Interview: Jonas Stein of Turbo Fruits
So far, Jonas Stein has led anything but a boring life. While most kids his age were just getting their licenses, Stein was driving a van across the country with his previous band, Be Your Own Pet. Now at 23, Stein still seems ahead of the curve. When he’s not touring himself to death with his band Turbo Fruits, he’s running his own label, Turbo Time Records, and planning a music festival….on a cruise ship. We shot him an email and he talked to us about scars, writing the new album, and his alter-ego, JoNasty.
Your songs kick ass live. Which is your favorite to play live?
Probably Volcano… it’s one that is easy for people to pick up on the words and can be really fun to play live if the stars line up right.
Regarding that song, do you remember what year it was when you got so high that you forgot it was Christmas Eve?
Volcano – Turbo Fruits
There’s a lot of tracks from the first album that you don’t play live anymore. Do you think that the band’s just matured past that point or are there other reasons?
A lot of those songs off the first album are just ideas. And I think a lot of bands are usually playing the stuff that has most recently come out. Maybe one day when we’re older, I’ll bust some of those out again.
Why don’t you play “Dear Moses” live anymore? That song is awesome.
I don’t think we’ve ever played it live… I really dig parts of that song but wish I had put more time into it.
The band has gone through a couple of line up changes. How’s the new line up working out for you? Is there any change in terms of songwriting or do you still run the show?
The current line up feels pretty damn solid. Songwriting has become a lot more communal.. but I do try to keep a filter on a lot of the ideas.. I just want to make sure that everything is “Turbo Fruits compatible”.
Nashville’s a pretty close music community. Everyone has bands, and everyone is playing in other bands with their friends too. Do you have another outlet besides Turbo Fruits and Turbo Time Records?
Not really, musically. My outlets are riding Motorcycles and playing ice hockey. Don’t have the time or energy for another musical project, right now.
What are your thoughts on Nashville? What bands do you think deserve attention?
I think every band that works their asses off deserves attention. But when I think of Nashville bands that have been goin at it for a while, the ones that come to mind are… Heavy Cream, PUJOL, D.Watusi, JEFF, Natural Child, Turbo Fruits, Cy Barkely and the wayoutsiders, Denny and the Jets, Useless Eaters.
You’ve been on tour since before you could legally buy alcohol. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen since you’ve been on tour?
Two Canadian border officers telling me to strip.
Do you play for blood or performance?
Like I said earlier, you’ve been on tour since before you could buy alcohol. It seems like you’ve been to a lot of places, but is there anywhere you’d love to go/play?
I want to go back Puerto Rico. or Japan.
Everyone talks about how there is a lot of do-nothing time on tour. What do you do when this happens?
You use a couple of guitars on stage. Which is your baby? What’s the story behind it?
Don’t really have a Baby… still looking for it.
How did Bruise Cruise work out for you? We heard it got so crazy that they had to quarantine the festival goers from the rest of the ship.
It was an experience of a life time. It’s like rock ‘n’ roll summer camp for adults that like to drink a lot and make good friends.
Any other bands coming out on Turbo Time this year?
Fox Fun, Super Vacations, Denny and The Jets. and more!
Why do you play music? Did it just seem like one of those things that made sense or was it as a means of escape?
I just kinda fell into it and It’s a trade I’ve been working at for a while…It also can be a blast, at certain times… but there is also a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into it.
Yes, I have a gnarly scar on my lower back from falling into the drums while we were in San Fran.
You put up a list of your favorite habit/things on your website bio a year or so ago. Have you added any more to that list?
No, we stay pretty true to that list.
How’d the Good Year tire commercial come along?
Where luck meets hard work
The cover of Echo Kid is you with a puppet.Is there some sort of meaning behind this or did you just like the way it looked?
It’s a rip off of an old album cover… But I can’t tell you what.. You have to figure it out!
Some of the later Turbo Fruits songs have more of an outlaw attitude message (“Colt 45” and “Ain’t Only One Havin’ Fun”). Is this the direction the new album is going in?
The new album will be pretty dynamic in songwriting. Those songs might make the cut!
You seem to want to keep your distance from a normal life. This is evidenced in songs like Sadie (“You save me from two kids and a wife”) or “Ain’t the Only One Having Fun.” Is that true? Do you emmerse yourself in rock n’ roll to avoid a dull life?
JoNasty enjoys the perks of rock ‘n’ roll. Jonas Stein makes sure that JoNasty can keep on havin’ fun.
When can we expect the next Turbo Fruits record?
Expect a couple of 7″s over the next couple of months…The album will be finished in the fall and come out early next year.
It’s been almost 3 years since BYOP broke up, but you’ve done anything but stay idle. Where do you hope to be in the next 3-5 years?
Hopefully we can get to the point where none of us have to keep day jobs.
The other night at the Hard Rock Cafe, you nearly broke your neck jumping into the crowd. Have your stage antics ever gone terribly wrong or have you been lucky enough to walk away with just scrapes and scratches?
No luck involved. I am a machine.
Advice to live by?
Keep on keepin on.
Thanks Jonas! Check out the sites below to buy some records and help the band buy weed. If you want to hear more from the band, check out the videos below.
Trouble – Turbo Fruits
Where the Stars Don’t Shine – Turbo Fruits