Turbo Fruits Work Hard, Play Hard(er)

Jonas Stein is a busy guy. Aside from being the frontman for psychedelic garage rock outfit Turbo Fruits, Stein runs Turbo Time Records and is co-founder of the rock-and-roll cruise liner party the Bruise Cruise. Needless to say, when Stein gets some time to himself he relishes it, and uses it to relax and recuperate from his busy schedule. Oh yeah, and to party too.

For instance, take Turbo Fruits' recent demanding 65-day-long tour with Deer Tick. During the tour, days off were few and far between, but according to Stein, necessary.

“You just kind of have to let yourself go crazy while you're on the road because if you don't let yourself go crazy and try to keep things normal and structured then it's not going to work out,” he said. “You're just going to get frustrated. If you don't get time to yourself for two or three days, it's like going to war, except you're playing rock and roll.”

So how exactly do they let loose while on the road? The answer is simple: Like true rock stars. Take for instance the time in Rapid City, S.D. when the band members celebrated the drummer's birthday by renting a stretch limo to drive them out to a cave where they partied until God-knows-when. Or take the fact that Bassist Dave McOwen allegedly drank about 1,560 beers within the duration of their 10 week tour with Deer Tick. Yeah, these guys get serious when it comes time to party.

Of course, they also get serious when it comes time to perform. Regardless of the venue or crowd size, these guys try to keep it as lively as possible.

Turbo Fruits
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
Sept. 9, 8 p.m.
$8; Ages 18+
pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3578  

“We like to have a good time. We like to just be really energetic and talk to the crowd,” Stein said.

As for venue preference, Stein doesn't really care about the size or class of a venue, so long as the show goes well.

“I'd rather play a freakin' awesome, sweaty show in a basement than play a stagnant set in front of 1,000 people.”

But how does this energy translate from the stage to the studio? It turns out quite well, actually. Just take a listen to Turbo Fruits' debut self-titled album, or its follow-up, Echo Kid. And a mere two days after the band’s Sept. 9 stop at Grand Rapids' Pyramid Scheme Bar, it releases its third album, Butter.

Recorded at produced by Jim Eno (of Spoon fame) at Public Hi-Fi Studio, Butter is a major sonic step forward for Turbo Fruits, and is an album Stein considers to have a more mature sound that should appeal to a wider audience than the two previous releases.

“It was a great experience,” Stein said. “We only had enough budget to get in there for track recording for like, seven days, then we had like six, seven days to mix, so we had to work really fast, but we prepared ourselves really well prior to that experience.”

Much of the new sound on the new record can be attributed to Turbo Fruits' current lineup, which has morphed quite a bit over the years. Stein originally started Turbo Fruits as a side project while he was in now-defunct punk band Be Your Own Pet. When BYOP broke up, Stein continued with Turbo Fruits, eventually transforming it from a two-piece to a three-piece, to the current quartet line-up with the help of Matt Hearn on drums, Dave McCowen on bass and Kingsley Brock helping Stein out with guitars.

Currently, the band members are taking a break from touring to recharge and conserve their energy for their tour starting up in September, but when they come around be prepared for a fun show.

“If you come see us, you probably won't have seen any band quite as rambunctious as us.”

You've been warned Grand Rapids, and you'd better be ready to party.