The five-piece ska-punk group Lucky Boys Confusion -- Kaustubh Pandav (vocals), Adam Krier (co-vocalist, guitar), Ryan Fergus (drums), Jason Shultejann (bass), and Joe Sell (guitar) -- all hail from the fertile musical breeding grounds of Chicago. With their fan base growing rapidly the band seems poised to take it's music and pocketbooks to the next level.
Livewire's Karen Bondowski and Phil Bonyata recently caught up with Kaustubh "Stubhy" Pandav for a little two on one on a nosiy and crowded streetcorner in Madison, Wisconsin.
By Karen Bondowski & Phil BonyataLW: Why the name Lucky Boys Confusion?
SP: Next! (Slices his hand through the air to indicate next question)
LW: How did LBC come together?
SP: I was in a band with Ryan called Farm Boy and Adam and Joe were in a band called Spinning Jenny and we played a show together and our band broke up relatively soon after our first show and I just got together with Adam and we started writing songs. We thought it was some of the best work we've ever done so we asked the other guys to join us. Jason was a mutual friend. And here we are.
LW: Do you have any regrets with the band? Like things you wish you would have done, or didn't do..
SP: Sure, regrets are like.. There are a lot of things you don't look back on and go I wish I would have done this or didn't do that but I think that's the same situation in everyone's life, you know? There's things you'll never change but I'm happy with everything.
LW: What is your favorite song in the catalog?
SP: I like doing "Closer to Our Graves."
LW: For performing?
SP: Yeah, for performing. I like listening to like "Perfect" or like "Needle in My Arm," "Sunday Afternoon." Those are just some cool songs that I like to listen to.
LW: Who were your early influences and who are they today?
SP: Early influences are.. Mostly just Indian music. Um.. Nirvana, some of the grunge stuff and then The Beatles, Bob Marley, Sublime, Peter Tash, Beastie Boys, The Clash... Later on.. Well, I stay pretty current with music so.. I guess the new stuff that's out that I like is Bright Eyes, Distillers.. I like My Chemical Romances album. I like The Obsoletes, The Matches, Muse, Head Automatica, Atmosphere, The Faint. There's just so much good music out there.
LW: Tell me about a band that everyone should know about.
SP: I obviously like 15 Minutes Late a lot. Their albums coming out next year. There's a lot of good bands that don't have a lot of recognition. Superdrag. Even though they're not together anymore, everybody should listen to them. They didn't get as big as they should have. No Knife is another really good band that doesn't have a lot of recognition. I don't know. I can't think of any others off the top of my head right now.
LW: What is your favorite thing about touring?
SP: Just playing music every night and meeting up with like friends that you've made along the way and friends that you had that just moved away.. Being away from everything that's at home. It has its advantages.
LW: If you could form your own super group, who would be in your band?
SP: My band and I'm singing? They're backing me?
SP: Tony Kanal on bass from No Doubt, the guy from Bloc Party is a really good drummer. I don't know his name. The guy from Motion City Soundtrack is a really good drummer. I like him. Guitar players... I guess it'd really depend on what style I want to go towards. Almost anybody out there in a fairly professional band have a lot of great guitar players. That's a hard question.
LW: What is it about your band and everyone that makes it who you are?
SP: Well, Adam and I have very different styles of writing but when we come together we have a pretty cohesive idea of where to go with the music.. All the other guys come from different backgrounds and are just really solid players so we don't have to sit there and explain the songs to them. They get them right away. We just have the same goals. We're trying to write catchy songs that have the same artistic value.
LW: How many hotel rooms have you trashed?
SP: A lot! We had this little run where we were trashing everything for a while and now we don't do that anymore. We have our fun, but overall, we're not that destructive. We'd rather just get really wasted and be stupid and do other types of crazy things rather then just trash shit.
LW: What is the ideal fan to you?
SP: Someone that supports the band whichever way they can. The ideal fan is somebody who takes the music, gets what they get out of it and realizes the music is for everybody and not just for them.
LW: You and Adam form quite a strong song writing team, do you write most of the lyrics?
SP: No, we both write lyrics and melodies. I come up with the idea of the chord progression and melody and the lyrics going and he'll write a new part to it. He'll write the melody, the music and most of the lyrics for it. And if he doesn't like some of my lines or I don't like some of his lines then we work to fix it. We make a pretty good team, but we also crash a lot. But that makes good music.
LW: What do you feed off of when you're performing?
SP: The crowd. Definitely the crowd. The crowd and the other guys on stage. It's all about if the crowds into it, then we'll be into it. I have a hard time getting into it if the crowds not into it.
LW: What is the strangest thing to have ever happened to you?
