Confinement Loaf Interviews The Accüsed
Confinement Loaf: We are in a vacant lot in Spokane, WA and we are very happy to be with members of The Accused. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and tell us what you do for the band, for better or for worse.
Tommy Niemeyer: Hello ladies and gentlemen, my name is Tom Niemeyer, I play guitar for The Accused. This is my friend, the next guy.
Aaron Slip: Aaron Slip. I play bass guitar for The Accused.
Warren Pease: I’m Warren Pease, I play drums for The Accused.
Tommy: Excuse me, that name again? Warren Pease? You’re kidding me right? That’s your god given name? Could I see some i.d. sir? Well ladies and gentlemen he just produced i.d., I saw it, Warren Pease on drums for The Accused. I can’t believe it, amazing!
Kevin Cochneuer: Hi. We met previously before. I’m Kevin Cochneuer front man for The Accused.
Tommy: Kevin Cochneuer? Cochneuer? Is that your real last name sir? Does that have something to do with the beverage…or…? It’s the ner part I’m worried about…you know. It’s French? Oh okay, I think that’s all of us now.
CL: Thanks you guys are fabulous…they’ll be back next week, yeah. So you guys are kicking off your road to Hempfest tour tonight. You drove in from the Seattle area today. Were you listening to music on your long drive? If you did, what were you listening to, and what keeps you going on all your long road trips?
Kevin: Well, we had a few cuts come through. We had some Destruction come through, I know we had some Mercyful Fate. We definitely spent a little chunk of time listening to some Judas Priest, you know. Oh and we can’t forget the epic Deep Purple for the psychedelic road trip down the highway, lots of sound bites too, courtesy of Thomas Niemeyer. Yes, he’s got quite the collection of audio bits, little vittles, kibbles and bits.
Tommy: That is our inspiration. The road music is where it’s at totally and it has to be diverse as hell or people start eating each others flesh, in the van, and it’s bad.
CL: So Tom, speaking as the elder in the band, what if any, music do you, any of you, listen to from over fifty years ago?
Tommy: I actually have a Buddy Holly demo thing that’s pretty cool. Slippin’ and Slidin’. It’s just him. It’s like, unplugged stuff, it sounds like Nirvana, you know. It’s all mellow… It’s cool! Buddy Holly man, a rock and roll original. So that stuff is still inspiring. You know we got old shit too.
CL: How about you guys?
Aaron: You know, a little Wagner. I brought my 78 record machine with me… that phonograph machine…
CL: The kerosene powered one?
Aaron: No this one is human powered…has a bicycle crank thing …
CL: How about you Warren? Fifty years ago….before they made music…
Warren: Um, shoot I was actually listening to a bunch of Mozart weirdly enough. No seriously, seriously. But that was only because I was watching A Clockwork Orange so…not the same but it still counts, kind of.
Kevin: Terry Reed. I enjoy Terry Reed and of course Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, that’s a big one, I don’t know, it’s so vast. I mean classic rock is so important to everything I guess. Pink Floyd, we could just go on and on.
CL: I first got turned on to The Accused, I’m in the older end of things, when I was in high school in the eighties, listening to college radio. Did you guys grow up listening to college radio at all?
Tommy: Yeah there was some college radio in Seattle. KRAB was a big one, crab radio and there was KUOW but that only had a punk or a metal show for a little while. But yeah, KCMU was the big one and that had this “Brain Pain” thing that was on every week and that was huge. They played stuff… well they played us so they were cool, thanks Jeff. Yeah, Jeff Gilbert was in charge of that so yeah, college radio was huge. Definitely, it was the only outlet where you could get real music that wasn’t watered down and filtered by the corporate machine, you know. So yeah, that was big. Big, big, big!
CL: Anybody else share that?
Aaron: Yeah, I was definitely into the “Brain Pain” thing in high school as well, yeah, KCMU all the way.
Kevin: I never really listened to college radio. I just grew up listening to my parent’s vinyl, you know. So pretty much the foundation of what I listened to was based off of them. Whether it be disco or classic rock or moderate hard rock.
