Fighting for Ithaca
Kingston is an amazing town for many reasons. One of which is there is always new music to check out. In early December I got to sit down with Fighting For Ithaca’s Phil Maloney (Drums), Curtis Steeksma (Vocalist), Adam Mounstevens (Guitar), Jon Steeksma (Guitar) and Tommy Phoenix (Bass) who make up Fighting For Ithaca before their sold out show at Time to Laugh Comedy Club.
CT: How did the band start?
FFI (Curtis): It was a long road. I started the band with Tom, we had put a Craigslist ad out and found some guys who were interested. And in the beginning there was a revolving door of members for a while. Our sound had taken a heavier direction with elements of scream but I wanted to focus on a more pop/punk sound. John came on through blood, he’s my brother. It was really a collection of the Vancouver music community.
FFI (Phil): How we got signed was our fans, the “Ithacans” they call themselves started blowing 604 Records up through twitter and we had run into 604 Records executive Jonathan Simkins a couple of times and were lucky that they had actually heard of us. The fans helped us with the last little push we needed and we are thankful for that.
CT: What are some tour stories you can share?
FFI (Curtis): Moral of the story is don’t brew tea on the tour bus. What happened was we were getting ready for a filmed interview I sat down with a Dixie cup with boiling tea. Somehow, and I’m not going to get into details, it got knocked over spilling scalding hot water down my crotch. Which initially everyone laughed at, but I jumped up screaming like a ten-year-old girl and ran to the bathroom literally undoing my pants on the way. I asked them to bring me water or ice, anything I could put down there to cool off. I had to play a show that night, which was why I was prolly waddling a bit on stage! I now use a water bottle with a closed lid.
FFI (Phil): Most of the stories we can’t tell but let me just say there was a $500 cleaning bill on the bus because of soda crackers. Don’t bring soda crackers on tour!
CT: what is the writing process like for you?
FFI (Curtis): Well, the last album we tried different ways. The main song writers of the band are Jon and Tom, where Phil and I are better at expanding an idea that’s already there.
FFI (Jon): We’ve lost a few members along the way (laughing). Last album was different because we would come together with the purpose, argue for three hours and hopefully we got a song out of it. It all comes down to different processes and really evolving as a band.
FFI (Phil): A huge level of trust has been created over the last while. And we have all kind of agreed to try each other’s ideas. We are pretty democratic but can still argue at times.
CT: You guys spend a lot of time together, so that makes sense.
FFI: So much time! Don’t get me wrong, the occasional blow out will happen but its only because we are so passionate about what we do!
FFI (Jon): We spend 78.9% of our time together.
CT: Can you tell me the inspiration behind the song “Seeing Stars” and “Out of time”?
FFI (Phil): “Seeing Stars” is about being on the road and having two lives. Obviously we go home and have a home life, with families and we make pancakes or whatever. But it’s about balancing them and missing home. Where “Out of time” is more about meeting people, and the drive we have to meet all our fans. We don’t leave the venue until we have talked to everyone who has stayed to talk to us. We meet some awesome people on tour who become friends and often we have to go quickly and don’t get to talk to them again for a while. I’m not just saying this, we honestly love meeting everyone!
CT: Best and worst of touring?
FFI: Feet, no showers, having to sink showers or bird baths. Best: the performance is great. But meeting the people but it’s a little bitter sweet, because of the limited time we have to interact face to face with people.
CT: You have a superhero theme to the album, if you could have a super power what would it be?
FFI (Phil): Shooting raisins out of my nipples.
FFI (Adam): Invisibility.
FFI (Jon): Decision-making abilities, or the ability to regrow fingers (he is missing a thumb).
CT: Any tattoo stories you’re willing to share?
FFI (Jon): I had a crazy sunburn and we were at an outdoor festival. I found this guy who was doing tattoos out of a trailer and I may have been a bit drunk because he refused at first to tattoo my third degree burned shoulder. But in the end I got a lion’s head. I also have three sugar skulls on my leg.
FFI (Adam): I have a quite large chest tattoo of a reverse Hamlet, it’s a skeleton holding up a human head and marionette strings holding up a dancing girl against a backdrop of the stage curtains. I got it because of my love and respect of Shakespeare.
FFI (Curtis): I have a Phoenix on my calf, it’s from the Lost Prophets. They played in Vancouver when I was underage and I used Jon’s ID to get in. I was front and centre rocking out and singing when the lead singer noticed me and pulled me up on stage to sing with him. Which was huge for me because I had just started singing and it really solidified the drive in me to start a band.
FFI (Phil): I have a star on my forearm. I got it during the last tour I did with another band. Sailors used to get them to represent so many nautical miles traveled. It also represents direction for me. And a way home to my wife who I love very much. I also have a child reaching up touching a wolf on my shoulder with a dove flying over it. This represents some stuff I went through in my past.
CT: In Grade 9 high school what was your favourite band?
FFI (Tom): Tupac.
FFI (Curtis): AFI.
FFI (Phil): Guns and Roses.
CT: Who would you collaborate with?
FFI (Phil): Marianas Trench.
FFI (Tom): Josh Ramsay.
FFI (Adam): The Wonder Years.
FFI (Jon): Lights.
FFI (Curtis): Canadian Rapper Chad.
CT: Celebrity date who would it be?
FFI (Phil): Betty White as a centaur.
FFI (Curtis): Princess Jasmine.
FFI (Tom): Lights.
FFI (Adam): Jenna from the band Tonight’s Alive.
FFI (Jon): Josh Ramsay.
CT: Best Show you’ve ever played?
FFI (Phil): The one we are about to play in 15 minutes!
They rocked Kingston and the guys from Fighting for Ithaca show no signs of stopping. They are action packed, full of energy and really dedicated to their craft of music and their fans so give them a follow and say “hi”! On Twitter @fightingforth, @CurtisFFI, @ JonnyFFI, @TommyFFI, @AdamFFI and @PhilFFI. Thank you to Kingston Punk Productions for another awesome sold-out show that also featured Victoria Duffield And from Belleville Ontario Message Through Motion.