Tune in and turn up

Ever wonder if driving power pop is at all like driving a car? Cars require you to push pedals with your feet and perform repetitive actions with your hands. So do drums, which are required for making catchy rock songs catch. Michael Benjamin Lerner, the man behind Telekinesis, lives in Seattle, where you can imagine he drives with some aplomb on their towering, tangled mess of a freeway system. While there is chaos in those Pacific Northwestern roadways, there is rhythm at the core of his music—in heavy evidence on his splendid new record Dormarion (Merge). That’s probably because he plays the drums and sings. He does both very well. Here he talks to us about the deceptive powers of striped t shirts and tells shorts to fuck off.

I can only assume drummers need breathable movement clothes. What to you look for in wearables that meet the rigors of your instrument?

This is kind of a misconception, especially for a singing drummer! You gotta still try to look cool, so breathable clothes are out of the question! The key to this whole thing is to find a good pair of jeans  and a t-shirt, and wear them EVERY NIGHT. It sounds disgusting, but your sweat content is going to be insane, and if you wear your street clothes every night, you will be out of street clothes by the week’s end (and your band will hate you). So, I change in and out of my show clothes every night, and wash them early and often.

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You have the added challenge of fronting a band from behind a drum kit. Do you feel like your shirts need to do any extra lifting in creating a stage presence?

I wear striped shirts exclusively! I believe they look cool, but the little known secret to stripes is they hide sweat better than any shirt. If you wear a button-down, you will get the death glare from fans who are disgusted by the amount of sweat that is descending from your body (and onto unsuspecting fans who want an autograph). The stripes make for a facade!


Wristbands and/or headbands—yay or nay?

Nay, I can’t really get behind them. Some friends have to wear wristbands for the sole purpose of keeping sweat out of their guitar electronics, so I’ll let that slide.

Are there certain types of clothing that are just impossible to wear while performing in the way that you do?

Anything with long sleeves that make your arms constricted or cut off blood flow. That’s a bad thing if you are a drummer. Also, no shorts. It is just a no-no.


If you could get dressed using telekinesis, it would be possible avoid putting your pants on one leg at a time. Does that type of supremacy appeal to you at all?

YES. I’m into it.

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