Jeff Schroeder from the Lassie Foundation
by Jason and Brent
How did you learn to play guitar? Do you play any other instruments?
At the age of twelve I started taking formal lessons from David Koval (from Dakoda Motor Co. and Breakfast with Amy). Before that I just picked up whatever I could from people that would take the time to show me a few things. Taking lessons really helped speed things along in terms of having a better comprehension of the instrument. I took lessons off and on from Dave until I was about eighteen. I really owe a lot to David; he got me into cool guitarists and put me in my first real band, the Violet Burning. It was in the Violet Burning that I learned how to play guitar in the context of a band, something drastically different than playing along with records in my room. In certain way, it was like learning how to play the instrument all over again. I can only image now what those early Violet rehearsals must have sounded like.
Beside a short stint with the French horn in junior high, I don’t play any other instruments.
Who are your guitar heroes?
This list changes from time to time, but here are who I would consider to be my favorites:
Ace Frehley/KISS – He’s the one that got me, like millions of others, into playing the guitar. Most people think that KISS is a joke musically—and I think that they have done enough ridiculous things over the years to back this allegation up—but if you listen to the first eight studio albums and the first two live albums you’ll find a lot of great guitar playing by Ace. I would recommend Alive I to anyone who is interested in learning how to play rock guitar.
Jeff Beck – He has a great sense of phrasing, style, and note choice.
Slash/Guns n’ Roses – When I was in junior high I learned how to play every single song off of Appetite for Destruction, one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.
Pete Townshend/the Who – He is mostly known for his amazing rhythm work, but listen to Live at Leeds and you’ll realize he’s a pretty damn good soloist as well.
Brad Laner/Medicine – Four-track distortion!!! Great playing and amazing songs. I probably listened to Laner too much at one point. He could possibly be my all-time favorite.
Lee Renaldo and Thurston Moore/Sonic Youth – A fantastic duo who are still challenging the limits of the instrument.
Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd/Television – I just got into these guys within the last year or so.
Carrie Brownstein/Sleater-Kinney – I love how she stays away from traditional rhythm guitar parts. The Hot Rock is a great record.
Mascis/Dinosaur Jr. – I could listen to him solo all day long. The alt-rock Neil Young.
What is your fave Lassie cd, and why?
Personally, I enjoy I Duel Sioux the most. It was recorded at a time when the band was getting along fairly well and I think the songs have a good energy to them. I also really like Pacifico as a whole album. I’m pretty proud of that record. It was the first time I was allowed to be myself on a recording.
I can definitely say that the El Dorado LP is my least favorite. I think that it could have been a really good record if we would have has a little more time in the studio and if we would have been able to get along a little better. This was the beginning of the end for the first era of the band. Nothing but drama.
What is in the future for Jeff Schroeder and the Lassie Foundation?
The future for Jeff Schroeder consists of finishing my doctorate in Comparative Literature at UCLA (in the Fall I’ll begin my third year of graduate work). It’s been pretty hard work, but extremely rewarding on a personal level. For the past two years I’ve been learning Korean and I hope to live there for a year after the next school year. I have a lot of family there, so it’s really great going to visit/study.
As far as Lassie goes, we’ve actually been pretty busy lately. We just finished recording a new number entitled “We’re the Number Ones.” It was supposed to go a compilation CD that a friend of Eric’s is putting out, but we couldn’t get it mixed in time, so it will probably be released as a seven-inch sometime in the future with “Three Cheers for Waterloo.” In late August we’re going to play a few shows with our friends Absinthe Blind. See our website, www.lassiefoundation.com, for the dates and venues. After the August shows, we want to do a new EP (we promise it won’t have any repackaged old material on it) and then begin work on a new LP.
As of today, the band is me, Eric, Wayne, Happy, Frank, and Eli.
Do you play on any other projects?
After Lassie I played a couple of shows with my friends who are called Melody Black. I also played a couple of licks on Wayne’s KingsQueens LP. Other than Lassie, I don’t really have time to play with other people.
What has been playing live shows with Wayne Everett (for his Kingsqueens cd) been like?
Well, so far we’ve only played one show and it was a blast. Because Frank was so busy, Wayne had to pull the Don Henley (play drums and sing at the same time), which made it even more special. I’ve been getting on Wayne’s ass lately to put some more shows together because I just love the songs on his album. Also, Levi, the other guitarist in the band, is super fun to play with—he knows just about as many metal songs as me.
What are some of your fave cd’s?
Shot Forth Self Living and The Buried Life
Yo la tengo – Electr-o-pura
Sonic Youth – Goo
KISS – Alive
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Smashing Pumpkins – Gish and Siamese Dream
Mahavishnu Orchestra – Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire
Television – Marquee Moon
Van Halen – Van Halen II
UFO – Strangers in the Night
Blur – Best Of
Motley Crüe – Too Fast for Love
U2 – Boy and The Unforgettable Fire
What do you think of the Northern message boards?
To be honest, I’m really shocked by certain things I see on the board, especially when it comes to discussing issues outside the realm of music. In fact, I was pretty offended by a few things I read on there today. You know, I used to be a little annoyed by PeeWee and Bitchsmack, but now I think they are more needed than ever. I would just hope that we could learn to love those who might be different than us.
For the gear heads out there, would you please describe your rig and set?
For the upcoming shows: Jazzmaster/Strat/Telecaster into tuner, Boss Compressor, Ibanez Soundtank Delay, ProCo Rat, Cry Baby Wha, Turbo Rat, Line 6 Delay modeler into a 60’s Fender Bandmaster w/ a 2 x 12 Fender cabinet with Celestion speakers. From time to time I add a Boss Overdrive as well. I think the gear heads on the Northern Board would scoff at my gear, and that makes me feel good.
What do you do when not playing music? What is a day in the life of Jeff Schroeder like?
During the school year: reading, writing, and teaching.
Right now I’m preparing for my written Ph.D. written examinations, so I’ve been reading about eight to ten hours a day (sound familiar Jason?). I know, not very exciting. Other than read, I like to go see as many movies as I can.
Any other comments or contact information?
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