10 Quick Questions with Paul and Storm

by Gordon Elgart on October 19, 2009

Give me dancing robots, and I'm there.

Give me dancing robots, and I'm there.

After their epic performance at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, the world was breathlessly awaiting Paul and Storm’s next move.  Fortunately, they had already announced this move a couple of days earlier.  What brings them to San Francisco this week is an absolute geek fest called w00tstock, that also features Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, and “other surprise guests,” most of whom have been announced and are listed at the bottom of this post. I’ll be there, and I strongly recommend picking up a ticket for Tuesday night while you still can.  I spoke with Greg “Storm” DiCostanzo and asked him if he would do an email interview with Spinning Platters when the show got closer, and he graciously agreed to do so.

Spinning Platters: Your most well known song, featured in Rock Band, is “Opening Band.”  What happens to that song when you headline?

Storm: We still usually play “Opening Band”, even when we headline, though we usually don’t do it first.

SP: Recently, you performed all of They Might Be Giants’ classic album Flood in its entirety (with Jonathan Coulton).  What can you tell us about how that came about and how you prepared for it?

S: Jonathan has talked about doing a complete album since we’ve met him, but the Flood idea arose because of the special circumstances. It instantly seemed like a great idea, since TMBG was playing  in the same town on the same night,  and  that  the audience  would  “get” it. We brainstormed with Jonathan in the van on the way home from a gig to figure out how we might do the songs, divvied up assignments, and rehearsed separately the week before the show. Jonathan did most of the heavy lifting, with Paul and I helping to change up the feel, but it was still a big stretch for us. Then we had a few hours of rehearsal together in Chicago before throwing it to the public. There were literally some song arrangements that weren’t firmed up until sound check!

SP: You keep getting robbed in the Masters of Song Fu competitions.  Feel free to vent here.

S: No venting necessary on Song Fu–as five-time Grand Champions, we have nothing to complain about.

SP: You do a medley of “rejected” commercial jingles.  Are there any commercials out there that feature your jingles?

S: We have done “real” commercials, but for contractual reasons we can’t say who for.

SP: What are your favorite places to play?

S: Anywhere that tolerates us is a good place to play. Even better if it’s a city with good food. Certainly we always enjoy geek enclaves like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and DC, but it’s a very long list.

SP: Who are you listening to now that you’d like everyone to know about?

S: Tally Hall and Jukebox the Ghost are two bands we’ve obsessed over, musically, that a lot of folks might not know about.

SP: What are your favorite guilty pleasures?

S: Long walks on the beach, cuddling, and chocolate on a rainy day. Oh, sorry; wrong list…

SP: Anything we should be correcting on your Wikipedia page?

S: I honestly don’t feel like it’s our place to comment about our Wikipedia entry. I’m not completely familiar with their process, but I’m sure it will continue to evolve, just as the “truth” about who we are does.

SP: How did the whole w00tstock thing come about?

S: We were originally going to do L.A. and San Francisco on those dates with another act, but for logistical reasons it didn’t work out. So we thought about who we knew in those cities who it would be fun to do the dates with, and immediately came up with Wil and Adam, knowing that they both occasionally do readings and other public appearances. Paul and I talked for about an hour about what the show might actually look like, and it quickly ballooned into some sort of geek-appeal extravaganza. Wil and Adam were both thoroughly enthused about the idea, and we all pooled our ideas together at that point to give w00tstock its form.

SP: Here’s your big chance:  sell our readers on w00tstock.

S: w00tstock is like having the best parts of a Con–geek-appeal celebrities and rising talent, bringing you special content, up close and personal–without the hassles. You don’t have to decide which showcase to go to–you’re getting it all in one super-concentrated potion. And when it’s playing in 20,000-seat arenas in three years, you’ll be able to say you saw it before it went all popular and corporate.

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For more on Paul and Storm, you can visit their website or follow their always entertaining Twitter.

And here’s some further info on w00tstock, direct from Wil Wheaton’s blog:

w00tstock 1.0 – Monday, October 19. Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. (SOLD OUT!)

Special Guests: sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser; singer/songwriter Molly Lewis; singer/beatboxer/game inventor/all-around creative person Kid Beyond.

wootstock v1.0.1 – Tuesday, October 20. Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. (NOT SOLD OUT!)

Special Guests: singer/songwriter Molly Lewis; singer/beatboxer/game inventor/all-around creative person Kid Beyond.

wootstock 1.1 – Wednesday, October 21. Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles. (ALSO NOT SOLD OUT!)

Special Guests: screenwriter Josh A. Cagan (Bandslam); singer/songwriter Molly Lewis; actor Jeff Lewis (”Vork” form webseries “The Guild“); several extra-special guests that we are not allowed to name, but we swear are awesome!

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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