We appreciate a band that rocks here at Room Thirteen and when Tubefreeks' new disc 'Complex Disorders' arrived armed with its plethora of riffs, intriguing lyrics and unpretentious approach we were very pleased. Due to this pleased feeling we thought let's hear what these blokes have to say for themselves and a few emails later here are the thoughts of singer and bass guitarist Paul van Valkenburgh.

R13: How did the band get together originally and what led to the eventual reform?
Paul: Tubefreeks was originally formed in the 90's as a combination of players from other local groups in the Baltimore, MD / Washington DC area. We played tons of shows locally and nationally, including a US tour. By the way, we've also recently released 22 songs from that time period in a Best of the 90's CD.
After several years apart, the members of the band having all done many other projects, talks about a "possible reunion" surfaced in 2008. We said we'd be willing to come back under two conditions: one that we have new material to support and two that it better be good! We think we've accomplished those two goals with the release of Complex Disorders.

R13: Where does that name come from?
Paul: The name Tubefreeks actually has many meanings. One of them is from patients described in a hilarious book by Thomas Pynchon called Vineland. There are these people who are diseased because they can't stop watching TV! They are Tubefreeks!! (he spelled it the same way we do in the book with two E's). Also, Tubefreeks are people who like surfing, tube amps [valves to you and me, R13], certain smoking paraphernalia... anything that requires a tube could create a Tubefreek!

R13: What appeals to you about the power trio format?
Paul: The best thing about the power trio format is that it's easy!! Ha ha!! There are only 3 guys who you have to worry about scheduling for, so it is nice.

R13: hat was the inspiration behind Complex Disorders?
Paul: Believe it or not, much of the fuel behind Complex Disorders came from a need to prove it to ourselves (and perhaps others) that we could actually do it! People we knew were giving us the old pat on the back "yea, you guys were good way back in the day" kinda thing. So we really wanted to surprise people by releasing a full-length kick 'em in the face comeback CD. We said it was our "We ain't dead yet!!" CD!
We wrote about 20 song ideas which allowed us to cherry pick the top ones in the studio to make the CD better. When we started writing lyrics, it just turned out that lots of good topics came from all the messed up things people do in the world. There's a song about a serial killer, a song about dictators, a song about a deranged prostitute, a song about a whacked out guy, etc. So, when we started looking back at what many of the songs were about, that was where the title came from.... all of the Complex Disorders that people have.

R13: What reaction has it received so far and what are the band's hopes for the record?
Paul: The reaction to the CD has been great so far. Our local friends have been so supportive and our shows are always packed. It's always tough for bands to get the word out. The average person doesn't want to go hear a band that plays songs they have never heard and the radio stations in major metro areas like Baltimore only play songs that have already reached commercial success. So, we've undertaken a strategy to try to work with folks like Room Thirteen who can help us get the word to folks who haven't heard our tunes but would like them! So far, all of the music writers have had very positive things to say!! We're also working on getting copies out to independent and college radio.

R13: Is touring something you enjoy and are able to do (finances and commitments allowing)? Any plans for UK/European dates next year?
Paul: Absolutely, we love playing live! That's what it's all about... gettin' the crazies all together and just lettin' it loose and having a wild time! We've been doing local shows over the last year but are planning some East Coast USA gigs for the Spring / Summer (Boston, NYC, Phili, and down south.. Atlanta, Florida). Gigging in the UK and Europe has been a dream of ours for years! We TOTALLY want to come and rock out over there. We've been working with Nicky Baldrian from Two Side Moon Promotions who has been great getting us started spreading the word over there. Let us know if you guys are doing a show!!... we'll do our damn'dest to be there!!

R13: You have an obvious affection for '90s hard rock, what was good about that period and what do you think of today's crop of bands?
Paul: The thing that was great about the 90's is that the grunge revolution really seemed to bring what we call 'real rock' back into the mainstream. Nothing against pop or glam rock, cause all styles have their place. But bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots really brought a change to the landscape which fit right in with the type of music we love to write and play.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the heavy bottom end with the boy band singer sound. It's popular these days but I don't know how much staying power it has. I just think if people want to hear pop voices, they probably want pop music beneath it, and visa versa, with heavy voices fitting with heavier sounds. Just kinda makes natural sense to me.

R13: Do you think it's much harder to be a working band these days given that there is so much competition or is it easier now because you can get your music heard by a lot more people through the internet than you could back in the 90s?
Paul: You hit the nail on the head. It's a total trade off! Back in the day, the only way people heard us was at our shows or if we passed out cassette tapes! These days, some kid in Saskatchewan can bring us up on the internet and hear us! Having said that, there are SO many bands out there. And it's a shame because there are lots of good bands that barely are heard because there are so many bands trying to get people's attention.

R13: How are you doing things this time round - is it all DIY (own label, own management etc) or are you calling in some old contacts to help get your name back out there?
Paul: Well, for sure one thing we did differently this time was to release a full-length CD. Back in the day, we did tons of demo tapes, preparing them to send to labels to try to get signed. This time we just didn't want to wait for that. We wanted a finished product we could sell at shows and on the web, and to be able to send to places like Room Thirteen for review. All of the old contacts we know have all been very supportive, but we knew no one would take us seriously until we proved we could still produce great music. That's why we decided to do it ourselves.
From here, we're very interested in seeing if we can pick up additional support. Maybe a label would be interested at some point, but we have to keep pushing it ourselves until we meet up with the right people. It's fun to do it yourself though... a ton of work, but a labor of love.

R13: What are the band's plans for 2011?
Paul: We're ready to do it all. Good shows, maybe some festivals, we're ready to rock live and kick it out! We're also beginning writing for a new CD we hope to begin recording by mid 2011. We'd like to have a new release by the end of 2011, but we have to stick by our own rule.... it's got to be GOOD!!!!

There you have it then. Hear their tunes then give your love and money to Tubefreeks at www.tubefreeks.com.