I had a chance to converse with Todd Bell, Damon Atkinson, Chris Broach, and Bob Nanna - collectively known as Braid - about their past, present, and future both individually and as a group.

Braid is currently out finishing up the first leg of their reunion tour with Minus The Bear, Murder By Death, and Mock Orange. They'll begin the second leg of the tour in early July with Recover and Moneen. Visit BraidTour2004.com for all dates.
Alright, so we are here with Braid, just say your name and what you play, all that stuff.

TODD: Todd Bell, I play the bass guitar in Braid.

DAMON: Damon. Drums. Braid.

CHRIS: Chris Broach. I play guitar and sing in Braid.

So it’s been five years – what brought this about? What made you guys wanna do this after five years? Why now, why not earlier, why not ever?

D: Uh… well, first it was the girls…

C: Yeah. [laughs]

This is going verbatim, just so you know.

D: The main reason… a couple reasons, actually… one of the main reasons is that Bob and I actually were talking about this for a while because a lot of times when Hey Mercedes was on tour an experience we would have was people coming up to us and saying “I love Braid, I have all the records, you guys mean a lot to me, but I never got to see you live because you broke up then I got into you.” And there’s so many of those people. Another one of those reasons is the DVD just came out, so we-

C: It kinda made sense at the time, cause we had been talking about it, and I know Bob had emailed me a while back about it too and we had kinda been in touch but it was something like “maybe we might do this, who knows?” But he told me the same story about how kids would come up to you guys and say “Hey, we haven’t ever had a chance to see you,” and kids would say the same thing to me, although on a much smaller level because they were going mainly to the Hey Mercedes shows. I think we all… once we did the interviews for the new DVD, we all thought “Hey, we’ve having a good time, maybe this could work.”

D: It would be fun, we’d have fun on tour.

T: It’s funny, because the DVD commentary and everything that’s done on it is done before we actually decided to tour. The commentary was done in December of last year at my house-

C: Nope, January.

D: Yeah.

C: Early January.

T: That’s right, it was after Christmas. And then it came about. So it’s almost funny that we’re touring with the DVD, because-

C: We hadn’t decided to do it yet. It’s almost like “that’s closure,” then “Woah, we’re on tour, yeaaaaaaaah!”

D: It’s just a lot of fun, we knew it was going to be that way. We knew that’s what it was going to be for us, because this is the “last tour.”

T: Right, and we were unsure, because there was a little bit of interest we had heard from small groups of people, but who’s to really know, because there’s so many people like “Dude, you’re gonna come to my town, and I love your band, and all my friends are gonna be there,” and you get there and there’s like eight kids at the show. So you never really know what people say if it’s what everybody’s really feeling… So what we did is, we started asking around to all our friends like “If Braid would do a tour, would you go? It’s been so long, what would happen?” And all the responses we got were super positive, and our booking agent put out kind of a disclaimer for the show like “Maybe, would you do a show for Braid?” and the feedback was spectacular, so we were like “I guess it is a good time,” So with it being a spontaneous thing that came about, it kind of worked out for the best. I mean, you were at the first couple shows, they were… good. Going into the tour, I had no expectations.

C: And so far it’s been very, very well received. The shows have been full, so it’s been really really fun for us too, because we have kids there who have obviously been fans for a long time or a short time, but they’re there singing along and it’s been a lot of fun for us because it’s been something that they would have never seen had we not done this reunion tour. And for us, it’s cool to get out there and “Hey, we’ll do this tour so you can come see us.”

So you said this is going to be it, there’s not going to be anything more in the way of the US. Are you doing any foreign stuff after you finish the US tour?

D: Yeah, we’re doing Japan. We got an email from Japan… Braid had been there before, and timewise it worked out okay. We hadn’t really planned on doing anything else but the US, but-

T: You can’t really beat a free trip to Japan. It’s not like there was a mass email sent out saying we wanted to go other places, it was just that they heard about the US tour, and they got in touch with us and we were like “Hmm, alright, Japan, let’s go.”

D: They were really into it, so it happened early on, so then people from Europe started finding out and were like “Why don’t you come here?” We’d love to, but timing just isn’t going to work out. The Firebird Band is going on tour of the US in October, Hey Mercedes is doing a European tour in October. There’s just no time. We don’t wanna wait four months and then do another Braid tour in Europe.

