Westin Glass Of The Thermals Talks Fall Tour Before El Rey Show
Fresh from releasing their fifth full-length album, “Personal Life,” on Sept. 7 (Kill Rock Stars), The Thermals have been performing new material mixed with the old on a fall U.S. tour.
While driving through the mountains of Colorado, drummer Westin Glass chatted with Neon Tommy about the tour, their latest release and his experience as the newest member of the three-piece band.
What can Los Angeles fans expect on Tuesday?
We’re going to be playing a good set of songs – some from all the old records but also some new ones from “Personal Life.” It’s going to be a really fun show. It’s going to be so rad – a good time.
Tell us about your experience playing with The Thermals and your background before joining the group a few years ago.
Oh great, I love their songs. It’s been really fun learning to play them and performing them. It’s been great.
I’ve been playing with these guys for two years. Before that, I was living in Seattle for five years and before that I was living in Albuquerque, which is where I grew up and went to college and everything. I’ve just been playing in several bands all those years. Eventually I got in touch with the Thermals through some friends and it was a good fit.
The first few songs that we finished for that record were “I Don’t Believe You” and “Never Listen To Me,” and those were some lyrics that Hutch came up with out of thin air. They started to point in a direction that we went in for the rest of the record just loosely and not making too much of an overbearing concept. It was just sort of a feeling, and it works pretty well, I think. It explores some emotional territory.
How has the response been on the tour with the new material?
We’ve been playing a lot of “Personal Life” songs on this tour… We’ve been gone for a long time. It’s been cool. People have responded well to the new songs. They seem to like them a lot. People aren’t like freaking out and crowd surfing like they used to with some of the older ones – maybe just because they don’t know them as well yet. But also some of the songs are mellower, and not a lot of them are very indicative to that sort of freak out. It’s been fun and we really love playing the new songs and people seem to be paying attention.
What have been some of the highlights of the tour so far?
Philadelphia was really good. We played at First Unitarian Church in the basement there – that was two shows, all ages shows. It was great. Black Cat in Washington D.C. was a really good show; there were people freaking out. For the last week or so, we’ve been sharing the bill with the Coathangers from Atlanta, and they’re so awesome and fun to be on tour with. Our first show with them was in New Orleans, and there was just of lot of craziness going on that night. There were some burlesque dancers that came up with a routine that goes with one of our songs. So they performed that when we played it as the last song of our set. We had this whole strip tease that was really cool. They came onstage dressed up like missionaries protesting the contents of our music, and then they started taking their clothes off – it was pretty awesome.
Will there be any surprises like that in L.A.?
Maybe… Not that we know of yet. The possibility is always there. L.A. should just be a classic show; there’s going to be a lot of good bands there. I’m really looking forward to it.
Are there any places you love to hit up whenever you’re in L.A.?
We never really have time on tour to do anything seriously. We go to the venue and then we go to the hotel and get out the next morning. There’s never enough time to go and visit stuff. I do love L.A. though. I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past; years and years ago I had a girlfriend who lived there and we used to spend time in town. I just love the beach more than anything; I think L.A. beaches are great. People probably think they’re crowded, but I just really don’t care, it’s always really fun.
What do you usually do when you’re not touring?
Ah, nothing, as much of nothing as I can. I just like sit there and chill out for a while. When we get home [from Colorado] we have two weeks off and then we have the California and Arizona trip. So between those two, I’ll work on some other stuff, music and stuff. I have a friend who owns a food cart I work in once in awhile. But mainly, I’ll just chill out. It’s been a really busy year for us. When we haven’t been touring, we’ve been recording or making videos or doing all the artwork for these releases. It’s been a non-stop year.
So what’s next after the tour is over?
We’re going to hopefully get started on another record in the next year or so – just see where it takes us. I think everyone’s got their own things they’re working on.
Tickets to The Thermals are $18 for general admission. Doors open at 8 p.m. This is an all ages show.