Laying on the lawn just outside of Sproul Hall, eating hummus and carrots, drinking whiskey out of coke bottles and watching squirrels, the members of Twin Peaks and Criminal Hygiene seem not to have a care in the world.
Blending in with the crowd of UC Berkeley students spending their Friday afternoon in the sun, it would be easy not to recognize the up-and-coming garage-rock band from Chicago. With all of them in their twenties — and most of them barely able to legally drink — hitting success and fame in the indie rock scene surprisingly has not taken away the youth of the band who rightfully acts as if they are still in college, even though they are focused on music full-time now. Touring with Los Angeles-based band Criminal Hygiene to play a couple shows in the Bay Area, this is the dream job for any millennial.
For band members Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel, Jack Dolan and Connor Brodner, touring and playing live isn’t something new. Though playing in front of hundreds and thousands of people is something they’ve done only in the past year, most of the guys grew up and played with each other since high school. Having released two albums in the past two years, the band has toured around the world, playing shows in Europe to finish the tour of their last album, Wild Onion. Yet even in an completely foreign place with fans who do not speak English, the band is still having fun with all of it. When asked about their favorite aspect of touring in Europe, Brodner responded, “You could smoke inside a lot of places, and they give you meat plates when you get there.”
Moments before they’re about to go on stage, Twin Peaks and Criminal Hygiene are listing all the classic rock bands they were listening to on the van ride up from L.A., which include Big Star, ZZ Top and Roger Miller. An inside joke between the bands is using the phrase “run it again,” and it comes up in both a serious and joking context. When asked about their plans after touring and playing at some festivals, Brodner replied, in serious fashion, “We’ll run it again just like everyone else is running it again.” Yet the lighthearted mood is always present. At one point during the interview, Dolan responds to a misheard question and his bandmates point it out. He pretends to run to the van to get something, but everyone knows that he just left to hide behind a tree.
Their enthusiasm for the musician’s life comes across as they hang out and talk. When asked the question, “Do you think you’ll still be making music in ten years?”, everyone unanimously answered “yes.” “You might not know about it anymore in 10 years, but I’ll still be making it,” responds Frankel. Whether it is a sign of true musicianship or blissful youth, both bands are at the perfect time to take a shot at living the rockstar lifestyle, although they aren’t headlining any festivals just yet. Having already achieved the dream of successfully touring and playing gigs, the only direction they can go within the next 10 years is up.
Scheduled to play upcoming festivals such as Outside Lands and Lollapalooza, Twin Peaks is set career-wise for the next few years. As evidenced by the hundreds who showed up to Friday’s performance and the mosh pit in front of the stage, their music is extremely accessible to almost all types of rock ‘n’ roll fans. If their appeal comes from something other than their music, it’s that they have no pretensions; all they want to do is party and play an awesome show.
By the end of their set at Sproul, the band is exhausted and covered in sweat. Yet they all seem pretty confident that they’ll be “running it again” in the years to come.
Contact Art Siriwatt at [email protected].