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Tiltwheel's the happiest sad music you're bound to hear. Take the broken whiskey bottle gruffness and the muted guitar explosion of Leatherface, the duct tape barely holding it togetherness of Crimpshrine, the so-tender-it-kills lyricism of Jawbreaker, and spray it with extra shots of sunshine and desperation. I sat down with Davey in Tiltwheel's tour van in Dubuque, Iowa. Kids nearby were dropping from telephone poles in inner tubes, while their friends filmed them. Then they came over and hit us up to buy them beer. --Retodd

What's the Tiltwheel curse?

We don't know where the curse came from. The curse is elusive. The reasoning behind it I have no idea, but that's what a curse is all about. The curse started the first time we ever thought of going out of town. It was right after we recorded Volume, maybe '94. Our bass player Aaron Reagan's mom had a station wagon. We were going to do some shows in Arizona and New Mexico. The curse has got satanic overtones. You're like, "Yeah. Fuck yeah. We're in a band. We're gonna tour." Aaron says, "I can't go." And this was two or three in the afternoon and we were supposed to leave at five. And we're like, "Why?" He's like, "Well, I'm supposed to go out to dinner with my girlfriend and I've got tickets to Cannibal Corpse on Saturday." So, that's the satanic overtone. Our drummer wanted us to listen to Jesus rock. Our bass player wanted to see Cannibal Corpse. Well, obviously Cannibal Corpse won.

So, you were a clown.

(dejected) Yeah.

What was your clown name?


Were you admitted to Barnum and Bailey clown school?

Yes, I was. San Diego State University runs a clown school and my parents went to it. I remember them coming in one night and they're like, "Kids, we're going to be clowns." My dad's a great guy. "I'm a clown; I'm going to make my son and daughter be a clown. Draw what clown face you want." I was really young. Probably seven, tops. My sister was six... fast forward. We used to do mall openings, birthday parties, parades--fucking parades--all the time. Dress up as a clown, walk down a street, go home.

That movie Shakes the Clown--true fucking story, right?

We play punk rock shows and we go to somebody's house and we drink, right? OK, clowns do that too. Clowns don't remove their fucking makeup. So, we'd have these parties and once in a while they'd be at our house. I remember this one pool party in Poway, California. Sam "The Meat Man" was a clown. He was the bearded lady. He wore a dress and he had a flicking beard--this is totally true. I remember these clowns doing cannon balls into the pool and shit like that. "Wooh! Check me out! Wooh!" Clown style. This is the shit I lived through every weekend as a kid. Most of the parades were on Saturday, so Sunday mornings I'd wake up to watch cartoons. Dude, this fucking clown's in my flicking seat, passed out, where I wanted to watch cartoons. So, I've got some pictures of passed-out clowns with beers in their hands at my house. Then I got into the whole band thing.

I didn't want to be a clown. You're a youngster; there's girls. There's tits and there's cocks. So you don't want to be a clown because chicks don't dig fucking clowns, right? But I'm 18 at the time. My dad...every year Ringling comes to town, we're front row, Hey, Frosty, Lou Jacobs, Gunther Gable Williams"--who passed away a couple weeks ago, bless his heart-they all knew us. My dad's all, "Why don't you come to the auditions with us?" I was like, "All right. I've got nothing else to do." At the Ringling auditions, they get a group of three people lined up and you walk an imaginary tightrope across a circus ring. And then they make you walk around the circus ring. They just tell you, "Do this," And they want to see what you do besides that, how you elaborate on it. Next thing I know these clowns pull me aside, totally grilling me and shit. "We liked what you did. Fill out this application." And they always ask this: "Do you have family? Do you have a girlfriend?" My dad was accepted a couple years before th at but they denied him because we were young, In Ringling Brothers, you go on the road for at least four years. There's two units in Ringling Brothers, red unit and blue unit. Each unit goes on tour. One year you're in the US, one year you're in Europe. They switch off each year. And they were like, "What do you have here that's anchoring you to San Diego?" I said, "Well, I play in a band." And they're like, "Do you like your band?" "Yeah, punk rock. I really like playing music." I decided right then that by the time I was 30 that if I wasn't happy or if I wasn't playing music, that I'd fucking join the circus. Seriously, the day I turned 30 I thought about it. I remember I was actually taking a shit at the time--you've seen my bathroom. I've got that mirror. You can do a lot of thinking when you're staring at yourself. 'Do I sell the guitar and join the flicking circus or what?' I decided 35 would be a better age to decide.

Did you ever get nailed because you were a clown? Are there clown groupies?

Never got nailed because I was a clown. Never got nailed because I was in a band. Never got nailed for nothing.

Have you ever been in a serious relationship?

One that I count, yeah. It's called Tiltwheel.

How was being Santa at the mall?

I liked being flicking Santa Claus, right? You walk around for three hours and give candy to kids.

Ever get nailed from being Santa Claus?

No, but I tried to nail an elf.

How'd that go?

She didn't want any part of it. Can I have another beer, a cold one? I never got nailed because I was Santa Claus. I wanted to. I would love to look at a girl's tits and say, "Ho, ho, ho! Rudolph."

You've got a new song: "It's Amazing the Things You Find in Your Pocket Alter a Bender." Give me the gist of the song.

OK, you go into a bar and you just want to get mangled. I do this. I always tell the bartender straight off, "Here's the deal: I'm fucking depressed. I'm pissed off. Something's going to break. I don't have a lot of money. I want to shoot somebody or myself This is the way it goes. Do you mind if you put up with me tonight?" I'll warn bartenders of what might happen. If I remember correctly, that song was written at The Bombay in Chicago.

How important is beer to Tiltwheel?

More important than reality, I guess.


Or: How to steal juice from The City

On any given afternoon in SF's sunny Mission District, the sound of sweet gospel music can be heard rising from the apex of Sodom and Gomorrah's (read: 24th & Mission Streets) quiver of smack peddlers and hooked-on-everything corner birds. Religious in tone, the sound's electrical source of amplification comes from an outlet hidden between garbage can and bus stop just north across the bricks from the terminal. Jesus is praised via keyboard, guitar, and off-key vocals. So the kids in SF's Sharp Knife got the idea to borrow that same juice and throw a punk rocker show. A PA was acquired, backline set up, and bands played... The Knife went first, followed by Vena Cava (San Diego), Tiltwheel (San Diego), and the Thumbs (Maryland). Each would bust out three songs and then trade off to the next band, so that everyone would have had a chance to play should the cops have offered the shutdown. Bicycle messengers, punks and art school drop-outs--just like in that one song by that one band-they all gathered in a half-c ircle amidst the blight and out-of-place suited BART commuters to feel the rock and watch some kids go off. Businessmen tapped their toes. Ladies held their cell phones towards the noise, broadcasting live to the receiving end. Punker girls danced with would-be down-and-outers. The plate was passed and the audience was generous, sending the touring bands on their way with change for food and fuel. People of all kind drank and listened and smiled and tuned out an un-right world. Pigeons got stoked. Cops left it alone.
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Title Annotation:interview with Davey, member of rock band
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2001
Previous Article:PANCHO AND REDBONE.

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