What is your full name?
Richard Brian Bernhardt
Mark Andrew Siedlecki II
Do you have any aliases?
Brian-Sort of. I’ve always gone by my middle name, Brian. So that’s like an alias.
Mark-I have at least 2. I was always called Sid because of my last name since I was young and then I developed the nickname Magnus as I got older.
Tom- My solo electronic project is called “Sounder Plains”
What bands are you actively involved with?
BRIAN- Sell Yourself Short . Not yet officially named post-hardcore project that will be dropping soon
MARK- Sell Yourself Short and Anticosm.
Tom- Sell Yourself Short, Anticosm, and Sounder Plains is my solo project.
What was the first instrument that you played?
BRIAN- The first instrument I really played was piano. My parents signed me up for piano lessons several times as a kid but I was never really great at it.
MARK- My father was a drummer so I actually started learning drums when I was about 5. but switched to guitar shortly after.
Tom- I started on Alto Saxophone in 4th grade in the school band.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
BRIAN- The moment when I first got into music was when I was maybe 10 and my dad played this Rolling Stones cd in the car. It was kind of an obscure Rolling Stones album too, Black and Blue. I had never heard anything like it and I remember being completely blown away. The only music I really knew at that time was whatever that was being played on top 40 radio and songs from like the Shrek soundtrack. Something about that Rolling Stones cd awoke something in me as a kid and I’ve been obsessed with music ever since. Sometimes I think about what a huge impact that car ride had on the rest of my life.
MARK- I grew up with a musical Father so music was always a big part of my life. As young as 5 I used to pretend I was a radio DJ and I would tape record myself switching his Beatles and Beach Boys vinyls like “and next up we have twist and shout by The Beatles” and crap like that so that is my earliest memory of music. I have always loved music and knew I always wanted to be in a band.
Tom- My mom would play Pink Floyd all the time when we were driving around. I remember when she got the live album “Pulse” that had a blinking light on the CD case. “Money” was the first track that I was like “damn that's awesome”
What was the name of the first band you were in?
BRIAN- “The Scarred”. We played a Doors song at a high school talent show and recorded one terrible original using a laptop mic.
MARK- In middle school I started a band with my friends we called “Sick” it was a punk/metal type band. We used to jam in my buddies basement, we actually had 2 bass players which was kinda funny. Then when I got into high school I actually met my buddy Kirill and we started Anticosm my freshman year. We called it sacrifice at first but changed the name once we got our drummer Ethan since we saw it as sort of a new beginning since he dramatically improved our sound.
Tom- In late high school/early college I was in a punk band called “The Broken Strings”. We were called that because one of us would break a string every time we played together.
Tell me about the genesis of Sell Yourself Short.
BRIAN- Sell Yourself Short started in 2016 and was originally called Best Regards. Our singer/guitarist Mark was actually the drummer at the time. I joined after their original bass player quit and joined a band I had left a few months earlier; so we kind of ended up doing a band swap. Our lead guitarist Tom joined a few months later. Mark left the band after a falling out with our original singer/guitarist who then also quit the band a little less than a year later. Following his departure, Mark rejoined the band as our singer/guitarist and pretty much gets us to where we are today.
MARK- Yea that sums it up.
Tom- What Brian said for sure.
What inspired the name Sell Yourself Short?
BRIAN- We changed our name from Best Regards to Sell Yourself Short when this other band called Best Regards threatened to sue us. I’m pretty sure Mark came up with the name.
MARK- I was listening to the song “Savers” by “Bomb the Music Industry” and in the first verse he says something like “Nights where all I could afford was to sell myself short” And I was like hmm….sell myself short…..sell yourself short! That is a great name!
Tom- I can attest the above is truth
How long did it take you to write and record The Lowest Standard?
MARK- 6 Months
Tom- Yeah it took about 6 months. We wrote the instrumentals before we got the lyrics down, and I mixed all of it.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
BRIAN- Assuming I would be inserting myself into the band as the bass player, I would go with Black Sabbath because Geezer Butler is my favorite bassist.
MARK- That's a tough question, I am gonna go with KISS just because it seems like it would be a blast to play those songs with all the explosions and the stage gear.
Tom- Explosions in the Sky, I’d wanna play guitar and auxiliary instruments. I’m a huge fan of post-rock
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
BRIAN- Honestly too many to list
MARK- That is another tough question. Maybe “And Then There Was Silence” by Blind Guardian
Tom- “Orion” Metallica
What are some of your pop/mainstream musical inspirations?
BRIAN- I have an unhealthy obsession with Kanye West if that counts.
MARK- My daughter likes Billie Eilish and I actually think her and her brother make some pretty good music.
Tom- I love all types of pop music, and while hip-hop is mainstream I’m all about the underground stuff like Aesop Rock or Saba. Though I do fucks with some newer drill or trap stuff.
What’s a heavy metal song that you'd like to do a cover of?
BRIAN- Symptom of the Universe by Black Sabbath would be cool
MARK- For our band I would be down to do a Sabbath song, Brian lets make it happen.
Tom- Fuck yeah, lets do Sabbath!
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
BRIAN- We played a few shows with this band called Creating Clementine (I guess they’re just called Clementine now) and they always killed it. We also played with this band called FRND CRCL that I thought was really good.
MARK- My other band Anticosm got to open for Vital Remains once, those dudes are killer live and super nice guys.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
BRIAN- Probably Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ which now no longer exists.
MARK- Honestly I love basement shows, those are my favorites.
Tom- Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
BRIAN-Jack and Coke
MARK-Yea whiskey and beer.
