Timisarocker Q&A: Playing a gig for one fan, splitting from the Twin Cities drag scene, and finishing a new album
Timisarocker is a Minneapolis-St. Paul band with a new live performance video (sponsored by Music in Minnesota) dropping Thursday. Alex called up Tim Dooley to discuss that and several other important topics, including Tim's NSFW custom mic stand.
Alex: I figured we need to start with the bull penises. We saw you break out the new mic stand at Day Block a couple years ago. Was it brand new at that point?
Tim: I think so. I honestly can't remember when my boys bought that for me. Whether it was for my birthday, or whether it was for a holiday, but it was one of the first few times I'd gotten to use it. And it is my favorite thing of all time. It is like one of the coolest things I own. Because nobody else has it. And I feel like the more I show it off, the more more people will be like, yeah, I want a bull-penis mic stand. So, so far, I'm the only one in the world that I know of that has it. And I just think it’s so so so cool.
Matt (Lentz) and Dylan (Dykstra) were watching a Netflix show. It's just people who have like, very strange interests, or whatever. And this guy (Ross Taylor) was making things out of bull pizzle, which is the word for a bull's penis. I guess. I don't have a pizzle. So. Yeah. And on the show, he showed how that he made golf clubs and walking canes and things like that. So they contacted him and just asked, like, have you ever made a mic stand for someone? And he's like, no, but that sounds really cool. It's custom made for my height. There are actually two bull penises and it's attached by the antler of an elk.
Alex: This sounds like a potential investment opportunity.
Alex: Is this going to make an appearance at every show from now on? Or is it only for special occasions?
Tim: Well, normally I try to bring it everywhere I can that I think would mean something to the show. Like for an album release show or something like that. That's more on the important side. But there have been other shows where, I mean ... There's just some gigs that you accept, like, this is just gonna pay for whatever equipment you need for the next gig or, or you know, this is going to help fund an album. So it's not every show. So if any venues in the future read this blog or whatever they're like, oh, so I guess we're not fancy enough to bring out the bull-dick mic stand.
Alex: That means that just means Flip Rushmore was extremely fancy if we got that first showing.
Tim: Oh, absolutely.
Alex: You and the band have a great energy on stage, and with you, it seems like something you were meant to do from birth. Like, this innate ability to go out and be a performer on stage. But there are plenty of other frontman out there—myself included—that are a lot more reserved. What advice can you give to those of us who are a little more stationary?
Tim: Well, see, the thing about me ... I was born and raised in Atlanta. I was in church probably five days out of the week, and not by choice. I was raised to always be in church. And I would always notice how people would feel the music, and they would just kind of, I guess, catch the Holy Ghost or whatever is, you know, happening in their bodies. And they would just perform through whatever feeling that they were having based on whatever was playing at the time. And that's kind of where I found my style. That's where it all originated. It was never faith-based, but it was more music-based. And that's what I thought it was for everybody else.
So my advice to give to anybody is, if your body wants you to move, then by all means ... It's not anything that I plan for, or choreograph or anything, it's just something that comes naturally, and I just allow my body to just flow. So if you are playing music that you genuinely enjoy that you write yourself and you have a connection to, it should come naturally. And if it doesn't, then it's probably not something that your body is having you express that in that way.
I think I'm kind of lucky because I'm not stuck behind an instrument. Like how most bands are out there. There's always like a frontman or, or frontperson who may or may not be playing an instrument, as well, as you know, singing into a microphone, I kind of have the freedom to move around as much as I want. And just kind of go on a journey. And that's what I experience. Whenever I'm performing with the boys, we feed off each other's energy, and it just kind of comes naturally.
My advice is just to let your body do whatever it feels like doing at that moment. Just let go. It's kinda like a fart. You can't hold it in forever, you just kind of like have to like let it out when it's time like it's natural.
Is it fair to say that if you're the kind of person that holds in farts all the time, maybe you shouldn't be on stage?
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. You shouldn't be a singer and you're in your body is going to explode at some point.
