Deborah Khuanghlawn recently had a chance to sit down with Jason, Jim, and Bill of Authority Zero for a rather lengthy chat before their performance in Norfolk, VA with Flogging Molly. Click READ MORE to read about the band's thoughts on foreign languages, shark attacks, the alleged Suicide Machines connection, and tons and tons more.
Deborah: Please state your name, how old you are, what you do in the band, and your favorite ice cream flavor
Jason: My name's Jason Devore and I sing with Authority Zero and I'm 23 years old and my favorite ice cream flavor is cookies and cream.
(the Double Dragon music from the arcade game is playing in the background)
D: Good stuff
JD: Love that shit.
Bill: My name is Bill Marcks and I'm 24 years old and I play guitar for Authority Zero and I'm partial to rocky road or cookie dough ice cream
D: So we're gonna ask the normal questions out of the way first, the ones you get asked every single time. So how did the band get started?
B: We all met in high school really, through mutual friends and we just jammed after school and played different songs and we put stuff together as kids and it just grew to what it is today. Keep it short and simple
JD: I was living in Wyoming at the time and came down in the summer to visit my dad and I met Jerry Douglas who's not in the band anymore (he was the former guitarist for the band). He introduced me to the guys in the band and we just jammed around. Messed around and like he said just over the summer we got together and just started playing and kept doing it.
D: You guys are from Mesa, AZ and I read in a magazine that it's the same place that Jimmy Eat World is from.
B: Yeah it's right up the street. I grew up in (Bratton Horn) and they were from Seventh Place and Horn right up the street. They weren't all from there, Tom Linton was. My friend used to sing in the band, they used to do Nirvana covers. And Jimmy Eat World actually came to do an alumni ceremony at Westwood, we all went to the same high school and they played Screeching Weasel covers and shit like that so it was really weird. When they first got the deal with Capitol everyone was like "Wahhhh!" I think it was Static Prevails that got them the major deal. It's cool to watch them grow too out of the same little area. It's a very small, well not now, but it was. It's growing now. Pretty big.
D: How often are you guys away from home? When was the last time you guys were home?
B: We were just home for Jim's (drums) wedding. We don't get home much but other than special circumstances, maybe a couple weeks off here and there. We've been pretty much on the road for 12 months trying to get this record to take off, playing as much as we can.
D: The bus in the front, is that yours?
B: No we got the RV (laughs). We're the bumpkins. We like to roll up to bus tours in the RV and it breaks down a lot. (laughs)
D: How old is it?
B: I have no idea. Like '94?
Jim Wilcox (drums): Yeah it's like a 94.
JD: We've had it for a couple of months, like 5 months or something like that.
JW: It looks so big on it's own, but when you look at it next to the bus it looks so tiny. It sits normally at my old apartment and I walk outside and I'm like "God, that thing is huge" and then today I just realized walking out seeing it behind a bus, that thing is so small.
B: The tour bus is about 14 feet in the back and maybe 4 feet in head clearance.
Pat: Do they [Flogging Molly] sleep every night on the bus?
B: I'm not sure. They probably get like shower rooms and stuff, maybe sometimes crash but usually they sleep on the bus because it's so expensive.
D: There's Spanish and Portuguese on the album. Are you guys either of the two?
JD: Naw, he [points at Bill] was a Spanish major in college.
B: I was learning Portuguese while I was learning Spanish because it's part of the criteria to get a degree in Spanish so we would come up with ideas to throw people out of the loop, throw in an extra language or two, listen to a guy named Manu Chao who sings 4 or 5 languages so it's an interesting thing that we've picked up by listening to different music.
D: So you're fluent?
B: I'm in fluent in Spanish. I'm fluent in Portuguese but it's not as good. It's a little more rusty than my Spanish because you don't use Portuguese that much except if you're on the East Coast. But I don't use it either. I used it with this chick…I don't know if that's the way to say it (everyone laughs)..this girl in Japan it was one of our friend. She was reading in Japanese, because she had been living there for 12 years, Japanese characters over the phone and I was translating back to these guys in English. It was very weird. Weird like spaghetti loops. Lots of languages flowing everywhere.
