Bullet Train to Vegas, a Southern California band, is now touring the country in support of their first full-length CD, We Put Scissors Where Our Mouth Is. Note: Their web site is temporarily down as they move to a new server.
EPMS: Where did the name, Bullet Train to Vegas, come from?
Greg Horton: It's actually an homage to a band a bunch of us listened to, a San Diego band, Drives Like Jehu. On the B side of their 7", they had a song, Bullet Train to Vegas.
EPMS Note: a 7" record is vinyl, usually contains one song on each side, and plays at 45 rpm on a record player. They were used in jukeboxes before CDs came out.
EPMS: How long has Bullet Train to Vegas been in existence?
Greg Horton: Since 2001, but the band became most productive last year. We started touring constantly, plus we recorded our first full-length record.
EPMS: From where are the individual band members?
Greg Horton: The band is from Southern California. Dan is from Santa Ana, Marty and Erik are from Hollywood, I'm from San Diego, but I'm moving to Sacramento as soon as the tour's over.
Marty, Erik, and I are from upstate New York, originally.
EPMS: So how did you end up together in California?
Greg Horton: I grew up in New York, and one day a friend said he was moving to California, so I said I'd go. It was just like that. Marty, I'm not sure about (how he got here). Last June, when I ended up as the bass player, Marty called his high school friend, Erik, and asked him to move out here to join.
Erik and Marty and I had mutual friends from New York, but we didn't know each other in New York.
EPMS: Do y'all have day jobs?
Greg Horton: Dan and I are not employed; we work full-time on the band. Erik works at The Guitar Center, Marty works at The Standard, a hotel in Hollywood. I also do my record label, plus I do custom buttons for bands.
EPMS: On your MySpace and PureVolume pages, you say your music types are, 'punk, post hardcore, indie.' What is 'post hardcore?'
Greg Horton: Basically, hardcore is a very specific, almost dated sound. Post hardcore is a term people use for bands that have a lot of punk/hardcore influence, but melodic and rock-based. We're not a hardcore band at all. We have hardcore influences, definitely. We've taken that sound and progressed with it further than hardcore bands usually do. Hardcore is formulaic. Post hardcore bands are a little more creative with that sound.
EPMS: Who produced your album, We Put Scissors Where Our Mouths Are?
Greg Horton: Alex Newport, who's super-talented. We're very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him. He's also a really great friend of the band.
He's most famous for producing the early At the Drive In albums, plus The Mars Volta, The Locusts, Brazil, The Panthers, ton of other great bands. He used to be in Fudge Tunnel in the 90's, which was a band I used to listen to all the time.
EPMS: How many albums do you have out?
Greg Horton: The EP, Profile This, came out in 2002 or 2003, The 7", I put out on my label, which is how I met them. When lost their bassist, I stepped in. This is our first full-length CD. It came out June 7 on Nitro Records.
EPMS: What is the name of the 7" record?
Greg Horton: Self-titled.
EPMS: Tell me about the record label that you personally own:
Greg Horton: It's called Can't Never Could Recordings, it's a small label my girlfriend and I started two years ago. We've had five releases: two by The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, one solo, one split with Necktie Party. They're now on Revelation Records. We did a split 7" by Ithaca from San Diego, Color Turning from LA. We put out The Bipeds' CD, my girlfriend's old band. The next will likely be a vinyl version of Bullet Train to Vegas's full-length CD.
EPMS: Why is your record label putting out a vinyl version of We Put Scissors Where Our Mouths Are?
Greg Horton: It's an actual LP version. I'll put out a 12" record. Vinyl is still alive and well in punk, indie, and hardcore. There are a lot of collectors. Young kids are into vinyl.
EPMS: Do they make new record players, or are all of them coming from garage sales, etc.?
Greg Horton: They do make new record players, plus they also come from swap meets.
EPMS: Bullet Train to Vegas is playing The T Lounge with two other bands, Bear vs. Shark, and Planes Mistaken For Stars. Have you ever toured with them before?
Greg Horton: No we've never played at all with Bear vs Shark. We have played some dates with Planes Mistaken for Stars, but this is our first tour with them. We're excited to be playing with them, they're an amazing band, and amazing guys. It's great to be on tour supporting them.
EPMS: How big is Planes Mistaken for Stars?
Greg Horton: It's hard to say, but every time they play in San Diego, their shows are super-packed. I was a buyer at a record store in San Diego, and we sold a ton of their CDs.
They're not MTV-huge, but they have a large, loyal, genuine fan base that constantly comes out to see them.
EPMS: Have you played El Paso before?
Greg Horton: Yeah, we've played El Paso twice before, both times at The Lounge. We're totally overwhelmed with all the generous and friendly kids in El Paso. It's one of our favorite places. The people are amazing. It is one of the friendliest scenes.
EPMS: What do you remember about your previous trips to El Paso?
Greg Horton: We haven't spent much time away from The T Lounge, but the last time, when we arrived there, even before we turned off the van, some guys ran up, saying, "Man, autograph our CDs!" Everybody had a sign while we were playing. In the music scene we grew up in, autographs don't happen. We feel we're the same level as the people in our crowds. We sign more autographs in El Paso than anywhere else. It's very flattering, but it catches us off guard.
EPMS: How many tours has Bullet Train to Vegas done?
Greg Horton: We've done five US tours, all in 2004 and 2005.
EPMS: Why do you say, US tours? Have you toured outside the US?
Greg Horton: Well, sometimes bands do regional tours, but all we've done are full tours across the country.
EPMS: How many months a year do you spend touring?
Greg Horton: It's hard to say. We've had the current lineup since last June. We toured ten weeks last fall, then we recorded the CD. This tour is nine weeks. Now that the record is out, we plan on touring more often than not.
EPMS: What areas have you toured?
Greg Horton: We've probably played well over fifty cities, and we've probably played thirty to forty different states. There's only a handful of states in the lower forty-eight we haven't played in.
Greg Horton: I appreciate it.
- Charles Hurley
Bullet Train to Vegas will be at The T Lounge on Monday, June 13, with Planes Mistaken for Stars, and Bear vs. Shark.