Oh also - there's a part at the end that you won't get unless you know that the New Bomb Turks have a song called "Cryin' In The Beer Of A Drunk Man." So remember that fact!-----------------------------------------------
Hey. How's it going? Are you doing alright today?
Yeah, can you call back in like one minute? Two minutes.
(three minutes later)
Hey, what's going on?
How you doin' first day free or whatever?
Eh, I'm alright. I've kinda calmed down about it, I guess.
What was it?
I worked at this - oh, and I asked you to call back because I had to whiz. That was the only reason.
Okay. Interestingly, that's what I did during those couple of minutes!
Oh, there you go. Synergy. Yeah, it was a place in Columbus that makes catalogs basically. So I was doing copyrighting and editing and proofreading and stuff like that, basically for Quixtar, which is a nice new name for Amway for their catalog. And it basically looked like they weren't gonna get the account for next year, which I don't know. So they let go a bunch of people. And I might still get the job back maybe if they get the account, so who knows? But the last month or so, I've pretty much put off all the freelance music writing I'd been doing for a while, so I'm just gonna call back all those various editors and tell them I'm available.
Who are you writing for?
I write for the Cleveland Scene magazine and for the Alive down here, and I write sometimes for the Stranger over in Seattle, and then a couple things here and there when I can pick `em up.
I've been trying to do some of that for money since I got laid off.
Yeah? When did you get laid off?
The beginning of July.
Yeah, well that's what I did with the band when we ended. We did our last tour, a round of touring last fall into the winter, and then we got back in late December, we did a New Year's Eve show in Cleveland. That was our last show. Anyway, so since the end of September, I was out a job until I got this job at the end of June. So I was out of a job for about six months, and I just - I've been doing freelance writing on and off for years, so I just really kicked that into gear and tried to get in touch with a lot of people and kinda just scraped by for a few months, and then got this job. Interestingly, I only got this job because I was standing at a bar that I always go to and there was a somewhat cute girl standing next to me, and I started talking to her and it turned out that she was there with what turned out to be my boss. So it was a total luck kinda thing.
You need to go back and find another cute girl, I guess.
Yeah, I gotta go to that bar and start talking. Anyway..
How did you end up doing copywriting? Are you a spelling good proofreading kinda guy?
The boss, her name's Sherry and she's really, really cool. Her and her husband do this tattoo magazine and she's done this book on underground women artists and she knew Niagara and she knows Robert Williams and all these different artists. Yeah, she's really neat. We got to talking about that. She used to live in New York and she was in a band and she -
What band? Do you know?
They were called. I always forget the name. I don't think they played that much.
It wasn't the Wives, was it?
No, no. They were called the Blackbators. They were pretty good, and she knew the Devil Dogs and all these people I knew. So it was just weird that we'd never met because she's lived in Columbus now for a few years. And we just kinda hit it off, and I think she kinda saw it as a chance to kinda help me out because I really needed a job. And we kinda hung out a little bit before she hired me.
Did she know your band?
Yeah, she knew us - you know what? That's a call waiting. Can you hold on for a minute? Sorry.
6:00 is like the witching hour. That was my mom, then all the telemarketers, then this friend of mine just called from Amsterdam, and just I don't know what's going on.
You didn't sign up for the "Do Not Call" list yet?
No. I kinda don't want to. I sorta, you know -
You like the telemarketers?
I wouldn't say I like `em, but I don't know. I just - I don't know.
Do you ever buy anything from them?
No. Hell no.
So you're not really helping them, are you?
No, not at all. And the thing is, when they call, I just say, "Oh, he's not home right now." And they say, "Well, is the woman of the house there?" and I say, "Mmm, no. He's gay." And then they never call back again! So it works out pretty good. It's kinda like the Army thing; if you tell them you're gay and hate everybody, they just let you go. Or like avoiding jury duty. No, so anyway, yeah, so she was a cool boss and she knew that I did some writing and she liked some of the writing, and basically I think she was sick of working with a bunch of squares. She had just hired this girl Jenny, who is really nice and kinda into music or whatever, I don't know. And then she hired me, and it was the first time she'd ever had a copy department blah blah blah. Anyway, I'm not working there anymore. But I'm feeling a little better today.
How do you feel about the band being finished?
It's fine. Like I say, I would feel weirder if we only were a band for maybe two or three years, but we were at it for about thirteen years, so it's not like we didn't give it a good try. And I feel like we accomplished more than I probably ever thought was ever gonna happen when we started the band. And uh (pause) Sorry, just took a drink of water there.
That's a lot of years to be writing good songs too, and you stayed consistent.
Thanks. Well, there were at least nine years of good songwriting.
Nah, I'm kidding. Yeah, and we got to go to Europe a million times and Japan and Australia and all over Canada and America, and I got to see a lot of things and meet a lot of people and pretty much pay my rent for a while. I didn't have a proper job for about seven years. Granted, I live in Columbus, Ohio where you can kinda scrape by and you become very friendly with your friends who work at bagel shops and get `em to scam free bagels for a summer or two. But yeah, it was a great experience and everything, and I'm really happy with our records, and we had fun right up to the end. We tried to avoid the clich,s of band life, from like breaking up early on or never putting out a record or taking a big advance and then blowing it on a van and then breaking up a year later because we we toured too much. All those sort of - or getting a manager who rips us off or all those sort of, you know, drug addictions, all the crap that happens to usual bands. And the final frontier of that is playing and touring when you just aren't as good anymore. And I thought we were still as good live as we ever were, because we were just having - once we got Sam in '99, the new drummer, it was reinvigorating and he was much easier to deal with, so the last couple of years touring were really fun. So we'd rather just stop when - Sam and his wife just had a baby and he's with this other band, and Jim and I both wanted to go back to school, and it's just like you gotta know when to quit. I mean, I'm sure there's people out there who probably think we went a few years too long, but we had a ball and just figured it's better to stop when you're still having fun with it and you're still all friends.
Did you get the feeling it wasn't gonna be fun for much longer?
Well, just little things, like you just get older. People's priorities - everybody's got either jobs or kids or wives, girlfriends, all kinds of things. And you do get a little tired of living on like $5000 a year or whatever, and constantly trying to juggle shit like that. And also, there's a lot of bands out there and they should all get their chance.
Yeah, but they all SUCK!
Right, there certainly are a lot of sucky ones. But I wouldn't say that I felt like we were gonna suck. I think just naturally eventually..
When you consider how sort of kinda basic a sound you guys had, it was very remarkable that you made so many good albums.
Well, that was another one. I remember back when we were signing the Epitaph deal in '96, we were all talking about, "If we sign this thing, it's a three-record deal. And assuming we play it out, that's at least five more years of being in a band." And you sit around and talk about stuff like that and think, "Well, we could do that." But the main thing is to just not keep doing the same records over and over again. For us, that was important. But also, know your limits and know what you can do, and don't start hiring some techno producer or something. In '98 or '99, all these bands started trying to put techno beats behind them. It was like, "What?" Know what you can do, but try to make something a little better and a little different each time. And we're all fans; we all kinda can write songs and mix stuff together.