D: Have you been to Spain or…
B: Yeah I studied in Spain for a semester. Then we always went down to Mexico. We used to play down in Rocky Point down by Point Peńasco, which is about 5 and a half hours south of Mesa. It's where we would go down for spring break cause there's no beach in Mesa. Gotta find fun somewhere you know, unless you want to go swimming in the canals.
JD: Which we did. (laughs)
D: Some of your favorite bands and influences?
JD: Bill said Manu Chao. I like Pennywise a lot, Bad Religion, Operation Ivy, Rancid, Sublime, Marley, just a bunch of bands. Pretty much limitless. We had a lot of different influences from a lot of different genres of music.
B: We'd bring something to the table and then we'd all become enamored with the music that other people bring in. At first it's kinda rough sometimes, you know with the hard-core stuff that our road tech or our guitar tech brought in that we wouldn't become a fan of til later. Everyone's kind of music grows on each other, in your own little space and you grow to love it.
D: This is your first time playing with Flogging Molly?
B: No we've played with them before.
JD: Yeah we played with them at Edgefest back home.
JW: This is our first time sitting down and sharing a small venue with them. Edgefest was kinda like a Warped Tour, there was 2 main stages.
B. It's a radio fest, lots of big bands get together.
JW: 13 bands, all day long.
P: That's in Mesa?
B: No that's in Peoria, Phoenix area. In Mesa, they have something that's kinda big to do that but there's a 10 o'clock curfew there.
JD: They shut down liquor at the amphitheatre at 8, show has to be over by 10.
B: Yeah cause it's right in the residence area.
JW: It's gotten more and more conservative in the years too. Back when we were kids and we were going to shows in the amphitheatre, we were there til the wee hours in the morning
JD: [Indistinguishable club name] got shut down too right quick.
B: I think it's a church now.
JW: The Spanish church that was next door bought it. My wife came out there one time after a show - my wife, I've been married for two weeks now so that sounds weird- she came out after a show and there all these people there from the church, about 8 or 9 of them and they were all standing around - she has a white VW bug- and they were standing around it holding hands and praying, like facing her bug. (everyone laughs) I don't know if they were praying to it or for it. She was like "what is going on, what are these people doing" and she couldn't understand them because they were speaking Spanish. She was just freaked out.
D: Did these guys give you time off for your honeymoon?
JW: Actually we didn't do our honeymoon. My parents live in Maui so we did the wedding over there and we basically set up for a week for us to be there. We had to get our marriage license over there and a lot of other stuff we we're gonna get over there. We figured a week we'd be able to take care of all that and relax. We had the wedding the second day before we left so we're still planning on a honeymoon if I ever go home again so we'll see. We've both been to Maui and my parents live there so we want to go somewhere like the Cayman Islands or somewhere neither one of us have been to. So someday if we ever get some time away, her parents said they'd be happy to set us up with a honeymoon.
P: So what's she doing now while you're out on the road?
JW: We bought a house. She was moving in last night. We've moved all my stuff in but she's still moving stuff in from her other house. She's just been moving in and setting the house up. Decorating and painting the house lots of different colors.
D: This is your 3rd time in Norfolk. You guys like it here?
B: Love it.
D: Been to the beach yet?
B: Have not. How far is it?
P: Bout 15-20 min from here.
JD: Virginia Beach? That's where the great whites are.
B: Shark attacks!
P: I dunno…there's a shark attack occasionally…
B: See that's what I'm saying. The Atlantic, that's what I always think about. Sharks. And it's cold.
P: Ah…it only happens once or twice a summer….
B: That's once too many for me!
JW: The dangerous place if you want to get eaten is to go swimming in Florida. They hold the record, I think, for the last 15 years for shark attacks.
JD: Don't go surfing over there.
B: Little bastards.
JW: If you go walking in Florida near the ocean you can see sand sharks everywhere. I want to feed Jason to a shark one day. "Here eat him! Here's his arm!"
D: One of the readers on the site saw you at a show wearing a Suicide Machines shirt and you sang one of their songs or rather Minor Threat's song "I Don't' Wanna Hear It" that they covered and they just wanted to know if there was a connection or just a coincidence.
