The Intelligent Rock of Time Spent Driving

Updated: 02/14/03

Founded in August of 1999, Time Spent Driving from Santa Cruz present intelligent, moving songs that will dance in your brain for ages. Their new album is entitled Just Enough Bright and has been released on Sessions Records. Interviewed is vocalist/guitar player Jon Cattivera.

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Time Spent Driving, and how long the band has been together.

My name's Jon, I sing and play guitar. This August the band will have been together four years.

Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?

We're from Santa Cruz, CA - a place where the scene has always fluctuated quite a bit. As far as punk/underground type shows, there have been times when every show that went on was well attended and really cool, but it died out over the years, and now there are very few shows. Some really cool kids come out to our shows, but the whole town just doesn't seem as energetic about music as I think it once was. A lot of bands have died out - and just left Santa Cruz with a bunch of hippie bands or something.

What did producer J. Robbins of Jawbox contribute and add to your sound and what made you decide to use him to produce the album?

I had always been a fan of J's work - I liked a lot of Jawbox and Burning Airline stuff and it seemed like he had a similar range vocally so I thought he would be cool to work with on the vocals. I also generally listen to a lot of other stuff he's done, so I knew I liked his approach on recording: natural and real, but with textures and cool interpretations. You know, extra attention to guitar tones, effects, percussion, etc. He always crossed my mind as a producer to work with him somewhere down the line, but I think the main thing that moved me to ask him was when I spoke with Tim from Actionslacks at a show we played together. J had produced their record and Tim had nothing but fantastic things to say. They are based in S.F., and there was a studio up there that J liked to work at, so I went with it.

Since just coming up with a title for an album can be difficult, what made you decide on Just Enough Bright and is there any deep meaning behind that title?

Originally, I was tossing around titles with the word "escape" in it because I felt like the word itself really worked with the theme of a lot of the songs. But the other guys didn't really like the suggestions I had come up with, and a lot of other bands seemed to be using that word for stuff as well. “Just Enough Bright” comes from a line from the last song on the record, Flicker, (which was originally titled Just Enough Bright.) I thought it would be a cool title, and the other guys liked it as well, and that's that. I think it really works well with respect to every song on the record, the record as a whole, and the state the band was in at the time.

Where do you come up with the ideas and inspirations for your lyrics?

Things just usually pop into my head, and I write them down - then rework them where needed. I think I like playing guitar and writing lyrics at the same time the best. Personal experiences and conflicts are the main fuel for the words that eventually become our songs.

With Just Enough Bright being recorded in January 2002, how close are you to going into the studio for a new album?

We should be a lot closer, actually we were just talking yesterday about how we were in the studio for the last record exactly one year ago! So, ideally we would have liked to be back in the studio sometime around now. We lost a bass player (again) so that has really held us back from writing as much. There's something about writing a song, and not being able to bring it into practice and play it, that really prevents me from writing. At this point I would say we're about half way done with a new record.

If you were invited to participate on a Heavy Metal tribute album, what song would you want to cover and why?

Aces High by Iron Maiden. It's my favorite Iron Maiden song - (even though D-rock, our guitar player would say Run to the Hills or something - and our drummer Kem would want to do Shout at the Devil. I bought the double vinyl live LP Live After Death at a church flea market for .50 cents! And FYI, There's this other crazy metal band called Arch Enemy that really rocks too, they are insane.

With so many bands out there, what do you think sets Time Spent Driving apart from all the others?

Ya know, these days - it would be the fact that we don't have any "cool guy screaming" in our songs!!! Haha. Probably the main reason is that I couldn't scream to save my life! Also, we sound nothing like Saves the Day, and that seems to be a task within itself these days.

While on the road touring, what are some of the strangest things that have happened? Met any Time Spent Driving groupies while out on the road?

A lot of strange things have happened, but I always draw a blank when I get asked this question. I crashed our van on the way to the Cracker Barrel in Arizona. Never heard the end of that one. We had another van completely break down in Arizona once, and we just left it there! There are groupie types out there, but most of them are just really stoked to finally be seeing us - and they're really cool. One of our old bass players hooked up with this pretty scary chick in PA, she wore leather and stuff - it wasn't the raddest thing ever...

While on tour, if some guy came up to you and offered you $100 to play Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears live, what would you do?

I would totally rock it if I knew it! I better figure it out just in case someone asks! We toured with Scott Ritcher one time and he actually plays Baby One More Time almost every night. It was actually one of his best songs!!! haha

Do you play the Los Angeles area very often or have any shows coming up? What do you think of the music scene in LA?

We want to play in the L.A. area more often, but when we're a little more road ready we go down there every few months. We're working on getting back down there.

So do you enjoy time spent driving -- or would you rather take the Bart?

Haha, I actually despise driving sometimes, if there's no traffic, it's cool, but if there's traffic I don't dig it. Bart would actually be cool, but we don't have it in my area.

Do you have any messages for someone who might be interested in checking out your music?

The best thing to do is go to our website ( or our label's site ( - you can download some mp3s, and see what you think. Or, you could come out to a show.

Any final words of wisdom? I just read something today in an Ian MacKaye interview: "If you want to document something, if you want to make something, you don't ask permission, cause the answer will be NO." Also, make sure you listen to Johnny Cash's version of Hurt before you die, because it is literally AMAZING.


TIME SPENT DRIVING: Their Official Home Page!
SESSIONS RECORDS: The Record Label for Time Spent Driving!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!

Buy Viagra Pharmacy