Monday, October 15, 2012

Mean Jeans

Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions? 
Billy Jeans
Jeans Wilder
Jr. Jeans

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play
BJ: Billy Jeans, guitar and vocals

JW: Jeans Wilder, drums and vocals 

JJ: Jr. Jeans, bass

Where is the band from?
BJ:  We started as a 2-piece in the Washington, DC area, played 1 show in Baltimore with Nobunny, and then moved to Portland, OR. 

How did the band start?
BJ: Late nights in Jeans Wilder's parents' basement, drinking his dad's beer, listening to Ramones and Riverdales, writing really stupid songs.  We made some demos without any intention of "being a band", but the songs were good so we gave it a shot. 

In your bio, which by the way was listed on CMT, it reads “Three punk rock goofballs who deliver fast, loud, and hooky tunes and revel in the pleasures of pizza, sex, and getting wasted.” Would you say this describes both the lyrics and band philosophy?
BJ: I can't say we write any songs about sex or pizza, but if that's what people get out of it, that's cool by me.  The lyrics and "philosophy" of the band center around partying as means of survival in a disappointing world and maximizing fun with a few teardrops in the mix.  Twisted Living, Bonehead Romance, Maturity Refusal, Retard Struggle. 

JW: Yeah I can't see how any of our songs are about sex at all, but it is very cool that our band bio is on I'm cruising the site as we speak. Get country.

What is your favorite Ramones LP?
BJ: Currently, Pleasant Dreams.

JW: Yeah when it comes to which ones I actually listen to the most it is Subterranean Jungle and Pleasant Dreams. I'm probably one of the few that actually likes Adios Amigos too. It was my first Ramones album.

JJ.  The three of us spent two years living in the shittiest house on the planet, where every night was a party till the sun came up whether we wanted that or not.  Pleasant Dreams was the one Ramones record that got played every single night.  We went through some dark times with it as a soundtrack but its probably the one for me too.

How was the tour the band just finished up with Big Eyes?  
BJ:  It was fun! We played Tijuana and Reno for the first times, got to see a lot of buddies, and got to see Big Eyes every night, who I love.   

JW: We went to Sunken City somewhere out near San Pedro. I think SOMEBODY in our crew took a shit in the bushes there.  

JJ:  Thats a no brainer, it fucking ripped! We all had a blast. 

In a previous interview, it was stated that recorded their latest LP, On Mars “at a super shitty house in Portland,” it feels there is a deliberate attempt to capture a more melodic sound this time around. How deliberate was this choice in the songwriting and the recording process for On Mars? 
BJ: Deliberate.  It wouldn't have been very interesting for us as a band to make another 'pop punk' album of 2-minute songs about how partying rules.  The songwriting for On Mars was an attempt to try new ideas; ideas that are consciously stupid as shit like shaking macaroni boxes, hitting hubcaps with Jager bottles, unnecessary key changes, slow jams, etc., but new things nonetheless.  The influences are all from outside the realm of 'modern punk' music.  The recording process is just whatever we are capable of doing before getting bored or passing out. 
JW: In response to questions like this before I've always said that its actually kinda hard to sit down and write a 1.5 minute fast stupid "punk" song when you are deliberately trying to do so. Most of the songs on our first album just sort of ended up being that way, I don't think it was on purpose. 3 years later when we were doing album number two, lots of things had changed and we just sort of went with what we felt like doing. 

Was Dirtnap interested in working with Mean Jeans before the songs for On Mars were written or did they hear the songs and then decide to put out the LP?
BJ:  We've done a bunch of records on Dirtnap, and they were on board before hearing On Mars.  I wonder how bummed Ken was when he heard it!

JW: I think there was a sort of non-spoken agreement that Ken would put out the next album on Dirtnap no matter what. In terms of "signing" us to Dirtnap in the first place, I always like to think that his wife was the one who convinced him to put out our record after seeing us play live a couple times.

Mean Jeans just finished playing Music Fest NW festival and are slated to play both FEST 2012 and the Fall Down Get Down. How exciting is it to mix in these bigger festival shows in with smaller bar/club/all-ages shows? Which type of shows does the band prefer more? 
BJ: I am down to play any kind of show, any time, but a variety is important to us.  We've had offers to play on "real" tours with "real" bands from booking agencies and stuff, but aren't interested in playing only big clubs.  Gotta mix it up.  I also think Mean Jeans have fans in a few different 'scenes' so it's important for me to mix those crowds up as well.  Play pop punk fests, and play rock n roll fests. I like playing shows where everyone is wasted or just generally in it to win it. 
JW: I think we have been pretty lucky with some of the "bigger" festival type shows that we have done in the past. We have always gone over well at Awesomefest, which is pretty much a pop-punk thing, but we also had a really good response when we played at Gonerfest last year, which is more of a rock and roll/garage-rock type thing. We somehow are able to fit in with all sorts of different "rock" bands. Which is nice. I must say though that the idea of playing on a huge stage in front of shitloads of people isn't very appealing to me personally. Soundchecks also suck. So, I probably prefer bar shows.

