November 4, 2013 by ryanglaspell
“This music may be hazardous to your health.”
That is the statement Surgeon General’s Warning is making. SGW, a Morgantown rock band, makes the type of bluesy, hard hitting jams that indeed put the listener at risk of rocking too hard and injuring themselves. Nothing screams manly like the threat of potential danger.
The band, which was originally intended to be a cover band, formed late in the spring of 2011. They decided to make original, cutting rock, and have steadily gained popularity since. From touring to Florida to releasing their first EP at a sold out 123 Pleasant Street show, this band has a wealth of experience. Additionally to the experience, they are overflowing with musicianship, with their songs and fanbase to prove it. Their presence in Morgantown has been noted by many, like the local college newspaper. I talked to founding member and bassist Tommy Bailey (far left) to find out a little bit more about SGW.
What type of music does the band make?
Blues Rock with improvisational jam band influences.
What are the band’s main influences?
Led Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix, Clutch, Pink Floyd, the human spirit, and being drunk.
What has your live performance history been like? Any touring, festivals, etc.?
We did a 1 week tour to Florida and back last spring break. I personally love touring and this one did not disappoint. Our schedule every day was to wake up, find food, go to the beach, and play a show that night. You get to see such cool things and meet such amazing people on tour. We’ve also played a few festivals including Sweatstock in Point Pleasant, WV. Festivals are great because people are there to see the music! It’s pretty hard not to have a good time at a festival.
What has the experience been like playing music in Morgantown?
Our tours have put the Morgantown “music scene” in an interesting context for us. Don’t get us wrong, playing in Morgantown is great and we love getting to do it, but we came to the conclusion that Morgantown has a massive “Party scene” but doesn’t have a big Music scene! That’s ok, its just the nature of the population and culture here. Still, there are enough music lovers to come out and see good bands at 123 and such. Thanks to places like 123 Pleasant street and people like Adam Payne of Music To Your Ears Productions, the music scene here is actually on the up and up. Adam brings all kinds of amazing bands to Morgantown (just brought lotus here last night!).
Where is the band’s “Man Cave” (practice space)?
Chris, Tommy, and Jim all live together in Morgantown, and we practice at their house – which is also converted into a recording studio called Riot City Studios.
What are the band’s upcoming plans like? Any shows or new releases coming out?
We are currently working on booking another tour, we have a music video on the way as well as a new CD that we’ve just started recording.
How does the band build its audience?
Mostly, playing shows and hopefully playing good music. You can Facebook and Twitter all you want, but if you don’t play quality music then people won’t care to go see you.
What role does the internet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) play in building a fan base?
That being said, the internet has not only changed the way bands build a fanbase, but it has completely turned the entire music industry on it’s head. I could probably write a short book about this, but I’ll keep to the point. The internet has leveled the playing field for all bands. This is good if you’re starting out, because it gives you access to potential fans that only the biggest and best bands could previously have. This is bad for better bands because, you now have the same power to reach fans that million of terrible bands have, and I think good bands are getting lost in the mess of it all. I guess one thing that hasn’t changed is how money still influences success. You can flat out buy facebook likes and youtube views. That’s a real thing.
Because this is for the Morgantown Man Cave, what is the manliest thing about Surgeon General’s Warning?
There’s probably not much that’s exceedingly manly about 4 dudes playing music together, but we have been known to drink like fish and are probably one of the loudest bands around.
SGW have their first, self-titled EP that you can listen to below. Keep an eye out for them in the venues of Morgantown. And remember, although they claim to be hazardous for your health, their music is good for your soul.