Here is part one of the interview I conducted with Zoli Teglas from Ignite. Part two will consist of the questions sent in by readers here at punknews.org. That should be out this weekend.
Just an introduction?
Zoli from the band Ignite.
Alright. First, why the four year lapse in between records?
Lost a guitarist, lost a drummer, lost a guitarist, lost a guitarist, changed record labels, European Warped Tour, recording, mixing, mastering, mixing, mastering, lost guitarist, lost guitarist, done.
It's very hard when you lose someone on your team, you know? You've got to teach everybody and go through people.it's been a nightmare.
What about this change in guitarist?
This guy, we want him to stay but he is in another band and he is just filling in for this tour so we are going to get one more guitarist after this. I'm sick of it, you know. You just want one person to rely on. Know what I mean?
Why have they been leaving?
People just don't like touring. We tour a lot. We tour about 6-7 months a year.
Do you like it?
I do. I'm used to it. That's what I am supposed to do. It's my job. A lot of people can't deal with it because it's too much for them and they have girlfriends at home.
What band was this other guitarist in?
I can't remember his bands name (laughs). We played with them in Santa Cruz, and we were like, "this kid is rad" so we called him after our guitarist left. Our old guitarist sent an email to us because he couldn't even have the balls to call us and send an email that says, "I don't want to do this anymore. It's against my musical integrity bla bla bla bla bla". Two days before the show. So we kinda got screwed.
It's good that you had someone to fill in, you sounded great today. You have been touring a lot for the new album. Any good experiences or bad experiences of note?
Great experiences with the Misfits. Really incredible. Really, really good. Then after the Misfits we have Bad Religion, then 7Seconds, and hopefully Pennywise in Australia.
Very cool. I was going to ask about the Bad Religion shows coming up. I am a big huge idiot Bad Religion fan (laughs).
We hooked that up through our manager and our booking agent. Bad Religion was cool. I really respect them. They don't really see how much you draw, as they themselves draw great. They wanted to know what our shows are like so they sent people out to watch our shows and they got our CDs and read our lyrics. So I think it's rad.
Well, I think its really cool that two bands of a bigger stature are going on tour, but they have important things to say and are getting that out to a lot of people. That is why I think that tour is going to be great. Could you give us some info on the new album?
What do you mean, like what the songs are about and stuff?
Well, we've got songs ranging from child abuse to turning the cheek when it comes to your spouse abusing your children. We have songs about how when you go up against a big company, say a forest industry, and you are in the Earth First movement or something, how you are usually going to lose and you have to just get ready for that. There is a lot of losing when it comes to environmental fights. You know you are going up against big money and if you just get used to it you wont be so shocked when you finally do (lose). I've gone up against cities that were trying to cut trees down on my block and I spent about a week, two weeks long of going to court for the trees but still ?it's corrupt, everything is corrupt. So, I took things into my own hands and took the X's off of the trees and saved about 20-30 trees. For example, this is what it was ?the city wanted to cut out the trees because they were breaking up the sidewalk. So, when they put the wrong kind of trees in, these fast growing trees that they know the roots grow laterally called Ficas Trees and the mayors brother is in charge of cutting these trees down and the mayors brother has a firewood company on the side as well (laughs). You know what I mean? How am I going to fight against that? I lost, so my friends and I went out that night and took all of the X's off the trees they were going to cut down and spray painted brown over them and saved about 20 trees that are still standing. So, you are probably going to lose, just take it into your own hands.
You are also spending a lot of time with your environmental concerns as well as with the band so you have been keeping very busy.
Yeah, well at home I work for Pacific Wildlife, it's a rehab center for pelicans. When I'm on tour it's such a selfish lifestyle. All you do is sit around and wait for shows and you don't do anything but fulfill your own needs and eat. It is a really useless lifestyle and that's why when I'm on tour I try to promote these organizations so I can feel like I am doing at least something good.
Very good. You just answered 2 or 3 of my other questions there. Give some info on the song, "Who Sold Out Now" and what that pertains to.
People who are going to call us sellouts because we went to TVT Records. Your not supposed to go off of a hardcore label but a lot of times the only people who are making money at these hardcore labels are like the chiefs of staff, not the bands. So we wanted a label that was really going to push us and give us tour support because it's really expensive to go on tour as everyone knows. There are just so many tours we can do (now). We sleep on people's couches every night and now we get Motel 6 every night and now, we aren't sick. You know what I mean? It makes a huge difference. I'm 30 years old and I am still playing punk rock, hardcore shows and I have been doing it for 8 years just in this band. So when you have a label that really pushes you it is a great thing. They help you a lot. And these kids, they don't even know what selling out means. Just because we went to a bigger label doesn't mean I changed. The hardcore songs are still hardcore, we are still pushing our environmental issues, and I haven't changed one thing about Ignite. These people who call us sellouts usually don't know anything about the music industry and about living off of music and are going to be out of the scene anyway. That's why I say, "I care about hardcore but I hate the scene." I hate the trendiness, I hate the name calling and the judgement because most of these people who are judging are going to be doing the same thing they are crying about in a couple of years anyway.