It’s kind of all or nothing right now, basically.

C: Right, right.

T: If it fits in, we’ll do it.

So how long have you guys been practicing for this?

T: Six times.

Six times, that’s it?

C: Seven practices.

D: Like seven days.

C: Since we’ve known about the fact that we were going to do the tour, obviously all of us have listened to the songs and kinda got ready before we went in… sort of. [laughs] Some of us. And then, you know, just went in and got to practice.

T: The thing about rehearsal is, you can rehearse as long as you want, but even if you screw up when you’re rehearsing, you don’t really care because it’s practice. You don’t really buckle down and do your job until you’re playing in front of people. Luckily, the first couple shows went well, we were all very lucky. [laughs]

C: They were like hometown-y for us.

T: We could get a bit nuts and screw up and it’s alright, but as of last night in Detroit, I started really being comfortable onstage, and playing the songs and not really thinking about them too much. And the whole thing about doing a tour with songs that we wrote eight or more years ago… at that time, the thing about doing a tour like that is you’re stressed the first while until you kick into autopilot, and you’re not thinking about playing. Once playing is routine, tour is a breeze. And right now, it’s getting to that point. We’re all starting to realize… We’re all starting to feed off each other.

C: Did you say we’re all starting to beat off each other?

T: Yes. [laughs]

Alright. So you guys learned about two dozen songs for this tour, and are rotating them every night. What are the favorite ones you really look forward to every set?

T: My favorite Braid song of all time has always been “Never Will Come For Us.” I really enjoy playing that song.

D: It’s a good one. Uh…Umm… Boy…

C: No, not “Boy.”

T: I hate that song.

D: I dunno, I’m trying to think… I’ve always liked “First Day Back,” that’s a fun one to play. I dunno, I’m really bad at this. I’m trying to think of what songs we actually play! [laughs]

T: I like playing “Chandelier Swing” a lot. I don’t really like Chris’ singing parts, but I like my bass part. [laughs]

C: Fuck. You. That’s why we broke up. [laughs]

D: I like “Divers,” too.

C: I like “Divers,” also. I actually like playing “Milwaukee Sky Rocket,” because it’s just an all-out, freakout session.

You said that kids are singing along. Do you think that you can tell that it’s a new breed of kids in the audience, kids that are 15, 16 that never would have been there back in the day?

C: Well, what’s sort of almost become a habit now is at some point in the set we’ve been asking “How many of you have seen a Braid show before?” and in Chicago and Champaign, it was about half the crowd rose their hand. And then we asked who didn’t, and another half the crowd rose their hand. So half the people in our “hometowns” where we started – Champaign and then Chicago, to a degree – have never seen a Braid show before. And then last night in Detroit, I’d say more people than not had not seen a Braid show before.

T: It’s still early in the tour, and we’re not that far from home yet, so all we have right now is an idea from the promoter what show is gonna do, or how many tickets they sold in advance or whatnot. But in Champaign and Chicago, we’re kinda guaranteed a decent show by the number of kids that we know are gonna come out… [Bob enters]

C: Hey, get in here, we’re doing an interview. Enter Bob Nanna.

You wanna say anything about him before he gets over here?

C: Yeah, the one thing about Bob is that he’s really bad at everything.

T: You know what else is really bad about him? [whispers] Flatulence.

Do we have any rebuttals, no pun intended?

D: Remember, I didn’t say anything.

So Bob, what’s your favorite song in the set to play?

BOB: Did everyone answer it?

Yeah.

B: “Milwaukee Sky Rocket.”

Already heard that one.

B: Did you say that?

C: I said that too.

B: I like it. It’s nice, big, energetic.

Is that the one you jumped into the pit during last night?

B: Yes. Tonight I’ll do the same thing. [laughs]

What do you feel so far about the tour, and how do you think it’s going so far?

B: I think it’s going great so far. I’m having an awesome time. Just from talking to kids, kids are really excited about it, and so am I. [Minus The Bear begins their set downstairs.] I’m really just flustered right now.

Speaking of Minus The Bear, how did the opening acts come about for this tour? Did you pick them yourself?

