Monthly archives "April 2011"


Interview with Yellowcard on May 19th, 2001.

Ben : Hi my name is Ben from Yellowcard, how are you today?
Ryan : I am Ryan from Yellowcard too, I’m good today. Thanks for asking Ben.
Ben : No problem Ryan.

J : How long have you guys been together?
B : Ok, technically Yellowcard has been together since the end of ’97, maybe middle of ’97. But Ryan has only been in the band since last…
R : March 10th, 2000. A year and a couple months.
B : So basically it is kinda new to us, the songs and all that stuff.
J : How is Ryan’s addition different from the old Yellowcard?
R : Well, I dunno. I was hired as a songwriter for the band. I don’t know if I want to say that’s like what it was lacking before but it was… the songs are just like more structured now and more focused on melody as opposed to technicality.
B : It’s still got the same rockingness… well… no it’s not the same, at all.
R : It’s not the same and it was a drastic change and so a lot of people were getting mad and we’re like “you guys are emo” and blah blah blah but I listen to a lot of emo-rock music and I don’t think that we are anywhere, even in the same ballpark… I think the lines are all blurred these days anyways but so yea it was a drastic change. The old stuff had a lot harder edge and was more of a kinda in your face punk rock and now it is kinda straight forward rock ‘n roll.
J : Where are you guys from?
R : Well, we are originally from Jacksonville, FL but now we have to claim Thousand Oaks, California.
B : Thousand Oaks!
R : Because we are permanent residents.
J : Why did you guys move?
R : Umm… better market. There’s more people…
B : More people. There is 9 million people there and there is 1 million people in Jacksonville.
R : The scene is really really receptive there, the kids just love new music. The clubs there are just where it’s happening. It wasn’t to like bail on our bands from home or our hometown it was just to kinda like expand our horizons and go for it.
B : To go for it. We left everything we had, at home.
R : A lot of people have a problem with it, I’d like to say to those people, ya know people who say that we think we’re rockstars and we sold out and we moved to CA… I work a day job for 12 hours a day when I’m not on tour, you know what I mean? I have not sold out in any way, I am just trying to be successful at making music. And there is a better chance of getting more people to hear our music by playing out there.
B : And instead of waiting for bands to come through…
R : Totally. Instead of waiting in Jacksonville and competing with every other band in town to play with a band that is coming through, you just get to pick which one you want to play with out there. You know, which club you want to play and with what band. There is always shows, every night, somewhere.
B : We would recommend every band to move out there, because it has done nothing but good for us.
R : It’s not easy at all, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but it’s definitely a good career move is this is really what you want to do.
J : How do you guys feel about the new record?
R : I am totally stoked with it.
B : I can’t stop listening to it.
R : Yea, I can’t stop listening to it.
B : Our produced was soo rad. He was Pennywise’s producer, Darrien Rindell.
R : Yea he was such a cool guy, it was a great learning experience. Basically we all found out that we were all horrible musicians and that we need to practice.
B : He made us feel like we were 2 inches off the ground when we came in there 6 feet tall.
R : Yea we came in just thinking we were hot shit and we found out we weren’t hot shit at all.
B : He let us know whats up. We learned more in that 4 weeks…
R : Yea I learned more in that 4 weeks then I have learned in like my whole career and I’m stoked on it. I’m stoked on like the emotion it is pulling out of kids, ya know the response we’re getting it’s not just like a ‘yea its cool’ like we are getting some intense response by it, like kids who are just really really changed by our music which is exactly what I do it for.
J : How did you guys get on Lobster?
B : Gosh… we have been dealing with Lobster for years. We have been sending them all our records. We originally heard about them because Shawn Dewey of course from Lagwagon started it…
R : And Warren’s (bassist) older brother used to roadie for Lagwagon and he was actually one of the guys who helped start Lobster with Steve Lombarski, the guy that runs it now.
B : They were one of the only labels that we actually knew. And we wanted to work with them because it was on a personal level.
R : We tried to go with everyone, you know, we talked to everyone we could. And Lobster was just like family. We knew we could trust them and everything they were gonna do for us was in the best interest of both the people, and not just one-sided. There was going to be an equal amount of give from each side of the relationship, you know. They’re great guys. They don’t have millions of dollars to throw around but they work really heard with what they have, they are really resourceful.
B : Good people.
R : Yea totally, just good people. If they told us tomorrow that we could never put out another record, like I would still stay with them on this one just because of how good they are, to us.
B : And like, they let us break the bank. They had faith in us enough to let us just spend their money and it came out great. We are happy and we are going to keep on doing it.
J : What are your plans for the summer?
B : Tour, tour, tour, tour, tour…
R : We are going home, next month, for the month. And next month it is pending that we are going to Canada with Slick Shoes. We aren’t sure yet but it is possible. And then in August we are starting the tour in Birmingham, AL at Furnace Fest, which is a big thing that Takehold Records does every year with bands like Dynamite Boy and Dashboard and Further Seems Forever and all them are playing, and we’re gonna play that. And then we’re gonna do the northeast with Inspection 12, and that is our plans for the summer.
