Brian recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tsunami Bomb frontwoman Agent M, bassist Matt and drummer Gabe for an in-depth chat about why their new album was delayed, their thoughts on Dominic and if they've ever pulled a "Lawrence Arms," among other noteworthy topics.
Tsunami Bomb's new album, The Definitive Act, comes out September 21st via Kung Fu Records. It's quite good. Go buy it.
Please state your name and what you do in the band.
M: I'm M, I sing.
MATT: I'm Matt, I'm the bass player.
GABE: I'm Gabe, I play the drums.
M: Think that's loud enough?
What do you think…?
MATT: Maybe just…stick [the tape recorder] on the veggie platter…
GABE: Just like…stick that in the ranch. [laughs]
Okay…why do you think people dub you "the hardest working band in punk rock?"
M: …'cause we always always are touring. Like when we…when we don't - when we're not touring, we're only having like, a few weeks off at a time and then, the tours are like two months long. I think one year we did like 270 shows.
[awkward pause, subsequent laughter]
GABE: There're bands that've done more. Didn't Goldfinger like, do like 370-something shows in a year-?
MATT: I think Braid actually holds the record-
M: But wait, there's only 365 days in a year-
GABE: Yeah but they did like multiple shows; it was like 370-something shows.
M: No way!
MATT: Yeah, Braid did someting like that too.
M: That's crazy.
MATT: They just played more uh, shows than days-
GABE: But I still think that we're the hardest working band in punk rock.
Well, everything from "Joe Escalante didn't like it" to "Kung Fu didn't think it was radio-friendly enough" has been speculated, but what are the real reasons for The Definitive Act getting pushed back so far?
MATT: Hmm..uhh… [laughs]
M: Let's see…the real reasons…well-
MATT: Should we start burning bridges now? [laughs with M]
M: Well, we haven't - we don't feel like we've exactly been told the real reasons why it's getting pushed back. Umm, but I think basically it all comes down to money.
M: -and everything spins through money somehow.
[someone knocks on door]
M: Come in!…hello?
MATT: I think - like, my opinion of the situation is that like…whatever the powers that be had a different idea for the band and we didn't-
M: Yeah, yeah. Totally.
MATT: -where we kinda just wanted to make like a solid record that we were happy with and that, you know, 'cause we're, you know, here we are like writing songs like "Okay, these are songs that we're going to be playing for the next - whatever - 270 days out of the year or whatever-[M laughs]-you know, we better like them or whatever." So we kinda just wrote it for ourselves, and apparently that's just not what you do in the record industry. [GABE snickers]
Were there like, production issues again with this album?
MATT: No, the production was awesome. It was like, I think the most laid-back and fun experience we've had-
M: Yeah, it was really fun.
MATT: Yeah, we did it with our friend Mike Poorman from Hot Rod-
ME and GABE: Hot Rod Circuit.
MATT: -Circuit, which is just like the raddest guy. It was just…it was really fun recording it.
You recorded in Boston?
Yeah, was that fun?
MATT: Oh yeah.
M: Yeah. Awesome.
MATT: Awesome. It was awesome. We got like a little apartment there and it was really cool.
Okay - on that note, uh, would you ever consider leaving Kung Fu for a bigger label…maybe even a major…Or even just a smaller label for that matter?
MATT: I would. [laughs]
M: Well you can't really leave the label, until your contract's up-
M: -and then…and then we wouldn't really be leaving then, we'd be free. So uh…uh…I'm pretty sure that we're gonna plan on moving somewhere else after this.
Are you planning any CD release shows for the release of the album?
M: [laughs] Yeah we already had our CD release shows! [band laughs]
MATT: Yeah, like a month ago, but we didn't have the CDs, so…
M: Yeah. We don't have anything planned for when the CD is actually out, just because like this tour is supposed to be for the CD being out, so we're doing the entire country, and we've already covered San Francisco, and southern California, and all of our home areas. But hopefully we'll be out touring again in the fall.
The Lawrence Arms are pretty notorious for their live shows…have you ever tried to go a night similarly boozed up like that?
MATT: What's that?
Have you ever tried to go a night similarly boozed up like that?
MATT: That sounds like…
M: Tried to play like that?
Pull a 'Lawrence Arms?'
MATT: Oh. Like get really drunk and…
M: No. [laughs] …it doesn't seem like a good idea.
MATT: Well I mean, they-I think it works-
Pull it off well.
MATT: Yeah, they pull it…
M: They're just used to it.
MATT: Yeah. I think if you learned to play live drunk every night…
How's the tour been overall?
M: Good. Really good.
Any crazy stories?
MATT: We've been chasin' a hurricane around the country.
MATT: That was kinda [pressing].
M: It's been chasing us a little bit.
MATT: We got a…club owner pull a gun on us…other than that, it's just the usual. [M laughs]
Where was that?
MATT: That was in uh, North Carolina. These two uh, heavy metal guys-
M: [laughs] Lame-o's. [laughs]
MATT: -had a disagreement about how much we were supposed to get paid, so…
M - Do you happen to deal with a lot of sexism in a scene that seems to otherwise preach equality? Has it gotten better over recent time?
M: Um, I don't think - I definitely haven't seen the kind of sexism that you would first think of. Like I really don't…at least I don't hear a lot of people shouting things while we're playing, or like rude gestures. I've had that before, but really barely. Um, I think it's pretty much…at least, at least our fans seem to be pretty respectful for the most part.