Tom- Lots of water and a dynavap.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
BRIAN- Never been on tour
MARK- I have toured multiple times in Anticosm, I love everything about it. The sense of adventure, the people you meet, not knowing where you will sleep each night, it's pretty fun. I could totally be a hobo and be fine with it based on how much I love touring.
Tom - I have not toured, but since I am a teacher I would love to do summer tours.
What is your least favorite thing about touring?
BRIAN- See above
MARK- Lack of showering at times
Is there a city that you love to hit while on tour?
MARK- New Orleans is particularly awesome.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on the road?
MARK- The weirdest was we played once in Texas and the show promoter invited us back to his trailer park to crash, said we can park our truck (we toured in an 89 Chevy Suburban) on an empty lot. We went back to his trailer and this dude had a different cowboy hat for every day of the week mind you, we were around him a couple days. But he has us come in and strips down to nothing but his tighty whities and still has his cowboy hat on, said “hey i ran to blockbuster and rented us some wrestling dvds to watch you guys wanna watch wrestling and smoke some dope?” He pulls out a bowl of weed and says “I don't drink but I always keep a 6 pack in the fridge for company.” Now maybe its us being from the north east where its cut throat and no one makes eye contact but we found it super strange and even though he offered us his nice air conditioned trailer in the summer in Texas, we chose to not stay with tighty whitey cowboy hat man and we slept under our truck sweating our asses off.
The year is 2006. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
BRIAN- I’m a freshman in highschool and I’m either listening to My Chemical Romance or David Bowie.
MARK-I was just starting college and I was listening to Metal. Black Metal, Power Metal, Death Metal. I was very much a metal elitist in those days, I broadened my horizons over the years.
Tom- I am a freshman in community college and I am actively studying the classical guitar so I can gain admittance to a music program. I listened to tons of hip hop during this time period, especially Kanye, Dr. Dre, and Eminem.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
BRIAN- Go for it and don’t be afraid of people saying you suck.
MARK-I agree with Brian, I would add do it because you love it so you’ll never be disappointed.
Tom- Don’t go crazy trying to be Hendrix. Everything is eventual, put in the time and you’ll get there.
What is an absolute band killer?
BRIAN- When a rock band gets too into keyboards and/or electronic music to the point where they’re no longer a rock band.
MARK- When it stops being fun. I know a lot of industry people will say it's a job, and it is. But you have to have fun or it's not worth it.
Tom- The lack of comradery
Have you ever recorded a song that you really didn’t like, but somebody else in the band really did?
BRIAN- I’ve never been the main songwriter in any band I’ve been in so I’ve experienced this many times.
MARK- Overall no, but sometimes a part will end up in a song or a revision will be made that I don’t think is the best. I try to make it democratic though I am always open to suggestions.
Tom- yeah, it's not like I’m a soothsayer for quality. I think other people can write things I don’t connect with but can still be successful.
If you were to start your own music festival what would be the name of that festival and who would be the three headlining bands?
BRIAN- Brianfest headlined by Kanye West, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, and Taking Back Sunday
MARK- Magnus Madness headlined by Blind Guardian, AFI and Mayhem.
Tom- TomFest starring bands that have a Tom in them such as Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, and Tom Waits.
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
BRIAN- I don’t know, a week probably?
MARK- When on tour, probably a week or so.
Tom- Not a week but damn close
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
BRIAN- I used to ski competitively.
MARK- I am an independent professional wrestler.
Tom- I play bassoon
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
MARK- It is now!
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
MARK- I would have to ask my daughter, she would know.
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
BRIAN- Probably The White Album by The Beatles
MARK- Imaginations From the Other Side-Blind Guardian
Tom - Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
BRIAN- “I Don’t Fucking Know”
MARK- ”What Can ya Say?”
Tom - “Everything is Eventual”
What is your favorite song by Taylor Swift?
BRIAN- I like We Came as Romans’ cover of We are Never Getting Back Together so I guess that one.
MARK- I couldn’t name a Taylor Swift song honestly.
Tom- Invisible String from that album she did with Aaron Dessner.
Monster Magnet or The Dillinger Escape Plan (if you had to choose)?
BRIAN- Dillinger Escape Plan no question.
MARK- My father was actually good friends with Dave and Phil in Monster Magnet, I have met them several times. I’m going with Monster Magnet.
Tom - Dillinger
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
BRIAN- That’s tough but got to go boobies
MARK- Only my wife’s doobies.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
BRIAN- Star Wars
MARK- Star Wars
Tom - Star Wars
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
BRIAN- My Rolling Stones Steel Wheels 1989 tour shirt
MARK- My “The Original Misfits” reunion show shirt.
Tom- BB King
BRIAN-I know I’m a child but pizza
MARK- a Rueben sandwich.
Tom - Anything my girlfriend makes for me
BRIAN- Either The Lord of the Rings trilogy or The Vampire Lestat
MARK- Lord of the Rings
Tom - “The Crossing” by Cormac McCarthy
BRIAN- Pulp Fiction
MARK- So many depending on my mood. Anything Quentin Tarantino does and I love Film Noir
Tom- Fight Club
BRIAN- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie
MARK- Imaginations From the Other Side-Blind Guardian
Tom - “Deloused in the Comatorium” by The Mars Volta
Mucho thanks to Brian, Mark and Tom for taking the time to answer my questions and for sharing that encounter with that “eccentric” Texan. I appreciate it. Run. Do not walk and check out The Lowest Standard. The latest EP from Sell Yourself Short. You will not be disappointed! But if you are. Don’t blame me. Blame the band.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)