The Debut of Daily Planet
- 2001 27 Dec
Jesse: We met at Azusa Pacific University. We were all loosely affiliated with the music department there. Seth and I got together to play one day, we started jammin', we actually wrote a song and said, "This is cool. We should start a band."
I knew a drummer, Seth played bass, and I grew up with Danny [the drummer] in Santa Rosa, Calif. So, Danny came on board. A few months later, Bobby heard we were looking for a lead guitarist. We actually called a guy and left a message with his roommate, and the roommate actually ended up giving the message to Bobby rather than the guy we called.
So I saw Bobby a few days later and he heard we were looking for a lead guitarist. Bobby was the guy playing French horn in orchestra!
J MAN: You play French horn?
Jesse: So, I was kind of like, "I don't know, man!" We went over, he plugged in, showed us what he could do, and we were like, "Wow!"
Danny: Right on!
Jesse: Bobby was in. That was five years ago this month.
J MAN: The name [Daily Planet] -- something about the Bat Cave?
Danny: [In a deep raspy voice] As you say, we were sitting in the Bat Cave. . . . Flipping through Superman comic books, we saw the Daily Planet globe, the place of employment for mild-mannered Clark Kent. Threw it out as a name option, we looked at each other, and we're like, "Cool, we like that." That was the one name that all four of us agreed on. It was very strange. We had never agreed on anything else, as far as names go.
J MAN: If it was the first one you agreed on, then whose idea was "Bonnie's Hot Pants"?
Jesse: Bonnie's Pant Suit!
Seth: Bonnie's Hot Suit! It's actually a reference from our most favorite movie, Waiting For Guffman.
Bobby: One of our favorite movies.
Seth: It's your favorite -- now. It's a timeless classic.
Jesse: We try to reference that movie a lot.
J MAN: The deal with Reunion. How'd you land it?
Jesse: We got back after taking a six-month hiatus. Both Seth and I had our weddings that summer. So we got back after that summer, and we put a time limit on it, an ultimatum. Otherwise, we were going to have to do something that would actually make some money. So two days after that we opened for Jake, and we got discovered. Our manager took our CD in and brought the guys out from Reunion, and that's how it happened.
J MAN: All day people have been comparing you to Creed and Dave Matthews. Who are your musical influences?
Jesse: We have vastly different musical influences. I like classic rock: the Beatles, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder. I also have a peculiar obsession with musical theater.
J MAN: You want to let us in on a little bit of musical theater, Jess?
Jesse: I actually played Tony in West Side Story in high school, which is rather funny, since I'm blond-haired and blue-eyed and playing Tony, the Italian. I'm not sure how that worked. In Northern California, it was kind of "slim pickens" for Italians.
J MAN: What did Tony sound like?
Jesse: Tony sounded like [me], so that made it worse!
J MAN: So what inspired the subjects on Hero?
Jesse: You don't want to get everyone else's influences?
J MAN: Oh, I'm sorry.
Danny: You don't care about us! Barry White is one of my influences.
J MAN: Yeah, but will he be once you get over the sore throat?
Danny: I grew up listening to Petra. They were the first concert I ever went to. But I also love Dave Matthews, Sting, Aerosmith. I'm a big jazz fan.
Bobby: I started playing guitar when hair bands were cool, the Seattle sound that came out of the early '90s.Stone Temple Pilots, who's not from Seattle, Smashing Pumpkins, who're not from Seattle, Nirvana . . .
Jesse: Also a Seattle band, Bobby.
Seth: Thank you, Jesse.
Bobby: Thank you geographically wise Jesse! Anything with huge guitars. Now I listen to Creed and P.O.D.
Seth: U2, [they] were my introduction to rock 'n' roll. I was thoroughly obsessed with them, have every record.
Jesse: Still are!
Seth: I'm an obsessive-compulsive kind of guy! Dave Matthews Band, Jeff Buckley, Elliot Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers is a big influence on the bass.
