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Losing Your Shit with Film School
LIVE at the Crocodile this Wednesday, 5/10!
by Ashley Graham

The pressures of life out on the touring circuit can get just about any dedicated musician down. Relationships back home can suffer, physical health can suffer, and mental health can suffer. Losing your shit while out on the road isn’t all too uncommon in the rock world—we’ve all seen the videos of crazy rockstars doing and saying crazy things because somewhere along the line they seem to have escaped reality. Luckily for San Francisco upstarts, and recent additions to the “It” list, Film School haven’t had problems with this side of touring. But they have lost their shit. Their literal shit. Well, their literal, van-occupying shit anyway.

Just a couple of months ago, while out on the road in Philadelphia, Film School fell victim to a trend that’s been sweeping tour vans all too often lately—theft. The band was left gearless and show-less, with only their strong wills to comfort them. Now that the proper replacements have been made, and as a new tour begins, anxiety runs high for the band—Krayg Burton, vocals/guitar; Nyles Lannon, guitar/vocals; Justin LaBo, bass; Donny Newenhouse, drums; Jason Ruck, keyboards.

“Our goal for this tour is not to get our gear ripped off, that was pretty brutal,” Burton says, laughing from a now-removed position that, though jovial, still seems rooted in the frustration of the incident. It’s clear he’s put thought into what happened. “You know what’s weird? A lot of the bands that I’ve been reading about [who have had that happen] are on our booker’s roster—Brian Jonestown, the Decemberists, the National. I’m not suggesting, though, it’s probably just random. There’s a lot of money in it…”

The tour had to be mostly cancelled, leaving only a few dates for which Film School could pull themselves together. They played a couple of shows in New York and made sure to make their stop at South By Southwest, but as Burton says, morale was so heavily impacted by the incident that it was a struggle to play any shows.

“It was just tough having to borrow gear for every show,” he says with a heavy sigh before turning optimistic. “But, there were some pretty amazing things that happened, you know, that came out of it too—people letting us borrow gear, whether friends of ours or bands. We were on tour with the Cloud Room at the time and they let us use a bunch of stuff. Also, like, Ludwig sent us out a kit and Gibson let us borrow guitars out of their New York store, so that was great. It’s hard to make it to all of the shows, still though, because there’s just still something missing.”

Lost shit aside, Film School is doing pretty well now. The aforementioned “It” band status has launched them and their latest disc, a self-titled full-length, into the ears of countless new fans. They are just now beginning their first headlining tour of the States, and the support behind the band seems at an all time high.

Though they might have just hit the bigger press circuit, Film School isn’t fresh on the scene. In fact, these boys have been kicking it around San Francisco since the late nineties.

“San Francisco is incredibly diverse, there’s really no one scene,” Burton says. “It’s very creative, so you’ll get a Two Gallants or a Rogue Wave and us, and we’re all really different bands. I think the trick is that you can just experiment [there] and not really worry about the whole industry thing and trying to be the perfect band. You can just have your own thing going on. And the scene is very supportive. In any city it’s going to take awhile to get fans—I can’t even remember now what our early reception was like at this point… ’98 was so long ago!” He laughs, “And Film School then was a two piece—I was singing and playing keyboards and guitar and there was a guy playing drums. It must have been small…”

Low attendance and gear thievery now a thing of the past (one would hope), Film School brings their San Fran take on echoey, atmospheric new wave to the Crocodile on Wednesday. Head to
www.thecrocodile.com for more information on the show, or www.filmschoolmusic.com for more on the band.