If you follow Self Defense Family (formerly End of A Year) online, you will know that frontman Patrick Kindlon is a man never short of a few words - whether it's acting as an agony uncle on Formspring making YouTube videos on Paramore, documenting his journey from LA to New York via Greyhound on Twitter, or even causing a stir with his piece on sexism in punk on this very site last year.
Punknews interviewer Faye Turnbull sat down with Patrick at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston, UK to discuss, well, everything ‚Äď from CM Punk to prostitutes.
The thing I find funny about End of a Year Self Defense Family is that there are a lot of people who aren‚??t into your music, but avidly follow you online through Twitter/Formspring/Tumblr, how do you feel about that?
We‚??ve got that a few times on this tour, people coming up to us and saying that. I don‚??t really mind. Nobody‚??s obligated to like our music. It doesn‚??t matter one way or the other to me. If they think we‚??re funny or just interesting on some level, I‚??m not going to be angry about that. God bless. I would say that the same attitude or personality that is present in all the bullshit on the Twitter and everything is evident in our music, so they might want to give the music a try. Either way, it‚??s cool. It doesn‚??t matter. All of that shit becomes unpopular in a year, anyway. Two years from now, Tumblr will be dead, Twitter will be dead. It‚??s just some fun to waste your day with when you‚??re at a bus stop and you have your phone, just tweeting things as if people give a shit. I don‚??t see how it could harm anybody. I don‚??t think it‚??s changing the world, either. It‚??s just a fun thing to do, to bullshit.
On Formspring, you‚??ve become an agony uncle of sorts. How do you feel about people valuing your opinions and advice so much?
That‚??s a little weird. It‚??s not that I‚??m an expert on thing, but I think it‚??s just because a lot of the time, people need someone, beside their immediate friends, to talk to and if it‚??s a stranger, it doesn‚??t matter if they have all the answers or is just an idiot, they just want to tell somebody something, because they need to talk. In that respect, I‚??m happy to do that. The Formspring experiment was actually interesting, because I thought I could be an asshole, but once people start telling you serious things about their life, I think it‚??s hard to be an asshole. I couldn‚??t do it. I had to answer in a serious way, because when somebody asks if they should keep the baby they‚??re carrying - what am I supposed to say? Acting like an asshole isn‚??t going to help anybody. It turned out to get a lot serious a lot faster than I thought, but I‚??ve enjoyed it and people tell me that it helped them once in a while, so I‚??m happy about that.
Was it an attempt to raise your profile?
I honestly didn‚??t think that it would, but I guess it has, to a degree. People just like to talk and if somebody wants to say, "That‚??s the band who answers people‚??s questions‚?¶" or whatever, I guess it‚??s something to talk about. I‚??d prefer them talking about our music, but fuck it. I guess I don‚??t have control at the end of the day.
You come across very intelligent and entertaining in the way you talk, have you ever considered spoken word? I‚??d attend ‚??The Patrick Kindlon Experience.‚??
People tell me to do spoken word a lot, but I don‚??t think people would actually enjoy it. I like to think I‚??m a friendly guy, warm, not a douche, but there‚??s somebody in every room that thinks I‚??m a douche when I start talking. Like, I see it when we play. This is a memo for those people reading this: I see your faces when we perform. I can look at you and see you. I know you are the weak dude who‚??s angry, because I‚??m talking loudly or asserting an opinion as if it‚??s a fact, and that‚??s somehow irritates you, because you‚??re an insecure weirdo. I see it on your face. So, if you do spoken word, that‚??s half the room. Half the room is looking at you like you‚??re an asshole. Maybe I‚??ll do it. I‚??d like to do comedy, not because I‚??m funny, but it just seems so hard. Band life isn‚??t easy, because, obviously, not that many people like us, but I have more or less figured out what I want out of it, and what I enable to get out of it, so that‚??s not mysterious to me anymore. But comedy, I might want to do, just because it seems so fucking hard. You‚??ve got to spend fucking 25-years just trying to get good at that and then there‚??s still no guarantee that anybody gives a shit, it‚??s a lot like being in a band. So, I might try that. Spoken word, I don‚??t know if it appeals to me as much. I enjoy some of that shit, I like talking, but as you‚??re probably picking up from this interview, I‚??m not the most articulate dude in person. There‚??s a lot of me saying, "You know what I mean?" There‚??s a lot of the word "fuck" in there. I‚??m not quite a brilliant orator yet, I‚??m working on it.
I‚??ve noticed, both personally and in the band, you seem to go out of your way to approach things unorthodoxly. For example, recording in obscure countries, like Jamaica and Iceland, for a band of your level, or travelling from LA to New York by Greyhound, why is that?
