Weíre hanging out here in the practice space of Dead to Me, if we can just go around and have everyone say who you are and what you do in the band.
Ian: Hey, whatís up? My nameís Ian and I play drums.
Nathan: Iím Nathan Grice and I play guitar and sing.
Chicken: Iím Chicken, I play the bass and ďsingĒ
You used the finger quotes on that.
Chicken: Yeah, and then I realized no one can see my finger quotes.
Weíll include it. We have to express the intention. So for about the last year or so you guys have been a little bit dormant, what have you been up to in that time?
Chicken: UhmmÖThatís a good questionÖ
Nathan: Practicing every day!
Chicken: Yeah, from where you guys are sitting weíve been dormant but from where weíre sitting weíve been busier than weíve been for a real long time. Itís been awesome. Weíve been practicing a ton and writing a bunch and obviously thereís a lot of stuff to figure all out. So we figured that out and did what we could do, which is come here and practice all the time. Thatís what weíve been doing. Itís been really fun for me, like itís been awesome to play a ton and I feel like a happy kid again, playing this much music. Weíve basically been writing and stuff.
Nathan: Not to mention, life throws you some curve balls and they all happen real rapidly.
Chicken: Just about everything that could happen did. (laughs)You name it, its been rough.
I know one thing people will want to know about is, Jack right now is taking time out to be a father. Was that a hard choice for you guys to move on with that or would he have wanted that?
Chicken: He would never take us not playing. That was never an option. Thereís very few dudes that I realistically have a fear of physical violence from and heís one of them, for sure. Because he canÖHeís like our big brother and sometimes your big brother has to kick your ass and thatís all there is to it. He definitely made it very clear to me that not playing anymore was not even an option. That Dead to Me had to be a band forever and always and that heís going to be around when he can be around. Right now itís an obvious choice for him and from where weíre all sitting. Again I know thereís people that arenít in the band and donít live in the same city as us but to us itís all been relatively normal, as far as how that type of situation can go. One of our best friends is having a kid and heís just going to live with his family and do that for a while and itís just like, ďCool, go do your thingĒ and he definitely wants us to keep doing our thing. All three of us would get a punch in the face from Jack Dalrymple If we tried to not be in Dead to Me, thatís for sure.
Iím sure thatíd be interesting to see.
Chicken: (Laughs) Iím sure thereís a lot of people whoíd like to see that.
He doesnít strike me as the violent type but I donít know.
Nathan: I think Iíve maybe seen that. (laughs)
Chicken: Yeah, heís gotta either really, really, really, really hate you or like love you enough to kick your ass. And Iíd to say that each one of us in this band he likes well enough to break our nose. (laughs) You know what I mean? If thatís what it came down to.
So youíve written and record the new album and thatís slated for October release?
How was the recording process going into that? I know [Nathan] wrote most of the new songs.
Nathan: I wrote a few of them.
A few? I donít know the blog post said you wrote a lot of them.
Chicken: It did. It said, ďa lotĒ and then you said ďmostĒ. You come into my practice space and twist my words!
After I said I wasnít going to put words in your mouth (note: a pre-interview statement).
Chicken: After he said that!
Ian: Heís exploiting us.
Chicken: This guys got a fucking easy job he comes out here and lies to punk bands. Ugh! You got to get up really early to get on by Dead to Me. (laughs) Like yesterday early.
I was not up yesterday soÖ
Chicken: Clearly. Clearly, you werenít.
So the new album, the writing process.
Chicken: [Nathan] did write a lot of the songs.
Nathan: And they were like the first songs that Iíve written. Iíve never written for a band Iíve never sang for a band. Iíve played in a shit ton of bands but never been a singer or writing songs for the band to make it into a band song or whatever. Iíve never done it.
Were you guys all working on songs collectively one day or did you just happen to have some that you brought in?
Nathan: I feel that it was more like, Jack was doing his thing and we were all doing normal jobs but we were all miserable doing normal things like that. So we just started going to practice every day and that started to evolve.
Chicken: It was just what dudes in bands do, but he did it was awesome. You know what I mean? Youíre in a band together, dudeís gotta come up with songs and he came up with a lot of fucking awesome songs. It just hit right when it should.
Nathan: I felt like I was finally put in a position, in my own personal area playing music, where I had to do it. I had to do something. Like if I wasnít going to do it, it was on two dudes.
So you had to carry the weight.
Nathan: Yeah, I had to and I couldnít be more happy that I had to.
