to juggle, do balloon animals, and a whole bunch of other things as I really honed my craft as a magician.
MP: Is there anything you took away from the magician training that relates to your music?
GCJ: It taught me how to practice, how to rehearse, and that you don't want to go on stage knowing that you can do a trick only 50 percent of the time. You want to take the stage knowing that you can do that 99.9 percent of the time. And the times that you fail, you want to make sure the audience is on your side so that it becomes a communal experience and they help pick you back up for the next trick. That really crosses over to music too. If the energy is there and the charisma's there, then the audience will still root for you.
MP: When did you start getting bands together and taking music seriously?
GCJ: I was recording bands in my basement in high school. Again, it was because my brothers had recording gear. They would sometimes send me the old stuff that they weren't using anymore. My one brother sent me this eight track recorder that used cassette
tapes to record. At the time, nobody had that technology at home. None of my friends had that. All of a sudden I've got this eight track and I had some compressors, EQs and mics. I could actually record people, so I started recording my friends for free, but I was also writing songs and doing acoustic demos. I didn't have a way to mass produce tapes, so I'd literally play the songs five times in a row for four or five different songs and do it 20 times in a night so i could hand out tapes the next day at school that were all slightly different from each other because I recorded them live. People started liking the songs and wanting to hear them live, so they started asking me to play a show.
MP: Did you have a complete band at that point? GCJ: I was playing with two neighborhood friends, a drummer and a bassist. I really liked them, but they weren't the most punk drummer and bassist. The drummer was going to college and things weren't syncing up. I needed to find somebody who was a little more committed. Instantly, one of the drummers I was recording in my basement, loved the songs I had and was in. At first we were playing any shows we could get to be in front of people. We didn't care if we had two people or 200 in the crowd, we were just playing some songs. Over the next couple years, as we grew, we felt like we might actually have a future at it. And then we got the great idea that we were going to change names. We felt like we outgrew the name that we had and unfortunately when we did that, man, we just lost all traction. We didn't have any press release to say Bare Essentials is now North Coast High. We just switched names. All of a sudden people were saying we don't want to book this new band, we want Bare Essentials. The whole thing sputtered out at that point and it was really frustrating.