At Bullet Music we value our local heroes as much as the major headliners that come through our harmonious hub. January's spotlight band is Copious Jones. We sat down with Critter, Mikhail, and John from the band before their most recent show at Aisle 5. Matt Stallard is also a permanent member of the band, but unfortunately he couldn't join us for this interview.
Tell me about your name. Who is Copious Jones?
Mikail: We are all Copious Jones.
Critter: You are Copious Jones.
John: What is Copious Jones?... Ya know... we like to leave it open for interpretation. It's whatever you want it to be really. You tell us!
Critter: It's some guy that owes me a whole lot of money.
Where did you guys meet?
John: Atlanta Institute of Music.
Critter: School, we were all studying music together.
John: We didn't really hang out at school, but thats where we first ran into each other. We really started to hang out at festivals, as the three of us. Camping at festivals.
Critter: Before we were all gigging at these festivals, that we spend a lot of time playing at now- we were all attending them and meeting and jamming around campfires. That's pretty much where we started.
What year would that have been, maybe?
Critter: Ah, hell.
Mikhail: That was 2010.
Critter: We were just fresh out of music school.
Whats the first festival ya'll remember all being at together?
Critter: *looks to his bandmates* Wasn't that the picnic?
John: Yeah! These are small gatherings, not major festivals. Events our friends' throw in North Georgia somewhere.
Critter: The first one was "The Family Picnic"
In the pines?
John, Critter, and Mikhail: Yeah, the motherfucking pines!
I'd love to hear a funny tour story...
Critter: There was this one time Mikail ran over a unicorn!
I can't see him doing that.
John: All the ones I can think of, I don't know if they should be on the record...
*Collective nodding in agreement*
Critter: We could tell them about the time Trucker... The dog on tour ate half of a gulf ball worth of hash once.
John: It wasn't our hash!
Critter: He turned out fine, but we had a whole night of freaking out and being worried about the dog. We didn't discover what happened until we saw a picture that I took of the dog and Mikhail playing guitar out back of this club, where people had been busted the night before and ditched their stash of hash. Trucker had found it on the ground and eaten it.
How was the dog acting?
Mikhail: Like he was high as fuuuuuck.
John: We got off stage after the show, and I remember going back stage and Mikhail was like, "Dude, there's something terribly wrong with Trucker." His eyes were all bugged out, he was very confused, he had no equilibrium he was leaning and falling. He was twitching. This went on for about seven, eight hours. We thought of all the possibilities... did he have a stroke? Wait. This isn't really a funny story.
Mikhail: Yeah, this is more of a terrifying story.
John: We took him to the vet and he ended up getting his stomach pumped and all sorts of stuff. Then the next day, we went back to the venue and found the remains of what he had been eating off the ground. It was just a ball of hash.
Critter: Turned out to be the best hash we've ever seen in our lives, too.
Mikhail: SEEN! Only seen!
John: We immediately threw it away!
Critter: And notified the authorities.
I wouldn't expect different from y'all law-abiding gents!
John: This was in Long Island.
Critter: It's kind of funny, the dog was actually ok the whole time and I guess its not funny at all.
Any other fun tour stories?
Critter: There was all those times Mikhail blamed his farts on the dog.
John: We got stranded on the beach in New Smyrna and we lost our car keys on the beach and then spent about seven hours combing the beach at four or five in the morning, in the sand. It was Easter Sunday and all of a sudden hundreds of hundreds of people starting showing up and it was this whole debacle. We called AAA. They said, "We can't help you, our one truck is out at the moment." There is a church service going on.
Critter: Church service just randomly happens at sunrise on this beach around us.
Critter: We were so lost in tour we had NO IDEA it was Easter Sunday.
So WHO lost the keys?
*Everyone looks at Mikhail*
John: But he also found them! One by one, we give up. We're like alright fuck this I'm going to bed. The spare to the car was unfortunately in the car, which was pretty unhelpful at nine or ten in the morning.
Mikhail: I'm the only person awake at this point.
John: So finally, the church service ends and Mikhail is able to get ahold of AAA. They're like, "Hey, by the way our truck is at this church service at the beach." We're like, "SHIT! That's where we are." And the truck was within our proximity the whole seven hours this is going on. They pop open the car, they get the spare. Mikhail goes around waking people up. When he gets to me, he says, "alright man, its time to leave." And we're walking and he's saying, "man, that was so crazy." And I said, "I don't even want to talk about it." Right as I said that, we look down and we see the keys sitting in the sand.
Mikhail: RIGHT AS WE'RE saying that!
John: That was New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
This interview is for Bullet Music's new monthly series where I'll be interviewing other local artists from Atlanta. I want to know what you guys think it is about Georgia that makes it such a great birthplace for exceptional music.
Critter: I think it has a whole lot to do with the fact that we're in confederate slave country. If you look at the history of music in America, most of the good shit that we have today, is influenced by the slave trade and the fact that African-Americans, with their groove and their approach to music, were able to get a hold of instruments that were capable of advanced harmony. Because of that, so many awesome things were born, specifically here in Georgia. From blues, to jazz, to country, to some of the most incredible funk and pop music, it came from here because this is one of the hot spots for African-American music, in my opinion.
John: Through struggle comes something awesome.
Critter: Through history, some of the best music has come from suffering.
John: Actually, I think its something in the water.
Extra soul in our water?
Critter: Well, Macon is all screwy because it was built on Indian burial ground. Thats why all that crazy fucking voodoo music comes out of there.
It seems like all of your shows are different. Why is that?
Mikhail: We don't practice.
Critter: We're a very improvisational-heavy band. We leave a lot up to the moment.
How long did it take for y'all to be comfortable enough with each other as a band to imrpovise during a performance?
John: Oh, we're still working on that.
Critter: That's a life-long pursuit.
Well, you can't tell on the listener's end.
Critter: Well, when its gotta be different every night you have no idea what you're gonna get. How comfortable can you ever really get with that question. You're taking a risk every night, the audience seems to like it. The band definitely likes it, because it makes us feel like we're doing something a little more accomplished, and not just regurgitating the same thing every night. It gives the moment its own voice.
Do y'all ever bring guests on stage with you? Who's your favorite?
Mikhail: Never and NO ONE.
I happen to know that's a lie.
Critter: We don't have any favorites because everyone is awesome.
John: We do, and it really just depends on where we are at the time.
Mikhail: Tony and Danny from Comeback Alice down in Florida are two of my personal favorites.
Critter: We've actually done jams where we've had every single member of the band on stage at once between us and Comeback Alice. That's a lot of fun.
John: When we're in Atlanta, Richie Jones plays percussion. He's got a great ear. He plays with Ralph Rodennbary and Donna Hopkins.
Critter: Donna sits in with us a lot, and she adds so much to what we do. It's very hard to pick favorites because theres so many good musicians in all of the cities we visit. And there's SO MANY great musicians here in Atlanta, it's great that we can all play as a community.
What's something that each of you couldn't live without while on tour? Not including instruments.
Critter: I really miss my dog.
Mikhail: I really like bringing my dog on tour.
Critter: Mikhail has a dog named Trucker. Trucker is a member of the band.
Mikhail: He's the backstagiest dog you ever did meet!
*moments of silence*
John: I would say... their dogs... and Benadryl.
Do you have any upcoming releases?
John: Yes, we have two singles that will come out sometime... maybe.
John: We have a country ballad called "Wizard of Ounce" that we recorded here in Atlanta. During our last big tour in the Northeast we recorded a reggae tune called "Laugh for a Lifetime in Woodstock" with the very talented David Barron. Those will be out hopefully by spring or summer 2017.