Were you all writing songs? Is that how the band worked?
Mainly Jim and Matt would come in with either a kind of finished song or at least a few riffs, and then we would sort of flesh it out in practice. Sometimes I had some riffs - there was usually about one song or so every record that's maybe something I did. But it was all a matter of Jim or Matt usually bringing in songs. But we all had our say and would come up with bridges, and obviously I came up with the singing parts or whatever. So yeah, it was a real band kinda thing. It wasn't like one guy kinda wrote it and just showed everybody.
Did you write all the lyrics?
Yeah, I wrote all the lyrics. We tried to just - if we were gonna keep making records, then each time you try to think of - maybe not always super-consciously, but you definitely want to make sure, especially with our form of music. That was another thing. A lot of the bands we were compared to early on like the Saints or the Dead Boys or things like that were bands that we really liked and stuff, but they all seemed to have one or two or maybe three pretty good records, then they either broke up or completely dismantled and got different members and all that kinda stuff. So we were like, "If we're gonna stick around, let's try to really progress with our sound."
Yeah, I'm kind of afraid to venture past the first two Saints albums.
The third one's actually pretty good I think too.
Yeah. And even some of the later ones - I mean, his voice is just so great that I could stomach a lot of the stuff.
I've been, on my own for fun, doing a record review web site for about eight years.
Just for shits and grins, you know!
Right right right.
And you guys - I write these stupid reviews and give the albums between 1 and 10, and I'm looking through it now and I never gave you guys less than an 8.
Oh wow! Thank you.
I really like you guys! And your first album - I don't wanna be another guy who says, "Aw man, their first album was the best," but your first album is actually one of my favorite albums ever.
That's when I became a fan, when that album came out. So I've been following you since then.
That's funny. There was this one guy I came across on the Net - I have no idea what the web site was, but it's this guy who just reviews all these various records all over the place. It was funny because he had a couple of reviews of some of the early records and he really loved them and said really great things, and then one time he wrote this long review where he tried to sit down and listen to all of our records all the way through. And this was up til the last Epitaph one, Nightmare Scenario, and by the end, he was saying, "Oh, these all just start to sound the same! Maybe my opinion's changing of the New Bomb Turks!" I was like, "Well, any band if you sit through six of their records in a row, you might be a little bored after a while." But I really thought, compared to a lot of bands that do our kind of music, that each record really kinda sounds a little different. And we tried different things on each record. I think the problem is usually that our kinda music - sorta fast, raw, garage-punk kinda stuff - most bands like that only put out maybe two records. So there's not a lot of bands you can sorta compare it to. Maybe the Supersuckers or I don't know, maybe the Lazy Cowgirls or something. I don't know if we're as good or better or not than any of those bands, but this kind of music, usually bands don't stick around that long. So I was pretty happy - I think we kept up an energy level and each record I think has its own sound. We always tried to record in different studios with different engineers and stuff. You know, try different things.
I hope that wasn't my site that you were looking at!
Oh, I don't know if it was that.
It may have been, though. Because I'm looking at `em now and I give `em all high reviews, but I do say like, "I know these guys are repeating themselves, but they're coming up with some killer riffs!"
No, I don't think so.
Oh, did this guy actually say bad things about you?
I don't know. He was kinda funny though. But it doesn't matter.
But it may have been me!
I also usually like negative reviews a little more. They're a little more interesting because you find a lot of like indie and garage fanzine writers and shit that tend to just, if they like you, they're just like, "This is like a hot-rod ride to Hell! You'd better hold on! They're gonna drive over you drunk and rape your sister!"
And you're like, "What? We never raped anybody's sister. And I don't even really drink that much!" But negative reviews tend to be a little more - I mean, of course I love positive reviews, but negative reviews tend to be a little more instructive.
The only thing on mine that even comes close to sounding negative - this is why I hope it's not mine - is that, for Nightmare Scenario, when I say - and don't take offense to this, because I gave it an 8 out of 10!
Uh. "New drummer, no new ideas."
Oh yeah. Well. See, all of us in the band are fairly agreed that that album and Destroy- Oh-Boy!!! are our favorite records. Because when we made Nightmare Scenario, we had a really fun time making it, and Sam was really new to the band and we were coming up with songs really quick. And it felt like, with At Rope's End, we really tried to - not that we were, I don't know, we were just all really into Exile On Main Street and stuff! As usual, of course. And it felt like with Nightmare Scenario, it was like pulling back a little back and getting it done quick with Jim Diamond, who's really fun to record with. Great engineer and everything. And we just had a great time making it. And listening back to it, we're just really happy with it. I think over time that one definitely and the first one are our favorites. One bad thing - Epitaph just didn't do anything to promote that record. So it's kinda like, "Well, nobody's really getting to hear this thing, and even if they did hear about it, they'd probably think it was some leftover thing." And we really like it! I like my lyrics a lot; I think I was a little better with my lyrics on that one because I write too many words sometimes, so I tried to pull back from that. Anyway, once that happened, we almost broke up but we felt we had a few new tunes we wanted to do, so we did the last one. And we're pretty happy with that too, so there you go. COUGH! I've also had this fuckin' flu that's been going around.
Oh yeah. And then All-Music Guide says something about that one too. That it's "a fairly typical effort. Pretty consistent batch of songs."
Again, when you do music like ours long enough, I think people -
Well, the last album sounds different! The last album was a bit slower, more Rolling Stones-type songs.
Yeah, that one was definitely like - we did it here in town, which kinda sucks in a way, because you think it's easier to do, but it also lends itself to like, "Eh, let's just go home."
If you're getting tired of mixing or something, you're like, "Oh Jesus. We've been mixing this thing for like two hours. Let's just go home and try it tomorrow." Whereas when you're out of town and you're paying money for some expensive studio or whatever, you're like, "Fuck. We really gotta get this done." You tend to focus a little more. So that one, we were just like, "Who cares? This is a slightly smaller label. We're not gonna worry about what any fan might think - not that we normally do, but I mean, let's just make WHATEVER." And that's what we came up with. And for us, there was some pretty different kinda stuff on there. And we just were like, "Well, that's where we're at or whatever. Let's just do that."
It's also cool how many compilations of great songs you could put out that weren't on albums. They just keep coming out!
It's weird because you look back - and I've had two friends tell me that about this new record, Switchblade Tongues - `cuz I think people who are used to you and have heard your shit a bunch of times, it's like usually b-sides and compilation tracks are different kinds of things that maybe wouldn't fit into one of your records. And if you're a fan or a friend or whatever who's heard a lot of our other records, that stuff might stick out, so you're like, "Oh yeah! That's a little catchier or slower or whatever." Just something different and sort of fun to hear. Granted, Switchblade Tongues has, what is it, like NINE covers or something. And I do think our versions are a lot different than the originals, but I mean.. And you try to do it differently - you don't want to just cover it straight.