C: They paid us a lot of money and we said okay. [laughs]

D: We kind of put a list of bands that we were interested in, and we kind of had our booking agent put a list together, too. Because we don’t know what bands want to do a Braid tour. So collectively, we came up with a list and started to narrow things down. With Minus The Bear, some of us had heard them before, but none of us had toured with them before or knew what kind of people they were.

C: We heard great things about them, though.

D: Then we got their music sent to us, and-

T: It’s awesome.

D: It’s awesome.

T: Jake [from Minus The Bear] emailed me on the last Hey Mercedes tour, and was like “We really wanna do it.” It’s kinda weird because we’re doing a reunion tour. How many bands wanna come out with a band that really isn’t a band? It’s kind of a shot in the dark whether the tour’s gonna do well or not. But they were into it, and so were Murder By Death, who Hey Mercedes had played with once before, and we liked their band too.

C: I got a bunch of calls from Moose, their manager, who is a friend of mine. He was like “You gotta check this out. Broach, just lemme send you a CD. Talk to your boys.” And I was like “I think it’s already done.” [laughs]

B: But Moose was still like “C’mon Chris, we haven’t heard from ya…”

Do you find it weird to be playing shows with bands that you’ve obviously had an influence on? Like last night in Detroit, Rescue was saying from the stage that they always looked up to you. Do you find that… maybe not intimidating, but do you find yourself wanting to perform better because of that, or do you find it weird at all?

C: Well, it kinda makes me want to kick their ass.

For stealing your riffs?

C: Yeah, that’s the first thing that I thought. [dead silence]

Well alright, that’s totally serious.

D: Yeah, going back to-

C: I’m totally kidding, by the way. [laughs]

D: Yeah, going back to part of the reason we did this tour is so many people expressed to us how much Braid meant to them, and we’ve been an influence to them and their band, so we’ve always known that was kinda out there, like you said with Rescue – that’s awesome. It’s cool, it’s flattering. It doesn’t go to our heads at all. It’s great that our music could influence people and make people start playing in a band.

Have you had to deal with people asking you for autographs yet?

C: Yeah, but nothing ridiculous. Some people want us to sign a CD or an LP or a poster, we’re all happy to do it. It’s not like “Ooh, this is weird.” If they really want it, you know…

T: It’s hard to ask for that stuff, you know? If you really like a band, there’s so many opportunities that I passed up for bands that I was at their show, and I’ve wanted to ask but I couldn’t because I was nervous. And I think it takes a lot of guts.

B: We all have autographs from people. I have my Rachael Ray bookmark.

D: It’s funny last night. Before the show started, I was walking through the crowd, and a kid asked if he could take a photo with me. And I said “Sure, why not?” So we did, and then I started walking away, and there was this group of four girls, and they said “Can we get a photo with you?” And I looked at them really straight-faced and said “No.” And I started to walk away. [laughs] And I looked at their faces and they were shocked. [laughs] So I was like “Naw, naw, come here…”

C: That is awesome. That is awesome. That is the funniest thing I have ever heard.

D: It’s all in good fun. Like Chris was saying, if someone wants it, sure.

C: It is flattering, and nice to know that people are out there and they care that much.

So you’re not worried about people putting stuff up on eBay?

D: Well, it happens. But most of the time you figure these people out. Before on tour, this happened to Hey Mercedes a couple of times, where someone will come up to you after a show and they’ll have a stack of photos, like five or six, and they’ll all be the same photo, and they’ll have a cute silver Sharpie pen and have you sign ‘em and they don’t even know your name.

T: That happened on the last tour and sure enough, I found it on eBay, because I’m an eBay geek. And I emailed it to everyone and I was like “Ha ha ha, no one’s bidding on it.” Which is kinda funny but it’s kinda sad, too. [laughs]

B: I signed one of those photos “Congratulations eBay winner,” actually.

T: There was one time at the Empty Bottle with Hey Mercedes, this guy had a brand new drumhead with a Hey Mercedes sticker on it, and he wanted all of us to sign it, and I was like “Hey man, thanks dude. That’s awesome. Who would you like us to make it out to?” And he said “Just sign it.” [laughs] And I knew he just wanted to dump it on eBay, so I wrote Tom instead of Todd, so it’s not even going to have my name on it. And he didn’t even know, he was like “Cool, Tom, thanks!”

