Band on Band: Andrew Jackson Jihad/The Gunshy

Welcome to a new edition of "Band on Band". This edition features Chicago's The Gunshy and Phoenix's Andrew Jackson Jihad, discussing dogs, gods and coffee. The bands have a split 7" available from Silver Sprocket Bike club available here.

Part one: Matt of Gunshy interviews Andrew Jackson Jihad:

One of my favorite shows was the one we played together with Porches and O Pioneers!!! at the Trunk Space in Phoenix during that monsoon. We both had to play in the dark after the power went out and hung out in the candlelit bar next door while the shit went down. Have you had any other confrontations with nature during rock shows?

Ben Gallaty: I think that was the most extreme nature show we have ever played. It was perfect though. Porches and O Pioneers!!! played awesome, raucous electric sets and then you started your acoustic set and the lights went out during the first or second song. The show continued with the rest of your set and our set in complete dark with the fucking storming raging outside. That month was pretty crazy for us. Monsoons in AZ can get raw and every evening we played a show that month it rained. That was the last show of that month and it was probably the craziest monsoon storm I have seen in PHX. Green lightning was shooting across the fucking purple sky. …Seriously!

Sean Bonnette: We usually only have confrontations with our own horrible nature during shows.

What are your top three favorite skate spots in the country?

Gallaty:3) Santa Rosa skate park is like concrete sand dunes. You can be as chill or crazy as you want. Santa Rosa is also generally beautiful.
2) Desert West was one of the first big concrete parks in phoenix. It opened when I was living in Chino Valley, AZ but we would still have our parents drive us down when we were in high school. Phoenix now has numerous awesome parks and should be the envy of any skater in the US.
1) I learned how to skate in my dad’s workshop. It had a pretty good amount of concrete floor space and is were I learned a shitload of tricks when I was a kid. My friend, Nick Aflitto, and I built some pretty ridiculous ramps with scrap wood, nails and saws there.

Bonnette: 3.) I really like The Wedge, in south Scottsdale, AZ. It has a sweet six-stair hubba ledge, a really sweet bank, some nice small ledges, and a dope little skatepark built right next to it!
2.) Our roadie Dan Travillion has a beautiful mini ramp in his garage in Portland, Oregon. That ramp is one of the only things that will get me up early on tour, and there isn’t a day gone by that I haven’t thought about it.
1.) Desert West Skatepark was the first park I ever went to, and it will always be my first love. Actually, my first love is the park behind the central library, Margaret T. Hance Park, known more affectionately to Phoenix skateboarders as Deck Park. We used to bus there all the time when we were little ones, but now I can walk there!!!

Can’t Maintain was playing the other day and a buddy asked if AJJ was into God. I always took your references to God as being your way of questioning religion. What do you think about organized religion and the idea of a capital "G" God?

Gallaty: On Randy Newman’s 1972 Release, Sail Away, he has two songs pertaining to god, "He Gives Us All His Love" and "God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind)". The former is self explanatory, the latter has these lyrics:
"I burn down your cities - how blind you must be
I take away from you your children and you say how blessed are we
you all must be crazy to put your faith in me
that’s why I love mankind"
I like them both.

Bonnette: I totally believe in God, but I don’t think its Gods job to take care of us. I believe it’s more important to focus on what we can do for each other, and not to expect salvation from something we don’t really know. Maybe God is testing us, maybe God has abandoned us, or maybe I’m not, "getting it." Regardless of these three things, I feel at peace with who I am and how I am living. God does seem to pop up in the songs a lot though, so maybe I care about God more than I would like to admit. I highly recommend reading Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Also, this video is fucking hilarious. Both of you boys know your coffee. What would you suggest for a good, well-rounded morning blend?

Gallaty: Although good coffee comes from most equatorial regions, I really like Ethiopian or Sumatran for drip. Guatemalan is good for toddy (the only decent iced coffee). If I sound pretentious, let it be known, I will rarely turn down a cup of coffee no matter how gnarly it is. Oh, our friend Randy roasts coffee (Xanadu). He does mailorder and has really funny descriptions on the, "where to enjoy page". I like his coffee.

Bonnette: I second Ben’s motion about Xanadu Coffee, that’s some good shit. In the morning, whether it’s hot or cold, I usually drink toddy. Toddy is this really cool way of brewing coffee cold. Basically, you take 5 pounds of coarsely ground coffee and put it in a big ass filter bucket with 4 gallons of water and you let it sit there for 24 hours. After time is up you drain it and have toddy concentrate. You then mix it with equal part water and put it on ice. It’s delicious and refreshing! In Phoenix they have toddy at Conspire, Fair Trade, and Cartel among others.

