Interview with Brian (guitars) and Jose (Trumpet) for Save Ferris
By: Alex Steininger
Alex: What are some of your musical influences?
Brian: Well everyone in the band listens to different music. Myself, I listen...I listen to a lot of 80's, because that's when I grew up. I also listen to a lot of pop, and ska stuff. Probably the most influential band when it comes to what we do, for me, is probably Fishbone. They were one of the first bands I ever saw live, and I dug their albums. But everyone is into different stuff in the band. Some are into punk rock, and some are into ska, and it's hard to say. A little bit of everything.
Alex: So what are some of your musical goals for the rest of 97 and looking into 98?
Brian: We are probably going to finish up the year touring. We're doing some stuff on our own, and were going back home to do our CD release shows on September 9th, the day our CD comes out. Then we go out with Reel Big Fish for a month to hit the East and parts of the south, and when were finished with them were going to go out with Goldfinger and doing some midwest and east coast shows. For the next two and a half months were doing some shows, and probably for the rest of the year.
Alex: Right on. So what do you do for fun on the road?
Brian: The whole band basically just picked up reading hardcore again. We just picked up books and started reading again. A couple of us got into the whole Anne Rice Vampire books and stuff because there is a whole serious of them. Once your done with one you pass it along to the next band member. Basically just books and music so far.
Alex: Do you have a favorite city to play?
Brian: It's hard to pick one. I have like my favorite thirty six ones.
Alex: What goes into good music making as a band for you guys?
Jose: We can all agree on Hepcat!
Brian: No, he's talking about music making though.
Alex: Yeah, like honesty and feelings...
Brian: It depends on what your trying to come across with, what the style and point of the song is. Basically, if it sounds good to you and you like it, and like where it's going...
Marc: If it sounds like Green Day, it's cool!
Brian: Yeah, it's all about what you like.
Alex: What do you enjoy and hate about the music business?
Jose: The Business!!
Brian: Yeah, pretty much! I enjoy the fact we get to play music and traveling...it's what we do for a living. But it is a business, and that sucks.
Jose: The fact that it enables us not to have jobs and stay on the road, and do what we do. Now that's cool, but about the question "music business" it's not music business, it's business first!
Brian: It's business music.
Jose: Yeah, basically. I don't know...it sucks.
Alex: If you could change anything musically through the bands career, would you?
Brian: No, I wouldn't. It's worked for us.
Jose: It goes back to what kind of music do you like, and we play the music we like.
Alex: What are the highest points and lowest points of the bands existence?
Brian: There has been a lot of high points. The way we run our band is setting small goals, and each time we achieve one of those goals its a high point for us. But one of the biggest ones would be when we one that Grammy Showcase last winter, it was cool because it was totally unexpected. We thought it would just be a show or something.
Jose: We got to play a show in Hawaii, and the cool part was we got to play with 311 and NOFX and Pennywise. It was like the fact that we were playing was cool, but to kick it with them and watch them it was great!
Alex: If you could tour with anyone, who would you tour with?
Brian: That would be hard. Each band members would have a different choice. There's a lot of cool bands to tour with.
Jose: I like those guys (pointing to my Cherry Poppin' Daddies shirt.) There just another band on the list of many. They actually came down and played a few shows with us a few weeks ago.
Alex: Is there any road experience, good or bad, that stands out in your mind?
Jose: Bill pissed on a frog!
Brian: That was pretty spontaneous! We discovered in Texas, at a very small town, that some restaurants doubled as a deer processing and storage unit.
Jose: Deer processing and storage slash bar-b-que!
Brian: Yeah, and it's all...and then it's all FRESH BAR-B-QUE! So you put two and two together! So that was pretty unusual.
Jose: Yeah, but there was nowhere else to eat. We were hungry!
Alex: Was it good?
Brian: It was ok...I ordered chicken. They can't lie to me with that. Chicken has to look a certain way. They can't be giving me no chicken leg the size of a deer leg.
Jose: It was better than I thought it would be.
Alex: So what made you want to be in a band?
Brian: For me it was just something I was quick with. I like to write music and jam. It's always been part of me like that. We dragged this guy in (pointing to Jose), knocked him out. He woke up one morning in the van...but it's like it's just fun. The people in the scene are very responsive.
Alex: So what inspires you guys to write songs? Life?
Brian: I don't know...for me it's one of the things I enjoy. It's a past time I enjoy. What makes us write certain songs about things? Life, and things around us. And sometimes for fun, if the song is just to make people laugh.
Alex: What do you want the listener to get out of your music?
Brian: I hope they enjoy it, and it makes them feel good. You know, have a good time. I'm not trying to save the world or anything. Our goal is for them to enjoy the CD, and come to our live shows and have a good time. Because some bands sound good live but not that good on CD, or vice versa. They sound good on CD, but aren't that too good live. So we try to do both as well as we can.
Alex: A lot of people like to compare you to No Doubt, what are your thoughts on that?
Brian: Just because we come from the same area and have a female vocalist, it's kind of inevitable. But as soon as people come to our shows and we get more exposure, I'm sure they'll realize we sound nothing like No Doubt.
