Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Q&A with Orange

You’d be hard pressed to find a more apt title for Orange’s latest record.

After months of band turmoil, setbacks and uncertainty they decided to go with Phoenix.
The LA-based pop-punk band, originally signed to the Hellcat label when they were just teens, saw the band nearly dissolve a year and a half ago when guitarists Perry Ladish and Brendan Minded walked away from the group just days apart from each other.

Singer/bassist Joe Dexter and drummer Zak Glosserman thought about walking away as well or changing the name and starting a new group entirely. But having invested seven years in Orange, the duo decided to recast and soldier on.

The result is their most impressive album yet. Less juvenile than the first two releases, but equally catching, Phoenix finds the band in prime form.

Dexter spoke recently about the near demise of Orange, the group’s new lineup and living with Cystic Fibrosis.

I’ve got to say, I’m glad to hear you guys are still around. I really liked the first two records and then I kept reading about band members leaving, so assumed the band had fallen apart.

I’m so happy to be back. The lineup we have right now is just phenomenal!

Well, let’s start off with what happened. You’re still here obviously and your drummer is still here. Is everyone else new?

Yeah, everyone else is new. Kind of what happened was Jack (Berglund) decided to leave the band about a year and a half ago, maybe longer, and quickly after John (was no longer in Orange either. So it all fell apart rather quickly in the span of about two weeks. Me and Zak were like “this is awful.” We lost both of our guitar players and we lost Michael a year before that.

Was it for different reasons? Did they just want to do different things?

They just wanted to do different things. I know Jack wanted to start his own band and John, I just think he knew he wasn’t a right fit. He was more into a lot more of the emo/metal kind of stuff. It was not gelling. We were really scared that Orange was gone and it kind of felt like we were finished. It was such a depressing time and there was one point when I thought we’ve been working for seven years at that time, we got a record deal really early and I’m trying to make my third record here and we cannot give up. Essentially what happened was, I just gave all the best guitar players that we meet across America while on tour a call and asked them to join Orange and they said yes.
That’s pretty cool.
It was really kind of organic and it didn’t take much of an effort. We all practiced in the same room together and it felt big. It felt special.

So where did Perry (Ladish, guitar) and Brendan (Minded, guitar) come from? Were they already in LA?

No, actually Brendan still to this day lives in Vegas with his two kids and his wife and Perry lives in Rancho Penasquitos, but he comes to LA quite often. I met him at a Hellcat (Records) Christmas party about two years before Jack left. I gave them a call and they were both over the moon to be joining Orange.

What have you found that they’ve added to the band? Do they bring in different influences or a different sound?

Oh hell yeah. Well first off they are both really fantastic guitar players, which in the past I always felt we had on one really good guitar player in the band and that was Jack. Perry went to college for about two years to study guitar, so he knows all these crazy chords and really cool techniques and Brendan, the lead guitar player, is one of the most fantastic musicians anyone could ever meet. If you listen to the record, every single one of the solos is improvised. They definitely bring elements of more professional musicians.

It seems like you are a lot more confident lyrically and musically on the new album.

For sure, that’s what we were going for. I love the first records, but for me they felt somewhat juvenile and I knew consciously that we wanted to do something larger than life, something you can listen to in 30 years and still relate. And still I wanted a very diverse and colorful record.

When you were going through the other members leaving did you and Zak ever think, let’s just forget about this or let’s start a completely different band?

Yeah, there was a point when the two guys had left when we felt that it was somewhat finished and we thought about starting something completely new. But I thought we just can’t let this happen. I’ve worked on this since we were 12 years old and I’ll be damned if I let this opportunity slip through my fingers. We kept going and I’m really thankful that I did.

What else can you tell me about the new record?

For me, I think it’s the definitive Orange record. It’s got something for every single person. Not all the songs sound the same and lyrically I really challenged myself and also musically. I knew that I wanted to paint with more colors than just red and blue. We created a really colorful, bright, inspirational record. I hope it doesn’t sound like we’re bragging. I’m just very happy with it.

