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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Interview: Jesse Gallagher of Apollo Sunshine

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Apollo Sunshine used to be touring fiends. When they first started up these guys would sell almost everything they had and hit the road for years at a time. The result? A live show that would make your hair stand on end. Their wild psychedelic-inspired blues rock will thump through your chest right down to your very soul. You'll swear it's the summer of '69 all over again. They're playing at the Spaceland tomorrow night, you lucky things, so catch 'em while you can! Jesse Gallagher, bassist, keyboardist, vocalist and really everything-ist was kind enough to talk to us from Tuscon, AZ on Monday.

I'll start you out with an easy one. Where does the name Apollo Sunshine come from?

It comes from God.

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Uh huh.

No really, we were just sitting on the couch one day and one said Apollo and someone else said Sunshine and that was it. It just kind of came to us. And then we looked up Apollo in a Greek mythology book and it turns out he's the god of music. There are all these crazy stories about music duels in there that he has with mortals. That really sold it for us. If only we could duel with the gods!

"Singing To The Earth (To Thank Her For You)"

What made you pick up and instrument?
I'm not even sure. I was very young. Both my parents are professional musicians so there were instruments all over the place growing up. I mean there are pictures of me playing the drums before I even remember being a person.

Is your band a dictatorship or a democracy?

Oh, it's a total democracy.


Ok, not totally. You can sometimes be outvoted and still win by whining

What is the weirdest thing you ever saw at a show?

One time we were in Cincinnati and we were booked at the jankiest club in the world. The sign was literally the remains of cardboard box with the club name written in magic marker. I mean, I looked around the neighborhood and thought, "I’m definitely going to get shot." The promoter comes out and says no one is going to come here tonight we’re going to move you to a different venue. So we pack up and go to this bizarre loungey restaurant which was clearly not expecting a live act that night. It was such a really, really random crowd. There was this drunk black lesbian woman who loudly during the show tried to convince everyone she wasn’t black. And then there was this drunk hipster kid, who kept knocking over the monitors and speakers and shit. Then this really old guy kept coming up to us saying he had some sort of deal with RCA and that he could sign us. And to top it off there was this sixty year old woman who was dressed in her Sunday best, dancing really politely in a corner. It was a really fucked up show.

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If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

If you asked me as a kid I would have said astronaut or a baseball player. But realistically, I would probably open up a raw food smoothie cafe/ bookstore/ something like that.

What album can you not live without?

If I was on a desert island, you mean? I'd probably take with me Henry Mancini's , The Versatile Henry Mancini. The whole album just floats with this sorta tropical vibe. You listen to it and suddenly you have no worries.

Would you rather be burned alive or frozen to death?

Burnt alive, definitely!



I like the thought of being consumed by the sun or some serious heat. If you freeze to death your last thoughts will be "I’m fucking cold. I’m fucking cold." And it would take forever.

If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?

In an ideal world? I would probably slow down the whole thing.

What do you mean?

I would slowing down the progression of bands. You couldn't just become a band, you would need training like any other profession. You would have to do an internship or an apprenticeship first. Like if you want to learn how to farm or become a lawyer or really do anything else, you need training. I think music should be the same way. Instead of being panicked about churning songs out so that you can pay the rent, you would have time to learn your craft. Art should be held be on a highest level. It is the consciousness of the people. I heard that when New Zealand bands play in the US the government pays the musicians as well as the promoters. I think that's good. The government should support their artists.

What question do you hate being asked the most?

(laughs) Oh man, I hate it when they ask how we met and then say things like, "So tell me about Berklee (College of Music) What was that like?" C’mon, dude. No one care about that. I also hate, "How long have you been a band?" These are all things you could find out before hand on the internet. A lot of these interviewers have no idea what your even about. We did a video for this one dude whose lead question was, "Talk about your band." I mean come on.

Well in the spirit of not asking predictable questions, if Apollo Sunshine had a spirit animal what would it be?

Well, probably a Star Wolf.

A Star Wolf?

Yeah our van was called Star Wolf.

That's not an animal.

Look man, it's our spirit animal. A regular wolf would be really boring wouldn’t it? We’re going to be the Star Wolf. Or a Blue Buffalo. Our new van is called the Blue Buffalo. We'd probably be a mix of the two.