The originals on there are great though.
Yeah, I think the one came out really good. It's just that we didn't have a vocal part really figured out for it by the time we finished that last record, so we left it alone and I added vocals later. It probably should have gone on the album. Sorry, can you hold on for one second?
Yeah. Another call?
(an endless silence)
That was my ex-boss.
Was she trying to hire you back?
I don't know. I told her I'd call her back. She's probably just calling to say hey. So anyway, it's fun to put those comps together and see what, you know - And it makes you realize when you think back, "Why did we leave that one off the record?" and you try to remember why you left certain ones off the record or whatever.
And you, another thing about you is you're like, ih-, ih-, uh, friends of mine who like the band, we always, uh - not ALWAYS, but you know, we, we always remark about your - how your do so many plays-on-words in the titles. Really good titles.
Yeah, I tried - after, I think it was maybe At Rope's End, I was like "Man, I'm doing that a little too much." You know, you wanna have a certain level of seriousness to it or whatever, but I don't mind. I was always into, in high school I listened to the Replacements a lot, and Paul Westerberg has, maybe not in the titles so much, but in the lyrics he has a lot of -
"You wish upon a star and it turns into a plane."
Yeah, that's one of my favorite songs by them! Stuff like that. And then Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello and then there's this guy who played in a band called Death of Samantha that I liked a lot. He wrote a lot of lyrics like that, so I just try to - I was always into stuff like that. And that was one more way, since I didn't play guitar or any instruments or anything, that was another way that I could try to add something weirder to the basic kinda sound that we do. Because after a while, there were just so many bands playing - not that we were first or last or whatever, but there just a lot of bands like that in the later 90s - none of them got big at all - but that were doing that kind of music. For us, maybe one of the things that could make us stick out was to change the guitar sound and use some of my overdone lyrics. Plus I'm not real big on the whole lovey-dovey usual "My girlfriend left me" kinda lyrics.
Except for the last album.
Yeah! I was gonna say! I was just looking at my review here and I said, "It's beginning to look like Eric has had a falling-out with his loved one unless I'm overreacting to six songs on here."
I know, that was - yeah, that was the mindset at that point. That was another thing. For so long, I was like, "I hate - I don't understand writing love songs. They've all been done a million times." or whatever. What am I gonna say that Frank Sinatra couldn't have said much better?
Your phrasing's really good though.
But with that record, I was like, "Well, this is what's in my head right now." I did have a horrible breakup and it was bugging me. "That's what's in my head so why deny that just because I think it's been done a million times? I could try to do it differently." So that's why I did that.
Actually I had lunch with her today. I haven't talked to her in a long time, and she's pregnant and she's not gonna get married and she's living kind of a strange life, but anyway. So I saw her today for the first time in a while.
Has she changed a lot?
No. Well, in ways, but certain things about people probably stay the same for a long time. But yeah, in ways she's kinda calmed down. I suppose when your stomach's begun to jut out and it's not an alien popping out, it's gonna make you think about life and calm down a little bit.
Ha! So now you can look back at your career - are you gonna be in another band, you think?
I don't know. I know that a friend of ours who makes a shitload of money now is flying us out to Portland to do a reunion sort of thing in January for his birthday party. And then Gearhead a couple of years ago, when we first talked to them about doing the album, he said, "I do these Gearfest things where it's like three or four shows over in Scandinavia. Do you guys wanna do it in 2004?" And we're like, "Yeah, whatever." But now it's like that's coming up, you know? So I guess we're gonna do that. It's gonna be like six shows we're doing over in Germany and Holland or Scandinavia or something, I don't know. So we're gonna do that too. So we've got a couple of band things, little leftover things to kinda tie up, but I don't know. I kinda sit around and write; I guess you could call it lyrics, but I just kinda write stuff. I might. I would like to, but trying to find people that you want to play with in this town - Columbus isn't exactly overstocked with musicians, and many of the good ones are probably already in bands. So to try to figure out and get somebody else, and I definitely would want to do something different. I wouldn't want to just do the same, you know, have a fast punk rock band again. So yeah, I don't know. I'm thinking about it, but I haven't really done anything yet. I put together a compilation that Gearhead's putting out, and I'm gonna do stuff like that, like suggest bands to Gearhead and help them put together compilations of new bands and stuff. And I do music writing and stuff, so I do that kind of thing.
What albums from the last couple of years, or what new bands have really impressed you?
There's this band The Black Lips from Georgia who are pretty great.
From Georgia? I'm from Georgia. We never had any good bands!
Atlanta, Georgia? I think they're from Atlanta, Georgia.
I believe you.
They're great. The Black Lips are on Bomp and they're just super-trashy. They remind me of the Replacements because they're just superdrunk trashy, but they're a little more like the Oblivians or something like that. The Starvations from L.A. are really great. I love that Junior Senior record. What else?
(looking at allmusic.com) Ah yeah. The Black Lips are from Atlanta.
Yeah, yeah. And the Cuts from California I think are pretty good. Clone Defects out of Detroit. I don't know; there's a lot of decent punk bands out there.
But you haven't mentioned the White Stripes.
Little Killers on Crypt I like.
Oh yeah! The Little Killers.
What was that about the White Stripes?
You didn't mention the White Strikes or the Strokes or the Hives. And those are the only bands there are right now!
By the way, have you noticed that the Hives sound just like the New Bomb Turks?
Heh. My friend was like, "Are you getting royalty payments from this?" Nah, they're friends of ours. They're really nice guys. And they've been cool about, like when they got a couple of big U.S. tours when they finally got over here, they asked if we wanted to do a whole tour with them, and we just couldn't do it.
Yeah. But we did a few shows with them. They keep in touch, and they're really nice. They were big fans of ours. I remember when that album came out, we were in Europe and they gave us copies right when it came out, and that was like a year or more before it even hit. They recorded that record in '99! So I mean it's been a while for them to get a new record, which would probably be a good idea. But yeah, they're good guys. If any band's gonna get big, I'd much rather hear - I have a little nephew and he's into the Hives, and I'd much rather have him be into the Hives than Blink-182 or Christina Aguilera or something.
That's true. Well, why are the Hives succeeding commercially where you guys didn't?
Management. We could go off on this forever, but that's what it always comes down to. I think rarely does a band - I mean the White Stripes are a pretty good band, but I'll just use them as an example.
They have some good songs.
