'Autumn' Returns for Rock Band Pinback Rob Crow and Zach Smith, members of the band Pinback, play tunes from their new album, Autumn of the Seraphs. Autumn is the indie rock band's fourth full-length album. The duo also brings in a pair of drummers, Mario Rubalcaba and Chris Prescott, on several tracks.
NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/15098248/15098372" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Autumn' Returns for Rock Band Pinback

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/15098248/15098372" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host:

Last night at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C., a crowd gathered to hear a band called Pinback. You may be a fan already or you may have heard them when they were featured on the TV show "The OC," but they existed long before those moody Orange County kids caught on. And unlike the show, which is no longer with us, they're back with a new album called "Autumn of the Seraphs." They joined us here now for a live performance in Studio 3A.

Welcome Rob Crow and Zach Smith.

Mr. ROB CROW (Member, Pinback): Hello.

Mr. ZACH SMITH (Member, Pinback): Hello.

CONAN: If you got a question or a story for the guys about their music, the record business and the difference between music and product, give us a call: 800-989-8255. E-mail us: talk@npr.org. Or, head over to our blog to tell us about your favorite Pinback show. You can find that at npr.org/blogofthenation. Why don't we begin with a song?

Mr. CROW: Okay. This song is "Bouquet." And it sounds different - the way - I'm sorry. It isn't what the album sounds like and it's not like what we sound like live. This is a version that we made just for things like this that's totally weird and different. Here we go.

(Soundbite of song "Bouquet")

PINBACK (Band): (Singing) Ahh, ahh, just the time for you to be here. Bouquet is broken, it's found on person. A threat is sunken beneath the ocean. And when the numbers count down to none, another sequence somehow begun.

And it's the note that stings. And it's the prose that sticks. (Oh, oh, oh) And it's the question hanging around the center of the one. (Oh, oh, oh) And it's the note that stings. And it's the prose that sticks. (Don't go) And it's the question hanging around the center of the one. (Don't go)

(And to no surprise) Oh, oh, oh, just the time for you to be here. (There'll be no sunlight). Trembling around upon the surface. What's beneath the water trailing out from sea? I bet you know more that you sermon. I'll leave you to blankness. It's more than you left me. (Oh, oh, oh) Please change the pattern. (Oh, oh, oh) Don't go. (Oh, oh, oh) Don't go. (Oh, oh, oh)

It's sucking on the more than worthless. Swept under the blanket. That's where you met me. It's bleeding innocent all over in a sense that matters almost always just empty.

(Gone for good) And you taste my tears. And we share our souls. (Gone for good) And you taste my tears. And we share our souls. (You can take that how you want) And you taste my tears. (You can take that how you want) And we share our souls. (You can take that you can hold on tight in the window) And you taste my tears. (You can take them like them, boy, hold tight in the window) And we share our souls. (You can take that how you want) I'm walking on my own. (You can take that how you want) I'm walking all alone. (You can take that how you want) I'm walking on my own. (You can take that how you want) I'm walking all alone. (You can take them like them, boy, hold on tight in the window) And you taste my tears. (You can take them like them, boy, hold on tight in the window) And we share our souls. (You can take that how you want). And you taste my tears. (You can take that how you want) And we share our souls.

CONAN: Pinback, Rob Crow and Zach Smith, from their new album "The Autumn of Seraphs." That was Rob Crow on guitar, Zach Smith on bass. There - also heard some backup vocals there. No, that wasn't me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: I would have - happy to do it if I've been asked. But, in fact…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SMITH: We should have figured that out.

CONAN: …beginning of the song, Rob reached over and punched a button on a laptop that's sitting on the table next to him. And computer's - and computer recording really, Rob Crow, been part of the genesis of Pinback.

Mr. CROW: Yeah. We like to - half of the writing we do is finding new kinds of ways to record and seeing how can we utilize them in ways that keep us from being bored.

CONAN: But you started recording in your houses, in your living rooms and bedrooms.

Mr. CROW: And we still do.

Mr. SMITH: I still do.

CONAN: Yeah? So you're hitting the big time.

Mr. SMITH: Oh, yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SMITH: Already home.

CONAN: All right. Let's see if we can get some listeners on the line. If you'd like to join us 800-989-8255, e-mail is talk@npr.org. Let's begin with Lacy(ph), Lacy calling us from Daytona Beach in Florida.

LACY (Caller): Yeah. Hello

Mr. SMITH: She. Woah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LACY: Oh, I can't believe. Oh, my voice's so funny. Okay. Hi.

Mr. CROW: Hi.

Mr. SMITH: Hello.

LACY: Hi.

Mr. CROW: You really are in Daytona Beach, aren't you?

(Soundbite of laughter)

LACY: I'm from Daytona.

Mr. SMITH: Hi.

LACY: Hi.

CONAN: And your question, Lacy?

LACY: My question would be, I can read your lyrics over and over and over and I can make my own, you know, of what I think that those lyrics mean but they're so hard to understand. Did you do that on purpose or do they mean anything, like a certain message that you try to get across with your lyrics?

CONAN: Have you tried playing it backwards?

(Soundbite of laughter)

LACY: No.

CONAN: Well, that might be the key. Zach, you have an answer for her?

Mr. SMITH: You know, what? I don't have an answer for you Lacy, but I think Rob does.

Mr. CROW: I do. Usually, the lyrics have between one to three different meanings and…

LACY: Okay.

Mr. CROW: …sometimes certain verses will have different meanings. But the way they work together, it will mean a whole new thing.

LACY: Mm-hmm. I try - oh, they definitely mean something to me.

Mr. CROW: Thank you.

LACY: And what's going on and what I'm, you know, what I'm doing, so - oh, you guys are so awesome.

Mr. CROW: Thank you.

