We have long awaited the opportunity to serve our robot masters, so we were nervous about inviting GO HOME ROBOT to take the Quiz. Turns out, the life-forms involved make a strong case for the superiority of the human race. Rich Bernett (bass, vocals, samples), VJ Hyde (guitar, piano, vocals, percussion), Blake Surbey (drums, vocals), and Eric Keller (guitar, vocals) achieve what no ‘bot has yet managed—excellent music. The soothing “Creek Water,” the intricate, multitextural rhythms of “The Fold,” the dancetastic “Improvements”—these are the sounds of joy. Put that in your R2D2 and C3PO it. Humans are advised to transport themselves to the Galaxy Hut on Sunday, Feb. 25, when Go Home Robot rocks it like they walk it.
What equipment do you use and what’s your favorite smoke?
GHR: Guitars: Gibson ES135, Hofner Jazzica Custom, Martin DM. Keys and samples: Korg MS2000, Roland SP404, Bass: ’62 reissue Fender P-Bass, a-la Middle-era Floyd (the bassist loves his baby). Amps: Music Man 210HD, Fender Twin Reverb, Gallien Krueger Backline 115.
Favorite smoke? Why? Are you a cop? ‘Cause you gotta tell us if you’re a cop!
What kind of drums do you play and what pets do you own?
GHR: Tama Star Classic. Some sort of blue color, three cymbals, and the requisite hardware.
Pets: Rich owns two little Maltese dogs that manage to create a vortex of cute wherever they go. They really are ridiculous. Eric also has a dog named Gruppy. Gruppy has this thing where he screams whenever he gets in a car. When we say scream, we don’t mean bark or growl, we mean scream. It’s not natural—at all.
What’s your favorite D.C. hangout and your favorite automobile?
GHR: The Galaxy Hut in Arlington is awesome! The owner and staff are wonderful, the beer is top notch, the food is delish, and the music rules. Apparently, Godspeed! You Black Emperor played there back in the day. I wonder if there was any room for the audience?
VJ: A 1979 puke-green Gremlin with matching shag interior.
RICH: I’d like a Honda Shadow, but I know I’ll never really get it.
Eric wants an H4 when it comes out. (So he can vandalize it.)
Blake only drives cars powered by clean-burning liberals. (He’s been looking at us all funny lately.)
What’s the worst place you’ve crashed and your worst haircut?
VJ: The worst place I’ve ever crashed was Centerville, Va.
RICH: I once crashed on Rt. 50 in Fairfax. The other car bounced off me and hit a light post. Scuffs and dent are still there, even.
BLAKE: In the “band apartment” above some craptacular club in West Virginia. Roaches abducted the keyboardist and there were feces in the fridge. True story…mostly true story.
Worst haircut: Balding.
Worst roommate and best audience?
RICH: I had a roommate who said in all seriousness, “I like The Colbert Report better than The Daily Show because it’s more conservative.” Not only was he a knee-jerk Republican chauvinist, he was also that dense.
ERIC: The worst roommate? Ahhhh, to pick a rose. Well none of us have ever lived with Blake yet, but he sure does smell funny at practice, kinda like leather, seaweed, and ether.
RICH: We were practicing one night and this girl we barely know popped in and
started dancing all cuckoo. Maybe that was our best audience.
BLAKE: I signed a breast once.
ERIC: Our best audience member was this dude named Leslie who was at the show when we played our first house party. His band Double Penetration Orgasm (D.P.O.) opened up. He was really in to it! When I say “really,” I mean really, and when I say “it,” I mean—whoo-weee.
Explain your band name and define your sound.
GHR: Go Home Robot is the name of a short film Rich made. We spent a year trying to come up with a name that didn’t suck and blow simultaneously. Eventually, we gave up and went with Replacement Agents. One evening we were all looking at one of Rich’s film projects and the words Go Home Robot flashed on the screen. V.J. said, “That’s a good band name.” The next day we changed our MySpace account, e-mail, Web site, had our matching tattoos removed, and it was official.
Our sound is one part heart, one part soul, two parts baking soda, and one full handle of whiskey. Imagine Syd Barrett locked in a mind-control battle with Robert Pollard. Now imagine all of the wasted psychic sludge pooled around their feet: That would be us.
What clothes do you like to wear onstage and what do you eat on the road?
