Foot Pound Force: An Interview with Dave Hewitt

Dragon Con Purple

This weekend, I got to talk with Dave Hewitt, bassist and self-professed “laboratory vocal assistant” for nerd rock outfit Foot Pound Force, a three piece band (usually) that revels in irreverent pop, culture observations and radio-friendly melodies. Their charmingly lighthearted track list includes such titles as “Dr. Mario’s Medicine Cabinet” and “Moshpit Bandwidth.”

Undercurrent Atlanta: First of all, Dave, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with UnderCurrent Atlanta.

Dave Hewitt: Thank you for your interest.

UCA: How did Foot Pound Force begin?


DH: Our “Origin Story” is like many in the comic book world, crazy circumstances, radioactive spiders and the like. But in seriousness, I can say that Foot Pound Force was started in 2007 by a group of like-minded friends that happened to be musicians and just happened to be engineers in their day jobs. In many ways our engineering careers and our musical path have a unique winding through the landscape that is Huntsville, Alabama.

UCA: Are the lab coats you wear on stage actually your lab coats, then?

DH: Definitely. That may not be ones we actually wear at work, but they are definitely part of our uniforms.

UCA: “Foot pound force” is itself an engineering term, isn’t it?

DH: That is correct. It is a unit of torque, though used in the stubborn American measurement system.

UCA: On your Facebook page, you describe yourself as a “nerdcore rock band” that sounds like a mix between “Weezer” and “MC Front-a-lot”. How did you come across this sound?

DH: It naturally evolved from our musical tastes and backgrounds. Brandon, our drummer, is a multi-talented instrumentalist and listens to a wide variety of stuff. From 2007 until the end of 2014, we were fronted on guitar and vocals by Matt Barron, who is an amazingly talented lyricist and guitar player [Editor’s Note: Matt Barron was replaced by Ken Barnes on guitar and vocals]. I brought a background of playing in progressive rock bands, hard rock bands and a lot of funk and jazz infused stuff. The three of us together merged early on to naturally evolve the sound through pure improvisation. All of our early songs were originated through the “One Take Wonder” process. Make it up on the spot in the middle of a jam.

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UCA: Speaking of your songs, your topics include Star Wars, robot takeovers, and double rainbows. Do you have any ideas what future topics will include?

DH: We have new songs in the pipeline that we have been writing this year. There are new topics such as drinking in space, playing old arcade games, craft beer nerds, high explosive adventures, supernovas in the sky, and not wanting to be spoiled in the lead up to the new Star Wars film.

UCA: Will these new songs be played at your Dragon Con performance this year?

DH: Yes, these new songs will be making an appearance at DragonCon. An added bonus for DragonCon is that Matt will be there too on a second guitar spot. We will be a 4 piece for the first time ever.

UCA: You’ve played DragonCon before. How did your relationship with the convention begin?

DH: We all went to our first DragonCon in 2012, with the intent of finding a place to play. Matt had been there before but neither Brandon nor I had before. On the way into the con, I discovered that there was a Filk Track (Filk being a broadly applied term for sci-fi and fantasy singer songwriter music). The Filk Track has a nightly open mic, and we ended up showing up there with our instruments and playing in their circle. That led us to being invited to be a featured performer in the track for 2013. 2013’s success led to 2014 and now to this year. We have made many friends in the Filk Track and we are happy and honored to participate.

UCA: Your band’s interests include “professional zombies”. What makes a zombie professional?

DH: *laughing* good question

UCA: We strive to ask the hard-hitting questions here at UCA.

DH: During a zombie apocalypse, there is no companion that you would rather have than a zombie professional. In the NSFW sense, there is no song like that one to close out a set at a con and at a bar show

UCA: What has been the response to your style of music? How is the nerd rock scene looking these days?


DH: We seem to get very positive and enthusiastic response. We may not be the best authorities on the nerdcore scene but there are tons and tons of amazing bands and artists out there that could fill that category.

UCA: Anyone in particular you’d like to mention?

DH: So, I would start with the titans like MC Chris, Jonathan Coulton and They Might be Giants. I have to get those shoutouts out of the way. Other amazing touring acts that I have seen thanks to DragonCon include Marian Call, Molly Lewis, Tom Smith, and Mikey Mason. Acts like us, who do not tour are even more numerous and just as amazing like The Gekkos, Gray Rinehart, and many others. Cons are a refuge for people like us.

UCA: Great! What can we expect from FPF in the near and distant future?

DH: We are finally sitting down to record a definitive studio album, we have so many songs these days that deserve the special treatment of production. All our other released albums so far have either been or live and improv. In the distant future, I think that you will see us continue to write and record and refine our sound, always pursuing that hard pinnacle of perfection (as our day jobs and families allow).

You can watch Foot Pound Force perform at Dragon Con this year on September 5th, 2015 at the Hyatt room #138 at 5:30 P.M.

Foot Pound Force Official Website

Foot Pound Force on Facebook

Foot Pound Force on Twitter