Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Eight with Nate: The Juliana Theory brings big rock from the emerald city

Forty miles east of Pittsburgh lies the town of Latrobe, Pa., a usually quiet, working-class town that prides itself on little green Rolling Rock bottles stamped with that curious “33” insignia.

Every summer, the town comes alive with residents and tourists quickly depleting the local brew supply while getting an earful of distorted information at the annual Rolling Rock Town Fair which, in recent years, has seen performances from mainstream rockers like Filter, Incubus and the Stone Temple Pilots.

Yet with all the big corporate rock causing the townies to clamor each summer, one of Latrobe’s favorite acts is like its favorite beer — local.


The Juliana Theory did the indie-rock thing for two full-length records but wasn’t ashamed to seek out major-label support, something that many secretly desire but pretend to despise. Epic Records quickly picked the quintet up, threw them in the studio with a Talking Head and has now unleashed them on a nationwide tour with Something “If you C Jordan” Corporate and Vendetta Red.

The group’s studio concoction, Love, scheduled for a Tuesday release, is a straight-ahead rocker that falls far from the Of Montreal hipster tree. Too often, indie-sounding rock is associated with a colorful fashion sense and warped, esoteric music. However, The Juliana Theory proves it is possible to sound a little different and still work with logical chord progressions and soaring vocals.

TJT bassist Chad Alan dished from Denver on major-label life and the pitfalls of fighting for success as the group prepared for its Madison show.

Badger Herald: You went the indie route for two records and stand firm that you wouldn’t have changed that. But is the semi-existence of major-label security too much to pass up?

Chad Alan: I don’t really know about major-label security. I just think we didn’t have any other options at that time. When we started out, we didn’t have any labels interested since we had just formed. The one thing that appealed to us about Epic was distribution to places outside the States. As for security, you never know what’s going to happen. We’re very happy to give it a go, though.

BH: What inspired the new record, Love?

CA: Songwriting for us is a pretty fun process. We all work really well together and equally contribute parts to songs. Our original drummer left the band and we got our friend Josh Walters to join. He really brought a lot of the tracks to life. For me, that was a really cool thing — to add a great drummer and good friend to the band.

BH: What’s different about Love?

CA: It has more of a live feel. We wanted to go with something a little more real. We got to play together in the same room instead of tracking stuff individually. We just wanted the album to jump out more than previous records, which I think we’ve done, and I think we’ll continue to go in that direction.

We have an energetic live show, and in the studio it’s a different process. It’s tough to capture that kind of energy — at least, for us it was. One of these days we’ll get it right and make the album we’re really happy with, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

BH: What did producer Jerry Harrison (The Talking Heads) bring out of you?

CA: He was awesome. He didn’t make us nervous at all. We had never worked with a producer before, since we were self-produced, so to have someone come in and listen to the songs and give us feedback was really cool. At first we didn’t know how to react, but then we got used to it and it was helpful. Jerry was really into the songs before the album was even made.

BH: What’s something the band hasn’t achieved that you’re still chasing?

CA: We’ve never achieved putting out an album on a major [label], but that will change Tuesday. Everybody wants to have a successful record, and we want to sell copies, but we just set out to make a good album. I think we’ve done that, but hopefully people will be into the record and we can take it out to a lot of places we haven’t been before. It’s kind of fun because it’s like starting over again somewhere else.

BH: What’s the best/worst part of being in the band?

CA: It’s an exciting time because the album is coming out and we’ve met some really good people. We’re touring with a band called Vendetta Red from our label and becoming friends with them. It’s fun to be on the road with your friends and people you like, but at the same time the downsides are fatigue and missing your family. You miss people on the road, but that’s just the way it is.

BH: Do you ever get sick of people attaching Rolling Rock to the band?

CA: Never! That’s our pride and joy. We like Rolling Rock. It’s the official beer in our rider. If they don’t have it, we’ll take something else, but nine times out of 10 it’s the Rock. It comes out of our faucets back home.

BH: You’re playing a ton of dates all over the country — how do you keep your sanity and get some rest?

CA: It’s hard. Whenever we’re travelling we find some time to sleep, but basically you get into a routine of when you play and when you soundcheck. Some days are different, but you need to get into a routine — but not too much of a routine that it’s not fun anymore.

The Juliana Theory plays a sold-out show at the Annex Sunday night at 7 p.m. with Something Corporate and Vendetta Red.

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