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We hop in the passenger seat with one half of the local indie-poppers

Detroit

Between heavy studio sessions and prepping for a Record Store Day show this Saturday at the Majestic, Josh Epstein of barnstorming band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and lifelong Detroiter sat down with us to discuss their new video, all things Motown, and what you do when Iggy Pop dates your mom.

Let's start out with some tough Detroit decisions: Pistons’ Bad Boys or Red Wings’ Grind Line?
Wow... I gotta go with Pistons’ Bad Boys, primarily because I had the poster of Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer in my bedroom, and it said "Bad Boys", and they both had deflated basketballs in their teeth like they had chewed holes in them. That image will always be with me.
Do you still have the poster?
I don’t, but it’s also the biggest source of heartache from my childhood, because I was supposed to be the ball boy for Game 6 against Portland, but they clinched in Game 5 in Portland, so I was like... I remember they won and I was crying. It’s the only time I rooted against them.
Favorite Minor League sensation: Detroit Vipers or Detroit Neon?
I gotta go with the Vipers. They had Gordie Howe, man. I mean, what an amazing pull.
Berry Gordy or Barry Sanders?
Oh man. I think Berry Gordy because he’s responsible for so much of what I think the foundation of my musical education holds. My parents were playing Motown sh*t all the time as a kid, so I gotta go with him. Although Barry Sanders was the best thing to watch. Just beautiful.
Bob Seger or Iggy Pop?
Ummm, Iggy Pop because my mom dated him, when they were younger. When his name was like Mike Oosterberg or something [Ed note: Iggy's given name is actually Jim Osterberg. So, this is technically correct, thanks to the "or something"]. I bumped into him in Austin and he remembered who she was.
Amazing. How long did they date for?
I don’t know, a couple months, maybe. It was while she was in college and he had a band called The Iguanas. And then, the next time she saw him, she said he was slipping into drugs, so... they cut it off.
Woodward Dream Cruise: true testament to the Motor City, or the absolute worst weekend-long traffic jam?
I live on Woodward, so for me it kind of turns into a nuisance. But last year I put a sign in my front yard that said “If you park here, your car will get pissed on by a human & a dog”.
Did you have any people parking after putting up the sign?
People still did it.
Did you stay true to your word?
Oh yeah.
You drove the truck from Green Dot Stables, the new slider place, in your "We Almost Lost Detroit" video. What was the top speed you hit?
20. It’s manual, so I was being real gentle with transitions. It stalled, actually, going around the roundabout at Campus Martius, so that was kind of crazy. Everyone was getting really pissed. We had to have a car driving behind us so that if we stalled out, they could put on their hazards.
What’s up with the weirdly taped phone stand during the performance part?
It’s actually an old phone. The speaker of the phone is wired to be a microphone now, so it cuts all the low-end out of your voice. I use it mostly for sound effects. Everyone’s always having their mind blown by it. It’s like an $80 project. It’s functional, it just looks really ghetto.
You’ve worn the NASCAR fireproof suits on stage before -- how hot are those things?
Pretty hot.
Do you ever want someone to light you on fire, just to take full advantage of them?
Yes. We talked about that. You actually have to go to a fire class to do it, we just never had the time.

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