No Use For A Name

This interview was done with No Use For A Name’s bassist Matt Riddle on the FAT Wreck Tour on April 14th, 2000.

I understand that you haven’t been in the band since the start?
No… I’ve been in the band for about 5 years now.

How many changes has the band gone through?
Probably a good 7 or 8 guitar players just because every time they hire a guitar player it’s usually somebody who has a steady job and didn’t want to lose it or like Ed who was sick he had diabetes and that made it hard for him to tour.

You were in Pulley before No Use right?
Yea… Pulley wasn’t really a serious thing ya know? The guys called me up and wanted me to play bass and I wasn’t playing bass at the time. After the Face to Face thing I was done with them and done with music altogether. But Jim Cherry is really cool and Steph (his fiancee) was like “you should try it those guys are really cool” and I was like “alright” so I went up and I played and it ended up being great.

It seems like I heard that they broke up because Scott wanted to take baseball on full-time.
I don’t think they broke up… they got a new drummer.

I remember back in November that Tyler’s house burned down.
Our drummer’s house burned down last year. It’s happened a lot. Dave from Lagwagon was living with the sound man from NOFX and the sound man from Lagwagon and their house burned down. They lost everything with no insurance. Its crazy… I don’t know what the deal is.

How did No Use form?
Basically Rory had started a little band that was going to play a party and they didn’t have a name and he was like “ya know we don’t need a name” so it was like No Need For A Name and that kind of transferred to No Use For A Name and has been that ever since. It was all different members, it was just Rory. Tony and Rory met at a party one night, something about a car wreck and something happened but they kinda met and started playing together and put out a couple records. They didn’t take it seriously until about ’91 or ’92 when they started goin “wow… we could be a pretty good band” so they went through a lot of guitar players and one bass player.

Who played bass before you?
Steve Papoutsis.

So how is this tour, the FAT tour going?
Oh its great. This is our third one… third and last. We need to get out and start doing our own stuff.

You guys did Europe too right?
Yea and the upper states and Canada. Now we are doing the southern states.

Was the St. Pete show on the Limp and DHC tour the show that you broke your leg at?
It wasn’t broken… what happened was that my miniscus got crushed, that’s what hooks up to the ACL.

It was because you jumped off something in the beginning of “The Answer Is Still No” right?
Yea, were you there? Oh wait that’s right you have the tape.

[long conversation…]

Is there any particular show that sticks out in your mind? I’m sure that show is one of them.
I remember that one a lot. There was one show in Montreal on the warped tour I think it was 2 years ago and that show was really bizarre because there was about 20,000 people there and about 10,000 of those people were just jumping up and down going crazy.

Are you guys doing Warped this summer?

What are your plans for the summer?
After this we have Australia in July and then a few little states things and then August I think we are going to try Europe with some festival shows and then maybe a little headlining thing. And towards the end of the year there was a possibility of doing a tour with Pennywise or Social D… we don’t know yet.

Did you hear about Dennis’s death?
Yea its such a shame it was just boom like that. He had been with them since the beginning, it’s a bummer. He had 2 kids, a 6 month old son and a 5 year old daughter, its such a sad thing.

Every record you guys do seems to be a little different then the previous one, what influences the change?
Basically trying not to sound like the last record is a pretty big thing ya know? And this time we really cut loose and had the best time recording it. I don’t know how it comes to cost but we had soo much fun in the studio on this last record it was great. I had the best bass tone I have ever had and Rory shredded on the drums and got it done in no time. We tried a bunch of stuff and it ended up being soo much fun. This record was my favorite one for sure so hopefully we can do it again.

You guys have songs like the cover “I’ve Heard” from the show soundtrack and then slow songs like “Let It Slide” on the new record making it almost impossible to say No Use has a sound but if you had to classify the band how would you?
God I don’t know how to say it… well… we’re a punk band. Our ethics and attitudes are pretty punk I guess but at the same time we are all just human beings ya know? We just do our thing and we are classified as music we like to play. Its kinda cool to break it up ya know, play something slow and then something fast… its nice, you don’t have to be hardcore all the time.

What did you listen to as a kid?
I grew up listening to Iron Maiden… I was a little metalhead. They were the reason I even started playing bass, I saw Steve Parris and went “hey I could do that” so I started playing along with the guy and I play just like him. He is way better then me obviously, he’s been around forever, but I mean my pure style is that. As far as punk bands go and playing bass… The Descendents and ALL. That was a big influence. I was kinda metal growing up… I still am, I still like metal.

How long have you been playing bass?
I guess seriously about 10-12 years. But I’ve been playing one style for soo long that it is totally natural now.

Who thought of the album name “More Betterness”?
That was actually Tony’s idea from a long time ago before I was in the band. They were going to call Leche that, I think, and then every time a record came out he would be like “how about this” but then when this one came out we had a bunch of different titles but none of them were really that rad so he was like “how about More Betterness?” and I was like “that’s awesome!” so we used it.

I like the whole color scheme and the surfer girl.
Yea its weird… its soo weird. The last record was all dark looking its all black.

If you could go back and change one thing about a No Use record what would it be?
Probably some of the tempos on “Making Friends” like “On The Outside” and “The Answer Is Still No” it is a little too fast… they weren’t meant to be played that fast. It is kind of annoying because we put that record out and the reviews on it were “its too fucking fast what are they doing, they’re not a hardcore band.”

What’s your favorite song off of that record?
Maybe “Invincible”, I like that one a lot.

Is there any reason why “A Postcard Would Be Nice” is on soo many comps?
Is it? Well when we do a comp people will call us up and say “hey can we have this song” and we will be like “alright” ya know we don’t really care. If its on a couple comps it is because they asked for it a couple times.

