Interview – Jim Mineweaser, bass player for pop-punk outfit ThE DroogS

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Today, we have Jim Mineweaser on the Drooble blog. He’s the bass player for ThE DroogS, a pop-punk outfit from Traverse City, US. Just about a month ago, their record Comforts charmed us with its catchy tunes and big harmonies. We are now inviting one third of the band for a Drooble interview where we take a peek at the problematic Traverse city music scene, the band’s past and present, memories from one helluva live show, and more. Here’s what Jim has to say!

Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?

I started playing music when I was young, 7 I think. Trombone was my first instrument. Then I saw that all my favorite music was guitar driven, so I switched. I started playing guitar in my first attempt to form a band, but we needed a bass player, and I had one so… 35 years on and I still play the low end, along with guitar, drums, and a bit of flute.

Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
ThE DroogS!!! This group of guys is the most fun I’ve had writing and playing music in over 20 years. I’m writing for a solo album, but it will be a big departure from what I’m doing now. I’m committed to ThE DroogS right now, full time.

You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?

It still holds the same mystique, wonder, joy, sadness, whatever I want it to be. It is something I can control in a world increasingly going out of it. Also the therapeutic side of it too. It never fails to make me feel better.

How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?

We, I, ThE DroogS, live in Traverse City which is a resort town and the local scene is either classic rock, or folkish stuff. There is a small underground scene for the original rock acts like Punk, Metal, and hard Rock, but aside from that we travel out of town to perform more times than not.

As for belonging, WHO CARES?! The local DJ likes us but can’t play our music unless it’s in a local music program format, the local bars only book acts that will play 3 sets of covers, and the only outlet for original rock music doesn’t have a liquor license, not a big draw for us of a certain age.

What is your all-time favorite record and how did it change you as an artist?

HAH! One? I do have a favorite band though. Pink Floyd. The pure musicianship on all of their recordings is what I strive for. No matter what you play, getting it right, timing, and a tight performance will go a lot longer to achieving your goal than what you record it with. ie. DAWS, Plugins, Mics, Amps, instruments.

What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
I’ve been a Mac user for my whole life, so Logic X is my go to for recording. I have a Waves bundle that I use but only for mixing.
I use Eden amps and cabs for my bass. Fender HR DeVille for my guitar, and I have a small collection of different mics. Sure 57,58, Beta58. Sennheiser 609, 906.
Blue bottle. Classic stuff mostly. I have been fortunately blessed with a friend with a recording studio that needs baffles and isolation booths, so I haven’t had the need to rely on my home studio. We traded that for recording our new album Comforts. We then went to Bluerock in TX. to use their Neve 5088 to mix. So yea, the home studio doesn’t get much use these days. :)

What is your songwriting process like?
It varies. I like to work in collaboration with ThE DroogS, and alone, it depends on inspiration at the time. I don’t think I’ve ever just sat down to write a song. I think it would sound forced. Inspiration then perspiration.

Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
We played in Grand Rapids with two ska bands, Mustard Plug, and J. Navarrow and the Traitors which is fronted by The Suicide Machine’s lead singer. Bong Mt. was the other band on the bill, a local punk act. We, of course, were first.
There was about 150-175 people at the venue when we went on. I was first to go out and plug in and so on, then I turned around to see where my mates were. They were looking around the corner looking at the audience freaking out. I’ve played in front of good size crowds before, so this wasn’t too unfamiliar. After I got the guys out and we played our first two songs (thats right. ONE-TWO PUNCH) and the crowd started cheering, the look on Jeff and Jeremy’s faces was the best reaction I could have hoped for. The inspiration they took from that show spurred us on to write and record Comforts. That was my favorite show not because of how I felt, but because Jeff and Jeremy got IT.

What is your biggest musical goal?
To make a living doing music!

How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
I haven’t been on Drooble long, but I hope to make some booking and distribution contacts.

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