[Life Is Beautiful 2014]

The Life Is Beautiful interview: American Cream

Chris Bitonti

Editor's note: American Cream has been removed from Life Is Beautiful, one day prior to their festival performance.

Inspired by the vintage rock sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, local band American Cream is cashing in on recent momentum by playing the Life Is Beautiful Festival for the second year in a row. The Weekly sat down with singer Vince Pangallo, guitarist Tyler Jones, bassist Jake Wagner and drummer Charlie Gott to talk about what they’ve accomplished since last year’s festival and their aspirations going forward.

You guys are returning to Life Is Beautiful. What sort of expectations do you have for this year versus last year? (Bassist Jake Wagner) Bigger and better. More people and more awareness on a national scale would be great.

Is it more getting to play in front of more people than usual or having the festival on your résumé? (JW) Both. We get to play in front of people who may have never gotten to see us otherwise, who were from other places. But the national awareness and exposure on the back end is another plus side to it.

(VP) And being recognized alongside those bigger bands is awesome.

Does kicking off LIB put any additional pressure on you? (Singer Vince Pangallo) We’re setting the tone. It gives us a little more opportunity to do something crazy.

Have you played other festivals? (JW) We’ve been out to South by Southwest the last two years, unofficially. We did four shows out there last year, including the Life Is Beautiful Showcase—we played with Rusty Maples and Sabriel and Ekoh, and that was kind of a precursor to [LIB’s local] lineup this year.

You’ve been on the road a lot recently though, right? (JW) Yeah, that was kind of a next step for us, getting out on a regional and national scale. We did a circuit on the West Coast—Southern California up through Oregon and Washington and back down through Idaho and Utah. Fourteen cities.

How can you capitalize on the momentum of touring and playing Life Is Beautiful? [JW] We want to stay on the road as much as possible, and getting on the festival circuit is on all of our minds as a goal for 2015. Acquiring a booking agent and becoming a full-time band on the road is the ultimate goal.

How feasible is that? It feels like you have to have a charting song to make any money on tour. [JW] Luckily with satellite radio and commercial licensing, there’s a hope that you can still take it the indie route.

(VP) Hopefully people buy your merch, because that will help out. Hopefully if you do it right you can come back and not lose any money, at least.

From last year to this year, what are some significant steps you’ve taken as a band, and what are some you’d like to take over the next year? (Guitarist Tyler Jones) More recording, definitely.

(Drummer Charlie Gott) And we have the capability of doing it on our own, which is nice. We love to write music—that’s why we got into this—and putting out material as often as we can is a huge plus. We’re going to promote our upcoming album as much as we can, but we’re also going to keep writing new music for our fans to enjoy.

None of you have mentioned a record label. Is that something that even matters to you? (JW) I think we can sustain it as long as possible until there is that demand, and then the record companies will come calling. Having our own functioning machine and being able to produce our own right now is a huge plus.

(TJ) The biggest thing right now is trying to get the right people behind us, people that genuinely share our vision and want to work with us. Those are the type of people we’re looking for.

Life Is Beautiful: American Cream Friday, 2 p.m., Western Stage

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