Conventional Wisdom is a rock band out of Nashville, Tennessee. With an eclectic array of inspirations — like Built to Spill, Queens of the Stone Age, No Doubt, Heart, Alanis Morrissette, and Aimee Mann — Conventional Wisdom's sound is energetic hippie grunge (yes, this is now a thing) at its finest.
The band is comprised of Valerie Martin (lead vocals), Ben Hagans (guitar), Elliott Jepson (bass), and Chris Martin (drums). Ben, Chris, and Elliott played in a band together in high school. When Elliott left the group in 2001, Ben and Chris continued jamming with various bass players for years. In 2014, Val was added to the mix and the band Más Moss was formed. Más Moss put out a self-titled EP in 2015 and began playing the Nashville dive bar circuit. With a recent opening at bass, Elliott moved back to Nashville and joined the band in 2018. The band was renamed Conventional Wisdom, which pays homage to one of their biggest influences, Built to Spill.
Conventional Wisdom released their debut EP in the winter of 2019 and is scheduled to play many shows in the Nashville region this spring.
In addition to their commitment to Conventional Wisdom, it's worth noting that the band is made up of a librarian, an electrical engineer, a clinical social worker, and a teacher. Can you guess who is who?
interesting and/or useless facts about the members of Conventional wisdom (click a name)
Ben Hagans, Guitar
What should we call your guitars?
King Guitarthur and Axecalibur.
How did you get the nickname "Wolfman"?
Is that my nickname It's probably all the body hair.
Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Beatles and Rolling Stones and Zeppelin, too.
What do you do for funsies? Guitar (duh), gardening and dancing.
Favorite night club?
Club La Vela. [editor: Google tells me Panama City, FL? Alrighty, Ben!
Elliott Jepson, bass
Where did you grown up?
Nashville. More specifically- Germantown waaaaay before it was a trendy place to live.
Favorite movie scene?
Wayne's World- the scene when Garth puts ‘Foxy Lady’ on the jukebox and pelvic thrusts ensue.
On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
Making pancakes for my kids and listening to Sidney Bechet
When you're not working, what are your fave things to do?
Playing music, seeing live music, playing with my kids, exploring new cities/countries, hiking & camping
What's a fun fact about you?
I have 325 neanderthal variants. This is more than 98% of 23andMe Customers.
Best vacation spot?
In no particular order: The Yucatan Peninsula, Hilton Head/Savannah, Maine, and Montana
What is the best kind of bear?
That's a ridiculous question.
Chris Martin, Drums & Percussion
What's the best thing about playing drums?
Beating the skins like a rented mule...very therapeutic
Who was the first drummer that inspired you?
Bonzo (John Bonham) . . . or maybe Animal of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
Who would your dream drummer date be?
Neil Peart - the Zen master of drums
How long have you and Ben been playing together?
What year is it??? F&@% we're old!!!
What's it like being married to a hot, talented singer like Valerie?
[Editor's comments: Chris must be in need of some brownie points.]
Surreal...when she first added her vocal talents to some songs of Benz and mine everything just clicked.
Valerie Martin, Vocals & Lyrics
What’s your superpower?
Diffusing awkward situations, sometimes by distracting with a new flavor of awkwardness, such as bursting out into song and dance.
What was your first CD?
What's a CD? KIDDING you guys come on I still remember my worn-out Reba McEntyre tape. Some of my first CD's were CrazySexyCool by TLC, Jagged Little Pill by Alanis, and Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. More accurately, I "borrowed" them from my brother who got them in one of those mail-order CD clubs. (Sorry/thanks, Dean!)
What are you passionate about?
Oh man, TOO MUCH. Animal rights, trees, tarot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, podcasts, reading, my cats, food (see below), psychology, philosophy, human behavior... and a lot more.
What pisses you off?
When I was maybe 13, I made a list of the three things I hate most in the world, in no particular order: fire ants, hiccups, and war. This has not changed much in the intervening years, though I do have a much better hiccup remedy these days (ask me about it, I’m an evangelist), and now that I’m in Tennessee, mosquitoes appear to be a bigger concern than fire ants.
Where do you love to go in Nashville?
I'm a foodie, so I'm always scouting out the new vegan and vegan-friendly places. Avo, Graze, Sunflower, and Vegan Vee are faves, and I'm super excited for the opening of Catio soon.