I had the opportunity to see Lagwagon for the first time in 12 years, Swingin’ Utters for the first time (finally!), and a brand new band called This Legend. Consisting of former members of Hey Mike!, Stanley and the Search and Yellowcard, This Legend was a product of collaboration between Longeneu Parsons III (LP) and Cyber Tracks, the record label founded by Aaron Abeyta (also known as El Hefe) of NOFX with his wife, Jen. Although they are a relatively new band (May 2014), the speed with which they have become insanely tight is a testament to the talent that has been harnessed within This Legend. I got the chance to sit down with Chris, Ben, Steven and LP of This Legend – great guys, by the way – and ask them a few questions about the genesis of This Legend, and the trip from concept to touring band with a record under their belt (finished in less than three months!)
It all started in early March, 2014, when drummer LP left Yellowcard and was looking for a new project. “I had been talking to [Jen and Hefe] for a while about doing something outside the box. Upon my departure in March I said “Hey, we need to start a group, let’s do something.” After reaching out to long-time friend and Yellowcard co-founder/guitarist Ben Harper, Jen and Hefe provided the front-man in Chris Castillo. LP recalls “Jen and Hefe were like ‘We have someone who can sing.’ So we said ‘Okay, let’s check him out.’ That’s when Chris came in.” Chris recounts his experience working with Hefe and Jen at Cybertrax: “After I left Stanley and The Search, over the course of a year and a half they were trying to find people for me to jam with, then they dropped these guys and I was like ‘Fuck yeah, I want to jam with these guys.’” The group was rounded out when Steven Neufeld, a friend from back in the days when Hey Mike! and Yellowcard were much smaller bands, was recruited. Unfortunately Steven had to move the van and was not present for the interview. Parking in Ottawa is the pits.
After initial introductions in March, the band got to work in May. I asked how they were able to put out an album as a new band in roughly six months. “The album was done by the end of July” says Ben, blowing my mind. I asked how they were able to pull off a two month turnaround: “We were up in Ben’s cabin for the majority of writing the album together” says Chris, “[We] just put ourselves up there, getting away from everyone, you know, and just jammed, barbecued and stuff. We knew we had to do it quick.” Ben adds: “Everyone cleared their schedules, quit their jobs, pissed off their girlfriends and wives, and just did this. I’m proud of everyone. And all of a sudden, before we know it, we’re on like show number 52.” It’s In The Streets, the debut album by This Legend, was released November 11, 2014. I definitely recommend picking up a copy.
I’m really impressed with how tight this debut album is, especially with a three month turnaround. I asked how they got so tight for being such a new band. “There is a lot of show experience,” says LP, “Chris is a great front man. He can sing, play guitar, and he’s a lefty so it’s cool to watch. Ben and I have been playing music for almost two decades, and aside from that, Steven has front man experience from Hey Mike! We basically have two front men in our band”
I asked the guys how they feel about touring with Lagwagon and Swingin’ Utters: “It’s been nuts.” Ben says, and LP adds “It’s amazing, I mean… Lagwagon… both bands, really. We came up in that time. It’s really cool to be out with them, and they’re such nice guys, too. They would give you the shirt off their back if they could. And musically they’re tight, and it’s what we grew up on. Seeing them rocking as if they’re still in their 20’s is really cool.”
When asked what they plan to do for the foreseeable future, LP said “We just released this record, so we’re going to spend some time [touring] with focus on this record. We plan on hitting all coasts and different parts of the world on this record. We’re going to keep working, keep playing and, you know, [Chris] has got around 10 songs ready for the next go round. Plan on seeing a lot of This Legend.”