If you could collaborate with one deceased rapper, like Natalie Cole did with her dad a while ago with that, "Unforgettable" song, who would you pick and what song?

Gallaty: I would pick ODB for obvious reasons. Thanks, Matt!

Bonnette: If ODB was unavailable, like if he was locked up in heaven jail for walking out of heaven footlocker with some heaven Reeboks, I’d either pick Biggie or Mac Dre. I’d pick Biggie because he is one of my lyrical idols, and I’d pick Mac Dre for his smooth and fun party lyrics.

Part 2: Andrew Jackson Jihad interviews Matt of The Gunshy:

Lately we have been mesmerized by this audio/visual masterpiece. Please share with us any thoughts you might have.

Man, you spend days, weeks and sometimes months trying to make the words to a song something people may actually give a shit about and these dudes get to do that? I'll bet you a dollar that this song will be the tea party's theme to their youth outreach marketing program.

Contrary to popular belief, we are avid dog lovers. Our hearts go out to you for the loss of Bronco. He will be missed. Please tell us about your new dog. Do you have any words of advice for touring dog-owners or dog ownership in general?

Thanks dudes. Bronco was awesome. Everyone who stayed here seemed to love him. Our new dog's name is Tess. She's a lover. She gives hugs and learned how to roll over in two days.

I used to think that everyone should have a dog, but after I started touring I realized how tough it can be. If you're in a band and want to have a dog around, you might want to be a dog walker a few days a week instead or volunteer at a shelter. You'll get to be around dogs without having to stress about having someone take care of yours all of the time. I waited until I lived with someone who would be around and could take care of the dog when I was gone. It sucks to leave them at home.

Getting better/ growing older is a motif in your songs. How do your views on the punk community and music in general change as you knock back the years? If this question sucks, what’s up with the name?

My views haven't changed. If anything, I think I've taken my views more seriously. I've always held the belief that you should do what you love and do it as well as you can. I've tried to do what I can to abide by that belief while staying as far away from capitalism as possible. It's really easy to say, "fuck it" and take some cash to have your song on a shitty WB tv show, but it seems to be harder for most people to make a conscious decision to keep their art pure and void of the perception it will take from being a theme song or commercial background music. Bob Dylan's making Gap commercials. I guess if no one's actually buying records you have to do something, but that's kinda fucked.

On a more personal level, this year is the 10 year anniversary of The Gunshy. It gets increasingly harder to hang out with or tour with bands who I've known since I started touring. Each year it seems like a couple of the bands who I've made some incredible memories with break up or just dissolve. I'm on my way to a show right now that is four bands, each with at least one previous member of The Gunshy and I met them all through their playing in other bands i toured with. It's hard not to get nostalgic and feel a little old in situations like that. We've also not toured as much over the past couple of years because I got super burned out at the end of the last tour. We're finally writing songs as a band, that seem to be good and I'm genuinely excited to tour the country again.

Fuck, I just turned thirty. I'm not old.

How do you know the Silver Sprocket crew? Do you have any fun stories to recount?

I don't! Bryan Ohio from Political Party asked to do something with us a couple of years ago. We had planned on putting out something with him and worked it out with you guys. He was living with Avi and passed the project onto him. After a pretty awesome phone conversation we got everything situated with Silver Sprocket.

One time while touring solo I stopped at a rest stop in Indiana to take a shit. I was doing my thing when I heard a bunch of elderly women walk in and fill up the place. I finished and walked out of the stall to a tour bus full of laughing ladies fixing their hair. I now consciously check the door signs of bathrooms. This story has absolutely nothing to do with Silver Sprocket, but when I'm drunk I can usually get people to laugh at it. Sorry if it's stupid when it's typed out.

Fuck pixilated flyers! Being a band, we dabble with web and graphic design. Considering you are a professional, do you have any tips on computer-based design? Tell us about your awesome job.

I've always done my own CD layouts, posters and web sites for bands and labels I've run or helped with. I started back in the day when I was 14 or 15 with the AOL members sites. I did them for free for all of the local bands. It was fun and bands got me into bar shows. Five years ago, or so, a friend asked if I'd do a site for his restaurant. I was pretty excited to realize that people would pay me for it. They liked it and others asked me to help them. It's kinda snowballed from there.

It's pretty awesome to be able to create new things every day as a way of paying bills. I can work on the road if I have to and have met some pretty amazing people that I probably wouldn't have otherwise.

My favorite resource for poster artwork is It's an awesome open-source resource of old books and other things. I search the children's library for crazy shit. You can preview the results and download the books as pdfs. From there, I clean them up a little bit in Photoshop and use Illustrator's Live Trace feature to make vectors for posters. The background of The Gunshy website came from there.

Thanks dudes. I love you.