Confinement Loaf Interviews Red Fang
Hey you’re with Confinement Loaf it is Thursday, May 12th and we’re lucky enough to be here in Spokane at the A Club with Portland heavy band Red Fang.
Would you guys mind introducing yourselves on tape so we get your voices down and tell us a little bit of what you guys do individually in the band.
David: I’m David and I play guitar, uh… I think that’s it.
Bryan: I’m Bryan, I also play guitar and sing some.
Aaron: I’m Aaron Beam from Red Fang. I play bass and I sing.
CL: Thanks for making time for us you guys. You’re just now kick off your headlining tour, you guys just had a CD release party April 30th for your new album Murder The Mountains. Very cool, out on Relapse, congratulations, very cool to be out on such a great label. It seems like they’re treating you pretty well so far. So, the beginning of a headlining tour. We’ve seen you open for bands three times. We’re really psyched to see you headline. Where is the rest of the tour going to take you since you’re starting here in Spokane?
B: Oh, maybe Aaron would be the guy to say to get specific locations but we’re basically caddy corner across the U.S. to the Southeast, Ohio, we’re going to play a festival out there called Rock On The Range and then make our way back up here. So, it’s all the way down as far as North Carolina and back in two and a half weeks.
A: We’re going to play Nashville. We go to New Orleans, so, we’re going here [Spokane] and then Billings, Montana then I think Omaha, Nebraska after Billings and then Memphis down to New Orleans, then Nashville and then we have to drop John off because I guess he is going to a wedding that I guess is a family thing that he has to do and then we head up to Cleveland. Cleveland? No, Columbus. Then back across – like up through Fargo and stuff like that. So, pretty far in not much time.
CL: Yeah, pretty intense! So, on your drive here today from Portland – long drive, what were your guys listening to today on your drive up? We had an hour and a half drive and we listened to Frank Zappa on our way up here.
A: We were just talking about Frank Zappa. I think that what they’re listening to is – John made a mix of some – there was some John Wayne on there, some, well, I don’t know. Have you heard of the band John Wayne? They have a record called Texas Funeral I think it is, that came out around mid-nineties or something. It’s sort of like a kind of, joke country record but it’s pretty good. Willie Nelson, Roger Miller – I’m trying to think of what all we listen to. It was all pretty –
D: We listened to the new Graveyard record. Hisingen Blues. I love it. I think it’s a great record though, but yeah, a lot of country and then Graveyard basically. [laughs]
CL: So you guys listen to a variety of music to keep you going on the road?
D: Yeah, yeah, all kinds of stuff from Roger Miller to Sabbath to whatever, y’know. All kinds of stuff. I love a lot of seventies jam – well, not jam bands, whatever – a lot of seventies rock, hard rock stuff and then a lot of metal and even like a lot of country and stuff, well, not a lot of country but some country. I like all kinds of stuff. Yeah, we all like all kinds of stuff.
CL: We’re volunteer DJs on college radio and we have the great responsibility of being able to play anything we want to play. Put yourself in our shoes: As members of Red Fang , if you were DJs and had that responsibility and you can play anything you want, where in your set list would you play Red Fang that is juxtaposed with what other bands? We play old/new music. Where would you place yourselves?
D: I don’t really know. You mean like how do we fit in the range of all music sort of thing? I don’t, yeah, I mean, we sort of, I mean, we definitely have some metal elements bust mostly hard rock, heavy rock. We get called stoner a lot – which I can kind of understand for some of the stuff anyway, and then some of it maybe is no so stoner. I mean it’s definitely – if there’s like a range from gentle music to metal of whatever, we’re right in the rock to metal area there. I don’t know but I mean, like, I’ll listen to my music just on my iTunes on just random, basically, its on shuffle all the time so I’ll have a country song right next to some R&B, and then some metal. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t mind that kind of jumbled up flow, sometimes. But yeah, I don’t know. I like that we’re not easy to pin. I mean, it’s obviously rock but we’re not a specific type of whatever y’know? We do a lot of different stuff so, yeah, I don’t know.
