The following interview was done via e-mail by Chris Cloud (alias Agent Mercury) with Tenderfoot members Brett Levson (guitar, vocals) and Louis Defabrizio (bass).
Chris: Many Decapolis members have probably never heard of Tenderfoot...would you just tell them a little bit about where the band got started and maybe about the end of Dear Ephesus?
Louis: Dear Ephesus ended in February of 1999, but by that time Brett and me were already out of the band. They had replacement players for one tour, the one with Appleseed Cast. We left the band in November of 1998. Typical band stuff lots of touring means you end up hating each other and no money. We were doing Tenderfoot while Dear Ephesus was still around. Brett wrote a lot of the Dear Ephesus songs and when he started focusing his energy into Tenderfoot it was time for him to leave and I followed because I fell in love with the sounds of Tenderfoot. We joke with Jeff our drummer, because he went on that last Dear Ephesus tour. We call it the "FORSAKEN TOUR".
Chris: Why is Tenderfoot in existence...what is the reason for making music and playing shows?
Brett: We exist because we love music more than anything and we want to do this for the rest of our lives. God has blessed us to be creative and express ourselves this way and we love it.
Chris: Tenderfoot's music is pretty much Rock & Roll, what styles or bands played a role in influencing or shaping the sound of the band?
Brett: I would say our influences are just great bands from the last 3 decades like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, U2, Pearl Jam, Face to Face, Social Distortion, and a lot of other bands. We don't really claim any scene or style cause it limits your own creative ability and puts you in a box for the listener.
Louis: I grew up on bands like Foghat, the Who, Blue Oyster Cult and 70's rock like that. My dad snuck me into bars to go see those bands so that's kinda my roots. Getting older I got heavily into Pearl Jam and I have stuck with them ever since.
Chris: What albums have you guys been listening to lately?
Brett: I have been listening to the new Sunny Day Real Estate, the new Deftones, and the new Chili Peppers. I guess a lot of Tom Petty as well.
Louis: "Binaural"-Pearl Jam, "The Rising Tide"-Sunny Day Real Estate, "Great Wide Open"- Tom Petty.
Chris: What are your opinions on Art and its relationship to Christianity?
Brett: Its up to the individual to draw his inspiration from Christ or from elsewhere. That's where it relates, on what the artist's intentions are. There are no "evil" notes or brush strokes. There is only truth or untruth in what he speaks or relates with his art.
Chris: Are you pleased with how the album turned out, and when do you guys plan on releasing another one?
Brett: We are very pleased with the album but I think it is a little unfocused. It's more like a collection of songs as opposed to a record in the traditional sense, because the songs are not really unified stylistically if you get my meaning. The next album will be more focused and a lot more mature as far as songwriting. I hope we can get something out next summer or sooner. We don't really know right now cause we are talking to new record companies.
Louis: I think the album turned out great for how much time we had. I look forward to doing another one God knows what label it's gonna be on but we are definitely working as a band right now. Lots of touring and we are getting pretty tight. So I think the next album will feature a lot of our strengths that were not shown on "The Devil and Rock and Roll".
Chris: Did Dear Ephesus influence the creative process of Tenderfoot at all, or was a specific distinction between the two made when the new songs were being written?
Brett: We wanted to make a distinction but we didn't limit ourselves that way. If we write something Dear Ephesus would have written it's only natural cause between Lu [Louis], Jeff, and I we wrote 90% of the music in Dear Ephesus, so it would be only natural to hear some similarities.
Louis: At first we did just about everything that we could do to be nothing like Dear Ephesus because when we started we were in Dear Ephesus still and we were a 3 piece at first. All Dear Ephesus members. So I decided to play a different bass and start using a pick and we just got rid of the clean channel all together. On the next record I think we will be a lot more comfortable experimenting a bit. I mean Brett is the one that wrote all that weird stuff with Dear Ephesus.
Chris: The song "#7" is quite humorous, is there a story behind it? Is one of Tenderfoot's members a diehard sports fan?
Brett: Most of us in the band are sports fans. But that song is really a metaphor for the arm chair quarterback's of life. It's about the people who scream at you to do this or that and tell you your decisions are wrong and would be best their way and it's about people who talk but never do anything with their life. I call it "the American lie". It's like people who do what other people say their whole life because they have been conditioned that the American dream is what is right and that dream of higher education and wealth and affluence should be your life's goal. Because you have the right to that because you were born here in the U.S. I think that's a bunch of crap. I'm not saying that college or being rich is bad but you have no rights as a child of Christ, only His wishes are your rights. Alright I'm done preaching.
Chris: I know you guys did some shows between late July and Early August, but will there be a national tour later or is that it for now?
Louis: We are doing something this fall. We don't know with who.....maybe Calibretto 13 and another and then in January we are doing a tour with Denison Marrs. We always play shows when we are home.
Chris: If you could be on the same bill as any band, broken up or still around, who would it be?
Brett: For me it would be Metallica or U2.
Louis: My vote is I wish we were the opening band for Guns and Roses when they played the Ritz in 1998. Well maybe not cuz those kids may have had our heads, throwing bottles and flashing us so…it would be interesting.