Interview from Primal Chaos Online e-zine

By Wendy Van Dusen, June 2000. Original version available here.

PC: How long has J-Church been around now?

Lance: We started back at the end of '91. I used to be in a band called Cringer which lasted from '85 to '91. When that band imploded I just sort of continued on with J Church. Took it to the next level, so to speak. Or took it to a lower common denominator if you prefer...

PC: What happened to the members in the old line up?

Lance: Well, I guess that really depends on what line-up you're talking about. I'm really the only constant in the band at this point. The auteur of amateurism... Let's see, our first drummer moved back to Olympia. The second drummer slipped back into drugs and insanity. Duncan (who was in the band for a moment) was never a proper member. He was always a member of Guns And Wankers while sitting in with us (Snuff had been on hiatus). Same goes for Wade who was once in the Hickoids but was always more involved with Corduroy during his stint in J Church... Our third drummer joined a Belle And Sebastian type pop group called Wussom Pow (they're great!). Andee was always more invested in the other bands he drummed for (A Minor Forest, PEE, Tick War) but we're still really close friends. Our first bass player got sick of the rock life and our last bass player would much rather play guitar... I think that's everyone

PC: How did you get hooked up with the newest members?

Lance: I've known Adam forever. Both Cringer and J Church played with Jawbreaker many, many times. In fact, for a while we all lived on the top floor of a run down apartment complex in the Mission. Our bass player now is Jeff and we worked together for years at a punk space/record store in San Francisco called Epicenter. I'd also seen his other band, Nothing Cool, a few times...

PC: Are you guys planning on touring soon? Tell me about your newest album.

Lance: Yeah, we've really just been waiting for a new record to come together. Our last road activity was back in '97 and our last album was in '96. The new record is a collection of songs written over the last few years. The result is a 26 song double LP. I suppose it could have been a lot longer. But we're getting a little bit better about editing ourselves (there was one year back in '94 when we put out 3 CDs and a few singles!!!). The double LP format was nice because it allowed us a little more room to explore areas that in the past we only alluded to. There's a little bit of lo-fi, "No Depression" country and experimental tunings to go along with the standard J Church punk fare. Not that it's some great departure from anything previous. But a lot more area is covered. As for touring, as soon as the record is out we hope to hit the road in some form or another. I've got a pretty serious heart condition, so we can't do the six months of touring like we used to. But we hope to do the US for billionth time, Europe for sixth time, Japan for the fourth time and South America for the first time.

PC: Since you guys are probably well versed in watching movies, what are some of your favorite movies?

Lance: Hmmm. That's a complex question for me as I literally watch two movies a day. I really love the movie If.... I love Peppermint Soda by Diane Kurys. I love Dario Argento (especially Four Flies On Grey Velvet and Deep Red). I'm a big fan of the Japanese new wave, Nagisa Oshima in particular (Cruel Story Of Youth, Death By Hanging and The Man Who Left His Will On Film). Everything by Jon Moritsugu is awesome. Nada is cool. I like some of Abel Ferrara's films. To be honest, I mostly watch documentaries these days...

PC: What is your biggest non-musical influence?

Lance: Hmmm. That's really a toss up between certain writers I'm excited by and certain artists (and movements) I'm moved by. As far as writers, I've always been really moved by Situationist writers like Guy Debord, Vaneigem, SI, etc. I've also been moved by poetry like Baudelaire and Poe. I'm still fascinated by art (or anti-art) movements like Dada and Modernism. I'm a fan of Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Rauschenberg and Johns. It's all a lot more inspirational to me than most music, to be honest...

PC: What do you think about the punk scene these days?

Lance: Is there one? I don't know. There just seems to be a huge mainstream scene with no cultural relevance and various little underground cliques. Like usual, I'm just waiting for something new to happen. Last time it was Riot Grrrl and it was great. Before that, it was Fugazi and it too was great. Even before that was Crass, which inspired me to play music. What's next? If history means anything, it'll will be something exciting...

PC: What one thing do you want to do that you haven't done yet, before you die?

Lance: I'd like to make combines like Rauschenberg and films like Buñuel.

PC: Is there anything you hate about being a musician? Love about being a musician?

Lance: I hate the fact that people seem to take musicians too seriously. I'm lucky in that I can say stuff with a microphone. But my words are no more relevant than any person in the crowd that comes to see us. People think musicians are "better" than other people because of what they do when the reality is that most musicians are really boring people.What do I love about being a musician? Well, it's what I do. I write songs and I get to create them in a way that makes me happy. That's total freedom whether anyone buys the record or not.

PC: Any advice for frustrated young musicians that are about to quit rock?

Lance: Why quit? If you enjoy what you're doing and you love the songs, why quit? People get frustrated because they don't sell loads of records and I just think that's ridiculous. This is punk rock! DIY also means Do It FOR Yourself. Shit, I'm really lucky and I know that. But I can guarantee you that I'd still be playing music even if I was the only person listening. And believe me, for years and years that was the case...

 

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