Ian: Yeah, and I donít write anything. I write drum parts for songs.
Chicken: But sometimes, dudes like us, thatís what it takes. If thatís what it took thatís what it fucking took and I couldnít be happier. Iím the luckiest kid ever. As soon as the one guy in my band, who was like my favorite singer, bailed and then I get this kid. Itís fucking amazing. Iím lucky as shit.
Nathan: Well, I thank my bandmates for giving me the opportunity to even try.
Is it nerve racking at all, this being the first release that you three will have out? I mean, obviously, there will be people that, regardless of how good it is, will be like, ďI liked it better when that other guy was in the bandĒ.
Nathan: Thatís just inevitable, your know?
Chicken: I donít know, if we honestly caredÖ(laughs)
Nathan: I donít want to necessarily bum anyone out but at the same time, if thatís the only reason theyíre not going to want to like it then, whatever.
Ian: Plus, weíre liked stoked that itís all of our hard work.
Nathan: Yeah. My grandmother liked one of our songs and thatís the first time Iíve been in a band where my grandmother has liked anything weíve done. That might make people think itís weird that my grandmother liked the songÖ
Chicken: Naw, itís a good song.
Nathan: (laughs) that just made me happy that I did something that my grandmother likes. So if someone doesnít like it for whatever reason, thatís fine.
How many songs do you demo for your grandmother?
Chicken: Actually, his grandmother is a total punk. She has a leather jacket and a bihawk and everything. (laughs)
Nathan: Itís true, she invented it actually.
So the estimated release is October and will that becoming out on Fat Wreck Chords again?
Nathan: Yeah yeah, thatíll be on Fat Wreck Chords.
Ian: On Fat, in time for Fest and Halloween.
Chicken: Yeah, our favorite weekend of the year, as a band, for sure.
Nathan: I canít wait.
You guys are playing this year, itís all set and everything?
Chicken: Yeah. Very excited.
Ian: Our other band, Bad Friends, is playing too.
So you guys are going to be playing double duty on that?
Chicken: No, each band is only going to play one show. (laughs)
You know, thereís a whole thought processes and pattern to this. So you donít know when the set times are or anything?
WellÖUhm...[Chicken] you threw the whole interview off, I lost my train of thought. I should know better by now, Iíve talked with you enough.
Chicken: (laughs) Youíd think. No, I donít even know if The Fest has our set times yet for the Dead to Me show. The Bad Friends show Iíve got some information about but honestly, I donít know enough to talk about it.
But youíre hoping their not at the same time.
Chicken: I think Tony, if he could figure it out with all the other 600 bands heíll probably get a way for our two bands not to have the same set times and worst case, I got two fucking hands my man, okay? (laughs) Iíll do Ďem [both] at once.
Anyone youíre excited to see, that you know is playing this year?
Chicken: I mean everybody, itís always so much fun.
Nathan: I know some.
Chicken: Do it!
Nathan: to be honest, Iím not exactly positive theyíre playing but Iím pretty sure they are. Thereís this band called Pygmy Lush, theyíre from Virginia. They are absolutely incredible. My boy, Josh Small, Iím pretty sure heís going to be playing. My boy, Josh Small, Iím pretty sure heís going to be playing. Maybe my friend Liza Kate, she may be playing also.
Ian: The Russian Circles
Nathan: I mean thereís a shit ton of bands.
Ian: I think Snuff.
Yeah, Snuff just got confirmed.
Chicken: Cancel [the show], Snuffs in town! That fucking rules.
Ian: I know, thatís fucking awesome. Doesnít the drummer sing for that band.
Nathan: I went to a weird club in Japan with that guy.
You went to Japan with the singer from Snuff?
Nathan: Well he was there. He was playing with the Toy Dolls at the time.
Ian: Who else is playing? Strike Anywhere.
You ended up having to cancel out last year, right? Because it was right as Jack was having his kid.
Chicken: Yeah it was, right around the delivery date for the baby. It was suspect and we didnít want toÖI mean he didnít want to end up in a spot where he was out there and then all, ďHuck, sorry I missed your birthĒ. (laughs)
Ian: I was playing The Fest 7
Chicken: But D4 killed it! (laughs) You know what I mean?
Nathan: I crowd surfed for you.
Chicken: Yeah, that was a bummer. We hate saying weíre going to do something and then not doing it. And that was a bummer for sure and it was torture getting text messages from friends telling us what they were up to. Ian went, he had a good time. He said, ďFuck Dead to me, Iím goingĒ. (laughs) Ian: I had a good olí time. I got stuck in an elevator with about 60 kids.