I know this is a strange thing to say, because it sounds like I‚??m condescending people that don‚??t feel the same, but that‚??s not the case. I‚??m just speaking exclusively about myself right now. I‚??m bored with everything. I might just start climbing mountains or some shit, just because I constantly need some sort of challenge. Like that LA to New York trip, I knew it was going to be miserable. There was no way it wasn‚??t going to be miserable, but I did it because it was going to be miserable. I just wanted a challenge; I just wanted to feel unhappy. I might take a train across India early next year; I just want to shit in a coffee can. Just give me a challenge. When things happen to us on tour, like when the van explodes or some shit, it‚??s obviously a hassle, but some weird part of me just gets excited, because it‚??s a challenge. Just give me something. The same thing with recording in different places, I‚??d like to get better and better at organizing those ideas, to the point where we‚??re really doing things really outside of the norm. Not just for a small band, but also for people, it‚??ll be strange stuff. The reason for that isn‚??t just for being the sake of strange, it‚??s just because the stranger you get, the more challenging it is and I could just use some sort of challenge. Like if you‚??re an adult in a band, and you‚??re not trying to be famous, there is nothing hard about it at all. You just play shows, you have a good time, there‚??s nothing hard, and I‚??d like it to be hard sometimes. I enjoy that.
So, you‚??re happy at the level the band is at? Is fame not something you wish to achieve?
I thought about this today, actually. I had a moment and a realization in the van, because I was reading some sort of music press piece of shit, and it referenced a band, but totally unrelated to the band. Like everything in the UK is all naked women, all of your magazines have naked women in it, and it was like, ‚??Look at this naked woman, she‚??s hot!‚?? and then said some bands, and it made me realize that I don‚??t want a moron to reference me. I don‚??t want some not funny, stupid douchebag to be talking about my band the way they talked about this guy‚??s band. I haven‚??t thought about being famous or well known in a longtime, and this just put the nail in the coffin that I have no interest in it. Just think about it, when you‚??re famous, it‚??s basically everybody pretending to care for a short amount of time than not caring. You go through the emotional rollercoaster of believing everyone‚??s bullshit, and then finding out that it‚??s not real and that nobody really cares about you. I do well enough with women, I don‚??t need to be a rock star to land ass, and the money isn‚??t actually very good compared to working a professional job, so there‚??s not a ton of motivation to be a celebrity, unless you‚??re going to be that next level celebrity.
Like, there‚??s a lot of motivation to be Lady Gaga, there‚??s a lot of motivation to be Metallica. The sort of music that interests me and the only music I‚??d feel comfortable playing, there‚??s no real fame. There‚??s no real money. There‚??s variant levels of doing ok, but if money is all they care about, all of those men and women would be better off getting straight jobs and working really hard. Seriously, ask any band. People ask me all the time like, "How do feel about so-and-so band getting big?" and I always tell them, "That‚??s not a big band, they‚??re not getting big." Just because you can fill a 1000-cap room, that is fucking awesome in small music, that‚??s great, but it‚??s not big. Big is a stadium. Big is an arena. Filling a 200-cap room is an achievement for a young band, but it is not big. Until you‚??re routinely bringing in 3000 people a night, you could do better at any job. Even when you‚??re bringing in 3000 people, which is a great amount of people for a small band, you better have a reason to do it besides money and besides fame, because old people aren‚??t going to know who the fuck you are and you‚??re not going to be making real money, so you‚??ve got to have a different reason. I‚??m not one of these bands that‚??s like, "I hate fame." but at the same time, it doesn‚??t interest me in the way that it interests a lot of people, I guess.
Right now, the big buzz is about Refused and At the Drive-In reforming and playing Coachella - obviously for a paycheck - despite the former claiming to have been long-dead.
Anybody that thinks that that‚??s not for money is out of their fucking mind, and I say this with all of the respect for Refused and At the Drive-In, I don‚??t give a fuck what they do. They carved a legacy by playing things a little differently to everybody else and hats off to them, but anybody who deludes themselves into thinking it‚??s not about money is off their fucking tree. It‚??s obviously about money. The question you‚??ve got to ask yourself is, is that wrong? I have no idea how much money they‚??re making, let‚??s make it a crazy number like $2,000,000. That‚??s a lot of money, split five ways, it‚??s not very much money, and then after you have your taxes took out, it‚??s not very much money at all. I have no idea how much things cost in Sweden, but I do know that with what you make at the end of the day, you could buy yourself a small house in South Carolina, if that‚??s what you want to do. It‚??s not an insane amount of money. If you have bills, like I have $80,000 worth of bills, if someone says, "I‚??ll give you $3,000,000 to play this fest." Well, I like playing music anyway, so is it wrong for me to take the money to do something I like anyway? I don‚??t think it‚??s wrong, but I do think it‚??s deluded for music fans to think that dudes who don‚??t like each other and dudes who do other gratifying things outside of their bands just want to get together, because it‚??s so full-filling to play with dudes you don‚??t even like to look at. That‚??s not true.
