Neil Hebrank Interview

30 November, 2009

Neil Hebrank was in charge of percussion duties in The Juliana Theory from when the group formed until around the time when the band signed with Epic records in 2001. Roughly eight years after he left the band I managed to ask Mr. H a few questions.

  • When did you start playing drums? What was your inspiration to make music?

I started playing the drums when I was thirteen. Buying my first "used" drumset was one of the best days of my life. I was inspired to play music because my parents would play records all of the time and I always imagined being in the bands that they would listen to.

Neil Hebrank

  • When you were in High School you played in a band called Noisome with Josh Kosker and Josh Fiedler, what was your early music career like? Did you like the music Noisome created? Was Noisome your first band?

Noisome was my first band, formed not too long after I started playing the drums. We played "punk rock" in the style of our favorite bands on Lookout Records (Green Day, Screeching Weasel, The Queers). I really did like the music we made, especially as we progressed and wrote some catchy songs that I can still sing from memory to this day.

  • How did it come about that you joined The Juliana Theory?

After highschool Noisome disbanded as did the band Pensive (whom Brett and Chad were part of) and because of boredom, the four of us along with Jeremiah, decided to jam in my garage. We wrote a couple of songs pretty quickly and the rest is history.

  • Take a look at some Tooth & Nail press shots from 1998 which were to promote Understand This Is A Dream. Do the images bring back any memories? Do you remember anything about the photo shoot?

Wow! We look so young! I think what I remember the most was taking pictures in an old dilapidated mental hospital just outside our hometown and also feeling like I was in a "real band" for the first time.

  • Which was your preferred recording with TJT? Is there one album that you liked above the others?

Definitely Emotion is Dead. I think it contained the best combination of song writing, musicianship, and originality. It was also a blast to make, it felt like something special happened in the studio every day.

  • You left The Juliana Theory at the peak of the band's popularity in 2001, do you feel you achieved everything that you wanted with the band?

I think some of the members and management wanted to go in a different direction, it was pretty hard to accept but as with most things in life it proved to be a blessing in disguise as it led me to where I am today.

Neil Hebrank
image courtesy Darbig.com

  • You co-founded Confident Years with Mike Quinn and Steve Parshall in 2003, how did you guys meet?

We met when my band at the time (The Fold) played a show with their band (Nonstop Three). After both of those bands broke up, Mike and Steve convinced me to move to Columbia Missouri to form Confident Years. Although we haven't done a whole lot lately, they remain some of my closest friends and we talk all of the time.

  • Confident Years once played a gig on a rooftop, how did that come about?

Yeah, we played on a rooftop in downtown Columbia during an event called Twilight Fest. We gained access to the roof because Mike's parents own a shoe store downtown. It was probably the weirdest place that I have ever played... We played unannounced and played loudly!

  • Do you have a favourite road story?

Man, that is a hard question to answer. It seemed like every day something new happened on the road and I wish that I would have kept a journal so I can recall some of the crazy/fun things that happened.

  • Some of your former band mates in The Juliana Theory have started a new band called Vesta, have you heard them yet?

I have heard most of the tunes off of the cd and they sound really good. Maybe someday they would let me do a guest appearance on a song!

Neil Hebrank
image courtesy Darbig.com

  • TJT/ Vesta guitarist Joshua Fiedler commented he was a Confident Years fan in a short interview I did with him in September, did you know that?, do you keep in touch with any of the guys from The Juliana Theory?

Yeah, I keep in touch with Josh (Fiedler) the most out of everybody that was in TJT, although it is tough because we live so far apart.

  • Josh mentioned that Confident Years are calling it a day, is that right?

We haven't officially called it a day and I doubt that we ever will. Who knows we might be on the charts next year. I would love to play the drums a bit more but I find it tough these days with a full-time job.

  • You recently got married in Nebraska to you now wife, Darbi, who is a talented photographer from what I understand, how is married life treating you?

Married life is great! We just bought our first house in Kansas City and our first pet, a cat named Kramer. I suggest anyone check out Darbig.com, she is the talented one in the family.

  • You currently live in Missouri; do you prefer it to living in Pennsylvania? Anything you miss about PA or just glad to be away from there?

I do miss certain aspects of Pennsylvania (family, friends, mountains) but overall Missouri is a great place to live.

  • Tigers or Steelers?

Steelers...or Liverpool

  • Goodfellas or Godfather?

I have never seen either of them!

  • William Shatner or George Takei?

Harrison Ford in Star Wars!

If you haven't yet heard Confident Years yet head on over to the Confident Years MySpace page and have a listen.

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