J : What inspired you to write music?
R : I dunno man, I picked up a guitar when I was 13 and I just kinda fiddled around, started a band. It was never my main thing in high school but I always wanted it to be, but my parents always had a real hard time with it. And then, finally with this one it just worked.
B : Music inspired me to play music. It’s just like you hear something that inspires you so much that you want to be able to do that.
R : I dunno, I’m a real cheese ball emo freak so this is the best way to just get it out in rage.
B : Yea we all have frantic personalities, so this is a good thing for all of us.
R : Yea, you have to be extreme to be a good musician, you have to be an extreme person because it’s gotta be more extreme then what everyone else is so that they can be attracted to it.
B : So they watch you, and they want to be a part of it. And we are all 110%, I really think for every band out there that if you go 110%, you give all you have and more, and nothing can go wrong. You are only gonna get good and you’re only gonna write good songs.
J : So Ryan, I understand you have a pretty musical past.
R : Well, I dunno I am kind of a band slut. I was in a band in high school, but I got out of that band…
B : Modern Amusement.
R : Yea, Modern Amusement was my high school band, and then I tried to do some college stuff and I wasn’t into it so I ended up moving west in ’99 to Santa Cruz, CA to play with Craig’s Brother, who were previously on Tooth & Nail Records. I played with them, toured with them for like 4 months, lived with them for almost year. And then, artistic differences I guess, and I was just broke and hungry and tired and I had to come back home. And I was actually originally coming back home and was going to play with Inspection 12 but then they got their record contract and it was kind of a legality thing with the original members of the band were gonna come back home from school and get in the band so I was kinda left without a band. I tried to start some other stuff and then went back to college and then magically I somehow ended up in Yellowcard. Spring Break of that year, they lost their singer. But yea, I’ve been around and done the thing. Like that tour, that summer of ’99, was the biggest experience I’ve had. We went everywhere. We went almost to the Atlantic Ocean in Canada, that’s how far north we went. And all over the US, I’ve been everywhere now. Which is crazy just to think that I’ve done that already, and like we’re just gonna keep doing it over and over again now. But yea it’s been a bumpy road but it is nice to finally be like settled in, ya know?
B : And with Craig’s Brother, he was kind of like learning songs already written. Even though he was still creating new Craig’s Brother songs, now it is his songs, Ryan’s songs. You see it in him and he plays it and I think deep down Ryan has always wanted that. He had it with Modern Amusement but now it is another level because he came with a bunch of experienced people and he is experienced and it just clicked. And we all happened to go to the same high school together, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, it’s a great school. Plug that… Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. And yea… I heard you went there.
R : Yea, I went the other day. I gave everyone cd’s and posters and stuff.
B : Did you see Casper dude?
R : No, he only works part time now. He got married, he’s got a kid on the way and stuff.
B : That was our guitar teacher.
J : How old is everyone?
R : I’m 21, Sean is 22, Warren is 21, LP is 21 and Ben…
B : Is 10.
R : Is 20, but he is a 10yr old, in a 20yr olds body.
B : Not really, don’t tell that ’cause the girls wont date me.
R : Oh yea, he wont get chicks if you print that. But he might if you print it like that though… see, if you do it like that.
B : Tell Shay that I said hi in this interview. And tell JJ that Ryan said hi.
R : Yea, I’d be down with that.
J : So what was life like at DA?
R : It was amazing dude, I would do high school over again without a doubt dude. My senior, I had 2 academic classes and 5 art classes. I was in the theatre department, not the music department. Everyone respected each other for being there because you had to audition to get and everyone loved everyone.
B : No clicks, no jocks. My brother went to public school, your sister goes to public school and we hear the horror stories or public school and we respect our high school and nobody that goes to public school respects their high school.
R : Yea and it was amazing. Everyone came to everything like everyone went to all the art galleries, everyone went to all the theatre shows, everyone went to all the symphonies… like everyone went to see everyone, even if you didn’t know anyone in that department. It was a really cool community of people. I’m really bummed that it’s over actually, even though it’s been over for 3 years.
B : The teachers are like your mentors ya know? Like my guitar teacher taught me a lot about practicing. You have to bust your ass in your bedroom to bust your ass on stage.
J : What was your childhood dream?
R : I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be Tom Cruise in Top Gun, that’s what I wanted to be when I was a kid.
B : I drew a lot, I wanted to be an artist. I was a drawer and that kind of thing and now my mom is like “you always wanted to be an artist, la la la” I dunno.
R : I saw Top Gun when I was 6, it changed my life. I wanted to be an actor ever since I saw it. I’d still be down to do it someday, I did it my whole life. Even when I went to college, that’s what I went to college for.
J : Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
B : Putting out more records. 5 years is nothing.
R : Yea totally. I don’t want it to come out wrong but I hope that we’re just playing stadiums, just rocking everyone’s life. Just rocking.
B : But still the same people.
