Thursday, 20th September 2018. 4:27:20am ET
Interviews Alternative, Indie Rock Interview: The Tunnel

Interview: The Tunnel

Interviewer: Phill Bruce

Date: 6-21-11



It’s nice when you hear fresh new talent that has emerged on the rock scene and this can be said for the Californian based band The Tunnel.  When I got the chance to interview The Tunnel I jumped at the chance.  So here what happened when I caught up with them for a chat about the band on a personal level.

Phill – Hello and thank you for agreeing to this interview with us at Grave Concerns Ezine.  Firstly could you tell everyone at Grave Concerns and our dedicated readers a little bit of background information about yourself and where in this beautiful world you are from?

The Tunnel – Before the Tunnel, I played in noisy rock bands in North Carolina and Illinois (Sharking Teeth, Jumpknuckle) and performed abrasive, Foetus/Residents-like theater in San Francisco (Jeff Wagner's Tunnel of Love, Circus Proboscis).  I grew up in Chicagoland. I look at atmospheric particles under an electron microscope for my day job.


Phill – That’s quite an interesting and unusual job you do, it is not every day you come across someone doing that for a living every day. How did you start working for the company looking at atmospheric particles under an electron microscope.  What does the job entail and do you have an official fancy job title?

The Tunnel – It’s an odd job it’s true. I started out in an obscure profession (physics) but apparently needed to get even more obscure! I work in a small government lab that gets samples that are difficult to identify, possible toxics, hoaxes, etc. Research Scientist is the title. Unfortunately there are no (paid) positions for Mad or Eccentric at this time.

Phill – So what was it like in your early days off setting up a band? Have you always did enjoyed being in the noisy rock bands or is your music gone in more a diverse ways?

The Tunnel – I definitely did more screaming in my early bands! And I think I focused more on passive emotions then…disgust, goofiness. Over the years, I let more mystery in, and things that excite me…I think the crankiness is still there, but maybe even more effective now because it is sultry, fierce.

Phill – At what point in your life did you decide to form your band and why?

The Tunnel - I've given up noise several times over the years, but it's hard to stay away from the catharsis. The Tunnel ended my last short retirement.

Phill – Considering you have played in a few times playing in different bands, over the years what has given you the push to continue your quest in the music industry?

The Tunnel – the catharsis is undeniable. It’s important for me to share it with those who feel the same. But for the most part I imagine the Industry will continue to rave and collapse without me.

Phill –Can you introduce us to the other members that are in The Tunnel and a little bit off information about each member?

The Tunnel – Pat was a drummer in metal and hardcore bands in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh (Aus Rotten, White Gold). Sam played bass in San Francisco dark rock bands (the Guilty Party, If Ever).

Phill – Where did you all meet?

The Tunnel –  I met Pat at a 70s punk/dance club called Death Rock Booty Call. We met Sam through an enticingly eclectic classified ad citing Elysian Fields and Killing Joke.

Phill – In your opinion what was it that made you all feel that you all wanted to create a rock band together?

The Tunnel – We all love playing the kind of music we make, and we couldn’t find enough of it otherwise.

Phill – How did you come up with the name The Tunnel and is there any symbolic meaning behind it?

The Tunnel – The name was a literal and figurative stripping down of my previous solo project, Jeff Wagner’s Tunnel of Love ( We started by rebuilding those overblown, goth-cabaret studio creations in lean, rocknroll form. The Tunnel has since taken on a life of its own.


Phill - What are your musical influences?

Here is my current list: Birthday Party, Swans, 16 Horsepower, Earth, Neil Young, Cramps, Bauhaus, Stooges, Electric dragon 80,000V, Acid King, David Lynch, Vampire Circus, Jim Thompson, Edwige Fenech, Tones on Tail, Ray Dennis Steckler, Wicker Man, Chrome, Link Wray, Philip K Dick, Shinya Tsukamoto, Edogawa Rampo, Junko Mizuno, Gallon Drunk, Lives of the Monster Dogs, Lady from Shanghai, Phantom Lady, all things Guerrilla Monster, Crybaby, Elizabeth McGrath, Francoiz Breut, Fantomas, Our Man Flint, Dame Darcy, Queen Adreena, Crime, Gene Vincent, Public Enemy, Secret Chiefs 3, Quix*o*tic, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Okmoniks, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Tar, the Jesus Lizard, Firewater, Hammers of Misfortune, Slough Feg, Grails, Faun Fables, Country Teasers, Prince, Boss Hog, Jesus and Mary Chain, Hank Williams Sr., Denis Johnson, Slavko Vorkapich, Goblin, Joe Meek, Screaming Lord Sutch, Joy Division, Telstar, Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Black Sabbath, Young Frankenstein, Foetus, Oblivians, Reigning Sound, Jack Oblivian, Duke Ellington, Bettie Serveert, Leonard Cohen, 60s girl groups, Jean-Claude Vannier, Love and Rockets, Donnie Darko, Les Rita Mitsouko, Cocteau Twins, Pleasure Forever / Slaves, Psychic TV, Mr Bungle, Trailer Bride, Geraldine Fibbers, Pervirella, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Mario Bava, Russ Meyer, Joseph Cornell, Rowland S. Howard, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Barry Adamson, Congo Norvell, Mamie Van Doren, Johnny Cash, Lhasa de Sala, Nightmare before Christmas, and Roy Orbison.