B: I think he did a darn good job answering that question. [chuckles] I mean, I think categorizing is really fun for interviewers, they’ll be like “Oh, categorize yourself” but certainly no one wants to be categorized. It’s the same if I asked you about your radio show: Like, “Oh, what kind of radio show do you do”? Then you say, “Oh, well we do all kinds of stuff” but what do you specifically do? What kind of show is it? “Well, its my taste” and so, when you’re asked about your own taste you don’t want to pigeon-hole yourself like “Ah, well, we’re terrific and that’s what we are!” Obviously that’s very subjective but yeah, we’re a hard rock band, I guess.
D: I mean, if you wanted to put a name on it I’d say hard rock or heavy rock. I don’t know. Something like that.
B: One of my favorite things I’ve gotten – I try not to read the reviews too much, but we’ve seen a lot of people comparing us to bands and trying to call us out like, “Oh, we know who you’re ripping off” or whatever. But my favorite type of that review is when they call you out and then say, “But that’s cool”. And that’s all I want, I mean, man, whatever. We’re not pretending to be the most original band in the world but we’re just playing music that we love. So, if it falls into the category of music that you love then we’re doing our job.
CL: The aim of our show is specifically to play brand new music that we think it’s important for people to hear but at the same token to juxtapose that music with much older music that we think has formed over time a certain style. A certain sound.
A: So you’ll play an old, cool genre and then play some of the modern bands and see the progression or whatever or the history of what maybe led to the newer music that you’re playing? I mean, if you just look at the bands we’ve covered I think that that’s probably the easiest place to start. Like we did – we’ve done covers of Dust song “Suicide” and we’ve done The Wipers, which is obviously a really important punk from Portland that there’s a lot of history there. We haven’t done a cover of a Dead Moon song yet which we should probably do. We did a Cherubs cover. We’ve done My Bloody Valentine and a band called No Talent who are from not Aberdeen but up near Aberdeen, Washington and another town near there that I always forget the name of. So that’s where I would kind of start, y’know sort of like dirty, heavy bands from the Northwest basically for the most part, or from Austin, Texas.
CL: Yeah, we’re not at all about genres or pigeonholing at all. We’re interested in people seeing the larger spectrum of lineage of heavy music. Beyond what is, I think, just a tool of marketing and Internet geeks who want to put labels on things to own it.
B: I agree. It’s like they’re Sabbath meets this. I always do it. I constantly do it.
D: It’s an easy way to get a general idea across to somebody, but yeah, I don’t think of my own music that way. I mean I don’t really think “Oh I’m going to write a song that’s like KISS and the Melvins” or whatever. I don’t do that –
B: You don’t have those little pots boiling where you take like one scoop of Queens of the Stone Age and two scoops of the Foo Fighters and a dash of Led Zeppelin – little bit of Met – early Metallica in there. You don’t really do that. That’s not what people – they’re not thinking that when they write music but –
D: I mean we’ve all grown up listening to different types of music and so yeah, I think you were about to say that, that is what makes us who we are personality wise and musically. So when we write songs all of that history of what we’ve listened to comes out in our writing.
CL: And as a DJ, the history of all that I’ve listened to comes out in my set list at the same token. For example, I would play the new Kylesa album with Hawkwind and Blue Cheer. Y’know, I’m not interested in playing peers together or grouping that but really getting people to hear something and build on that.
B: When it comes to listening to music, yeah, it shouldn’t be like “Oh you guys are buddies”? Cuz I’ve got bands – buddies of mine that don’t meet our bands, not so much together in a playlist but, yeah, when you’re maybe putting together music it makes sense to be like “This goes with this”. It’s like cooking, I guess. I mean, I do a lot of mix – playlists at my work y’know, I just put together things that sort of work together and I yeah, I mean if someone’s going to sit down and chill out and put on your station, like you were saying R&B to black metal or something you can do that but not a lot of people can. I mean, if you’re putting together a show you need a theme like rock to hard rock or reggae to dub or something like that. Just maybe more pleasant for people to sit through, especially if they’re stoned or something.
CL: We are underwritten by the head shop in our college town so yeah, we get credit for that at least [laughs]. So, you guys gave that question quite a bit of consideration. Have you ever been DJs on the radio, college radio or whatever. Is that something that you’d like to do ever, just for fun?
