tim. is a band with a single first name just like Prince, Cher and Satan. They don’t give a shit about last names, capital letters, or punctuation because they’re too busy thumping the bejesus out of their instruments on exactly one new song, “Alpine Avenue,” known in the “biz” as a “single.”
In 2015, after Muskegon rock and rollers Bittersweet and It’s A Secret imploded into fierywreckage like a musical Hindenburg, frontman Trevor Swanson, lead guitarist Danny Brueck, bassist Jake Bredeson and drummer Will Graham crawled from the carnage of their former bands like four leather-jacket-clad movie stars, sunglasses still intact, to form tim. They’re a punk band, an emo band, maybe even a “midwest” band, whatever that means, but mostly they’re a band that writes music and lets you figure it out.
We talked to Swanson about tim.’s new single, the Replacements, and of course, WWE.
Using a single first name is a real power move. Is there a secret to picking the perfect stand-alone name?
So, there’s this band I like a lot. They’re called the Replacements.
I love the Replacements.
I love the Replacements. When They got back together I saw them four times. They have this album called “Tim” and when I was starting the band I was like, “I want this band to sound like that album,” because it’s got all my favorite sounds in rock music on it. It’s punky and it’s songwritery.
How was “Alpine Avenue” birthed?
A guy who books our band from time to time at Unruly Brewery was throwing a songwriting competition. You got a Martin if you won, an acoustic/electric. And I was like, “cool, I’ve never had one of those guitars cos I’m poor.” So, I was like, “ok, I’ll do it.” I entered in, got second place and recording was part of the prize.
“Alpine Avenue” grapples with places being related to past relationships. What makes that feeling song-worthy to you?
I’ve always been a kind of heart-on-my-sleeve kind of songwriter. It’s basically summing up my first year in Grand Rapids. I lived over on the north side, I had to get on Alpine to get anywhere and I worked this dumb retail job and I got out really late at night and I’d drive over the bridge. I say in the lyrics I can see the city, but that’s just because I’m just crossing over the bridge on the highway. I’d get just a slight Grand Rapids Skyline. So in the song I can see this person and I’m okay now, but before I wasn’t. And I’m feeling better I guess. I mean, that’s the chorus: “I don’t wanna die.”
As opposed to a time when you might have felt like you did want to die.
How does being in a new place affect your songwriting?
That’s definitely a theme: isolation. But I enjoy writing about these experiences that I’ve had. A lot of my favorite songwriters just write about places they’ve been or the places they go, and I just wanted to incorporate that into my song.
Do you incorporate your love of WWE into any of your music?
[Laughs.] Okay, here’s the thing: I’ve been thinking about writing a song called “Over The Top Row.” It’s just about Seth Rollins. Like, you tag him in and he jumps off the top row and springs forward into action. Man oh man!
You’re telling me there’s a tim. WWE concept record in the works?
Maybe not as dedicated as the Mountain Goats, but there might be a song or two. We could drop an EP or a split, like with another band that shares our love for wrestling.
You’re looking for a band to be your tag team partner.
Tag Team EP, that’s the name! [Laughs.]
Listen to “Alpine Avenue” and let tim. know you’re the tag team partner they’ve been