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National Product on its fans, MySpace and Vegas slots

September 21st, 2008

Though the band’s name was chosen somewhat ironically, National Product represents the American Dream, Version 2.0. Ever since the first days of Napster, it’s been nearly impossible to make a buck selling records. But National Product doesn’t care. These lifelong friends would rather rely on the traditional American work ethic to spread their brand of rock around the globe. We caught up with lead singer Danny Casler via telephone as his band’s van sped to their next tour stop in Atlanta.

How is your band making its way in the post-downloading music landscape?
Skis masks and assault riffles. [Laughs.] Seriously, one of the things National Product is good about is that we have really close relationships with all of our fans. We do really well in merch. Our fans are awesome in that if they come to a show and we’re sold out of all smalls and mediums, they will buy large and extra large, even if it doesn’t fit ‘em, just because they want to support the band. All the money we make off of our shows goes to pay for our gas. We never stay in hotels because there is no sense in paying $80 a night to stay in a hotel when we could stay with fans and friends. We’re always fed by them. If you’re just doing it smart then you’re not really struggling.

What does “making it” mean to you?
We love playing music and as long as we can make a living out of that and see the world like we’ve been doing—to be honest, we’ve already passed our level of where we felt like we’ve become a success. We’ve had a hit song on the radio. We’ve been to Japan, Alaska, Mexico, the full U.S, and now we’re getting ready to go to South America.

Wow, that’s inspiring.
Yeah it’s pretty cool, [but] some days we’re super down. We’re like, fuck man, being in this industry is so fucking hard. We just got back from Japan. There were a thousand kids there. They knew all the words and we sold a ridiculous amount of records out in Japan. Then you come to the U.S. and because it’s so over-saturated you almost feel like a redheaded stepchild.

How have you been able to connect with the fans?
I sit on MySpace all the time on our rides. If we got a 10-hour drive, I’m probably on MySpace eight out of 10 hours just e-mailing kids and blogging.

Tell me about your influences.
I’m the only musician in the family. What inspired me was that my parents and my grandparents were massive fans of music. My mom was big on ’80s Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Richard Marx. My dad was really big on Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Beatles. My grandparents were really big on Frank Sinatra. My brother was massive on hip-hop and rap.

How would you describe your sound?
We have slow-tempo rock ballads all the way to your really aggressive, hardcore, in-your-face kind of track. We’ve also got the mid-tempo pop rock tracks. You’ve got five dudes in a band. They all love different things. There isn’t one general song writer. We all have our own creative ideas.

Your tour passes through Las Vegas soon. What do you think about our town?
We love Vegas. We’re close to the guys from Fletch, who are no longer a band, but The Cab and all those guys. We like to party and stuff, but I don’t know if Vegas is really our scene when it comes to all the techno, bright lights everywhere, loud music, everybody going crazy. I’ll probably play our show and hang out with friends. I’ve done Vegas already. If I’m going to do anything, I’ll probably go pay the penny slots. The trick I’ve learned to get lots of free alcohol is to go play the penny slots and then ask for triple shots because they have to give you whatever you ask for.

National Product performs at Jillian’s (450 Fremont St.) Sept. 24 with 1997.