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Squad Five-0


One of those bands who made their name in the underground and thus made their way to the surface, is Squad Five-O. Once started by twin brother Jeff and John Fortson this band switched from their earlier punk and ska tones to a musical direction that I would like to describe as Glam from the streets. One thing is for sure: With the release of Bombs Over Broadway (the new album) this band is ready to rock your town with an energetic set. Time to blow the house down with guitarist Adam Garbinski.


Interview With: Adam Garbinski (guitars, vocals).

Date: October 3rd 2000.

Where: This is an E-mail interview. Date refers to date first mail.

Other Bandmembers: Justin Garbinski (drums), Jeff Fortson (vocals, guitar), John Fortson (bass, vocals).

Band's Geographical Home: USA.

Discography: What I Believe (1997), Fight The System (1998), Bombs Over Broadway (2000).

Available Through: Squad Five-O & Tooth & Nail Records

Official Website: Squad Five-O

Interview By: mpo


Bombs Over Broadway is your new album. The music on the album I described as Glam from the streets. What do you think of the recording yourself?

I think you gave a pretty valid description of the album. We're happy with the recording. I think at times the production could have been a little more energetic, maybe louder cymbals or a more defined bass tone, but overall we're very happy with it. Duane helped us immensely with our songwriting, and without his help the songs would not have been as complete as they were.

You're a guitarist. In what way do you think Duane contributed to the recording of your guitarplaying? Did he give some ideas how to play certain parts or to rearrange things? What have you learned throughout the process?

Duane really encouraged me to be able to add all kinds of different guitar work and atmospheric parts to the album, whereas before I thought of things only in terms of "here's the rhythm part, and here's the lead part." There ended up being much more on the album that most people probably wouldn't even notice, but there's a lot of stuff on there that kind of adds to the overall effect.

Before recording the album, what did you think of working with Duane the moment it was settled he was doing the thing? He worked with a lot of people you might look up to like Motley Cre and Alice Cooper. So, what went on in your mind?

I was actually a little tentative about it, because Duane had worked with a lot of old dudes and I didn't want the record to sound dated. I was worried that he would be real set in his ways. But as it turned out he's worked on all kinds of stuff lately so those fears were kind of unfounded. I don't really look up to Motley Cre or Poison that much...they're sort of cheesy, but the scoop is definitely the man, although his heyday was certainly the seventies.

On the new album you combine a garage rock sound with Glam rock type of stuff.  You once played in a hardcore band called Speedy Delivery. What made you make this move?

I grew up listening to all kinds of music, and hardcore was just the first band I started, because it's relatively easy to do, and a good scene exists for it. When Speedy Delivery broke up, I had been talking to John and Jeff about playing with them, and they were thinking about changing their style around a bit. It was all very natural, not a radical departure at all.

What kind of bands are maybe influential to your song ideas? Do you pick up things from records you've listened to or maybe just guitarplaying that inspired you to get certain tones?

Personally, there are certain bands that I like a whole lot, but they're not necessarily the bands I get most guitar ideas from. You just hear things from all different kinds of bands, and sometimes you say, "let's go for a sound sort of like this" and 9 times out of 10 it ends up turning into something different or unique.

Squad Five-0 exists for quite some years now. The band was started by the twin brothers John and Jeff Fortson. You joined much later. All songs on Bombs Over Broadway are made by the band, so the inlay says. But how is the influence of the twin brothers on the band and the songwriting? Do they dominate or do you have an equal share?

Jeff writes all the lyrics to the songs, and most of the structures and chord changes. John and I will write riffs here and there and then give them to Jeff to put lyrics to. John writes all the bass parts and I write all the guitar leads and overdubs...that's about how it goes down.

In a biography of the band I read that the members live in different states of the US. How is it to be a band in those circumstances as it comes to songwriting and rehearsing?

Well, for the last album we wrote it by taking a week in Seattle to get together while we had days off on tour, then we took a week in Savannah to work on songs, and another week in Atlanta. That's all the time we had to be all together to work on it. I hope for the next album we'll have more time to arrange the songs and write together, that will definitely be something we do. As far as rehearsing, we just practice for a week before we go on tour together in Georgia, usually it's not too intense, because when we're touring we're playing songs we already know.

Some bands call themselves a ministry to reach out to people with the Christian message. All members of Squad Five-0 are as far as I know Christian. What do you think of music ministry in general? Do you think it's important and is it influential?

I think it's important and can be influential, but we have to be careful that we're not just preaching to the converted so to speak. Know who your audience is and how you can best reach them. Although our lyrics aren't usually about God directly, they're about issues that Christians all face, and that most kids deal with too. We usually say something about our faith at shows, but only as much as we feel lead to.

You say it can be influential. Have you personally ever been influenced by what a band said on stage or on an album? What kind of influence do you see?

I've been most effected when bands speak about social issues. Bands like Crashdog and Strongarm have always been inspiring to hear speak. I think some writers have a gift for making spiritual issues translate into words. Anyone can say how they feel, but sometimes a band will get me fired up spiritually. But sometimes a band can be saying things that are true, but it doesn't effect me the same way. It'll kind of be like, "yeah, I agree, that's great" but it doesn't really move you. Hopefully kids that listen to us and come to our shows see the reality of our love for God, and how serious we take it. It's not something that we package to sell to them, or things we say so they feel good about buying our records. It's a faith that can save them if they accept it, not a fad or a trend.

As I'm from Europe I wonder about your touring plans and especially whether you're heading to Europe or not. Can you tell about the plans?

We were going to try to go to Europe last summer, but it didn't work out. It's something we would love to do, and it might be able to happen next year, although we don't have any concrete plans for it.

And what awaits the fans in the US?

This fall we're doing a co-headlining tour with Living Sacrifice, and Ace Troubleshooter is opening. The tour dates are at Squadfive-O.com

Last question. If the band still exists ten years from now, what song from Bombs Over Broadway will you still be playing and what songs will appear on a best-off compilation then?

Good question. I would like to think Bombs Over Broadway, Don't Look Back, We Rule The Night, and maybe Tramps On The Run.