Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Talking with Telegraph Before their 20 Year Reunion

Black Christmas is only a few days away! You've already heard us talk about one reunion happening at this show, Fordirelifesake. But, there is another reunion happening that night that I am as excited about, if not a little more excited for. Telegraph will be hitting the stage!

This is the 20-ish year reunion for Telegraph, a Detroit ska band that played throughout the '90s and early 2000s. You may also know this band as The Skolars or The Telegraph, same awesome band, same great songs. Their final release, Switched On was released in 2000 and the band called it quits shortly after. You can listen to it in full here.

After creepily approaching lead singer Jeff Sanguis at Small's last week and telling him how excited I am for the reunion, I decided there are probably a lot of other people looking forward to this show too. So, I reached out to him to ask a few questions about Telegraph, the reunion, and the future of the band. Check out what he had to say below.

HID- Let's get right to the point. Why did you decide to reunite Telegraph for Black Christmas?
Jeff- They asked. Simple as that. Well, Ramona (love Ramona, everyone else should too) asked a couple years back, but at the time it just didn't make sense. This being the kinda 20+ year anniversary it finally made sense. (Our first show was December of 93, but the band as it became and as people know it really didn't come to be until the summer of 94.) 

HID- Do you feel old enough to be in a band that is having its 20 year anniversary? 
Jeff- Yes. I would have had a different answer in my 30s... but then again I guess in my 30s it wouldn't have been 20 years. Shit. But yeah, I feel it physically, and I've also reached a point where I have no patience for kids on my lawn, literally and figuratively speaking. 

HID- This band had a few changes over the years, including the name. What's the difference between The Skolars, Telegraph and The Telegraph? 
Jeff- One was a dumb name, one was a new name, and one was an attempt to get fuckers to stop asking us if we named ourselves after a road. 

HID- So, Black Christmas happens to be the day after Christmas. Your day after Christmas shows were a staple in the Detroit scene for a while. Why did you guys start doing those and keep doing them? 
Jeff- They were a xmas gift to the kids that came to see us. We asked Maria (Maria from Ritual is the legend behind the scenes the kids didn't know was working her tail off to make great shows happen, what Ramona is to this town today) how we could book a xmas show at St. Andrew's, but make it as cheap as possible so everyone could go and have fun. Like, number crunch what we could expect through the door and still cover expenses. she came up with 3 bucks and we were stoked! We didn't care about making money as much as making it an awesome night. Back then there was NOTHING going on the day after xmas. Usually had to wait until the weekend for the next show, usually The Suicide Machines I believe. PKs had the 29th I think. So yeah, we did it and it turned out to be a huge success. and for a band that didn't care about money, we made good money those nights. OH! Plus those shows afforded us the opportunity to put whoever we wanted on the bill, and we always looked for great young bands throughout the year to put on the show. We figured our earliest shows we were lucky enough to get opening slots for established bands, we should do the same for someone else, you know? 

HID- What's the best memory from your time in this band? 
Jeff- Giant skater shorts? There isn't one, I know that's the obvious answer. Overall, the best memories are the ones where we were all just together as a family. Working our asses off, or laughing our asses off. We were around during the dying days of it being hard, yet we knew why it was hard. No giant internet. No YouTube. Recording cost a million dollars, or at least it seemed to. When you were on the road, there were no cell phones, no WIFI, no GPS... flying by the seat of your pants, missing everyone back home. These days "making it" isn't any easier... it just seems like it should be. I think it being so easy to record, to make things look all professional, all the American Idol type influences give bands an unrealistic expectation. I'm glad we came up in an era of making fliers at Kinkos and actually standing in the cold outside a show handing them out. 

HID- Why did the band eventually call it quits?
Jeff- Because we made a great record and you all hated it? ha! We stopped because it stopped being fun, for various reasons. We probably listened a bit TOO much to those that didn't like us, than those that did as well. But we were still young, still learning and it's hard to dig deep into that well of your own self worth for strength over and over again. Overall, I think we had a good run, and stopping when we did may have been premature... but probably not. 

HID- What can Telegraph fans expect this week at Black Christmas? 
Jeff- A half hour set! What WE expect is anyone who knows the words to some old ass tunes to be upfront and center singing with us! PLEASE! 

HID- Who else are you looking forward to seeing at that show? 
Jeff- Fordirelifesake!! Suicide Machines and Plug of course!! I'm going to make sure I watch every second of The Dewtons. I won't leave the Garden Bowl until they're done. That's why people need to sing the Telegraph songs. 

HID- Can we expect to hear more from Telegraph in the future or is this just a one time thing? 
Jeff- Does anyone want anything else from our old asses? Would Hip In Detroit document the whole thing if we did? 

HID- Anything else you would like our readers to know? 
Jeff- I have a man crush on Timothy Olyphant. 
         Rebel Spies!

Telegraph plays at 9:30 p.m. in the Magic Stick this Friday, right between Fordirelifesake and Mustard Plug. Tickets are only $25 in advance and can be purchased here. We cannot wait to see this band one more time and I will definitely be one of the people up front singing along! We hope this sparks some sort of comeback and if it does, we would love to document the whole thing.

If not, make sure you check out Jeff's current project Rebel Spies. Although you won't be able to skank to their tunes, they're pretty awesome too!


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