One of Reno’s premier pop-punk bands is Sad Giants. The group’s blend of emocore guitars with a pop-punk vocal delivery creates a mix of heart-wrenching and angsty tunes that, as the band’s name suggests, can be sad. The band’s latest single, “Car Ballet,” came out in 2020, and is the group’s most-streamed song to date on Spotify. The group is currently working on a follow-up, and is looking to improve on their already impressive emotional sound. Learn more at www.facebook.com/SadGiants or sadgiants.bandcamp.com. Bobby Benedict is the singer/guitarist of Sad Giants, and he is the latest to take The Lucky 13; here are his answers.
What was the first concert you attended?
The first big-time rock concert I remember fully taking in was Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2002, when they were doing their big By the Way tour. Every part of it was fascinating. Flea did a handstand across the stage. … I also vividly remember half of the stadium booing and heckling the opening act; I don’t remember who it was, but if you were a band from Hawaii in the early 2000s who got to open for Red Hot Chili Peppers one time, then sorry for booing you. I was 9.
What was the first album you owned?
The first album that I felt was mine was a purple CD filled with novelty holiday songs—no specific holiday, mostly Christmas, but then “Monster Mash” randomly. The first albums I ever bought with my own money were Dropkick Murphys’ The Meanest of Times deluxe, and Blink-182’s Cheshire Cat, because I was at the mall with my friends and needed to buy something at Sam Goody to look cool.
What bands are you listening to right now?
The ones on current repeat are Sincere Engineer, Stand Atlantic, carolesdaughter, Principles (support your local scene; their album is dank) and Camp Trash.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
I tend to support anything. I mean, I grew up memorizing commercial jingles, obscure songs from TV show musical episodes, and still loving Tom DeLonge through his mid-2000s voice change, so I don’t ever feel like I have a leg to stand on when it comes to judging tastes. I’m paraphrasing the late, great artist Nik Taro: He always told me, “There is no golden era of music; there are things you like, and things you don’t like. People think the ’90s was great because we had Tupac or Nirvana, but we also had ‘MMMBop’; we, as a nation, still have not fully recovered from Smash Mouth.” Man, at one point, I even auditioned to be the new Steve in Blues Clues. If you can make any waves in the ineffectual music machine, then do it however you want and can, and make sure you get paid while you do it.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
Donnybrook Brawlers from Sioux Falls. It’s just a ska/punk band full of lovely people who I will gladly see any day, with any amount of people, or even just me, because I show up to shows way too early, and everyone is still sound-checking, but I skank around anyway.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
Musicals are having a pretty good moment right now. I always love a good musical, but if I was gonna pick my favorite thing that people either hate immediately or like enough to let me finish info-dumping on them, it is Steam Powered Giraffe. They’re singing musical automatons from San Diego who are very fun.
What’s your favorite music venue?
I don’t go outside much anymore, so I haven’t been to many shows, but the library downtown always feels like home. I’ve had nothing but amazing shows at both Shoe Tree Brewing locations in Carson City and in Minden, and I always love The Holland Project.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
My mind is a never-ending cacophony of lyrics, sound bites and my own personal catchphrases that I deploy while on social auto-pilot in public, so most of the lyrics that get stuck in my head are triggered by a word or phrase. Like, if somebody says, “Nope,” I wait a small amount of time before replying, “Yep,” because E-40 is an ever-present deity. But I would say the thing that never leaves my mind is an intrusively loud piano glissando from ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” which sets off the tune to play in my brain unyieldingly, until I listen to it front to back and hear it actually end. One time at work, I had “Dancing Queen” on full blast in my headphones for an embarrassing length when I got a ping from my cubicle neighbor, asking if I’d also heard someone playing “Dancing Queen” on a distant radio for the last four hours. It was then that I knew I was not mentally sound.
What band or artist changed your life? How?
Brian Hoffman, the Midwestern Sad Dad himself, took me on my first tour around the Midwest after I got out of college. I had a collection of songs that I was playing around the bars and open mics while my band was on a downswing, and I ended up gigging with Brian so much I think I knew the words to his songs better than mine. Plus, he showed me The Menzingers, and they have also been hugely influential to my current songwriting.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
Anthony Kiedis: “First of all, ding ding dong dong ding ding dong dong ding dang to you, sir. Who was your opening act at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, around July 31, 2002, and do you know how I can get a hold of them to apologize for starting a “put your shirt on” chant with my sister after he took it off, when the crowd started booing and throwing stuff?
What song would you like played at your funeral?
“Albuquerque” by “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
“Schuyler” by Ebony Tusks.