by Matt Dunn
I'm always excited to interview a band from Seattle. It seems like the town has had an explosion of killer bands in recent years. Bands like Tacocat, Wimps, Gazebos, Mommy Long Legs, Pony Time, La Luz and Childbirth have gotten me and plenty of others to pay more attention this city that has always been well known for it's great music.
I caught up with drummer Stacy Peck from the Seattle duo Pony Time before their recent show at Reanimator Records in Winston Salem, NC. We discussed the band's obsession with Fleetwood Mac, writing songs about The Oregon Trail computer game and more. Sadly, the band appears to be on indefinite hiatus for the moment but we'll always have Arby's...
Stacy Peck: Drums
Luke Beetham: Vocals/Guitar
The latest Pony Time album is called Rumors 2: The Rumors are True. Was that very much inspired by Fleetwood Mac?
Yeah, I'm a really big Fleetwood Mac fan. I wouldn't say that Luke totally is but I make him listen to it a lot on tour. I thought it would be really funny if a band tried to say that their album was a sequel to rumors and I said "Why not my band?"
How long has Pony Time been a band for?
Going on 7 years. That's a long time.
How did the band first meet each other?
We met each other through a mutual friend, moving a stereo together. A very heavy record player. Luke is an electrician so I actually started working for him and became his electrician's apprentice. And then I decided that I hated doing that and I quit. But we became good friends in that time. We decided to become roommates and we had this basement that we could have band practice in and we started Pony Time just as a thing to do when we were bored and 7 years later we're coming to North Carolina.
Who came up with the name Pony Time?
I did. There's this gay bar in town that's like the coolest bar to go to called Pony. I'd be like "I think it might be pony time!" And we thought that was a pretty good band name. I think everyone thinks it's named after the Chubby Checker song "Pony Time". But embarrassingly, we didn't even know that song existed.
Is it true the band is obsessed with circus peanuts?
Luke is obsessed with circus peanuts. I think that they are disgusting. Luke really goes for some interesting snacks. Everyday when I worked with Luke, he would stop at the gas station and he would get a Yoo-Hoo like the chocolate milk and a huge Mountain Dew.
What are some of the best bands in the Seattle area?
We play a lot with this band wimps. We've actually gone on tour with them, they are really good. Lisa Prank recently moved to Seattle about a year ago. She sings a song on our latest record with us. She's really good. There's a cool new band called Mommy Long Legs.
Do you feel like Seattle has a very tight knit music scene?
Yeah, at least with our friends who are in bands. We have tried to be really encouraging and helpful and we all do stuff together. And we really enjoy getting to be in videos together and play different shows together. We're always starting side project bands with each other. If you're gonna be in a band, it might as well be fun.
What are some of the best places to check out in Seattle if you have never been before?
My favorite thing in Seattle is this restaurant called Randy's Diner. It's open 24 hours every day of the year. We actually just got our new press photos taken there. It's like a diner from the 70s. The booths are pink and orange. They have a great deal on a hamburger called The Randy Burger.
Do they have one of those old school jukeboxes?
They don't. But they always have really good music playing. Basically the first thing they ask you when you sit down is if you want your picture taken. We were actually getting professional photos taken there but our server was like "No no no! I'm gonna take 20 pictures of you first". He really wanted to get all the angles. He seemed like he really wanted to be a photographer if I'm gonna be completely honest. It seemed like that was his next career move.
I'm at a really cool place right now called Cafe Pettirosso. It's on Capitol Hill which is where I live and a lot of other people live. But somehow, it's never too busy. It's always perfect. If your parents come to town, you're gonna wanna take them on the Puget Sound Boat Tour. That's a real hit. Touristy but not disgusting.
Have you ever thought of writing a song about Randy's Diner?
That's a really good idea! I think we will do that on our next record.
I understand that Luke says he is very fashion influenced by Mark E. Smith from The Fall.
I know that Luke really really loves The Fall and maybe has all their records. Which is really saying something. He also really likes to dress up and have outfits. So it wouldn't surprise me if that was true. Luke and I aren't really on the same page as far as music goes a lot. I think we have come a long way since we started the band. Our joke when we started was that we don't like any of the same music. I'm not a huge fan of The Fall. I don't really know what Mark E. Smith dresses like. It would not surprise me one bit if that was his fashion icon though.
Does that create an interesting dynamic in the band since you both have different taste in music?