R : Yea just still just knocking each other over on stage ’cause we’re going off so hard.
B : In 5 years we’re only gonna be better. We have only been writing these songs for a year. Think about bands like Tool, think about bands like Weezer, like Green Day… we have only just begun.
J : What do you guys think of Napster?
R : Oh, I’m soo torn bro. At the level that we are at, I will tell you honestly that it has hurt our record sales.
B : But it is also promoting us.
R : But it’s also promoting us, so it is a win – lost situation.
B : Bands like Metallica… it doesn’t matter. Think about it…
R : Yea that was dumb… that was stupid. That whole thing was stupid because you know if you go download all the Metallica songs off their new record, if they come out with one, you’re still gonna go buy it, it’s Metallica. Or Green Day or Weezer, anybody like that. If I would have gone and downloaded all the Weezer songs it would have just been so I could have it before I got the cd. But when you have a band like Yellowcard, at the level that we are at. You download it, you burn the disc, and that’s your disc. And you don’t go buy it. I know it hurt record sales, I know it did. But at the same time I don’t want to sound like I give to much of a shit about record sales, like that is what we’re all about because it’s not. I just want the kids to hear our music. But I’m really torn on it, it hurts you and it helps you so, I dunno.
B : Same thing. Personally, I don’t even have the time mess with it. I’ve heard a lot of good Napster discs, like a bunch of mixed songs, that’s pretty cool. But the whole stealing records shit has got to go. Fix it buddies, that’s all I gotta say.
R : There is a way to do it, there is a way to fix it. We just need to figure it out.
J : If you could change one thing in the world what would you change?
LP (drums) : I don’t know.
R : Boy bands.
LP : Yea, that’s what I was gonna say.
B : Fake music. Manufactured music.
R : I know that’s a cheesy answer but I am really serious about it, I would get rid of the boy bands dude. If I could do anything.
B : Dude it’s a serious thing. Think about the articles in the newspaper when the boy bands come to town.
R : Shouldn’t we say we would stop world hunger?
B : I am going to be environment for my mother. If I ever could I would do that. Just the way they bust down trees for strip malls, she wants me to get rid of that. But don’t print that, that’s pretty hippy.
R : Yea that is pretty hippy, you are a hippy.
J : What is your favorite boy band?
R : New Kids on the Block dude, ’cause they are OG. They did their own thing. New Kids on the Block started it and they rocked and all the little kids rocked to them. Like little kids rocked New Kids on the Block. Now it’s like 25 yr. old men go to watch these bands that aren’t even… it’s not a band! It’s a broadway show you are going to watch. But NKOTB ’till I die, that’s my favorite boy band.
J : What is in your cd player now?
B : Tool, the new Tool. And the new Weezer.
R : No, the new Tool record is in the van right now actually.
LP : No, Fetch is in the van.
R : Yea that’s right, Fetch from Tallahassee is in there right now. They rock.
LP : Their drummer rocks.
B : They are from Tally and they rock, one of the best bands we’ve played with.
R : That’s funny how it took us 3 different discs to figure out which.
B : Yea we’ve been listening to the new Tool and Weezer and Further Seems Forever, because we’re into Dashboard.
LP : Yea double thumbs up to Dashboard.
B : Chris Carrabba… we’re gonna get you buddy.
R : I just wanna play with him you know.
J : What are some of your favorite movies?
R : Top Gun.
LP : Preadator… and Aliens.
R : No, Top Gun dude, end of story. You don’t need to hear anymore.
J : When you guys aren’t workin’ hard or touring what do you do?
B : We don’t know yet because we are gonna start touring forever.
R : No, what do we do like at home when we’re not…
B : I dunno, Ryan plays guitar a lot. You’d think he gets sick of it but dude doesn’t ever stop.
R : Yea, I sit in my room and play guitar, I’m a dork. I dunno dude I spend most of my time pining over this chick that I’m like in love with right now.
B : Warren books tours.
R : Yea, Warren is always on the phone.
B : Or with his Fiancee Mandy.
LP : And I’m doing whatever the band’s doing.
B : LP’s just hangin’ out, ready to play shows.
R : We are really social people, we like to hang out with a lot of people.
B : We hang dude. Good conversationalists ists ists ists.
LP : We definitely put in a lot of hard work for what we are doing right now. We work full time also and to do both and get everything the way we want is a lot of hard work, and takes a lot of time and we’ve put it through. Like moving to California and just like doing the whole California thing and getting into the scene was tough in itself but we got it all down ya know, so it’s straight.
J : What do you guys thing of Britney Spears?
R : Oh she’s hot.
B : God, she’s hot.
LP : I love the woman. I wanna marry her.
B : Dude, but!
R : Super Bowl…. she was soo hot on that.
B : Dude and she is only gonna get hotter.
R : But, I still have a problem with that whole scene of music.
B : I wanna play a show with Britney.
LP : I have a problem with the music because the vocals are all lip sung and the music is all like in the back ya know.
R : It’s not all lip sung but I just have a problem with just how big, and how it’s taking over the world and it’s not dead yet. But rock is coming back dude. I’m telling you the new Weezer record is like revolutionary, they’re gonna go huge again and rock’s coming back dude. It’s the whole grunge rock thing coming back in a different way like it did in the early 90’s, it’s gonna be rock and roll. So it’s on it’s way back. But Britney Spears is definitely hot, definitely.
J : Anything else?
B : Twankle n’ Glistenin’.
R : Twankle n’ Glistenin’.
B : Scott.
R : Scott McRae Shad. We love him. He passed away on the 6th of March, this year, 2001. Buy the new Inspection 12 record, on Honest Dons.

