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The Morning Benders: FREE Ticket Giveaway and Interview

Updated: Oct 06, 2010 08:56
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My pals the Morning Benders (Christopher Chu, Jonathan Chu, Tim Or, and Julian Harmon) are headlining at the Fillmore on October 16th and we’ve got a pair of FREE tickets to give away (instructions below). Way back when the band played on the Berkeley campus, it was just me, Chris’s girlfriend, and a few of our friends in the audience. But then big things happened. The band blew up this year after the releases of a Yours Truly music video that went viral (watch it below!) and their sophomore album, Big Echo, co-produced by frontman Christopher Chu and Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. They’ve pretty much been touring the globe ever since.

Yours Truly “Excuses” video:

[youtube 7jgmgE-QDzA]

I caught up with Chris to ask him about touring abroad, upcoming projects, and what people should be listening to (read on for the best answer to that question that I’ve ever gotten from any musician). And

It’s been a whirlwind year for the Morning Benders. What have been the highlights?

Getting to see the world. I’ve seen more of the world in the past 8 months than I have in my entire life. Playing shows to a room full of people singing along is an amazing feeling.

How has touring been so far? What are the worst aspects?

It’s been amazing. Like I said up above, we’ve gotten to see so much of the world. I feel really lucky for that. There are people in some of these countries that have been asking us to come for years, and it’s just incredible to meet these people and play for them. We are definitely pretty ragged though. Touring is not healthy. I miss being healthy.

Favorite places you’ve been?

Sweden. Paris. New York. Portland. San Francisco (always and forever).

Where are you looking forward to going?


You’ve been releasing some really interesting covers and mixtapes, EchoMix1 and Echomix2. What prompted that project?

It’s something I always wanted to try, but it just took me some time to get around to it. I love making mixes. I love the idea of using other peoples songs and words to express something of your own.

Who have you been performing with? Highlights?

We’ve mostly been headlining, with different support bands every night. We played a festival with Prince though. That was pretty nuts.

Check out their brand spanking new Blogotheque video:

[youtube kyATv_wHKKM]

What is next for the Morning Benders?

Making another album!! I’m itching to get back in the studio. If I don’t get in there soon I’m going to lose my mind.

What were all your jobs before the Morning Benders took off?

I was working for a catering company. My bro was in school. Tim was babysitting. I think Julian was living off the kindness of others. He’s such a good dude he can get by like that.

Tips for aspiring musicians trying to make it on their craft?


Best money saving tip in general?

Give up your apartment and tour all year. When you have pretty much 0 costs, it’s a lot easier to save money.

What do you refuse to spend money on?

Drinks. We only drink for free.

What is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought and how did that feel?

A computer for my girlfriend. It felt great.

(Note: I totally remember that because he and his girlfriend were exchanging gifts for the holidays and she had gotten him a Snuggie as a joke. So when he pulled out a brand new Mac she felt kinda bad.)

What is your favorite free thing to do?

Everything I like to do is free! I like to walk.

Favorite cheap eats in the Bay?

So many. Yamo/Cancun in the Mission. Some of the food carts are getting pretty good in SF, last time I was there. There’s a good curry cart and a good soup cart that move around the city. Zaki Kabob House/Cheeseboard Pizza in Berkeley are always amazing.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

A house, a recording studio, and the entire Twilight Zone DVD collection.

What should people be listening to?

Their heart.


If you’d like a chance to win a pair of FREE tickets to the Morning Benders’ show at the Fillmore on October 16th, email me at with your favorite Benders song, or perhaps a little haiku about why you love the band or one of the cities Chris mentioned. Winners will be chosen at random.

The Morning Benders
Saturday, October 16th, 8pm
The Fillmore
1805 Geary Blvd @ Fillmore St.
$30 unless you win ’em for FREE here!

**All photos taken by Chloe Roth at The Independent in San Francisco in March.

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.