There seems to be a lot of revived interest in politics this year, be it the punk community or otherwise. Would you say you're part of that group?
MATT: Uh, no, not as a band.
M: Yeah, not as a band really. We each kinda have individual ideas about politics so we don't really do anything as a unit.
Are the European crowds any different from the American crowds?
M: Mmm…yeah. [laughs] I think the U.K. crowds are um, are…definitely more into it. Like they're…the first time we played there they were going crazy, and we'd never played there before, obviously…and uh…but Europe, like the continent, is I think that they're…at least to me, it seems like they're harder to win over. You guys think so or no…?
MATT: Yeah, definitely. Because I think they have a general [disstressed view] of America. [laughs] Seems like…
Are you planning anything special for the Show Must Go Off! DVD?
M: Nothing concrete yet. I'm sure we will, maybe. …we're planning on making a banner. [laughs]
MATT: Yeah, the last show of our headlining tour we're making a banner. [band laughs]
M: …and maybe an intro too. Probably. [laughs]
MATT: All the stuff that we should've done coming up…
GABE: Maybe a cover…
M: [laughs] ..No. Probably not.
MATT: [laughs] No. Just gonna do the bannerrrr…no. [laughs with M]
Are you on good terms with Dominic? Has anyone tried to make amends on either side?
M: Umm, I think it's been pretty obvious to us that he's not interested in making amends at all. And so, neither are we, 'cause…I mean, he seems uh…pretty hostile. Like from what we hear from people…
MATT: Read on the internet…
M: Yeah, from what we read on the internet…from him…uh, so yeah, we're just kinda letting it go.
What do you think of his new band Love Equals Death?
M: Ummm, I haven't heard…I've only heard a few things from them. I'm not really into that type of music…
What albums have found rotation in your CD player lately?
M: Um…[talking in awe] we got an advance copy of the new Head Automatica CD…
MATT: And it's Awesome.
M: Really really good.
Yeah, I saw them here a couple weeks ago…
M: Yeah yeah, I heard they played here. They're - it's so good.
MATT: Yeah. It's pretty rad. The new Every Time I Die; [I've] listened to that a lot lately. And this band called The Red Chord from Boston.
MATT: That's probably one of my favorite bands right now.
A couple people wanted to know why don't you play the lemonade song live anymore.
M: 'Cause we're over it. [laughs] To us, it's one of the most boring songs to play, but it happens to be a lot of people's favorite song, and that just doesn't make us very happy, because we really don't like playing it very much at all…right? [laughs]
MATT: [laughs] Yeah I agree. I've actually hadn't memorized it… [GABE laughs]
M: Yeah, so we can't. We just can't play it because Matt doesn't know how!
What band - what one band would you love to tour with, if you haven't already?
M: Green Day.
MATT: Judas Priest.
GABE: Alkaline Trio.
MATT: Alkaline Trio, yeah…
And finally, if someone killed one of your members, would you seek for them to get death penalty or life imprisonment?
M: [laughs] Whoaa… [laughs]
MATT: That's really a great question… [M laughs]
GABE: It really depends on who it was that they killed. [band abrupts in laughter]
MATT: "Oh, if it was so or so, I could let that one slide…"
M: What if they…um…what if it was because they got run over by the car?
MATT: Or you mean like…if someone murdered?
MATT: I don't know. I think life in prison would be much worse than the death penalty, but that's just my opinion…
M: I think um…I think that the death penalty costs less to the rest of the country though, doesn't it?
MATT: Yeah. I'll go with the death penalty then.
M: And fuck - fuck - life in prison can be pretty uhh…
M: Not too - whuh, okay never mind. [MATT laughs]
M: I've never been there, maybe someone else has. [laughs]
MATT: [laughs] Got a story for us, M? [band laughs] It's like "Prison isn't so bad. I mean, um…"
GABE: I would say the death penalty.
Use this as free space to say whatever you want.
MATT: Where's the cat?
ENTIRE BAND: ALLLF! [band laughs]
MATT: Yeah, we've been in a band for a long time. [band laughs]
ANDY FROM SAFETY IN NUMBERS: [walks in] Can I just get somethin' real quick?
M: Yeah, go ahead…OH, I know. Our record comes out September 21st…hopefully [MATT laughs]. It's supposed to. [M laughs]
MATT: And uhh…never ever believe anything you read on the internet.
M: Oh, that's a good one. That really is…especially on the punknews message board. [laughs]
MATT: Yeah. If you feel really compelled to write an opinion piece on the internet, you should stick your name and e-mail address to it so you can support it.
MATT: Not this chickenshit anonymous…
M: Yeah, you guys should change it to uh…to like, that's how our message board is, usernames only. And uh, see what happens…
Yeah, actually like, a lot of people, [have asked the moderators to make it user-only], but then it kinda closes off the old 'freedom of expression' and the freedom to say what you want without…
MARC: You can filter out the anonymous comments…
M: You mean like, on your own computer you mean?
M: Oh really?
M: Oh I didn't know that.
If you set it to like…
M: Yeah but then that would be like…just a legitimate poster saying "Hey, quit saying that stuff about her!" [MATT laughs]
MATT: I think a lot of that stuff's just comical.
M: …yeah, it's comical until they say you're gaining weight…[laughs]…big and FAT…[band laughs]
MATT: You said that to me the other day! [band laughs]