This fall’s co-headlining tour between Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees finds both acts in new territory. Longtime favorites of the underground garage-rock scene, the groups are far more used to playing in venues that double as closet-sized dive bars or warehouse backrooms, but as they begin to command more sizable crowds, they find themselves stepping onto larger stages.
“It’s strange. It’s a totally different deal, and it has its ups and downs, but I kind of miss those days,” Thee Oh Sees guitarist Petey Dammit said. “All of us feel comfortable in more intimate spaces where you can be there with the kids at the show, as opposed to it just feeling like they are watching you. The important thing is the feeling of being at the show instead of just playing a show for the people.”
Mixed feelings aside, these big rooms are the fruits of much labor. The notoriously entertaining live act has toured relentlessly since the mid-2000s, when the project — originally a solo outlet for John Dwyer of about a half dozen groups — fleshed out a full lineup.
Remarkably enough, the five members find themselves in Oklahoma City for the first time Friday.
Dammit said it’s an exciting prospect. “Touring can be a hard thing, but it can also be a great thing,” he said. “When you go to new towns, there will be a certain amount of people there. You hope they have fun and tell their friends, and [you] come back to play for even more. It’s exciting to see how it grows from show to show.”
It’s not just touring that has gained Thee Oh Sees die-hard fans; the prolific band has nearly 15 full albums under its belt, not to mention even more EPs and 7-inch records. The latest disc, Putrifiers II, came out yesterday.
“It’s a work ethic,” Dammit said. “We are constantly writing or touring and don’t really take many breaks. It feels silly to save things up for just one album. Why not just put everything out?”
Possible answer: It can complicate things.
“One downside to having so many releases is there is no way for us to remember them all,” Dammit said. “We just go [into shows] with what we know really well, with a curve ball thrown in there every now and then. It just keeps us on our toes.”