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Exclusive: The Beta Machine's Jeff Friedl on the New York Mets & new album "Intruder"

EXPERT COLUMNIST
Exclusive
61   //    04 Apr 2019, 02:14 IST

The Beta Machine / Photo: johnnybuzzeriodotcom
The Beta Machine / Photo: johnnybuzzeriodotcom

The Beta Machine is a new band led by bassist, vocalist and keyboardist Matt McJunkins and drummer Jeff Friedl, also featuring vocalist Claire Acey and guitarist/keyboardist Nicholas Perez.

Signed to Universal Music Enterprises via Andy Gould’s T-BoyRecords, the band’s debut full-length album Intruder was released worldwide on March 29th. The Beta Machine will be on tour throughout 2019 with dates across North America and Europe.

Notably, McJunkins and Friedl are also known as the rhythm section of A Perfect Circle. The two have also played with Puscifer, another group led by Tool frontman and APC co-founder Maynard James Keenan, and Eagles Of Death Metal. Friedl has performed with Filter and DEVO, while McJunkins' credits include Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Jeff Friedl is a big fan of the MLB's New York Mets and I had the pleasure of asking him questions about that, the new Intruder album and life as a steadily-working drummer.

When did you become a Mets fan?

Jeff Friedl: I started following them when I was about eight or nine years old. I grew up playing baseball in Tucson, Arizona, and for some reason, they televised Mets games there. 

Do you have a favorite Met?

Jeff Friedl: I'd say Darryl Strawberry is my favorite Met of all-time. I've just always loved his beautiful left-handed swing, and I also like his wild story! Some of my other favorites are David Wright, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Tom Seaver, and Ron Darling -- I recently read his biography, Game 7, 1986: Failure & Triumph In The Biggest Game Of My Life. I highly recommend it!

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To you, how is the upcoming Mets season looking for the team?

Jeff Friedl: I think they're looking good this season. If the starting pitching can stay healthy, along with all the veteran position players -- which has already proven to be challenging -- they have a good chance. I'm a bit concerned with the team's depth, #5 starting pitching, and lack of youth, but we'll see what happens!

When did you last attend a Mets game?

Jeff Friedl: I caught a game at home in L.A. last year, and I always try to catch games in New York City if I happen to be there on tour during the season.

Do you have any musician friends who are also Mets fans?

Jeff Friedl: James Iha, my A Perfect Circle bandmate, lived in New York City for a while and is a Yankees -- booooo -- and Mets fan. Josh Hager, my DEVO and Shadow Party bandmate, is an old-school Mets fan. I recently played the Jimmy Kimmel show with A Perfect Circle and found out that Jimmy is a big Mets fan as well -- it was fun to talk shop with him!

Are there any other sports fans in The Beta Machine, or A Perfect Circle?

Jeff Friedl: I'd say I'm the only sports fan in The Beta Machine. Maynard [James Keenan] from A Perfect Circle and Puscifer is a sports fan -- mainly wrestling, martial arts, and football, from what I recall.

Sports aside, what are you currently working on? 

Jeff Friedl: I just finished building my new recording studio in Los Angeles, and The Beta Machine -- my band with Matt McJunkins -- just released our new record, Intruder. We're excited to get out and tour the world on it!

Do you have a favorite song on the Intruder album?

Jeff Friedl: It's tough to say because I'm proud of the entire album, but "Palindrome" and "Bones" might just be my favorites. 

How long did you and Matt spend making Intruder?

Jeff Friedl: It took the better part of a year to write and record Intruder. We were lucky enough to have producer Mat Mitchell helping us with the recording and production process as well. It was definitely a labor of love and we're excited to see how people respond to it.

Beyond The Beta Machine, I believe you currently play with A Perfect Circle and have also played with DEVO, Filter, Puscifer, Shadow Party, and Eagles of Death Metal. Was it always the plan to be a career drummer?

Jeff Friedl: Absolutely. Even when I was a little kid I had the plan of being a professional recording and touring musician. It's been a pretty wild ride thus far, and I wouldn't trade my experiences for the world. I feel very fortunate to play in a lot of great bands, and to also co-lead The Beta Machine. Oddly enough, I feel like this is just the beginning in a lot of ways. 

Is there a career accomplishment you are most proud of?

Jeff Friedl: Although I don't really think about that very often, I do have multiple accomplishments that I'm proud of. Recording and performing with DEVO has been a dream come true. Joining A Perfect Circle was a big deal for me, and starting The Beta Machine and developing our path has been really gratifying!

I feel just as strongly about joining Puscifer and the other bands I play in as well. I think overall, just being able to play good music for a living is a huge accomplishment and something I certainly don't take for granted. 

Finally, Jeff, any last words for the kids?

Jeff Friedl: Do what makes you happy, and do it to the best of your ability! #LGM

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