Angie Lalonde writes "If you've never heard of Cigar I am proud to be the one to introduce you. They've recently toured for the first time in Ontario after endless pleas from Canadian fans and I was the only lucky one to get an interview with them while on their 'Anti-SARS' tour. So here's the deal with their disappearing acts, new demo and the story behind their song 'Laundry Basket'…"
Click READ MORE for all that and then some.
ANGIE- So where have you guys been? What happened to Cigar, I heard about you guys five years ago and not much since thenâ¦
JOHN- We actually played in Canada two years agoâ¦
A- Was that only in Montreal?
J- No we played Quebec, four shows I think, Trois-Rivieres, Thetford Mines, Quebec City and Montreal, that was our first time up here and this is our second time.
A- You guys all have other jobs aside from Cigar right?
J- Oh yeah, we have to
A- And you all live in different cities, does that have a big part in why you guys have been laying low? Rami - John and I live in Portland Oregon now but for a while we all lived in different cities; it was busy, just about survival techniques.
J- We were getting burned out too in San Diego, thereâs just so many bands playing all the time, same old shit every nightâ¦
Jason- Plus we had a large amount of bar shows, the twenty-one and up crowdâ¦.
J- They closed one of the best all-ages venue in San Diego right about the time we started playing shows there and we always got bar shows and it was always like wannabee Sublime bands, it got old really fast but now itâs coming up again but weâre all in different cities now. Rami and I are in Portland, Oregon and Jason is in San Diego.
A- And technology has been great to you guys, some of your new songs were wrote and put together by sending each other tracks over the internetâ¦
Jason- Yeah a couple of new songs weâll play tonight maybe I learnt through them sending it to me.
J- Yeah Rami and I wrote some new stuff and sent it down to Jason so we never actually played some of the new songs ever with him till this tour, it was kind of weird but it really worked out well I think though, Jason really knew it well.
A- This is your first time playing in Ottawa tonightâ¦
J- Yeah it isâ¦
A- And how was the attendance for your Quebec shows?
J- We had great shows over thereâ¦
A- So youâre only playing one show in Ontario, youâre not going to Toronto for the âAnti-SARS Tourâ?
J- No, no, noâ¦
Jason- We had a couple more but yeah, um SARS and crowd capacity was more in Quebec soâ¦ This is the Anti-SARS tour after all.
A- Do you guys like touring and all the hardships, cause itâs rare to see Cigar on the road?
J- You know what I think, we would have liked it better ten years ago. Weâre all in our late twenties now, Iâm thirty weâre playing in front of people who are half our age most of the time, but itâs fun being on the road. Mike from Freedumb Records was our tour manager for this and they made it real easy on us and took really good care of us and everythingâ¦
A- Even though you guys are on Theologian Records would you consider Cigar a D.I.Y band?
J- Basically now, yes. We havenât released anything since our Theologian release, which was our first official album.
R- Even for everything else though we donât have anyone booking us or a manager or anythingâ¦
J- Weâre trying to figure out now what the next step is, a new release and what the label is going to beâ¦
A- Yeah I heard a new song on your site called âMovies and T.Vâ to be released on an upcoming demo, is Cigar looking for a label as we speak?
J- Yeah actually we are, Theologian arenât really happening anymoreâ¦
A- Any new prospects as of yet?
J- Ummâ¦ Nothing right now that we can really talk about, we donât know enough yet to say anything about itâ¦
A- Would you guys be ready to make this your full-time lifestyle, only do Cigar?
Rami- Thatâs kind of a hard questionsâ¦
A- Like if you guys weâre offered some great support tours and everything was on the right track would you quit your jobs to do this all the time?
R- Yeah definitely for sure, the only reason I would is because I donât have a jobâ¦
J- And my job is so part-time and they always support me going out to play with the band. If we would actually be able to support ourselves even if it was to break even I would do it for sure, I donât care about working and I donât plan on working for the rest of my life, playing videogames all the time that would be cool tooâ¦
A- Aside from your families would you say this is the greatest bond youâve ever experienced is it like a marriage?
J- definitely is a three-way marriage.
R- Thereâs been some trying times and some temporary divorces
A-(To Big John) I heard you disappeared into the mountains for a bitâ¦
J- Yeah, I went up to Grass Valley and they stayed in San Diego cause they canât leave the sun, itâs true. Actually last time we played in Canada each of us lived in a different city and we didnât practice at all we just showed up and thatâs what we did this time, we didnât get to practice, we just hope it goes well.
Jason- The last trip was kid of hard, the first night I blistered
J- Where did you blister
Jason- My fingers!
A-Fletcher helped produce your last albumâ¦
J- Fletcher helped us a lot. Heâs the man, heâs the one who helped us get on a record label, he got us into his recording studio, helped us by producing the album, he had good advise all along, heâs been a very good help to us, we definitely owe a lot of thanks to him.
A-Will you get him to produce your next albumâ¦?
J- Thatâs all undecided right now we donât know what weâre going to do with the next album yet, we wrote a lot of new material but we donât have it recorded yet, we donât have the label so thatâs all going to depend on that.
A- What do you think got you guys back in this industry, since youâve all been back to having regular jobs and laid low. Now youâre back here on tour, Iâm so surprised to see you in Canada againâ¦
J- We donât make albums to make money we just do it cause we love to play and be here. R- I started listening to punk rock in 1985â¦
J- Itâs just part of the backbone, itâs been our lifestyle forever, we listen to and play different kinds of music outside Cigar but I started playing music in this kind of music, itâs so fun to play this kind of show. Itâs almost like being an athlete playing this kind of music you sweat so much and itâs so tiring, itâs a different feeling than playing a lot of other types of music.
A-And who got their laundry basket stolen?
R- That was me, itâs such a worthless thing to steal, they didnât steal any of the clothes just the basket!
A-Did you ever catch them?
R- No, I tried to, I tried to stake it out.
A-Well thanks so much guysâ¦
J- Before I want to say that we had an awesome time with the bands we played with. Weâve been touring with âRuntâ the whole time, theyâre our brothers now I love those guys and âAwakenâ from Quebec City took really good care of us, theyâre a great band. I already miss those guys they were really cool.
A-So you guys will be back..
J- Oh yeah, we have great shows up here, people are niceâ¦
Jason- We just need to come up with a better albumâ¦