Its nice though, because it’s a nice ballad.
Yea its soo simple.

What’s your favorite song off of “More Betterness”?
I like a lot of songs on that record. I like “Room 19” I don’t know why there’s something really bizarre about it. I like that one I like “Not Your Savior”, I like all the songs on this record. “Saddest Song” I like.

What about “Fairytale of New York”?
Yea Im kinda over that one just because we recorded it once before with another singer, another girl from a band called Soda in California. But on this one we were like “lets do it again” because Cinder from Tilt wanted to sing it and we were like “thatd be rad” ya know so it turned out really good and then we toured with Tilt and did it like every night and now im kinda burned on it.

So “More Betterness” is the release that you are the happiest with?
Up to this day it is probably my favorite record I have ever played on.

Do you play a lot of songs from it on this tour?
Umm 4 or 5.

Is “Why Doesn’t Anybody Like Me” the only music video you have done so far for the new cd?
Yea. Have you seen it?

Yup. With the little dog running around and stuff.
Yup that’s my dog, the min pin. That dog has some attitude.

So whats the song writing process you guys go through?
Usually Tony will get a rough draft of something together and bring it to a practice and we will mess with it a lot until we like it. We keep goin it over and over and over, play it live a couple of times to see how kids like it, we change a few things.

Is the “Let It Slide” acoustic type thing going to be a tradition from now on?
Ya know what it just depends… if we put something together and it sounds good then we’ll do it. We have tried that song fast but it just sounded good the way we did it. We might actually learn it fast so we can do it live because bringing out an acoustic at a punk show would be retarded.

What about the male to female songs, those have been in the last two albums.
That’s always fun ya know, it kinda gives it a different perspective. Girls can relate more and its really neat. It’s a lot of fun.

How do you feel about your success so far?
It doesn’t really seem like we’re a huge success… its rad that kids come out to the shows and its cool that people buy records but I mean, I can say I really respect what I do for a living I really love it, I think its neat that I have been able to go this far with it and in that respect it is really good.

What about FAT… why FAT and not another label?
We know everybody at FAT on a first name basis, they are all really cool people. Whenever we want anything they give it to us they are awesome… they rule. I love Fat Wreck Chords.

Is that the reason you wrote a song about Sara?
Yea she rules. She is always the one that answers the phone, she’s always the one that is there and she is just an awesome chick.

Which song do you play at shows that gets the biggest crowd reaction?
Every night it is different. “Redemption Song” does really good.

Im sure “Justified Black Eye” and the other comp songs do real well.
Yea “Justified” does good, “Soulmate” does good, “The Answer Is Still No” does good… we start off with “Not Your Savior”… the record has only been out 6 months and it gets a great reaction.

Im sure you have been asked this a million times so I will just let you make your comments. Chris Shiflett – Foo Fighters.
Ya know what… it was something he wanted to do. I think that if he would have had the offer and turned it down he always would have wondered what it would have been like and that would have been really bad. So he just took a chance and went with it and it was a good chance to take. He is havin a great time we are still friends with him.

Sara told me that he is still with Me First.
Yea he still does Me First… he is totally the same guy he just did what he wanted to do and that is respectable.

How is Dave workin out?
Great… he rips. We needed a guitar player 4 days before our tour and he did it and kids love him. He is really good on stage.

Whats your favorite movie?
Hmm… right now would probably be The Matrix. Episode 1 I like a lot… I love the Star Wars movies they are my all time favorite movies. I don’t really classify that with what my favorite movie is because that is a whole separate entity… the star wars universe is my life. But right now I like the Matrix and Pumpkinhead… umm I dunno it changes a lot. Me and Stef together have about 130 movies… we buy a lot of movies it is one of the things we collect.

Do you have a favorite cereal?
I can’t eat cereal anymore… IM ON A DIET! HA!

Well what’s your favorite food?
Well pizza but I cant eat pizza anymore so hmm… favorite food. Well my mom used to make stuffed bell peppers with like spaghetti sause and cheese and all this stuff and it was soo good… that stuff that I always remember.

Is anyone in the band vegan?
Umm no… I was a vegetarian for about 3 or 4 years and then I started eating chicken again. So we have no vegans… no straight edge. I’ve always been in the mind that if you take a label you limit yourself. People have a lot of firm beliefs in what they want and that’s rad, good for them, I just don’t have that many beliefs in that kind of stuff. Its like whatever to me.

I know that this question doesn’t relate directly to you but what inspires the songs? Obviously, from the lyrics, people are a big part.
Everyday life. People you meet… fan letters and stuff. We got a letter from a kid in Wisconsin that said his life was falling apart and he wrote us all this crazy stuff in his letter and Tony showed it to me and it was like “wow” ya know… and we wrote a song about it pretty much using the letter… that song on the new record called “Lies Cant Pretend” is about that kid. And he knew it… when we got to that show he came up to us and was like “I gotta ask you guys… did you write a song about my letter?” we were like “YEA!” and he was goin crazy.

Who is the kid in “Making Friends” with the TFP hat?
His name is Cully Simington. He is a kid in Texas… he is just a rad kid. The first time we met him he came up and sang a song with us he was like 12 or 13 and now he is like 16. We just saw him the other night… real cool kid.

Whats up with that one dollar check?
Ahh Elijah… Elijah’s a dumbass.

Alright I guess its time to wrap it up… here’s the last question… what do you think of Britney Spears?
I love Christina Aguilera. That’s my answer… Christina Aguilera is one of the hottest girls I have ever seen in my life.

Interview by : Josh Stern (