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Ten Shots with Eric Savoie of The ThrowDown Band by Georgetown Fats

by GFats on May 25, 2011

Ten Shots with Eric Savoie of The ThrowDown Band

By Georgetown Fats

While I am constantly inclined to embrace my musical snobbery roots, when a band truly has that je ne sais quoi it is hard not to get caught up in the moment and just enjoy the music.  I had one of those moments when I first witnessed and heard what I now know as The ThrowDown Band.

Rather than attempt to pigeonhole their style with a musical academic white paper, not to mention inflate my own ego, the opportunity to interview Eric Savoie of The ThrowDown Band was just too intriguing to pass up.

Georgetown Fats – Eric thanks for humoring me and taking time out of your schedule.  For now, let’s start with the basic questions first.  I’ve seen you both listed as “ThrowDown Blues Band” and “ThrowDown Band.”  Which is the correct band name, or due to your incendiary and risqué live show have you found the need to book the band under both names?

Eric Savoie of The ThrowDown Band – Well it’s a sad indication of the state of the blues . . . I got tired of calling clubs to book gigs and as soon as they heard the word “blues” it was an automatic “Oh, we don’t book blues bands.”  No matter how hard I tried to explain that we aren’t your typical blues band I couldn’t get past the moniker.  So with the name change we’re trying to sneak in under the radar and win them over to the blues side of things.

Georgetown Fats – While “ThrowDown” certainly has diverse roots outside of the blues, I am curious about some of the blues artists that have inspired your updated sound.

Eric Savoie – Well, speaking for the entire band, I would have to say that Gary Moore is our number 1 influence.  He was a lot like us.  A rocker who loved the blues, so his style was loud, aggressive and in your face.  Albert Collins is another one who believed that just because you’re playing the blues doesn’t mean it’s all a downer.  Stan Blues Junior just went wireless, so boarding a bus and ordering a pizza while on stage is just a matter of time.

Georgetown Fats – So, how did you guys meet?  Juvie Hall?  Community service?

Eric Savoie – Craigslist, believe it or not.  It’s not just for perverts anymore.  But I suppose you can’t really prove that by us.

Georgetown Fats – I have it on good authority that Stan Blues Jr.’s amps and guitars “go to 11.”   Would you care to comment on that piece of insider information?

Eric Savoie – We are a loud, aggressive band.  All of us.  Skip Fischer is the loudest drummer I’ve ever heard, as many local blues musicians can attest.  And I LOVE IT!  I don’t believe that blues has to be acoustic and apologetic.  While I love low key acoustic blues, I don’t believe that the blues has to be defined by one style.  The point of the blues is to be an expression of TRUTH.  If what you’re feeling is sadness, your music should inspire empathy.  If you’re happy, your music should make people want to dance.  If you’re a forceful strong personality, your amps are going to go to 11.  If Muddy Waters was still alive and playing I think his amps would go to 12.

Georgetown Fats – OK, now it’s time to take the gloves off and get a little weird.  In regards to pre-gig rituals, are we talking wearing the same loin cloth over and over, or does ThrowDown sacrifice virgins when you’re on a roll?

Eric Savoie – Not virgins, goats.  Do you know any virgins?

Georgetown Fats – I understand ThrowDown is close to releasing its first full length release.  Can you share a CD title, drop date and a general understanding of what is going to be on the disk?  Will this be all original material, or will you be mixing in a few covers?

Eric Savoie – The name of the CD is Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.   Our official release party will be at The C-Note in Hull on May 27 when we open for the great J. Geils.  The CD is a mixture of originals and a few covers.  The originals are blues with a heavy edge and at least one of them can’t even be considered blues by the traditional view.

Georgetown Fats – While it is apparent that any fledgling singers who want to follow your style should hit the gym hard and watch repeated episodes of “Captain Caveman,” for those who want to emulate your sound, what is your suggestion to get a voice into a similar bluesy/hard rock sound?

Eric Savoie – Thank you sir.  Captain Caveman has been my personal hero from a very young age.  How did you know that?  HA!  As far as fledgling singers go, the only advice I can give is the same advice I was given.  Your voice is YOUR voice.  Emulating someone else is never going to work.  Just be yourself and if you sound like a cartoon character, embrace it and expand on it!

Georgetown Fats – Since you guys have gotten around more than Charlie Sheen lately, not to mention receiving far warmer receptions from the assembled crowds, to what do your attribute your recent great run for a relatively new band?

Eric Savoie – Winning!  Hahaha! Seriously though, I can’t explain it other than we work very hard.  We are laboring under the assumption that our time is limited.  At 41 I’m the youngest member of this band.  We don’t have 20 years to make this happen so we operate with a sense of urgency.  Not to mention that the whole idea of our live show is to have fun and hopefully infect the crowd with our enthusiasm. There is a huge blues audience in the Boston area and they are educated, discriminating fans.  Our style is different than most and that seems to be bringing the youngsters over to the blues side.  We love the blues but feel it must evolve to survive so everything we do is with that in mind.

