Don from SFS is a really awesome dude, and a good friend, and he was awesome enough to take some time and answer some questions for me. This band is totally wild, and as you’ll read on, contains some members who’s bands I idolized growing up.
1- Let’s begin with basics, who are you, and what is your role in Searching for Satellites?
–My name is Don Tuer. I’m from a small little hick town north of London, called Mitchell. I moved to London to get away from the small town life and to join a band. As it turns out I have gotten a lot farther in that search then I have ever imagined and now I’m lead vocals for Searching For Satellites.
2- Who are the rest of the folks in your band?
–Well you have James McLeod on guitar and vocals (the one with the pretty voice), Jeff Folkes playing second guitar, Sam Sheppard on drums, and Josh McGregor on bass.
3- How did SFS come together as a band?
–Well it’s kinda of a long story, but I’ll shorten it for all you folks.
It all went like this…
All the guys came from previous well known London bands.
Josh – BrokenGlassWings and The Soap Opera Coma
James – The Soap Opera Coma
Jeff – That Which Is Eternal
Sam – Final Plague
James, Jeff, and Sam put together a band called Harbour, they put out an EP and only played one show before disbanding.
(I was at that show they played with our brothers in Farewell To Freeway and Kingdoms!)
So a while after that, they started writing new tunes together and added Josh to outfit the music crew. So from here, in my eyes, it was a semi-musical super group of London bands I had listened to for years to.
“But where is Don in all this?” you may ask yourself.
Well I happened to join SFS by what almost seems like fate or a dream come true in my eyes. I grew up listening to London bands, and being around the scene as much as I could. I came from my small town to join a band and try my hand at what I have always loved. I actually started out in a band called This Side Of The Atlantic with some old home town friends. Anyways, so on and so forth, my drunken days lead me to Jacks one evening, where I ran into James and Jeff. They were minding their own business when I figured I would go introduce myself to them because James had been in my favorite band of all time. So, me making an ass of myself in front of them, then lead to me trying out for vocals and of course to where we are today. Now wasn’t that interesting? See kids, drinking heavily can lead to good things!
4- Can you explain the origin of your band name?
–Honestly, I think from what I’ve been told by the other guys is that whole shitty Black Berry thing “searching for satellites.” You know when your phone is looking for service and that pops up. It just stuck with one of the guys I guess. Then again, I could be totally wrong. They had the name before I joined so I went with it.
5-Up to this point in your career, what has been the most satisfying show you have played?
–That’s a tough question, we have played so many amazing shows in our career, that it’s hard for me to pick one. One that really sticks out was our first ever headlining show in London that kicked off our short run with Farewell To Freeway and No Bragging Rights. London really showed us love that night and made us so proud to call it our home.
6- Every band has it struggles, has there ever been a point where you were ready to ‘throw in the towel’?
–Being in a band is such a great thing and yet such a burden all at once. You put your time, money, friends, and family and all of yourself into trying to make what you do stand out. You do all of that just for those 25-45 minutes on stage. It’s hard for some people to understand guys like us and why we put so much into what seems like such a small return. I honestly can say I constantly feel like throwing that towel in, but I know for a fact I could never do it. It would leave too big of a hole in me. I regret nothing I have done or have given up for music thus far, so I don’t see me ever calling it quits unless it is out of my hands. Music is such a strong and compelling thing in our lives that it’s too hard to walk away from.
7- If you could pick one song out of your catalogue, which would be the one you are most proud of? Lyrically, musically or other.
–That’s a tough one. I don’t want to say Chemicals but I guess it is the one song that everyone seems to know and love. It’s that catchy chorus that I’ve even caught my own mother singing along to. The whole first EP was loosely based on an end of the world theme. Bottom of the Ninth will always be a personal love of mine because it was the first Searching song I ever actually wrote lyrics to. It was kind of a huge mile stone for me, so I’ll always cherish that.
8- Every band has had that ”night” where things just aren’t right, vibes are wrong, instrument/gear failure etc. Have you guys had one of those nights?
–Any guy or gal in a band will admit that all that kind of stuff happens more often than not. I suppose it is part of the whole band experience, knowing that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. We have bad shows now and then but nothing that sticks in my head. But for a while there when James first got his wireless, we would have problems with him not having a back up cord for if it ever cut out, and oh did it ever cut out. Also at a show in Brantford, back in the day, the power to the whole place cut out during our last song. You don’t expect that kind of stuff will ever happen. Just little annoying, yet laughable things.