D: Yeah, I like making – I mean about the closest I’ve ever come to that is making mixes for people. Like, mix tapes. We used to have mix tape parties actually in the house and everybody brings a tape and then you just swap tapes around or whatever. So mixes is probably the closest I probably get to actual DJing. I’ve never really do that but, uh, yeah sure, I’d love to do that. Oh! Actually, we did do that! We guest DJ’ed with Hannah at KEXP in Seattle. We got to pick out some songs and I don’t if we actually got to say “Hey, blah blah blah, this is so and so” but we picked out a bunch of songs for her show one time, yeah. I forgot about that.
B: We almost totally failed too because we didn’t realize it was an all-Northwest music. We picked out all this stuff from all over the planet and then ten minutes before airing she’s like, “Um, these guys aren’t from the Northwest” and we were like “Ooooh” so we had to do a mad dash but we didn’t do such a bad job. It’s a lot of pressure being on the air.
Loud knocking followed by someone entering the room
CL: Would you like to say hello?
S: Uh, yeah [laughs]. Hello!
CL: Would you please state your name and rank?
S: I’m John. I’m a private in the Red Fang army.
J: I’m, uh, I’m the guy in the back behind the curtain.
CL: The guy that sits down on the job?
J: Yes. I get to sit down. Total secretary ass from it.
CL: So did any of you guys listen to college radio when you were growing up or how did you get turned on to discovering music that you say made you into who you are today?
A: Yeah, I definitely listened to college radio. I grew up in, well, I grew up in Iowa City but really, Ft. Collins, Colorado is really – I moved there when I was twelve so the college radio station I listened to there constantly was – I heard a lot of great stuff. I can’t remember now because it was twenty years ago but one thing that actually sticks out which is kind of funny because I’m not a huge fan of theirs but I was not that into that band Radiohead but it was when they were first starting out, their first record came out and that guy was, whatever, in the Colorado State University radio station and did their song acoustic and I thought it was totally amazing and then I understood why people loved Radiohead but I still y’know, I still don’t like their rec- well, I have some of their records but I don’t ever listen to them, but uh, yeah, so college radio is definitely important. I, uh, oh, actually, I remember hearing the first – the first time I ever heard that Outkast record was on college radio so –
A: Outkast. But yeah, college radio is super important and mostly what I listen too ‘cause I hated radio in high school except for college radio.
J: Yeah, college radio stations in my town were the best radio stations when I was in high school. 88.1 WKNC in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a college station, yeah, NCSU. It was mostly metal when I was growing up so it was awesome. At midnight they had, well, from like 11-2am was “Chainsaw Rock” and at midnight it was “The Witching Hour” and they played seriously scary death metal that I was super into back then, but scary shit and the hosts, y’know, the on-air personalities would talk in the death metal voices like “Awhlrighttttt…That last song was Obituaryyy” and it was awesome and I loved it. It turned me on to a ton of awesome shit.
CL: [To David] Same story?
D: Yeah, basically because we were from Raleigh, North Carolina so I remember hearing that ‘cause I remember being like, “What? Metal on the radio?” You never heard metal on the radio so yeah, that was awesome. I don’t remember, maybe this was a college thing but I remember when I was really young, like, going to the grocery store with my mom and sitting in the car and hearing something on the radio and just staying in the car to just listen to it. I think I remember hearing like a Cars song or Gary Numan in Cars song or something like that and I was like – it was like it just sucked me in and I couldn’t get out of the car. I had to hear the rest of the song. But yeah, college radio, for sure I was into it because I think I definitely went through a time where I was like, maybe a little too consciously against mainstream for a while. I was like “That’s just boring and everybody’s doing that. I want something weird and different”, so college radio always had that which I think is awesome. They don’t mind playing whatever all kinds of weird shit. Another great college station at UNC Chapel Hill, I guess it was WUNC I think and they played all kinds of awesome stuff. It was a great station.
CL: [To Bryan] Did you grow up listening to college radio?
B: Um, well, hard rock music – I guess my brother got me turned onto that but I was into music when I was a kid, playing various instruments, piano, stuff like that but I guess when I was in high school and early twenties I guess I listened to – I was more into a few specific radio shows that I would tune into. They were always in the middle of the ass crack of Tuesday but they were shows that I really enjoyed and I followed. I learned a lot about underground punk rock and heavy metal from that but in general, in Tucson, the radio was a lot more geared toward Grateful Dead and Bob Marley – stuff like that so it was –
CL: What year are we talking?