Interview by : Josh Stern –

Blanks 77

There’s been a big buzz over this band as of late. Is the hype justified? Is there reason for concern? Well, if you go by their recent mind blowing CD with a hologram cover, the answer is an overwhelming yes. If you’re looking for political rhetoric, skip the Blanks. If you want straight up punk rock, these are you’re guys and gal. Check out what Mike, part time frozen yoghurt vendor and full time Blanks 77 singer, had to say.

Rational Inquirer:(with reference to the fact that the interview was conducted by phone from Mike Blanks’ work) Where do you work, by the way?
Mike: I Can’t Believe It’s Yoghurt. It’s a frozen yoghurt type of place.

RI: It seems like a good job.
Mike: I can do whatever the fuck I want.

RI: Why not start with a history, but let’s go a little further back. How did you guys first get involved in punk rock? What got you interested, and did you play in previous bands?
Mike: None of the real Blanks were in any other bands. But we started about six years ago. Me and Chad, the drummer, used to hang out at the Pipeline. We’d see bands like The Wretched Ones and stuff like that. All the members except the bass player are original members. TJ’s been in the band for about 2 years. Almost all our recorded stuff has been with him, though. Brendan was the original bass player, but he left. I think he got tired of it because we were trying to do a lot. Then we had this kid who was in AFI as well. But now he hates us. It’s not hard to hate us.

RI: You all seem pretty young. How old are you, and do you still live at home?
Mike: We’re all like 22, and of course we live at home.

RI: How did you swing doing everything? Is touring and playing okay with your folks?
Mike: Well…they’ve grown to accept it. We bombard them with it. “We’re leaving. Bye” They’re cool with it now. It took a while for them to realize that their son was not going to be a doctor.