Anybody who wants to relive old parts of their life, I feel sympathy for that person, because that‚??s not good for your mental health. If I have to tell someone how to live, I‚??ll tell them this, perseverating on good parts of your past is as unhealthy as perseverating on the nasty parts of your past. Just fucking move forward, because forward is always more interesting, unless you‚??re willing to fucking admit that you don‚??t have a creative drop left in your fucking ball sack, which I don‚??t think that‚??s what Refused and I don‚??t think that‚??s what At the Drive-In are willing to admit, but is it wrong for them to take money? That‚??s for everybody to decide. I don‚??t think it‚??s wrong for them to take money; I just don‚??t give a fuck about either band. Neither band did anything for me in my life. Refused? Two good songs. At the Drive-in? Two good songs. Who gives a shit? If they were playing this bar, I‚??d watch them. If they played a fest where you have to pay 300-fucking-dollars, camp out and watch the fucking lamest bands on the planet in the fucking sun. I don‚??t think that people understand, it‚??s a fucking heat locker in that part of the country, talking about Coachella. There is no force on earth that could get a sane person to go there, people only go to do drugs and have sex with people they met on the Internet, just like every other fucking fest. Don‚??t delude yourself to think it‚??s about music; it most certainly is not, because if you enjoy music, you definitely don‚??t enjoy watching it from 600-yards away in the fucking sun. No one enjoys that. You enjoy music as it was meant to be performed, not some bullshit, fucking dot on the horizon where you need a JumboTron to see the motherfucker. You go to that to do MDMA and fuck a woman you‚??ve been talking to on Facebook. That‚??s it. You don‚??t go there for music, so everybody who‚??s like, "Oh Refused is back, I‚??m going to go to Coachella." Stop your bullshit, you‚??re going to watch them from a football field away and it will be absolutely nothing. Zero. Like you want it to be. If you walk away from that experience being, "It was exactly what I wanted it to be." Then you are convincing yourself of something and you‚??re deluded to a point of serious mental health issues. At the Drive-In and Refused, if you‚??re reading this, good luck. Take the money and run. Who gives a shit?
So, we won‚??t see End of a Year Self Defense Family playing Coachella?
I‚??ll play anything! We play fests all the time, because they‚??re fun for the band. I just don‚??t understand how they‚??re fun for a crowd at all. I love, love, love playing fests, they‚??re the most fun things in the fucking world. You just show up, there‚??s no pressure, you hang out with friends, you meet people, you‚??re usually catered ok, and then you leave half way through to go watch a baseball game or something. It‚??s really fun for bands. It‚??s bullshit for most audiences, like if you want to do a fest, six bands, 500 people, one venue, that‚??s a fucking fest. When you talk about 80 bands, multiple days and outside, that‚??s still cool for bands, but not that cool for the audience, I don‚??t think. Give me the invite, Coachella, or any of these other fucking bullshit fests; I‚??ll play them. I don‚??t care.
Going back to how you do things differently, even the format of the band is weird - can you explain it?
I don‚??t think it‚??s that weird, but I understand a lot of people do. When I talk to people that play folk music, they seem to understand it better than most. However, because we primarily play to punk and hardcore people, it‚??s not a format that‚??s really popular in those styles of music, so it‚??s something people definitely ask about a lot. This isn‚??t bullshit, we write 100 songs a year, and they‚??d all be the same level of good - not too many moments of brilliance and no real moments of shit. They‚??re just good songs. It was like a fucking machine, we had it down to a science, we could have been a band for 50-years, just fucking churning out songs that are all good, but there was no challenge. There was no point. So, we just decided to bring everybody in and be like, "I really like the way this person plays bass, let‚??s have two basses on the song, who gives a shit?" I could sum it up with this: who gives a shit? It‚??s fun to play with different people; anybody who doesn‚??t understand that hasn‚??t been in a band for very long. Anyone who doesn‚??t understand that has probably been dating the same man or woman for a decade, it‚??s fun to be with other people. It‚??s fulfilling to be with other people. I think we have about 16 people that we play with at any given time, that‚??s fun. For example, on this tour, Caroline Corrigan, who sings with us sometimes, came for half the tour. She‚??ll probably play a few shows with us in the US, or maybe not. Sometimes, I won‚??t sing at all. I‚??ll ask a friend to sing for me, because when you trust everybody in your band to play well, and you don‚??t give a shit what the audience thinks; you can do anything. You can express yourself anyway you want. It‚??s weird to me that more bands dont do this, especially punk bands, because it‚??s the natural extension of being a punk band. I don‚??t give a fuck about playing the songs exactly as they are on the album, at all. I don‚??t give a fuck about the audience connecting with the songs in anyway. So, with that in mind, why the fuck wouldn‚??t we bring in a tuba player? Why the fuck wouldn‚??t we play occasionally with a giant harp? Who cares? It‚??s just an excuse to challenge yourself and have a good time.