I think it's cool as far as the band goes. It makes it so that we aren't like "Oh, we wanna sound like this one particular thing." We bring our different influences to the band. But it does probably make things a little bit difficult in the car driving. We do agree on a lot of things though. But specific favorite bands are definitely not the same. Two of my favorite people he can't stand. Luke is the kind of person who has good taste in music. I'm not really a music snob type of person but I think I have good taste. It's not terrible or anything.
What are the two that he hates?
Well maybe hate is a strong word but he really doesn't care for Sonic Youth or David Bowie. Luke has great taste though. I have learned about a lot of stuff from him. So it's been cool. I don't know if he likes as much stuff as I've shown him but what are you gonna do?
Did you have to re-record the Rumors 2 album?
Yeah. It didn't sound very good the first time. But then we were able to focus more on what we actually wanted it to sound like and now I think it sounds great.
Did you not like the performances or just the way it sounded after it was recorded?
Everything about it! We listened to it and we were like "Oh God!" And at that point, it had already taken a long time. We had already had the songs for a while. By the 2nd time we recorded it, some of the songs on it were two years old. At this point, we have definitely been playing these songs for a while and we are excited to write some new ones.
Do you think that first attempt would ever come out on a retrospective box set in 10 years?
I doubt it! I don't think anybody needs that in their life. We do have a lot of songs we have recorded but never put out. We might do a rarities type compilation release.
Have you been and Luke been in other bands besides Pony Time?
I've been in a lot of bands. But I've been in four or five main ones in Seattle. I'm in another band called Childbirth right now. Luke is also in another band called Stallion. That's a professional wrestling themed band. Luke does a really great pro wrestler voice.
Are you a music video director as well?
Yeah I like to dabble around in videos. It's fun. I've done about 20 different videos for friends bands and my own bands. My friend Marcy who works at Cafe, she made a Pony Time video that's really good. We've done a few videos together.
Does it take a long time to make each video?
Not really for me because my videos don't look very good. I think the difference between my particular style of making videos and maybe some other people's is that I really don't like for it to take a very long time. I feel like if the entire process has taken longer than 5 hours, I failed. I'm gonna try to take the summer off and not work at a real job so I wanna try getting better at doing videos. I have a really fun time doing it though. I used to take everybody out and do it real quick before they even know what's happening.
Do you have a favorite music video you have directed so far?
I did a couple with wimps. Pony Time was in their video and they were in our video. They don't look particularly good but they were really fun to make. I really like this So Pitted video I made a while ago. I think the Childbirth video I did for "How Do Girls Even Do It?" turned out pretty good. Luke from Pony Time was in that one too. He played a Larry King type.
I understand that Pony Time likes to frequent a particular Arby's restaurant that has a a lot of drama going on.
We have a song about Arby's that hasn't been released that would be on our unreleased record. It's called "Roast Beef and Cheddar, Hold The Cheddar". By our recording studio there is an Arby's where they crank the drama up to 11 there. It's pretty funny. There's always something going on at that particular Arby's. It's the kinda place where everyone comes in on their day off work even though they don't like working there. They like to hang out and complain about their job while they are at their job they don't have to be at. It's awesome! We always make sure to take a trip over there while we are recording. It's a special treat for us.
Do you play the Arby's song live?
Yeah. We have before. I think a lot of songs we forget we have. That's one of them but maybe we'll bring it back.
How many releases do Pony Time have so far?
This is our 4th release. Our first album came out on a cassette tape called "Pony Time Can Drink 100 Wine Coolers". We had a Self-titled EP with 6 songs.
We actually recorded 16 songs so that's about 10 extra songs there. Also "Go Find Your Own" and now "Rumors 2". We also did a split tape with wimps that has a couple of songs on it. One of the songs on the split tape "Old Poop Face". It's about that game The Oregon Trail. There's a YouTube video that somebody made that is like a fake movie preview to Oregon Trail: The Movie. When you played Oregon Trail, you might have been in third grade and made a stupid name for your character. There's a scene that shows a grave that says "Here lies Old Poop Face". We thought that was really funny so we wrote a song about it.
Where can people go online if they wanna hear Pony Time's music?
We have everything up on Bandcamp and our middle two records are on Spotify. It would be best to buy them from us on Bandcamp though. Our record label, Ss Records, you can buy everything on their website.
Danzig from The Misfits is sometimes known for his unwillingness to autograph bootleg albums. If someone had a Pony Time bootleg, would you autograph it?
Sure! Good for them. That would be great. Luke's actually in a Misfits cover band.
Does Luke play the part of Danzig?
No, he's the bass player. They are called Underworld Scum.