30 Seconds With…

Blind Pilot

Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski

May 19, 2009 Published in the May 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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Israel Nebeker (left) and Ryan Dobrowski

After you released your first album, 3 Rounds and a Sound, last summer, you completed a West Coast tour entirely by bike, spending about six hours a day riding. Did you ever get sick of one another?

DOBROWSKI We would ride at different paces, which was great for a band tour. It’s easier to get sick of each other in a van. On bikes, you can ride ahead or hang back if you want to be by yourself. In a van, you’re stuck.

What kind of shows did you play on the road?

DOBROWSKI We played a lot of backwoods towns. Once, after we’d been riding in the rain all day, we got on this dead-end road about twenty miles south of Bremerton. It was cold, wet, and dark, and all of a sudden we see a red barn with a reader board that says “Songwriters.” We walk into the back room, and there’s all these locals and a trio of musicians: a woman with white hair singing, a man with gigantic hands playing guitar, and a bass player with this curlicue mustache. When they heard our story, they just totally gave us the stage.

And now you have plans to tour with the Decemberists, and you’ll be playing the Sasquatch! Music Festival for the first time, on May 23. What are you most looking forward to about that?

NEBEKER I’ve seen some really amazing performances at the Gorge [Amphitheater]—Radiohead, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell. It’s got a great atmosphere, great mood, great vibe, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s going to be mind-blowing to be onstage.

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