Oh, you were there that night?
Ian: I pretty much had a panic attack. Itís on tape, itís horrible. (laughs)
Chicken: Itís on tape, in the elevator. Itís a running video that says, ďincase of emergency, do not do thisĒ. (laughs)
Ian: Someone was recording from the hallway outside and you can just hear me going, ďoh fuck! You gotta get me outta hereĒ. Just totally freaking out. Then the doors open and I just push everyone out of the way.
Thereís a pregnant woman and you push here out of the way.
Chicken: Beat it!
Ian: Itís like when thereís a fire in the house on Seinfeld and George Costanzia knocks all the kids out of the way just to get out.
That was the Sunday night when like Var [of No Idea] and Virgil of Suburban Home and everyone and their mother was in that elevator?
Ian: Yeah it was pretty bad. Thereís probably like triple the amount of beers as there were people. Which was good, in case we were stuck in there for a while.
Chicken: Thatís the beer to person ratio you want.
Going back to the music, a lot of your stuff has had a duality of the personal history that youíve had and the politics that you have. They over lap on occasion, but they tend to keep separate, how has that been for the new album?
Chicken: Uhm..itís changed a little bit because, Iíve become interested in making the political songs personal, like personal stories. Like thereís some stuff on the new record about a team of German physicists and they had some help from an Austrian physicists, working with nuclear fission and stuff like that. Itís definitely a political song, if you know about it and you know about stuff like that but itís personal songs about relationships. Like their relationship with each other and ultimately what physicist chose their science and which physicist chose love and not wanting to be a part of building bombs that will kill millions of people. I was interested in stuff like that. Thereís also a song about Charles Darwin and some native folks, that he was stuck on a boat with while he was sailing around the world trying to figure some stuff out. Iíve become fascinated with how personal history is. Behind every historical story and lesson weíre taught is always a personal story and people are people and they do what they do for reasons. Itís really interesting for me to read about them and try to find out why they do what they do. So that showed up a lot on this record.
Look at you being all well read and shit.
Ian: He reads a lot.
Chicken: Itís called being unemployed. (laughs) Iíve been unemployed so Iíve just been reading.
It seems to have worked out well.
Chicken: Yeah, it helps with lyrical content, thatís for sure.
Nathan: Keeps the brain moving.
Chicken: Yeah, it keeps the brain working but thereís always going to be personal stuff on [the album] too. Like, Nathan has this really rad way of writing personal lyrics that areÖA lot of my favorite authors and lyricists, I say this all the time, but they have a way of wrapping really complex ideas up and hitting it with just one or two sentences. Nathan does that and I love the way he does that. Heíll have a really pretty song but itís just weird, fucked up lyrics. Itís awesome, it just plays really well together.
Nathan: Thank you, Chicken.
Chicken: I love his songs and Iím really stoked to have them on the record. And Iím a stickler for lyrics. I hate shitty lyrics. Thereís so many bands that dudes are listening to out there that just have terrible lyrics. Iím not saying that ours are rad or good or anything but Iím proud of them and Iím happy, that [Nathan] writes awesome lyrics.
Nathan: Chicken and I force each other to be as good as we can try to be. So thatís always nice to have that person.
Chicken: Yeah, really the only people I want to have be sure they like the song are Ian and Nathan. Thatís it. If it passes that test, Iím happy at the end of the day. Those are the dudes in my band and a band is about playing together and having fun and shit. If those guys love it, it means itís something meaningful when we play it, then fuck thatís it. Itís cool.
Touching on that, there were a few referenced bands, I suppose, in the blog post, when you were talking about the new album. You make reference to bands who idolize Bruce Springsteen.
Nathan: Thatís a lot of bands.
Chicken: Thatís the thing, is that it is a lot of bands.
Well, a lot of people took it super personal.
Chicken: I guess so. I was surprised. I mean, thatís their own guilty conscience, I guess.
Nathan: I love Bruce Springsteen.
Ian: Yeah, me an Nathan saw him.
Nathan: Me and Ian totally saw Bruce.
Chicken: Nathan and Ian like him. I totally missed the whole Bruce Springsteen boat.
Nathan: My friend Eric Kane, the drummer for Strike Anywhere, is the one who got me into them. Heís been obsessed with him since Iíve known him and Iíve known him for a long time.
