Interview with Tommy Flake (Randy Seals)
[part one of a two part interview, the second part of which can be found at the finest powerpop site on the web, Powerpop Overdose. Photos by Allen Martin – MartinVision]
Singer, songwriter, producer, and drummer extraordinaire, Randy Seals has been a powerpop tour de force. While best known for his work with the critically acclaimed Beatifics, a power pop quartet out of Minneapolis, Randy’s power pop and pop punk credentials reach much further and include signicant contributions to The Elvis Brothers, Hot Glue Gun (where he was a founding member along with Mike Clayton), Peachfuzz, and Phyllis. Most notable however is his solo work under the moniker Tommy Flake. Randy recently relocated to North Carolina where we caught up with him and asked a few questions (below). But first, his discography:
1988-89 Toured with Elvis Brothers
1989 Hot Glue Gun – Tatertots
1990 Hot Glue Gun – The Life and Death of Hot Glue Gun
1990 Hot Glue Gun – I’ll Kill You (single)
1992 Clip The Daisies – s/a
1993 Clip The Daisies – F*ck The Pigs
1993 Clip The Daisies – Woosie (single)
1995 Peach Fuzz – s/a
1995 Peach Fuzz – Full Of Sh*t (single)
1998 Peach Fuzz – The Rest
1996 Beatifics – How I Learned To Stop Worrying
1998 Tommy Flake – Bliss
2000 Peach Fuzz – Poppy Cock
2001 Tommy Flake – Double Life
2002 Peach Fuzz – About A Bird
2002 The Red – Let’s Not And Say We Did
2003 Phyliss – s/a
2011 Tommy Flake – Second Skin
Now that Second Skin is out and getting great reviews, this seemed like a great time for us to get caught up on what’s happening with Randy Seals and his music.
Would you consider yourself to be a power pop artist? I’ve heard some similar artists say the power pop label is a commercial kiss of death, then later embrace it. Now Green Day has labeled their last release a power pop album. Your feelings about this?
I feel that I am in the genre of power pop/ indie pop/ indie rock and that playing music that is good is a commercial kiss of death most of the time. I’m not sure there is much money to made anyway except for a small handful of people. If you are my age and situation (have a kid), you simply don’t have the time to invest in an endeavor with almost no chance of making money. Thus, I go for the mindset of: I will continue to make music and not think too much about making money.
Its been 9 years since your late Tommy Flake album and, as a frame of reference, 15 years since the last Beatifics CD. What have you been up to?
The music business landscape has changed dramatically since the first Beatifics release and the first TF release. Both were courted by major labels and could have signed deals – even though neither did. It seems that, with the majors doing so poorly, that this is much more rare. Obviously, the internet has changed everything with music business as well as the technology of recording becoming affordable to everyone. I feel like these days I hear many high quality recordings from bands that may not have had a chance to record in the past or the recording would have been fairly terrible sound quality. This sort of evens the playing field and when you add the internet and easy access to getting your music out into the world, labels mean less. I see this as a good thing for music. I feel like the quality of music has risen a lot and there are a lot less bands trying to copy whatever sound is popular at the moment. This seems due to the increase in cheap high quality recoding gear and less super popular sounds of the moment.
[Read the rest of the interview HERE at Powerpop Overdose]