In 1996 Strung Out released Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues. An album that became an instant classic as it was one of the fastest album the punk rock planet had ever heard. Two years later the Simi Valley band didn't disappoint when it came back with Twisted by Design. Both albums are considered by a legion of Strung Out fans to be essentials records to own for any punk rock devotee. To celebrate those two records Strung Out decided to go on a two month long tour that would be called Twisted In A Suburban Wasteland and to play both records in their totality every nights. Crazy concept right? Many people rejoiced including Punknews interviewer Alexis Charlebois who had a conversation with drummer Jordan Burns to talk about this tour who will go through North America from July 17th to October 5th
Youâve just been voted the best punk drummer through Drummer Magazine. How cool is that?
Itâs pretty bad ass I might say. The thing is that I know that thereâs so many others incredible punk drummers out there. Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion) who finished behind me is an incredible drummer. A real prodigy kid drummer who has just been insane forever. So to see my name in front of him is pretty insane. I think Iâm pretty humble about it âcause I know who the amazing drummers are out there. Byron from Pennywise should have been nominated along with Bill Stevenson (Descendents), Eric Sandin (NOFX), Sean Sellers (Good Riddance). So yeah, thereâs a lot of great drummers in punk rock so it was pretty cool to be included into that pool. My sponsors are excited and my fans have been leaving me many cool comments so it makes me a happy guy.
So youâre about to leave on a tour called Twisted In A Suburban Wasteland. So youâll play Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted by Design in their entirety every night?
Humâ¦yeahâ¦every night we will play both records. I think itâs gonna be a bit challenging. Itâs definitely gonna be like running a marathon for me because itâs twenty-seven songs right there. I feel like everyone is really excited about the shows. The tickets sale have been going very well so thatâs obviously a good sign that people are very interested in seeing this. Iâm just being concerned with the length of the show and I just really hope that we can keep peopleâs attention. I think itâs going to bring a lot of people havenât came to see us in a while and a lot of people are talking about the memories that have of these albums, of their youth and I think thatâs really cool and that itâs gonna go very well.
Suburban came out sixteen years ago and Twisted came out fourtneen years ago. Do you feel like itâs been this long?
Time flies but weâre having fun. When I think that Iâve been in this band for almost twenty years itâs insane to think that itâs been so long. That weâve had such a long career and that we are still making music and people are still caring, itâs a good feeling. But it doesnât really seem like itâs been that long ago.
Do you consider these two records being your best records?
Humâ¦no. I mean, I donât like to personally say that because I love all of our records. I really like everything weâve done with an equal amount of passion. I think weâve done a very good job at staying creative and making music that is still interesting. Itâs a challenge to keep on doing that record after record, to always try to make a better record than your last. But in the end itâs always the fans who decide if you did or didnât do that by the reactions that you getâ¦but based on sales Suburban and Twisted definitely seem to be our fans favorite albums. But back then things were so different. You canât compare that period to the one when we released Agents Of The Underground. Obviously things have changed so much within the music industry. But still, we know how popular these two records are and it just made sense to pick those two albums to do this tour with.
Do you have any idea of how much units you sold of these two records?
Of course I know…Suburban sold about 170,000 units and Twisted is right behind with 168,000 or something like that. Thatâs a shit load of records for an independent band that never got any radio or MTV support. Not that that shit even matters today but back in the days it did. So yeah, for an independent band and considering we have done pretty much everything on our own thatâs a lot of records and Iâm pretty happy about it.
What do you remember of the writing process of Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues?
I remember that at that time we were just looking to write the fastest record possible and I think we definitely accomplished that. Thatâs something that the fans really really liked about that album at the time; the intensity, the speed. It was a different sound for that time frame when it got released. People were really pumped on it. Sometimes I listen back to that album and I wonder how the fuck did we play so fast. Itâs pretty intense and to try to recapture that intensity when you are sixteen years older than you were back then itâs challenging. As a drummer itâs definitely different physically on your body andâ¦Iâm not an athlete.
Were you realizing it was going to be such a good record when you were recording it?
Yeah, when youâre in the studio making your music and putting your heart together you definitely have the feeling inside of you that itâs going to be fucking amazing. Pretty much every band is guilty of saying: Â«This is our best stuff ever! Â» when they put a record out. You always have that feeling and you want it to be true but like I said itâs your fan base who decide if you did or didnât accomplish that.
What was your reaction the first time you heard that some people were thinking that your drumming had been accelerated on Suburban because it was basically impossible that you played that fast?
My initial reaction was Â«Fuck off everybody! Â». No just kidding. But what do you mean? That I was on coke or that I took a bunch of drugs to get that fast?