Did you take a little more time on this one?

We did. The thing is, I write every single day. Writing for me is just a non-stop process. But with the actual recording process, we had Gavin MacKillop produce this one. He’s beyond professional; he’s a really legit producer. We spent about two months recording the whole things for a really good budget and he really hooked us up. Having that extra time allowed us to create a really solid and polished record and I’m really thankful it’s all in tune this time.

Listening to it, I keep coming back to the first song (“Each Other”). What can you tell me about that one?

That song I wrote about living with having an illness like cystic fibrosis and also trying to deal with being a professional touring musician. It’s about life and mixing music with health – which comes first? It also brings in the element of relaying on your friends during hard times. It’s about my lifestyle and dealing with having a disease and being a professional, touring musician.
You can be in absolute prefect health and still get torn down from constant touring.

When you first started touring you were younger and I’m assuming you took full advantage of being out on the road. Do you find you take better care of yourself now on tour?

Absolutely. For the first couple of tours my dad went out with us because he was also our manager for years. He would look after me and it was a pretty good situation because he would look after all of the medical issues and I would kind of focus on having fun and putting on a good show. But nowadays, we’re a lot older, we’re on this tour alone and I’m taking care of myself completely and I’ve found I’m very on top of my game. I take really good care of myself. If I don’t, that jeopardizes the tour and the band. It’s a commitment.

I also found your choice of the Lou Reed cover (“Perfect Day”) on the record as interesting. Did you plan all along to record that song or was it added on at the end?

Yeah man, it was actually pretty random. We started recording the record and it was about three days into it and our producer Gavin turned around and said “Have you ever thought about covering a song”? We’d done that on our past record, so I reeled off a list of songs that I had in mind and he said “These are ok, but have you ever thought about covering ‘Perfect Day’”? There was just this energy surge in the room and Perry got up out of his chair and “Dude that would be amazing.” It was almost kind of meant to be. The idea just struck Gavin out of nowhere and as soon as he said it a light bulb went off.

It came off great and it’s also not an obvious choice.

Yeah, that’s why I was so happy about it. We really wanted to create a diverse record, not just another pop punk record, but one with elements of other genres.

Well, those are all the questions I had. Anything else you wanted to add?

Yeah, I don’t mind if the kids download our stuff for free or go and buy the record, I just want as many people as possible to just go and check this album out because I am just so proud of it. It’s the definitive Orange record. Whether you’re on old school fan or just getting into us, this is the Orange record to own.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chad Price Q&A

Chad Price has had a pretty impressive career so far. As front man for the pop-punk band All, he helped inspire a slew of teens to write three minute punk songs. He then took time to stand in the spotlight as singer for the equally influential alt country band Drag the River.

Price has just added another line to his growing resume: Solo singer/songwriter.

He took time recently to speak about going it alone, the future of Drag the River and why John Denver is responsible for punk rockers picking up acoustic guitars.

So why did it take so long for you to finally put out a solo record? How long have you been thinking about putting one out?

I never really thought about doing a solo record until the drag breakup, hiatus, whatever you want to call it. After that happened I suddenly had a lot of free time. I started playing shows by myself and writing new songs so I didn’t have to play Drag songs. Even after I had been playing solo and had all these new songs I still didn’t think about putting out a record until Virgil (Dickerson) from Suburban Home started courting me. I guess you could say, so from the time he talked to me about it to the time it came out wasn't long at all.

Is it more intimidating knowing that it is just you this time around and not a full band effort?

I guess the intimidating thing is playing live. After years of always having at least three other people onstage with me ,now if something goes wrong there's no one else to blame. But the freedom that comes with playing alone is well worth it and I am someone with an extreme case of stage fright.

So why are so many punk rockers drawn to very personal, acoustic records?

I guess the punkers are drawn to it, at least the ones I know, because that's what they grew up on. I mean, John Denver was always on the radio, Kris Kristofferson, other folks like that. For the young punks, I don’t know that they do like it. Another thing ,I guess, is that both styles are just very honest.

