Music News & Reviews

10 Qs for The Mighty Fine

San Luis Obispo rock band The Mighty Fine found its name over lunch at Firestone Grill downtown.
San Luis Obispo rock band The Mighty Fine found its name over lunch at Firestone Grill downtown. COURTESY PHOTO

While many can’t fathom the notion of attending a rock concert with a parent, the latest batch of 20-somethings is a different breed. After all, their parents came of age in the rock ’n’ roll era.

So not only has Brook Thompson shared many a show with his now 50-year-old father, he is also influenced by the punk bands his dad introduced him to. Groups such as The Clash and the Ramones no doubt influenced Thompson, whose band The Mighty Fine draws from punk and indie rock.

The band, which just released its debut album, “Bad Time For Everything,” has already gone through several lineup changes. But for now it appears to have a consistent cast, featuring Jon Miller, Chris Scott and Chris Lintner.

We talked to Thompson, a former Cal Poly ag-business major and a Templeton native, about music, his dad and Indiana.

Q: When did you start playing music?

A: I started playing music when I was about 14 years old. I have an old acoustic guitar that someone had given me when I was about 9. I was ready to throw it away, and I had a neighbor who played guitar and played some songs. It was pretty simple stuff. But at the time it seemed like, ‘How could I ever play something like that?” And I asked him to show me.

Q: What was the first record you ever owned?

A: The first record I actually owned that I actually liked would be Blink-182’s “Dude Ranch.” That was the first CD I bought that really got me into music. And a lot of people in my age range, I think, might not be so bold to say they did the same thing.

Q: What was the last record you bought?

A: The last CD I bought was the new “She and Him” album with Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. My dad’s a really big fan. My dad is actually one of the people who really got me into music. My dad saw The Clash four times. He’s really big on the late ’70s punk scene.

When I was into this more late-’90s “punk rock,” he introduced me to those groups, and I instantly fell in love with them because there’s just a more honest raw aggression to it.

My dad and I have gone to see The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan. And my dad is into the whole Coachella scene. He’s very up to date with all the hip new bands that are out there.

Q: What’s it like going to a concert with your dad?

A: My dad told me, “We used to pogo.” And I was like, “What’s that?” So we were at an X concert, and my dad’s pogoing. It’s basically jumping up and down like a fool. And I thought, “Wow,

this is pretty much what I do, but we don’t call it pogoing.”

Q: With all those lineup changes, is it expensive to update your promo shots?

A: It isn’t, really. We have so many friends that take photos and are willing to help us out.

We basically want to have an aesthetic history of the band. We don’t feel weird putting up shots of guys that used to be in the band. They helped shape our band to what it is now.

Q: I noticed you guys have a song about Indiana. Have you ever been there?

A: Actually, no. I’ve never been there, and that’s the reason why I wrote it. When I wrote the song, “To Indiana” — I wrote it this time last year — I was in this state of feeling like I needed to get out of the Central Coast sometime. I wrote the song as a dream. I zoned out and thought, “What if I just got in my car and drove somewhere that I know nothing about?”

Q: Are you a John Mellencamp fan?

A: Ummm, I like “Scarecrow.” Other than that, I can’t say I’ve really absorbed his whole discography. He does write some good songs, though.

Q: How did the name The Mighty Fine come about?

A: The original lineup of the band and I went to Firestone Grill, and we were just hanging out, talking band stuff. And Casey (Wieber) ordered the burger. And I guess he’d never had a burger at Firestone. And he said, “Man, this is a mighty fine burger.” And Brandon (Demchak) was like, “That would be a cool name—Mighty Fine.”

I did not like it. We didn’t have a band name at the time and no real ideas — or nothing worth considering — and they kept bringing it up, and I’d just hold my breath. But after that it just got incorporated into our lineup, and now I really like it. I just didn’t want to come off as sounding conceited or pretentious.

Q: Did you guys ever consider The Mighty Fine Burger?

A: No, but I might have been just as willing to have “burger” in there at the time.

Q: What’s the best concert you’ve seen with your dad?

A: With my dad, I would probably say Bruce Springsteen. We saw Springsteen in 2001. It was right after 9/11. And we made a trip up to San Francisco, where the Giants play. I was astonished. I was already starting to listen to his music anyway, so I knew a lot of his songs. But he’s a performer. He’s so youthful, too. He’s running across the stage with his guitar, doing slides on his knees.

Reach Patrick S. Pemberton at 781-7903.

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