The Memorials | 2.18.11

"We just got hella’ drunk and had all of these emotional issues going on, so we just sat up in the studio and put that shit on wax."

I had the pleasure of talking with the Memorials—Thomas Pridgen (former drummer of Mars Volta), Viveca Hawkins and Nick Brewer—and let me tell you, these are three really awesome human beings. The phone call started with, “Whasuuuuup this is the Memorials, and we’re on the bus!” I immediately felt like I was talking to some of my closest friends. This is one free-spirited, fun, party-loving band who are also some of the most talented musicians out there. They bring their diverse backgrounds together to form a sound that is unique, intelligent and invigorating.
How are you guys doing?
TP: We’re chillaxing.
Where are you guys right now?
TP: New York, …We are excited about coming out there though. I actually went to the Arch the last time I was there, and I want to fucking go eat under the Arch with all these fools; that’s kind of, like, our memory.
How’s the tour been so far?
TP: We’ve been kind of smashing shit.
So it’s been fun?
TP: Yeah, it’s been fun, we’ve just been killing shit all over—that’s what you’re supposed to do on tour.
I read that you and Nick wrote these songs in seven days.
TP: Yeah, we took hella’ Red Bull, man.
Did you guys sleep?
TP: Yeah we slept. We just got hella’ drunk and had all of these emotional issues going on, so we just sat up in the studio and put that shit on wax.
So what was the writing process like?
NB: The writing process was grueling, and awesome, and pressure. Pressure cooker, you know? The pressure was, we only had so much time in the studio and we wanted to do the best that we could in the small amount of time, so we’d just grind out the songs. Really what happened is we sat in the studio, mic’d up so we could talk, I was in one room, Thomas was in another and we would jam out a riff, and drink, until we had a song.
When did the lyrics come in? Did you guys [Thomas and Nick] write those, or Viv, did you write them?
VH: I started writing a few of the songs, like, in that first two-week period, and then I got to sit with the music a little bit longer and I wrote the rest of the songs in about a month and a half.
It really kind of sounds like the boys wrote the music as songs and you just came in and did your thing over it.
VH: Yeah, Thomas just basically told me that he wanted me to go ahead and do my thing and make it my own and just really bring what I had to the situation, and so I was left kind of to whatever I decided. It was pretty much free reign. They made all the music and just gave it up to me. It made me feel great that they would trust me with all that music, because it was so incredible already; all the songs that they wrote meant so much to me already. It’s an honor and a privilege and totally a pleasure to be a part of this band.
How’s it been to be the frontwoman out there for these guys?
VH: It’s been a good time.  I try to keep it a little bit clean, but I’ve got kind of a bad mouth, so.
When did you first realize that you could sing?
VH: I’ve been singing since I was a little kid. We would always sing at home, it was a part of everyday life. I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was three years old.
Nick, your guitar playing is pretty out of this world. How did you get started playing?
NB: Thank you brother. … My older brother gave me his guitar when I was in 7th or 8th grade. He didn’t play it. He got a guitar for Christmas, and I always played it. He never played it, so he just gave it to me.
Did you take any lessons?
NB: I had one guitar lesson in my life, and the dude showed me the blues box, and I never went back. I was a classically trained piano player though, so I learned music there.
So the theory was there.
NB: Yeah, I took lessons for about six years, been playing for about 13.
Who are some of your influences?
NB: Early on it was both of the Jimmy’s, Hendrix and Page. I’ve killed every Hendrix record and every Led Zeppelin record. Physical Graffiti was my shit. So early on it was those dudes. In high school it was Kim Thayil from Soundgarden, I wanted to be that dude, along with Joe Tyler and Radiohead. Then I got into the Ramones and The Clash, and that led me to metal, and the Deftones. But I also love Wes Montgomery, and John McLaughlin is my favorite guitar player.
I can hear a lot of that influence in what you play on this record.
NB: John McLaughlin was the shit. To me what he was doing was, instead of just the techniques, he was more into sound. | Justin Thompson
You can catch the Memorials at Cicero’s this Friday, Feb. 18. Tickets are $8 advance/$10 door; $3 minor surcharge at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets go to or

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