PALMS: An Interview with Aaron Harris & Jeff Caxide

Given the names involved, it’s no surprise that Palms have attracted a bunch of attention since the release of their self-titled debut album last year. The band that features Deftones frontman Chino Moreno with former members of Isis garnered endless praise with their first record, captivating a legion of fans since their formation just a few years ago. Impressive for a part-time project that took off when Moreno and drummer Aaron Harris began meeting up for hikes at Runyon Canyon. Who would’ve guessed that a stroll to Inspiration Point would have led to a 46-minute opus and a gig at the Hollywood Bowl?

According to Harris and bassist Jeff Caxide, working with Moreno is something they’ve always wanted to do. Today we talk with Harris and Caxide about their time in Isis, their journey with Palms, and advice they’d give to their 20-year-old selves.

Key takeaways:

  • One of the band’s most memorable moments was playing the Hollywood Bowl opening for System of a Down. “I didn’t even think there would be a possibility I’d get to play there sometime,” Aaron said.
  • When Isis went on their first US tour in 1999, Cave In’s van caught on fire. The gear they were able to salvage reeked like smoke for days.
  • Some advice to young musicians: save your money and don’t focus on getting a manager or getting signed. Focus on the process of writing good music.
  • On every tour with Isis there was at least one moment when they felt discouraged and thought about giving up. “It comes with the territory.”
  • Too many bands go into it with the wrong idea. “If you really love playing music, start with that.” It’s good to have dreams but start slow.
  • When Isis was recording In the Absence of Truth you could feel it was the beginning of the end for the band. Jeff said, “It wasn’t exactly said out loud, but that was felt it in the room between the five of us.”
  • Aaron was handling drum tech duties for Tool on their recent tour this year, and during “Push It” Danny Carey’s snare head broke. Aaron was able to change it in the middle of the song and the crowd went nuts.
  • Isis toured with Tool in 2006. Right before that tour Aaron got stuck at Heathrow Airport in London because of the gel bomb scare. He wasn’t sure he’d make it home in time for the tour, but ended up getting back right before they had to leave.
  • A couple months ago Isis made national news when people started confusing them with the terrorist group. “I thought it would happen a lot sooner to tell you the truth,” Jeff said.
  • People had already made up their minds about Palms when the initial announcement was made — before hearing any music.
  • “It’s a treat” to be able to work with Chino. It’s a vocalist they had always looked up to and wanted to do something with.
  • Aaron gets a lot of his song ideas while doing yoga; Jeff gets his while driving.

Links from this interview:

More about Palms:

  • Palms recently wrapped up a West Coast/Southwest tour with Boyfrndz
  • They’re currently writing new material but don’t know when they’ll hit the studio because the members have crazy schedules and live in different parts of the US.

If you’ve got feedback about this interview, what you liked about it or suggestions on how we could have done it better, we’d love to hear it. Send an email to ryan@ryansrockshow.com.