Like I said, with folk, if you‚??re not talking about a singular folk artist and talking about a folk band, they understand flux of members. They understand sometimes you‚??ll play a format with 10 people and other times, you‚??ll play a format of three people, and that‚??s not very old to them. Punk and hardcore are very strange, rock is strange similarly - not as extreme - but they want to see original members and shit like that, it‚??s a joke. Some of my friends are very successful music people, not like me, who is an unsuccessful music person, but they work on the other side of music, the business side, and they LOVE original line-ups, because it is a fucking joke in the music industry. It‚??s just a way to get money. They love when bands get back together with an original line-up, because you just fleece the fucking show-goer. You convince them that the drug addict guitarist that left 15-years ago and couldn‚??t play worth shit then, you convince the audience that him coming back is important in some fucking way and legitimizes the whole fucking affair. Then they can ask more money from the promoters and more people come, and it‚??s a fucking joke. Everybody that knows how music works knows that it‚??s bullshit. The only people that care about that shit are fucking "music fans" who don‚??t get it. Who care about things like, "I saw the real Black Flag." Fuck you. Who fucking cares? Did you have a good time? I bet you probably didn‚??t. PiL is one of my favorite bands; they played some of their best music with line-ups that had nothing to do with the ‚??original line-up‚??. It‚??s a fucking fallacy; it‚??s a fraud. ‚??Original line-up‚?? is one of the biggest scams going, so I want no original line-up. We‚??re recording some music this year that doesn‚??t have me on it at all. Mark E. Smith of The Fall, that dude is a bit of a megalomaniac; because he insists he touches everything. I want to take that idea, adults enter and leave you life, the same way lovers, the same way friends, the same way family, the same way with everybody. Everybody enters and leaves your life at their convenience, because they have things going on. We want to take that model and apply it to a band that plays vaguely punk music. I might take a fucking year off and somebody can sing in my place, as long as I trust them to do a good job, who gives a shit? Basically, can I sum it up? Who gives a shit?!
During that, you said you‚??re an, "unsuccessful music person", do you really believe that? I mean, you‚??ve travelled the world and done more things than what most bands get to do.
You‚??re right, actually. What I should say, unsuccessful by your grandma‚??s standards, musicians know what I‚??m talking about. Musicians go through phases in their life where if you‚??re playing music at 18, everybody else in your circle of friends is also playing music, what‚??s success then? Your grandma doesn‚??t know the name of your band and as the years go by, you realize grandma is never going to know the name of your band. Your friend‚??s grandma will never know the name of your band; you will never be successful in that way. Then you will go to your high school reunion and they will all think you‚??re successful just because you do something interesting, so they want to talk about that, as if you‚??re the biggest success in the world, but grandma still doesn‚??t know who you are. I‚??m unsuccessful in the way that almost all musicians are unsuccessful. My grandma is dead and she probably still knows who Bono is. Bono is a success in music. Frank Sinatra, very successful dead guy, my grandma knows who Frank Sinatra is and, again, she‚??s dead, so that‚??s saying a lot. That‚??s success. Everything else is people convincing themselves that they are doing better than they would working in fast food. True success is something that very few of us will achieve; it‚??s probably doing something that you stand 100% by and an unmitigated, beautiful effort that you probably don‚??t even know that you‚??re capable of. That‚??s probably success and probably one billionth of musicians get that, success as the larger world knows it or grandma‚??s success, that‚??s not easy to come by. Let me say this, Bono: probably successful. Patrick Kindlon: not that successful.
You don‚??t really seem to value other people‚??s opinions much and make light of most situations. I saw a YouTube video that you made about how people shouldn‚??t get so offended, but I watched another and you got bothered about the wrestler CM Punk making a gimmick out of straight edge. I didn‚??t think you‚??d be the type of person to care for labels, why does the straight edge label still matter to you?
Yeah, it‚??s funny, because I date around with a woman who challenges me on this all the time. I have an utter disdain for labels and people self-defining that are obvious in aggrandizing and ridiculous self-involvement, so this woman that I date sometimes, she tells me, "You‚??re an asshole, because you happily accept the word straight edge and you‚??ll use it for yourself. You‚??re a hypocrite and a moron." She‚??s probably right, in the respect that I‚??m a hypocrite, I don‚??t know if I‚??m a moron. This is difficult to explain, especially as you said, I don‚??t value much, but straight edge made my life better and I find it difficult to shit on anything that made my life better. If college made my life better, I wouldn‚??t be angry with college. I wouldn‚??t be able to say bad things about college. The women in my life, I never say anything bad about the women in my life, because they all made my life better. My parents made my life better. Straight edge made my life better. So, as childish as my reaction to things like fucking CM Punk is, it‚??s purely that. It‚??s the same way that people get rankled if your mom is a really nice lady and someone walks in and says, "Your mom‚??s a stupid bitch, I just want you to know that." You understand that, that person probably doesn‚??t know your mom and that person probably can‚??t change your relationship with your mom, so their opinion doesn‚??t matter, but you still don‚??t necessarily want to hear it. I‚??m about as offended by CM Punk as I am by anything, which is not much, but enough to say, that dude can suck a dick. I would hang out with the dude. I find it ridiculous when people say, "I‚??ll never speak to that dude, because 10-years ago, he punched a woman in a bar." I don‚??t give a shit. Who gives a shit if he punched his mother yesterday? What‚??s that got to do with me? I don‚??t give a fuck. I‚??m not here to fucking be Judge Judy with total fucking strangers. That dude has a right to sit next to me and I‚??ll engage with him like I‚??ll engage with any human being on this planet. I don‚??t care if he‚??s a double murderer, I don‚??t care if he contributes to genocide in Uganda, he‚??s a fucking human