Do you ever miss plugging in and playing really loud, fast punk music?

I do not miss playing loud, fast music. I'm now doing what I've always wanted to do, but just took a long time to do it. Running around, singing or screaming as hard as I can is too much work for an old man… at least this old man.

Have you been able to play a lot of the songs off the new solo record live yet?

I've been playing a lot of solo shows around Colorado and Wyoming and I play only songs from my record. Drag just did a leg of the Revival Tour with Chuck Ragan and I got to play at least one each night, but I've been too busy lately to get out and start touring… but that is coming soon.

Are there any songs in particular that you are really proud of on Smile Sweet Face?

I'm proud of everything on the record. It came out almost exactly as I had planned. People might disagree but I think these are the strongest songs I've written so far.

So just how long have you been working on these songs?

I started writing these songs probably about two years ago and wrote the final one the day before I started recording… like "Going Away" is the oldest and "With Bleeding Wrists" just barely got written. I'm glad it did though.

So, I have to ask this one; do you see Drag the River recording again anytime soon?

I'm sure Drag will record again but not anytime soon. Me and Jon (Snodgrass) still have songs that were written for Drag but never got recorded. I imagine we'll try to do more collaborating on the new one but I'm in no hurry.

What else are you working on?

All I'm doing right now is some Drag touring and working on a solo tour.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Keep an eye out for the solo extravaganza… tour, that is.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mean Jeans open up

The Ramones may not have put out an album in the past 15 years, but their protégés may have just surfaced in Portland.

The Mean Jeans - with Jeans Wilder on drums/vocals, Billy Jeans on guitar/vocals and Jean Jeans on bass – play snotty, poppy punk rock in the vein of New York’s finest.

With their debut just out on Dirtnap, two of the three were kind enough to answer a few questions via e-mail recently.

BJ = Billy Jeans and JW = Jeans Wilder

How did the band first get together and why the move from D.C. to Portland?

JW: While recording some hot rap jams, we both realized our true calling was more Riverdales related. So while drinking those big Red Stripes from 7-11 on my front porch I told BJ to come over the next day and we would kick out the jams. He showed up, I sat at the drums, he blasted some chords out on the geetar, and we sang what became "Party Animal" on top of that. Then I was getting kicked out of my house and he was bored where we were at so..... Hello Portland.

BJ: Me and Jeans were chilling hard in his mom’s basement in late 2006, eating macaroni and
twerking on a miracle. We wrote a song called "Party Animal" that is actually on our new Dirtnap record. We were doing literally nothing with our crummy lives so we decided to write more party songs and move to Portland.

Portland obviously has a strong indie scene. How's the punk scene there?

BJ: We play pop punk music, which is not necessarily a common or respected practice in 2009. We don't seek out bands who have a similar sound to shred with, but as far as killer bands with killer vibes, Portland is righteous. White Fang, The Flip Tops, The Whines, Meth Teeth, Organized Sports, The Bugs, Therapists, Pure Country Gold - they are all totally different and they all totally wail.

JW: Don't forget Dooom Patrol. Gotta rep all the roommates' bands ya know. That’s how the Communists would do it. Equal rights for everybody, like Peter Tosh said (and he had an AK-47 guitar so you can't fuk wit dat).

What can you tell me about "Are You Serious"?

BJ: Are you serious? Have you ever been serious? Cuz I haven't. Are You Serious is a 90 MPH Astroglide Slip N' Slide through Keanu Reeves' butthole. To jam the record is to go toobin down the Slime Pipeline with Malibu the American Gladiator, a couple of beautiful babes and a case of 30 Stones; someone is bound to spew, but it'll be worth the ride. The songs are short and fast and mostly about partying.

JW: Yeah, what he said.

You guys obviously have an affinity for The Ramones. Do you have any musical inspirations that would surprise people?