B: Late eighties –
J: 2000s. . .
B: [laughs] Yeah, late eighties, early nineties. It was very hippy and Tucson remains very, y’know, you’ve got two sticks and you’ve got a third stick now you’ve burned you’re whole afternoon kind of place. There’s not whole lot of hard rock so you had to find it elsewhere but there were a few radio shows that were stand outs that were really good and I did listen to them and bought records. I called on several occasions being like “Dude, who was that band?” and I would go out the next day to the local record store and buy it. It definitely – it helped me with my musical education for sure and I’m glad its there.
CL: You mentioned records. Do you still buy records? Were all of you into records? Are you still – and I know both of your albums are out, available on vinyl so is that also important to you as a band?
D: Uh, yeah, I – back to the “Where did I first hear music?” A lot of music that I first heard was from my mom. She had a pretty awesome record collection, like when I was like six years old or whatever, whenever I could actually first start remembering music and stuff I heard like Beatles and Neil Young and Sly & The Family Stone and David Bowie and all that kind of stuff and then I remember my uncle giving me a crate of records that had like Grand Funk and Black Sabbath and just all kinds of the cool stuff and I love old records. I have a lot of vinyl still. Although to be honest – and I still have the same record player, that’s a Marantz actually, turntable that I’ve had since I was eight years old and its still going strong. But, to be honest, I don’t use it very much any more because its way easier to just bring something up on iTunes and I have recorded vinyl to my computer, like especially a few things like the first five ZZ Top albums, when they released those on CD they remastered it and I think it sounds terrible. So the vinyl, to me, sounds way better than the remastered versions that they released on CD. But yeah, records are totally important. Another thing about records that you don’t get with just digital music – I remember just sitting and staring at the albums covers while I was listening to the things, y’know I would – I remember, one of the very first records I ever got was KISS: Alive and I remember just staring at that, just looking at it and being like, “Wow” and you don’t really get that – I mean you kind of get it with CDs but now with digital, y’know, there’s pictures and stuff but its just not the same as the physical thing and plus vinyl just sounds awesome I think. So, yeah, I think vinyl is still important, although, I guess if – yeah, its just way easier to do it digitally and I do that too because it’s tiny and you can carry it in your pocket now. It’s nice but its not exactly the same experience.
CL: You mention album covers and a KISS cover that blew you away when you were a kid. Could you talk about the cover to your new album Murder The Mountains. A little, background or history on that and maybe the title?
D: Yeah, um, the artwork – we weren’t really sure what we wanted to do and actually the artwork is done by this guy Orion Landau. He’s Relapse’s art director I guess. He did the cover art and we didn’t really know what we wanted and then John found this title sequence from some old – like a sixties sci-fi movie that had this sort of water colory – something he found on YouTube, the title sequence to some old movie. I don’t remember what it was called. I think it was like a sci-fi movie but anyway, he send that to Orion and Orion’s like “Ah, this is great!” and so it’s semi-inspired by the movie titles from sixties sci-fi thing. The title itself is actually a song, an older Red Fang song that’s not on the album, but there is a song called “Murder The Mountains” that we still play sometimes but anyway, its not on the record and we were just trying to come up with like, what’s a good title for this? Y’know, we really didn’t have – it’s not the al – it’s not like a concept album or a theme album, its just, y’know, this is the batch of songs that we are working on now and I mean, there is sort of a mix of stuff. As far as what it means, I’ll leave that up to people’s imaginations ‘cause it means all kinds of things. I don’t know it’s not like – there’s not sort of a specific thing that we’re trying to – there’s not a specific message that we’re trying to say with that, y’know, whatever it means to you, I think its probably more interesting than whatever I can say about it so, yeah.
CL: Do you have any feeling about records, I mean do you share Dave’s view in terms of really growing up with that?