J MAN: What inspired the subjects of the songs on Hero?
Jesse: We try to write from the place of stuff that's happened to us, not just the hypothetical. . . . We really try to draw from real-life experience so that it makes the album relevant and believable to a lot of people.
Six-String Rocketeer is a song about when my parents divorced when I was 15. At the time I didn't have my driver's license so I really didn't have a way to get away. So, I would lock myself in my room and pick up this beat-up guitar and go through songbooks by The Beatles, Elton John, James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Billy Joel. . . . I'd teach myself how to play the guitar. I've heard it said that the wounds that hurt you are the wounds that will heal you, and that was the case with this song.
If it weren't for my parents' divorce I would have never had the discipline to play the guitar. Five or six years later I wrote that song, which was the cap to the healing process.
J MAN: Do you guys have a favorite track?
Danny: I like More To Life. It's a bluesy straight-up track that's great to play live.
J MAN: Yeah, I actually thought you could've gone a little longer on that one.
Seth: It's good to leave them wanting more!
Bobby: Six String to the rest of us, even though we haven't come from families of divorce, we know people who have and we can see [the song] through their lives. And to see people's reaction in the audience, because they're going through it as well -- that means a lot to me.
Seth: I really like the song Lost and Found. It's reminiscent of a Led Zepplin Cashmere feel. It's very thoughtfully written and an all-around good rock song.
J MAN: Give me one word or phrase to describe the member of DP next to you.
Jesse: Danny is the most capable person I've ever met.
Danny: Bobby. . . thinking of how to say it. . .
Jesse: Just go ahead and say stubborn!
Danny: Literal, by the book, systematic, calculative.
Bobby: Seth is indescribable. If I'd have to say one word, I'd say artist, which is almost the complete opposite of me!
Danny: Or obsessive compulsive would be another one.
Bobby: [Seth] gets very passionate about things, even when there's not a reason to be passionate.
Seth: Jesse: Annoying! (laughter) No: Transparent.
Jesse: I would have preferred brilliant! But transparent will work! Hey, there's my wife and Joy Williams.
[Note: After a brief break to say hi, I asked Joy what she thought of Daily Planet]
J MAN: Joy has to say something really nice about Daily Planet. What are you going to say?
Joy: I've never met any more creative people than Daily Planet! And I've never met anyone who can quote Waiting For Guffman better!
J MAN: That's all they've been talking about today!
Joy: And here's the deal. I don't know if [Jesse] told you this but we grew up together. Our parents are friends. . . . Jesse saw me with braces and dark hair, and I saw Jesse -- like now! (more laughter)
Nothing but love for the fam! We're brutal. Brutally honest with each other, 'cause we're like family. (Joy leans over to me) Don't be too easy on them.
J MAN: I'm not being to easy on them!
Joy: There's not much dirt you can get on Daily Planet. They're the nicest bunch of guys I know.
J MAN: Yeah, they're just goofballs.
Jesse: Alright, we'll take it!
Joy: I have to go.
J MAN: We'll see you tonight at the concert.
Joy: Awesome! You guys are coming right? 'Cause you're playing!
[Getting back to the original interview]
J MAN: Let's wrap this thing up. When someone listens to a CD or comes away from a Daily Planet concert, what kind of experience do you want them to walk away with?
Seth: I think we want to spark people to think about things they probably haven't thought of before. I guess it comes back to our mission statement that we all carefully put together.
J MAN: I should know this by heart now: "Authentic and creative in Jesus Christ"?
Seth: Yes. "Authentic and creative in Jesus Christ!"
J MAN: I am the man! But I actually say it to make it sound good.
Seth: In all that we do, we seek to paint an authentic and creative picture of God's presence in every aspect of life, causing people to crave a first-hand experience with Jesus Christ.
J MAN: So that's ultimately the goal?
Seth: Yeah, we don't want people to simply take our word for it, but [we want them] to experience [Jesus] first-hand for themselves.