Reel Big Fish

Im sure everybody has heard of Reel Big Fish. They originated almost 10 years ago in Orange County and have since then been a huge success. I had a phone interview with their new drummer Carlos on December 17th of 1999. Here’s how it went.

So… you’re Carlos and you play drums for Reel Big Fish?

What are the influences in Reel Big Fish’s music?

Earlier on we were influenced by the Southern California ska thing. We have always been into different kinds of music, right now especially. I think everybody in the band likes something different.

How long have you been with the band?

I just joined in January of this year.

You were in Suburban Rhythm before right?

What ever happened to Suburban Rhythm?
[laughs]. Well… I guess it was a lot of tension within the band.

What’s the writing process for Reel Big Fish?
Right now we are writing songs for the new album. The earlier stuff was pretty much all put together by Aaron. We write when we are on the road a lot in the bus. Right now we arent really sure where to go. We want to go with like 30 or 40 songs and pick the best for the cd. At this point we are kinda searching for something, but not sure what that special something is. We are looking for a producer to help us get this together.

It seems like each of your albums have an underlying theme. For instance, in TTRO the theme was chicks abandoning their boyfriends and in WDTRSH it was how record companies screw everyone over. Is there a certain theme for your new album?
Right now I couldn’t really say. I guess its like a whole high school thing. With chicks and guys not getting them. Its more about angst and not necessarily a relationship. Its still funny though.

How do you think it compares to the previous records?
Right now we are really stoked on what we have come up with. There are a couple songs that we are not sure about but for the most part we’re happy with it.

Is it gonna be any different musically?
Yah. Its kind of a difficult thing because we want to, like any band, let the music grow and try different things but are kinda scared to break away from our sound. We don’t want the fans that have been there since the beginning to back down on us. We want to do what we can to progress with the band. I think its gonna sound a bit more poppier and a bit simpler too but at the same time we want to keep our style as well. We have been into a 70’s rock type thing a lot lately. We have a traditional ska song, and a traditional Reel Big Fish song [laughs] and a couple other things. As long as it sounds good we’ll keep it.

You guys have a lot of songs on “Turn The Radio Off” about going mainstream and selling out and what not. For example, “Sellout”, “Join The Club”, and Trendy”… is there any reason?
I think at the time Aaron wrote the songs he felt that type of thing was happening. I think it has a lot to do with the scene out here where are you at?

Im in florida.
Well we’re in Southern California. I guess it’s the same thing everywhere though.

Which album would you choose over which, “Turn The Radio Off” or “Why Do They Rock So Hard”?
I dunno, it’s hard to say. I like “Turn The Radio Off” better overall. My favorite song by Reel Big Fish is “The Setup”, I think that’s a great song, and that’s on “Why Do They Rock So Hard.”

Is “Somebody Hates Me” directed towards anyone?
Umm… ya know I don’t know. I don’t think it is. [laughs].

What makes Scott a dork?
What makes Scott a dork? I think that uh… Scott’s not a dork… Scott’s cool [laughs]. I think when they wrote that song Aaron started singing “Scotts A Dork” and that never changed. I think Scott wishes hadnt did that now but… what are ya gonna do? [laughs].

Who thought of the band name?
Actually it was Matt Wong. Its one of those things where… its not our favorite name. We never had any idea we were going to be this big. He just I guess though of something clever. He didn’t even think it was going to stick at the time but… what are ya gonna do?

So whats life like on the road?
It kicks ass! Its fun seeing all these different places. It kinda sucks that your not in one place very long though. Its fun playing in places like Australia because it is totally different there. But if you are in the US, unless you are in one of the bigger cities, it can get a little boring. But its great to see fans all over.

Was touring with Blondie cool?
That was very cool. They were very nice to us. Debbie Harry is a legend ya know? It was pretty weird because I always listened to her growing up.

You never would have imagined?
Yah really… I never would have.

If the opportunity arose to tour with any band who would it be?
Hmm… for me personally I would like to tour with Rocket From The Crypt. They are a great band. I like to Foo Fighters a lot too.

Yah they have No Use For A Names old guitarist now…
Yah that’s right. We just finished a tour with 22 Jacks and he used to play with them also.

He’s also in Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

He’s been around.
He is an outstanding guitarist.

Is there one show from your whole career that just totally stands out in your mind?
Yah we did a show in Japan. It was insane. They don’t know hardly any english and they are singing along with all of the songs. And that’s crazy.

Haha, they don’t really know what they are singing but they are singing it.
Yah… yah exactly, Its unreal, that was a great experience. The fans out there are wonderful.

What are your views on sXe and veganism?
I personally don’t drink or smoke. Im not a vegetarian really, I just eat healthy. I don’t really care, its everyones on decision.

How long have you known the band?
I’ve known them for a long time. They used to open up for my old band.

What was it like to do Baseketball? I don’t think you were in the band then but Im sure you heard some stories.
It don’t think it was as exciting as it would have seemed like. They were in a trailer for like 8 hours and then they filmed their set which didn’t take too long. I think the best part was watching the hot chicks dance around.

Yah that was my favorite part.

Whats your favorite movie?
I liked that movie Buffalo 66. I like a lot of movies. I don’t think I have a favorite favorite. Its like asking what my favorite band is, it always changes.

Do you have any favorite cartoons?
I think it has to be the Simpsons. That has been the best cartoon on TV.

Do you have any Y2K predictions?
I don’t think anything’s gonna happen. I don’t know why everyone is worried.

Do you have any New Years Resolutions?
I have really come up with any yet. I guess I could say lose weight. Even though Im not that fat, that’s what everyones resolution is.

I guess that about wraps it up, I got one more question for ya. Do you like Britney Spears?
Do I like her? I don’t personally. Im not a big fan. Isnt she from Florida?

Yah… I think she is. It’s a disgrace… we have her and Marilyn Manson.
Hahahaha yea.

Interview by :
Josh Stern