GHR: The real story is what we wear underneath what we wear onstage. Underneath Rich’s Hawaiian shirt is latex paint. Underneath V.J.’s ripped jeans are crotchless galoshes. Underneath Eric’s T-shirt is another T-shirt, and underneath that T-shirt are his rippling muscles. Underneath Blake’s cold exterior is a calculated killing machine (and fishnets).
When on the road, we only eat food cooked on the engine block. Most times it’s the roadkill that’s bounced up in there. Don’t judge us.
What’s the worst stage you’ve played and your best payday?
VJ: The worst stage I ever played on was actually a great show. It was in a building that was being torn down in Chicago’s North side. Some people were able to get the owner to let them put on a benefit show before the building was demolished. The whole first floor and basement of this old building was taken over. Art was hung up all over the place and the bands played on the ground in a room that was once part of a garage. The next day I was coughing up a lung and noticed a thick film of what was either asbestos or some other poisonous residue caked on my clothes, gear, and inside my body.
Everyday is a payday with this band. Sometimes we get paid in money, sometimes we get paid in bitter reality. To pinpoint the best payday would be to bring the wrath of the Payday gods down upon us, and we’re not that stupid.
What are your influences and worst equipment experience?
VJ: Influence is hard to figure out. It’s like sexual fetishes—most of them are planted at some point in your childhood, prior to sexual maturation. Once you start to become aware of your turn-ons, you don’t necessarily know why you get off on a particular thing, you just do. Same with music. Hardcore, post-hardcore, avant-garde jazz, soul, bop, anti-pop—who knows? Except Rich. That boy is like a book.
ERIC: Rich is influenced primarily by the acronym W.W.M.B.D.? (What Would the Moody Blues Do?) The rest of us have girlfriends.
RICH: Worst equipment experience? I think I can answer this one for the band. Ehem. The WORST equipment experience was when Rich decided to experiment with his delay pedal on his vocals just before a show. Now we make fun of him because he isn’t smart. Let’s get him.
ERIC: Besides almost being electrocuted by our power supply? While playing at the Velvet Lounge, we were in the middle of this beautiful and melancholy piano tune. All of a sudden the sample bank on the Korg switched from Grand Piano to this raver drum sound. It was like Dieter was sick of being sad and wanted some attention. Touch him!
What are your songs about and what’s your favorite drink?
VJ: Our songs are about living sheltered, middle-class existences occasionally peppered with growing older and seeing the results in the mirror.
RICH: That and getting drunk. Mixed with robots. Fun robots that distract from the aforementioned lyrical motivators. Hopefully that makes sense.
VJ: Favorite drink: double scotch.
RICH: One more than whatever VJ’s having.
BLAKE: The blood of his enemies.
What’s your favorite tour memory and worst band squabble?
GHR: We haven’t toured with this project nor have we had a band squabble yet, so we’d be lying if we told you the best tour experience we ever had was last year on our way to SXSW. We missed our exit and what ensued was the worst band squabble. Eric was awoken by Blake slamming his fist into the steering wheel and screaming at VJ for failing to tell him to exit in time. Rich was already crying at this point for no particular reason. (Surprise.) Eric, realizing the dilemma, calmed everyone down by playing “Here Comes the Sun” and lulling Rich back to sleep.
What’s your transpo and what’s the worst place you’ve ever dropped trou?
GHR: We are the worst kind of commercial for Toyota. Sans Rich’s pickup truck, we drive a black Prius, a black Matrix, and a black Scion. Disgusting.
Dropped trou: The back of Rich’s pickup truck. That’s what it’s there for!
RICH: I had no idea the guys were pulling their pants down in the bed of my pickup. I wondered what three grown men were doing pantless in the bed of my Ranger.
What are your current projects and political thoughts?
GHR: Currently, we’re in talks with a major label A&R guy named Artie Fishal. If all works out the way we’re hoping, we’ll be going in the studio to record our box-set concept album loosely based on the sexual escapades of Pat Roberts. It’s called “God! That Feels Great.”
Politics: As liberal as the media can make us. We often sing about it.
What’s the stupidest move your singer ever pulled?
VJ: We can only pick one? How about the time he kicked three glasses of adult-beverage all over the power supply for our amps and the PA. Luckily the cops shut us down before we were electrocuted.
RICH: Yay! That story only makes me realize that I’m considered the singer! I feel like I just won an award!
Award-winning? Grade the quiz.
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