BJ: Feargal Sharkey, Angry Youth Comix, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (the Hanna Barbera animated series), Keanu Reeves' band (Dogshit or somethin?).

JW: Billy Ocean, Eddy Grant, Men at Twerk, Men Without Jimmy Hats. Oh and Carl Sagan's the Cosmos (the music, the outfits, the eyebrows).

How did you end up on Dirtnap?

BJ: I was buying a Surf Punks record and Ken Dirtnap asked if we wanted to do a 7 inch. I said shit yea!

JW: Ken's wife made him sign us. Whha-pishhh (whip noise).

Do you plan to do much touring behind this record? Is it tough to find time to get away to tour?

JW: We will tour anywhere, anytime, anyplace, anyways, if somebody organizes it for us. As soon as I wake up early enough to catch the 3 pm deadline for passport renewal at the post office, then we're going to go to Vancouver, BC to play a rad pizza party. Now is the time to do it, before I start my residency at the Geneva Center for Butt Cancer. (The legendary GCBC's).

BJ: We struggle with getting our shoes off before bed and finding food, but tours are in the works. We have some good Portland and Seattle shows booked in December, a bunch with the Cowabunga Babes from Austin.

What's next for the band?

BJ: We are gonna make more party records. We are doing a cassette release with Gnar Tapes N Shit. We hope to do an animated series about the misadventures of three time traveling slackers.

JW: Working on an instructional video on how to party. Hard.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

As Tall As Lions Q&A

After a miserable experience recording their latest record – including three producers and a near breakup – followed by a tour fraught with van breakdowns and health problems, As Tall As Lions are finally on the right path.

The album You Can’t Take it With You turned out better than imagined and the tour with MuteMath still had some great moments.

While the thought of recording their next record still causes guitarist Saen Fitzgerald to shiver, he took the time to answer a few questions about the new record, finding their groove and seeing Kiss up close.

How was the tour with MuteMath?

The tour was a roller coaster of bad luck and great experiences. Our trailer broke down just shy of a million times, and Dan (Nigro), our lead singer, had to miss a good amount of shows due to doctor prescribed vocal rest. On top of that it was the longest stretch of tour we have ever done. There was no break in between MuteMath and the previous tour with Rx Bandits/Dredg. No matter how much you love your band mates, it's hard not to squabble when every moment of the day is spent with them. We definitely learned a lot. It wasn't all-bad though. I'd say our biggest and best shows were on that tour. Even the shows without Dan gave the boys and I the opportunity to be creative with our instrumental and improvisational sets. Not to mention MuteMath were some of the most talented, genuine guys I have had the pleasure to tour with.

You guys also played Voodoo Fest this year. How was that?

It was a trip. Just being in New Orleans on Halloween is enough reason for excitement. The only downside was playing in the morning after an overnight drive. We arrived at the show and immediately loaded onto the stage and played. I thought we were a mess, but looking out into the crowd made me realize the previous Friday night had made everyone that way. I did get to see KISS up close. I'm not a fan but everyone told me to check them out for their kitsch value. It was very funny. I heard they had four fire marshals onstage due to all the pyrotechnics. I spent the rest of the night on Bourbon St. and caught The Flaming Lips the next day. All in all it was a great time and I hope we get invited back next year.

What can you tell me about making You Can't Take it With You?

It was the hardest thing we ever had to do. Even the writing process became grueling. We tried to go about the whole thing in a different way, and like most things in life when you do that you make mistakes and learn along the way. It was just test after test and black cloud after black cloud. We caught the whole thing on camera and released it as a DVD to coincide with the record. We thought that fans would get more out of the album if they knew the story behind it.

You had a number of producers lined up to make this record. Why do you think it was harder to write/record this one?