So this leg of the tour is running till mid-June, then you’re taking about two weeks off, then you’re doing the second leg. Are there any places you’re going that you haven’t been before, or that you’re really looking forward to going to again?

B: The only place we’re going that Braid has never played before is Oklahoma City.

C: We played Oklahoma City!

B: No, we played Tulsa. In a rain storm. Outside.

C: It was more than a rain storm, it was a fucking thunder and lightning storm. Outside.

How’d that work out?

C: Uhh…we thought we’d might get struck by lightning.

So it’s weird to say that you expect good crowds, but do you think that since you’re going to places you’ve been before and people are used to you coming through that you’re looking for good turnouts?

D: Well hopefully. I guess in a way that’s the reason we’re doing this tour, the turnouts should be good because this is everyone’s last chance to see us. The people who never got to see Braid live, this is their once chance to do it. So we expect them to come out. But we’re not going into this tour expecting that every night is going to be sold out and that we’re gonna make millions of dollars. We’re going on this tour and we want to do it right. We made sure there’s plenty of promotion…

T: We rehearsed, we hired a promo company, all of our labels are involved, we got a ton of new merch, we did advertising everywhere, we put up a new website… We rehearsed, we’re ready for the tour, we have a great crew and we’re gonna make it to every show and we’re gonna give it our all. And if people wanna come out and support that, that’s great, and if not, we did our part.

Did you guys have any problems crossing the border today? Because I know we got interrogated last night.

T: We have had before, in previous bands.

B: Did you go to the casino?

Yeah, we went to the casino in Windsor, and got interrogated when we came back over to Detroit. He was yelling at our driver and almost reduced her to tears. Today, we slid right in.

D: We got lucky. Nothing happened.

C: Well, I jumped the fence, but…

There were a couple shots fired.

C: Well I had to jump the fence because I have a few warrants, so… but these guys went over fine.

Do you guys have any interesting border crossing stories from the past?

C: A couple. I’ll tell you one. This one time we got pulled over – the Firebird Band was going to Canada – and we got pulled over which was really shitty, no insurance, and I don’t think one of us had a driver’s license.

B: How did you ever think you were going to get into Canada? [laughs]

C: We get to the border, and they had us pull over to the side and asked “are you playing in Canada?” And we said “no, we’re just cutting through to Buffalo cause we want to see Niagara Falls and we’re playing Boston for New Years.” And they said “Pull over” anyway but that was cool because we had made sure we didn’t have any itinerary or anything. So they lift up a cushion and pull out our old itinerary, our original itinerary that had old dates, but they were in Canada. But we were supposed to play in Canada, but these dates were wrong. So I was like “Call the places, we’re not playing…” But we were playing, just not at the venues that they found on the sheet of paper. So they said to us “You just lied to us, you’re in big trouble.” And me and Steve Lamos and a couple of other guys just sat down and were like… “Shit.” And they’re like “We could fine you 400 dollars, we could put you in jail, you’re lying to us, what else are you hiding,” blah blah blah blah blah. Whatever. Long story short, we got turned around and didn’t get into Canada to play our shows. So we drove all night in a blizzard – not kidding - to Boston, so we could get to Boston to hang out for New Years Eve at Mahmood’s house.

T: Nice.

C: Yeah. That’s my story.

So Braid definitely was a band that, while successful in the nineties, kind of missed the advent of filesharing and MP3s, Napster and stuff like that. You can look at music now and can see tons of bands that have skipped so many steps when it comes to starting a band and putting out small records and touring and building up a fanbase. They’re putting out MP3s that are getting spread around and all of the sudden they have ten thousand fans all over the country. Have you found that in the past couple years since your demise, the band has spread through MP3 sharing?

C: I haven’t even noticed that at all.

T: I’m sure that people that might have heard of Braid before, and now have the possibility to download it for free, maybe they’ll check it out? But I don’t think there’s been this huge rush of like “Finally! Braid MP3s!”