So the next time you say, ďpunk bands need to stop listening to Bruce SpringsteenĒÖ
Chicken: No, they donít need to quit listening to him, they need to quit ripping him off.
Nathan: Quit ruining him, for me.
Chicken: Like quit ruining it for people who actually like his music.
Nathan: I really love Bruce Springsteen.
Chicken: Itís just hard to explain.
Iím just here to give you a platform.
Nathan: I just donít even know what bands youíre talking about.
Chicken: Yeah, we were talking about bandS. Definitely, like multiple bands. Iím serious, I feel like itís going around. Itís always something though man and I like to talk shit. You know that. The last time when [Cuban Ballerina] came out I was talking shit on kids with myspace haircuts and screamo bands and shit. Iím always going to be talking a little bit of shit because itís fun and when I was a kid reading Maximum Rock ĎN Roll, thatís what bands did. Ben Weasel had a column and it was like a dress code. It was like, ďPunks wear white high topsĒ, like nobody does that anymore. Someoneís got to stir this shit up, it gets stale. Not like Iím edgy or anything like that. It just shouldnít be such a surprise that bands take the piss out of each other every once and a while and talk shit.
Nathan: Plus everyone is so worried about being nice to each other.
Chicken: I have no reason to be nice to anyone. Iím not competing against anyone. Like I said, I got Ian and Nathan and thatís all I need.
While weíre on that, has there ever been anything youíve said that has just gotten someone super pissed?
Ian: Remember that one time with that kid in Wisconsin?
Chicken: Yeah, I got punched! I got socked in the face.
Ian: The kid just came up and touched him on the shoulder and Chicken turns around and the kid just punches him in the face and the kid just runs. It became this huge blowout out front and theyíre like, ďplease keep it down because of the neighborsĒ. Because the kid had a rat tail and Chicken was basically saying, ďThatís fucking awesome that youíve got a rat tailĒ. Kid didnít get it. He thought Chicken was talking shit and it just ruined his night. After the showÖ
Chicken: Yeah, I was listening to fucking Riverboat [Gamblers] and I look at him and we had like a moment, like, ďYeah dude Riverboat! Mike, running fucking crazy, rawr! Itís awesomeĒ and then like I look forward and I just feel a tap on my shoulder. Then Iím that guy at the show, after at the party with a fucking bag of peas on his face and shit. ďOh hey guys. Oh yeah, this records coolÖYeah cool show, uh fuck meÖĒ, ya know? Itís just a bummer but sometimes you talk some shit and a dude will fuckingÖ
Ian: He was like 16.
Chicken: He was young.
And just because you mentioned his rat tail? Didnít be seeÖ
Chicken: I think I may have come on to him and thatís where the anger came from. I tend to forget we were in Wisconsin.
Sound Guy Nariman: Iíd get pretty pissed if someone came on me. (laughter erupts)
So thereís no way to follow that, so Iíll give you a chance, is there anything you want to plug anything you want to say? This is the open forum section.
Nathan: Is there anything I want to plug? You could ask me that at any other time of the day and Iíd have an answer.
Ian: Weíre playing tomorrow in Half Moon Bay.
Chicken: Thatís right, we are playing tomorrow!
Thatís right youíre playing sort of like a fest.
Chicken: If by that you mean Kind of like A Fest, then yes.
Whatever, itís in Half Moon Bay. The details arenít specific.
Chicken: (laughs) Oh man, you just lost both of your fans. Where do you go, to shows at Slims and shit?
I grew up in Half Moon Bay.
Nathan: Oh no shit, you were a little uneducated on that one, Chicken. Chicken: He grew up there! I was going to give him like the whole big city like, ďwhere do you go to shows, Slims, fancy boy? Why donít you come to the show in Half Moon BayĒ.
We didnít have much of a DIY scene when I was there.
Chicken: Thatís funny because you say a DIY scene and the scene stands for ďyourselfĒ. You were like, ďno one else was doing a DIY sceneĒ. You were looking for a DIT scene, and everyone else was into the DIY scene. You were like, ďWhereís a good DIT scene. I need some ĎDo it Themselvesí. I need a bunch of fuckers who do it themselvesĒ. Itís do it yourself.
Iím here, Iím doing this myself. Actually you guys are just doing most of the work, Iím just here.
Chicken: Iím glad youíre here. I like your interviews, theyíre funny man.
Yeah I can tell. With the level of reverence Iím getting.
Chicken: Thatís no joke. Like I said, youíve earned our disrespect.