That the recording was accelerated? You never heard that?
I have heard that and itâs funny because we are still hearing little debates about that. We have proof that that didnât take place. It would be interesting to figure that it is what happened so that way we can drop the pace a notch and we wonât have to play it so fast. But no, thatâs not the truth. There wasnât any acceleration in there.
When did you realize that you were getting really popular? That people were showing a lot of interest in your band after the release of Suburban?
I think itâs when I got my first million dollars and I bought my first Ferrari. Now, I of course have tens of millions and a whole Ferrari collection âcause we are so huge as a band and are such big rock stars. Thatâs when I realized it. Noâ¦I donât know if I ever did realize it. I think we just kind of rolled with the punches and did or things and played or music. We just did our thing and it was awesome to see things happen and get the reception that we did each time a record came out and we went out on tour. Strung Out started in a time when this whole punk rock market as not insanely flooded with so many bands. Back then it was definitely much more of an original identifiable sound that we were coming out with and it was just cool that so many people loved it and enjoyed all of the music that we were making. It still goes on today so that awesome.
Suburban came out on April 23rd 1996, the exact same day as the release of Less Talk, More Rock by Propagandhi. Were you aware of that? Any kind of friendly competition between you and them back then?
I donât think I even did know that back then and if I did I donât remember. Fat Wreck Chords just probably made that shit up. Itâs cool to know âcause Propagandhi is definitely an amazing band and theyâre a band that I would love to share the stage with. Iâve know those guys forever although I donât know them well. They stayed at my house when they recorded their first album. Fat Mike brought them out here and they stayed at my house the night before they went into studio to record with Donnell Cameron. Thatâs how far back I met those guys and I really think theyâre an amazing band. I would really love to share the stage with them since Strung Out never played with Propagandhi. I told Chris many many times that we want to play with him butâ¦maybe heâll read this and heâll be interested this time. Theyâve always done their own things and set their own rules and they like to play with certain types of bands but I think it would be an awesome show and a crazy tour. I have a lot of dream scenarios like putting together a tour with Strung Out, Lagwagon, Propagandhi, Good Riddance and maybe Millencolin. It would be fun to do some sort of super tour like that. Itâs just a dream scenario.
When came the time to write Twisted By Design did you felt any kind of pressure or a desire to go in a different direction?
I donât think we ever went in a certain direction or not on purpose at least. Obviously during the first three records Jim Cherry was in the band and he was a very talented songwriter that brought a lot of great music to Strung Out. One thing I remember is that when we went in the studio to record Twisted we just had a bunch more music ready to go. Speaking of Jim Cherry it was the tenth year anniversary of him passing away on July 7th. Shout out to Mister Jim Cherry who was a founder of Strung Out and he was obviously an important part of Strung Out during the years he was in the band. This band would not exist without Jim Cherry and as much as we had a turbulent relationship heâs the one that brought me into the band. I was in a band called Scared Straight (who went on to become Ten Foot Pole) and they kicked me out and three weeks later Jim Cherry asked me if I wanted to jam with Strung Out and it ended up working out and Ten Foot Poleâs dead and we are not.
Strung Out remained with Fat Wreck Chords for all of their releases and Iâm pretty sure that after Twisted by Design you got offers from major labels. Any reason why youâve always remained with Fat?
Fat Mike has always been very, very fair and the way he deals with all of his bands and what heâs able to do and the offers that he gave usâ¦Fat Wreck Chords was obviously one of the biggest punk rock label out there and it has always been a good place for us for the most part and we just havenât really had the desire to seek out other things. But seriously back in those days we didnât really have any major labels knocking at our door and taking us for diners and try to make us sign a huge record deal. Itâs funny because weâve seen some bands that did take that route and weâve seen it fail in several different cases. I donât know if I need to name bands or whatever but many bands left fat Wreck Chords to go on a major label and get dropped. The only band for which it really works out well is Rise Against. They just became one of the biggest band in the world and their still killing it so itâs cool it worked out for them.
The American election are coming in November, do you have anyâ¦
Oh God. You want to talk about politicsâ¦Iâm not big on politic at all. I think theyâre all a bunch of crooks and puppets and I donât think it matters who goes in there âcause I believe the President is just a puppet ran by the upper above that are way bigger and more powerful. Heâs just told what to do andâ¦yeah, I donât wanna go into all this shit.
Thatâs cool. Itâs already a good answer. Do you have a new record coming out sooner than later?
How about later than sooner. Weâre all talking about it and we want to get a new record out but we are aiming at 2013. As long as weâre all here and we donât all die on December 21st as the Maya predicted âcause thereâs a lot of shady shit going on around the world. So letâs see what will happen in 2013 right?