JD: We like Minor Threat and we like Suicide Machines and that's about it.
B: It's funny, a lot of kid's don't know it's Minor Threat and they're like "why don't you play that Suicide Machines song, you know any more of their stuff". And we're like "That's Minor Threat".
D: Another reader wanted to know "How much influence, if any, was Sublime on your music?
JW: We were probably influenced by them more than any other band because it was so neat how they went from hip-hop to punk rock to ska to reggae and they always did it so smooth. And it was a challenge to us to see how we could always say we're gonna make this song as heavy as we possibly can and then break it down into the slowest reggae we possibly can and how smooth can we make that transition. That was a very big influence from them on us.
B: The more you listen to traditional reggae, you hear all the different samples they took in. We were just over in the islands for Jim's wedding and they were singing all the traditional reggae songs and it was stuff Bradley was covering too and in essence when you're listening to Sublime you're listening to a conglomeration of all the reggae that you can out there. Peter Tosh, Marley. Lot of rock Espanola bands. Skankin' Pickle, we were listening to them before Sublime was around and they were notorious for doing stuff like that. But everyone focuses more on Sublime because they were recently just one of the bigger people to make it out of the ska-punk rock genre mix so a lot of times we do get compared to them. But there are many influences that we've had including Sublime that have helped to create our sound for us.
D: Another reader on the website asked, "Where the heck did you guys come from? I mean seriously, it was like out of thin air? Were you on an indie before or what?" I don't know if you guys read the website…
JW: Oh yeah I've been there a few time. I get a mailing list.
B: Why can't it be a female-ling list?
JW: I think it's from another site, I get this email with your guy's website all the time. I always see punknews.org in there.
JD: Well we've been playing for 9 years or so when we didn't have any label support whatever until a year and half ago when we finally got signed and that just happened by having a little love from a station back home called 106.3 the edge at the time and they have a local ska-punk show. They play one local band every Sunday and it was a 4-hour show that went on and they played anything from Black Flag to Pennywise to Sublime to Skankin' Pickle. Anything. We sent in our music to them and the guy who did the show played it and introduced us to the rest of the DJ's there and they started spinning us on the regular station and people were starting to wonder where this band was coming from and they were interested so they came out saw us play some shows and we went from there and got the deal and everything and started touring.
JW: We never toured before we got a label. We tried and tried and tried but every time it would come down to everyone throw their money in the pot and we'd come up with 50 cents. So a lot of people think we came out of nowhere and we were a band for a year and then we got signed but it was just like we couldn't get out of Phoenix. That's what our problem was.
JD: We toured Phoenix and the Mesa metropolitan area and Mexico for 8 years.
JW: And we got into Mexico just because of this guy.
B: See we also burned a lot of our CD's
P: Just one by one?
B: Yeah we burned a ton of "The Sky's the Limit" and "One More Minute" on this two little CD things labeled "One More Minu-ete". And there was this load where we spelled a shit ton wrong.
JW: I think it was 2 boxes, 400. Our bass player Jeremy and I were just sitting there writing and writing and writing trying to get them done and out of the way.
JD: And we were like you guys spelled minute wrong. Every single one of them wrong.
B: Everyone was listening; even the locals were pumping it down there. Everyone goes there from California and New Mexico. Spring break joint. Cool place to get exposure. Underground. We were our own little independent label, just doing it ourselves until we got some major interest backing.
D: Another reader: Is "Superbitch" supposed to be taken seriously? I find it incredibly immature and was assuming that it was all some big joke, title included."
B: Yeah that was old school, 95.
JD: Back then it was very serious. It came from an ex girlfriend. You know any kid goes through that shit, you think you find the love of your life and then you kinda get dumped or whatever. That was just the emotion I was going through personally at the time. Lot of kids can relate to it, lot of kids think it's stupid. It's an old song like they said, it's an old kid emotion but a lot of kids can relate to it and are going through the same emotions.
JW: A lot of guys relate to that song. A lot of the guys are like "PLAY SUPERBITCH!!!"
