Teddy Briggs is not only a friendly Beers Books employee. He is also a terrific experimental singer-songwriter who has played in the bands What’s Up?, Boss the Big Bit and Ellie Fortune. He has also performed his own music under the name Chief Briggum and, currently, Appetite. Appetite’s latest, Scattered Smothered Covered, will be available at a CD-release show on November 2. The location can’t be disclosed here. Check the Web.
I have listened to the record. Do you have backup singers? There’s girls singing on there, huh?
No, it’s all me.
You can sing like a girl? Are you playing all the instruments on the album?
There’s a few things that [producer] Robby Moncrieff played on the album, because he wanted to and I was down. Little lead parts and stuff. There were some parts that he wrote to help arrange the songs that I would play. He showed me a few very important parts, and that input was cool, but 95 percent of everything is me. That’s kind of cool; I am kind of proud of that.
That’s super cool. It sounds good.
I don’t do that to show off or anything. The songwriting process for me is to write everything and make it big with lots of different sounds. I can play everything just well enough to do that. There’re no real weird instruments on there, except marimba and the vibraphone.
What’s that thing that Peter Frampton uses—is that a vibraphone?
The vocoder? No, you’re way off.
You grew up in Los Angeles and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played your prom, right?
I wasn’t in that much of a music scene in high school. The bands I knew were people who went to my high school who were playing at, like, the Whisky [a Go Go] and stuff. [One of the bands] was Phantom Planet, because Jason [Schwartzman] went to my high school. He was the reason I started playing drums, because I would see him play at lunch and he was rad. I was like, “I want to do that,” and then I was in his brother’s band and we were opening for them at the Troubadour when I was 16.
That’s a big deal, right?
Yeah, I guess it was, but at that age I was so aloof. I knew it was cool, but it felt, like, normal or something.
What makes or breaks a show?
If you have a bad show, you feel like you are wasting your time and the audience feels like their time is being wasted. When I am in the audience and the show isn’t good and it’s not anyone’s fault, I just split. I feel like that happens too much these days. Maybe I am being harsh, or I haven’t been to enough shows lately. Or maybe my attitude has changed.
There is segregation of music scenes. This group goes to these shows and this other group goes to these other shows. Ganglians, and to a lesser degree Pregnant, are bands that have broken through that have managed to reach a wider audience. They have their niche fans, but also people who have found out about them and realized that they are a pop band. “This stuff is catchy. It’s fun to watch. I’m gonna go.” I hope that I could do that, too.
There has always been this cliquishness to the Sac music that is weird and ridiculous. People don’t want to go to shows at the “other” venue.
Yeah. But there is good reason for that, too. If I go to a show at Old Ironsides, I don’t feel comfortable. I am sure there are shows where I feel comfortable that other people don’t. Did you go to Fools Foundation much?
To me, that was the shit. There was a certain element of cliquishness to that place, too, but that’s how I met everybody I know in town. They had such a range of shows, and it was kind of chaotic, but if you ever wanted something to do and there was a show there, even if it wasn’t a band you want to see, you could cruise there and your chances were high that you would end up having fun that night. (Guphy Gustafson)