Well we knew we wanted to make a different kind of record. We had done our previous EP and LP with our good friend and producer Mike Watts. We thought to achieve this new sound we would need to find someone different to push us out of our comfort zone. This led to an endless search for the "perfect" producer that lasted almost a year. We finally found a guy out in California, so we rented studio time and a house for us all to live in. We fell into negotiation issues that soured our relationship with said producer and he pulled out of the project a week before we were scheduled to record. We scattered to find another guy in California, and after a quick but thorough search we found who we thought was the best candidate. He had worked on some of our favorite records and had a unique style that excited us. After two weeks of tracking we were unsatisfied with the sonic quality of what he was achieving and unfortunately had to part ways. We were left in California with half the time and half the original budget to work with.

Who ended up producing the record?

A lovely man named Noah Shain. He saved the record, and in my mind, is the one responsible for its existence. He hustled and busted his ass; working all through the night to make sure everything got done. His attitude and work ethic was inspiring. After losing two producers in a row, we had a bad taste in our mouths. There was a very good chance that if we had gone with someone other than Noah, we wouldn't have gone through with making the album.

I read somewhere that the band almost broke up a few time working on this album. What do you think kept you from ultimately splitting up?

(Laughs) I have no idea. Maybe it was just the concept of the greater good. We had faith that what we were trying to accomplish was good, and that these problems were just temporary setbacks. Though, when the problems kept happening and happening, it really got to us. In order to stay together, there had to be a sense of camaraderie between us. We were soldiers in the mud, and we were just trying to keep our band alive. Looking back on it now I'm very proud of us. We went through a lot of shit and I'm surprised we came out of it, all limbs intact.

Is there a theme to the songs on this record?

There is a loose one, but I wouldn't consider it a concept record. We came up with the album title before writing most of the songs. Everything was underneath the general "you can't take it with you" umbrella. We thought that songs about making money, love and loss, and a lot the "human condition" lyrical content all fit together.

Despite all that you went through, are you pleased with how the album came out?

Very much so. I look at it as our selfish album. A lot of people were trying to freak us out by saying things like, "Your self-titled album was great and a lot of people loved it. You have to make sure whatever you do next is that much more successful or you're screwed." I don't subscribe to that line of thought. We have always made music for ourselves and are astounded when other people like it. I think we were much more conscious about trying to make a "successful" record during the self-titled sessions. We had conversations about trying to write these three-minute pop songs that were disguised in reverb and crazy drum patterns. I think we were trying to make up for dropping the ball on our first LP. I don't remember talking about anything when we made You Can't Take It With You. We did a lot of individual song writing this time around. Looking back, I feel like we were trying to impress each other and write songs we thought the other guys would be turned on by. That's probably why it's all over the place.

Do you have any dread thinking about the next record?

Yeah, in a lot of ways I do. It took us nine months to write and record the self-titled LP. After that we told each other we couldn't bear taking that long again. When it took us about a year to do this one, we were all very frustrated. I tried to convince the guys to record You Can't Take It With You by ourselves, but they thought a producer was needed. I think we are all on the level now. I guess we'll wait and see. I wouldn't be surprised if we wrote and recorded a self produced double album in a week or if we spent the next two years working on a follow up EP. If history teaches us anything, then it will probably be the latter.

What's next for the band?

We are releasing a 7" in the UK that we are all very excited about. It’s just a single for “Circles” with a few songs from You Can’t Take It With You, a song from As Tall As Lions, and a new B-side called “I Could Die Here.” We go over there in early December to support it, opening up for Frightened Rabbit in Scotland and Athlete in England. After that we are planning to head to Costa Rica in January to film a live DVD of us playing acoustic versions of our songs in various locations throughout the country. We will probably take February off and start a U.S. headline in either March or April.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Scarred Q&A

Anaheim CA’s The Scarred seems a little out of place in the current world of punk rock.
They play gritty street punk more reminiscent of bands like Stiff Little Fingers and The Briefs than of the Autotune dependent teens that seem to have stolen the punk banner. Even their look, Clash-inspired messaged work shirts and massive Mohawks draw stronger comparisons to the old scene than the skinny jeans wearing modern hair bands.