JD: It's my uncle's favorite song and he's 45.
D: You guys are doing Warped Tour this year.
B: We're doing 10 days on the west coast.
D: What stage are you on?
B: It depends. We're on Volcom a lot of the time. There's a couple we're on the main stage. I know in Phoenix we're on the main stage. I'm not sure. We're going to have to wait and see what they tell us to do.
P: That's later on this summer?
JD: It starts the 5th of July
B: We have a bunch of gigs over here and then we end up in Seattle to start out the tour for us.
D: Are you driving the RV for that?
B: Ah no. We have some gigs that conflict with that so our crew is gonna take the RV over there and we're gonna fly from Long Island. We have a lot of little gigs to pick up on our way over there.
JW: We have a show the day before Warped Tour on the East Coast.
D: Who are you excited about touring with?
B: I want to see the Transplants. I just want to see what they're like live.
JW: Is Rancid doing it this year? I haven't really sat down to look at the lineup.
B: AFI's in some of them, Pennywise, Suicide Machines.
JD: Mad Caddies.
JW: Sum 41. It'd be cool to see them again.
B: I think Brand New's coming too. They're pretty big around here aren't they?
D: Yeah they're coming here in October with Strike Anywhere and Bouncing Souls.
JD: SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. That'll be good.
D: If you could tour with anyone who would it be? You could pick any 3 bands and they'd open for you.
B: The Used, they have a really good album out.
JW: I love that CD.
B: Rancid would be cool, but they don't really tour anymore. NOFX would be great but they pretty much do the Warped Tour.
JD: but if we could pick ANYone?
B: OhHHH. Well then NOFX would be great. Rancid. AFI, they put on a great show. So that's my 3
JD: Mine would be Flogging Molly, Bouncing Souls, Pennywise. That'd be fun
JW: I would hate to headline that tour. (everyone laughs)
B: I'd be like I'll open
JW: I would not want to play after those 3 bands played. I'd be like they were good and …now…we…have…to..play..
JD: Oh shit. That'd be tough.
JW: I'd probably tour with a bunch of hip hop bands.
D: What's been your most embarrassing tour story?
B: I know what it is. We were on tour with Sum 41 and No Use for a Name and our RV broke down as usual. So we're trying to remain professional cause we don't want to lose these gigs cause both these bands can draw grades so we wanted to get in front of those two and play. So we ended up having to drive 2 box trucks
JW: 14 foot U-haul trucks
B: It was a 24 hour haul. We were all sleeping on each other shoulders to get there to play this fucking gig. It was a good gig but we looked like morons on the whole tour cause the RV kept breaking down. SO we called ourselves the Bumpkins after a while.
JD: We'd roll up- The assholes are here!
B: We just felt like we were making jackasses of ourselves.
P: Did you have to drive back and pick up the RV?
B: No Jimmy stayed with it and then we waited for him to come. Jimmy's our guitar tech. He stayed in Amarillo, TX
JW: He stayed in Amarillo the first time
B: Oh that was the first time it broke down. It broke down again and his optimism was like faded.
JW: I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and help since I've built cars since I was little. We've just got to fix these things and then she'll run fine and he's just laughing because over time I was like this thing just sucks.
B: It's a piece of shit!
P: When it broke down did you try to fix it yourself?
JW: No. I had to use the little bit of knowledge that I had cause I don't really mess with cars anymore. The slight knowledge that I had so I could talk to a mechanic. Most of the things that have been breaking up have been our transmission. I built one of those in my life and I vowed never to do it again. So it's been pretty major stuff that wouldn't be fixable quite so easily.
D: Speaking of cars…what do you think about NASCAR?
JW: I actually like NASCAR. To go there and see it.
B: I actually have no idea what's going in NASCAR. I think it's a bunch of racecars and…
B: Yeah. What's that one guy…Dale Earnhardt Jr? Is he the one that died or is that his dad?
JW: His dad.
B: I know a couple of names, the ones that make up the headlines.
JW: I've been to a couple of NASCAR races and it's pretty neat but if you turn it on TV it's like [thumbs down]. Watching cars go around a loop, it gets pretty boring. I've always been more into quarter mile drag racing. Really really big big engines.
