Rollo & Grady Interview // Shayde Sartin – The Fresh & Onlys

Rollo & Grady Interview // Shayde Sartin   The Fresh & Onlys

Over the years, Shayde Sartin has performed with The Dutchess and the Duke, The Skygreen Leopards, Papercuts, Citay, and a few other Bay-Area bands, but he seems to have found a permanent home with his current project, The Fresh & Onlys. This group started off in the spring of 2008 as a home-recorded collaboration between Sartin and longtime friend Tim Cohen (Black Fiction). Before long, they had written over forty songs and eventually enlisted the help of Grace Cooper, Wymond Miles, and Heidi Alexander to round out the band.

To date, The Fresh & Onlys have opened for rock legends Stephen Malkmus and Rodriguez and released several EPs and two full-length albums. Their most recent album, Grey-Eyed Girls, was released yesterday, September 15th.

I spoke with Shayde last month about the band, other people’s bands, and his new living arrangement.

Rollo & Grady Interview // Shayde Sartin   The Fresh & Onlys

R&G: What’s going on?

Shayde: I’m headed home. I just signed the lease on a new apartment. I’m happy: I got a great deal.

R&G: That’s cool. What sparked the move?

Shayde: I’m moving in with my lady [Kristen].

R&G: How long have you guys been together?

Shayde: She’s been living in Atlanta, so it’s been on and off for a year. She’s a tour manager. I actually met her while I was on tour with the Dutchess and the Duke and we started flying back and forth to hang out. It’s been cool, but really hard with the long-distance thing. We just decided to take the leap.

R&G: I bet she’s excited you’re about to go on tour for several months.

[laughs] She was so pissed. She’ll be here for like two weeks and then I leave. Then I get back and she leaves. The cool thing is that she understands touring. The bad thing is that she understands touring and everything that goes along with it [laughs]. She gets a little nervous when I’m out there.

R&G: If you were like 24, I could see it being a problem, but you’re in your thirties.

Shayde: That’s what I try to explain to her, but she’s 27. She was also the tour manager for Black Lips, and those guys are fucking deviants.

R&G: They’ve actually calmed down bit, but they’re still wild.

Shayde: Totally. She just thinks that I’m like them. I’m a heavy drinker, but I’m not doing anything fucking stupid.

R&G: Who else has she worked with as a tour manager?

She’s worked with Deerhunter and Black Lips for years. She’s been the tour manager for King Khan and the Shrines, Dutchess and the Duke and King Khan & BBQ Show. I can’t even remember all… she’s done a lot of crazy one-off stuff for different artists. That’s how she made her living for a long time.

R&G: King Khan is one of my favorite performers right now.

Shayde: Oh man. Fucking absolutely. Not only that, he’s one of my favorite dudes on the planet. He’s a special human being. He’s kind of like Kristen’s brother, in a sense – just a really loving and caring person. I got to know him mainly through her, but he’s so real, it’s unbelievable.

R&G: I’ve met him several times, and I recently interviewed him. He does some crazy shit on stage, but he’s been married for ten years, has two daughters, and spent some time on welfare. He’s no gimmick.

Shayde: He’s also a really spiritual person. He’s got this heavy spiritual side and it’s always refreshing to me when dudes like him have a spiritual side. People just think he’s a rock & roll animal, when he’s actually got a really cosmic sense of what he’s doing, what inspires him and what he’s channeling. That’s inspiring to me, because there’s always the hippie psychedelic dudes that are like, “Yeah, you know,” and have some kind of claim to spirituality. Arish doesn’t have a bit of that in him and he doesn’t have a ridiculous ego. He’s the kind of dude that loves anybody at any given time.

R&G: I truly believe he’s one step away from blowing up. His music is too good to be ignored.

Completely, man. Completely.

R&G: You know another band that is about to blow up? Have you heard of White Denim?

Shayde: Oh man, that band is fucking great.

R&G: Their music is all over the place; it’s unique rock & roll.

Completely. There are moments of the most blown-out, art gospel, rock & roll mayhem that comes out of nowhere, too. The first time I saw them, I was like, “I can’t believe I’m seeing a band this good and this inspiring right now.” I think I was at Red Rocks in Denver, playing with Dutchess and the Duke, and I got a fucking text message from – have you heard of John Vanderslice?

R&G: Yes.

Shayde: I get a text message from John Vanderslice and he’s like, “Get down here. You have to see this band.” It was down in this basement as part of the festival, and I was just like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever,” not really thinking I was going to get my mind blown. But I was watching that bass player and I was like, “Holy Shit!” Then I got up closer to the stage and was able to see and feel the chemistry with those dudes. It was really inspiring – especially because I was really starting to get back into louder, sweatier rock & roll at that time.

Let’s talk about your band, The Fresh & Onlys.

Shayde: I’m having more fun talking about other people’s bands.

R&G: Can you give me a brief history of the band?

Shayde: Sure, man. Let me see how brief I can make it – there are so many weird kinks in it. Basically, me and Tim have been drinking buddies and listening buddies for about eight years. About five years ago, we bought a machine together with the idea of starting a band, but we just weren’t in the right place together at that time. We had this machine and he started recording his own material and learned how to use it. He wrote a batch of songs that I really liked and I offered to come over and help him re-record some stuff. I go over there one day, and in that day, we recorded three or four songs. I can’t really remember to be sure, but we definitely recorded “Come Dance With Me”, which was on the Chuffed EP. That was a riff that I had had sitting around for about six months – the guitar line that’s in the song. He picked up a melody on it immediately, and from there, it just sort of exploded in our faces. I called out of work the whole next week and we probably recorded fifteen songs. We started working our asses off, and it became a passionate thing to blow off work, and really indulge in this project together. At the time it was just me and Tim. The band came later. We didn’t ever plan on doing it live. We thought of it as a home-recorded project – something to give to our friends.

R&G: You both worked at Amoeba Records.

Shayde: Yes.

R&G: Did you quit working there?

No, that’s where I was coming from when you called me. I’ve been there for 8 ½ years. The owners are really cool and they’ve been really tolerant and patient with us touring and doing all the stuff that we do. I still love working there, man. I have my ups and downs with it, but that’ll happen when you’re at a record store for 8 ½ years.

The Fresh & Onlys and Thee Oh Sees are playing the Echo on October 22nd (buy tix). For additional tour information click here.

The Fresh & Onlys – Peacock and Wing
The Fresh & Onlys – Endless Love
The Fresh & Onlys – Black Coffin
The Dutchess and The Duke – Reservoir Park
Thee Oh Sees – Enemy Destruct

The Fresh & Onlys – The Fresh & Onlys (iTunes)
The Fresh & Onlys – Grey-Eyed Girls (iTunes)

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