Scanning the band’s merch table for a neon t-shirt? You’re shit out of luck.
The Scarred, fronted and founded by guitarist/vocalist Justin Willits, is among the last of the breed: punk rockers that put music over money.

The band would have been forgiven for throwing the towel in years ago. In true DIY fashion, they put out their debut on their own label and followed it up with the fantastically-received No Solution on Punk Core Records. The band was mid tour when they got word that their label had imploded leaving them stranded in the middle of America.

Deep in debt and more than a little pissed, the band regrouped and decided to soldier on.
The result is At Half Mast, their strongest effort to date. Released on a new label, Basement Records, with a new line up, the band is currently playing a slew of shows in throughout California.

Willits was kind enough to take some questions recently about the band, crappy scenes and being a punk rock dad.

You mentioned you have a son. I have two little girls. Has being a father changed you and your wife at all?

A lot! I see the world from a completely different perspective now. It's funny how silly a lot of what I thought I was angry about in my life seems now. But it's also funny that I'm angry about a lot of new things. I want my kid to have a future. I don't want him to have the same problems I have. Being truly 100 percent responsible for another human life, and not just physically, but emotionally, completely changes you if you have the basic decency to stick around and try to make it work. A lot of people don't anymore. They're too selfish, self absorbed, and hollow. It takes a lot of selflessness to raise a kid.

Has it made you rethink anything you do with the band?

Nope. If anything it's what keeps me going. Not because it's ever made me a dime, but because it's what I do. We're the last gang in town man. I'm not going to bury my head in the sand yet so my son can grow up thinking I'm a quitter. So I have to exhaust every possible option and push forward as far as I can go. Then at that point worry about rethinking things, you know? I have a lot farther to push first before I give up. And not to prove something to him as much as prove something to myself. That's why I'm here. We have an all new lineup and a new sense of purpose now, and I feel more ready than ever. I'm ready to write and record a new album already.

Are you ready to take him on the road yet?

We've taken him to a few shows but get this: The bars will not let us have him there because he's not 21. Like he's going to have a drink or something! And we can't just leave him in the van with someone all night, or cold parking lots, and we can't afford hotels when we go out. So no, taking him is impossible. But when he's older I'll take him for sure.

Things have certainly changed between records, so how was the writing/recording process with the new record different than the last?

More than half of these songs were written to be on a follow up to “No Solution” that should have been recorded almost three years ago. But I'd say to anyone interested in the writing process to listen to the Lyrics closely, which will be up at TheScarred.com

Your last label shut down just as you were about to get to work on what would become “Half-Mast”. How did you guys react to the news?

We were in the middle of recording an album which had already been delayed a year with the baby and everything. So it literally killed all momentum for us. I don't remember feeling anything. Just numb. I still love the guys who run the label but it was definitely bad timing for us, yeah for sure. We were in so much debt at that point we could not afford to release a record on our own. And we were in debt because we were trying to promote “No Solution” and lay the groundwork for the next album. If someone goes balls out for us, we go balls out for them. And we toured HARD that year. I put 100,000 miles on my van in one year (2006)... That's like someone else's car's entire lifespan. So yeah, it sucked but what was worse than the news itself was realizing we were dead in the water.

How scary was that, knowing that you and your wife had a baby on the way and then your label shuts down?

Not for that reason no. Punk Core(Records) never paid us any money. People have this mistaken impression that any band that was on punk core made money. Yeah right! I don't know of anyone who got paid on Punk Core, but I know a lot of bands who owe Punk Core money, including us. We were upset and frustrated because we invested so much time with the impression that we'd do three albums, so when we found out there wouldn't be any more releases after only one album, it was like someone took the floor out from under us.

Is the song "Medicate Me" autobiographical at all?

One hundred percent.

Is it tough to find time to get away to tour?

