A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dan, drummer for The Promise Ring, before they played a sold out show with Jimmy Eat World in Chicago. Find out his thoughts on cheesy videos, his feelings towards Courtney Love, and just exactly *who* DJ Moose is, and much more. Click READ MORE for the interview. Oh yeah, the band also has put out the best album of 2002 so far - click here to read my review of the disc.
Scott: State your name, what band youâre in, and what you play.
Dan: Dan, The Promise Ring, drums.
S: All right, first off, Anti-Recordsâ¦How did that come about?
D: Epitaph asked us to be on Epitaph, and then we kinda countered by saying weâd rather be on Anti because we were familiar with that label and what they were about, so that just seemed more appealing to us so…
S: Did it come before or after the Bad Religion tour?
D: Yeah. It actually has nothing to do with the Bad Religion tour.
S: Really. Because I know Brett likes you a lot. Cuz I talk to Brett a lot and he sent me the album in January and said, "You have to hear this." So I have that all year and I figured maybe he was just like, "Câmon, câmon, câmon."
D: Yeah, yeahâ¦itâs been great there. Yeah, he was just really excited to sign us and thatâs like when we went back to him and said no, weâd rather be on Anti, heâs like, thatâs not a problem whatsoever.
S: Was Jade Tree cool with the whole thing?
D: Oh yeah.
S: So the main reason was kinda like you wanted to move on?
D: Yea, it was just time to try something different and just not, ya know.
S: I know you guys just did 2 headlining tours in a row - first the South By Southwest one with Schatzi, I caught you guys in Iowa City on that-
D: Oh cool.
S: After that you went with the Weakerthans. How were the crowds? Cuz I know in Iowa City, I know Davy got hit with a pitcher of water. And I remember someone told me- [to Davey] Remember that, in Iowa City?
Davey: Yeah, itâs starting to happen a lot. [laughs]
S: Is it? Well I heard in Boston that you got hit with a CD too, is that true? So like, are you guys, like-
D: Yeah, people seem to hate us now.
S: Well, you know-
D: I donât know. Yeah. Thatâs prolly the best thing that came about that, came about from the Bad Religion tour. Weâre so used to it now. So when it actually does happen, like-
S: Are you glad to be in the back so you can block all the shots.
D: Thatâs right. But heyâ¦I got hit too on that Bad Religion tour.
S: Oh really?
D: Yeah. Weâre not all exempt.
S: So you just decided to take it in stride and just be like, "Aw screw it."
D: Yeah, well I mean you canât please everybody all the time, soâ¦
S: Well this tour is quite the step up from doing the small club shows.
S: How are like the radio fans handling it, are they digging you guys at all?
D: Ahhâ¦it seems to be all right. I mean the people who donât care for us donât really show it, ya know like they did for the Bad Religion tour. For that tour, people who didnât like us, showed us, vehemently, how much they didnât like us. This tourâs been a lot better, the people who are indifferent are just indifferent, they just stand there.
S: So whatâs next after this tour for you guys?
D: Weâre doing the Plea For Peace tour with the [International] Noise Conspiracy, and then weâll do some b-side work in the studio, and shoot another video.
S: For what song?
D: "Suffer Never."
S: Ah, cool. So how does it feel that a band that youâve carried on tour is now hitting it big on this major level, achieving so much of what you guys seemed to be trying to shoot for, for a little while. Seeing it happen, does it reaffirm you to go towards the mainstream, or do you look and say "Okay, weâre fine where we are."
D: I donât think itâs a matter of us trying to shoot for anythingâ¦ I mean, we just make records. If our record sells two copies, thatâs still fine with me. I think itâs pretty ridiculous for a band to be like "this is going to be the record that breaks us." You canât do that. Whether itâs Jimmy Eat World, or Weezer, orâ¦ These bands just go out and make records. Whether itâs great marketing, or just the right moment, whatever. Itâs great if my friends become huge, Iâd rather see them do well than another NSYNC band.
S: Do you want to get to that level?
D: Well, I donât care. Well, I care, I obviously want this to keep going and be profitable. As long as the records keep coming and it remains fun, Iâll keep doing it. Thereâs that whole achievement aspect of it- Yo, whatâs up Zach.
Zach [from Jimmy Eat World]: Oh, my bad, youâre doing an interview. Sorry.
D: Itâs okay. Yeah, itâs the whole achievement thing. Making the record is an achievement for me, the rest is just icing on the cake. When the record comes out, I donât have any aspiration like "if the record doesnât sell this many copies, Iâm out of the band."
S: So is the setlist staying the same on this tour?
D: Yeah, itâs the same every night.
S: Is that just for consistency, orâ¦
D: Consistency, plus we have two new members, and we didnât get that much time to learn older songs. We had some time, but we just picked certain older songs and we worked on them.
S: Will Plea For Peace be a different setlist?
D: Yeah, it will be a lot more flexible, because when weâre done with this, and the b-side recording, weâll have like a month to get back into rehearsing. Itâs going to be less and less old songs and more new songs.
