I’ve been crushing—hard—on Lovedrug for a while. So when I scored the opportunity for an interview with the band’s lead singer, Michael Shepard, it was difficult not to jump up in the air and click my heels. I love them THAT much. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Lovedrug has been around in some form since 2001. The name stems from Shepard’s past. He departed music for film school, but his love of music dragged him back, hence “Lovedrug”. Their media library is pretty extensive, their most recent work released as recently as a few months ago. It’s time for you to check them out, because they’re amazing—and they’re not showing signs of slowing down!
Lovedrug – DINOSAUR
Serial Optimist: First of all, if you could introduce Lovedrug to our readers in the most unique way possible, how would you go about doing that?
Michael Shepard: Probably in the form of a novelette on audio disc.
SO: How did all of you get to know one another?
Michael: The four of us grew up in the same general vicinity of one other in a small farm town in northeastern Ohio. The community of musicians was so small it was a pretty simple coalition.
SO: You guys have been around since 2001. You have lasted longer than most marriages! Congratulations! What has it been like evolving around the same group of guys for so long?
Michael: Thank you. However, Lovedrug has been through its’ fair share of line up changes. But for the last two records it’s been the same guys. It’s like any family, or marriage, you have good days and bad but regardless these people become like your family. Plus the better you get to know someone on a musical front the easier it becomes to make music with that person. So, it’s no surprise why the great bands out there that exist still as an original line up can make such lucid, honest music together.
SO: What bands/sounds/people do you consider the greatest influence(s) for Lovedrug?
Michael: We were all individually influenced by different music growing up since there’s a little age gap between us. For me it was the music of the late eighties and early nineties that first really shaped the style that I eventually crafted into my own. It changed over time though. Nowadays I’m a simpleton. A pop guy. If I can remember the melody and it sticks in my head then I want to listen to it. That’s all I try to do now really with my music in Lovedrug.
SO: Which of your songs can you, personally, relate to the most?
Michael: “Girl” is a song I wrote for my best friend, who was also my fiancé’. I never intended to release it so there are zero metaphors in that song. It’s simply a song for her and how I feel about her. So I suppose it’s also the most honest song ever written too.
Lovedrug – “Girl”
SO: Swoon! Jumping to another topic, what was it like working with Michael Beinhorn on “The Sucker Punch Show”?
Michael: It was incredible. Michael is an idol to me. He has recorded some of my favorite records. He has ears for tone and how to shape songs that is out of this world. It was truly an honor to work with him.
SO: You guys have been to SXSW and have played a myriad of other shows and festivals. What is that like? Which was your favorite?
Michael: It would be impossible to narrow it down to one. But we played a few festivals in Europe where we got to share the stage with some of our favorite artists and that was a real honor. Although we played in the middle of the day, at night I got to stand side stage for Nine Inch Nail’s entire set. IT doesn’t get much cooler than that in my book.
SO: What is a typical day in the life of Lovedrug when you guys are out on tour?
Michael: We’re fairly tame now. It’s nothing to write a book about. We just try to have fun. Touring can be stressful though so the key is to do things that keep your spirit centered.
SO: So we won’t find you smashing guitars any time soon? Darn! If you could tour with any band/musician/act, who would it be?
Michael: From the past: Hendrix. Currently: Band of Skulls. They blow me away every time I see them.
SO: Top ten songs to listen to right now. Go!
Michael: In no particular order…
1. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses: U2
2. Rococo: Arcade Fire
3. State Trooper: Springsteen
4. Wicked Game: Chris Isaak
5. Beacon Hill: Damien Jurado
6. Cornerstone: The Arctic Monkeys
7. If I Could Talk I’d Tell You: The Lemonheads
8. Cut It Out: Kitten
9. Since I’ve Been Loving You: Led Zeppelin
10. I Won’t Let You Down Again: Matthew Perryman Jones
SO: I think I am only missing a couple of those from my iTunes. Time to buy some more music! If you could be a sloth or a giraffe, which would you choose? Give us your reasoning.
Michael: Giraffe. I always wanted to be taller.
SO: That’s fair. If you could share one piece of advice with the SO readers, what would it be?
Michael: Don’t stop believing.
SO: How very JOURNEY of you! But also very good advice. What is one thing you think is underappreciated in this world? Rant about it!
Michael: Bowling. That’s all I’m gonna say.. Bowling.