Found A Job is a Kansas City-based Talking Heads tribute band. They play CrossroadsKC as a part of Fed Up Fest October 15th. Fed Up Fest is a benefit for Harvester’s – The Community Food Network and is presented by X1051. Found A Job guitarist and vocalist Michael Tipton recently discussed his earliest musical memory, how he became passionate about the Talking Heads and advice to musicians just starting out.
Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?
My grandparents and great grandparents were. One of my grandmas played guitar and sang and the other played piano and organ. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my great-grandparents’ house, listening my grandpa wail on harmonica and my grandma stomping and singing. My dad and grandpa were avid music lovers, like stacks of records and boxes of tapes. I believe they spent more on music than they did on mortgages. But, that was a blessing because I grew up listening to everything from Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys to U2 and everything in between.
What was the first album you bought?
The first album I bought with my own money was a single of Queen’s “Radio Ga-Ga.” It was a quarter at a garage sale! The first album I was given was Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
How did you first become interested in the Talking Heads?
Back in 2000-ish, I was in a band called Tabla Rasa and we were playing at SwagStock down in the Ozarks. A week before the festival, I developed a weird case of Bell’s Palsy and lost my ability to sing more than an octave. We played anyway and I sang the best I could. The sound guy came up to me after the set and said, “You sound just like David Byrne!” I told him I wasn’t familiar and he gave me Stop Making Sense. I instantly fell in love and played the cd on repeat for months. I sang along with it and it helped me nurse my voice back into shape (and possibly altered it). The thing about Talking Heads’ music is that even if a person doesn’t know who the band is, they have heard the music and probably know the chorus to “Wild Wild Life.”
What was the first Talking Heads song you learned how to play?
I believe it was “Once In A Lifetime” because it’s like, two chords.
How did Found A Job get started?
I had been talking about doing a Talking Heads tribute act for a few years when the opportunity to play a Heads tribute night at RecordBar came up for my band Molly Picture Club to play 4-5 songs. It was January of 2012. We had to add a couple people to perform the songs well and afterwards were asked to play as the Heads for a couple parties. We quickly discovered that those gigs paid way better and I began asking people to join to build out the entire crew. Camry Ivory joined in and immediately up-leveled our performances with choreography and Peter Lawless joined a little later and brought on another level of learning the material in-depth. I think Matt Hayden (our drummer) came up with name of the band over beers- it’s the name of one of our favorite Talking Heads’ songs and kind of tongue-in-cheek reference to doing a tribute band to help pay for our original music endeavors. Over the last 4 years, we have had some rotation in members, but the line-up we have now is pretty amazing: Ashleigh Guthrie on keys, Justin Skinner on percussion, Brent Jamison on bass, Katelyn Jamison on vocals, Pete Lawless on guitar and sax, Matt Hayden on drums, and Camry Ivory on vocals. We all really love the music and I’m pretty lucky to be playing with people who share that love.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
For this band, it’s been finding the time to get 8 musicians into a room to practice consistently and keep improving our shows. Everyone in this band is active in their own bands and pursuits, so we have found a routine that keeps us all motivated. For my music career in general, I’d say the biggest challenge is always fighting obscurity.
What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
Practice. Practice. Practice. Invest in an amazing recording of your music. Play a lot to start and get a following and then pace yourself so each show you have is an event. Your crowd gets spread out if they know they can catch you next week or next month, even. Plus, it forces you to go play other cities. Tip your sound guy.