Interview from Geek America zine

 

This interview was conducted on Nov 2 1995 at Jabberjaw in L.A., by: Steve-O (S) and Ann Sam (A), with a little bit of help from A.J. (A.J.) and Jim (J).

S: Where do you get the ideas for your songs?
Lance (L): It's really weird, sometimes I think about things I read, there is one song about an episode of the TV show Empty Nest.
Gardner (G): Oh no, that show is terrible, don't print that.
L: There is a song about Steve from 90210, but then other songs are totally political, like in the news and local happenings. There is no plan, it's just like writing in a diary really. Sometimes it's inane, and sometimes it's not completely inane.

A: How do you like playing in L.A.? You seem to have something against it.
L: Not really, usually L.A. is one of the better shows on the tour.
G: I hate the city, but the people are nice.
Reed (R): The turn outs are really good. It's usually the first show of the tour and we're still warming up and it sounds the shittiest.

A: Is this the first show of the tour?
L: Yeah, It's the first show we played in a month.
S: Where are you guys touring?
L: It's across the south, up and down the east coast, and back through Chicago. I like L.A. though, I lived here. When you lived here long enough you either hate it, or you learn to appreciate it. Our whole new album is about Los Angeles. It's called Arbor Vitae, because me and Gardner lived on a street with that name. And almost every single song is about living in LA.

A: It seems like a lot of the bands from up north don't really like it here when they come through.
G: Everybody up north doesn't like Los Angeles, that's just how it is.
L: It's just one of those things, like every one in New York hates San Francisco. It's not real. The only thing I don't like about L.A. is that it's really dirty.
G: And they take all our water.
L: Yeah! They flush whenever!
G: Yeah! No-one ever flushes their toilet, we're all conserving. That's the mentality up there. I think it's because Los Angeles gets so much more publicity and press.
L: It's the people in San Francisco are generally more liberal and LA is generally more conservative, and what they don't realize is that they are both pretty much part of the same boat.

S: How come around here your records seem to be a little bit more expensive then the rest?
L: That's L.A., that's L.A. stores mark-up. The distributor sells the record at the same price everywhere, whether it's the Bay Area or whether it's England.
R: Go to San Francisco if you really want our stuff because it's everywhere.
L: Because they can't get rid of it.

AJ: How many of the J Church/Wat Tyler split were pressed?
G: It was 1,000 I think.
L: Actually, it was 1,100, there was an overpress. That's long gone. That's why we put out that single, Alone At Night, which has got songs from that split.

S: What was the meanest thing anyone ever did to you in high school?
L: I was a dick for most of my high school years.
G: Well, the Seniors used to hang out by my locker and between classes they thought it would be funny to knock the whole thing over so that it was lying on its face. Then you'd get there and be like "I get it, I can't get into my locker" and they would sit there and laugh.
L: Nobody really did that many mean things to me in high school.
AJ: No trash cans or nothing?
L: No, but me and my friends beat up a kid and threw him in a trash can. I dated a cheerleader when I was a junior. When I was a senior, I would throw eggs at the freshmen and shaving cream their cars.

A: What is a question you always wanted to be asked, and what is the answer?
G: Why do you repress so much of your shit?
A: And the answer?
G: Why not?
L: Who's gonna stop us?
G: Why does everyone keep buying it? No, actually I'm surprised that no-one ever complains about it.
L: (sarcastically) How come Tide Of Fate is on 18 different releases?
AJ: It's Birthday.
L: It is, that's true. The thing is we counted it up and it's on something like 10,000 items in circulation, considering it's on a CD, a 7", a 10" and a singles collection. Mike, who does Broken Rekids, counted it up one day as a joke on the computer. And it's also on a compilation, which is what it's originally from. It's the biggest song.

A: Have any major labels approached you?
G: I don't know how seriously.
R: They have, but not very seriously.
L: Let's put it this way: If it was something we'd consider, no. If it was something completely ridiculous and we'd never sign it, yes they have. So you know what? We are in a no win situation.

A: We know where the name J Church came from, but why?
L: The thing is that I used to live not that far from the J-Church line, and we used to practice down town where the J would go. At one time, I don't do it anymore, but I used to write all the songs while I was on it. It was just clever we thought.

S: (directed at Gardner) In Cringer, you used to sing, in J Church, we never hear your voice, why?
G: Go back and listen to the Cringer stuff. Well, mainly because I wrote those songs, and now I really don't like the songs that I write. Now it's a lot more into the music aspect of it, and I can't carry a tune.

S: (still talking to Gardner) What's with the wrist band?
G: See, when I play, I rub my hand against my bass and get a huge sore. I think that's why most people use them.

A: Do you guys live off the band?
G: No, I mean we don't have jobs right now. We don't make enough money, we don't even come close. We're stoked when we make enough money to pay rent on our practice room.
R: Right now we make enough to pay rent, barely.

S: Where do you get the money to go on tour?
G: We borrowed it. We had a friend rent the van on his credit card. We had to borrow money to make shirts. We borrowed half of it and the guy who makes our shirts is going to let us pay him when we get back. The week before the tour I was running around collecting money, I have a list of who we owe.

J: (dumb ass question) Do you like being in debt?
G: No, it sucks, especially when all these other labels like Lookout and Fat are like "Go on tour, here's your money and we'll print your shirts, and we'll take care of everything!" It's kind of a drag.

A: Would you guys even consider signing?
G: Actually, we are talking to Lookout right now. We would consider signing. We know people who have signed and the amounts of money they get are so phenomenal, If a label came up to us and was dropping a million dollars, we would definitely consider it. It's not something we really want to do, and we're not that marketable, so no-one is interested in us. We don't want to do it just to do it. We would just as soon be on a small label that likes what we're doing and cares about us.

A: Any last words before you go?
L: Thanks for coming to our saturation bombing of Los Angeles this year. This is our fifth L.A. show this year, and there is another one in December.

S: How come you never play Orange County? That's where we are from.
G: You should know then. I've never even heard of a place to play.
L: This sounds awful, but the thing is, if we play in LA, people from Orange County will come up to see us. If we play in Orange County, people from LA won't drive down to see us.
G: This sounds lame too, but when you do a tour, people are like "why don't you come play our town", but you really only have time to play the cities.

 

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