Tobi Duncan of Trash Boat talks polyamory, kicking pain meds, and pivoting during the pandemic on the latest Downbeat - Knotfest
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Tobi Duncan of Trash Boat talks polyamory, kicking pain meds, and pivoting during the pandemic on the latest Downbeat

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Series on June 7, 2021

The Trash Boat voice speaks candidly about his sexuality, his previous addictions, and what it’s like working as a customer service rep and fronting one of rock music’s most exciting bands.

The latest guest to sit on on the The Downbeat is Trash Boat frontman Tobi Duncan. Riding on the announcement of the band’s August 13th release ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ the guys get into

Getting up to speed with what’s happening with Tobi personally, the frontman disclosed that he and his brother are currently looking to purchase a place in London. That talking point segued into a much bigger conversation about the reality of being a touring musician during what has been a hellacious last year and a half.

With zero touring plans and loads of bands expenses on the horizon for Trash Boat, the idea of sitting idle and earning no income just wasn’t feasible for Duncan. So, like many other musicians in his position, he went out and secure a day job. Working in customer service for a software company, the guys got into the particulars of the gig and how the occasional “Karen” just comes with the territory.

Pivoting to discuss the band, host Craig Reynolds and Tobi discussed the origin of the Duncan’s band name. The slightly unconventional name actually was usurped from the Cartoon Network animated series, Regular Show. Duncan confided that there was an episode of the show that used the band name, Trash Boat, and the guys decided to lift it. Simple as that.

The pair then got into a bit of background as to how they first met during a tour they shared with While She Sleeps in Europe. Comparing venues and talking stage etiquette when it comes to striking drums and drinking on off days, the casual banter gives the audience a sort of fly on the wall vantage point for the conversation.

Moving onto the new Trash Boat album and the lead single “He’s So Good,” Duncan confided that the press has ran with the narrative that song’s message about a repressed LGBT man is a personal one for Duncan as an openly Bisexual man – which just isn’t the case. Explaining that his upbringing was always supportive and nurturing, Duncan detailed that the message of the song is more in line with the idea of not having to explain or justify his orientation.

Further explaining that the song was inspired by someone he met on tour who grew up in an environment where he was forced to repress his sexuality, Duncan shared that because he grew up with a different perspective in terms of always being able to be who he was, he felt like this friend’s story was something that needs to be told in song.

Duncan further elaborated on his outlook by presenting a very important reality. He explained that only gay people have to ‘come out’ – people that are straight never have to declare their sexuality. While he understands that making that kind of statement is powerful, he feels like that is a personal matter that people shouldn’t have to make such a grand statement about simply to be categorized.

The frontman reiterates that his upbringing really made it so that his sexuality was a non-issue and because of that, any kind of opposition to who he is can be thwarted with his keen sense of personal awareness and confidence. While he realizes that not everyone has had the same experience, Duncan wants songs like “He’s So Good” to bring that that kind of empowerment into the discussion.

Both Reynolds and Duncan continued to share their own personal experiences and came to a very fundamental conclusion. People need to categorize other people. Either they need to be validated by fitting into a category or they need to place someone into a category to wrap their heads around who they are. The reality should be more on the individual, rather than aligning with a generic set of criteria.

Continuing the very candid conversation, Duncan confided his heavy addiction to opiates and subsequently to pornography. Detailing that in his very late teenage years, a series of knee surgeries (five to be exact) and a severe staph infection would cause him to have permanent knee damage that he still lives with to this day. Faced with the reality of needing a very risky knee replacement procedure, the fix in the interim was a prescription for several painkillers to management his constant strain.

Duncan revealed that he ultimately became very dependent on the meds and as a result, sexual malfunction in a way that made him reliant on porn. That combination of drugs and withdrawal from personal interaction proved to be a damaging combination for frontman in some of his especially formative years. While Duncan was has since worked his way through both vices, he admits it was a very unhealthy time during his life.

The very open, uninhibited exchange touches on talking points like sex magic (apparently a real thing), individuality, and the notion of living the kind of life that is unrestricted by labels, genre, or categories. Appropriately concluding the discussion, Duncan punctuates his time by explaining that however people choose to present themselves, he wants the freedom to be able to gage the person on who they are as an individual and not rule out an entire group of people by saying, “I am not attracted to that”.

Stream the complete episode of The Downbeat with Craig Reynolds and Tobi Duncan of Trash Boat below.

‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ arrives August 13th via Hopeless Records. Pre-order the album – HERE


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