Yeah definitely, and I think they have a fairly original sound and everything but they actually did just kinda get a couple of big-name reviewers in England that really liked them and they really got a huge push in England first. Then by the time that started rolling, then they got a big management team and that's the way you get over in America. Yeah, I mean The Hives - they worked at it. They toured a lot in Europe. They made a really good record. I mean, I think that's a really fun record. And then some labels got behind them and pushed them. They had a look - that's also good if you have a shtick. Some sort of look or - and you know, they have a story over here. They're like a novelty. They're these guys from Sweden. And people are like, "What? Sweden? Isn't that ABBA?" Americans, you know. So when there's some sort of story behind it - look at, not to compare at all, but when I think of my favorite bands in high school, Husker Du and the Replacements - they got on major labels and they probably sold more records than we ever did, but they never got huge because they didn't have any kind of look. They didn't really have any kind of shtick. And they weren't centered in a media center - they weren't from L.A. or Chicago or New York or whatever, so you hit a glass ceiling. And you'd have to change your sound a hell of a lot. The Hives really worked hard on that record, and they wanted to come up with something a notch above in production and everything. And also, they live in Sweden. They don't have to work! They can pretty much tour all they want. When they go back home, they'll be fine. People are like, "Wow man, they'd better put another record out or people are gonna forget about `em!" And believe me, they're not worried about that. They don't care. Because they're fine! They have cradle-to-grave healthcare, they don't have to work when they get home, they get money from the government, they get money when they go on tour, so they were able to go around Europe and get some government support to pay for the van and everything else. And they can fuck off for a few years, and they should. They're in their - well, now they're in their later 20s or whatever. And it's different with American bands. When you go home, you got rent and shit to pay for. So with us, you either go for the whole thing and tour nine months a year or something like the Supersuckers, or you have to think about holding a job. There's a lot of little things, and I think it bores people. I think it's like people don't want to hear that. They wanna hear answers like, "Well, the Hives got big because they just are magical!"
Well, I don't know. People like - well, I shouldn't say "people" - I like to hear the truth.
Yeah, well -
Because I'm not in the music business. I don't know -
But I think even fans - We would tour and fans would ask us this stuff, and if you really try to explain it to them, it's almost like they don't wanna know. They want to think that the White Stripes somehow fell into a zeitgeist that was hanging in the air, and somehow the Gods clashed at the right time and the Sun and the Moon were in the - you know, they kinda want this feeling that there is some mystical thing - like the Strokes! I mean, people talk about them like - Spin wrote that, called them - and I've got nothing against the Strokes; I actually like that first record and I think the new one's okay. I think they're kinda boring live, but there are much worse bands. But when they came along, Spin was just writing about them like, in the record review section, they were like, "They're culture shifting. They shifted the culture." I mean, first of all they didn't shift the culture nearly as much as war or does or something, but it's like people want to think that they're this magical band that rose out of New York and suddenly everyone's enamored with them. I remember before they even had an album out, there was a full-color two-page article about them in Vanity Fair. Bands in general don't get in Vanity Fair, and rock bands especially don't get in Vanity Fair. And if they do, you just know it's connections! Well yeah, the guy's dad owns a modeling agency, they live in New York, they're trust fund kids - there you go. But people don't want to read that in articles. They don't want the title of an article to be "Connections Will Make You A Star!"
Because that's just too obvious, and people don't want to hear that. They want some sort of myth behind it that they can kinda latch onto and think that some five young guys somewhere have figured out a new formula. Again, nothing against those guys.
But that's just all - well, I don't know for Vanity Fair or not, but for Spin and Rolling Stone, it's just like the whole electronica thing five years ago and the grunge thing before that. They're really just trying to justify their own existence.
And you get these leftover editors who are in their 40s and 50s, who would desperately like to think that guitar music is still really, really important, and they don't want to have to keep writing about Limp Bizkit all the time. But the truth is you go into Middle America and most kids, white trash kids, are listening to Eminem and 50 Cent. And that's fine! They don't want to admit that though. They wanna think that there's gonna be some new hero. I have no problem with that, because most of my heroes never sold records in the first place. The Saints were never huge; they still aren't. The Dead Boys never were. The Ramones are well-known now, but they probably never sold more than around 500,000 copies a record.
You like the Ramones?
I LOVE the Ramones.
Ah great! Guess what? Guess - my, my, one of my uh - Yesterday I interviewed Tommy Ramone.
Oh, it was somethin' else.
Yeah, I couldn't believe that. It's like "Whooph!"
What was that for?
The same zine that you're gonna be in.
Yeah, but man, I couldn't believe it though. He's a Ramone!
Yeah! Yeah, yeah, exactly. Heh. We were just joking the other night. We were saying like, "If you don't like the Ramones, you're either (1) lying, (2) not American or (3) you just don't really like rock and roll in the first place." I don't know - just that they - I don't know.
But they never sold records. You're right.
Yeah, and it doesn't bother me that people are like, "Well, you see the Hives, and you guys could've been bigger." It's like well first of all, if the Hives don't get on the ball, they're gonna be seen as a novelty act, and money comes money goes. Nothing against them, but you know.
And also those bands - well, you can't say this about the - I guess you could actually. Even though they're not Limp Bizkit, they are basically the same as Limp Bizkit in the sense that people are only buying - the reason they're selling so many copies was because of word of mouth, and if people don't like the album they bought, they're not gonna buy another one. And they're gonna end up in the used bin.
Right, right. Yeah, yeah. And you just wonder how influential it's gonna be really. And that's the problem. I grew up as a total music fan, and most of my favorite bands never sold a lot of in their time. They were considered maybe later to be important - like Ryko reissued their record or something. That stuff never bothered me. And as a band, we always argued over this stuff. Not too fervently argued, but discussed the "Okay, what should we do now?" kinda stuff. And in that sense, we're very much a Midwestern band. We'd usually take it every six months at a time. We didn't have some grand plan. We didn't grow up in a media center where we saw all our friends' bands become really famous - "Oh, we're gonna become famous too!" Nobody became famous around here, so you just kinda have your band for fun. But what we would have had to have done to get to that next kind of level, we just - I mean, we were fans from when we were in high school and we were college DJs and everything else, and we saw too many bands fall prey to all this "Get a big manager, give him 25% of what you make, pretty soon there's arguments, pretty soon the manager quits, somebody gets sued, some lousy record contract that you spent $200,000 then the label never puts your record out so it's sitting on a shelf somewhere, and it took two years to do it and everybody forgot about your band by that time, and then you're arguing and somebody quits the band" - you know, all that shit that happens to bands. For every 300 bands like that, there's one Hives. Or one Strokes. So the things we would have to have done production-wise to our sound and personally to what we did career and business-wise or whatever. The things that we would have had to have done - I think it personally would have been futile. And I don't think we would have gotten all that much bigger. We would have had to say, "We gotta meet these people. We've gotta meet these managers." and all that shit. It just wasn't gonna happen, and that's fine. If it was important enough as a collective, and a couple of people in the band probably thought it was more important than other people, but if it was as important, then we would have all, when we signed up with Epitaph, we would have moved to L.A. or we would have moved to New York. And we would have tried to go for the brass ring kind of thing, but it was just not us.