Warren: No not really.
CL: So have any of you ever been DJ on the radio or would you ever like to be?
Tommy: I was a DJ on KSVR, Skagit Valley Community College radio station, a mighty twenty watts or something like that. I think it made it to the parking lot of the campus. I had a morning show there and I used to assault the campus with Italian hardcore seven inchers that I’d get through mail order. So just the worst most vile noise that I could play from six to nine, you know right at wake up time.
CL: So what year was this?
Tommy: This was 1983. There was nothin’ but farmers there and diesel mechanics and people from the culinary school goin’ to Skagit Valley Community College. That was my demographic and I would fuck them up with this stuff man. I lasted almost a whole quarter but not quite.
CL: What was the name of your show?
Tommy: It was the David Mogen something or other hour. Yeah, I was David Mogen on the air. Yeah, David Mogen, that was my air name. What was the question? All those years of clean livin’…
CL: We’re volunteer DJs on college radio.
Tommy: So you do it for real.
CL: Well for no pay so I guess that keeps it real. We have the great responsibility of being on free radio which means we can play anything we want to play. The aim of our show is to play new music juxtaposed with older music that has formed a lineage in heavy music we hear today. So if you guys were d.j.s on college radio, as members of The Accused, and had your own show, where in your set list, that is juxtaposed with what other bands would you play The Accused to make an enjoyable listening experience?
Tommy: Ted Nugent. Anything off of Free For All, the second album he put out. It wasn’t Ted Nugent singing, he had Meatloaf, of all people, sing on a bunch of those songs on Free For All which is amazing. I mean the stuff is amazing. Its heavy rock, guitar, riff mania and that stuff was totally inspirational to me. So Ted Nugent would have to start off the set and then you’d go into some of that lousy Italian Hardcore from 1982. Not lousy but some of the more abrasive stuff, sorry Italy. Well the better stuff is Negatzioni . They’re from Torino I believe. Torino, Italy. We stayed at the drummer’s house and his mom made us this pasta dish with mussels. I’ve never eaten mussels before or since but it was delicious when she did it. The neighbor provided us the wine that he personally stomped the grapes for. Yeah, dude, yeah, we were drinking that wine that his feet were in just like hours before or maybe days before, I don’t know how long they let that stuff sit. But yeah, she made the bread and stuff. So yeah, some Italian Hardcore like Nagatzioni would round that up and like some Germs or some really abrasive Black Flag stuff probably. Then wind it up with some Abba at the very end of it all. Some really obscure B side stuff not the Dancing Queen and all that stuff people already hear. Or some Isaac Hayes…that’s the bring down, come down c.d. that we don’t have on this tour that we’re gonna have to get. Isaac Hayes’ greatest hits or the hits, or whatever it’s called the master or whatever the king of hits. There’s some cool stuff on side two or on the end of the c.d. that’s really, really cool stuff that’s for some reason inspirational. You don’t hear it in this music but it inspires us none the less.
CL: Anyone else like to jump on the DJ fantasy?
Kevin: I’m more into jumping on the music the DJs are playing and being a part of that.
CL: So being a DJ maybe not so much your thing?
Kevin: You know, I don’t really like to talk that much so…in order to be a DJ you have to speak and I can’t get the words out properly. I end up saying fuck and shit and ass all the time so yeah, unless you want to hear someone swear all the time…
CL: So Tommy, I imagine you played lots of vinyl on your radio show.
Tommy: A whole lot of records. I still have records…uh I mean I borrowed a whole bunch of records, I mean they had a sale they were clearing out a bunch of the vinyl…so I have a bunch of stuff that says KSVR…so if anybody is missing any of that stuff… I don’t know where it is.
CL: So all of you, I would guess, grew up listening to records. Kevin, you mentioned listening to your parents records. So what is it for you guys today… analog or digital? I know The Accused still puts out vinyl. So as a listener and as recording artists do you prefer analog or digital at all?