JJ:  In general, the appeal of where we play or what type of venue we play rests solely on the people coming out to watch us.  It could be a huge stage with tons of people or a basement with 15 people crammed in it.  If everyone else is having fun, then we're going to be having fun.  Mean Jeans is lucky enough to play for people that love to get drunk, get wild, crowd surf, throw beers and act stupid.  That's what we do.  I'm glad that we have had the opportunity to play in such a variety of situations though.  It keeps things from getting stale to play a big club one night and a shitty dive the next.

50 years ago people used to buy music and get their water for free, now people pay for water and get their music for free. How do you think this affects music in any way?
BJ: Music is for fun. I can't say we are really a part of 'the music industry' or that I really care about it. 

JW: I'm hopelessly out of the loop when it comes to the current state of affairs in the music industry. I just found out who Nicki Minaj is. I'm basically still reeling from the shock of Michael Jackson's death.

JJ:  That’s pretty deep.  Too deep for the Jeans.

Where can people hear the band?
BJ: Touring around.  On the Internet.  We have a bunch of music videos! 
We have lots of records.  On Dirtnap, Trouble In Mind, Burger, Gnar Tapes, Big Neck, Portland Mutant Party, Goner, P. Trash and more. 

JW: You can get our latest MiniDisc at Sam Goody. At the mall. 

What’s next?
BJ: Shooting a new music video now.  Then flying to South America and Florida for the first time.  We have a new split 7 inch with Big Eyes that is recorded and about to be pressed.  I want to tour Europe again and I want to lose my mind. 

JW: Look for a job.

JJ:  Take it to the limit.



Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions?
Tuk, aka the artificial kid

Where is the band from?
Atlanta ‘where everybody can be somebody’

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Tuk - guitar, voice
Travis - bass, voice
Matt aka "AL''- guitar, beer
Joey Boloney aka "Chuck"- drums, weed, black outs

How did the band start?
I was in a previous band called Poison Arrows and a few idiots kept overdosing, going to jail, going to rehab, relapsing etc…so I got away from them and started a new band. wrote, “[If] the Biters weren’t the biggest band in the world real soon [that] we’d all be doomed, and I believe that now more than ever.” How does it make you guys feel when reading this kind of review? Does it add any pressure to the songwriting, live performance, etc.?
I think that’s a great statement, and hope it comes true. I work my ass off either way.
When you’re in a band like ours and barely scrape by, a quote like that gives you a little hope and energy too keep going for a little while longer.

I have seen younger bands and new labels releasing cassette only releases, but I hadn’t seen the 8-track release since the 70’s. What was the big idea behind the 8-track release of All Chewed Up?
The 8-track is a "kiss my ass" to the whole garage rock tape revival trend. Tapes are one of the shittiest formats for music but some how they're popular again.
We thought we'd put out something even shittier than cassette tape, an 8-track.

How did you guys hook up with Social Distortion? I see Biters is touring with them this fall.
We submitted the band and they liked us. They picked us to open. It’s pretty awesome.

Last year you played shows with D Generation. How did those shows go?
Those shows were bad to the bone. They’re one of my favorite bands, always a dream of mine to play with them.

Why now, the desire to add a permanent keyboard player?
The new stuff that isn't released yet has a lot more backing vocals and harmonies. We can’t achieve what we've recorded with the current line up. Also, we have piano/synth in previous recordings. I've always wanted one and can’t find ANYONE!

50 years ago people use buy music and get their water for free, now people pay for water and get their music for free. Do you think this affects music in any way?
Since people don't pay for music any more artists cant survive like they used too. They can’t concentrate on being a musician because there’s no income. This has allowed for terrible quality of song writing and musicianship to flood the market. It also has taken the budget out from under record labels. The labels are too scared to take a chance on signing a band or artist that isn't a sure thing for fear of losing money. Henceforth you get a million copycats. You have music made strictly for money. Any art made specifically for money isn't art. The direct reaction to the artificial, robotic mainstream music is an underground scene filled with talentless turkeys, apathy, shitty recordings, poor songwriting, and entire movement based off irony and ignorance.

Since Biters has been compared to Cheap Trick, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and The Boys (just to name a few) in reviews, can you name a few influential LP’s that have had an effect on both the band members individually and the overall songwriting process?
For me personally:
Bon Scott era AC/DC
Tom Petty
- 1st album all the way to Wild Flowers
Nick Gilder - City Nights
Slaughter and The Dogs - Do It Dog Style
Sweet - Desolation Blvd.
Alice Cooper - Love It To Death, Killers, Billion Dollar Babies
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars

Since I see the band is described as Electric Playboys in the Disposable Age. Do you think music can still be a vital force in such a disposable age?
At this point, not really. I’m waiting for a few anti-establishment demi gods to grace our presence once again.