being and I‚??ll treat him like a human being. So, that‚??s when I think people are being ridiculous. I‚??ll talk to anybody. I‚??ve talked to double murderers, I‚??ve talked to rapists, I‚??ve talked to people that everyone thinks is a piece of shit and they often are pieces of shit, but it doesn‚??t change the fact that they‚??re fucking human beings. If a dog came up to me right now, I‚??d pet the fucking dog, because it‚??s a living being and I‚??ll treat it with respect by virtue of the fact that it‚??s got a fucking heartbeat and it doesn‚??t deserve to get spit on. It doesn‚??t mean that I want to hang out with a double murderer or rapist, but it means I don‚??t find their crime or offence offensive. It doesn‚??t offend me. They‚??re just a person. The same thing with CM Punk, CM Punk does the straight edge thing. It‚??s really embarrassing to watch, but I‚??d still sit next to the guy on a plane and talk to him about Junkyard Dog or Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Who cares? That‚??s what I mean by offense. When people saying, "I‚??m offended by this, I don‚??t want it in my world." or whatever, who said it‚??s your fucking world? Fuck you. That guy‚??s got a right to be here too. CM Punk, he‚??s got a right to say all sorts of fucking stupid shit, you going to be offended? It‚??s fucking stupid. I think it‚??s hokey and what he does is corny, but it‚??s the same thing with bands. I try to explain it to dudes all the time, if I think your band sucks, if I think your band is a fucking joke, if I think your band is a terrible piece of shit, who fucking cares? Why do you need my approval? Yeah, I guess you offend me because you‚??re bad at what you do, but am I going to stop you? I‚??d sit next to you and we‚??d talk about how much you love the Deftones or some shit, I just don‚??t understand blocking people out of your life, because they do shitty things. I‚??ll talk to CM Punk. CM Punk, write me a fucking Twitter message. I don‚??t give a fuck. I‚??ll talk to you, whatever.
Is it not good that he‚??s exposing the concept to a large audience?
If you want to look at it in a larger context, and don‚??t want to get all weirdly personal about it, you could say that he‚??s exposing people to what a lot of us think is a good idea, and helps a lot of people. Maybe gives a lot of young dudes the clarity to get motivated to do certain things they want to do and if he exposes to 20-million people to that idea and only 200 people take that idea and run with it, I guess that‚??s good. If someone made that argument to me, I‚??d say that‚??s fine. Personally, I just feel he‚??s really hokey and it‚??s a corny presentation, and maybe not representative of how I‚??ve identified with that idea, but fuck it. He‚??s a motivated, clean living dude that‚??s making a little bit of money. At the end of the day, I‚??d think a lot of people would find that positive, I just think that he looks like an asshole.
A year ago, you mentioned in your Punknews article about sexism in punk that you‚??ve had issues in Germany, like getting kicked off shows for your previous use of prostitutes, have you had any problems this time round?
No, the German people were real cool to me this time and I appreciated that very much. It‚??s very strange, the only place I‚??ve ever experienced that is in Germany and it really seemed to be part of a group thing, like a moment of mob intelligence as opposed to individual intelligence where people just got worked up over stuff and it was fun for them to have a target for a minute and have a focus for things they care about, that they don‚??t get to yell at anybody in particular, because the whole world is sexist. All day long, they think "The world is sexist, the world is fucked up." and for a minute, they could blame me, so it gave them an excuse to throw a couple of tomatoes or whatever. It doesn‚??t seem that, that instance represents German people as a whole or even how those people who did it at the time feel now. This time, I had a very beautiful time in Germany, I‚??m not angry at Germany anymore. The diss-songs I wrote about Germany will never come out now - well, they might come out on different comp tracks in weird countries and shit. I guess with the Twitter or the way we conduct putting out releases or whatever, there‚??s a certain degree of audience concentration. You distil the large audience, let‚??s say our records only sell a couple thousand, but because of downloading and stuff, let‚??s say 10,000 human beings have heard our music and let‚??s say, 2,000 people don‚??t like it because of the voice, 2,000 don‚??t like it because of the instrumentation, then someone heard I‚??m not a cool dude, so 1,500 don‚??t like it, and you just go down this list and distil it, it‚??s like coffee, and you eventually have a product that you want, and the product that I want, is fans that aren‚??t dumb motherfuckers. I want fans I can look in the eye and treat like a fucking peer, instead of an idiot. I think that‚??s what a lot of bands don‚??t want, especially some of the bands that want to successful don‚??t want. To be successful, you have to have a moron-fucking fan, because there‚??s only about 30,000 smart people on this planet. If you‚??ve got 35,000 fans, at least 5,000 of them are dumb-fucking-idiots. I don‚??t want someone to look me in the eye as they tell me they like our music but say, "Yeah, but I think you‚??re a fucking shithead, man." I don‚??t want to do that. I want to look at people and say, "Thanks." I hope that by being honest all of the time and saying things that not everybody likes, if it makes you stop listening to our band, you probably didn‚??t like the music to begin with, because the music is a separate thing. If you don‚??t think it is, then you‚??re an idiot. Our lives outside of the band and the band itself, are tied in, in a very specific way where you can enjoy any one of them on their own, or you can enjoy them all at the same time, it‚??s entirely up to you, but it would be nice if we got to the point where the only people who liked us were the people who really like us. The people who understand and share our sensibility musically or whatever the fuck it is. I think the problem, like the people crying on Punknews or the people in Germany who weren‚??t happy with the idea of prostitution, I think in a way, those people are really great, because they help cut away from the larger fanbase and make an actual fanbase, making people care about the things that matter, not the bullshit. At the end of the day, if there‚??s only 100 people on the planet out of 7 billion or whatever the fuck it is, but they‚??re all people I consider peers and can look in the eye and treat like an adult, that‚??s mission accomplished. I feel like I‚??ve done a good job. But yeah, there were no problems this time; it was actually really breezy.
