Playing at Projekt Revolution, you’ll be with a bunch of other bands. Is there a sense of having to compete with those groups?
10 Years as a whole has always been slightly competitive in a healthy kind of way. Obviously, you know, when you’re a band as young as us, to get up there with bands like Linkin Park and having Chris Cornell on the bill – you don’t want to look stupid every day. You gotta get up there and double it up. You definitely feel pressure when you’ve got that many bands around you all the time. You have to prove yourself continuously.
Is it hard not to feel lost in the shuffle of a big festival tour?
I try to keep a positive outlook on it. You know, maybe there’s not a lot of our fans here, maybe there’s people here coming to see other bands. But, maybe you get to play in front of 5,000 people who would have never seen you otherwise – you make new fans.
Were there any big festivals you caught as a kid?
To be honest with you, I really didn’t. Being in Knoxville, nothing like that comes through here. It was new to me until I ended up being in a rock band. There’s a coliseum [Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum] here or there’s a 500-person club, so everything else in the middle kinda got washed out. I saw punk bands when I was young – you could catch smaller bands that came through. Foo Fighters came to the Coliseum, so it was either big or it was little. So I missed a lot of stuff.
Obviously, part of the appeal of the “Beautiful” video is the beautiful woman who stars in it. Any discussion of what the next video will be?
We have to figure out what the next single is gonna be first. So no talk of a video just yet. We’re still kinda up in arms with the label about what’s going to be put out as the next single.
Is it that they want to go with one song and you guys want to go with something else?
Uh, yeah … as it usually is. [laughs] They’re thinking about how to make the quickest money. On the other hand, as a band we’re trying to build a career instead of just making money real quick. I guess there’s so much turmoil about record companies not being able to sell records anymore that they’re just trying to make every dollar they can as quick as they can.
Are there bands that 10 Years model yourselves after in terms of an ideal career?
Well, let’s use Stone Temple Pilots as an example. They had a bunch of hits, but those songs are timeless – they sound just as good today as they did a decade ago when they were written. And that’s something we aim for. A lot of [current] bands do this “metal” stuff – they’re doing the dueling guitar stuff again – but you can [date] yourself by when you came out. Beatles songs I can still listen to – Wham!, nobody wants to hear. [laughs] Where the hell I just came up Wham!, I dunno…
Are you playing the softer stuff live? How does it translate?
Two years ago – maybe even a year ago – we wouldn’t have. But we’ve gotten to a point and an age where, as a band and as people, we’re like, “You know, screw ‘em if they don’t like it.” [laughs] They’re our best songs, so we’re gonna play ‘em. We do play “So Long, Good-bye” every night. I don’t drag a piano around because that would be pretty ridiculous, but I translate the piano part to a guitar part, so it’s nice and pretty.
When journalists write about 10 Years, what do they get wrong?
I wish they would just listen harder. A lot of times, we get a lot of quick comparisons and kinda half-thoughts of who they think we sound like or who we’re trying to emulate. I wish people would just listen.
Any frequent comparisons?
We always get the Tool thing, which I don’t particularly see. I guess it’s because Jesse has a really good vocal range, but they always want to say we sound like Tool. And I’m like, if you really sit down and listened, we don’t sound anything like them – nor do we have that sort of talent. [laughs]
It’s the tough thing about being a new band – people need to make comparisons in order to understand where you’re coming from.
I think that’s probably one of our biggest problems – people don’t always know where to stick us. [Our music] is sometimes a little dark, but it’s pretty … it’s a little bit everywhere. It’s not as cut and dried as a lot of stuff we get lumped into the category of. [pauses, thinks] I’m sure every band thinks that of their own band, but I’m still gonna say it.