Jonas Stein co-founded The Bruise Cruise, co-runs the vinyl label Turbo Time Records, converts motorcycles into choppers, sings lead for Turbo Fruits, and enjoys the more-than-occasional toke. Yet he still had time to speak to me via phone while sweating his ass off in his hometown of Nashville.
On a scale of A to J, A being not at all, J being totally to the max, how aware are you of how rockin’ Turbo Fruits is?
[Laughs] I’m surrounded by myself and my bandmates most times of my week … I don’t have any outside perspective.
But I do know that we like to party, we like to rock ‘n roll, we like to have a good time, and we like to help other people have a good time.
So … ugh … I’m gonna go with an “I” on that one.
Are you sick of people singing a Weezer song when you introduce yourself?
I actually kinda miss that one. Now I get The Jonas Brothers.
Turbo Fruits’ bio on the [publicity firm] Big Hassle website mentions The Flamin’ Groovies. That is one of my favorite bands, and sadly so few have heard of them.
Aw, that’s great man. I love The Flamin’ Groovies myself. [Turbo Fruits] actually met up with a bio writer at a bar at 2 in the afternoon and drank and smoked all day, and just got really weird and goofy, and like, I don’t think we talked about music once.
So you’re saying that he made The Flamin’ Groovies connection without you mentioning the band?
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Was the song “Mama’s Mad Cos I Fried My Brain” inspired by the “This is your brain on drugs” commercial?
No, I do vaguely remember that one … I think when I first started smoking weed when I was in high school, my hormones [weren’t] solidified yet, so when I would come down off marijuana, I would get kinda depressed.
And that’s probably where it came from. I was just capitalizing on a melding of depression and angst, and started writing lyrics from it.
What is The Bruise Cruise Festival, which you co-founded?
It’s a festival you can go to and relax at. It’s not one where your feet are gonna be hurting after walking around for three hours. Both years that we did it [2011 and 2012] we went from Miami to the Bahamas and back. I don’t think we’re gonna have one this next year—I think that we just need to take a little space away from it for a little bit, and just get some of our other priorities in order. But it’s something that we’re definitely very proud of.
Different songs by Turbo Fruits remind me of different bands. I’m gonna name a few of them, and you give me a brief response to each one.
Supergrass: I don’t think I know them.
The Strokes: I dig them.
Social Distortion: Uh…never really listened to ‘em.
Faces: Fuckin’ love it.
The Big Hassle bio describes Butter, Turbo Fruits’ forthcoming album, as “the product of busting their asses the way most bands pull bong rips.” Is busting ass instead of pulling bong rips the secret to your success?
Yeah, well we somehow manage to do both at the same time. We’re very productive stoned.
Turbo Fruits’ latest, Butter, comes out September 11.
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