Interview with Scott (Bass)
By: Alex Steininger
Alex: What are some of your musical influences?
Scott: Well, I'm into a lot of things. I like a lot of pop bands from the 80's, like Husker Du, and a lot of other things. But as a bass player, Mike Watt make me want to pick up a bass. Just hearing him made me think. After that, I wanted to play bass. He is so talented. Hearing how a bass player can change a band tremendously and be a big part, I went and picked up a bass and knew that was what I wanted. As a band, we have seven different guys, with seven different influences. Each band member brings something new and innovative to the band, so just naming a few bands that have influenced us all would be hard, unless we had all the guys sitting down and we discussed it for a while.
Alex: Would you say someone like Paul Westerberg and The Replacements were an influence on you?
Scott: Definitely. I love The Replacements!
Alex: Is there any current bands your into, but don't necessarily influence you?
Scott: Yeah, of course there is. But we've been on tour for so long, and I've been broke, so I haven't had time to go to a record store and pick up anything new lately. I did get the new Sundays' album, and that is great. You certainly wouldn't hear Sundays' influence in Buck-O-Nine, but I love them. They're a great band. As for other bands, I don't really know. I've just been so busy, I haven't been able to check anything out.
Alex: What are your band goals for 1998?
Scott: That's a good question. We're just now going to finish up this tour, and then we fly out to a few places for shows, and three days before Christmas we get home. But as for 1998, it will probably be a working year. We haven't practiced in over a year, so we'll probably do some of that. We'll also sit down and start working on the new album. We've already written some songs for the new album. We've been on tour for a long time now as well, and we're really burnt out. So some rest will definitely be nice too!
Alex: On the road, what do you do for fun?
Scott: I don't know! We're really so busy, we don't have time to do anything. We usually just hang around the club. When we are actually in the bus on the road we basically just read, or watch TV. Right now we're just finishing up a movie. It's two tapes and over three hours long. It's really good. We just saw it on the bus, put it in, and it's been pretty interesting so far. Tonight I'm going to finish it.
Alex: Is there any road experience that stands out in your mind?
Scott: Yeah, of course. There's always something happening on the road. From meeting fans to playing in front of enthusiastic crowds, that's always fun. When the crowd is into the music, it's really rewarding. But as a single event that stands out in my mind, I can't really think of one right now. I'm sure there is one, though.
Alex: If you could tour with anyone, who would you tour with?
Scott: Well, we toured Canada with Face To Face, and that was great. We also toured Japan with the Blue Meanies, and that was fantastic. They are a great bunch of guys. We loved playing with them. So if I could invent the perfect tour, I would have to put them on it. They are just great.
Alex: What is your favorite city to play?
Scott: Our home town, San Diego, is always great! We love playing there. We're drawing big crowds now, and it's just wonderful to play home. Other than that, there are a lot of places. Any place that has a great crowd who are into the music and have fun at the shows, that's a definite plus.
Alex: What goes into good music making for you? Honesty, or anything like that?
Scott: Yeah. We're not a preachy band, we're not religious, and we're not political. There are seven different guys in this band, and each one brings something different to the band, and each persons beliefs and religions are different that the next persons. There are three main song writers in the band: Jonas, our guitar player, me, and of course, Jon, our lead singer. Jon writes the majority of the songs, and Jonas and I each write about a forth. On the new record I wrote about three, Jonas wrote three, and Jon wrote the rest. But yeah, honesty is a big part of the music. We don't come out and try to write comical songs. We don't try to write funny songs or anything like that. We just write what we know about, and things we are feeling. Take the new record for instance. It's not funny, or we didn't try to make it funny. We just sat down and wrote songs about what we were feeling and things we could relate too.
Alex: What made you want to be in a band and get into the music business?
Scott: Funny you should ask that. As a kid I was heavily into music. Music was my life. But my parents were never into music. They supported me the whole way through, but when I was a kid, they weren't into music. I was big on the music scene, and I just though, man I would love to be in a band. It's what I wanted to do. And it's great to be able to play music as a living. I love it. But there are times I hate it.
Alex: Has there ever been a time when you just want to throw it away and go get a 9-5?
Scott: Sure. That happens all the time. We'll have a really bad show, and I'll ask myself why I am doing this. I'll sit there and think, "hey, I've been doing this for a few years. I've done it all, I've seen it all. There is nothing left for me to do. I'll just give it up now and walk away." But then something happens that night or the next day or so, and makes you think there is something else out there you want to do, something else out there you want to try. And that keeps me going. It keeps pushing me and helping me go on.
Alex: What do you enjoy and hate about the music industry?
Scott: I love being able to do something I love and play music. What do I hate? I hate that everyone is a slime ball. Everyone is in it for your money. You can't go into this without being in the business. There is no way you'll ever go anywhere without having to deal with the business aspects of things. Everyone try's to take your money by doing this or that, and you always have to watch out. It's a business, and if you forget that, you'll end up being hurt.
Alex: As a band, would you change anything in your past?