Phill – Wow that’s some list covering eclectic tastes and all genres, eras, authors, etc.  So what inspires you about Screaming Lord Sutch and Russ Meyer?

The Tunnel – I don’t think you can beat Lord Sutch’s version of “Jack the Ripper” or “Til the Following Night” for creepy swankness.  And I will state for the record that Russ Meyer was one of the greatest Filmmakers in Human History. Seriously! The editing, dynamics, and edgy charisma of his characters were one-of-a-kind, inspiring.

Phill – What hobbies all do you have and do when not working or playing in the band?

The Tunnel – Exploring rural Northern California, working with wood. Old wooden houses.

Phill – Where do you see your band in five years and what are your hopes for the future?

The Tunnel – Hopefully we will have perfected our remote phantasmic techniques by then, causing provocative yet satisfying sensations in other people's heads, chests, and limbs.

Phill – Can you tell us more about your plan on world domination with your plans on your idea  for the remote phantasmic techniques.  Do you have any crazy plot or secret blueprints from a mad scientist  so you can achieve this ?

The Tunnel – I will only say it involves years of intense study. And aethereal fluids.

Phill - If there any place or venue you would like in the world to play at and why?

The Tunnel – A dark Martian cave filled with go-go dancers, curmudgeons, and other misfits.  My kind of people.

Phill - Even though it is not set in a Martian cave, we do have a very fitting go-go dancing infused with hard core metal here in my home town, called Caged Asylum.  If you ever visit my hometown and epic city of Manchester you must check it out :-)

Phill – And what planet would this awesome club be on, and what transport would we use to get there?

The Tunnel – Realistically, the Martian cave would have to be on Earth, or a suitable replica. But a 1920s roadster would be nice way to get there.


Phill – If you could contact any band past present, died or alive and create the most epic concert in the history of the universe and who would be on the bill?


The Tunnel – Hmm, let’s book Link Wray, the Tunnel, and Queen Adreena.


Phill – Without giving too much away  about how you create your music , is there any instrument or program you wouldn’t be without to create the unrecognisable sound of The Tunnel and why?


The Tunnel – Right now I'm devoted to my 1970s Traynor tube amp. It is a snarling yet sensitive beast.


Phill – What is it about the older equipment that some bands prefer to use to create their own unique sound?


The Tunnel – In my experience, the range from clean to dirty is more immediate and primitively accessed, which suits me fine.


Phill – If you could organise a gig with any artist or band, alive or dead.  Who would be on the bill and why?


The Tunnel – well, how about…the Cramps, the Tunnel, and Gallon Drunk.


Phill – You are abducted by aliens, what is the experiment do you hope they perform on you?


The Tunnel – a different one than last time, that’s for sure!


Phill – You have just purchased a brand spanking new limousine, what 3 items if money was no object would you have in it?


The Tunnel –  A Scopitones machine,  a dive bar, and a San Francisco taqueria.


Phill – Do you have a particular favourite video game and console?


The Tunnel – Adventure for Atari 2600 is the one I remember most fondly.


Phill – What’s the most embarrassing moment in your life that we wish to share with us?


The Tunnel –  Sadly I think I have repressed at least my top 5.


Phill – Who’s your favourite comedian?


The Tunnel –  Steve Martin in his 1970s white suit period.



Phill – Thanks for giving us this interview for Grave Concerns, is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to update us with any album releases, and any locations you are touring for our subscribers.


The Tunnel –  Thank you for the nice interview! People can download our new LP “Fathoms Deep” for free at, or they can also get it there on limited edition vinyl. We’re playing at the Hemlock July 6 and the Knockout August 18, both in San Francisco.


Thanks again guys, good luck for the future.


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