Photos BY Vince Anderson
FTM is one of my all time favorite bands. They are one of those bands that are underground enough that most people have no idea who they are unless you go to concerts fairly regular and saw them open for Rage Against The Machine or Queens of the Stone Age. They were signed by Serj Tankian at one time and are currently on E 1 Music with the release of their latest effort Arrows & Anchors. Funny how FTM and their former label owner are two of my favorite artists (System of A Down).
Some of you may have heard Dance of the Manatee on the radio and on some TV spots, if not then you're missing one of the most eclectic Rock bands of our age. Their record Fables From A Mayfly:What I Tell You Three Times Is True, love that title. There's also the affinity for cartoon character Riki Tiki Tavi in their songs, I asked Suddereth about that and he replied... "People telling us we need more songs....musically and lyrically, we spat what first came to mind...it was diarrhea."
Anyway the band's dynamic live show far surpasses any inclination to like the record you might have before actually see them. Tonight we were supposed to sit down with guitar player Cliff Campbell but at the last minute Cliff (also the road manager) pawned us off to vocalist Darroh Suddereth much to my enjoyment. As we walk along, Darroh says... "'Im not very good at interviews," and I said neither are we. I did enjoy sitting down with him nonetheless.
Every since I've stumbled across these guys I've enjoyed watching Darroh's spastic movements during the live performance. His distinctive vocals are diverse as he uses his own special techniques to capture styles most people would never imagine, guess that's what makes him an "artist." What's his favorite part about doing what they do? "Being eclectic...and somewhat progressive, our legacy is our albums." The live shows aren't' bad either.
The band's line-up may have changed over the years but Suddereth, guitarist Campbell have maintained the bands cohesive sound with just the right musicians including long time keyboardist Matt Langley, bassist Ryan Collier and drummer Logan Kennedy.
Sitting by the Holocaust Memorial in Baltimore we probe the mind of Suddereth about FTM and what's been going on with them. Recently they we're involved in an accident. I asked him about the accident and the song that stemmed from it. He said..." That was a lot of fun, I'm the only one who thinks so." And "We didn't necessarily write a song about the accident." There was a video made however entitled FWIW (For What It's Worth) with post accident footage, check it out on You-tube.
The band not being influenced by other musicians as much as everything around them. As Suddereth puts it... "Whether we love it or hate it." Darroh was originally the bass player and cites one of his musical influences was the Beach Boys. Whatever it is, the stew that is FTM is obviously heavily influenced by Suddereth and his artistic mind. He also does a bit of painting too. As we walked back to the venue, I said, We'll be out there watching the show, he replied... "Hopefuly it goes well." For the record, it was an amazing show.