You've got a new live project out this week (with Music in Minnesota). And the concept was that there were a few bands—including yours—that played at different venues around town. But it was only for one single fan. Do I have that right?
That's exactly what happened. Yeah.
Who was your one fan? Like, did you get a good one?
His name is Jason (Lardy). He had never seen a Timisarocker show before. He actually never heard of us before. But he wanted to get a local music experience from someone. After doing research on all the artists, I think we were the ones that he landed on because he looked up our music. He looked at our videos, he read a few articles and he was like, okay, I don't know who these guys are. But they sound like a lot of fun.
I actually got a chance to interview for his podcast (Blast Beats N' Bicycles). And we talked about the show before it happened. He's a really, really cool guy. From what I understand, he's really into metal. And I don't think we fit that same genre, but it was still something that he was able to connect with. Honestly, for the life of me ... I know I'm a very cocky and conceited character. But I did not think that anybody would try to win a concert with us. We have probably a small handful of, quote unquote, fans.
I say that very loosely, because I am not shit. Like, you know, I put my pants on one leg at a time like everybody else. And I didn't expect anybody to want to, like, participate in this.
I mean, worst case scenario, you get someone who just is really awkward or, like, looks at you weird or something.
Yeah. Thank God that did not happen. At first, it was supposed to only be acoustic. And when we were assigned the Parkway Theater, I had to basically beg, like, there's no way we can play the Parkway Theater for the first time, acoustic. We have all this equipment. We can run our own sound. There has to be a way we can play amplified. So after doing everything that we could in order to convince them to let us do it live, and also connecting with the videographers, to make sure that he could connect to the board that we were using in order to record us. It all worked out.
They told us we needed to prepare like 30 minutes or 40 minutes or so. And I don't know how long we played because it was the first time we played a show like that in forever. So we just added three more songs. We just kept going and going and going. Even at the very end, Zach (Eyl), my drummer, just started playing the intro of a different song and we're like, okay, let's go.
You guys are no strangers to trying different types of shows. I know you did the Green Eggs and Ham thing at the Nomad a long time ago. You started the Black Rock Matters project, which did really well. In 2021 or 2022, whenever we get live music back and rolling, do you have any new big ideas?
No! (Laughs.) I haven't thought about it. I haven't had a chance to sit down and think about new themes for shows. Cuz the only reason why I do those things is to get an audience. Like I said earlier, I'm from Georgia. I learned very quickly when I moved here that Minnesotans love a gimmick. They want some kind of reason to come out. You can throw a rock down the street and hit like 16 other bands. So you need to make yourself stand out in some kind of way. I don't want to perform for an empty bar. I want to make sure that venues understand that I'm working very hard in order to not only bring people in for our band, but also make sure that their liquor sales and their patronage is up and high. And that they want us back.
(In the past) I'd only bring in five or 10 people. And normally they're like my friends and the girlfriends of the other band members. It wasn't worth the investment for the for the bar. So I do things in order to make sure that it's financially acceptable for that venue that I'm working with at that time. But right now, the only thing that I'm really focused on is finishing the album that we had to stop recording in March of 2020.
You shut down everything last March?
I am able to, like, revisit this now because it's been almost a year. Back in February, March of last year, we had 10 gigs lined up. Half of those gigs were, you know, very high-priority gigs. We were going to be performing battle of the bands with Twin Cities Pride, and and if we won, we would have been able to perform on the main stage at Pride as the headliners. We had Music in the Park booked. There were so many things that we were ready to perform and continue to build our fan base, and our album was scheduled to be finished by then. We would have been able to, you know, sell the album, promote the album, have it be everywhere. But when everything shut down, our producer didn't want us to continue recording. And that was understandable because we were also not wanting to do anything, we were just gonna follow all the temporary guidelines that were in place because there's a global pandemic and blah, blah, blah.
