Road tripping on psychedelic Turbo Fruits

The band combines surf rock and rebellious lyrics.

By Abbey Sussell | Oct. 1, 2010

Tags: Music

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Turbo Fruits' music is as carefree and unpredictable as its tour. Guitarist Jonas Stein steers a conversion van with chrome wheels across the country while his band mates jam to Motorhead in the back.

The Tennessee quartet is promoting its third album, Echo Kid.

Turbo Fruits began as a side project for Stein, a former member of Be Your Own Pet. When Be Your Own Pet disbanded in 2008, Turbo Fruits became a full-time project.

"I started Turbo Fruits when I was 14, but it was under a different name," Stein said. "It went on hiatus for a while, and the reincarnation of our original band was Turbo Fruits in 2005. It has evolved since then."

Turbo Fruits' music is the perfect soundtrack for a road trip. The playful riffs embody the spirit of a lighthearted teenager. Turbo Fruits embraces dumb fun with songs like "Naked With You," "Lotta Lotta Ladies" and "Get Up Get On Down (Tonight)." These are the types of songs that get stuck in your head.

Echo Kid is a stronger album than the band's previous work. Turbo Fruits' first record was a combination of demos that were not intended to be produced together, Stein said.

"Our first album is fun, but it is not what I think of when I think of Turbo Fruits," Stein said. "Echo Kid was recorded a little more seriously with more time put into it. The debut album was mostly random ideas I came up with in my spare time."

Stein said he enjoys the freedom that comes with Turbo Fruits.

"I don't have pressure from anyone else," Stein said. "Turbo Fruits feels like it is in a pretty harmonious state, and that is something that never really happened in Be Your Own Pet. Turbo Fruits is a lot smoother and I have a lot more fun."

Without the help of a large company, Turbo Fruits is more of a hands-on project that requires more grunt work, Stein said.

"In Be Your Own Pet, we had a lot more things done for us," Stein said. "We would have a hotel room to sleep in every night. Now, we usually find places to sleep when we're on the road. We will stay with people and take our sleeping bags and sleep on the floor."

Turbo Fruits' lifestyle fits its spirited surfer rock music. The lyrics of "On The Road" croon of life on the road and nights spent on a floor.

Stein jokingly boasts of the band's upgrade from a minivan to a conversion van equipped with comfy seats and a television.

Stein begins to explain his creative process and is interrupted by a shouted warning from his band mate.

Stein shouted back, "I'm not swerving! You're swerving!"

When Stein finally gets back on track, he finishes his thought about the creative process.

"The way we write (the songs) is we get in a room and bash it out until it happens," Stein said.

More than anything else, it seems Turbo Fruits embraces the touring life.

"I think we have all kind of fallen in love with a certain world of rock 'n' roll music," Stein said.

You can enter Turbo Fruits' rock 'n' roll world Friday, Oct. 1, at Mojo's.

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