I was hoping to put this interview under some sort of label topic icon, but H2O was tight-lipped about their current label situation. That's about all they were tight-lipped about, though - click READ MORE to read our exclusive interview with Todd Morse of H2O [with Toby answering the questions about Hazen St].
SCOTT: First off - state your name and what you do in this band. And, for fun, what your favorite Star Wars movie is.
TODD: My name is Todd Morse, I play guitar, sing and I thinkÂ the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy blows "Stars Wars" away. My favorite character is "Gollum"Â
S: Okay, let's get right into it - how happy are you to be off MCA?
T: I guess we're better off. But it wasnât any worse than any other label. We sold more records on a major. I would really like to putÂ out our next record ourselves.Â We're never totally happy with the way other people handleÂ our shit.Â
S: What was the major label experience like? Do you feel like you got, for lack of a better word, screwed?
T: Screwed? Are you kidding? I know hundreds of bands out there dying for ANY record deal. It was a great experience. We got to make an expensive record and video. Worked with an amazing producer, Matt Wallace, who taught us a lot. Then, when we wanted to leave, they just let us go, no hard feelings. I've heard about many bands who really got screwed. We got off easy.
S: If you could go back and do it again, would you have signed to MCA or stayed on Epitaph?
T: Either way, we weren't satisfied with Epitaph. Who knows if we'll ever be satisfied. If anything, we should have made more of an effort to make MCA understand that we did'nt wantÂ to be the next Blink 182. We just wanted to make the next H2O record. We we're pulling inÂ opposite directions and ended upÂ in the middle somewhere.Â
S: If there's one thing you could have said to the president of MCA Records, what would it be?
T: Come on tour for a week, then you'll understand.Â
S: Many fans have accused you of "selling out," as cliche as it may sound. It's nearly impossible to deny that H2O did suffer a rather drastic change in overall sound during your short tenure in the big leagues. Now honestly - what happened? Are we to assume this really was a natural progression in sound, or was "the man" standing over your collective shoulder the whole time?
T: Just to be clear, to say we "suffered" a "drastic" change is inserting a personal opinion into your question as if it were a fact. There are many people out there, who's opinions I respect, who love the "Go" record. Even on our most recent "old school" tour, "Role Model" was one of the biggest sing-a-longs, fitting right in with the oldies.Â Saying that, we wrote many of the songs before we even signed to MCA. However, I do think there was some input, behind our backs, the changed the music in a way that we did'nt realize at the time. It's one of the downfalls of being open minded. I think we have some great songs on that record but it could have been way better.
S: Alright, that's enough about the past for now - let's move on to the present and the future. You're going to be filming an upcoming show for an episode of Kung Fu's "The Show Must Go Off" DVD series - how did that come about?
T: We're friends with Joe from the Vandals and his wife Sandra.Â The filming is post-poned, but it will happen.Â
S: Speaking of DVDs - any chance of your first home video seeing a re-release on that format?
T: Everyone should contact Epitaph and demand itÂ
S: And speaking of your home videos - any chance for another video documenting the post F.T.T.W. times?
T: If we can get it together there is definitely some crazy shit to see
S: Have you guys finished recording your new record? If so, can you give us any info on it - album title, song titles, overall feel, any special guests?
T: We've been writing songs and throwing them away and writing new ones. We're only making another record if it's going to be the best H2O record ever. So it might take a while. Or we could write it all in a day.
S: And of course, the most important question - what label will be releasing it?
T: Oh please, don't tell me that's the most important question. Who's asking, Billboard, Tower Records?Â I think the true music fans just want a great H2O record.
S: With the greatly directional fan reaction from Go!, as well as your endeavors with MCA, have you felt a compulsion to return to "oldschool h2o style" (as your website states) to appease old fans left unsatisfied from the MCA experiences? Face to Face attempted this after a largely experimental album, and the only result was what seemed to be a half-hearted album that existed more for the fans than to reflect the band's genuine state of being.
T: First off, the website was only refering to our set list for the most recent shows. Secondly, you can never go backwards if it's not from the heart. The new Metallica is a good example of that. I think it's pretty clear that we, along with some of our fans, we're not satisfied with our MCA experience. Saying that, weÂ haveÂ never beenÂ satisfied. So, as far as our next record goes, our ultimate goal is to finally satisfy ourselves as well as our fans. It has to come from the heart though, it has to be real. So, in a way, I can't predict the when, where and how.
S: Do you have any interesting stories from your tour with Boxcar Racer? Did you find that you really fit in well with the people in the bands and the crowd?
T: We had a great time with the bands. Tom DeLonge is a funny guy to hang out with and I really likeÂ "the Used". All in all though, I'm not sure the audience got what any of the bands were about. Most just wanted to see Tom & Travis.Â
S: Personally, what is your favorite H2O album? Your least favorite?
T: My favorites are "Thicker than Water" and the "All We Want" e.p. For a long time I hated the first record. I like it now though.Â
S: How did it feel to play on Conan? Does he actually like any of the bands that play on his show, or did you just have a really good PR person who pulled some strings?
T: We always play better afterÂ we've been on tour. We had never played "Memory Lane" on tour before that so it was a little nerve racking. ThereÂ are two people a the show who really like us and they talked Conan into it. We were totally upstaged by Will Farrell, he rules! Meanwhile, that big brown bear went wild backstage and unplugged my guitar so when we came out to play I had no guitar sound. Fun stuff.Â Â
S: So, about this Hazen St. project… when will it see the light of day, if ever?
TOBY: Hazen St. will be recording a full length in the fall ,with the record to come out early next year.
S: Hazen St. was originally announced as being signed to Drive-Thru, but if one goes to their website now, there's nary a mention of the supergroup. Also, your song on the Warped 2003 compilation was mysteriously deleted from the final pressing of the disc - can you fill us in?
TOBY: the Drive-Thru situation goes as follows - it was caused by Chadâs (New Found Glory) contractual agreement with MCA (politics). Big props to the DTR camp for being the first to believe and step up to the plate for us and for taking care of us. The MCA contract (politics) also caused us to have to pull the song off the Warped Tour comp now, since MCA is no longer a label (thank god!). Weâll see what happens next. The new people at the office (Geffen) have been really understanding and cool so far about Hazen St.
S: What bands are on the tip of your tongue lately? Who should we be on the lookout for?
TODD: Hazen St., The TiTs, CBJ, Juliette Lewis & theLicks,
S: What is your favorite CD of 2003, thus far? Anything you're eagerly anticipating before the year's end?
T: The new H2O record!