CONAN: Thanks so very much for the call, Lacy.

LACY: Okay, thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

LACY: Bye.

CONAN: A lot of the critics say reading your stuff that they - one of the things they really like about is they can hear something new every time they listen to it. Is that part of the intent?

Mr. CROW: Yes, definitely. We try it ourselves - keep ourselves interested because we have to hear it more than anybody else I really know.

CONAN: I bet you do. Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Here's an e-mail we have from Josh(ph) in Sacramento. I had a chance to ask Rob this question when he was in Sacramento for a side project, but he didn't know the answer, so I'm asking Zach. Numbers seemed to be a large motif in your lyrics. What role do they play? Are they part of the complexity of the music?

Mr. SMITH: No, they're not. I think you might be talking about a song called "Loro." And I've had 100 people ask me what the numbers 4-9-5-3-1 mean.

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

Mr. SMITH: And we'll just - we'll just keep it a secret. I'm going to keep playing and wonder.

Mr. CROW: But it doesn't mean die California.

Mr. SMITH: It doesn't mean die California.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: It's sounds like the old Wilson Pickett's "634-5789." It's - anyway. Now, let's see if we can get Sonia(ph) on the line, Sonia's with us from San Francisco.

SONIA (Caller): Wow. I'm so excited. I can't even believe I have this opportunity to talk to you guys. You are amazing.

CONAN: I don't think she's talking about me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SONIA: My question would be, Zach, you play bass pretty interesting. You play very similar to a guitar. Did you use to play guitar or?

Mr. SMITH: No. I've never played guitar. It really just comes from knowing that it can do more than just the traditional bass.

SONIA: Yeah.

Mr. SMITH: And being bored, I tell people that a lot. You know, you sit at home and there's nothing to do, and I play bass and so I try to come up with new ways to come up with melodies and what not. That's it.

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

SONIA: Wow. Okay. I can't even think of anything else to say. I'm just so thrilled to be even able to talk to you guys. You're amazing.

Mr. SMITH: Cool. Thank you.

Mr. CROW: Thank you.

CONAN: Sonia.

SONIA: Have a great day.

Mr. SMITH: You too.

CONAN: Thanks very much.

SONIA: Bye.

CONAN: Boredom seems to figure heavily a lot in your interests. I know, Rob, for example, you used to work for in a lot of fast-food joints in New Jersey.

Mr. CROW: Yeah.

CONAN: Is that where you developed this habit for boredom?

Mr. CROW: No - maybe. It's possibly.

CONAN: It could be.

Mr. SMITH: If I got time to lean, you got time to go and take a nap. I don't know.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: We're talking with Rob Crow and Zach Smith, the founding members of Pinback. Their new release on Touch and Go Records is called "Autumn of the Seraphs" and you're listening to TALK OF THE NATION FROM NPR News.

How about another tune guys.

Mr. CROW: Okay.

Mr. SMITH: Sure.

Mr. CROW: This song is called "Walters."

Mr. SMITH: Okay.

(Soundbite of song "Walters")

PINBACK: (Singing) You made your mark on me. You laid your past to sleep. No other might worry. Alone, but not alive. Anyone else would slit from sleeve to shoulder. Anyone else would not deserve your life. It seems that all lines convalesce beyond your side. It sense that all I've worried for is vain.

Larry climbs into his lawn chair, waves her goodbye. Unties from the post, races towards the sky. Takes a sip out of his beer and says it looks amazing. He said it looks amazing.

Climbs until he can't think, can't hear a sound. Shoots out balloons and falls to the ground. Jumps out off of his chair and says it was amazing. He said it was amazing. He said it was amazing.

Get me down. Let me down. Get me down. Now that I'm miles above you here. Did I snap the last thread of all my fears? (Let me down) Is there nothing left for me to do? U-oh-a-u-wah. U-oh-a-u-wah. U-oh-a-u-wah. U-oh-a-u-wah. Is there nothing left for me to do? (U-oh-a-u-wah) Is there nothing left for me to do? (U-oh-a-u-wah)

Went out on a hike and never came back again.

CONAN: There are days that it pays to have a really good radio. You're listening to the music of Pinback, Rob Crow and Zach Smith, with us here live in Studio 3A. Our thanks to them for coming in. Before I ran out of time, I want to thank Rob Byers, Carlos Gomez and Mardi Crutius(ph) for engineering this performance, and mention that if you'd like to hear more songs from Pinback's new CD "Autumn of the Seraphs," you can check out our Web site at npr.org/talk.

An e-mail question before we go, this from Brian(ph) in Pleasanton, California. I enjoy the interaction of your tandem vocals. How do you decide which sections are sung by which member? Do you pre-define who sings a certain part or you try different ways to see what works best? And, Rob, do you leave space for Zach to come in with his own lyrics and melodies or do you generally write all the vocal lines in advance?

Mr. CROW: We both just kind of held at it and we kind of just carve out the song out of what we - because we're both aren't vocal crazy, I think. Although I'm more lyric crazy and he usually has one or two lines.

Mr. SMITH: Yeah. I'm down to one or two lines, but I'll hear something in my head and it pretty much is just that, just a couple little phrases throughout the song and Rob pretty much takes the meat of the vocal area. But I think it works. It works out well.

CONAN: Okay. Where are you off to next?

Mr. CROW: Where are we? New York?

CONAN: New York?

Mr. CROW: I think we're in New York tomorrow.

CONAN: Oh, good luck.

Mr. SMITH: Thank you.

CONAN: Thanks very much for coming in.

Mr. CROW: Thank you very much. It's an honor to be here.

Mr. SMITH: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Mr. CROW: I'm so excited to see you.

CONAN: Rob Crow and Zach Smith, the founding members of the band Pinback.

I'm Neal Conan. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.