Where can people hear the band?
On tour this fall with Social Distortion!

What’s next for Biters?
Hopefully finding someone to put out our new record and a lot of touring!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dime Runner

Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions?
Brian Schickling

Where is the band from?
Fullerton, CA

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Brian Schickling - Vocals
Rocky Rigs - Guitar
Danny Drumkiller - Drums
Ryan Page - Bass
Brian Taylor - Guitar

How did the band start?
Brian Schickling and Rocky Rigs met up in one of Orange County’s fine facilities. With not much to do, the two started to write songs and put the band together. There have been a couple line up changes, but they were short lived. This line up has been the longest-lived and hardest playing.

The band has been featured pretty regularly on Surf & Destroy. How did the band initially hook-up with the podcast? Did Hostage find the band or did you submit songs?
We hooked up with them a while back when we were supposed to play a Pushers show last summer. We sent them some songs and they have been into us since. We’d like to thank them for the love!

Black Vinyl Limited put out the band’s most recent 7-inch and it looks like an LP on the horizon. Explain the Black Vinyl connection. How did you meet them, etc.?
Black Vinyl WILL be putting out our LP and 7” very soon. Our debut 7” Recharged Rejects was put out by Wanda Records (DE) a German Record Label. We also have two songs on iTunes available. I work at Vinyl Solution Records in Huntington Beach so that’s where I met up with Drak from Black Vinyl LTD.

List your three most influential OC punk bands? Have these bands had any influence on the band’s songwriting?
1.     The Stitches
2.     US Bombs
3.     Smogtown
Yeah these bands have had an influence on the song writing process…but not much.

Do you think music can still be a vital force in such a disposable age?
Music is everything. No matter what and how disposable things are in this day and age no one can ever dispose of the feelings music brings a person.

50 years ago people use buy music and get their water for free, now people pay for water and get their music for free. How do you think this affects music in any way?
The only way it affects music is by bands and labels not getting paid for their work. Which affects the way music is put out.

Where can people hear the band?
On Facebook:

What’s next?
Playing shows here and there. A European tour is scheduled in March 2013 and the release of our full-length in the upcoming months.


The Meka Leka Hi's

Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions?
Hey cool dude, this is Josh!

Where is the band from?
We are from Buena Park

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Josh Grelock - guitar / lead vocals
Johnnie Magrann - bass / vocals
Loye Aubrey Jr. - drums

How did the band start?  Originally the band was a two-piece then later adding a bass player. 
About 5 years ago when we first started the band it was originally called The Merkins. The line-up was me (Josh) on guitar and vocals, Rosemary on drums, and Andrew King on bass. Andrew ended up getting asked to play guitar for the Crystal Antlers, which turned us into a two- piece band. This also prompted the name change to The Meka Leka Hi’s. After being a two-piece for a couple years we asked Johnnie (a long time friend of mine) to play bass with us. Johnnie is a really good guitar player, so when he picked up the bass he wrote some rad bass lines to our songs! This really made our sound full. We recently (about six months ago) got a new drummer, Loye Aubrey Jr. The first time he jammed with us I knew instantly we found our dude! I feel like the band has never sounded better!

I had read that the original influences were chicken nuggets, 1980’s cartoons, and Lucky Charms. Is this still true? Judging by the song “Chicken Nuggets, Pizza Party,” at least chicken nuggets still are.
Yes, chicken nuggets and 80’s cartoons still influence us.

What bands influenced the Meka Leka Hi’s?  Dead Milkmen?
When I started the band I wanted to sound like a cross between Link Wray and The Dead Milkmen. Not sure if that’s what happened, but I’m stoked either way.

How are excited are you guys about the LP coming out?
Super excited! We did it all ourselves, except for the recording, our friend Ryan Foster (and fellow band mate in Honey Badgers) recorded us at Johnnie’s house. We recorded the vocals in my bathroom, ha ha.  This is going to be our very first release, so we decided to go big and put out a full-length album. We probably have enough material to put out two albums, but we’ll start with one.

The LP cover art looks to be a Josh R’s painting?  When your singer is an up and coming artist, there is definitely no shortage of artwork.
Yes, I did paint the album cover. I’m stoked to have my art on the record!

50 years ago people use buy music and get their water for free, now people pay for water and get their music for free. How do you think affects music in anyway?
I still buy my music from record stores; doesn’t every one else do that too?

Where can people hear the band?
Best way to find out about any upcoming Meka Leka Hi show’s is to check out our Facebook page. There is also a link to our bandcamp on there too.



What’s next?
Shows! We are ready to start playing a bunch of shows to support our album!
It would be nice to do a little west coast tour too!