JD: Motorcycles are good.
D: What type of cars do you guys have?
B: I have a 97 Chevy.
JW: Have you seen our video for "one more minute?"
B: I drive a 97 S10. It's green but my friend spray painted flames on it for fun.
JW: And in the very beginning of "One More Minute" I'm standing in front of a truck.
B: And it's orange and yellow flames on fucking green background. It's horrendous but it's funny.
JW: Everyone thinks it's mine cause they're like wow dude is that your truck? That thing is awesome! Somehow in the video they got it to look so nice.
B: They shoot it with 35mm like real warm film so it looks like a real paint job.
JW: It's not.
B: He's got a truck.
JW: I'm in the middle of building a Tacoma. It's like pieces and it's been so for a like a year. I bought a 96 Tacoma and basically just cut the thing to hell. I've always liked hydraulics, airbags and all that shit. I've always been in that stuff. It sits on the ground. The door actually sits on the ground if I lower it all the way down. It's pretty scary.
JD: I have a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
JW: He definitely has the nicest car. He was the smart one that went and bought a new car and didn't' fuck with it.
JD: I had a piece of shit I was towing around for a while. A 97 Mazda that blew black and white smoke every time I started it. I had to wait 10 minutes for the smoke to clear before I could take off, before I could drive down the road.
JW: I had one of those back in the days as well cause I can remember when he bought it, it was identical to the one that I had. Of course mine was lowered and everything else too. When it started puffing smoke, I was like "been there. Just give it another 40,000 your engine's gonna fall out the bottom. I know I've done it". Those Mazda trucks will run for days. They tell you don't put any oil in them.
D: What was the last movie you guys saw?
All: The Italian Job.
D: Is it good? I haven't seen it yet.
B: It is. It's better than I thought it would be. I'd thought it'd be like "The Score" cause it's pretty much "The Score again". Edward Norton the bad guy again. And even in the beginning they had a cylindrical case and I was like oh my god it's the same movie, are they going to do it again. But it turned out to be a pretty good movie.
JW: Little too much dialogue. Some of the parts got a little too slow. Once it gets into more of the action scenes then it gets really cool.
JD: The ending kinda sucks.
B: We were like "Ha ha…ha..ha. What the fuck" Now we'll get in trouble if we run into those guys if they read the interview.
D: Have you had any female fans that are…um..
JW: Obsessive? I did an interview with a girl from New Mexico State and she asked if we had any craaaaazy female fans. I'm the drummer though, so I don't see much.
B: I know someone who did something crazy one time. One time Jason was just chilling there and a chick dumped honey on his head and he didn't understand why.
JD: I'm all Why did you do that? It's going down my back.
B: He was being serious.
JD: And she just looked at me blankly. I really want to know why you poured honey on my head.
P: Was this on stage?
JD: No we were sitting there chilling. She was sitting there next to me and not paying attention to what I was saying and she got an angry look on her face like it was wrong for me asking her why she dumped honey on my head.
D: Was this a random person?
B: No it was someone we hang out with. It was just something that she did really out of character. It was really weird.
JD: I'm totally cool sitting there with honey. On my head. Of all things.
D: If you could sleep with any celebrity who would it be?
JW: I'm not answering that. It could get me in trouble.
B: Hmm let me think.
JW: ANGELINA JOLIE!!!
B: She's up there. Oh Kate Hudson's looking really cute these days.
JW: Kate Hudson was hot in Almost Famous.
B: She grew on me. She looked really sexy in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days". That's who's struck me lately.
[And then sadly my tape ran out]
JD: Charlize Theron, Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz
JW: the professional pool player, Jannette Lee, Lucy Liu
D: Describe the other guys in the band as vegetables.
All: Jim- celery, Bill- tomato (cause of his red cheeks), Jason- jalapeno (smooth on the outside, hot as lava in your mouth on the inside), Jeremy (Wood-bassist)- eggplant, Milk (tour manager)- pumpkin.
D: Any last words?
B: Alfie Lucero is a sick bastard!!!!!
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