B: You gotta figure that kids are coming to Hey Mercedes shows and saying “Hey, three of these guys used to be in Braid…” If I was at a show and someone was like “Yeah, their old band is really good, you should check it out,” maybe I would go and download some stuff, too. I’m sure it’s helped, at least.

What are your feelings about those bands who skip those steps? You know, those bands who right out of the gate buy a brand new van…

C: Well good for them, that’s awesome if they can do it.

T: You can argue all day, like I can hear my dad or my grandpa telling me how things were different back in the day, and how things were harder back then, and you can do that all day, and I’ve even done it myself. I can’t imagine not touring without a laptop, and a cell phone, and we got GPS in our van, and all this crazy stuff. Back in the day, we were using dialers to book tours. We’d stop at a pay phone – even though we were two hours late for a show – to tell the promoter that we were going to be late. Wasting time to find a phone to get to the show. But that’s how it used to be. Now, you get excited to go into junior high because that’s the age when your mom gets you a cell phone. That’s crazy.

B: I think for the most part it’s bad for bands that end up like that, that get an MP3 heard and buy a van… If they never really had a chance to tour in a van and work at being a band and get… I dunno, they somehow become disconnected…

With the experience of being in a band.

B: Right, exactly. I really think that’s important about being in a band. Immediately if you put out an MP3 and don’t play a lot of shows and sign or whatever, you’re immediately saying…

C: I think too that having the opportunity to do that, they don’t ever get the chance… Like if something goes wrong on tour, or if they have a bad show, it’s like “What the fuck…” They don’t ever go through having bad shows, and if they ever do, it’s a downer so for them it makes it even more difficult to be a band because they can’t get through that annoyingness of having a show with ten people.

T: I think a lot of it might be, when you’re planning on doing an MP3 thing… It’s almost better if you go into being a band with no expectations. Maybe band who puts out an MP3 and gets a ton of feedback is going to be “Our tour is going to be awesome!” Your first tour is never awesome. Your second tour is never awesome either. Your fourth tour sucks. It doesn’t get good until you do it enough to get a touring fanbase, and I think with us going into Braid having no, no, no expectations at all, going to our first show and having a couple people there, we’re freaking out. We’re stoked. A couple years later, we tour, we build and build and build, we tour for six years. And then still, we were excited to sell out the Metro, at our last show. We were stoked. We had no obligations, we had nothing in our mindset from release to release. I never even thought that Braid would even put out a 7”, let alone all the songs that we wrote – almost 80 songs that we wrote together. I never felt anything like that “This is what we’re going to do,” we never had that many goals. When we were successful, it was amazing, rather than being upset because you didn’t achieve a goal.

C: I wanna agree with that, because there was no plan. We just did and we did and we did and we toured and we did what we did. And I think a lot of people… The only thing that’s going to get a band a following anywhere is to tour and tour again and tour again and tour again. Because you just have to keep touring. If you really wanna do it, tour ten times. On the tenth tour, you’re gonna have those 30 people at every show to buy merch and keep you on the road.

T: And you’re gonna appreciate it a lot more because you’ve paid your dues.

C: That’s not to say that there aren’t those bands – those few bands – that are gonna get their first or second tour opening for fucking Green Day or something, because they get some big person at a show in LA. Sure, there are those bands, but they’re very few and very far between.

T: Probably now, more than ever, and it’s probably yearly more and more every year, there’s just so many people playing music, you know?

C: Advice to anyone who wants to “make it” or be able to start making a living at being in a band? Tour your ass off.

T: Do ten years of paying your dues and doing your homework, and-

C: Fuck ten years. Three. Two. Four. Whatever it is, just go.

D: If it takes ten years… Get out. [laughs]

Do you feel like in the first run of Braid, you “made it?”

C: We made it farther than we ever, ever thought we would make it. We got to go to Europe twice, Japan once. Did any of us ever think we’d ever do that? We wanted to. It wasn’t even a want. We just wanted to go on tour.

T: I have been touring ten years, and I haven’t made it yet. So maybe I’ll just quit.

C: Shit. [laughs]

So are there any choices you have made as a band that maybe pushed you towards the breakup?