I was wondering, because a lot of people consider no promiscuity as one of the factors that form straight edge - is this not the case for you since you have used prostitutes?
This is always an interesting question, because, obviously, the promiscuity part is the most self-defined part of straight edge. Obviously, now is weed a dangerous drug? Nah, but weed is a drug. There‚??s very little debate on that, so that‚??s pretty straightforward and clear. Alcohol, pretty clear, I know sometimes it‚??s not, but promiscuity, that‚??s pretty much up to every person to define for themselves. Myself? I legitimately like every woman I‚??ve slept with. Legitimately. To me, the ugly thing with promiscuity, the ugliness that people want to avoid, is when people treat their sex partners like some weird piece of shit. Like, "Oh yeah, I woke up with this whore the other day, she was disgusting, I ran out of the room." When people say shit like that, that‚??s ugly to me and that‚??s what I want to avoid, but if I just had a nice night with a beautiful woman, I don‚??t see any harm in that. I treat her with respect, she treats me with respect and we like each other for that moment. It‚??s like talking to some dude on the bus talking about football and telling them to have a nice day when they get off, that‚??s a nice exchange. I think promiscuousness gets ugly and negative when people treat their partners like some weird fucking whore they have contempt for. Obviously, a personal issue for a lot of people and if some dude thinks I‚??m not straight edge, because I like to be with women, that‚??s fine, but, personally, as long as I treat every partner with the utmost respect, I find it difficult to fault me and I have a clean conscience on the subject.
Back to your Punknews piece, you said the argument, "seems like a waste of bandwidth and time to me." While you make trivial YouTube videos on Facebook etiquette, hipsters, Paramore, etc. Isn‚??t something like sexism a more engaging issue for intelligent discussion?
I‚??ll tell you the difference, one might make you giggle, the other one is just a bunch of hot air from a bunch of people that don‚??t understand that everybody has already said what they have said a hundred times before, maybe a billion times before. All of that sit around, talk about the world bullshit, it is so tired to an adult. It is so tired to someone that went to college and had to sit through all of that shit, it‚??s tired. It‚??s like, I don‚??t like fucking Italian food, because I grew up eating it and now when I see Italian food, I‚??m not excited about it. It does nothing for me. A conversation about fucking sexism in punk, is about as interesting as the worst Italian meal I‚??ve ever had, because everyone is saying the same fucking thing, which is sexism is not good. No shit. No fucking shit. It‚??s a human rights issue. Obviously, sexism isn‚??t good. Everyone‚??s sitting around saying we shouldn‚??t have sexism in punk. Firstly, that‚??s a fucking incredibly presumptuous argument from one person in a subculture that includes millions and you get to decide what the larger masses of people get to think? You fucking fascist fuck. You get to decide now? No. But, it‚??s also obvious - yes, all thinking and intelligent people don‚??t like sexism, no shit. You dumb motherfucker. The only person that‚??s going to disagree with you is the person who will never see your side, because they‚??re a fucking asshole. So, sitting around saying, "There‚??s so much sexism in punk, there really shouldn‚??t be." Yo, I dare you to find a more progressive subculture and join that one, because I don‚??t know where it is! I still find myself playing punk venues and vaguely what we call punk music, because I get to express myself there, and people are willing to accept that. They look at things and say, "Ok, this motherfucker needed to get something out and now he‚??s getting it out." I didn‚??t come here because I thought everybody would agree with me, it‚??s a ridiculous idea. It‚??s foolish to think that just because you listen to some fucking Crass lyrics that everybody agrees with you. Even when Crass was performing, there were other fucking bands that were considered punk that had the opposite view, so fuck you! You don‚??t get to decide what exists in other people‚??s minds. Deal with that reality and just do the things that fulfill you. Behave in a way that fulfills you. Everybody‚??s sitting around saying there shouldn‚??t be this; you might as well pull down your dad‚??s pants and tell his asshole, because it‚??s doing the same amount of good. Dig a hole in the backyard and tell the hole in your backyard. Put your face in the cushion of your couch and tell your couch, because it is doing the same fucking thing. Nothing. I find it offensive when someone hits you with the same tired fucking argument over and over again. The idea that I wouldn‚??t have heard it is an insult to my fucking intelligence. I‚??ve heard it a billion times, because I‚??m a fucking thinking person that seeks out that fucking argument. The person that you want to reach, you will never reach, because that dude doesn‚??t give a fuck about your fucking opinion and isn‚??t seeking out that different point of view. Fucking, please, 100%, open up your book bag and tell the inside of your book bag; it‚??s the same fucking thing.
