Yes, Virginia, there’s really rock n’ roll in Nashville

Cheap Time rocks South Park Tavern

By Zach Rogers

The whole “garage rock” revival might be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there who have forgotten how it should sound. Cheap Time, hailing from Nashville, Tenn., is a band who captures this sort of reckless abandon to perfection. Their latest release, Wallpaper Music, is a thrill ride of every kind of influence they have in them, sticking not only to their garage roots but also venturing out into other musical realms. Formed in 2007 by garage-punk wizard Jeffrey Novak, Cheap Time has released a slew of great music through In The Red Records, and Wallpaper Music proves that nothing can slow them down. Nothing.

The band is about to start another tour, and you’ve been around for a while now. Does touring still possess the same kind of magic it did when you first began playing shows?

I like being on the road. It’s a comforting feeling. It gives me an immediate sense of purpose unlike anything else I’ve done with my life. I’ve never really enjoyed travelling that much. I always hated family trips as a kid, and most of the early tours I went on were with my older sister, so touring kind of grew out of that for me. I like only being in a city for one night, and I like not having days off. I don’t want to be on vacation. I hate vacations. Touring, especially the longer ones like we’re about to do, disconnect you into a nomadic state. But mostly, I like to have a good time, and Ryan and Cole like to have an even better time than me. –Jeffrey Novak

Where are some of your favorite cities to play? Does any particular city/show stand out in your minds?

Detroit, every show we’ve played in Detroit over the years I’ve really liked. Getting to watch Timmy Vulgar dance while you play is a real treat. We haven’t played in Columbus [Ohio] in a few years, but the last time we did, we played a basement with the Cheater Slicks, which was a big deal for me, and we’re supposed to play with them again on this tour, if Dana Hatch is well enough to play, which we’re all really concerned about. –JN

What’s the typical mode of transportation for Cheap Time? Any private jets?

We own a green van now that In The Red bought for us. I have no idea what make or model it is. I’ve still never driven it myself, but it’s very comfortable to ride along in. –JN

Tell me a little bit about the new record. What did the band have in mind this time around?

We recorded Wallpaper Music over two years ago, before our second album came out. It just took In The Red a while to release it. We always got a lousy reaction from the songs off the second LP when we played them live, so I tried to write better songs that would be better to play live. –JN

I read that the band recorded the new album in Jeffery’s new home studio. Did that make the recording process a little easier?

Getting the studio together was a big learning experience. Wallpaper Music was just the experiment to figure out how to use the gear. I’ve recorded two albums and several singles after it that sound a lot better. –JN

Talk about the album’s closing track, “Underneath the Fruit Flies.” Whose idea was it to try something like this?

“Underneath The Fruitflies” is the sound of us experimenting with a cardboard box, which is something I learned from Earle Mankey with the Halfnelson album. It was the last song to be written for the album. I originally envisioned it as a non-album single split on two sides like “Little Johnny Jewel” but we didn’t have enough material at the time to do that. We played that song so much on the last tour before anyone knew it, and it always got the best reaction of anything in the set. But now I’m kind of burned out on playing it. –JN

What’s the Nashville rock scene like these days? Has anything changed over the years?

Everything’s changed in Nashville in the time I’ve lived in the city, which is around eight years now. It’s a lot better than it used to be, but it all seems silly to me. I feel like a lot of the bands here would be third-tier “college” bands in other cities, but I just don’t really get what most people like maybe. People here are too nice and not critical enough. We don’t have that much of a following here, mostly because we don’t have a shtick. People just think we’re boring and can’t figure out how we got on In The Red.

OK, I think I’ve bothered you enough. Last question, are there any high expectations/horror stories you’ve heard about Dayton that you guys are looking forward to?

I’ve never been to Dayton before. I was always intrigued by it in high school, when I was getting into Guided By Voices and The Amps. I don’t know anyone that’s played there recently either, but I’m really excited to see what it’s like. –JN

Cheap Time will be appearing Tuesday, Sept. 25 at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. Admission is $5 for all ages. Doors open at 9 pm. Wallpaper Music is out now on In The Red Records. For more info on Cheap Time, visit

Reach DCP intern and freelance writer Zach Rogers at

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