It’s almost summer, which means concert season is about to begin. Some of your all-time favorites hit the road along with new bands that you’re about to love. One of the latter is a fantastic band by the name of Twelve Foot Ninja. They’d barely started their U.S. tour when they won Revolver‘s Golden Gods award for “Best New Talent,” and guitarist Stevic Mackay was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions. Be sure to check them out when they’re in a city near you.
1. So where did the name of the band originate?
I visited “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” museum on the Gold Coast in Australia and saw a life-size statue of Robert Wadlow (tallest man in recorded history at 8’11”). I read a sailor tried to pull his leg off thinking it was a regular man on stilts and Robert swatted him away like a bug, sent him flying. This captured my imagination; if one could harness that size and strength what would it look like?
Shortly after, I was traveling to far north Queensland to do some Line 6 clinics on a long drive through lots of cane fields. I started playing the “would you rather” hypothetical game to pass the time and came up with “Would you rather be a 12′ ninja or the only person in the middle ages with a gun and unlimited ammo?” (I chose to add a couple of feet because the Hulk is 10″ and this ninja would have to look down on the Hulk). The guy I was traveling with started asking questions like “Is his dexterity compromised? Can he use stealth?” etc. Through a series of questions, Twelve Foot Ninja sprang into existence as a character in my head. After this point, I wrote an in-depth mythology and subsequently started the band in this character’s name.
2. What was your very first gig and how did it go?
My very first gig was in a tent at my Primary School’s Easter fete. A friend and I played acoustic versions of Nirvana songs (including “Rape Me”) rather innocently, not fully understanding the implications of the lyrics in that setting. Twelve Foot Ninja’s first show was at a venue in Melbourne Australia called The Evelyn on November 1, 2008. I made the band rehearse for one year before playing live so we knew what we were doing by that stage.
3. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Mr.Bungle, Jeff Buckley, Meshuggah, Radiohead, Tommy Emmanuel, and Pantera.
4. How did Twelve Foot Ninja come about?
Following on from question 1… I wanted to start a new project that was multi-faceted. I called Russ [the drummer] first, who I’d been friends with for years and played in a previous band with and told him about the name. His response was “sounds awesome if you were seven years old!” [laughs]
5. What’s the hardest part of life on the road?
Missing partners, lack of freely available showers, eating healthily and never knowing what kind of toilet you will encounter.
6. If you guys weren’t playing music, what would you be doing?
Good question! Damon (bassist) would be in Man Power, Russ would be a super bike racer, Ro (guitarist) would be a mortician’s makeup artist, Kin (vocals) would be a travelling poker player and I would probably live in the forest like a wild man.
7. Who came up with the idea for the “Ain’t That A Bitch” video?
That would be me.
8. Are you guys fans of horror?
I know Ro is. He took me to see Paranormal Activity and I !*(%ing hated it. It was torture. He said he goes to “feel something” [laughs].
9. Is there a band, more than any other, that you’d love to tour with?
I think we all agree we’d love to tour with The Deftones, but we’d also love to tour with Periphery again. Those guys are legends.
10. Where can people see you playing live?
- Sat 26 Apr — Fort Rock, Fort Myers FL
- Sun 27 Apr — Welcome To Rockville, Jacksonville FL
- Tue 29 Apr — Mojoes, Joliet IL
- Wed 30 Apr — Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis MN
- Thu one May — The Rave / Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee WI
- Fri two May — The Firebird, St Louis MO
- Sun four May — Carolina Rebellion, Concord NC
- Mon five May — Hard Times Cafe — Four Mile Fork, Fredericksburg VA
- Tue six May — North Star Bar & Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
- Wed seven May — Worcester Palladium MA
- Thu eight May — Cabaret Underworld, Montreal QC
- Fri 9 May — Bar-Coop L’AgitéE, Quebec City QC
- Sat 10 May — Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON (w. Off!)
- Mon 12 May — The Studio at Webster Hall, New York City NY
- Wed 14 May — Chameleon Club, Lancaster PA
- Thu 15 May — The Chance Theater (The Loft), Poughkeepsie NY
- Sat 17 May — Rock On The Row, Nashville TN
- Sun 18 May — Rock On The Range, Columbus OH
- Tue 20 May — Ironhorse, Birmingham AL (w. 10 Years)
- Wed 21 May — Live Oaks Bar & Ballroom, Monroe LA (w. 10 Years)
- Thu 22 May — The Gig Beaumont TX (w. 10 Years)
- Fri 23 May — Varsity Theatre — Baton Rouge, LA (w. 10 Years)
- Sat 24 May — River City Rockfest, San Antonio TX
- Sun 25 May — Rocklahoma, Pryor OK
Tix + details are at http://twelvefootninja.com/shows