What music have you been listening to lately?
Lately ?(thinking) ?listening to a lot of Foo Fighters. Been listening to a lot of ?the same old stuff man. Just put the Bad Brains album in, "I Against I". The newest album I have bought would be ? I get em all for free (laughs)!! One of the good things about being in a band is you get a lot of free stuff. Oh! The newest record I have bought is the new Earth Crisis. It's awesome I would recommend for anyone to buy it. It's a great album.
Could you give us some info on the Zoli solo CD?
We are done with the whole CD, it's a 10 song CD. Did you get any?
No I haven't.
Ok, when you leave grab a couple copies ok?
It's a 7 song CD you are going to get. The 10 song CD will be out in about 2 weeks. We want to shop it around and get it signed to another label. I want to do music for a living and it's really hard. The Zoli stuff is something I have always wanted to do and is something I would like to make a living off of. And it is not about selling out or anything. It's not hardcore so I'm not worried about anyone calling me a sellout. It's mellow, acoustic music, you know? You can't make a living off of hardcore but you can off of other styles of music so I wanted to do two styles of music. I want to still do hardcore because I love it.
You just had a website launched and its great.
It had 30,000 hits the first week.
Wow that is amazing! I was hoping you would have a little info on how you work within the webpage and interact.
We try and update as much as possible but its kinda hard when we don't have a laptop so we usually go to Kinkos once a week and tell the kids what is going on. The cool thing is the chat room right now. A lot of kids talk about every show. I'm not too Internet savvy. I'm kind of retarded when it comes to computers. It's really cool because it shows tour dates, videos, live videos, and streams from the Rhode Island show (on the website) right now.
Along with the Internet topic, what do you think about Napster and the free music trade?
I don't like it! I don't like it because ? OK look, you sign a record deal ? most record deals are like an 80-20% split. We have had an 89-11% split where you sell a CD, say a $10 CD. $8.90 will go to the record label. $1.10 will go to your pocket. But, out of that $1.10 you have to pay for your recording budget, tour support, videos, everything ?out of your own percentage. So when these kids get this free album ? I mean what's free? Do I get anything from them? I bust my balls to do this album and I'm debt up to my neck to the record label and kids are getting free songs off of the Internet. I think its stealing. I really do. I can't stand it and I am stoked that ? Metallica got a lot flack for it but I'm stoked they have the balls to go up against it because it is stealing. Do I get anything free from Napster? So some kid puts my CD on the website and all you do is download it and burn it and its yours? Or anybody's?!
Sarah was talking to me about this earlier. What is your opinion on religion? Are you of any religion?
I was raised Catholic, but I have a lot of problems with it. I have a lot of problems with religion. I like faith. I like spiritual people. I don't like religion, but that is my own personal thing. I liked religion when I was young because I didn't really challenge my faith until I read in the bible that you need to challenge your faith. That's the only way you know you believe in the right thing. I don't like TV evangelists; I don't like born again Christians who tell you, "if you're not a Christian your going to hell, you know what I mean?"
Because if Jesus Christ was the coolest guy in the whole world, which he was, then why would he slam the door in your face just because you're a Buddhist. The only reason I'm Catholic is because I was born in California to Hungarian parents and they (Hungarians) are mostly Catholic. If I were born in India, I would be a Hindu and, what; I'm going bad because I'm a Hindu? What is that? I think there is one God, I personally believe there is. I read a book called, "Conversation with God" and it was really cool, man. It answered all these questions I had. Really cool book, you guys should check it out. Then I saw, "Conversation With God mousepad", "Conversation With God T-shirt", "Conversation With God Bookholder"(laughs) and it bummed me out. Really interesting book thought. Religion, it's a candy coated thing. Too many people have died because of religion. North Ireland has nothing to do about Catholics and Protestants. It's about the gun trade. That's why it's still going. Who gives a crap who what is? Nobody cares. There is always some underlying thing. You know, Yugoslavia and Cosavo, they say, "this is a religious war". Going back 1000 years, absolutely not. It was about money. It was about gaining land. It was about taking someone's home and their belongings. It was about stealing.
Going back to when you were a kid, how did you end up getting into hardcore music?
When I was in 5th grade I listened to Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Then I heard, "Rodney on the ROQ" in LA. He is a radio DJ that was one of the first guys to break punk music in LA and I heard all this aggression and I said, "this is really cool, this is what I am turning into". So, I bought a 7 inch from Social Distortion, "1945", their first 7 inch. Then I bought, "Jealous Again" by Black Flag. Then I was so into it and nobody else was and it was just all-powerful! I heard Minor Threat and I was like, "this guy curses!" (laughs) "He curses all over the place!"