A: I think he did a – I was admiring David’s response to that because it’s pretty much exactly what I would have said as far as my relationship with records growing up and also the transition I’ve taken – I mean, I still – I don’t necessarily buy a lot of records, I don’t really even buy a lot of music at all because mostly people just hand you stuff now. I mean, when you’re on tour bands are handing you their records all the time and also, Relapse gives us free stuff from their, all of their current releases, they’ll give us stock of that stuff. But yeah, I pretty much had the same relationship for vinyl that David did and I also went through the same transition of its just so much easier to do it all on the – y’know, you can carry your entire record collection on a thing this big and so it definitely suffers. The sound quality just isn’t as good – it can’t be. The fidelity might be higher but there’s something about the way the record sounds with the compression of vinyl that just makes it sound so much more awesome. I mean, you go through the same thing with the transition from recording to tape and then recording digitally. Recording on tape just sounds better because it limits what your taking it but it actually ends up making the overall quality better.
CL: Very cool. Speaking of recording on tape, any feelings on the matter?
B: Vinyl Records. They are awesome. Although, I’ll tell you, I was mentioning that I grew up in Tucson and I still have a majority of my records from high school but many of them are like a roller coaster ride for the needle so it’s kind of a bummer. I mean, some of my records, when I hear the song play straight through it disturbs me because I’m so used to the skips being where they are so when I hear the full vocal I’m like, “Blech!” It makes me feel ill the same way that someone might feel when they hear a skip so, I don’t know. There’s a limitation to that. I mean, there’s a limitation to every medium but that one seems like its got a pretty good Achilles’ Heel if you come from the desert. So you have to be really meticulous and I’m not really a meticulous guy so its probably not the format for me but yeah, I love the fact – I mean its just something that you can keep and you feel like I have that record and you can say that and not like you have it in a digital – you don’t have ones and zeroes on a little robot, you have the record and its like these lumps that represent, y’know that the needle goes over and represents your music and its sounds a lot more – warmer and organic and if you scratch it, y’know, it can still be played, it’s not like CDs where its just ruined, like it skips and its just ruined, but I still listen to those destroyed records so, I don’t know. I mean, I love records but you have to be of a certain mindset to keep those safe I guess. I guess digital is safer for me.
CL: It’s great to be on a label like Relapse so you must be getting an awful lot of shows, a lot of things happening. It looks like you have a busy summer coming up starting off this tour but then in July you guys are part of the Mayhem Festival with Godsmack, Disturbed, Megadeth – that looks like an intensive schedule. I think I saw – it seems like something like 26 shows in 32 days or something like that?
A: Yeah, and we’re actually play fill dates in between a lot of those with the bands that are on the side stage, well, one of the bands Unearth that we’re sharing a bus with, Suicide Silence and All Shall Perish or something. I don’t remember but yeah, its going to be kind of intense. This is like two weeks or something and then we’re back for one and a half days and then we go to Europe for basically four weeks and then we’re back for a week and a half and then we leave on that Mayhem things for – I think its going to end up being about six and a half weeks with rehearsal time so it’s kind of crazy but we’ve done even longer, I mean, we haven’t done that much all in a row but we’ve done longer tours than the Mayhem. We did a tour, actually last time we played Spokane we were on tour with The Champs, The Fucking Champs. Can I say that?
CL: You just did.
A: I guess so! And then we ended up maybe a couple shows, I think we cancelled a couple shows or they got canceled or whatever but originally it was like 45 show in 47 days and it ended up being 43 shows in 47 days or something so that was pretty intense but I think that our surroundings will be a little bit more plush on Mayhem – it probably won’t be too bad.
CL: You mean that you’ll have a bus?
Aaron: Yeah, exactly. I think it might still be kind of intense. There’s going to be twelve of us all crammed into that space and seven people we’ve never met before who are going to be on that bus with us so it’s not going to be easy but at least we won’t have to be doing the driving. We can sleep. Anyone can sleep anytime they want to – provided they can filter out all the partying noise [laughs] of which I am sure there will be a lot.
CL: It seems like this tour is going to expose you guys to a varied audience.
A: You mean 15 year olds? Is that what you’re saying? [laughs]
CL: And their parents?
A Yeah, and maybe their parents. I think that’s true.
CL: Megadeth is playing.
A: That’s true. Megadeth has been one of those bands that I’ve been listening to since I was 15 years old so, I mean I love Peace Sells, I loved So Far, So Good, So What? and I was sort of not into them once Rust In Peace came out but I know a lot of people love that album as well and I like parts of it so I’m excited to be on tour with them. Although I’m sure that we’ll never even meet them and if we do it will be super weird but it’s still pretty cool.
