By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Chicago band Ten Foot Tail is not the type of band to be pigeonholed.
The band, featuring brothers Chris and Paul Castelli, believes that music is to be explored. Over the years, the two brothers have done just that, sharing the stage with the likes of Heart and Lynyrd Skynyrd and working with esteemed producer Bob Ezrin.
Ten Foot Tail will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago.
I had the change to talk to Paul Castelli about the upcoming show.
Q - Great talking to you. You guys will be performing at the House of Blues. For those people not that familiar with your music, what should they expect?
People should expect an eclectic mix of music with a great vibe that will make people feel good. They can also expect some longer jams and some improv during certain songs we are feeling.
Q - You guys dip into a lot of musical genres. Is that a result of being exposed to different music and/or not wanting to be pigeonholed? Is the band currently working on new music?
Yes, we love all sorts of music and to be honest, get bored playing the same styles. It is fun to be able to take different genres and use them as influence for a song. We currently are writing and heading into the studio to record in January or February of 2015.
Q - In the late '90s and early 2000s, you were part of the band Escape From Earth. The band's EP "Three Seconds East" was produced by well-known producer Bob Ezrin. What was that experience like and what did you learn from the experience?
That experience was amazing and it is the reason Ten Foot Tail's sound is what it is. Bob told us to go back to our "roots" and start jamming classic covers to give us more feels and ideas.
Well, we took his words to heart and it is the best creative awakening we have ever had.
No genre is off limits to us.
I like to think we have our own sound. When you hear us you know it is Ten Foot Tail, but you also get an eclectic mix of sounds, feels and styles.
Q - The both of you also have played with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Heart. Did those experiences give you more insight into the music business?
Those experiences gave us the thrill of playing large venues with a lot of people seeing us. Working with Bob Ezrin was a true insight into the music business.
Bob has done it all and seen it all. His words were golden. It's an honor to play with bands such as Heart and Skynyrd and it was a lot of fun.
Q - Escape From Earth had a harder rock sound than your current band. Do you have a favorite genre of music?
I think we all just really love rock based music. Escape from Earth was going for a particular sound and was geared towards a look and fitting in.
Ten Foot Tail is basically the complete opposite. We don't want to fit in, we want to do whatever we want without thinking about genre.
Chris has a very soulful voice so bluesy and soulful styles fit him, however, we love jamming at getting funky and loud. If I have to say a favorite, we all would agree that classic rock bands in the styles of Cream, Zeppelin and Floyd is def our favorite.
Q - What are the advantages of being in a band with your brother? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
The advantages are that we can pretty much read each other's minds at this point and yes the pros outweigh the cons. We have a lot of respect for what each other is good at and trust each other to just do it.
Our likes are extremely similar and we pretty much have the same vision for the band. Of course, we have our moments, lol.
Q - The both of you have been in the music business for a while. Is it easier or harder to be a musician these days?
It is way harder to be a musician these days. In every aspect of the business.
We love playing live, but venues rely so heavily on the bands to bring out people that the music gets lost. Every aspect of the business is the bottom line.
We get it cause it's business, but music is also art, so it is a different kind of business. I wish clubs would get a bit more creative with promoting themselves instead of relying on musicians to keep their club afloat.
We don't rely on them to write our music and play our instruments. As far as record deals
and all that jazz, we don't even think about it. We write, record and play live. Repeat.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you see the band fitting into it?
We really have no clue about the scene, ha ha. Seriously, we just do our thing and kind of have blinders on.
I have seen some really cool bands we have played with, but we are so in our own world, it is hard to keep up with everything. As far as us "fitting in," I think we can play with anyone because of our diversity and originality.
We don't gear ourselves toward only playing with certain style bands. If there is a gig to be played, we don't care where or what, we will do it.
We just love playing live and taking risks.
Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?
Our short term goal is to record a new EP at the beginning of 2015. Long term goals are to get on more festival gigs and create more of our own little following around the Midwest.
We know we can, just need more exposure. Playing for us is the easy part, getting that following is the hard part.
So thank you for helping us spread the word about Ten Foot Tail, we really appreciate it.