Interview: LAPUSH


There was a hidden gem on the December 14, 2007 episode of the vampire drama, Moonlight on CBS. At the end of the “Sleeping Beauty” episode you heard, the St. Louis sound the band, LAPUSH, with their captivating song called “Aurora.” Lead vocal and guitarist Thom Donovan says:

“The main lyric in the chorus is ‘write your name in the stars I am trying to heal your heart,’ and when I wrote that line I immediately thought of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). It just kind of popped into my head. I had no choice.”

Though, Moonlight wasn’t the first time LAPUSH’s music has been on television. Three years ago, in 2005, they were on The Last Call with Carson Daly, playing “Tout De Monde” and “Quit you now” both amazing tunes that echo throughout your brain. These songs are one-of-a-kind, that have an everlasting presence. In December 2007, some of their songs on their most current album, Modern Blues were also used for TV shows. They were a backdrop to the teens living the high life in the MTV series, The Hills, and clips of their music were also featured on various episodes of the Lifetime series Lisa Williams, Life Among the Dead. Now, one might say their music has been gravitating towards teen drama and the dark side, but right there you can tell these guys have already captured a diverse range of appeal.

LAPUSH has been together as a band since 2003, and played their first gig together that November. The group members are, Thom Donovan (lead vocals, guitar), Kevin Bachmann (bass), and Niel Bardon (drums). Donovan says, “I knew Kevin from a local music store in town and Neil lived down the street from me growing up.” “We’ve all been friends for a long time.” “Neil just joined the band about 10 months ago but I’ve been friends with him for a while. We used to play shows with Neil’s old band around town.”

Donovan who lived in London for a period of time, says the group is inspired by the sound of British rockers: U2, The Verve, Radiohead, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. He says their sound has evolved over time, and in the early days the band incorporated more electronic influences in their music. Donovan says their current tunes are “a bit stripped down lately.” Other artists that have influenced the band include Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Johnny Cash and the genres of Motown and Blues. Everyone who has had the pleasure of listening to their songs can already tell, the blend of classic British and American rock taught them well.

Songwriting for the group is for the most part a group effort. Early on Donovan would do most of the song writing. But now Donovan says, “Kevin is now active in the writing process. Sometimes I’ll bring a complete song into the band and other times Kevin will come in with an idea and I’ll write around his idea. We work really well together.” “I write the lyrics and sometimes they come easy and other times it’s a struggle.” “Ryan Adams once equated writing a great lyric to chasing a beautiful girl around the beach. It can be a frustrating process to find the right words…especially when dealing with something that (emotionally) means so much.” Donovan is most proud of the song he wrote on their current album, Modern Blues, “Closer.” He says, “Closer is one of those moments that I am most proud of.” He wrote the song for his father, who passed away in 2006.

As a young boy, lead singer-songwriter-guitarist, Thom Donovan was influenced by his father to be a musician. From age 4, Donovan began to play guitar and was inspired by his father’s record collection. Donovan recalls, “There was always music playing around the house… I was always writing and singing songs as a kid. I knew early on that this is what I wanted to do.” He said he remembered being asked in high school what he wanted to do when get grew up. With no hesitation he said, “I want to be a guitar player.” “Everyone in the class just laughed at me.”

“Growing up in the Midwest, I learned that most people are not very supportive of those ‘types of dreams’. So from then on I just kept it to myself. I would lock myself away in my room and play guitar for 8 hrs everyday. I would write songs, record on my 4 track.”

Donovan says that his bands song “Tout Le Monde” is a favorite of his. He also said, the song emotions change every time they play it. “That song tends to take on a new life each time we play it. The character in that song goes through different emotions… love, loss, pain, elation…”

Donovan speaks fondly of some of his current favorite artists, such as Radiohead. He says, “They continue to make great records.” “Jack White is making great records.” He also said that new music is always coming out of the UK and is worth listening to and thinks the new album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss is beautiful. He believes a few radio stations are worth checking out: Indie 103 in L.A., KEXP in Seattle, and XFM in London.

LAPUSH enjoyed playing at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis, in front of 22,000 people. “That’s probably one of the best venues we’ve played.” Another location they like is, Don Hill’s in NYC, The Blue Note in Columbia, MO, and The Duck Room in St. Louis.

Outside of LAPUSH, Donovan toured with the Goo Goo Dolls in Europe. “I was playing guitar with a UK band called Fono and we toured with the Goo Goo Dolls. We became friends with those guys on that tour and Robby ended up producing a song for the band at his home studio in Los Angeles. He’s a great guy.”

You can purchase LAPUSH albums, Modern Blues, Somewhere Closer to Here, or their new Acoustic Version of “Aurora,” on their website, or today, you won’t be disappointed!

Interview By: Meredith A. Iager

LAPUSH Official Site