Turnpike Gardens released their debut album earlier in 2015 and have made some noise locally this year with their classic rock, yet modern sound. The band consists of Heather Polvinale on vocals, Nick Funyak on bass & backing vocals, Evan Mulgrave on Guitar and James Conley on Drums. The group released a video for the song “Needle to the Groove,” back in March and we are pleased to premiere their 2nd video release “Perfect Blue.” The band and director Nathan Bucar take a simple yet effective approach with this one, filmed under blue lights at an empty Smiling Moose. The song really showcases the bands talents with startling vocals, guitar solos and even a bass solo. Check out the video and our interview with Evan Mulgrave below and be sure to catch Turnpike Gardens Friday, December 4 at Smiling Moose for their video release show with Blithehound and Ugly Blondes.
Sound Scene Express: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music
Evan Mulgrave: We’ve been a band for about two years now, there were a few variations of the lineup and these songs but it wasn’t until Heather joined us two years ago that things really felt right and got going. I’d say the inspiration was to make music we wanted to hear.
SSE: Have you been in any other bands?
EM: Haha sort of. Nick and I were in a band called GBE (which stood for “Greatest Band Ever”). Our only performance was at our 10th grade talent show, which we won by playing a cover of Everlong. My music career has been more or less downhill from that moment.
SSE: Who writes your song lyrics? What is your inspiration?
EM: I write most of the lyrics and usually the inspiration is that we have finished a song musically and it doesn’t have any words yet. Kidding (sort of). Usually it’s an idea or a theme that I want to explore, and I usually let the tone of the song inform that.
SSE: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
EM: I would say it’s hard rock music, almost a modernized classic rock, with some alternative influences thrown in here and there. Our influences are bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Pearl Jam, etc.
SSE: What is your favorite Turnpike Gardens song?
EM: My current favorite is one we are working on for the next album called “Favorite Days,” but off of the record we have out now I’d have to go with “Just Say When.”
SSE: Why did you choose to feature the song “Perfect Blue” in a video?
EM: It’s far and away our most popular song and probably the best fit for a video, it has more of a cinematic feel than some of other stuff.
SSE: What band would you love to open a show for?
EM: Queens of the Stone Age
SSE: Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues?
EM: Most of the local venues; The Rex Theater, Club Cafe, Howlers, Mr.Smalls, The Smiling Moose, all of which are great. The Smiling Moose has been really good to us, Scarfo who owns The Smiling Moose is a really great guy to work with and they actually let us shoot the video for Perfect Blue there.
SSE: Do you perform outside of Pittsburgh?
EM: We do, we’ve played in Philadelphia, Deep Creek and we have a show at Thiel College in February.
SSE: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week, in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
EM: It depends on whether we are getting ready for a show or not, if we have a
show coming up they are pretty straightforward and we play through the set a couple of times. If we don’t have a show scheduled they are usually a lot looser, a lot more jamming and just trying to find new stuff we like.
SSE: What do you think of the Pittsburgh Music Scene?
EM: I’ve been really impressed by it. It’s a lot deeper and more eclectic than I would have thought, I think it’s a scene that kind of has something for everyone.
SSE: Who is your favorite Pittsburgh band/musician?
EM: I have three. They are The Semi-Supervillains, Ugly Blondes and There You Are. We love playing shows with these bands, they’re all awesome guys who make great music.
SSE: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website
with sample songs or a demo CD?
EM: If you go to turnpikegardensband.com you can listen to our whole first record for free. If you want to download the album you can go to turnpikegardens.bandcamp and pay whatever you want for it. You can also
find our stuff on Spotify.
SSE: Is there anything else you wold like to add?
EM: A huge thank you to Nathan Bucar, my good friend who directed the video, he did an awesome job, thanks to Scarfo and everyone at The Smiling Moose for letting us shoot there (and play there this Friday), and thank you to Sound Scene Express for interviewing us and posting our video. You are all fine human beings with impeccable taste.