Beard or no beard, The High Pilots will rock The Blue Note
California rock band will open for twenty one pilots on Monday.
It’s not unusual for a band to look to fans to help fund its next record by bidding on autographed merchandise, pre-ordering the album or simply pledging a bit of cash to the starving artist cause. But what may be a little weird is California-based rock band Tommy & The High Pilots looking to fans to fund their upcoming record Only Human by bidding on either saving or shaving bassist Steve Libby’s beard.
“He’s still got it on,” vocalist Tommy Cantillon says, referring to Libby’s facial hair. “Surprisingly, more people wanted him to not shave the beard. The pledge page is still open until the record comes out, so you never know. But a lot of people just love it so much.”
The band, made up of Libby, Tommy Cantillon, guitarist/keyboardist Mikey Cantillon and drummer Matt Palermo, first joined PledgeMusic in January. Through the band’s page, fans can get their hands on all things High Pilots, from signed drum heads to VIP tickets to a private show in their own backyard.
“We kind of need help right now,” Cantillon says. “We can jump on board together as the fans and the band and see what we can do.”
But what exactly is the money going toward? (Aside from the saving or shaving of the beard, of course.) Cantillon says the PledgeMusic page will close on May 28, the release date of the band’s newest record. Those who pledged will immediately receive a digital copy of the album.
“You literally get it the second it comes out,” he says. “That’s huge.”
And with a set of superstar producers behind the album, the record is sure not to disappoint.
“This time around we recorded with three different producers, which was unique for us,” Cantillon says. “Matt Wallace, the first guy we worked with – he’s super cool. He worked with (Matt Palermo’s old band) Ludo, and he’s actually worked with Maroon 5.”
Despite some craziness resulting from traveling between the three producers (located in L.A., Chicago and St. Louis), Cantillon says the final product is cohesive and includes some unique experimentation with different layering techniques.
“We worked with a guy who did the first music video for the album which isn’t out yet, but the song’s called 'Out of My Head,'" Cantillon says. “He had a really cool take on it. He said the production was very lush and that he loved all the texture he was hearing on it.”
In the end, the fans might love the beard, but it seems likely that what they really love is just simply Tommy & The High Pilots.
“We’ve exceeded our (Pledge) goal and we kind of let these people into the world of the band for a day, or for a week, or whatever it is,” Cantillon says. ”Hopefully it’s cool for them – it’s really cool for us.”