10Qs with Will Claflin of Dear Leader

Dear Leader
From Left: Paul Buckley, John Sulkow, Aaron Perrino and Will Claflin (Not Pictured Brian Charles) // Photo Credit: Aaron Perrino.

Will Claflin, a Maine resident, is guitarist for Boston’s Dear Leader.  The band is the brainchild of former The Sheila Divine frontman Aaron Perrino.  They’ll be performing at Empire Dine & Dance in Portland on Thursday December 6th, 2012 with The Chums.  [Buy Tix]


Where were you born?
Boston MA, but I actually grew up summers in Biddeford Pool, Maine.

What brought you to Maine?
My Grandfather. My sisters and I own our family house in Biddeford Pool. The way of life, the food in Portland, and the Maine seas [have kept me here].

Do you have a day job, and if so, what is it?
Jon (the bassist) has a company called PROD4 EVER, a web company in Boston. We make sites for Paul McCartney, The Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, Wilco etc.. I’m the project manager and run video production and audio editing.

What was your most memorable gig?
A few years back we were signed to a Belgian record label. We opened for Iggy pop at an amazing outdoor festival and played in front of 10,000 cheering Belgians. The night before, they had lost our luggage and we played with borrowed gear in a coffee shop – we were exhausted and drunk and we destroyed the place just playing on fumes. Those two gigs back-to-back count as one gig in my mind as they felt like they were hours and worlds apart.

What was your worst gig?
Probably a gig in Northampton… I had the flu and it was the only gig where I could remember there being a very few people there. We were also doing a few new tunes and it just kind of fell flat. I hope the gig this Thursday at Empire doesn’t parallel that one!

What album or artist has most influenced you as a musician?
R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant. So much of my picking style is ripped off directly from Peter Buck. It just hit me at a very influential time when I was 14 and playing guitar non-stop.

What’s the one piece of musical equipment you can’t live without?
I have a pink delay pedal that Paul Kolderie (Pixies, Hole, Radiohead, Bosstones) introduced me to. It’s an Ibanez AD9. LOVE this thing.

Any advice for a musician starting out?
Don’t do it. Play constantly, and if it isn’t working out by 25, get a day job.

What’s the origin behind your name/band name?
It’s what North Koreans call the recently departed Kim Jong Ill, you would have to ask Aaron the meaning behind the rest. I always assumed there were political undertones to it.

What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
It certainly isn’t Coldplay. I’ve been trying to get into the super pop stuff. I feel so out of touch with it that I started listening to Kiss 108FM in the car. i honestly still couldn’t pick Nicki Minaj out of a police line up but… give me a few weeks.


Stephen Quirk
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