You always seem to place an importance on being an ‚??adult‚??, is that defined by age or mentality?
It‚??s a mental thing, not an age thing. I shouldn‚??t even use the word ‚??adult‚??, I should use ‚??reasonable person‚??, because you could be fucking 14 and be a reasonable person. Adult is just a catchall term. Just be a reasonable person and see the world for what it is, which is ugly and nice, good and bad. It‚??s all colors of the spectrum at once and you don‚??t get to decide. You get to make the impact that you try to make at the best of your ability and I wish you the fucking best of luck, but you don‚??t get to decide, and that‚??s what being an adult and A reasonable person is about.
You don‚??t tour much and I‚??ve heard you say it‚??s because people take advantage of touring bands, and that you prefer being in the studio, why is that?
I much prefer being in a studio; it gives you the chance to actually create something. I‚??ve come to realize that being on tour, a month is the absolute limit of what I feel I can express myself as honestly and as originally as I can. After that, it becomes repetition and I have no interest in repetition. I like to do something different, even if the audience doesn‚??t know it; it‚??s different to me. I like to do something different for myself every fucking night, and after 30-days, it starts to become repetitious and not genuine, and then it becomes an actual recital instead of a performance and I have no interest in that. To me, being in the studio gives me the opportunity to explore things and make something new everyday. We jam a lot live, and the reason we do that is because it gives us the opportunity to do something new. I don‚??t understand these dudes that can do the same thing over and over again. I‚??ve been very fortunate for the last couple of years where I‚??ve had a job that‚??s allowed me to do different things almost every day. Musically, I‚??ve got to do that. When I write, I‚??ve got to do that. Touring to tour is just some bullshit, because you could go visit those places on your own, you don‚??t need to go with a band, so what‚??s the purpose of you going? I just want to see new places and do different things every day. When I end up doing the same bullshit over and over again, it‚??s tedious in a way that I find disgusting and I‚??ve got no interest. I love to play live, but only to a point, but then I like to make new songs and perform those songs live.
Does Deathwish not mind you constantly releasing material and not touring to make up for it?
Yeah, they‚??d probably prefer that, but Deathwish, more than any other label that I can think of in let‚??s say the ‚??aggressive‚?? music world, they‚??re more open to anything than any other label I‚??ve ever encountered. They understand that some of their bands tour more than others; they probably wish their bands would tour more, because it increases visibility and helps sell records, but I‚??ve never felt an ounce of pressure to be out on the road. We tour out of respect for them, because they spend money making things for us and it seems only right that we should try to sell some of those. They probably would prefer us to be out on the road. They used to not be in love with us putting so many records out, because in traditional marketing, if you flood the market, it becomes very difficult to promote any one release in a serious way, so I don‚??t think they really liked that. I think there‚??s a bit of balance now, because when we put a bunch of records out, they wholesale the records and it‚??s more things for them to sell, ultimately. There‚??s a trade there, if we put out one record a year or one record out of every four years, would it be better or worse? I couldn‚??t say. It wouldn‚??t interest me as much and I wouldn‚??t find it as fulfilling, and I think that Deathwish, at the end of the day, likes their bands to be fulfilled, so they‚??ve been very supportive of us doing whatever the fuck we want. We fight sometimes, but I never feel that there‚??s a real roadblock there.
On the song "I‚??ve Got An Idea‚?¶" featured on Run For Cover‚??s Mixed Signals compilation, your voice is a lot less coarse, is this something we‚??ll be seeing more of? It seems a lot more accessible.