But looking at it from the other side, you got a hell of a lot further than most bands in the world get.
Yeah, exactly. I'm really proud that - I mean, so many people, I mean just little like, well maybe not weekly as much anymore, but monthly at least, people will come up to me and just be like, "You know man, what you guys did is amazing. I can't even keep my band together for two weeks." And I'll tell people, "Well yeah, we went to Europe like 14 times." And they're like, "Oh my God! My parents never went to Europe once." So when I look at things like that, on those kinds of levels, we got to tour with most of our favorite bands of the day - Teengenerate and Devil Dogs and Didjits and Cowgirls, all kinds of great bands. And I think it's amazing.
What is that singer in the Didjits really like?
I personally always get along with him. I think he's really hilarious on stage and everything. But apparently he's hard to be in a band with. But personally, whenever we played with them or the Gaza Strippers, I got along with him fine. He's a little weird, but everybody in bands are a little weird.
So what do you think about - just to briefly mention your other ones to combat anyone who thinks you kinda did the same thing over and over - what would you say about Information Highway Revisited? What was going on?
Well, that one is probably too long. We all agree that we should have cut one or two songs off that record and just put out another single or something. And some of the songs, when we did them later, we cut out a verse or two, because we thought a couple of the songs were a little too long. But we really tried to - again, we went to, we could have gone to the same studio, but Mike, who recorded the first one, was living in Texas and said, "No, I got this good studio down here." So we went down there and we tried to get some weirder guitar sounds. Jim used this old pedal for a lot of his solos and overdubs that sounded kinda weird. I really worked on my lyrics a lot more. I think from the first album to the second album, the lyrics had gotten a lot better. And I just think we expanded it out a little more. We actually did record a couple kinda slower tunes around then; one made the record, a couple didn't. And we did some extra little things; had Andy from Devil Dogs play on harmonica, and we did some more handclaps and background vocal stuff. I tried to do more doubling of my vocals, which I really didn't do on the first record. With that one, we just wanted to learn more about the stuff that we could do.
When Destroy-Oh-Boy!!! came out, I was a DJ at my college, and it was really popular around our station. Was it like that nationally? Was it a big underground record?
I don't know.
Did it seem like it at the time? Were you getting a lot more people at shows than you were getting before?
We had a lot of press. We also had some friends who worked for Nasty Little Man, who was the same publicist that did the Beastie Boys and Smashing Pumpkins and shit like that at the time. And we had this friend who worked there that we just knew for years, and they kinda gave Crypt a deal and helped promote our record. So we'd see a few more reviews. But again, it's one of those kind of like "critic's darling" kinda thing. You hit a sort of glass ceiling. If you can get a lot of reviews, that's fine. And probably on college radio, but certainly to this day there's no commercial radio format that was gonna play that. Nowhere. But yeah, it seemed like we were getting a pretty good amount of press. We got a review in Spin magazine.
What'd they say? Did they like it?
Chuck Eddy reviewed it. Yeah, it was pretty funny actually. He compared it to Faster Pussycat and Mariah Carey, if I remember correctly.
Yeah, he's a fuckin' hilarious writer. And for a debut, any time you get some national magazine to review it, it's always kinda good. But no, I mean as far as once we actually toured, I can't say that - I think the Maximum Rock and Roll thing - at the time, they gave us a really great review of it, and I think especially on the west coast where people actually give a shit about that magazine, a lot of kids seemed to hear of us through that. Me growing up, I never really picked up Maximum Rock and Roll that much. It seemed to cover a lot of Britpunk and L.A. wannabe-Britpunk that I could care less about. Hardcore and stuff. But out there, that review definitely helped us a lot. I respected Yohannon and everything, and he wrote us a good review. So that seemed to help out on the west coast. Little things like that. God knows what would happen today. I don't know. It's amazing how things change pretty quickly. I don't know what would get you over the hump these days. And then being on Crypt - when we got to Europe, that helped a lot because Crypt had a bit of a name over there. Bands like Nine Pound Hammer were really popular over there, just on a touring level. Devil Dogs in Spain were actually playing on the radio and stuff. So by the time we got over there, it was like a good stamp of approval if you were on Crypt. The Blues Explosion were on Crypt at that time, the Gories were getting reissued on Crypt, and all that stuff within the kind of underground scene over in Europe was really popular, so yeah that kind of helped over there. And you definitely got a feeling - when we got to Europe, we were like, "Holy shit!" Hundreds upon hundreds of people coming to see us on our first tour! It was just amazing, and a lot of it was because we were on Crypt. A whole lot of it is because I think we made a good record or whatever, but..
When you look back, was there a point that seems like you were at your most popular? Or was it completely steady the whole way through?
It was fairly steady except maybe when we first signed to Epitaph, because there was still a little bit of the initial shit that was going on from Destroy-Oh-Boy!!! and the Crypt stuff - again, in Europe, where the Epitaph office seemed to have their shit together a little better. But when we got on Epitaph, there was that extra level of a little bit of promotion and especially distribution, and you'd get to shows and there'd be kids that would go to any Epitaph show just because you're on Epitaph. So there's another 10 to 40 people at every show who are there just because you're on Epitaph. And we actually had a video that was shown on MTV a few times. So I suppose right around then, when that first Epitaph record came out. I don't know actual sales numbers, but as far as just recognition and visibility go.
What would you say about that one? Scared Straight?
I like it. Of course most everybody in the band thinks that's the weakest one, but -
Because internally, if you were in the band at the time, we basically made that record as almost like a demo. We didn't know what label we were gonna be on at the time, and we just wanted to start recording something, just assuming that eventually someone was going to come along and give us some kind of deal. So we went in and started recording, and we really only had - usually every record, we have like 15 to 20, 25 songs to pick from, and then we do 12 or 14 songs on the record or whatever. And that one, we pretty much had those songs. We had maybe one or two extra songs. So from our vantage point, it felt like we didn't have a lot of songs to pick from. And I think there's maybe two songs on that record I would consider filler, and I don't think any of our other records have filler. I like all the songs on all our other records. And that record, there's maybe two songs that are kinda like, "Yeah, those are okay, but if we'd had more songs to pick from.." And then the mastering. Every record, you run into something new. And that record, we really learned how important mast - you know what? I'm sorry. Hang on a second.
