Mark Rowan: The latest album Resist Convenience came out less than a month ago, what has the overall reaction been so far?
Jon Tummillo: I think it's been pretty good. A lot of our fans have been with us with a while and have been asking us when we're going to record again, when we're going to come out with a new album in the last couple years since we put out the last CD. So, I think there was a lot of anticipation for it on their end. I think the actual album is a better, I think were all a lot happier with it. It's a lot more exact to what we believe our sound is. It's been really well so far. We've gotten a lot of good reviews back from a lot of different people. All of our good friends really like it, so that's like a big thing. We wanted all our fans we'd had for a while, we didn't want to disappoint them. It's been good; we're really excited about it. And it's all really new. Right now is such a crazy time, like we're all so anxious to see what will happen. It's really exciting; it's going to be for a while.
What was it like starting out in New Jersey and not exactly fitting the mold of most of the bands that come out of that area?
Jon: It's been kind of fun. It's kind of the role we've all taken now. We kind of realized it from the beginning that in some aspects we might be outcasts. But, at the same time we've always been playing a variety of different shows. We play anything from a tough guy hardcore metal show to an indie rock show or a show with all different kinds of bands. On some ends when we play we still feel like we're the odd ball, but again there's other shows where we fit right in with everything that is happening that night. Either way it's always fun, it's always cool. Especially when we play those shows where we are the oddball. We have the chance then to kind of freak people about a little more, there's more of a shock factor going on there. From the start we've had the same thing as any other band. We've had our hardships, our good and bad shows, a lot shit talking on message boards. But, it's always kind of fueled us. We want to keep what we are doing and being as original as we want to be. To keep us in check to not conform or try to be cool. Like, oh man maybe if we dropped ska we would be cool, then we would be accepted. But, at the same time if we were to drop that we wouldn't be us, that would be such bullshit. I'm a rambling man, I'm sorry. It kind of just keeps us very excited to be in a band because it kind of gives us a reason to challenge those people.
Do you still get a lot of blank stares when you play for a crowd that doesn't exactly know what to expect or has everyone gotten the memo by now?
Jon: Actually a lot of blank stares. Last night was a perfect example. Well, the during past two nights…we played New Jersey for a CD release show the other night and it was chaos from start to finish. Kids all over each other, jumping, screaming. Kids on stage. Everyone knew the words, it was just so interactive. The energy coming from the crowd was actually overwhelming us, the energy on stage. The real show was watching the kids, watching them go crazy. And then the next night we play in Delaware, not even too far from our home. We did have a lot of kids come out who have seen us before and they were into it, dancing, getting crazy. But, the majority of the kids there were standing there like perplexed. Like, what is going on? Not perplexed even in a bad way. Essentially in a really good way, that's kind of what we're used to. Although every once in a while we'll get a heckler in the crowd or something stupid like that, but that's so fun. I love it when that shit happens.
[...]the majority of the kids there were standing there like perplexed. Like, what is going on?
This is kind of a weird question, if you had to name a dog to describe your live performance what would it be named?
Jon: A dog? To describe the live performance? Hey Jeff, if you had to name to dog to describe our live performance what would the dog's name be? …Rufus. [laughs]
Jon: Rufus, yes. That's the greatest question I think I've ever been asked in my life. Or Underunderdog or any tiny little dog name, like Feisty or some shit like that. But, I think Rufus.
I could see Rufus.
I think it was the last time you guys were in Connecticut, I want to say it was in Stratford, but there was some kind of problem with some people there and you guys had to cut your set short? What was the deal with that?
Jon: Is that the situation where there was a fight?
I remember there was some kind fight brewing, but I don't know exactly what happened.
Jon: We actually played that show with our friend's band My Bitter End. And they were playing before us and we were all set to play. We were there all night watching the show, getting all excited. I remember whoever was doing the show made like 5,000 meatballs throughout the course of the night I just kept eating meatballs. But, anyhow. My friend's band was playing and I don't know if you've ever heard them, but they are a crazy band, real crazy and real intense. A really crazy live show. I guess some kids were, you know the bad apples in the crowd, they were kind of being assholes. Tossing half empty bottles of water at them while they were playing and I think they threw one too many. I think one hit the singer Tyler and he kind of charged at the kid cause…I can't justify his actions really, but Tyler gets real crazy and real pissed off real easily. My Bitter End was using our equipment as well and there was water being thrown all over everything. That was fucked up also. We didn't get involved with the fight at all; it got dispersed pretty quickly, nothing happened really. But, they shut the show down because of it and we didn't get to play. I'm not sure if it was us or My Bitter End, we were kind of just at their side on this, and there was a lot of arguing going on with kids after the show. We were basically saying this is fucked up, this is our equipment. If we can't use it, we can't play. And everything that we do revolves around playing, you know touring, being out on the road and playing shows. So, we were just trying to make sure these kids knew they were being assholes; they were way out of line. There wasn't any physical violence, from what I remember, on our part. But, what really happened was a lot of kids heard about it or was at the show and embellishing it way too much. Like talking about we got involved with the fight or we beat up some kids or some shit like that. And ever since then it's kind of like that whole situation when you play telephone when you were little, you know. You start with the word "shit" and you end up with the word "dick". It was just the same situation. Through myspace messages and shit like that, kids were like "I want you to come back to Connecticut, I'm sorry those kids beat you up." Or something ridiculous. But, the whole matter was totally defused at once. And we love playing in Connecticut, we always have. That would never persuade us from coming there. Connecticut rules man, we've played such awesome shows, we've played with such good bands. It's always been so cool and the kids have always been so fun. We have a lot of friends there too. We have kids from Connecticut come down to see us in New Jersey, and New York, and Massachusetts. Good friends that throughout the years we've developed close relationships with. And we're going to be playing in Wallingford coming up and I can't wait, it's going to be so fun.