RI: You guys have several songs about punks and skins. Where do you fit into this picture politically? In Europe especially, these two groups stand worlds apart politically with skins being right wink, generally and punx taking a more liberal stance. Where do you fit politically with these two groups. They rarely seem to mix.
Mike: For us it’s just an area thing. In the New Jersey area, punks and skins sort of get along. In Germany I know it’s different. When we were there two Summers ago, people were wondering if we were nazis or something. They take things way too seriously.

RI: What type of crowds do you get?
Mike: We got a couple of skins. They were cool, though. People were afraid of them. You don’t have to be afraid of them. They’re just people.

RI: The name of your band pretty much shows where you’re coming from. Some people might say this is re-hashing something old and irrelevant. Why concentrate on a sound and image that’s 20 years old and being mass marketed? What’s the threat in that?
Mike: We just like to play like that. We don’t even sound like a band from 77. It’s more of a mix of everything. When we first liked the punk rock, we liked the older 77 style crap. Then…when we started the band, we sounded like one of those old bands…I’m so glad we don’t sound like that anymore. A few years ago we started listening to The Dwarves, and they’re like total kick ass, amazing! I think that’s when we started getting better and growing into our sound.

RI: I’ve heard through several third person sources about the incident with Lars from Rancid and the NY show. Could you, in your own words, tell us what happened and what you think of the incident?
Mike: Well, The Rancids were playing at The Saturday Night Live the night before and our friend Kandra had sex with Tim. She was supposed to get them to come and play at The Coney Island High that day with The Casualties, The Blanks 77 and a couple of others I forget. So they were supposed to play, but they decided they weren’t going to because they might get beat up. For some reason they wanted to sing on one of the band’s set. So we’re like, “Do it during ours. It’ll be funny.” So they did, and a big old scuffle broke out. I had a good time that day.

RI: Are they sellouts in your eyes?
Mike: I don’t care what they’ve done. As long as they don’t…They’re pretty nice people. We’ve talked to them. It’s just some of their people that they choose to work for, like their crew, their management, I don’t care for those types of people. I would rather not have to deal with them. I don’t know if that qualifies them as having sold out. They should just choose better people to…they should be more involved in what they’re doing. But I think they have a pretty good thing going.

RI: Why’d you open for them?
Mike: This actually happened when I didn’t care much for them. It was after the fight. They asked us to open up for them. I think they were sorry that the fight broke out at The Coney Island. I didn’t care. We got mentioned on the radio. It was funny. Playing with Rancid was really funny because it was a lot of people. The most people we had ever played to. So I kind of liked it for that. But I didn’t like dealing with big club people. They don’t treat you very well. When you play the smaller clubs, they usually treat you pretty good.

RI: Is Blanks 77 a political band?
Mike: No! We’re not stupid, though. Some people think we are. We don’t preach politics, but in some we touch upon it, but not like crazy. We just fit in with the basic punk ideals.

RI: Where do you stand politically? Do you vote, or would you vote? How do you see the upcoming presidential campaign?
Mike: I don’t. Rene does. We ask why. And she says she doesn’t know. She’s too busy rockin’ the goddamn vote. But I don’t think she’s going to be doing it this year because we’re going to probably be playing in November. We’re going out to Minneapolis and down as low as Georgia. We get back on the 19th.

RI: How’d your last tour go, by the way?
Mike: Oh it was fucking great! We were out from June to August. It was a great time. This has definately been the best tour so far. This was just our tour. We didn’t have to rely on anyone else. We did it ourselves. We had a cool little bus to take us. It’s like one of those little retard kid buses. You would have loved it. There’s a loft up there where we can have sex if we want to – if we chose to. You definately have to check out the bus. It’s very creative looking. It’s big and silver and has leapard print on the sides and flames.

RI: You haven’t had any problems with police with it?
Mike: No, not really. It doesn’t go very fast.

RI: Anything interesting happen while on tour?
Mike: Well…we got the scabies. That was wonderful. (laughter) We got to play with The Dwarves. That was fucking amazing. We stayed at their house. Their set even lasted for more than five minutes.

RI: Do you feel there’s common ground politically in the punk scene?
Mike: I don’t know about politically. But what does “unite” the punk scene is…I think everyone hanging out together talking about punk rock and the bands…”how did you get your pants like that?” It’s just fun. That’s what I do at all the shows. Politics is okay, but I don’t want that to be my life. Our band would never talk politics while we’re playing. We don’t go for that.