(time stands still)
Okay. Again, this will sound technical and not very exciting, but the frustrating thing is that we went out to L.A. and Epitaph was like, "We'll master it where we do all the Epitaph records!" And we were like, "Fine! Whatever." Because basically when they picked it up, we thought they were gonna say, "Okay, yeah. This is good, but here's some money if you guys want to go re-record the whole thing." But they really liked it! They were like, "Oh yeah, this is great!" And we were like, "Okay!?" So we were like, "Yeah, we like it too," and they were like, "Yeah, this is great." And we really did actually work on it a lot. It was the first record where we were trying horns and a lot more piano stuff, and we really worked on it as far as that and as far as mixing it, and we had a really good time making it. But then we went out there, and they were like, "Yeah, we'll master it!" and we were like, "Okay." And we went to this cool old mastering room where they have this giant old analog mastering machine that was so cool, and we were like, "Oh, this is gonna rule." And we just sat there drinking, and he's like, "Does this sound good?" We're like, "Yeah, sure!" There were boxes of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon tapes sitting on the ground because it was mastered there.
Of course, I wanted to dump beer all over those.
Because I hate fuckin' Pink Floyd. But anyway.. So it was kind of interesting and funny just to be out in L.A. And later when we listened to it, it was like they mastered it kind of very high-end, which is a sort of slightly more commercial way to master. So commercially, it's probably our most accessible record, as far as like - drums are a little louder, vocals are a little bit louder, I mean for us. And the guitars were mastered to be kind of more in the middle, even though they're still loud or whatever. So overall it just sounds kinda weird to us, compared to what we heard when we mixed it. And again, there's maybe two songs that we were just like, "Ah, those are okay." We never really played them live or anything like that. So I like it. I think it's a good record. I have a lot of friends that it's like their favorite.
Yeah, I'm just reading through my page. I did mention when I reviewed it, "The guitar sound has been cleaned up."
".to match the cleanish heavy distortion you're likely to hear most punk bands use."
Yeah! It didn't really sound like that when we were recording it. Granted, we definitely wanted a little more big kinda louder sound.
Interesting. So they took what was originally kind of a trashy, garagey sound and made it sound so clean?
No, that's a little too easy. We were there; it's not like anybody remixed it for us. And we all said, "Yes."
I know, but when you actually recorded it though. It sounded rougher?
Well, yeah. The guitars were definitely a little crunchier. Because basically what mastering does is, besides evening out the volume on all the songs - because sometimes you listen back to your final mixed record and one song the whole thing will just be louder than another one, and you're not really sure why. So mastering kinda evens out the general volume level, but you can also separate high, medium and low ranges. And basically, most radio records have a lot of high and low end, and a lot of garage rock and trashy records have a lot of mid-range, and mid-range is where some of the vocals and a lot of the guitars are. So we always mastered things real mid-rangey and mixed `em that way too, so the guitars were real nasty and everything. And they just mastered a little more in the high-end, which tends to just sort of make the guitars a tiny bit buzzier. It wasn't our - I mean, it was nobody's fault. WE were sitting there, and it wasn't like they were the insidious evil label wringing their hands. We heard it, we said yes to it, and we wanted to have a bigger and maybe slightly more together, slightly - I wouldn't say "commercial" because otherwise we'd have pumped the vocals way the fuck up or whatever. But more just a little more together and a little more big, and sort of really different instruments - really try to mix everything a little less bleeding and things like that. But you'd be amazed, because it was probably the smallest, shittiest studio we ever recorded in. It was a tiny, tiny fucking little room up in a garage in Cleveland. But the guy who did it has been engineering forever and he usually does bands that are a little more - well, he does this band Cobra Verde, this Cleveland band. And we really liked how the Cobra Verde records were sounding, so we went with him. And yeah, it was very cheap to make. People would go, "Oh, your first Epitaph record. You probably spent like -" And it was like no, it cost us less than either of the first two records to make. It's just that we wanted to have a little bit slightly cleaner, slightly bigger sort of sound, and not quite as trashy, but definitely the mastering kinda just messed with that record. And mainly the songwriting, I think. I just think it was a little thin on a couple of the tunes. But it has some of my favorite songs. I love "Hammerless Nail" and I love "Telephone Numbrrr." I like a lot of the songs on there. We all like the record; it's not like we don't like it. But if we had to sit there and list them, I guess we'd probably put that one last.
Okay. And then the only one we haven't mentioned is At Rope's End.
I like At Rope's End a lot. Listening back, just like every band, you always think how we could mix that different, we could mix that different, but I really like that record a lot. I think it was really indicative of where we were at the time. We were all listening to a lot of old r'n'b records and soul records from the `60s and stuff. And those early Saints records. We were into more diversity, and really tried to have really different sounds but still a connection. I think it's a fairly trashy record. Some people don't notice that because there's all these different, for us, different tempos and different instruments and weird stuff going on. But when you listen to it, it's pretty fuckin' trashy.
It is! Yeah, I wrote - the first thing I said was, "The guitar seems messier again. Less bass, more white noise."
"Great punky energy kinda garage rock."
For us, we were really trying to stretch out, but really just do it. Just make a bigger record like that - a little more ambitious. Also, we wanted to record in a couple different studios. We wanted to get a lot of different sounds. We did part of it when we were on tour over in Sweden, and we did the rest here in Columbus. It was a little hard to make because it was at the tail end of dealing with Bill, our old drummer, who at the time was just really getting weird.
Well, kinda personal stuff. He just didn't seem as into it anymore. And it was this weird thing - when we recorded in Sweden, my voice felt really great. I mean it was as good as my voice ever felt while we were recording. But then Bill just seemed kinda tired. I don't usually criticize any of the musicians in the band, because it's not really my place. I don't care. I think they're all great players. But Matt and Jim were like, "Man, Bill's playing kinda lame. He's not really hitting as hard." We got some good takes, and it all came out fine. And then when we came back to Columbus, he was playing a little better and my throat felt fucked up. That was kinda weird. But Bill was just - he didn't seem into it anymore and he was being really hard during the mixing, like constantly bumping heads on stupid shit. It was like, "What the fuck? Let's just let this guy get it done." And there was a lot of stuff to mix. It was the first time we had a lot of stuff to mix. There were some songs that had like nine guitar tracks. We didn't use all nine, but ones to pick from, and we'd have like piano and a keyboard, and horns on this other one, and there was a girl background vocal on one, we wanted a lot more of that. So it's just a lot to mix, and here he was splitting hairs on stupid shit and wasting time and just kinda being weird. And that was around the time when he was showing up really late to practice or just a lot of weird shit that had never happened before. And he was always kinda hard to deal with with money. He was always complaining about money shit. Again, just a lot of personal shit and it was all just coming to a head. That's why we were kinda like at our rope's end, you know? We were really like, "Oh Jesus." But as far as actual recording of the record, it was pretty fun, and writing the songs was really fun because we decided to just open it up and not give a fuck and, "If we're sitting around listening to Wilson Pickett and doowop and also Exile on Main Street and fuckin' Geto Boys, well then fuck it. If we want to put in shit that we like about that kind of music, let's do it. Let's try at least."
I always found it really entertaining that when you did do a Stones cover, you picked one from Emotional Rescue ("Summer Romance").
What the hell is THAT!?