C: I can say one of the things I could have done differently was not show up late to Krazyfest. [laughs] However, however… I would say that if we were smarter, and we had decided that we wanted to stay together and work it out, we would have taken a long break instead of breaking up. But we broke up because we had done way more than we had ever thought we would, like we said, and we were all ready to move on from this. And now it’s just a fun thing, because all that stuff’s behind us. We’ve done a lot of time “in the trenches” again with each of our bands, and I think that it’s just gonna be fun for us. We’re all just friends hanging out, and that’s what we’re doing now.

T: The thing about Braid then and Braid now is that when things start rolling, and going good, you can’t really stop. It’s kind of like a catch 22. You love it, but if you don’t stay in it and stay on tour, people forget about you. If you don’t release a record in time, people forget about you. There are so many different bands, that you have to bust your ass to stay in an area where people are still going to recognize and love your band. When we get off tour, it doesn’t stop. You gotta still do stuff to make it happen. We all lived together and we were just burnt out. Even going on hiatus a little bit would’ve been homework, because we all still have to go home and do those things, let everyone know that the band is still active, and “we’re still going, don’t forget about us!” and that’s so hard to do. So to relax in an environment and take it easy, it’s intense anyway, and people who don’t play music don’t know that, but it’s nonstop. Even when we’re not on tour with Braid but we’re doing our own things, I don’t have a day where I don’t have to do something band-related.

Does it make you happy then that once this tour’s over and the Japan tour’s over, it’s kinda gonna bury the whole Braid thing once and for all? Is it kind of a relief?

D: I don’t think any of us are thinking that, but I don’t think any of us are thinking “maybe we’ll keep this going,” either. We’re just kinda like “we’re doing this tour.” It’s not like we hate these songs, or everything related to the name. We’re just gonna get done with the tour, and that’s it.

T: The good thing about this tour is that there’s no obligation for us. We don’t have to get home and bust our ass to write a record, we don’t have any of these prior obligations set up or anything. After this tour ends, we can hang out and do our own things, and there’s nothing Braid-related that we have to do. If we want to do something, we could, but right now we’re just like “It’s great.” So it’s easy to enjoy this tour for what it is, because we have nothing else to do. This tour is stress-free for us.

Is there any possibility – I know that no new material is being written and there’s no plans for that – but is there any possibility of a live release coming out for this tour or are you content with what you have?

D: I don’t think so, we’ve already done one.

Are you happy with that one?

D: It would be the same songs.

T: It’s not like we wrote a bunch of new ones. [laughs]

D: It’s already been done, there’s no need to do it again.

But all the witty stage banter was cut out!

C: I don’t know if it was witty. [laughs]

Hey, I yelled “Play some Figurehead!” and it got cut out. I was pissed.

D: This guy…

Hey, I still have that four song tape, it was some good shit. So anyway, after this tour, you’re all going back to your respective bands obviously, but what else do you have on top outside of Hey Mercedes or Firebird Band or… what band are you in now? Are you still in Life at Sea?

C: Well, I’m not playing with Life at Sea anymore, they’re doing a new record now, and they’re gonna be touring this summer or fall. I’m doing a new Firebird Band record. I am in the middle of a solo record, but I’ve been in the middle of it for over a year now.

T: I wouldn’t really call it “the middle.”

C: I guess I’m sort of in the someplace of it. I’m also working on a record label called Lucid Records, and that’s what I spend a lot of my time doing now. But the Firebird Band will be touring in October and November, and other than that… after November, I have no idea what I’ll be doing. November, December? I’m gonna be chilling out.

T: We’ll all be doing that.

You said Hey Mercedes is going to Europe in October?

D: Yup, we’re going for three to four weeks in October, then after that we’re gonna take a break. We’ve been nonstop… Hey Mercedes has been nonstop for a while since we released the last record in October. We toured straight for two and a half months, then three weeks off, then Braid is is doing a two month tour. Then once we do the Braid Japan and Hey Mercedes Europe, we’re gonna take some time off.

T: We’re totally being hypocrites too, because we’re like “Yeah, we’re not gonna do what we did in Braid and burn ourselves out on touring,” and we totally are. So we’re gonna do what we think is best, and when we get done with Europe, we’re gonna go home and chill.

Since you are doing the whole reunion thing, what band right now would you like to see reunite and do a tour?

T: Oh my god. I’ll pass right now, I gotta think.