Scott: Not really. I think we've done good so far. I mean, yeah, we have made some bad decisions. I could go back and say, "Yeah. Let's not sign with Taang!, or not do this", but everything happens for a reason. At least that is what I believe. But for the most part, we haven't made any terrible mistakes. A bad gig here that we wouldn't have done, and trivial things like that. But we're getting better at the decision making process. We seem to be making a lot more better decisions now days.
Alex: What are the highest and lowest points the band has experienced so far?
Scott: A high point would have been playing Japan with the Blue Meanies. The kids there were getting into the music and singing along. Not necessarily to every word, but when we go "oh" or "ah" they were jumping right in. And they were having so much fun, and so were we. But a low point would have to be playing shitty gigs were we just suck. A night were we are at each others throats and don't even want to play, or were so tired we go out there and just get out of it. Like last night at the Seattle show. The kids were jumping on stage and stage diving, and one of them jumped right into my guitar, knocking it out of tune. At that point I just said, "fuck it", and stopped playing for the crowd, and started playing myself. It was really a shitty show, and I wasn't into it at all. So I just started getting into it, playing for myself. It's times like those that are really a low point.
Alex: What inspires you guys to write songs? Is it true life experience?
Scott: Yeah, we write things about what we know about. True life plays into a big portion of the music.
Alex: What do you want the listener to get out your music?
Scott: Well, anything they want. We read a review of the new record, and it said "You Go You're Gone" was about suicide. That's not what it's about. I wrote the song, and I wrote it about a kid running away from home. That's all, a kid running away from home. But I guess some people get deeper meanings out of the songs than others, and that's fine. Get what you want out of the music.
Alex: Do you have a favorite song you've written?
Scott: Yeah, I like all of them. But, of course, I like the songs I write the best. But I also like Jonas' songs, Jon's songs, and everyone else's songs. That's the beauty of this band. We can work together great and create great music. We like each others ideas. But I like "Peach Fish", a traditional instrumental, on the new album a lot!
Alex: How would you say your previous albums compare to your new one, and how does your new one stand on it's own?
Scott: Our first one is like our new one. It's ska-punk. BARFLY'S is more of a straight ahead punk album. A lot of people will come up to me and tell me that they like our old material better. And I'm the same way I guess. I like a lot of bands older material compared to their new stuff. But that's understandable. But we need to keep moving and doing different things. But our new one definitely stands on it's own.
Alex: How is life on TVT compared to TAANG!?
Scott: In one word, heaven. It's a dream come true to be on TVT. With TAANG! there was a lot of issues that went wrong, and we've worked most of them out. The rest we're just being to work out now. But TVT is great. They're really into our music and we're a priority at the label, and have been for the past year or so. It's finally great to have a label behind us that understands where we're coming from and where we're going. It's just a dream.
Alex: Has the 100,000+ sales of "Twenty-Eight Teeth" surprised you at all, or did you have high expectations when the album was released?
Scott: It definitely surprised us. When we released it we dreamed of selling 100,000 copies. We knew how hard it is to sell that many. It may not seem a lot compared to all these bands that sell millions and millions, but we know how hard it was to sell 100,000 and that was a dream come true. Compared to both our other album sales total, 100,000 is huge.
Alex: Where do you see "Twenty-Eight Teeth" going from here? Do you see it climbing the charts upon another single, or do you see it basically standing still now?
Scott: It's reached it's peak. It's standing still. "My Town", our first single, was a big success, but "Round Kid" right now isn't doing that well. They released it, but it hasn't been doing much. They had another single in mind, but they settled on "Round Kid". They may just release the other one just to second guess themselves. But yeah, it's at a stand still. I don't expect it to sell much more.
Alex: Does it bother you that a lot of fans are into a band just because of their "obscurity" and then turn on a band because they gain a bit of popularity?
Scott: Yeah, it does. But mostly it's just kids. I mean, a 20 year old wouldn't do that. It's just ignorance that comes with being a kid. I didn't do that when I was a kid, but then again, maybe I was just mature for a kid. But yeah, it's just ignorance on their parts, and that's the great thing of being a kid, you can be ignorant and think you know it all. I also think they think bands make a lot more money than they do. I live in an apartment with two roommates. I'm lucky to be able to live in an apartment and have a place to live. A lot of other bands don't. After I pay the rent, bills, and everything, I'm broke. So all those kids that think we're out buying new cars and stuff are terribly mistaken. We don't have money for things like that. Alex: What's your thought on the attention ska is receiving from the media?
Scott: Hmm, I think it's great. It's able to help out a lot of bands and everything. Just like any other form of music, it deserves attention.
Alex: Where do you think ska will be in a year or two? Back in the underground or the next big thing?
Scott: I think it's the next big thing right now. I mean, in the past year ska has come from everywhere and is all over the radio. Don't you think it's the next big thing right now too? It's all over the place. But in a year or two, something else could be the next big thing. Reporters are always calling something the next big thing and ditching it for something else. Fifty percent of the writers are calling ska the next big thing, and the other fifty are calling it crap. They think ska's a joke. The same thing happened to grunge and punk. I think it will go back underground, but in a big underground movement. It won't be all over the radio, but it will have to have a big underground following. And when it does, the people that are still buying the records and into the music will be the ones in the scene. The others will go onto the next big thing.
Alex: Anything I left out that you would like to cover?
Scott: No, not really.