I talk about this live sometimes. I don‚??t know if I‚??ve talked about it too much on the Internet, but I find it terribly frustrating that I can‚??t be particularly good at the thing that I like doing. Now, that doesn‚??t mean that you stop doing it or you don‚??t like it, just because I don‚??t play NBA basketball doesn‚??t mean that I don‚??t like basketball. It‚??s frustrating to not be a good singer, because what people hear when they hear me yelling, that‚??s me trying to sing. It‚??s not that like I‚??m trying to yell or bark or deliver a punk or hardcore voice, that‚??s actually the terrible sound that comes out of my throat when I attempt to sing. That song was an effort to sing, which maybe people who like the band would be interested to know that pretty much every record we‚??ve ever done, has had multiple tracks of me attempting to sing similar to that, but that shit never gets pressed or mixed or mastered like that, because it really sucks. I‚??m really bad at it. I‚??m better at yell-singing, which is unfortunate, but the reality. We‚??re probably going to do a little bit more stuff like that, because we‚??re doing a duets record, but I don‚??t know if that‚??ll necessarily take the place of the singular thing I seem able to do, which is yell like a moron.
Aside from the band, I‚??ve read that you write comic books. Is that something you do on a professional level?
I like to involve myself in things at the absolute worst time, that‚??s just part of the challenge. Music, I don‚??t think we could have been a big band, but 20-years ago, maybe we could have been a bigger band. Comic book stuff, 20-years ago, I could make my rent or make a living on it. Now, it‚??s professional, in the same way the band is, where you seek to run it as professionally as possible and you seek to always have a professional attitude where you do your best and hold yourself to a standard, but as far as making money - very, very difficult to make money in comic books. I continue to try. Unlike music, comic books were something I grew up thinking you could make a living in and I still pathetically hold onto that view. For people at home, to give you an idea, if I sold a comic book and reached sales of 7,000, that would be considered a very big success. There‚??s 300,000,000 people in the United States and if I‚??m only selling 7,000, that‚??s considered successful. That‚??s how pathetic the comic book market is right now. It‚??s a dead market, it‚??s a sad market, and everybody that loves that medium is sticking around and hoping things go the other way by little progressive moves that everybody is doing. Hopefully, one of them will make a change and revive the medium to be financially solvent, but it‚??s kind of like music, where you do it because you love it and you feel frustration that you can‚??t make a living wage off it.
Does the band have anything else coming up?
We‚??ve just recorded in Iceland and Deathwish has been kind enough to release that record for us, that should be mixed in about a week, and that‚??ll be another 7" single. Then we‚??re going to finish all the EP and singles commitments for the year in one big burst, and then we‚??re going to start writing an LP that I hope I can talk Deathwish into releasing by the end of the year. That‚??s the plan. People are trying to talk us into touring, but we‚??re keeping them short. I really want to be a scummy indie band that only does fests, that‚??s like my dream. So, working towards that goal of becoming a scummy indie band that does mostly fests and just gets to record all of the time. I don‚??t know if punk people will be able to tolerate that, they‚??ll probably be like, "You haven‚??t played my town in a month-and-a-half, obviously, you broke up!" So, we‚??ll see, but a lot of fests, like we talked about earlier, playing in a field 200-yards away from people, a lot of that bullshit.
You came back over here after a year, that‚??s pretty good going for most bands.
I love a week in the UK. I‚??d do a week in the UK in a heartbeat, it‚??s just fun and I find it less stressful than touring the west and east coast, honestly. Let me go back to what we talked about earlier about celebrity, I do desire to get celebrity in one place, that‚??s Iceland. There‚??s only 300,000 people in Iceland, that‚??s the size of a city in the United States, that means you could reasonably be a celebrity there by just being good at something. You don‚??t need a marketing machine behind you. You can just be the best of what you do in that fucking country and that matters there, whereas it doesn‚??t matter anywhere in the world where if you‚??re the best in the country there‚??s typically some marketing involved. But Iceland and UK, that might be our tour circuit from now on. That might be it.
I think I‚??m pretty much done, is there anything else you want to say?
Just thank you very much for your time. Should I address the people that are going to read this? I don‚??t read it; I don‚??t read your comments. I feel bad, because somebody will say, "Oh, I saw that thing you wrote on sexism, did you see the comments?" No, I didn‚??t! I saw two of them and then I stopped reading them, just because I don‚??t give a shit. So, if you‚??re going to write some weird, negative shit, just write me an email. If you‚??ve got an actual concern or problem, write me an email, because at least I‚??ll validate it by viewing it. I feel bad for people that comment on shit on YouTube and message boards and shit, because half the people you want to see that shit, aren‚??t seeing that shit. Just write them an email, even if it‚??s an email like, "Hey, Title Fight, I don‚??t like you." If that‚??s what you‚??re going to put on a fucking message board, I guarantee, I know the dudes in Title Fight, they‚??re probably not going to read it. Same with me, same with fucking Madonna, she definitely won‚??t read the email, but don‚??t waste your time on a message board. If you want to make a general statement saying, "This dude sucks balls." or "This band sucks balls." That‚??s fine, but I read message boards all the time, I love them, but I never really read them about myself. I read them about other people‚??s bands and I always see one or two in every thread that seems directed at the band, as if the band is going to take the time to read the fucking thing. Just take that exact amount of time and send an email to whoever. I‚??ve wrote emails to people I don‚??t like and just said, "I don‚??t like you." Just do it. It takes 30-seconds and you‚??ll feel a lot better, because at least you get some interaction. There you go.