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THE SLEEPOVER DISASTER: A SLEEPER SUCCESS
Sitting in front of a Tower coffee shop Vince Corsaro and Luke Giffen are extremely at ease. Friends drop by, passing drivers honk and wave. After eight years as Fresno's premier rock group, their circle of recognition is beginning to expand. The band's most recent LP, "Loud is the new Quiet," has piqued the interest of such influential music magazines as The Big Takeover and Magnet. The "Sleepy D" is anything but a disaster.
Fresno Famous: When did you guys start playing together?
Luke Giffen: '97 I think.
Vince Corsaro: March of '97. It was just Luke and I and we played our first gig on June 7. We've been at it for a little while.
FF: Had you guys played in lot of bands before Sleepover?
LG: Yeah, Vince and I we were in a band called Vitamin Gun with Ryan Tallman. That band broke up and then we were at a show by this local band called Flaming June. They were really good. They were one of my favorite bands. They're long gone. Vince and I saw each other and we were like, "We should be doing this to." That's kind of how we got started. For the first couple months it was just Vince and I writing songs.
VC: We got Matt Odabashian to play bass for us on a weeks notice. We had two gigs scheduled but we didn't have a bass player but we had seven songs done.
FF: Who is in the band now?
LG: It's me and Vince and Eric and then uhm Terry. He is still in the band, but he lives in Portland so we haven't played shows with him. We keep him updated on what we're doing and he got to play on the new EP we put out. In Fresno it's just me and Vince and Eric.
VC: We've really managed to fill out the sound as a three piece. Terry is still on the official roster and he'll be with us again, He came down and played our CD release last year. If we get busy enough and have some big shows or showcases I'm sure he'll be part of that.
FF: How many albums have you guys release so far?
VC: Two EPs and two full lengths.
FF: And you guys also put together your own label, right?
VC: It's an imprint. It exists in name only. The idea behind that was, if all our releases have a label name on them and we've got enough stuff put out and we were ever in a financial position to help other bands get CDs out and we can build enough of a catalog then I could find distribution. I still have a lot of contacts from years as a buyer at Tower Records.
LG: I think it would be real nice to do it as a real label someday. And I think Vince would be really good at that.
VC: I know that end of the business pretty well. Some of my reps actually, one of my favorite reps owns Badman Recordings. A guy named Dylan, a really nice guy with a really strong vision. He's really put some amazing things out. Before too long I hope to be in a position to get a couple of bands recorded. I have a couple in mind. Then we can have distribution for all of our stuff. Which would be nice.
FF: Lately you guys have been getting some really good reviews for your last album, Loud is the New Quiet. I read a nice review last night in The Big Takeover magazine, how does it feel when people say "Good Job"?
LG: For me it was really nice because that is my favorite music magazine. I've gotten every issue since I first I was first introduced to them. It was just wow. My favorite rock writer is writing great stuff about something that I did. It's really cool.
VC: That was an added bonus- the editor of the magazine wrote the review and put us in his top 40 reviews.
LG: It's nice to have someone that you actually look up to and admire giving you praise.
VC: He gushed us a little bit and that felt really good.
LG: It's nice to have someone who is not a friend or a family member, somebody who lives in New York and has no connection and no reason at all to like us, to have someone like that write such positive things it's a little validation and a nice kick in the pants.
VC: Magnet Magazine is coming out any day and they are having us in their first exposure section where they pick a handful of new bands that they like, so I think we can be confident that that will be a good review. I don't expect to hit one as glowing as The Big Takeover. It would be hard to gush about us anymore. We've got all sorts of indie zines that have requested CDs based on those reviews and liked what they read, so chances are
LG: chances are the backlash will start and we haven't even done anything yet.
FF: You're getting these reviews on your last album, but you have released an EP since then, right?
VC: We had some songs that couldn't wait for a full-length, we wanted to get them out now, so we've got a new 5 song EP called the Oceanographer. KFSR is playing it like crazy, they are being extremely supportive. Three, four songs everyday.
FF: You're getting good press, when are you going to hit the road?
LG: We've got some out of town shows booked. Probably gonna hit the road for a week at the end of September. Hopefully even more, we'll see. Hopefully these reviews will help us get a little more attention and we'll be able to do a more extensive tour. Right now everyone has got their full-time jobs and families to support.
FF: You can buy the new EP at Tower Records?
VC: Yeah, you can buy all our albums at Tower. You can buy the first three on CD Baby and itunes. We'll have the new one online at the end of the summer.
FF: How is it playing in Fresno? How would you describe you experience as a band in town?
LG: It's been cool.
VC: It's been steady for us. In the days before the Starline we were at Club Fred playing for big crowds. We've been fortunate. When things start to settle down like a friend moves away or someone loses interest in the band, there's a whole new crop of people that are hearing us for the first time. Longevity is a plus.
FF: What are some of the things that have changed over time here?
VC: There weren't as many opportunities when we first got started to play. Starline has sort of become our homebase. In the early days Starline was 21 and over and they let us chance some all ages shows there and that sort of opened the door for the all-ages shows that happen there now. We were able to do shows without people fighting. Without underage people trying to buy drinks. Our crowd is pretty respectful that way. In a lot of ways that opened the place up. Hopefully it helped some young bands get started.