Tommy: Um, the digital experience is amazing because it’s so fast and with all that Pro Tools stuff I mean you could get a riff that’s repeated like eight times if you just get it down once they could just loop it. You know I discovered that a few years ago when I was doing that thing with that Slipknot guy for Roadrunner Records. Yeah, it’s totally cheating essentially, that’s what I would call it. But it was really nice, I liked it. I liked it a lot it was cool. So digital is cool for that sort of thing. But there’s the warmth and the realness of analog stuff there’s something to be said for that. We were just talking about that because we’re gonna be recording a new album pretty soon and that will be a big decision, how we go about approaching that, recording it. If we do go totally digital or if we get a big fat two inch tape in there and start bouncing stuff around on that. I think it makes a big difference. It will depend one on budget and how much we’ve got and how much time we have. But I would not like to do an all analog record like we used to do back in the day, it just takes too long and it’s expensive and it gets boring. You only like to hear your own song maybe a couple of times after you record it not five hundred, you know like you have to do with analog. So that’s my two cents.
CL: Anyone else have any feelings on that?
Aaron: Well I feel that the digital medium has been abused to the fullest and that’s why a lot of records all kind of have that manufactured sound these days. You know, everything is a little too perfect. I like to hear, you know like an old Cream record where there are mistakes or a Sly record where there are mistakes up the ass but the record has a ton of vibe on it, you know. Records don’t really have that anymore. You know it’s a lot of power or whatever but it’s just a little too clean. So recording digitally and editing digitally are cool so long as you don’t like over do it then I’m cool with it. Either way it’s fine with me. I’d go digital because it’s cheaper and faster.
Tommy: Yeah totally.
CL: That’s reality.
Warren: Yeah, same kind of thing but for me it doesn’t particularly matter as long as the music is decent ‘cause I, you know, grew up listening to digital music my entire life and in fact grew up with Techno and that whole thing where it is a computer regurgitating notes so it doesn’t matter so long as there’s something interesting to find. But that’s me. So these old guys and their opinions….
Aaron: Put a sock in it….
CL: You mentioned you are working on a new album, this is very exciting, the last album (The Curse of Martha Splatterhead , 2009) came out on Southern Lord. Any plans for a label, anything specific for the new album?
Tommy: Um, we’re not too sure where this one is gonna land. Um, we’re not too sure at this point.
CL: How did the Southern Lord thing come to be?
Tommy: Uh, Greg, the owner of Southern Lord is an old friend of ours. He was an old fan of The Accused. We met him at an Accused show. He was one of the kids, you know, down front rockin’ out or whatever and you know, we just started hangin’ around him. He, you know, was one of the guys who got out of Seattle and made it, you know. So I was watching his career probably as he was watching The Accused do their thing. So I thought what a great thing, you know, he’s got a great label there. So when it came time to do a record we talked to him and he was interested, you know, as a bro and as a lover of the music and he did great stuff for us. So, but, um, we’re probably parting ways here with Southern Lord here for the next record and uh we’re not sure where it’s going to end up yet, what we’re going to do with it where we’re gonna go with it. But the material is actively being built up right now. We’ll see. It’ll take a natural course and it will end up where it belongs.
CL: I know you have done a lot of covers in the past, a tradition punk bands have, any cover songs you would really like to do whether you actually do them or not?
Tommy: Well the thing about that is it seems to me, every time we mention or even think about as a band or discuss a cover song we want to do somebody else does it! I swear to god! Metallica, Stone Cold Crazy that was our idea. There’s a ton of others. I think Limp Bizkit ripped us off or beat us to the punch or whatever, tons of bands.
Warren: Yeah, they got their whole sound from The Accused.
Tommy: No, no, no, I’m not goin’ that far. Although now that you mention it….no I’m just kidding. No. We can’t even think about a cover or else it will get in the air, you know, the thought is out there and somebody will snatch it up and do it! Um, so uh, we’re not gonna tell ya! But there’s gonna be a couple cool covers comin’ out and they’re gonna be killer.
Warren: I vote Jackson Five…
Tommy: Shhhhhhh! Damn it there’s another one!
Aaron: Slayer just did it!
Tommy: Slayer just did it guaranteed. You watch it’s a B side on their next single or whatever they got.
