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the morning benders wrap first national tour

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Spring 2008 was a memorable one for the morning benders. In addition to releasing its debut album, Talking Through Tin Cans (+1 Records), on May 6, the California rock band embarked upon its first national tour, making stops in Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago and New York, among other major markets.

Singer/guitarist Chris Chu recently fielded some questions about the morning benders’ recent road adventures as his group prepares to go on tour again. What was your most memorable experience from this year’s South by Southwest conference/festival?
Chris Chu:Hank Sinatra‘s. We played at his crazy-ass farm/house/venue. He runs the sound out of his trailer, and the stage is made out of a bunch of weird old props and rubbish. When we got there, he told us, ‘Make yourselves at home but don’t [mess with] the sheep… those are for me.’ ”

Do you find record release shows to be exciting, boring or somewhere in between?
Chu: “Very exciting! So much work goes into making a record; the actual recording and playing, and also all the prep work for the physical release. Our [first] record release show was very cathartic — the record was finally coming out!”

Did you catch any other acts at the Sasquatch Music Festival in Seattle, and if so, who impressed you?
Chu: “We caught a few. White Rabbits killed it. A couple of us made it to Death Cab for Cutie, which was rad. We didn’t get to see The Flaming Lips or The Cure, which was the biggest disappointment. We had to drive to Portland for another show.”

Which songs from Talking Through Tin Cans would you say connected the most with listeners during your spring tour?
Chu: ” ‘Loose Change’ and ‘Waiting for a War’ are always fun to play live because people start grooving. I think when you play live, you usually get a physical response from the audience first, then hopefully an emotional one at some point.”

In general, does it bother you when a venue’s marquee doesn’t spell the band’s name in all lowercase letters, which is the way appears in your press materials and on your label’s site?
Chu: “We’re chill dudes — it doesn’t bother us.”

Anything funny happen this spring while on tour with The Kooks, either onstage or en route to a show?
Chu: “What happens in The Kooks’ dressing room stays in The Kooks’ dressing room.”

— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior

the morning benders on tour (schedule subject to change):

* July 5: Blue Lamp — Sacramento, Calif. (with We Are Scientists)
* July 8: Berbati’s Pan — Portland, Ore. (with We Are Scientists)
* July 9: Neumo’s — Seattle (with We Are Scientists)
* July 12: Avalon — Los Angeles (with Supergrass)