CL: Are there bands – you guys have played with so many bands – Are there bands, yet, that you would like to play with?
B: Sure, yeah, lots of bands. Soundgarden, uh, AC/DC, Black Sabbath -
D: Tom Petty, yeah, I mean if we could have the dream world it would be Black Sabbath and Willie Nelson and y’know –
B: Neil Young, Devo –
A: Get The Chairs back together, throw The Jesus Lizard in there, Fugazi
B: I’d love to tour with Big Black, y’know?
D: But yeah, that’s probably not going to happen.
A: I mean, we’ve played with them already but I’d like to play with the Melvins again. That’s always fun. Who else? I don’t know
D: Actually I think – I would like to go to Japan or somewhere overseas with The Melvins. I think that would be pretty awesome tour. I think that could be great with those guys.
B: That would be pretty fun. Did you guys have a chance to see that show last September? I wasn’t able to. I know that John went. Did you guys go to that – yeah, Bryan was working. I was out of town or something and I couldn’t go that night. So, no, unfortunately I missed it. Oh well. We’re actually playing the same festival as they are in Calgary at the end of June so we will see them up there.
CL: Very cool. We had a chance to catch that show when they came to Portland. So, playing for this crowd for Mayhem Festival is going to be a lot of people that don’t necessarily listen to Red Fang or bands that you would normally play with. Have you – how often do you- every time we see you which is three times before, the crowd is so receptive. Y’know, they’re really stoked to see you guys play. You have a big fan base in Seattle and Portland really. How often do you play to a less than receptive crowd and when you do, how do you deal with that?
A: Its sort of difficult to answer because I feel like we’ve played to crowds that don’t do very much while you’re playing but afterwards they’ll come and say “Oh, that was amazing! The best show I’ve seen all year or whatever.” I mean, I’m not saying – no one has actually said that to me but we get people responding positively after we play but sometimes they are standing still while we play and I mean the thing is, we started out, the first tour we did we played shows to the other band we were touring with and two people and so we’ve always made a point of playing the same show whether its to 4 people or 400 people. So, it really helps to have the audience giving us something back but we basically want it to imperceptible, y’know, our show really shouldn’t change depending on who we are playing to and what kind of reaction we’re getting. We may feel different about it but you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a show where an audience is doing a really good job or where they aren’t doing a good job. So, it doesn’t really – I mean sometimes it makes us – sometimes we have to go off in private and cry to ourselves but generally it just doesn’t effect us that much. We try to be professional.
D: Yeah, just try to whatever the situation. We try to put on the best show we can whether there’s a few people there or a lot of people there, but yeah, mostly even if a crowd hasn’t heard us, like I think we were worried about this when we did that tour with Clutch. We didn’t know how we would be received but the Clutch crowd but we won them over I feel like. It just worked. I don’t know. But we weren’t sure. I mean, we were like “Are they going to like us? Are they going to hate us?” So yeah, we just did our thing and it worked good so, I think we just do what we do and people hopefully like it. Usually they do it seems like.
A: Yeah, I think it helps, I mean, you can tell that we’re – you can see on our faces that we’re not the youngest men in the world and we’re beyond the stage of really caring as much about how we’re perceived so its not as important to be accepted so we just do what we like to do and as long as we’re having fun and enjoying what were doing, that is the most important thing and I think that it’s not an intentional thing and its just something that I’ve noticed that, that sort of helps people relate to us better because we’re not posturing or putting on some show or being – its just us up there and if they don’t like it, they don’t talk to us afterwards.
B: I want to reiterate. The only thing that I want to add to your comments is that its true. Red Fang is judging the performance of the audiences on a daily basis so don’t blow it because this is like your one chance. You might not get to perform for us again.
A: We’re doing the same thing every night so its really the audience that’s different every night. You gotta perform. We take notes too. Copious notes.
CL: You guys were in other bands, all of you before Red Fang and I’m sure you had a chance to deal with all these issues as younger musicians as well and when did you – any of you start playing music, I mean, when did you start playing and instrument or become interested in wanting to do that and why?
