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Shaking the Pom-Poms with Cheerleadr
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
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Cheerleadr (sic) is rock through and through. And though they may be able to hide their proclivities amid acousticity and other tricks of the trade, there is no denying the Wil (as inlead man Wil Claflin) power of Cheerleadr. I recently had a moment to share a fruit smoothie with Wil and the boys.

[Matthew] So, what's been going on since the last album ["Batten Down the Hatches"]?

[Wil Claflin] We've been playing consistently, with 2-3 out of town gigs a week. We got new acoustic sets too!

[Chad Appleby] We've definitely gotten better. Our live shows are tighter and more energetic. We've really become a band.

[Phil Matthews] In our last slew of shows, the band has gone into overdrive. The shows have taken on a life of their own. We've really jelled as a band. There's a carousel of new material, and as soon as we are comfortable with the new stuff, the older stuff takes on a life of its own. It like screwin' an ex-girlfriend. You slap her in the ass and get a whole new squeal.

[Wil] Many people are surprised when they hear us. Something about the [band] name, or something.

[Matthew] What was it like to be in The Rumble?

[Wil] It was cool! We got to go up against the bands that eventually won and it's gotten a lot of people curious about us.

[Phil] The Rumble was a lot of fun- who cares about winning?

[Wil & Chad] (together) We do!

[Phil] We also made a bunch of friends in the industry and got lots of different fans who like different kinds of stuff.

[Matthew] How has the exposure affected your path as a band?

[Wil] It got people curious about us. People often tell us that they don't want to like us, but they do.

[Matthew] I hear you're being looked at by some label people.

[Wil] yeah. But you can't get too caught up in the industry thing. You just gotta play a good show. Don't cater to them. Just dowhat you do. Don't get me wrong- I'd love it for a label to come take us to the next level. There's only so far you can go on your own. Sooner or later, you need a label to help get you to the next level. Still, the thing to do is just play the show and see what happens.

[Matthew] So how's the new album?

[Chad] It's great!...It's fuckin' awesome!...What else is there to say?

[Wil] It's got something for everyone. There's hard rock and acoustic ballads too.

[Phil] It was also really easy- We came up with songs, hit "record," and bang!

[Chad] The challenge was playing smoothly. I had the shakes for two days!

[Wil] The hard part for e was the singing, because we usually come up with the melody line last. Also, our producer [Matt Ellard (Weezer, Morphine, Coolio)] kept challenging my lyrics- changing "the" to "a" and stuff. It was annoying, but it was done for the better of the band.

[Chad] It's the first album with Phil and I and that makes a BIG difference.

[Wil] I'd say we got 11 singles on the album [Ed. Note: the album consists of 11 tracks].

[Matthew] Where did the title come from?

[Wil] A lot of people think that the title came first- that we were out to make a "Rock Album." Actually, we did it last. It's more descriptive than predictive.

[Matthew] So what's next?

[Wil] We'll releases the new album and get it out to as many people as possible. I really think it has potent enough stuff to go up against a lot of stuff out there. So we'll keep on playing and get people excited.

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