9- The scene is incredibly tight knit, what bands do you go for advice or feedback?
–Our best buds in Farewell II Freeway would be my go to guys. They have been around for years, toured all over, been through hell and back in a van, and make great music. I have a ton of respect for those fellas. I grew up listening to them so it’s nostalgic and amazing to be able to ask them anything about music and tour life and just how to make it all work. They are great people with tons of experience and have done so much for us already.
10- You guys have done some touring, any terrible van stories?
–Nothing extreme so far (knock on wood), but when we started our east coast tour last fall, the van randomly died on our first day heading to Ottawa. It was a scary way to start off our first trek but we got lucky and old Bessy started back up shortly after, taking us safely to Nova Scotia and back.
11- A lot of bands have a bad rap as ”douches”. Have you guys run into any of those bands, touring or other?
–For the most part we have had pretty good luck with meeting rad people, bands or otherwise. But we have met a few douchy bands who think they are Gods gift to the world or something. We try to avoid those dudes. We are friendly guys and are always happy to meet new people and just hangout. One thing that can suck about being in a band and getting to play shows with your idols is that they can sometimes turn out to be super lame people. That has happened a few times for me and kind of put a stain on how I see them and their music after.
So band dudes, be sweet dudes, no one likes a prick.
12- Being from London, what are some of your favourite hometown bands, broken up or otherwise?
–Right of the top I will say The Soap Opera Coma, they were one of my favorite bands for years and still are. To play in a band with someone that you looked up to for so long is really a dream come true. The other guys always make fun of me for loving that band so much but they were so good and it’s an honor to get to share the stage with one of those dudes every time we play. Now that I’m done gushing, some great bands I grew up on and still love are Baptized in Blood, Foxfight and the boys in The Jettison Commitment. Great music and great dudes.
13- Growing up, I think every musician, myself included, had that one band that they wanted to be. What was yours?
–That’s a tough one! I would have to say a fine line between Alexisonfire or Dead and Divine. Both bands have such great music as well as front-men.
14- As a lyricist, I often get writers block, and can’t write for huge chunks of time. Do you ever fall into this, and likewise, how do you get over it?
–This happens to me all the time, but I always seem to manage to get over it. Just have to walk away from it and wait for inspiration or a sweet new tune from your favorite band to help you overcome it. Last thing you want to do is force lyrics that don’t make sense or that hold no meaning to you.
15- Merchandising is really big in music, you obviously have to have cool things that kids want to buy. If you could have one piece of ”dream merch” that you think kids would be into buying with your name on it, what would it be?
–Booty shorts with “SFS” and twin rockets heading on both cheeks heading for the “no fly zone.”
Or sweet sunglasses, which ever comes first.
16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?
–Well I try to avoid eating much before I play anyways but the boys seem to love the hell hole that is Taco Bell. Guelph has had my favorite before show eats though, little Caribbean place across from The Vinyl. I always try to get there when we play over that way.
17- Being in a band, I know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling ring for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?
–Josh and James and Jeff, I love the guys with all my heart, but all our personalities are so different that we constantly butt heads. I’m sure they would all agree. It’s like a family, you may always wanna beat your mouthy brother or sister senseless, but even so, you would do anything for them.
18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?
–Meeting new people is usually what I do. It’s one of my favorite parts of being in a band. I’ve made so many life- long friends from playing shows in different towns. Also, exploring rad new cities is always a sweet time passer.
19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In Searching, whos the dad, mom, etc.
–We all actually share the mom and dad moments, but Josh is for sure the parent figure a majority of the time. He keeps us on our toes and has our priorities straight, he knows what needs to be done to get us where we need to be. I tend to be a mom about our van and how messy they leave it, Josh is like that with just about everything else, but even Jeff and James even have things that they want perfect and will go into Dad mode about now and then. And then there is Sam, he just basically the son who works out, drinks too much, stays up all night, and plays his drums too loud. We love him for it.
20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?
–Hmm…well Big Bang Theory sounds about right, with so many condescending remarks, smart ass comments, love hate relationships and a ton of laughs and a mutual love for science (music) between us all.
Now had you said what movie, well I’d say Step Brothers.
Because after all the bickering and making fun of each other, all we want to do is Karate in the garage together.