The Thermals

Oct. 7 • Mayday

Let’s flash back to the summer. Westin Glass is sitting in his downstairs neighbors’ apartment. He pops in The Thermals’ forthcoming release, Personal Life, and awaits their feedback. Perhaps they listen to the whole record, or perhaps Glass skips around, touching on crunchy AltPop tracks like “I’m Gonna Change Your Life” and “I Don’t Believe You.” Perhaps he mentions that Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie produced the record.

At one point, though, his neighbors say something.

“Well, you’re a better drummer than that, right?”

It’s mid-September and Glass is laughing about the moment.

“I think a lot of people associate skill with show-off-y-ness,” he says by phone from Portland, Ore. “They thought that (bandmates) Hutch and Kathy had told me not to play more complicated parts, but that’s exactly what I wanted to play.”

He’s OK with simplicity.

“That’s definitely the philosophy that I believe is the best for drumming. Unless you’re doing a solo drum record, which,” he adds sarcastically, “I may do some day. If you’re making Pop music, the drums need to serve song and not get in the way, and be something that is really fun. The drums should almost be subconscious.”

Glass is the newest member of The Thermals, helmed by Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster, a seemingly inseparable songwriting duo. And new might be a loose word — Glass joined up with The Thermals around the time Now We Can See dropped in 2009, a good year for the band, thanks to the infectious title track, something driven by gang vocals (“Oh-way-oh-a-whoa!”) and a jangly guitar riff. He was still touring with Indie Rock crew Say Hi and living in Seattle when Hutch and Kathy were wrapping the record.


The Thermals play Mayday on Thursday with Cymbals Eat Guitars. Get show details and read Brian Baker's full interview with the band here.

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