CL: Most of you guys grew up with records. What album covers blew you away when you were a kid? Tommy, for you, as an artist yourself, that must mean a lot to you, you must have special insight there.
Tommy: Yeah, absolutely, Frank Zappa’s Overnite Sensation, the gatefold. I looked at that thing for a millennia. You know hours and hours, look at the tangerine somebody humped it! There’s underwear, its all got stains, that’s amazing! It was like Dali but not quite. Just awesome! I looked at that forever! But Blind Faith where that naked chick is holding that model plane…dude, who didn’t get a little Woodrow from that? The music is just crap but the album cover changed my life! Just like National Geographics did. It was educational, yeah.
CL: Any album cover artists who you thought were the shit when you were a kid?
Tommy: Who’s the Molly Hatchet guy?
Tommy: Yeah, that guy. Absolutely amazing, stuff like that, absolutely. Picture Martha Splatterhead being one of those Viking guys you know, choppin’ people to bits or ridin’ in on a cool horse with a big knife or whatever. Yeah, all that stuff is highly damaging, I mean effective or inspirational to me.
CL: As visual artists, we are very interested in how you do all the original artwork, for everything associated with The Accused. That is the media, scale… is there a process?
Tommy: Oh boy, much to the chagrin of my former band mates, ballpoint pen usually and an old shopping bag, a white shopping bag which are hard to find. You know, like the ones ice cream comes in. If you can get big ones of those, flip ‘em inside out, so the store logo is on the other side, and draw on that. And do it in ballpoint, or no, draw it in pencil first, erase a bunch, and then do it in ballpoint and hand that over to the singer or whoever who hands it over to the record label. That’s guaranteed to piss ‘em off ‘cause it’s not very pro. But that’s just the way I drew all the time in high school and stuff. I always had a ballpoint pen lyin’ around and whatever drawing all over text books and things like that. So just whatever is handy, I’m not too picky. I’ve gotten in to some fancy pens lately, you know, the more expensive ones that they hide behind the counter so I can’t kipe ‘em. Um, I’ve gotten a couple of those now and again and those are good. You kind of get what you pay for in the art world, it’s kind of weird, I might try that more often. Maybe the art world will become better. I’ve been dabbling in also doing painted clothing and stuff like that. On those I do all kinds of fabric paint and stuff like that. Acrylic mainly but with a lot of that stuff, when you put too much on clothing it comes out like a…well on this hoodie I made it came out like a helmet, you know, it was real hard so the hoodie isn’t flexible so you kind of look like a dorko.
CL: So the backdrop for the show, that’s something you painted? Is that acrylic on…
Tommy: We had a problem with the most current backdrop. I used some sort of spray coat clear enamel stuff and it melted the plastic that was on there but I didn’t know that and when I folded it up, kind of like a burrito, it all stuck to itself. So when you pulled it apart, whole hunks of The Accused lettering were…yeah… so it looked like it said Limp Bizkit or something like that…yeah it was all reversed. So, yeah, kids don’t try that at home. But yeah, the main one we use is acrylic on an old Seattle Mariners banner that my buddy got from Safeco field. He used to print all the banners up there. So, yeah, we just flipped it around, kind of like the paper bag thing. We’ve been green forever we recycle….
CL: It’s very in the dada spirit and the punk spirit, the DIY spirit. You guys have been in music for a long time; maybe not as long as Tom there, but what advice would you give young people who want to start a band? You know, go at it do it yourself, have a lot of drive but few resources. All of you seem relatively happy and sane still so you must have some good advice!
