William_David sat down with Reel Big Fish ringmaster (fishmaster?) Aaron Barrett and shot the breeze for a bit. The two talked about being labeless, their new live CD and why exactly they keep recording cover songs.
The band released We're Not Happy 'Till You're Not Happy in 2005 on their former label, Jive.
After departing Jive, is Reel Big Fish still label-less right now?
Yes, weâre still label-less and we love it. We love it!
I think the music scene is awesome now.
So do you have any plans for who is putting out your new CD/DVD combo?
Weâve got it all set up already. Weâve got all the distribution worked out and we are ready to roll. Weâve got a new live album coming out, and weâre putting it out ourselves. Weâre very excited.
You described the last album as a âfuck you, we quitâ kind of attitude. Did you have your departure from Jive basically planned already when you wrote this album?
Weâve been trying to get off Jive since 2000, before Cheer Up came out. They wouldnât let us go; we had some members of the band who were making everyoneâs life hell. People werenât getting along and it was a bad time for us, but weâve got it all worked out now. Weâve got some nice people in the band and weâre free, so itâs all good now.
You addressed the fact on your website that a lot people were questioning your choice to do another live DVD so soon? For the record, why are you?
Well, itâs three years later.
But only one album.
We got a new drummer, and a new trumpet player, and weâre a better band now. We had a whole new album since then. And that one really sucks [Show Must Go Off!] and it sounded really terrible. So, we wanted to do something weâre proud of, instead of something that makes us embarrassed anytime someone brings it up. You know what I mean?
Jonathan London, who directed your "Donât Start a Band" video, also filmed the DVD, right?
Yeah, heâs directing it. Itâs a live CD too, which weâve never done.
Can you give me any details on the split CD you will be doing with Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer?
I donât really know much about it yetâstill finalizing everything, but I believe itâs going to be duets. Famous duets from historyâ¦I donât know.
Will all of Reel Big Fish be involved?
Oh yeah. Reel Big Fish will do a few songs, and Zolof will do a few songs, and weâll sing on their songs, and theyâll sing on our songs.
How did this all come about?
The record company that put out their EP or their album or something wanted to do a split CD, and we said âsure. We can do whatever we want, because weâre not on Jive records, woo hoo!â
A lot of your negativity is presented in a comic way, but underneath it all, how jaded are you guys, really, about the music scene right now?
The music scene or the music business?
How about both?
I think the music scene is awesome now. There are a lot of good bands out there right now. I was just talking with my manager the other day about how good of a time it was for music right now. The music business is just crumbling. Itâs over. Itâs in the hands of the kids, and the bands now. Exciting times. So, weâre jaded, but weâre also excited, because the revolutionâs happening.
So youâre excited bands are taking over?
I think itâs a good thing. Things could always go terribly wrong, but for now, things are heading in a good direction.
But do you think at all that weâre entering a day and age where everyone thinks they can have a band, and everyone thinks they have the talent to make music?
I donât know. Everybody can. Everyone can have a band and label and do whatever they want. Itâs up to the bands to be really good and catch peopleâs attention.
Are there any new bands youâre really into that you see as being âdeservingâ of more attention in the near future?
Shit. I donât know. I canât keep track. I listen to lots of good music all the time, but you put me on the spot, so I donât know. I donât know who I want to plug. So, instead, I wonât plug anybody.
Do you plan to do anymore with Forces of Evil in the future?
I donât know; weâre kind of on hiatus right now. Iâm really busy with Reel Big Fish. Iâm either in the studio or on tour, soâ¦
I have a million songs I want to cover.
This is not meant as an insult to him, but why doesnât Matt Wong ever do much at your shows?
Why doesnât he do much? He plays the bass.
But opposed to you guys jumping around and doing silly crap, he just kind of hangs out in the back corner most of the time.
Heâs just not a jump around kind of guy. He doesnât want to get hit in the face with a horn or guitar flying through the air. Thatâs just what he does, but he never messes up, so thatâs pretty awesome.
Not long ago, you guys did another tour with Zebrahead and Goldfinger, which is a tour thatâs been rehashed a few times now. Do you all still maintain a close relationship?
Yeah. Weâre still friendsâgood friends. Weâve done that same tour almost everywhere in the world. I think itâs time to get some other bands to tour with.
You guys always do a few covers on every album, how do you figure out which covers youâre going to do?
Thatâs a good questionâ¦I have a million songs I want to cover. A lot of times itâs for comps and different things, or tribute albums. So, they kind of give us a theme. Otherwise, I have a million-billion songs I want to do. Whatever I want to cover at the time. Itâs pretty random how it comes out.
Are you guys working on any new music right now for anything besides the live album?
Yeah. Weâre always thinking about new stuff and coming up with bits of songsâthrow âem on the pile and eventually theyâll turn into whole songs and weâll have a new album out. Itâll happen. Maybe next year?
And is there any tour support planned for the live stuff?
Yeah, weâre going to do a big summer tour with MXPX and Streetlight Manifesto.