Well, the only reason was - there was this thing in town, a Stones-a-thon where they had 30 bands at this big theater place. 30 bands do one Stones song, and they just set up the equipment and they had 30 bands come in over a whole day. And they asked us to do it and we were like, "Well, a lot of the songs had already been taken," and "That's boring. I don't want to do `Satisfaction' or something." So we were like, "Let's pick something different." And it was getting down to crunch time and we hadn't figured anything out, so I'm like, "Well, this is easy. It's three chords." I was listening to that one day, and I like that - I like some of the songs on that record. It's produced kinda lame, but I like some of the songs.
Yeah, it's flat.
I listened to all the songs and said, "Well, we could do this song." I mean, I sat there and actually figured out the chords, and I'm like, "Fuck, if I can figure this out.." So we knocked it out one night, and it was really fun to play that song. It's more fun to do covers that are a little more obscure than doing "Jumpin' Jack Flash" or some shit. I love that song, but you know.. So yeah, At Rope's End was actually - All the records, I wouldn't say any of the records we had like a shitty time recording; we always had a good time. Maybe mixing, you get on each other's nerves and people are like, "Fuck this. I'm not just gonna be here for a little while." But actually recording was always just a lot of fun. It's probably my favorite part of being in a band.
What about touring?
Yeah, traveling and meeting people. Sometimes touring, for me - and I won't speak for the rest of the band - for me, it could be just kind of lonely and sort of tiring sometimes. The actual shows are fun. After-parties after the shows are fun. Getting to see things when you actually get a chance is fun obviously. You get to Paris, you get to go to the Eiffel Tower, it's great. But when you're four guys in a van for 12 hours at a clip over three or four weeks, it just gets to be a little strange sometimes.
What did you do with all that time?
Luckily, we're all members of NAMBLA, so we figured out how to entertain ourselves.
Oh yeah. Sounds good.
What did we do?
Did you do a lot of reading? Or just -
A lot of reading, a lot of - everybody made sure to try to make fun mix tapes before we hit the road, or mix CDs or whatever. And that was always fun like if somebody got a new record that nobody else heard yet or whatever. And that was cool. Matt always made really good mix tapes too. Really funny ones. And the guys in Europe - that was always great because we got along with our two friends who always went around with us there. Jean-Luc was the tour manager guy and Gilles handled all our t-shirts and those guys were always great to tour with. That stuff was fun, but sometimes when you're on the road for a while, it can get a little tiring and you start to - but no, overall I liked touring a lot. It was fun. But we were never like the Supersuckers or Nashville Pussy or some people who just wanna live on the road.
What was this thing? I was looking through a few interviews before I called you, just so I wouldn't ask stuff that people had already asked you a million times. What was this about somebody attacking you with a knife? Was that true? I don't know whether it was made up or not - that your fans attacked you with a knife?
Well, one guy in Houston picked up the microphone when I dropped it. It was like a flat- head microphone and he had it in his hand, and he punched me straight across the eye and I got knocked out for a second.
Yeah. By the time I came to, I opened my eyes and Jim and Matt were already on the ground pummeling the guy.
What the hell!?
Yeah. What happened was he was this big rockabilly dude up front, and I'm usually - over the years for all the shit I've done to people in the audience, I think I have a pretty good sixth sense for who is gonna beat the shit out of me and who wouldn't. So I picked the ones who wouldn't. And this guy was standing in front and he was one of these dudes that worked on his hair for a half hour before he got there. And I messed with his hair a little bit the third song in or something, and then the mic slipped out of my hand, and he grabbed me first and just slugged me across the face. And as I'm in the bathroom cleaning up - and then we actually did go back out and do six or seven more songs - but it was really bad. I was bleeding and Matt came in and he goes, "Man, they haven't kicked that guy out yet. They're kinda just hanging out talking to him at the bar." I was like, "Whatever." And we found out later that they did kick him out, but he was friends with the people who run the bar and he was this White Power guy that had just gotten out of jail the day before. And I was like, "Just my luck. The one time I mess with a guy's pompadour, it's a fuckin' White Power asshole." That was a little scary, and that was one of the times that was towards the end of the band when I was like, "Man, what am I doing this for? Do I really need to put up with this?" Because we were never trying to be like the Dwarves. I mean I love the Dwarves; they're hilarious. God bless `em for what they did. But we were never out to hurt people or anything. We were trying to get people involved. I always felt like the audience is part of the show, and everybody should feel like they're all at this big party kind of event. And that was just like, "Aw man, one of these days some drunk's gonna whiz a bottle and fuckin' knock out one of our eyes or something." And you start to think about stuff like that after you've been doing it for a while.
I'm assuming you probably didn't have medical insurance.
Oh, of course not. No no no. Shit, I didn't have medical insurance for like ten years or something. And that's when you start thinking like that, like, "Man, we've been doing this for a while and if I lose a fuckin' eye because of some drunk White Power guy.." So things like that make you think, but overall touring was always a lot of fun, and we always got a long. Occasional fights here and there, but we always got along pretty well and all had similar tastes - everything from what we wanted backstage to what we wanted to do after the show.
How long have you known the -
And meeting girls is always fun on tours.
Ooo! Lots of groupie action? Or just nice -
I wouldn't say "lots," but.. What were you gonna say before that?
How long have you known the guys?
Oh Jesus. I met Jim in 1987 when I came down here to Columbus to go to school. And then I met Matt probably in '88, and that's when I met Bill. Well, that might have been more like '89. But then we didn't really begin to play as a band until 1990. And then Sam, I've known since maybe around '93-'94. That's when I really kinda met Sam. And then he played in Gaunt for a little while. I knew him a little bit; I wasn't really close with him or anything. And when we needed a new drummer, he was available and he's a great drummer and everything. And he was great. He was really fun to tour with.
Do you think of all of them at this point as friends or co-workers or just guys you play -
Oh no! Friends definitely. That's what's cool. I think that's the key. If anybody ever asks me - not that I'm one to give advice, that's for sure - but if somebody were to ask me what's the key to getting a band going, I'm always like, "Try to form it with friends. Even if they've never picked up a guitar before. If they feel like picking up a guitar, I'd rather you play with somebody who can't play than just some schmucko you get out of a want ad or something." Because we tried that early on with a couple of people, and it's just not gonna work. I mean, sometimes it does, if you're real professionals and you write songs and you just want to hire guys to flesh out your songs or something, that's fine. But as a band, if you're gonna spend a lot of time together, then you're gonna have to have similar tastes in music and similar tastes in jokes and movies, and - you know, we all grew up around Cleveland - Sam didn't, but I mean he grew up in Ohio. We all have real similar kinda backgrounds, similar tastes and stuff, so that helps so you don't get the whole thing like fights in the van about what the hell's playing on the tape player or whatever. And those little things that kinda just go unnoticed, but we were all friends in the first place, so it's like -
So it must have been a drag then when your drummer started getting weird.