I saw Horse the Band on your myspace, have you guys ever played a show with them?
Jon: We haven't actually. But, we've gotten so many messages and even people that we see at shows. I can't count the amount of times a kid in the Horse the Band shirt would come up and us and say, "You guys should tour with these guys, you guys would be such a good combination." And I do agree, I think that would be an awesome tour. There are bands that kind of compliment each other and I think we totally would compliment each other. I actually sent a message on myspace recently, it's really weird how you're asking me this now, just last week it's basically that's what I said…I was sick of kids asking me to tour with you guys, let's do this. I don't know any of guys at all and I know they've been doing really well with themselves. They're out with Poison the Well right now. They're an awesome band; it would be so awesome to tour with them. We're working on it so hopefully we'll meet those guys and befriend them. Cause it seems they are really weird and they don't really take themselves seriously, which is exactly our motto as a band. Not to take anything too seriously. That would be fun.
Actually both of you guys have song titles involving manatees…
Jon: Are you serious?
[laughs] Yeah, I think they have one called "Manateen" and then you have one on the new album…
Jon: Yeah, "Bonfire of the Manatees". That's pretty crazy, I didn't know that.
I think I see a real movement here, do you think manatees can really take off to be the new sex and drugs?
Jon: I'm hoping that by just simply naming that song "Bonfire of the Manatees" there's more of an awareness that manatees are dying everyday in Florida. Being killed by boats and…poachers. [laughs] Do people poach manatee?
I don't know, doesn't seem like it would be very fun.
Jon: They're kind of endangered.
Yeah they are.
Jon: Honestly, I got that title from the Simpson's video game Hit and Run. That was a fun game. But, it goes with the storyline that was one of chapters. And it's a play on words from The Bonfire of the Vanities, obviously. That song is about vanity and about being vain and how stupid that shit is. It kind of worked where I was playing that game when as I writing those words and it kind of just fell into place. It's really crazy that Horse the Band has a song to do with manatees as well.
Yeah, it's kind of odd.
Jon: All the silly titles and silly names that we have are directly correlated to all the lyrics and the meaning of the song. A lot of people think it's for the sake of sounding silly. But, everything does have its purpose.
Also with your myspace you have PBR listed under your influences, no one believes me when I tell them it's the best beer ever.
Jon: Well, you know what it's the best of the worst or it's called the worst of the best. I like to think it's the best of the worst. It's the best of the cheapest beer to buy. If you think about that, what are your choices? What are you going to drink Red Dog or drink Pabst Blue Ribbon?
Exactly, I think PBR is the way to go.
Jon: There was certain tours we've been on that Pabst Blue Ribbon was all over the place. I can recall this one certain show where oddly enough we have a friend who is in Andrew WK the band, the bassist. And he was dating one of our good friends at the time. And we were in Florida and he came out to the show. And they had for bands 50 cent Pabst Blue Ribbons that night and we just got crazy. You spend 10 dollars and drink 20 fucking beers. Greg was there when we were playing, and keep in mind, the show was packed but there were a lot of young kids there. I remember a lot more than usual. Like younger girls, like 16 year old girls and a lot of young kids, but the show was packed. While we were playing Greg was standing in the middle of the pit while all the kids were dancing around him. He's like a monster of a man, he has these huge fucking sideburns, a bald head, and he's just crazy. And he's standing right in the middle and all these little kids are parading around him and he's pounding Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pounding them, just fucking…pounding them and then smashing them over his head. And there you go that's a Pabst Blue Ribbon story for you, were big fans. It's a good beer, isn't it?
I like it. That's usually what I drink.
Jon: It's a budget beer, kind of.
It's not too bad for a budget beer though.
Jon: Oh, definitely. Beer itself is a pretty big influence on us. Pabst Blue Ribbon is high up there.
If Folly and Bon Jovi were able to meet in an alleyway who would win in a fight?
Jon: The answer to that question is Heather Locklear.
[laughs] Heather Locklear?
Jon: Yes, that's the answer. That's all I'm going to say about them.
Have you seen their new album art?
Jon: I have not. I heard that song, whatever their latest hit was. [Bon Jovi impression] "Have a nice day" That song is the worst song ever and the cheesiest song I ever heard in my life.
I don't think I've ever heard it, but the album art is probably the worst thing I've ever seen.
Jon: What is the album art?
It looks like if the Kool-Aid man was a pedophile and they took like a mug shot of him right after he got put in jail.
Jon: Are you serious?
It's a big red smiley face.
Jon: I can't believe Bon Jovi is still doing things. After his short lived acting career when he was in U571 or some shit. You think he would just retire, come on.
Yeah, he was on top of his game after that movie. So you would think he would just go out.
Jon: Absolutely, you know when he cut his hair short and that shocked the world somehow. He should've been deported from the country to some island where he could fuck off.
[laughs] Alright, is there anything else you want to say, maybe to get people to go out and get the new album?
Jon: Basically if you have an open mind to some interesting little twists on overwhelming exploited music scenes and genres that are going around, I think you'd like it. I think if you dig originality in bands you'll dig the new CD. And definitely if you have heard us and you do like us, you'll definitely really like the CD. I'm pretty confident in saying that. It's silly, it's fun. At the same time it's pretty serious, it's very brutal at times, and it's very heartfelt from all of our ends. We're all extremely happy to see it all progress throughout these last couple years with all these songs. Writing songs and recording them and putting them out to people is like giving birth. The 12 tracks on the CD are like 12 of our children. I might be quoting Arben when I'm saying all this; I think with all these songs it's like sending them off to school for the first time, like watching them grow. Hopefully people will dig it. Go get it, go get it and fucking enjoy your life. [laughs]