D: The Police.

C: Any band ever? The Doors.

Well, what about any band with all surviving members.

C: Fuck.

Have you heard the Doors 21st Century yet? It’s got the guy from the Cult singing, Ian something…

D: Ian Astbury.

C: I don’t want to.

You’re totally against that?

C: Go away.

At their new shows, they have people from the crowd come up and sing “Roadhouse Blues” with them.

C: You know what? I believe that, and I’m not going to see them.

Okay, well what band would you want to see that could still feasibly reunite?

T: I would like to see Dinosaur Jr. with Lou Barlow. I saw them about five times, but it was always with their second bass player Mike Johnson. I would love to see Dinosaur with Lou Barlow. It would never ever ever happen. But it would be great.

D: There’s two more that I would love. Bad Brains – not Soul Brains, Bad Brains – and Gorilla Biscuits. I swear to god. I loved Gorilla Biscuits and never got to see them.

What about the rest of Walter’s stuff, like Quicksand?

D: I love Quicksand.

What about Rival Schools?

D: Yes. For the most part, I like some of the Rival Schools stuff.

I think I’m the only person who likes Rival Schools more than Quicksand.

C: Well you’re crazy.

Well I don’t like Fugazi either, so… [collective groans]

T: What are you doing here?

I don’t even know.

C: Honestly… Minor Threat was a band that changed my life and changed me into a “punker,” you know? And I think that would be the fucking most amazing thing – no, what would be amazing to me would be to see it back then. I don’t think I’d want to see a reunion of that. So nevermind.

T: I’m not saying reunion. You’re saying like you’d like to see Minor Threat in like 1982, right?

C: Right.

I’m saying who would you want to see now, in 2004.

C: Well I’d say the Pixies, but they are reunited and I can’t see ‘em.

Why not?

C: Because they sold out and I’ll be on tour.

T: All the November shows sold out.

Two tickets. I got two tickets. But they cost me a fortune anyway.

T: It doesn’t matter because I’d be playing on tour anyway.

C: Me too! Exactly.

Has that always been a problem, given that you’ve pretty much toured so much over the past decade, that you can’t see your favorite bands?

T: Yes, all the time. I’ve seen Superchunk once. And they’ve been on tour forever.

C: Remember what Braid had to pass up? We were gonna get a Fugazi show in Chicago once, but we were on tour and we couldn’t do it. I was very upset. But hey, you know? That happens.

T: We were probably seven states away.

What do you find yourselves listening to now?

C: Today, I listened to Fischerspooner.

Do you like that, for real?

C: Yeah, I really do.

Alright. [awkward silence]

C: It’s good.

They had that CD at the record store down the street today for a dollar.

C: Whatever.

T: Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic.

C: I didn’t say it’s fantastic, I just said I was listening to it today. [laughs]

What else are you into right now? What are some current bands people should be checking out?

T: I like the new Morrissey. Is that okay? [laughs]

C: I’m not gonna say this because they’re on my label, but because everyone says it – the new Blackouts record is the fucking best. Blackouts. The Blackouts.

Is there a webpage?

C: Yeah, it’s BlackoutsTheBand.com.

You’re doing your record label too, Grand Theft Autumn. What’s going on with that?

T: Uh, putting out records when we have money, and we never have money. [laughs] We just released a split EP with this band called the Coco B’s, this pop band from Orange County, and this other, kind of electronica, kind of band it’s a one-man guy, it’s called Eskimohunter, and it’s actually this guy named Jason 71 who was actually the bass player for Lassie Foundation. That was our last release, we have some other stuff planned, but we’re broke, so…

So if people wanna check that stuff out, where can they go?

T: GrandTheftAutumn.com.

And if people want to find out more about the Braid tour, where would be a good place to start?

T: BraidTour2004.com. And Chris’ record label’s website is LucidRecords.com.

Is there anything else you guys want to say?

T: If anyone else wants to keep up with our tour, there’s a blog on the Braid site, and there’s a blog on the Hey Mercedes site.

C: There’s also a news section on LucidRecords.com, and TheFirebirdBand.com, not to be mistaken with FirebirdBand.com because that’s a different band. The. Firebird. Band. Dot. Com.

I smell a lawsuit.