fact that all of our songs sound completely different. Each song has its own unique style and sound that makes it very easy to distinguish our songs and remember them.

I feel we appeal to our fans the most by just having a good sense of humor on stage and just making sure everyone is having a good time. A lot of times at shows, there is an atmosphere of uncertainty - people are sometimes afraid to interact or really let loose and have a good time because of what people might think of them, and that's not cool at all. We try to loosen the mood and make sure everybody has a good time.

We've been complimented by people who love all different styles, which is cool 'cause it helps us appeal to more than just one group. Our original style appeals to metal kids, hardcore kids, punk kids and rock fans.

SLG: Who's in the band? How long has this line-up been together?

Neil Johnson - vocals/ lyrics
Casey Hawkins - lead guitar
Colton Love - rhythm guitar
Shaun Walters - bass guitar

NJ: Right now we don't have a permanent drummer, but a guy named Riley Miller is filling in for us for the time being. The line up has been together since October of 2009. We're a very new band to the Pocatello area, and we're hoping to get out there more and play more shows.

I brought everyone together by talking one day with Colton about the musical contest, Pokapalooza. I told him we should get some guys together and write a couple songs and play the show for fun. I made some calls to Casey and Shaun and told them we told them about the gig, and that's how the band got started.

SLG: Tell us where you're from and currently based in what town?

NJ: The reason the band is called These Cities Passing is because were all from different cities. I'm the only person originally from Pocatello. Casey is from Shelly, Colton is from Boise and Shaun is from Lewiston. I have been in bands in the past with Colton and Casey and worked with Shaun, so that's how I met them and brought them together. We're currently based out of Pocatello, because myself, Colton, and Casey are full-time ISU students.

SLG: Past shows or venues you'd like to brag about? Past or future shows in the Pocatello area?

NJ: Some signed bands that we've played with are: Silent Civilian, Bless the Fall, Greeley Estates, Chelsea Grin and Fire in the Skies. We've played with many talented local bands as well though ... Versailles, Atlantis Falls Under, Sworn to Uphold, Forgiveness Denied and many others. We hope to get more $2 shows lined up in Poky and hope to get the music scene alive in this town.

SLG: Describe this particular show ... what can people expect if they come to this show? All ages or 21+? Ticket prices or cover charge?

NJ: This show is only $2 to get in! We're trying to get as many people out as possible to see what local bands have to offer. There are some really talented bands in this area, and I want people to come support them. This is show is at the Elks Lodge on Main Street. Show starts at 7:00 p.m. and the bands are:

Forgiveness Denied
These Cities Passing
The Brave

SLG: Any comments about the local live music scene, the music industry in general? What do you think is the best way to get your music out there?

NJ: The local music scene is slowly growing in this area, and we're trying to encourage that. We aren't trying to get signed or big right now; we're just trying to get out there and show people what we have to offer. We're going to try and tour next summer, and once we solidify our line-up, we're going to hit the studio sometime in May.

SLG: Do you have any favorite videos of your band or your music on YouTube? If so, what is the url?

NJ: Our myspace page is where people can find all of our updates, songs, and show dates.

We also have YouTube videos up.

SLG: Recordings? Will you have CD's or more for sale at the show?

NJ: We're hitting the studio in May to record our EP.

SLG: How can fans contact you? Myspace? or another website?

NJ: We're available on MySpace, and that's our best way of contact at

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