Yeah, sort of. If people want us on tour than they need to help us by talking to their local promoters. Find out whose running shows and tell them who you want to see. Write a zine, promote the bands you like to other people, even if they aren't punk. Help your scene. Then you'll start to see bands touring a lot more again. In our case, I can't just leave my wife and kid at home to go play with myself. If I can see people want us to come play their towns then we'll be on the road in a heartbeat. But when everyone's letting their scene go to hell and they don't care about their own town, what the hell do I want to come to their town for, you know? When people care, even just a few people, it can make a huge difference! If just a few kids stopped being apathetic it can turn an entire town around.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Q&A with The Bomb

When Naked Raygun frontman Jeff Pezzati put together his post NR band The Bomb, he was undoubtedly under a massive amount of scrutiny.

Like a punk rock Paul McCartney moving on to Wings or Johnny Rotten starting PIL - comparisons to his beloved, and highly influential first band were inevitable.

The Bomb are clearly nobody's version of Wings.

For about a decade now the Chicago band, comprised of Pezzati, guitarist Jeff Dean (The Story So Far,Tomorrows Gone), bassist Pete Mittler and drummer Mike Soucy (both from The Methadones), have been churning out amazing punk rock. Their latest "Speed is Everything" may just be their best record yet in an already impressive career.

Guitarist Jeff Dean was kind enough to put up with a handful of questions about the new record, working with J Robbins and punk rock supergroups.

So you guys are in a number of different bands. Does that make The Bomb a supergroup? A side project? Or a full-fleged band?

I don't know if you would call us a "supergroup", but we are a full on band. (Jeff) Pezzati started the band in 1999, and with the exception of us taking a break for about a year,the band has been active since it started.

So do your other bands get jealous when you spend time with another group?

No way! We are all good friends, and I think we all manage our time wisely. I have a lot more time on my hands to work with than the other guys, so I'm able to play in more bands than everyone else, but there is never any jealousy or anything like that.

How did you get J. Robbins to record the album? What was he like to work with?

J has recorded our last two records, so when we were getting ready to record our previous record"Indecision"there was a lot of talk about who we wanted to do it. I've always been a fan of J's bands as well as his producing/recording. Pezzati and J have been friends since when NR (Naked Raygun) and GI (Government Issue) played shows together back in the 80's, so it just made sense to get him on board. I gave him a call and he was really into the idea. J. is hands down my favorite engineer I've ever recorded with! When we were recording "Indecision", all of us got along so well, and he could understand where we were coming from with ideas, etc. We just clicked. So, that is why J will be the only one to record our albums as long as we are a band. At this point, he almost feels like the 5th member! Ha, ha!

Who else is on the album?

This record was a real collaboration between all of us. I still write the majority of the music, with Pezzati writing most of thew lyrics. But, this time everyone in the band contributed,as did J. He wrote the music for one of the songs on the record. J also did back ups on a lot of the songs too. Dan Yemin (Paint it Black, Lifetime) did vocals on one of the songs,as did Bob Nanna (Braid).

How long did it take to record "Speed is Everything"?

We recorded all of the music and most of the vocals in about six days here in Chicago at a studio owned by my friend Andy Gerber called "Million Yen". Then about a month later, Pezzati and I flew out to Baltimore to mix it and add some additional vocals at J's studio "Magpie Cage" I think we were there for five days.

What's next for the band?

We are actually doing a East coast tour at the end of Oct. with it ending at "The Fest" in Gainesville. Then Pezzati and I are flying out to California to play two acoustic shows on Nov.21 and 22. Its a benefit that my friend Joe Nelson is putting together. We are playing with HR from the Bad Brains, Walter from Quicksand/Rival Schools, and a couple other people. Everyone is playing acoustic, plus its an art show as well. Should be a lot fun. After that, we are going to try and do a European tour in the spring, then maybe work on some new songs.

Anything else you want to add?

I guess that I hope people check out the new record "Speed is Everything". All of us are really proud of it, and if you are a fan of our band or Naked Raygun or whatever, I think you will enjoy it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Dear Hunter Video

The criminally-underrated band Dear Hunter are about to go on tour.

Here's a video update from the band.