S: Thatâs fine by me. [laughs]
D: Well thanks a lot.
S: Well it seems like itâs either the criticâs favorite, or itâs just despised. Everyoneâs bitching that "itâs not like the old stuff" - thatâs the point!
D: Exactly. I wish there were more people like you. [laughs]
S: Well, since youâre in the process of moving on and dropping the older stuff, what song do you wish youâd never written?
D: Probably "Electric Pink." For some reasonâ¦ Why did we do that? We were going on tour, and we always feel the need to release records before a tour so we have something new to sell, and it was just really quick, we recorded it here in Chicago. It didnât seem that good of an idea.
S: So the whole EP you didnât like?
D: Well, the one thing I did like about it was that it released everythingâ¦ Some of those songs we recorded with "Very Emergency," so it was just like tying up loose ends.
S: The one thing I never got was how the cover was purple, and it was supposed to be "Electric Pink."
S: So do you guys hate taking requests now for old stuff? I know at the Iowa City show someone was yelling for "I Never Trusted The Russians" for the whole set.
D: Itâs crazy, but itâs easy for us to say no, because we actually cannot physically play that song. We have new members. Weâd love to do it, we just canât.
S: If they know it, have them get up there and play it, they can bring their trumpet with.
D: [laughs] Yeah, man.
S: Do you ever feel like youâre imitating Spinal Tap with the whole revolving door of bassists?
D: Yeah, it seems like that. [laughs]
S: So what ever happened to Scott Schoenbeck?
D: He just seemed to be not into it anymore, and even if he was, he didnât really show it. It was before we were heading out to record "Wood/Water" in England, there just had to be a break - either you were totally for it, or totally against it. It just seemed like he had a foot out the door, so we just kind of helped him out.
S: Are you guys still cool with him?
D: Itâs still a little weird. Heâs playing bass in Dashboard Confessional now.
S: Well, he should start Alligator Gun again, thatâs what I think.
D: [laughs] Yeah, I agree.
S: Do you think the band right now is at the best itâs ever been, or do you think you can be better?
D: Ah, we can be better. Thereâs always more shit you can try to do.
S: Do you think youâre at the best of your career right now?
D: Yeah, I think so. Personally, I think the band is the best itâs ever been. Popularity-wise, weâre probably on a downward spiral. Especially with getting BJ and Ryan, that for me made the band exciting again. Theyâre great guys, I have a lot of fun with them.
S: I heard some rumors that you do some DJ work under the moniker DJ Moose, is this true?
D: Did you hear this from Mark Farr?
S: I heard it from a user on our site, they told me to ask you about it.
D: Wow, thatâs funny. No, that is - my friend Mark started calling me DJ Moose, and it just kinda stuck. DJ Moose is more Spinal Tap than anything. Itâs this mythical thingâ¦ Itâs kinda cool, you should spread it. Say itâs the dopest shit youâve ever heard. Say I was back here mixing some shit for youâ¦ [laughs]
S: So is it wicked fresh?
D: Definitely, I keep this shit way underground. DJ Moose is fucking *huge* in Finland, I sell out arenas there of 50,000. No one knows me here, but thatâs the way it works.
S: It happensâ¦ David Hasslehoff is huge in Germany, not everyone can make it happen.
S: So anyway, moving onâ¦ Are you happy with the edit of the "Stop Playing Guitar" video? For me, when I heard it, I was like "You dropped out 2 minutes of the song!"
D: Yeah, you kinda had to, itâs a long song. I donât mind the mix of it, I kind of like it shortened. The video was alright, it couldâve been better but itâs fine for what it is.
S: I was kinda worried, cause I could see the ending coming from a mile away with the girl, and I was just saying "Donât make it cheesy, donât make it cheesy," and it wasnât *too* cheesy.
D: Iâd almost rather have it be waaaay over the top.
S: Yeah, the new Bad Religion video for "Broken," the camera guyâs walking around filming them, but every once in a while the camera "breaks," and it makes this horribly cheesy movie car crash noise, and Iâm just thinking that this is just so cheesy.
D: As long as you know itâs going to be cheesy, itâs okay. Like, when we got the treatment and there was the scene with the girl shooting the laser beams out of her eyes, that was the one saving grace. I was like "yes, letâs do this." It sounded so ridiculous, it was great. [laughs]
S: So do you play the edit live, or the whole thing?
D: The edit.
S: Ah, okay. I think the one thing that really annoys me about the edit is the distorted bassline that goes into the final chorus got cut down to just one time, and that drives me nuts.
D: Yeah, we play it live like that, too. It just seemed to drag on before. We might go back to the original version of it, though.
S: If you played it tonight, Iâd be very happy. [laughs]
D: Nope, tonightâs the edit.
S: Alright, so what are you favorite albums right now, besides DJ Moose?
D: Besides DJ Moose shit?
S: Yeah, like whatâd you buy at Reckless [Records, a killer Chicago record store]?