SP: It was pretty weird when this one girl came up to me and showed me a tattoo of my name on her hip. That was pretty weird. It's a permanency thing. Getting my lyrics tattooed on you.. That's like a piece of poetry, that's cool. But my name? That's weird. I don't know. I think it's weird if people get John Lennon tattooes. I think just in general it's like.. Why? I just think it's weird. Take the words. I'm just the guy delivering what the fan likes.
LW: Is the new album autobiographical?
SP: It's not done yet, so I don't know.
LW: You're music was originally branded as reggae - then on Commitment you abandoned your signature sound, now that you're recording and reliving through those moments again, do you think you'd want to go back to that style?
SP: If I were going to do reggae again, I'd do it in a different band. Where all songs were reggae. Problem with Lucky Boys Confusion is it's so genre jumping and it just gets confusing sometimes to the audience. Like our fans that liked it liked it. Sometimes you want to be that band that when you hear it... Like when you hear Aerosmith, you know it's Aerosmith. When you hear The Beatles, you know it's The Beatles. Or if you hear another band and can say, "Oh, that sounds like Aerosmith!" They just have that sound.
LW: And that's how this new album will be that you're working on?
SP: It's really different, but it's not going to go into the direction of reggae. I don't know where it's going, but it's not going reggae.
LW: Ok, we have a short answer section now. (All laugh) iPod or Vinyl?
SP: iPod. I DJ with iPods. I love it.
LW: Sushi or Big Mac?
SP: Sushi cause Big Macs are fucking gross!
LW: Beatles or Stones?
SP: Beatles. I thought they wrote better melodies and lyrics.
LW: Water or whiskey?
SP: Uhh.. I need both to live. Hmm.. Water in the morning and whiskey at night.
LW: Bush or Clinton?
SP: Oh god. Clinton because I don't agree with a lot of Bush's policies. Seems too conservative, too religious. I don't think Clinton's that great either but...
LW: Corvette or mini van?
SP: Umm. A Bentley! I don't like sports cars. I like luxury cars.
LW: Tupac or Biggie?
LW: Thongs or boxers?
SP: Thongs! Not for me. For on girls right?
SP: Yeah. Girls thongs. Guys boxers please.
LW: Teddy bears or gremlins?
SP: Teddy bears.
LW: Comic books or Shakespeare?
SP: Comic books. I'm huge into comic books. When I was young I liked The Hulk, The Avengers.. I liked Batman.
LW: Feathers or spikes?
SP: I'd have to say feathers.
LW: Candle light or spotlight?
SP: Spotlight. I'm an egomaniac. (All laugh)
LW: With the price of gas the way it is, are you guys making a profit on tour?
SP: Yeah, but we'd be making a lot more if gas was cheaper. It cuts into it big time. For smaller bands, it's really bad. For bigger bands, it's not affecting them really.
LW: Did you vote for Bush?
LW: If you were president, what would be your first law?
SP: I would reverse the Patriot Act. That'd be out. America's founded on freedom and it's just fucked up. Our privacy is out the door. A politician makes mistakes and it's like we can't go from letting everything be as loose as possible to someone getting a blowjob in office to what Osama bin Laden has been threatining to do forever. He does it and then succeeds and they take away all of our rights - what the fuck is that! It should be the other way around - the average citizen should be able to monitor what the politicians are doing!
LW: Who is your favorite mass murderer?
SP: I never got into that gory stuff. I wouldn't even know. Well. Jack the Ripper just cause it was such a strange story. It's really weird.
LW: Are you a sadist or a masochist?
SP: Sadist. Yeah, I don't like pain. (All laugh) Yeah, don't bite me. Don't do any of that. I don't like pain.
LW: Do you ever have recurring dreams?
SP: Next question!
LW: How many CD sales do you consider successful?
SP: A hundred.
LW: Get outta here!
SP: Yeah! Think of what that really means. That means that a hundred people got out of their fucking seats, went to the store, spent their hard earned $10.00 on buying your art. With that $10.00, they could spend it on anyone else's art or a video game or a new toy or food or beer, you know? That's a case of beer! Instead they decided to go out and pick up my music. That's a pretty big thing. Monetarily suucessful? That depends on who's looking at it. Yeah, there's a hundred people out there who really gave a shit and bought your music.
LW: Take all your band members and describe them in one word.
SP: Joe is manic. Umm.. This is hard. Ryan is.. All right, I'll go to Jason. Jason is all American. Adam is pragmatic. Ryan is uhh.. crafty!
LW: What about you?
SP: Rash. I'm quick with decisions.
More Lucky Boys Confusion
Concert review - Madison, WI Sept. 15, 2005
Concert review - Milwaukee, WI Oct. 13, 2004