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Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims on Playing Music

article by John Powell
photography by Taylor Long

The Pilgrims hail from a smaller town in Vermont, but their sound spans decades and genres, pulls greatly from the likes of Guided By Voices and similar alt. rock renegades. Their album It’s Not Pretty raises middle fingers, barks at authority, and brings a cheap six-pack over for the BBQ. It’s straight from the garage and basement, and it’s refreshingly simple.

Brendan D’Angelo on bass, Chris Goulet and Davis McGraw on guitars, and Chris Egner on drums make up The Pilgrims, who, following the momentum of the recently released album, are touring out, but slowed down a moment to answer some questions about The Pilgrims progress.

The Pilgrims

Windsor, VT. What’s it like to be a rock band from a small New England town?

Brendan D’Angelo: It’s nice because it’s easy to get noticed. It’s hard because there’s nowhere to play. Rent is cheap at home, but we make up for it in gas. We drive a lot. That said, there’s all this awesome shit about living where we live, like being able to get together and actually devote time to rocking out and writing- and Mutant fish in little ponds.

What inspires you the most?

Davis McGraw: Listening to everything all the time; constantly taking in new things, digesting them, and thinking of ways to recreate the good parts. Not recreating to a tee, but allowing the best of the rest of the world to infiltrate our beings and force us to be proactive, letting what’s inside out.

Where do you practice as a band?

Brendan: Wherever they’ll have us. This is the constant struggle. Living in Vermont we always battle against the heat. Over the years, we’ve all banded together in different ways, whether it be renting a house together to play in the back room, or organizing with WhatDotheLife and renting a practice space. Full disclosure: the practice space looks like a cross between Walking Dead and Animal House. There are paintings of naked women.

Many critics, including this one, compare you to The Replacements, The Rolling Stones, and Guided by Voices. Are these accurate inspirations for you?

Brendan: Yes. We like these bands.

What music are you into that a listener wouldn’t be able to guess, if any?

Chris Goulet: Stan Rogers.

Davis: Joni Mitchell.

Brendan: Converge.

Chris Egner: Some Jazz Shit.

How often do you play live shows?

Brendan: All the fucking time. 2012, we've played close to 40 shows. We say there is nowhere to play- this is obvious bullshit. We get creative. This year we’ve played Battle of the Bands, empty bars, car lots, garages, parties, full bars, museums, and roller derby.


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