D: I bought the new Beth Orton, I havenât heard it but Iâm really excited to hear it.
S: So what else is on the top 5 playlist?
D: The Shinsâ¦
S: "Oh Inverted World?"
S: That is a good album.
D: Super Furry Animals "Rings Around The World," itâs greatâ¦ I like Kings of Convience, Versus, the remix record. I like the new Doves record.
S: I still havenât heard it.
D: Oh, itâs great.
S: I love the first one, though. The video for the new single is cool, though. Itâs kinda kitschy, but itâs really cool. Okay, one more.
D: Fuck, thereâs just so many.
S: Have you heard the new Flaming Lips yet?
D: Yeah, thatâd be it.
S: That shitâs just crazy.
D: I really wanna get into it, but itâs likeâ¦ Four of the songs are completely mindblowing and amazing, and some of them are not so amazing. To me, every Flaming Lips album is like that. It has the songs that are like "this is the greatest thing Iâve ever heard." In "Transmissions From The Satellite Heart," that record is a great record on the whole, but itâs because of those individual great songs.
S: Have you heard "Zaireeka" yet?
D: No, I havenât.
S: Yeah, I picked up a copy brand new in a CD store in Tennessee about a month ago, and I thought it was out of print. The guy at the store told me that theyâre making 1000 a year for the whole world. So after the initial run of 5000 when it first came out, theyâve released 1000 a year since then. The problem is finding four stereos to hook it up.
D: There was some show in Milwaukee where they did that, they hooked up four stereos and played it.
S: I want to have a show and have Zaireeka be the headliner.
S: Okay, would you rather be on VH1âs "Behind The Music" or "Where Are They Now?" Would you rather be the one hit wonder, or have the interband turmoil? You know, the coke habit, the hookersâ¦ [laughs]
D: Yeah, that would be more interesting.
S: Would you rather have a Behind The Music or an E! True Hollywood Story?
D: Oh, Behind The Music. I donât really like the True Hollywood Stories.
S: Theyâre so sleazy, though! Donât you want to be known as the womanizer, who got kicked out of the band three times?
D: Thatâs true, they really go for the throatâ¦ Itâd be nice.
S: Would you rather be front page news on USA Today or the National Enquirer?
D: Oh, USA Today. I love USA Today, thatâs the tour staple. Every day we have to have that. We always do the crossword. You can get that paper and just get the scope of whatâs going on all over the placeâ¦ and they have a great crossword. [laughs]
S: There ya go. So, have you ever played "Gouge Away" live?
D: The last time we played it was the last take we did in the studio.
S: Do you ever play covers live?
D: Not that I can rememberâ¦ I have a horrible memory, we mightâve, but not that I can recall. Weâre gonna try to bring something out, but I dunnoâ¦ Itâs always been in the back of our heads.
S: Do a medley, perhaps? Like a one hit wonders oneâ¦ You could do the Class of 94, do "Sucked Out" by Superdrag, "Buddy Holly," "Popular" by Nada Surfâ¦
D: Yeah, there ya go.
S: Have the audience guess which song is whichâ¦
D: Yeah, maybe.
S: Okay, this one is kind of heavy: if you could prevent one death, would it be John Lennonâs or Kurt Cobainâs, and why?
D: Oh man, thatâs a good question. Iâd have to sayâ¦.. [long pause] I would say Kurt. I think John hadâ¦ not that he was heading downward, but he wasâ¦ he had his say in music. With Kurt, you didnât know what his future wouldâve been because he died so young. I still think he had something to say.
S: Youâre the first person to ever say Kurt Cobain.
S: Everyone always says "Oh John Lennon, the Beatles were amazing."
D: Well, they were amazing!
S: But the Beatles were done, his solo albums were done, his career was already established. He didnât need to do anything more. I always say Kurt Cobain, too.
D: Cause you never know, he was only 27 or whatever.
S: Yeah, Iâve heard the new box set has some amazing tracks on it, hopefully weâll hear it if Courtney Love ever stops suing the other guys.
D: Oh god, I hate her so much.
S: Well, wrapping it up, how can people get in contact with you?
D: ww dotâ¦ Wait, www dotâ¦ Weâre on that new shit, you know. [laughs]. Tpr-online.com.
S: No phone number? 976-PRING?
D: My number is, uhhâ¦.
S: Do you have a gossip line, like 1-800-PROMISE-1? "Davey has a lisp! For 99 cents a minute, find out more!"
D: [laughs] Maybe. That could be a little entrepreneurship.
S: Itâs the next wave. Doesnât Britney Spears have something where if you get a cell phone you can sign up for this plan where you get called with the latest Britney Spears gossip?
D: Youâre kidding me!
S: She leaves messages, then it calls your phone and plays the message for you. You should get something going, câmon, get on the ball.
D: Weâll see what we can do.
Random crew guy: Dan, we need you in two minutes.
S: Anything else you want to add?
D: No. [laughs]