Tommy: Boy, I don’t know. I think it would be tough, the whole discovery thing. It must be hard to actually get the joy of truly hunting down and discovering and learning about a band these days because it’s so easy to know everything…the underwear size of the drummer for the opening band… it seems to me to be so easy. For me, part of the thrill of that made me want to be in a band and doin’ it was discovering stuff about the band. Seein’ a picture, finding a weird record that they had made or whatever, that you didn’t know was out, whatever. Stuff like that was appealing to me and made me inspired by those particular bands that I count as influences or whatever, on what I do today. So, um, I don’t know man. Try to not accept the first thing that comes along. If somebody tells you its good question it. You know there’s got to be better out there. You don’t settle for good find better, you know what I mean, and then find awesome if you can. Try and find it on your own, don’t just take what’s thrown at you as being as good as it gets. If you are already inspired and already picking up a guitar and you’re rockin’ out and sounding just like the band that’s on the radio, fine, but I bet you could be ten times better if you found the real deal of what you are listening to now. There’s got to be something that’s buried somewhere that’s harder to find that would really rock your world and then incorporate that into your bands music. You know what I mean? I think that would be the most beneficial to the future of music. As it stands now it just sounds like there are so many bands who want to be the next band. And it’s so easy to be in a band, to record, to look like your favorite band, whatever. Back in my day for a spiked belt like this we used to have to go to the dog collar store, you know, hook two dog collars together, hide the buckle in the back so it didn’t look like you were wearing a dog collar and put it around as a belt, now you can go to Hot Topic!
CL: Other than hooking dog collars together, how did you get started as a kid? You know, your first guitar, amp, the first friends you played music with and why did you do it?
Tommy: I don’t know man. The Hawaii Five-O theme freaked me out dude! I think I was five years old and I just used to jump up off the couch and rock. I’d do this weird dancing thing, my sister does it and she shows my friends what I looked like. So I just rocked out to that Hawaii Five-O theme and it possessed me like some kind of demon. Yeah, I don’t know. Ever since then, rock a funky beat and I’m all over it!
CL: Think of what MTV would have done to you!
Tommy: It would have just destroyed me, yeah!
Aaron: That would be my advice. Don’t watch MTV and don’t listen to the radio and you’ll come up with some pretty good shit.
CL: Listen to college radio.
Aaron: Yeah, except for college radio.
Kevin: In my opinion, if you are going to go for any music that’s worth listening to you’re going to find it in the underground. All the above ground stuff is played out, you know, it’s on billboards, it’s on television and its stuff that everybody’s heard before. If you are looking for something new definitely strive for the underground. If that’s not satisfying it make it up.
Tommy: Underground is the key word here. Thank you, Kevin. See, I’m learning everyday from these youngsters. Underground is the key word.
Aaron: Like Kevin said, write what you like, make it up.
CL: And you were saying dig for records…
Aaron: Dig for records man, stay away from the radio, go dig through a weird collection of punk or metal or whatever the hell you’re listening to, at some weird record store that has a bunch of old vinyl. Even some of the bookstores around have some crazy records. Dig through that stuff, ninety-nine cents sometimes, if you don’t like it you throw it against the wall, you’re good.
Kevin: As far as being part of music, make sure that its something you really love. Don’t get in to music because you want to be known. Don’t get into music because you want to make money ‘cause it’s not there. Just make sure that that’s your passion and put all of yourself into it, you know, and that will be the most rewarding for anybody. But they already know that so…
Warren: I would suggest, try and listen to everything all at once and listen to music you hate. Like, go through a stage where you listen to everything you despise so you can figure out why and you’re not going to do that. Or, you know, go over to your friends’ house and steal whatever you can and take it home and listen to it. You know, the internet is great but I don’t know anyone who listens to the entire discography of anything. They just download the most popular thing, listen to it and throw it away or put it in the background of a like party or something. Music is great ‘cause you can sit there and it can take you somewhere or make you feel some way and a lot of it sucks and you hate it but that is a viable option in emotion. So go for it, do it but don’t complain about it if you haven’t done it, you know. And play a lot of music. Go everywhere and play music and annoy your parents with it too…practice!
Tommy: Wise beyond his years, Warren.
Warren: Man, shut up! I’m doin’ somethin’ serious over here Tom! Yeah, that’s all I got.
CL: Thank you guys for taking out so much time for us tonight and being such willing victims!
Confinement Loaf sends a whole lotta love to….Tommy, Aaron, Kevin and Warren… you fucking rock! Many thanks to Tim…for making this shit happen!