Yeah well, again it's personal. But there was - you also need a bit of tension. We all got along, but you need a little bit of things that you don't get along about, so there's a good balance there. With rock and roll and punk rock, you want a little bit of tension. If you were all just lovey-dovey, you'd be in Air Supply or Dashboard Confessional or something. So it's like you want a little bit of tension, and so there was just enough of that. Bill was always a little weird. He was always a little tight-assed when it came to money. But it was funny, and it was like - he would do shitty stuff like funny shit like practical jokes and stuff. And for the first few years that stuff was funny, but after years of knowing him, he would do something just really crude and stupid and you'd just be like, "Dude, that's not funny." So beyond going into any of that, he's a good guy. I wish him well.
Was he trying to be the Keith Moon sort?
Well, kind of. He was just weird. Without going into details, he was just a strange cat. He just seemed to wanna stick around to get a few more free trips to Europe. I seriously haven't talked to the guy since like early '99. But overall I can say he was a fuckin' hell of a drummer and he was great to have, he was a hilarious guy to be around, but the last few years, he was fuckin' up and he didn't wanna do encores and he wouldn't show up at practice, and that shit just had to end. But everybody had their own part in the sound, and I can't imagine the band any other way with anybody else in the band.
I don't know much about drumming; I play the guitar. Was Sam's style any different from his?
It was different as far as maybe he was - I think Bill was pretty self-taught. Sam was self-taught too, but I think Sam had some lessons. Sam is a really hard hitter - Bill's a really hard hitter too. Sam is a little more exact in a way. Not more professional or anything, but just really fuckin' exact. Whatever we want him to do, he can do. He can do any kind of music. That's how he's been in Columbus. He played for this grunge- style band, he played in Gaunt for a while. Now he's in this band called the Sun, who's actually on Warner Brothers, which is kind of a pop alternative rock kinda thing sort of. They're pretty good. Yeah, he can just do anything. Not terribly different from Bill within our band, but he was just better. And he was more into it. He was just a little bit younger than Bill, and he was just way more into it. He was really fun, and just easier to deal with. Again, I'm a singer; what do I know from fuckin' technique?
Had you sung with anyone before?
Yeah, a high school choir.
Did you really?
Yeah! I used to sing in a choir in high school.
Probably with a different style.
Yeah, slightly different. But no, they were the only band I've ever been in. It's the only band Jim's ever been in. Matt and Bill had been in a band together, and Matt was in some other band. And Matt also was in bands along the way too; he had a band in the early `90s for a little while that put out a few records.
They were called Belreve. They put out an EP and they put out a couple of singles.
Belreve. B-e-l-r-e-v-e. They were two girls and Matt, and he sang and played guitar. Pretty good - real distorted pop like New Zealand stuff or like a simpler My Bloody Valentine or something, I don't know. It was kinda stuff like that. But yeah, with Jim and I, it was mainly - I mean, Jim was in like kind of a party band in high school, but he really only started playing guitar in college when I met him. So he had only been playing for about a year when we formed as a band. A year or two.
Do you think anyone's singing style directly or indirectly or consciously or unconsciously affected, er, influenced you?
Yeah, because growing up I would just naturally would - when I sang along to records, I didn't really think about it this way, but I would just try to sound like the person that was singing. But in the end, I just and listened to a hell of a lot of Rolling Stones and Stooges and I guess Lou Reed, the way he kinda talk-sings a little bit. And of course Chris Bailey from the Saints is one of my big favorites. I love Joe Strummer's g-- I love - Goddamn it! Hold on a second.
(the galaxy explodes)
Hello? Ah, the drama that's being played out. That was my boss saying that she'd talked to the owner or something. Anyway, so basically all those favorites. But once I started singing, I just tried to do my own thing. I like Bob Mould's voice a lot. I love Paul Westerberg's. `Cause I like singers that are kind of a little raspier. But I also like the Dead Boys and the Pagans. Death of Samantha especially, that Cleveland band; I remember seeing them a lot in high school, but nobody ever knows who they are.
I've heard the name. I've never heard them though.
They put out some records on Homestead in the late `80s, and they're just fuckin' great. They're a weird sort of kinda punk rock version of Roxy Music or something. They're really bizarre. And this guy's voice - not that I sound anything like it - but he was just hilarious. So their attitude kinda influenced me. But once we started playing, it was like you gotta do what you gotta do, and it was basically a fast Iggy Pop or something.
Okay. Well, I've kept you for quite some time.
That's alright. I talk too much.
Man, you never shut up!
There's the title - yeah, there you go.
(reading Death of Samantha section on allmusic.com) Where The Women Wear The Glory?
And The Men Wear The Pants. That's their best record probably. You can find `em around -
Hey, wait a minute! "Laughing In The Face Of A Dead Man" sounds kind of uh -
Oh my goodness!
Strung Out On Jargon? You lousy ripoff. COME ALL YE FAITHLESS!? Wow.
They were great. John the singer used to rip off lyrics verbatim for songs and stick `em in, so I always thought that was funny when he would to that - kinda twist them around. So I tried to do that too.
Cleveland. When you were growing up, were you into the Indians?
Yeah, I kinda hated sports until about 8th or 9th grade because when you're growing up as a little anti- boy, you just hate hearing all that shit. Because everybody is telling you you're supposed to like `em. But then basically it was the Browns getting a little better in the early `80s that got me into sports. But now, yeah, I follow all the Cleveland teams. Not religiously, but enough. When you grow up in Cleveland, it's like Bruce Springsteen; you can say you don't like sports, but you do. You just kinda do.
Alrighty. I guess I can get something out of this 75 minutes. I don't know what, but definitely something about taking a whiz.
There we go - which I have to do right now actually!
Oh! Maybe you've got a small bladder!
I've been drinking a lot of water because I've been sick.
Oh, okay. Well, thank you so much. When I post this on my site, I'll email you. Then it's gonna be in print in that Citizine in I think a month.
Great. Yeah, definitely let me know. Definitely.
Alrighty. Thanks again!
Well, thank you! Very much.
I bookmarked your site after one of the Chrises on the Sonic Youth forum mentioned it.
I've read the Eric Davidson interview and appreciated it a lot.
Trying not to copy your style - which I like a lot - or I would have not bookmarked the thing in the first place.
I probably bought 5 issues on Maximum Rock'n'Roll in one of the 3 shops in Paris that were selling them among tons of fanzines, and felt the NBT would be interesting. They really were attracting attention around Destroy-Oh-Boy in Paris at least. And the Crypt thing was really important too. My favourite shop at the time was owned by a garage band. One member seemed to like the Devil Dogs a lot - their records were on the shelves for everyone to see. I was decided to see what the Blues Explosion was, and so on. Fellow students were on the same wavelength.
And I've spent nearly a month in Columbus, OH, too.
I really really liked the interview.
Have a nice day, and some good laughs at puns spawning in your mind.
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