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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Phoney Bones Interview

Isobel Cairns interviewed Auckland four piece Phoney Bones, soon to be gracing our fair capital (catch them live at Bodega on May the 10th with Amy Racecar, Holiday With Friends, Tommy Ill and the Sing Songs).

Isobel Cairns: Names please, and occupations.

Phoney Bones: Tim Neale (guitarist, singer, keys, university tutor), Graham Panther (guitar, singer, keys, mental health services consultant), Jony Gabriel (drums, bookstore manager), Frank Gibson (bass, web designer/comic author)

IC: I know people who would love to know where the name came from.

Tim: Well, there were many big arguments when we needed to come up with a name, lots of them rejected because they started with ‘The’ (ie. The Federlines!) and everyone had a ‘The’ name. We all like Jeff Smith’s ‘Bone’ comics. We all like the character Phoney Bone, and I think we all liked having the word ‘phony’ in there… when we started out, I think we felt like we were playing pretend by being in a band. And yes, we are nerds, probably, in a way… but comics are kind of mainstream and cool now.

Frank: I was hoping for “The Tiger Wolf City!!!” but apparently it was taken.

IC: You are breaking up. Say that the concept of the band Phony Bone is a person. What kind of romantic relationship did you have with this person and why is it ending?

Tim: I’d say Phony Bone was… a lot like all of us. A person who didn’t quite fit in, but grew in confidence. I’d say it was a person who’d grown up a lot. We’ve gone a long way together, but there doesn’t seem to be further for us to go, if you know what I mean?

Frank: Benders, love triangles, solo projects. All that good stuff. But really, I don’t think any of us have managed to articulate why exactly this is happening. I have silently suspected that Graham plans on joining Atlas or Stereogram, biding his time until we build up a level of nostalgia so we can return like The Clean. Jony and I are going to keep making music together though.

IC: Have you ever threatened to kill each other? If not, have you ever drawn on anyone’s face while they were asleep?

Tim: I tried to draw a kitten face on Jony once. He wasn’t asleep, so it proved to be very difficult. I don’t think I’ve ever threatened the guys to their faces… certainly behind their backs though. I’ve drive tackled Jony a few times after our sets, occasionally launching him off his drum stool.

Frank: Tim and I have fallen into each other twice. I once swung my bass at Graham entirely by accident, there was a laceration. However, during this I also dislocated my finger tip, which proves it is actually possible to dislocate your finger tip. Sometimes I fantasize about winning arguments with Graham and Tim, sometimes I win those arguments with hammers… I’m sorry what was the question?

IC: Does it concern you that ‘Penny’ is possibly one of the catchiest songs of all time? Does playing it get on your nerves? Has anyone ever tried to sing it back to you in the street?

Tim: Concern me? Nerves? NAY, that was one of the first songs Graham and I wrote as a real kind of collaboration thing. I’d come up with the vocal melody while out getting groceries and spent a few days just singing it to myself over and over, everywhere! Then I sang it to Graham and blam, he came up with the guitar, and we wrote the chorus then and there. I think the only person who’s tried to sing it to me was Graham, and he did a better job of it than I do.

Frank: I really like that song. It is wrong that we are not very rich and famous because of it.

IC: If life was a box of chocolates, which one would you get? Would you look on the lid first?

Tim: I can’t help but look at the lid. If I start watching a TV series, I go online and find out the ending. And… it’d be Cherry Ripe.

Frank: For Tim’s birthday, I bought him a box of dark chocolate which contains bacon. It hasn’t arrived in the post yet.

IC: What can Wellingtonians expect from your upcoming show? Why should they come to see it?

Tim: Wellington has probably been our favourite place ever to gig. Um, they’ll see four guys playing some of their favourite songs ever, in a band they’ve lived in for the past few years. They’ll see backup singers. They’ll see hugs and ALL NEW dance moves.

Frank: They’ll also see precisely one new song. They can also expect me to cry on stage and possibly seek solace within the embrace of Tommy Ill’s arms.

IC: What would be inscribed on the gravestone of the Phony Bone person mentioned above?

Tim: Nice to meet you.

Frank: “They should have made an album.” Or maybe one of those Russian Mafia tombstones, with engravings of cars

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