Local Spotlight: The Duke talks to Girl Scout

Courtesy of Jeremy Zerbe: (Pictured left to right) - Bassist Dane Gaydosh, drummer Tyler Donaldson and vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Zerbe of Girl Scout.

By: Sam Fatula | a&e editor

Recently, The Duke sat down with singer and guitarist of up-and-coming band Girl Scout, Jeremy Zerbe. Over the summer, the band released a six-song, self-titled EP that shows off a unique blend of grunge and slacker rock that gives them an identity all their own to the Pittsburgh scene. You can listen to their latest music on their Bandcamp page.

SF: How did Girl Scout form and how did you come up with the name?
JZ: I joined a band in winter of 2013 called Breezewood, which was named after the street the singer grew up on. When we switched some members around and I started writing more of the music, we realized we should change the name because we really weren’t Breezewood anymore. We changed the name to Girl Scout because I grew up on Girl Scout Road in Lancaster County [there is a big Girl Scout camp down at the bottom of the street in the woods].

SF: How would you describe the band’s sound?
JZ: I think it’s pretty standard indie rock, from back when indie rock still had a “sound.” A lot of people call it “slacker rock,” because it’s kind of lazy, fuzzy, sloppy music. It fits us pretty well, I think, though in a lot of the newer stuff that we’re recording now, there is more of a shoegaze influence.

Courtesy of  Jeremy Zerbe: (Pictured left to right) - Bassist Dane Gaydosh, drummer Tyler Donaldson and vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Zerbe of Girl Scout.
Courtesy of Jeremy Zerbe: (Pictured left to right) – Bassist Dane Gaydosh, drummer Justin Heidler and vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Zerbe of Girl Scout.

SF: What are some of your influences that reflect in your songs?
JZ: The most obvious ones are Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement, but I love all the 90s fuzzy indie rock and grunge, from Chavez to Love Battery, and I make some pretty overt references in some of the songs to Nirvana, The Dandy Warhols and Screaming Trees.

SF: Typically, what are your songs about?
JZ: Much to my mom’s dismay, most of our songs seem to be about drugs. A lot of reviews of the record have complimented the story-like quality of my lyrics and that means a lot to me. Whether I like it or not, the songs I write always have that kind of narrative feel. I can’t really write the obtuse, poetic lyrics that someone like Beck can, but I really wish I could. I blame it on my writing degree and growing up on country music.

SF: What was your most recent release?
JZ: We just put out our first EP this year and have a bunch of songs recorded for our next one. I’m hopefully heading into the studio again soon to do some drum tracks for a handful of new songs as well.

SF: What are some of your favorite bands/artists in Pittsburgh right now?
JZ: Shaky Shrines is the best, most complete band in Pittsburgh. They’re something really special. I also love Dazzletine, and not just because Darren and Dan are part of our record. My other favorites have to be Zeitgeist, T-Tops, and Cyrus Gold.

SF: What is your current perception of the Pittsburgh music scene?
JZ: Boy, that one’s a doozy. Pittsburgh’s got a lot of bands and a lot of places for them to play. So at any time, the show you’re playing is competing with three others on the same street. It’s hard to get new people to come and check out some new bands when their friends are playing the same night. That can make it hard for a band that is new, or who at least doesn’t have members who’ve been playing around Pittsburgh for a decade or more. I know that the music Girl Scout plays isn’t for everyone. Most people think 90s alt-rock is boring, and I get that, so I’m not saying “Boo hoo, we should be more popular.” But it’s a fact that you’re constantly competing with your friends to get the same people to come out to a show in a town where everyone’s got a bone to pick with a certain bar or a certain singer or whatever. It can be a real hassle.

SF: What’s the future have in store for Girl Scout?
JZ: The only reason I could answer the previous question so honestly was because we’re moving, haha. Otherwise, I’d have to be nice and make sure I didn’t piss anyone off. Since Girl Scout started, the only constant members have been myself and bassist Dane Gaydosh. But Dane moved to Portland, Oregon last month, and I’m moving to New York in the next couple of weeks and continuing Girl Scout there on my own. In the meantime, I’m recording our newer songs so I can get the next EP out without too much of a delay. I’m already working on new music for whatever comes after.

SF: Anything else you wanted to add?
JZ: Just that I appreciate anyone who has ever come out to one of our shows, bought one of our cassettes, or said something nice about us on the internet. I write the music I want to write, and don’t really care if anyone else likes it–so when someone does, that makes it all the more special. It means a lot to me.