So we understood, and then April came around. Then May. And then it just kept coming and kicks into depression and you're just like, oh my gosh, this really sucks. But luckily now, there have been less restrictions, and there's been more extensive research and more concrete future plans for not only just Timisarocker, but also for the rest of the world. And now there's a vaccine. We are back in the studio finishing the record right now. I actually have a session at seven tonight (Tuesday). To record more more vocals. I think the only thing that's left to do is finish harmonies. Throw in ancillary instruments, so like, MIDI sounds and other things. Maybe throw in a few live performers if we can afford it for different instruments that we want to have in songs. Then mixing, mastering, pressing, copying, distributing, feels like we're on the homestretch. But this was the stressful part.
It's the longest homestretch of all time.
You've had a lot of time to think about titles and artwork and concepts ... Are those all squared away, ready to go?
The title of the album is going to be called Up Next. And the artwork is kind of sketched out. None of us are, you know, graphic designers or anything. But we luckily have an amazing scene here in the Twin Cities where we can find the help that we need for a very fair price. Because all of the songs flow into one another, and it's kind of a themed album, the title being Up Next, we wanted to kind of give it a behind-the-scenes-backstage-green-room style. So on the front cover, it'll look like I'm in a green room. There's that couch that's in every green room. Typical lamp you see in a green room. I'm basing this off of a few ... like Cabooze has a green room that has a cooler filled with beer. Another venue, called Part Wolf (né Nomad World Pub), I love their green room because you have to go downstairs in order to get there and their couch was just filled with stickers from good bands. That's what the artwork is gonna be based on.
You're kind of waiting in the wings. Up Next. Yeah. Very cool. I assume all the songs on the new album are written, but I saw you were you were tweeting about writing some new stuff yesterday.
You know, I write all the lyrics for the band. And I guess the way it's been described is deliberately confusing, but but still understandably, like relatable. We have a song that's going to be on the new record called "What Has He Got That I Don't Got." And if anybody were listened to that song, they could assume it was just a regular breakup song, but it's actually more detailed. It's actually about being jealous of what other musicians have that I don't. I'm not as you blessed to have all the equipment that that somebody else had at the time. I think I wrote that song a few years ago.
At the time, I was still living in my old house and I had a friend who just had all of the equipment in the world. He was able to just record whenever he wanted to. Publish all of his music. Have it mixed. Have it just be done immediately. And I'm like, well, I'm just as talented as you are. I was to a different friend about how my process is so different than than hers. I write my choruses first. Because I think the choruses of a song are what people remember first, and that's what gets stuck in their head. That's the main melody that people sing along to ...
I can take up to about three to four months to finish a song, because I'll debate myself over like, a single word. Like the word just, it will, like rack my brain for hours. And I'll be like, should I use that word here? What does it mean in this context? Last night before I went to bed, I was like, let me just quickly rewrite something. And then it turned into a whole 'nother thing. And I was up for about an hour writing a song that I'm never going to use, no one's ever going to hear it. It's just me making sure I'm still exercising my brain for future writing.
You have a reputation for always staying busy. I know you do some drag. I know you're a minister. Those are a couple areas that probably also got pretty shut down last year.
What have you been filling your time with? Any new hobbies or anything like that?
In the beginning of (the pandemic), I stepped away from a lot of my extracurricular personas that were using the name Timisarocker. Like the drag character. It kind of fell to the wayside. Because the current drag community here in the Twin Cities wasn't really the kind of community that I want it to continue working with. I'm not, you know, saying this for every single person who does drag in the cities or anything. But for the most part, they weren't necessarily trying to in enrich the queer community or the LGBTQ community. They were just kind of face value, trying to make money, which is, you know, no problem. I get it, that's your hustle. But it's not something that I wanted to continue doing past March.
But the good thing about doing drag is that it allowed me to realize that the way I look when I perform is important, and it draws the attention of the audience. I was able to perfect my sewing. So that was something that I was able to replace. I've been sewing a lot, and I have been making new costumes. I'm still an ordained minister for people who want to get married. No one has hired me to be their ordained minister (in awhile), so if anybody out there wants me to administer their wedding, I'm available and my rates are very, very cheap.
They can expect the bull penises at the ceremony.
Absolutely. Yes. And rhinestone body suits at the altar, saying do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband. Oh yeah. That's what they're looking for.
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