A: I don’t know why I wanted to start playing music but I was eight years old and all of my friends were forced to take piano lessons and hated it but for some reason I begged my parents to sign me up for piano lessons so the first thing I did was play piano starting when I was eight years old. I don’t know why.
CL: Did you hate it?
A: No, I loved it. I didn’t practice very much but I really liked – I loved – one of the first pieces of music that I really liked a lot was Mozart. I mean, I liked KISS as a little kid, like a kindergartner and then by the time I was in elementary school I liked Hall & Oates, Twisted Sister, not Bruce Springsteen but Rick Springfield and Mozart. Those are my favorite artists when I was in elementary school. I was really into Mozart and I wanted to be able to play piano and whatever so I didn’t practice but I really liked doing it. So, that was my start.
D: I guess I started playing music with encouragement from my mom. She, I don’t know, we always had a guitar and me and my little brother would always play. I guess I was always just around music. There was always music playing when I was a kid and there was always a guitar around, an acoustic guitar that I would always sort of bang on. I wasn’t very good at it and my little brother, he got pretty good at it and he sort of taught me I think. I learned probably actually how to play from my little brother. But yeah, there was always music around at my house and also a guitar so –
B: Uh, yeah, piano. Started playing piano when I was younger and then I played trumpet in elementary school and junior high. Then I decided that wasn’t cool so I started playing guitar because it wouldn’t get any chicks and then I realized that guitar wouldn’t get you chicks either but I don’t know, I guess I did it out of habit. It gave me something to do. It’s better than chewing my nails.
CL: So we know that playing guitar won’t get you chicks either so, tell us, do you have any advice for any young people who may want to start a band. Maybe they have lots of drive but limited resources. How did you guys first start?
B: I just started playing music with friends and I had no goals and I just kept doing it and I think that I just kept going through different groups of different friends until we got to the point where we felt serious enough about it that we started travelling but I guess the real advice for someone who is wanting to start a band and they want it to be their thing is to make sure that you get along with the people – I mean that matters a lot more than whether you get along musically because the music will happen. If you get along personally with the people in your group then its an extension of your communication with each other so if you end up saying “Uh, that guys an asshole but man can he play guitar” well, he may play guitar great and he might be able to play some crazy solos but you’re never going to jive with him because if you disagree with someone on a personal level its going to show in the music. Plus, getting in a van with somebody for six weeks that you don’t like – you better be damned sure that you like somebody in a band because we’re all learning now its like – we’re seeing more of each other than we’ve seen our girlfriends, friends or wives and kids. I mean we’re leaving it behind for long periods of time so if you’re going to start playing in a band you better be damned sure that it’s the right people because you might just end up doing well enough to be stuck with those people which is what I’m learning right now. DAMNIT! [laughs]
D: I would say that my advice is do what you love to do. I mean, you really can’t come at it like “Oh, I’m going to be a rock star! I’m gonna make a million bucks” or whatever. It doesn’t really happen like that. You just have to love it and if you want to do then do it but don’t do it – I mean, whatever, do it for whatever reasons you want but to me, you have to love playing music to get anything out of it. If you’re doing it for reasons like wanting to be on the radio or because you want to be on MTV or whatever – and maybe it’ll happen but that’s not the way I would do it. I would say if you really love music keep on doing it.
CL: Any advice Aaron?
A: Uh. . . Stay off drugs. Or stay on drugs. Whatever. I don’t know. I’m not too good at the advice business and mostly kids don’t listen to advice anyways so – whatever they want. I mean the only think I would say, which no one will listen to is – because people just do what they are going to do anyways, is that if you really like it then just keep doing it. Like we’ve all been playing music for twenty some years and I didn’t even go on my first tour until I was like 32 or something and I’m really happy that I didn’t ever give up because none of this would be happening now and I wouldn’t be – I wouldn’t have met these guys and been stuck in a van with them instead of being home with my wife and kid for the next – [laughs] but yeah to echo what Bryan is saying is that it is important to play with people you like, and that you can get along with and can stand to be in the van with for that length of time because ultimately its not worth stabbing each other over a band. Don’t listen to what old people say.
CL: We just wanted to thank you for taking time before your show tonight to talk with us. Any last words?
B: Keep on rockin’ the free world.