Jose: I got to see No Doubt when they came back to the Pond, and what they do they do well. They're really an amazing band, and they're a really fun show. But they're so different. On stage we are totally different. We just do our own thing.
Alex: On the new album there are five songs off your EP, did you re-record these songs?
Brian: Yes, we did. "The World is New" we had re-recorded a long time ago, so we just did a remix on that. But the other four we went and re-recorded them actually. We wanted a chance to go and do them well, a better version of them...
Jose: Spend time on them! The other ones were done in a 48 hour block in a local studio, and we basically played them live. One after another. We just wanted to spend some time on them.
Alex: Is Starpool Records a local indie label, or just a sticker you put on your CD to self release stuff under?
Jose: That would be Bill's garage, his mom, my car, T-Bones Pool that we stole the title from, and a collaboration of his folks money...
Brian: Basically it's a name we had to come up with. Basically it was just a demo we did, and it started to sell well, and we started to get calls from local record stores that wanted some, so Jose became our little distributor man who drove around Southern California, and the next thing we knew we had our own little indie label going.
Jose: It was funny, because a guy in a local band was like, "Maybe you could put us on Starpool?" And we were like, "hahah!" We were all, "Dude..."
Brian: Jose was like, "No...No more driving!"
Alex: What are your expectations for the new album?
Jose: The expectations...they're about...we just wanted to record it and do it.
Brian: I don't know if I have any expectations, I just hope people like the album. I hope everyone who has our EP likes this one.
Jose: All you can really do is know that your happy with it, and that's it. And if anyone else likes it, more power to you.
Brian: If you liked the first album, you'll dig this one I think.
Alex: How is your first single, "Come On Eileen," being received by fans and radio?
Brian: So far it's been received well. A number of radio stations have added us, and we haven't had an official "add date" or whatever it's called in the business. And the people seem to like it.
Alex: Do you have a second single in mind?
Brian: No, not really. We're waiting to see what happens.
Alex: Honestly, I think "Nobody but Me" or "Lies." "Lies" is the kind of song that could get you on VH-1!
Brian: Actually, if it gets on pop up videos that would be cool. It would be like, "Jose uses a can of hair spray..." Really, we've had some people say "Lies" but you never know. You have to go with what people want.
Alex: There has been a few rumors going around. With success comes rumors, so I wanted to get your thoughts on them. The first rumor is that Mojo Records wanted to sign you, but you thought people would compare you to Reel Big Fish if that happened, so you didn't want that.
Jose: We did get...they were one of the labels interested, but as far as that...we've been playing with Reel Big Fish for so long. Our music is different, and the way we present ourselves on stage is totally different. That would have been one of the only cool things about it. We're going on tour with them in about a month or so.
Brian: They weren't bad, we just felt more comfortable with Epic.
Alex: The second rumor is once you signed with Epic you lost all song writing capabilities and they give you the songs to use.
Brian: Hahaha! No, I don't think so. Our A & R guy is out there going, "Your going to play this one kid..." No no, I don't think so. We still write our own stuff. Sometimes around the label they go, "It would be cool if you guys covered this song," and your like, "Yeah, that would be cool."
Alex: What made you guys chose "Come on Eileen" as a cover?
Brian: Actually it was Monique's idea. She really loved the song. We had gone so long without doing any covers...most bands start out doing covers, and we had just went out and did originals when we started out so we just like yeah, we should do some covers. And we thought about what songs to cover, and she brought in that one. We kinda laughed, but she was persistent. One day she brought in the CD with the music, so we worked on it for a week to make an arrangement to make it fit our style. Then we played it at a big show in our hometown and everyone liked it, so we played it at a few more shows, and the response was good so when it came time to the album...
Jose: And people kept telling us that we should do it for the album, and we were like "REALLY?"
Brian: Yeah, they kept telling us we should do it so we finally did it.
Alex: So how did it become a single?
Brian: They just thought out of all the songs we had, and the fact that it was a cover and a lot of people know it they thought it would help. And the fact that it was a good recording.
Alex: What are your guys thoughts on the current attention ska is receiving through the media?
Jose: Every genre of music gets it's own turn, It's like a big cycle, so you know, it just happens.
Brian: They were exploring the punk bands, and ska is right next to it...
Jose: It's nice that it acknowledges it as a musical form, because before they were like, "We don't play the ska. What is it?" It was just like it was a hokey musical form. So now ska bands are considered bands. It's weird being a horn player in a major label band. Normally the horns would just be an excessory.
Brian: It's funny too, because labels are used to four piece rocker bands, and they're always just tripping out, "SEVEN PEOPLE, what's that?"
Jose: It's funny too...the age of a lot of these ska bands. I mean, RBF, those guys are like 20 or 21 years old and were basically the same age as them. A lot of those rocker bands are 27 pushing 30. We go into the office 21 these 20 year old kids and they're just laughing at us.
Alex: Where do you think ska will be in a year? All over MTV, or back down in the underground where it was?
Jose: I hope they don't make it so people get sick of it. So far they put it on the radio, but don't over do it. I hope they don't over do it. When grunge came on, they over did it. No matter what though, it will always be there.
Brian: Like you said, I just hope they don't over play it. Whatever happens...
Alex: Is there anything I left out that you would like to cover?