Columbus surf rock band Bummers talk about crazy concert memories in Q&A with 'The Post'
Originally published in The Post.
Bassist Chris Steris talks about Bummers’ beginnings, how the members prepare for shows and what they expect for the show at Jackie O’s on Saturday.
Chris Steris, the bassist for the Columbus-based band Bummers, said he and the band is excited to perform in Athens for the third time.
“We’ve played there twice in the summer,” Steris said. “The shows in the summer were always pretty good, but I think it’ll be even better this time.”
Bummers will be bringing its groovy, surf rock vibes to Jackie O’s Public House, 22 W. Union St., Saturday night alongside Athens natives The D-Rays and Slackluster.
The Post had the opportunity to speak with Steris about how the band got started and the time he played the bass with his teeth.
The Post: Tell me a little about how Bummers got started.
Chris Steris: Me and Jeff Pearl (the vocalist/guitarist) actually grew up together and started playing music together at kind of a young age. We met Steve Sikes-Gilbert back in college when Pearl came to OSU, and he kind of picked up the guitar, so we all started jamming together. We knew Michael Murtha, our drummer, from back in the day, as well. We always were jamming together and getting drunk and makin’ up tunes, but we never really took it seriously, and one day we were like “Hey, let’s try this out.”
P: I immediately think "surf rock" when listening to the band’s music, but what musicians influenced the band’s sound?
CS: It’s just what our settings were on our amps and our guitars, and that’s just how it sounds. We kind of just want it to sound like Bummers and not so much a certain genre. Everybody does say it’s surf rock though. We’ll get The Pixies, and then we’ll get Surfer Blood, and then somebody will say Sonic Youth and Kings of Leon, so it’s kind of just all over the place.
P: What has attributed the most to the band’s success over the years?
CS: I think we let our personalities really shine on stage, and I think our live shows are really cool. The way our music sounds is kind of how we live, and I also feel we’ve done a pretty good job promoting. We post dumb pictures and try to have hip-hop slang when there’s an upcoming show, and I think it translates well. I think it has been … word-of-mouth that has given us a little bit of success.
P: If you had to pick your favorite venue, what would it be?
CS: My favorite Columbus venue would have to be the Newport Music Hall. We’ve had our best shows there, so I think that’s what the whole band’s consensus would be. It sounds so good, and overseeing the crowd with that theater atmosphere is just cool. Personally, I’ve always liked Skully’s Music-Diner. I just think the lights are really cool in there, but I still have to say Newport.
P: What’s the craziest concert memory you’ve had playing live?
CS: There was one time we played at Skully’s, and we went on at 1 a.m. and invited everyone up on the stage with us. I was playing the bass guitar with my teeth, and I was hitting my head back on Cody’s symbol and everyone else in the band was doing the same thing I was doing. Everybody was dancing with us on stage, so that was a really good show.
P: What do you want audiences to take away from the band’s music?
CS: We have a really good time playing, and we don’t go into it thinking too much. We just have fun. I hope people know that when they see us live. We’re 32 years old, but I hope we can get 22 year olds to respect us because that’s what we wanted to be doing at 22. We just didn’t have the right resources at the time. We just want people to have a good time.
P: What are the future goals for Bummers?
CS: We’d like to be touring outside of Ohio and gaining a fan base in Omaha, Nebraska, or South Dakota or whatever. We want to be able to play a venue and at least 50 people are there to see us. The goal is just to make it and be able to make a living off of it.