On the phone with Team Sleep

While Team Sleep’s self-titled, debut release for Maverick Records came out rather quietly on May 10, the band hasn’t been sitting idly. The first leg of its current tour, which officially kicked off at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 30, will keep the band—Zach Hill, Rick Verrett, DJ Crook, the Deftones’ Chino Moreno, and Todd Wilkinson—on the road until the end of June. Unlike the group’s previous tour, which only included a handful of dates, this one includes an overseas jaunt with several festival dates. Among them is a coveted support slot on the Napster Stage at the highly anticipated Download Festival in England, which features such notable acts as System of a Down, Motorhead, Slayer, Black Sabbath and many more.

On the new album, the band melds a fine blend of hypnotic rhythms (see the awkwardly titled and executed “King Diamond” track) alongside a backdrop of dense, multilayered melancholy. Songs like the magnificent “Ever” and “Blvd. Nights” and the shuffling, impatient beats of “Ataraxia” might lead listeners to believe that Moreno’s current band is a bunch of depressed introverts.

This notion couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the band is wholeheartedly enjoying its time on tour. “I’m fuckin’ trippin’ right now. Me and Chino are getting faded on the ‘grassy knoll,’ you know, where Kennedy got shot. It’s fuckin’ crazy out here tonight,” said Wilkinson, Team Sleep’s guitarist, as he and Moreno were getting towed down the streets of Dallas on skateboards. It was a Sunday night at 11:30 p.m., and the two had chosen to take an interview while mobile, literally.

“The last couple of shows were kinda weird, but tonight’s show was great,” he continued above the din of skateboard wheels traveling on concrete.

Wilkinson handed Moreno the phone. “We’re getting towed up,” Moreno started to explain. But, within seconds, he said, “We’re getting pulled over by the cops right now.”

“Is it a bad time?” the writer asked, having heard tell of the pair’s propensity to consume large amounts of alcohol.

“Nah … let’s do this,” he said, sounding flustered, drunk and obviously unfocused. Then he changed his mind and said he’d call back. Almost a half-hour later, the two called from outside the venue. As it turned out, they were able to break away and avoid arrests. (Moreno had no ID and mentioned he was freaking about the police.)

“We’re just a bunch of kids having a great time, and we’ve been skating around, visiting shit like the Alamo and whatever else,” said Wilkinson. “We’re planning on playing Sacramento, Seattle and more after we get back from Europe. We’re also supposed to play Japan and Australia as well, possibly before the next round of U.S. dates.”

Sounds like Team Sleep isn’t living up to its name.