RI: Who came up with the concept for the cover on your CD?
Mike: Actually, that was Radical Records. Our friend Josh did their artwork, and they made it move. They said to find an artist and get them to do three frames…there you go. I don’t think a punk band had ever done that before. I’ve only seen some trance and techno stuff like that. Now for the next record we really have to outdo ourselves.

RI: You’re now working on that, are you?
Mike: The day we get back from our November tour, we’re going into the studio to record. We have around 14 songs saved up. It’ll be a full length. It’ll be called Tanked and Pogoed.

RI: It’s wierd that you’d be doing another record so quickly.
Mike: That Killer Blanks record came out in Germany first. So it’s been over a year already. We really want to put out this next record because that’s so old already. That’s all we care about. It’ll hopefully be out by March. Radical also helped us shoot a video. It’s been sent to all the local cable access shows. If any shows want to get a copy, they should write to Radical. It’s B&W and color. It was done by the guy who did the video for the Gin Blossoms. The guy knew nothing about the punk rock, but I guess Radical are like friends with the guy. We’re all very pleased. That was one thing we had wanted to do. We kind of like videos.

RI: You mention drugs and alcohol in most interviews I read about you guys. Is this a big aspect of your lives?
Mike: In our lives…I could say “no”, but I’d be lying. We like the drinking. It’s fun for us.

RI: The Beatles once said that all their best material was written while they were high. Does the same hold true for the Blanks?
Mike: No, I don’t think we write songs when we’re drunk. We just play that way. It’s a big social thing.

RI: Tell me about your scene? I read somewhere that it was comprised of mainly suburban well-to-do whites? Is that the case?
Mike: I guess…I just had this conversation with Sue, and we were talking about the punk rock. We’re wondering where everyone comes from. I said, “Well Sue, all the best punk rockers come from rich neighborhoods. They have money for their jackets, pants, etc. None of us in our band really have a lot of money. It’s funny how punk is supposed to be this dirty little living-on-the-street thing, and here we are driving cars and working at yoghurt stores. There are a lot of rich kids that come to see us. I have nothing against them. In New York, however, there are a lot of kids who live in squats. They make a life for themselves. One of the members of The Bouncing Souls lives in a squat still even though they’ve managed to do pretty good.

RI: What do you see as your main influences and who would you compare Blanks to?
Mike: Geeze…I really like The Dwarves. I like thier whole attitude. When I first started playing I loved The Ramones. We always like the Sex Pistols a lot – then probably The Blitz and The Partisans. Right now we compare ourselves to three bands. The way we play – song after song – is like The Ramones. The way we act, like we’re really hot shit, is like The Dwarves. For our drummer, he has his special catagory…he has this cool stage show….kind of like Kiss. We’re trying to give people what they pay for. we try to make people get into it. We’re forcing ourselves upon people.

RI: Are you in a contract with Radical or can you release stuff outside of Radical if you so choose?
Mike: We probably could, but they would have to agree. Everyone has to agree. They can’t do anything without our approval either.

RI: With punk being so popular these days, I’m sure you get kids asking for autographs. How do you feel in that position?
Mike: I love that! I don’t care. It’s funny. I think they’re retarted asking for it, but at the same time I could see why they’d want it.

RI: So you’re not against it?
Mike: You have to look at it both ways. How do you look like a bigger dick? If you do it or if you don’t. If they want it, what the fuck. Some little girls come to the shows and we give them kisses. We’re going to set up a kissing booth on our next tour. (laughter)

RI: Thanks for the interview. I need to kinda keep it short. Is there anything else you’d like to add? What is the name of your store so people can go bug you?
Mike: No, don’t print that. Everyone knows, though. It’s I Can’t Believe It’s Yoghurt. Everyone calls me here. The yoghurt for today is the nonfat with nutra sweet vanilla. You put some caramel on that…


Interview by :
Nelsen Magana of the Rational Inquirer


How pleased are you with the success of Looking Up? From my point of view, on the net I’m seeing it gets loads of publicity. How well are you doing with the “unwired” audiences?
We are very happy with how the record is doing, it exciting. It’s great that there is a lot of publicity on the net. I think the folks at Fastmusic are doing a good job at getting publicity out there in other media as well. They’ve had our record pushed to college and independent radio, as well as sent it out for review by quite a few zines, and they’ve also taken out ads in some big publications like Thrasher. We are happy with the publicity, especially since it’s also our first record, we’re trying to earn credibility.

