Thrones interview

Originally published in ‘zine issue #25, 2001

The Thrones aren’t led by Joe Preston. The Thrones IS Joe Preston.

He records by himself. He goes on tour by himsef. He plays shows by himself. The amount of sound generated by one person at one time as he does live has to be heard to be believed. You might imagine a vaudevillian character marching around a stage with a drum lashed to his back, a cymbal propped on his head, and an accordion strapped to his chest. That’s not the case, but it’s just as nutty. Joe sings into a mic while wearing a bass guitar, but he isn’t alone on stage, though. Like J.F. Sebastian, he has his machines to keep him company: his amplifiers, his drum machine (a “groove box” by Roland––part drum machine, part synthesizer), a sampler (again by Roland), and finally distortion and other effects for his bass (B.C. Rich these days) and his vocals.

Joe confesses* he’s not easy to get along with, but you have to ask if he gets lonely and bored on tour. He’ll tell you he’s lonely and bored at home. But actually in person he’s very affable and polite, even on stage. You’d likely be afraid of him if you walked in on a performance of his mid-song, as you’d feel assaulted by the kick of the mechanical percussion and the rumble of the bass and the strained vocals, but when the number ends you’ll see an easy smile and a nice “thank you” from Joe as he is inevitably greeted with applause.

Joe Preston is in the middle of writing a full length CD for Neurot Recordings, and you can attempt to track down his other released recordings by contacting the record labels Kill Rock Stars and Communion and the distributor Revolver. But don’t get any notions about how Thrones recordings sound with the knowledge that it’s a one-man operation. It doesn’t sound that way. If you were to listen with your eyes closed in the live setting you’d think there was a small army playing on stage. In fact Joe doesn’t think about whether he can physically play live the music he writes. He looks at the live show as him doing covers of Thrones songs.

The man of the Thrones will admit that touring is hard, but after playing for
eight years, he’s not about to stop now, which is good for us. ■

*from our interview outside of a Richmond, VA club he was going to play, circa 2001

Photo: from Kill Rock Stars


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