Let it all out: The Party of Helicopters have a lot of drinking stories

The Party of Helicopters, hailing from Kent, Ohio, are causing quite a ruckus in the music world. Numerous publications including Alternative Press has included the Party of Helicopters on their annual “bands you need to know in 2003.”

Known for their relentless touring schedule, the band was in town last weekend at Churchill’s with Of Montreal and the Paper Lions. The Helicopters sat down with Life and Art to discuss their hometown, their new album Please Believe It, and, of course, shared tales of vomiting.

Coming from a small college town in Ohio, one would think there’d be a more nourishing local music scene, but the band stresses this is not the case. “There is no scene. (laughter) In Columbus, Ohio it’s really good. There’s a ton of bands there. But as far as Kent goes it’s basically us and one other band. I think it always seems like every music scene is always more enjoyable then your own music scene.”

Like most bands on the brink, not all of the members have traded in the security of day jobs for rock stardom. Corey, the drummer, pays his rent by working at a banquet hall in a hotel where he sets up tables for eight hours a day. “It sucks, but I have the coolest boss,” says Corey. Joe, the front man, who actually manages “a stoner pizza place.” Ryan Brannon, the bassist, was holding down four jobs before this tour, including selling purses at a Coach store, bartending, and working (preferably) as a substitute teacher. Jamie Stillman holds the job that every guy in a band has had, working at a record store.

In spite of numerous comparisons to My Bloody Valentine, Stillman says, “We are a rock band in the simplest terms.” However, the band does admit that they happen to like almost everyone they are compared to. They explain, “We all really like the bands we are compared to but we’re not influenced by them to the point where we’re all just sitting around and listening to the record and saying “Oh, let’s write a song like this!” Each one of us likes a certain style of music more than other ones so we expand into all kinds of music. As individuals I think we have influences, but as a band, we have none.”

Even though Spin Magazine named their Mt. Forever disc as one of the top 20 albums for 2002, they haven’t upgraded to that huge tour bus. “We’re the only band on earth that is driving around in an ’86 Dodge Van! It was depressing today because it’s so hot and it’s so cramped in there. We just have the two captain seats and a bench seat and then a loft in the back with all the equipment underneath. There are six of us, so you’re always touching at least one person, if not two.”

The Party of Helicopters have been touring for years and with touring comes tons of stories and adventures. Among the most abundant and colorful are their vomit stories.

“In New York, I was singing on stage and I started to vomit mid-phrase so I just swallowed it. It’s not that bad,” says Dennis. Ryan offers another tasty story concerning a roadie that was drinking for two days straight. “We were in Atlanta that night, and he was sitting at the bar depressed. Three times he kept trying to order a pint glass filled with vodka. Eventually they gave him a smaller plastic cup filled with vodka. And he stared at it, and then kind of forgot about it. A few minutes later he asked me if I wanted to do a shot with him. So I tell him that he’s got a glass of vodka right in front of him. So he grabs it and starts drinking and drinking it. He drank the whole glass, and it came right back up. It was all over the glass, and the bar. Pure vodka vomit.”

Not to be out done, Jamie delivers a golden oldie. “My favorite vomit story has to be when, a long time ago, five years ago, from when we were touring with our friend’s band Armstrong Secret 9. Their guitar player really didn’t drink too much at the time and he drank an entire bottle of Southern Comfort then spent the night puking at the toilet and yelling that we should let him die like Jimi Hendrix.”

Vomiting aside, the boys’ new album Please Believe It drops on April 8th on Velocette Records. Take it from the ‘Copters, “It’s fucking great. We’re really happy with it. We’ve spent more time on it than any other record before. It’s really more cohesive

No matter what “post-fill-in-the-blank-core” you want to classify them in, it’s no question that these four guys certainly have more stories to tell.

To hear what the Party of Helicopters actually sound like, visit www.velocetterecords.com.

Kira Wisniewski can reached at kira@punks.net.