Georgetown Fats – This is a recycled question, but I am always fascinated with the responses: What term on ThrowDown’s rider will have to be met in order for you to know you’ve “made it?”

Eric Savoie – Not much . . . Topless women in the dressing room and free whiskey will do it for me.

Georgetown Fats – I’ve already admitted this to you privately, but as a blues snob I found myself not wanting to like ThrownDown even before you guys hit the stage.  Within your 20 minute set, I quickly realized how foolish my pre-conceived notion was and just got caught up it all.  Where my temporary rectal cranium inversion is a character flaw, I am curious if you guys have managed to quantify that ‘secret ingredient’ that is bringing non-traditional listeners to blues.

Eric Savoie – Well I’m glad we won you over!  I’m not sure what it is.  Our stage show is definitely high energy.  Maybe like you, the audiences just can’t help but get caught up in it all.  We strive for more than just making good music.  We want to entertain.  And as you know, we have a strong influence from the rock and roll side of things.  Or it could just be that they’re fascinated with Skip’s sweat pants.

Georgetown Fats – Other than the release of Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and the release party at the C-Note on May 27th, what are some of ThrowDown’s other big goals for 2011?  Is there a tour in the works, or will you all be blowing the roof off of New England clubs exclusively?

Eric Savoie – For now we’re still pretty close to home.  A tour is not out of the question and there ARE stirrings . . . but nothing I can tell you about right now.  We do want to get out onto those festival stages this year and are looking forward to some opportunities to get out of state and spread the disease, ya know?

Georgetown Fats – You know, here is one troubling me lately.  Maybe you can set my mind at ease on this one.  As much as I want to remember the great singer, songwriter, bluesy-boozey, musician that Steven Tyler once was, I can’t get the middle-aged, profiteering, 3 AM Bourbon Street drag queen that just keeps popping up every time I turn on the TV.  Which Steven Tyler should be remembered when his body catches up to his mind and ultimately fails him?

Eric Savoie – Ya know, I STILL love the Screamin’ Demon in all his forms.  I’m just fascinated with the stories, the rhymes, and the fact that his body HASN’T caught up with his mind. His voice, at least, is ageless it seems.

Georgetown Fats – So you’ve already brought to my attention Skip’s propensity for sweat pants, which is a visual only whiskey can scrub away; are there any other dirty little secrets you want to roll out on the other guys?  Does Stan have a ‘thing’ for Roseanne Barr?  Does Jon own the complete works of Celine Dion?

Eric Savoie – Under penalty of death I am sworn to secrecy.

Georgetown Fats – When not rehearsing, recording, or playing live with ThrowDown, how do you find time to manage the business aspects (booking, promotion) of the band?  Have you gotten to the point of having to bring in outside help or do you still operate in a DIY manner?

Eric Savoie – I’m in constant promotion mode.  www.reverbnation.com/throwdown.  Contact me as soon as possible for any possible dates!

Eric Savoie – Just kidding.  I know you probably can’t use that so here’s the straight answer.

I still personally handle all the business aspects of the band.  As you know, it can turn into a full time job and sometimes I would definitely like to get some outside help.  You offering?

Georgetown Fats – You have already mentioned the CD Release Party at The C-Note on May 27th where you will be sharing the bill with J. Geils. What other Boston acts or legends do you hope to share a stage or bill with at some point?

Eric Savoie – We are extremely honored to be sharing the bill with J. Geils.  The man is an icon around here!  I think that appearance is going to go a long way as far as introducing our band to a new audience for us.  We’re open to any gigs that will do that.

Call it blues rock, heavy blues metal or just rock and roll, I am sure the guys of the ThrowDown Band don’t really care at this point.  After a couple of listens to an advance copy of Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, while some will continue to argue about blues purity, I am far more interested in promoting a damn fine band with their first full length disk.  I still can’t put my finger on the ThrowDown Band’s “it factor,” I just know they have one.

For more information on The ThrowDown Band check out www.reverbnation.com/throwdown

2 Comments
  1. Bruce Vidito permalink

    From the first time I saw Eric, Stan, John and Skip perform I was hooked by the raw energy and talent that these guys displayed. The high octane, in your face rocking blues gave me flashbacks to the 60’s and 70’s greats like Jimi Hendrix, Wishbone Ash, early Grand Funk, Robin Trower, just to name a few. I have been a big advocate of these guys ever since and feel if they got the right break they could make quite a name for themselves. One of the best bands around.

    Bruce – Your friendly C Note Doorman

  2. Bill Maurer permalink

    Hendrix, Mayall, and Joplin all played the Blues, and so do these guys, just not like everybody else did/does. Every time I’ve seen Throwdown I leave feeling like I was just part of something very special. These guys got it going on.

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