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 – www.punkinterviews.com