Like Luke Skywalker’s mission to save Princess Leia, Ten Toes Up was inspired by the words of Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. “[He] came to Charles Freeman in a dream and declared that it was his destiny to start the group,” said Josh “Animal” Gregory.
However, it appears that band members Freeman, Gregory, BJ Craven and Adam Miller were on their own when it came to developing their sound, aside, perhaps, from a little influence from the “Creature Cantina” scene in “Star Wars.”
In an interview with Stratton Lawrence, of “Charleston City Paper,” they described their sound as “more of a feeling than a genre. As genres become more and more diverse and all these different names are added to it, all we can do is play the different stuff that we feel.”
Stratton opined that it’s “Psycho-billy country riffs and slick bass lines ... [that is] more ’80s than the ’80s.” That alone should have piqued your curiosity.
Q. | What can people expect from a Ten Toes Up performance?
Gregory | Pure T, grade A energy!
Charles | For the bar to run out of Fireball.
Q. | How did you become Ten Toes Up?
Gregory | We tripped over some troubles and fell right into it.
Charles | We bought/designed our truck and merchandise before really thinking through our “mobile morgue” idea.
Q. | What audience does your music typically appeal to?
Gregory | All ears are welcome; we don’t discriminate!
Charles | Human beings typically, but dogs seem to have fun at the shows, too.
Q. | What television show would you love to have feature a Ten Toes Up song and why? Which song and why?
Charles | “Yo Gabba Gabba,” that demographic is our retirement plan. Any song that the puppets agree to play is good with us; we hear the puppets are picky.
Gregory | I think our song “The Reckoning” should be the theme song for “Snapped,” for obvious reasons...
Q. | Do any of you have day jobs to support your music careers? What are they?
BJ | Nope, just music and panhandling.
Q. | What advice would you offer aspiring musicians?
BJ | Get a day job so you don’t have to panhandle.
Gregory | Stay in school and become a DJ, way more money to be had that way!
Charles | Stay single. ... They only get in the way!
Q. | What are some of your biggest musical influences?
Gregory | My big sister was my biggest musical influence, if it weren’t for her there is no telling what kinda [stuff] I would be listening to. Thanks, Brandy!
Q. | If you weren’t musicians, what career paths would you pursue?
Gregory | I always answer this the same, one word: gigolo!
Charles | Most definitely the culinary industry.
Q. | If you could have anyone, living or dead, join your band who would it be?
BJ | Duane Allman for sure.
Charles | Paul McCartney.
Q. | What is each band member’s unique contribution to the band?
BJ | Late-night driving.
Josh and Charles | Pure sex appeal.
Adam | Comic relief and Fireball.
Q. | What would people be surprised to learn about Ten Toes Up, individually or collectively?
Gregory | That we all come from a super athletic background.
Q. | Do you have a song that you play at every gig?
Charles | “1939,” thanks Adam!
Q. | Is there any music that you will not play?
Gregory | I will not play Jimmy Buffet or any kind of shag music. Sorry, we all have our standards!
Charles | Van Morrison rocks; “Brown Eyed Girl” doesn’t.
Q. | Do you have a pre-gig ritual?
BJ | Yes, Fireball.
Gregory | We really just like to get there early and have a sit-down dinner together. So much of our life is rushed so it’s nice to sit down and eat a decent meal like a family.
Charles | I try to call my 4-year-old son, pre-show, every night that I’m away from him at a show.
Q. | How is performing live different from recording?
BJ | No headphones, and playing to people is way easier. Feedback multiplies energy but in the studio all of the energy needs to come from inside.
Charles | Infinitely different! Live, you never have to go back and listen to it again (haha).
Q. | What is your favorite Ten Toes Up original and why?
BJ | The next one, because the newest songs have the most room to grow.