Almost all of your friends think that you're lazy bastards. How did you gain this reputation while puffing out such high-quality music?
St. Patrick: Whereas lots of bands spend upwards of six months on the road or put out a record a year, we've kinda never done that style. That kind of mentality only came around when punk rock--and underground music in general--got huge and you could do it as a living. Most of us had been in bands since before that, so we never slipped into that mindset. We all have jobs. Erik owns a business. Lane just became a doctor. And on top of that, there are a lot of important hot dogs to eat and video games to play, when you get down to it. In the future I think we'll be more active than we have been just because Lane now is done with his school and his practicum. That was always the big thing. But Erik still has a bar and restaurant that he's building a venue in and, actually. I'm going to work there and help book shows. We've got a bunch of things cooking I'm sure from a-far perspective it looks like we're lazy-assed. I just think it's a prejudice against fat people.
What's the most ironic thing that's happened to the band?
On our first seven inch, we had a song that started out with me doing this chant, "Hipster, scenester, you're a flicking brown noser." And now, 10 years later, there are local people who say we're kinda scenesters, But they say it in a nice way. Now we know a lot of people because we've been doing this band for almost 10 years, and inevitably, at least in your own town, you're going to meet anybody who has anything to do with music, At that time, I thought of the terms "hipster" and "scenester" as being really derogatory so I found myself looking back on it and thinking, 'What is a scenester? Someone who's down with the scene?' If that's bad then I'm guilty.
This sounds like a cheesy question, but it's not. Now that you're going to get more exposure from this album and doing an extensive tour, what are you doing to keep it real? What reality checks are the band writing for themselves to make it not business as usual?
Actually, keep it business as usual to be honest with you--our business as usual. Especially with summer tours. Places are trying to outbid each other to have us play We're not used to that, especially considering they tend to be cities we couldn't get shows in four years ago.
You're also making a big effort to not make this a package tour, and instead are picking local bands to open whenever you can.
When I was young you could start a band, have a good time, and eventually if you played around long enough you might actually get to play before Youth of Today or Crimpshrine. It could happen. But now package tours are so common that it isn't even a possibility anymore, In a lot of cities, there're two different show-going worlds: The kids who buy these records and go see package tours and the kids who are into what's going on in their own town and are excited about it. I don't want to be a part of the package-tour thing, it's like the Starbucks of punk. Every town they go to is the same show. Half the fun of touring is seeing bands you've never heard of before. A lot of them are gonna suck, but the few that don't are going to be some of the best shit that you've ever heard.
Are there any other band-wide policies?
We won't play a show if it wasn't one we'd see in the first place. We also get in those debate/arguments about beer for the practice room. It's not all these good guy things. Some of them are also dirty, fat, Midwestern dude arguments. We have a lot of drinking rules. You have to have at least two beers before you play because nobody wants a stiff guy up here bumming the rest of them out. At the same time, if you're too trashed and can't play, you're in the penalty box. You can only have two beers for a couple shows.
Has anybody in the band ever skated?
Billy and Erik used to shred it up. It's weird because the world of skating and dirt bikes, the rules that applied to them are very regional. Erik grew up on the north side of Evanston, Illinois. I grew up on the south side. North side kids rode skateboards and some were kinda punk, but they were those kind of people who had a Minor Threat record and a Descendents record, but then a lot of them were metal heads--Erik was a metal head. But us on the south side, we listened to punk and we rode dirt bikes. The funny thing is that I've never even ridden a board--a couple years ago we stayed at Jim Thiebaud's warehouse in Oakland. I had a couple beers and was feeling sassy, so I took a deck and had a go at it. Ever seen a drunk, fat man try to skateboard for the first time?
What is your "unifying theory of indie rock?"
It's just fucking boring. When I'm at work I have to hear stuff like Hoobastank and Incubus, shit like that. Elliot Smith. At the end of the day, it is just music. It's not like I want anybody to die just because they play music that I don't like, but, man do I fuckin' hate it. The '90s were a period of ironic music. Beck; he's fun, he's goofy. It's novelty music. It's Doctor Demento on the top 40, which is fine, but somehow the hangover cure of ironic music turned out to be the golden age of the PR person. "Elliot Smith will tear at your heart strings." No he doesn't. He's annoying. But whatever, everybody has different tastes. There's some stuff that people call indie rock that I fuckin' love. I really like Guided By Voices and The Wedding Present, but these bands are also kind of aggro and at least catchy. The stuff I don't get is the kind of atonal mumbling singer looking down at his shoes, like "I'm shopping at a thrift store, heeey." The other thing I want to know, what the fuck is up with cats? It's al most like a fuckin' rule that if you're in indie rock and you're female, you have to have some sort of cat theme in everything you're doing. I wish I was female. I'd start an indie rock band and it would be based all around rhinos. It's really self-indulgent when the music takes a back seat to what your intention is supposed to be. To some degree, intention plays a role, but damn, can you just give me a seven inch that I want to listen to 80 times in an hour? It's this division in punk where these people apparently used to play in punk rock bands--but I don't get it. They have more to do with bands like Air Supply than rock and roll. It's not as bad as metal, though. As much as I can't stand Elliot Smith's music, he's probably a good guy so if I had to be stuck in a room watching him or Godsmack, fuck dude, I will be up front for Elliot Smith, fucking cheering him and waving my arms and blowing kisses.
How is the Midwest the center of the universe?
I wouldn't even call it the center of the universe. I would say that the reason I love it is because it is definitely not the center, and nobody wants it to be. If you hang around a very cliche Los Angeles person: "LA's the greatest city in the whole world." It's the same with New York and San Francisco, and I'll even admit Chicago--and that's in the Midwest--but most Midwestern people don't think of that kind of shit. "I got a good job. The house is kind of pretty and I think I'm going to have a barbecue this afternoon." I'm not saying that there aren't other people with that mentality on either of the coasts. It's the kind of thing that drives me nuts when I see an interview with somebody like Moby or Barbara Walters, people will make comments if they're trying to reference an idiot or a hick, like, "That movie was great. I don't know how it will be received in the Midwest." The Wu Tang Clan will make jokes about people from Iowa. Fuck that. That's who I'm down with. That's where I'm from. I understand them. It's more laid back. It's a little more loyal. Everybody's just waiting to die and are having a good time before it happens. Hanging around in LA, San Francisco, and New York and places like that--most people I meet aren't from there. That's the joke my friends say who live in New York City, "There's more people from Omaha in New York City than there are in Omaha." Midwest is just fine by me. Maybe people gripe about how the weather sucks, that it's all flat here, so when it snows, it really snows hardcore, but hey, you know what? I love it 'cause that means at least once a year all the fuckin' assholes are leaving. Assholes can't make it through the winter. Even if they're bugging you for six months, wait 'til November. They'll be gone.
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|Date:||Sep 1, 2002|
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