Is there a story behind the name “Cooter”?
The name comes directly from the T.V. series “Dukes of Hazard”. Most of our audience is just old enough to remember the show, but not so well that they remember all the characters’ names. Chris Hughes, on the other hand, is old enough that he could have been a writer on the show. Anyway, Chris Hughes was fond of the series and thought that “Cooter” would be a great name for the band. I thought it was a terrible idea but couldn’t think of a better name on the spot, so “Cooter” it’s been ever since. It’s probably better off, because even though people often confuse the meaning for something X-rated, people don’t forget it easily either.

Would you be interested in joining the Warped Tour for a year if the opportunity arose?
That would be excellent. The Warped Tour is a chance to play with all the best punk bands in the business, play to crowds much larger than you usually get to play for, get a bunch of free stuff, hang out, meet tons of kids, see this and other countries etc. etc. etc. What’s not to like?

I’ve been fascinated by the lyrics on “Looking Up”, especially the poetic nature of songs like Full House and Friday Mourning. What are the lyrical inspirations? What about the band’s musical influences?
That is really cool. I thank you for being interested in the lyrics and asking about them. Friday relates to a situation in which someone close to me lost a sibling in an accident. It’s mainly about coming to terms and acceptance with the loss. The answer could be 100 pages long but that’s it in a nutshell. Fullhouse describes the attitudes of some that I’ve known who are capable of so much, but for whatever reason (fear, guilt, laziness, complacency) seldom put their energy in to much other than complaining.

Our strongest influences as a band are: Face to Face, Lagwagon , Green Day, Foo Fighters, Bad Religion, Social D., and Strung Out. We’re in to music that rocks.

What’s your favorite cover song to play?
Mine is “Disconnected” by Face to Face, but I know for a fact that the rest of the guys hate to do that one. We used to play it all the time and I guess it just got played out for them. I love singing that song though. We don’t really do many covers. We try to play American Jesus (Bad Religion), Authority Song (John Cougar Mellencamp), and The Dodo (Bad Religion). Rob and Chris Hughes are always trying to play Social Distortion songs at practice but that doesn’t count. I also dabble in Marilyn Manson songs at practice, but mainly to annoy everyone else. I guess that doesn’t count either.

What are the long term touring plans for the band? One friend of mine wanted to know if you plan on coming to Europe in the foreseeable future. I wonder the same about Canada.
We want to tour as much as possible. We will be coming to Canada in the Spring, I believe March or April with the band Pollen (Fueled By Ramen rec. Check them out). We’ll also be doing some dates with Less than Jake immediately following that, and also some northeastern dates with H20 this spring. In August we’ll be doing a full U.S. tour with Slick Shoes. That tour may also make its way to parts of Canada . As far as Europe goes we’ll have to wait and see. That’s expensive! Hopefully we will make it there soon, we would love to go. To get concrete tour dates check our website at

What would it take for you personally to want to change labels? It could be one of the big punk labels like Fat or Epitaph, or even a major mainstream label?
I don’t know. Fastmusic is a perfect fit for us right now because both entities are growing. Our relationship works because we work our hardest to get good shows and write good songs, and they do their best to support us with advertising, tour support, Internet capabilities and tons of other ‘behind the scenes’ sort of things. They’re pretty good to us. I guess if the relationship went terribly wrong we’d probably want to leave or they would get rid of us, but there is no foreseeable reason why that would happen. I don’t think that a band’s label is important anyway, the music is what’s important. For instance; a crappy major label band on an independent label is still crappy, while a great independent band on a major label is still great (Green Day).

Do you and the other guys have other jobs on the side? Where do you see the band a few years down the road? Is it something you want to keep up permanently, or do you have other career goals?
We all still have day jobs but hopefully not for much longer. We would all like to do the band for a living. I think we have a legitimate shot at that very soon, if everything keep progressing as it has been.

Thanks for the interview. I think that about covers it. Anything else you’d like to inform your fans of before we sign off? Everyone always wants to know what the deal is going to be with the next CD.
We haven’t made plans to record another full length yet because we are still writing new songs and we work kind of slow. However, look for a split EP featuring Slick Shoes and us in the late spring. That will be on Fueled by Ramen records. Also, look for a new compilation from Fastmusic featuring a ton of great bands all doing unreleased material, we’ll have a track on that. Finally, we are going to contribute to a Bad Religion tribute record, so that is exciting for us. We would like to thank you for the interview. Hopefully we’ll talk again soon.

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