Photo by Abby Wing
Eden Savage is the hard-hitting drummer of San Francisco band, Royal Baths (Woodsist Records). Royal Baths are fronted by two singer-guitarists, Jeremy Cox and Jigmae Baer, whose melodic, ghostly vocals float above a guitar soundscape of sludgy fuzz and caterwauling leads. Behind the drumkit, cutting a striking figure with her curtain of long, wild hair, Eden grounds this spacey mixture with controlled, earthly pounding. Tom Tom Magazine met up with her in the Haight. Affable and dry-humored, Eden talks about her drumming beginnings in Hawaii, touring misadventures, and the cool things about living in the Bay Area.
-By Jem Fanvu
FULL NAME Eden Savage
HOMETOWN Honolulu HI/San Antonio TX
LIVES IN Oakland/San Francisco CA
PAST BANDS Jumbo Black, nightmaredrumsong, tffwz
CURRENT BANDS Royal Baths
DAY JOB Today I woke up
Tom Tom Magazine: How did you get into drumming? Was there a particular show or band that sparked your interest?
Eden Savage: I really like listening to music a lot and then I went to a few shows and decided I wanted to start playing music too. I’d seen Xiu Xiu play and he’d played all the instruments himself. That’s what made me think that there’s something I need to do too—because it was inside of him.
When I was in Hawaii, I’d watch people doing hand percussion, like, chants and stuff. After I started playing, that was when I started doing tribal beats and things like that. That’s what’s influencing me now.
Tom Tom Magazine: What else influences you these days?
Eden Savage: We’ve been playing a lot of shows and you get to see a lot of different bands play. I really like this band from Olympia called Howl Woman who is really cool. I really like Grass Widow. And the music I’ve been listening to – a lot of Black Sabbath lately and Joy Division.
Tom Tom Magazine: How did you learn to play drums?
Eden Savage: I started playing with my downstairs neighbor and my best friend when I was 17 or 18. We would just play together because they both played guitar but didn’t play drums, so that was just what I took up. I really enjoyed it and kept doing it. They knew Nirvana on guitar and I would try to copy heavy drums, like, Joy Division or something like that.
TTM: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
EB: I get pretty stoned. Is that ok to say? I stretch my arms. And take off all layers except for one because you can’t play with sweaters… too heavy. Yeah. (pauses) I get stoned and take off my clothes!
TTM: (laughs) Where have The Royal Baths toured?
EB: We went all over America pretty much. First time with Ty Segal and the second time with the Fresh & Onlys. And Wild Flag for a little bit on the West Coast, so pretty much everywhere.
TTM: Do you have any tips for taking care of your equipment, or yourself, while you’re traveling?
EB: The heads on drums—if you put cardboard in-between them when you’re stacking them in the back, it helps not damage the heads. My cymbals—I don’t take that good care of them. I just put them all together. Taking care of yourself, I would say, drink a lot of water. That’s what I do. And try to sleep as much as you can.
TTM: Did you see any cool things? Any stories from the road?
EB: I hit a deer in Wyoming. We got pulled over two times within 5 minutes after that happened because the deer broke our light, so we had no turn signal. We also got stopped by border patrol and got searched and patted down and handcuffed to a bench. We had to listen to really terrible music while they asked if we had drugs on our body or in our car. These are things that left an impression, but they’re not ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’ things.
We hadn’t slept because of that [incident] and were all feeling a little bit crazy and then we jumped in this river in Austin. I kind of grew up in Texas a little bit. It was so hot, like summertime, so it was pretty awesome. We recorded at a guy’s house in Austin and the outside looked like a Godard film. The sun was just creeping in through tree leaves and he had these little picnic benches. It was really nice.
TTM: Top 5 things about the Bay Area?
EB: ‘Good food.’ Just kidding. There’s good coffee. There’s good shows. You can walk everywhere; you don’t have to have a car. [a few dogs pass by] Everybody has dogs. And there’s a lot of cool record stores here.
TTM: Top 5 reasons why you like being in Royal Baths?
EB: I get to play music that I like; I get to play music with people I like; I get to travel; I get to go to shows for free… [pauses] sometimes. I get to express myself creatively.
TTM: Anything else you want to share with the readers of Tom Tom Magazine?
EB: If you’re a girl, you should play music. If you’re a girl and you like listening to music and you have anything in you that wants to do that or be part of making music, then definitely do it.