I interviewed J Church in August at 1:30 a.m. on the corner of 14th and C in San Diego. Formed from the ashes of Cringer, this Bay Area punk band has been routinely putting out cool records on labels like Allied, Rugger Bugger, etc., featuring poppy, introspective songs which are seemingly about daily life. Lit by fluorescent bulbs, punctuated by passing cars, we talked about punk rock, the Internet and postmodernism between the band's wisecracks. I did my best with transcription, but sometimes a passing car drowned out a line, and I apologize. "Arbor Vitae" and "Nostalgia For Nothing," a double album collecting various singles and EP cuts, should both be in a cool record store near you. To rip off a line from Wired, J Church is one of the most wired bands I know and, considering I have more e-mail accounts than I can keep track of anymore, that's saying something.
Okay. State your name and age for the record, as well as the instrument you play so I'll be able to transcribe this later.
Gardner: Sure. I'm Gardner, I play bass, and I don't know why, but I'm 27.
Lance: Well I know why, it's because you were born in 1967.
G: No, I don't know why you want to know.
Journalism is my day job.
L: I'm Lance and I play guitar and sing, and I'm 28.
Reed: I'm Reed, I play drums and I'm 19.
That's young. So how'd you guys get together? Standard question.
L: Uh ... go for it.
G: Well, Lance and I were in another band called Cringer and when Cringer broke up, we just started J Church. Cringer got together because we lived in Hawaii and there was nothing else to do. We were in bands and we knew each other so ...
So why do you like Bikini Kill?
L: Bikini Kill are just old friends of mine. I'm pretty old friends with them, especially Tobi, the drummer and I've just known them for years. It's not really so much about anything other than the time when every fanzine you picked up was like, "God, I am so sick of feminism" and all this stuff, and it's harsh. People were saying really harsh things about them, some of which obviously are true. There's obviously things to criticize about them, but a lot of stuff was being passed on from fanzine to fanzine. It became fourth-hand knowledge, so for a while it was hip to slag them off in fanzines without having even researched it at all. The whole point of the song is like, "Look, all you do is a fucking fanzine and you're complaining. Why don't you find out what's really going on if you really give a shit?" That's the whole point of the song. It's not even about them necessarily, it's just this whole problem. Now it's not fanzines, now it's the Internet where people just fucking talk shit all the time and think they know what's going on. It's so easy to reach a band. If people wanted to call us, they can call Epicenter and find us. They can write to us. If they want to call Bikini Kill, they can call Kill Rock Stars. The chances are one of them is going to pick up the phone, or anybody. There's a good chance of reaching Ian MacKaye if you call Dischord. So I don't understand why, if people are really upset about things, why don't they call first and just find out, or see what's going on? It's starting to affect us, where people are talking shit about us all the time. That's just the basis of the song. I just used them as an example, but the whole point of the song is that if you're going to talk shit, either you better be doing something more effective or at least find out what's really going on.
G: Even more basic than that, it was just so obvious that everyone's problem had nothing to do with Bikini Kill and this hardline feminism thing. Everyone was just obviously threatened by it and, "Oh, I have to respond to this!" If you don't like them, don't listen to their records.
G: That's the end of it. Why do you have to make this huge ordeal out of it?
L: That's what it comes down to. It's never the issues at all. It's always one person's ego and their way of promoting their ego and themselves, you know? For people that aren't particularly doing anything, not to say there's anything wrong with not doing anything because I'd rather not do anything, but for people that are like that, that are trying to ...
G: All you do is cut other people down.
L: Yeah. That says more about you than who you're cutting down. That's the long and short of it.
Yeah. Lately on the Internet, there are all these rumors - Ian MacKaye is married or dead, Jord from Propagandhi got shot, 35 billion different things.
R: I started that one.
L: Yeah, there's a rumor that I got killed in a car crash.
Dr. Livingston I presume?
L: I'm fine. Except my arm falls off.
You're remarkably sprightly for a dead person.
L: That's what they say. I read that myself because I read alt.punk all the time to see what's going down.
Not exactly the first place to go for the most accurate information.
L: You know, and even besides that, everybody is so mean because they're in the safety of their home with their pseudonym so they can be as mean as they want. I can't believe it. I can understand if people don't like us, but some of the things people say are just harsh. It's so weird. It's like, "Yeah, okay, your parents bought you a home computer and set you up with America Online and you're talking shit about us? You've got America Online! You've got a bigger problem than I've got! I'm borrowing my friend's Netcom account!"
Yeah, but at least you're going through a direct Internet hookup.
L: That's a SLIP account man!
There are all these prejudices on the Internet. Remember alt.aol.users.clueless. clueless.clueless?
R: There's alt.aol.sucks, alt. aol.sucks.a. lot. There are about five.
L: die.die.die. Yeah, what's that one? alt. radio.shack.bill.bixby.die.die.die? What's up with that? What's up with alt.sex. bestiality.barney? That's true! But it's so funny, I had to get on there. We started this huge controversy over ... what was the big purple thing from McDonald's?
L: Yeah, we had a big thing about what is the Grimace's gender? I mean, really.
That's when things get too strange.
L: I just said post-op. That's all I'd say.
Okay. I know you've written a couple of songs about zines. Do you have any plans to do a song like "Why I Like Bikini Kill" about the Internet?
L: Yes, actually. 100%, yes. We're going to record it for Allied pretty soon and it's called "Zero Equals Zero," and that's exactly what it's about actually.
G: Well, we're predictable.
L: Damn! Like they don't deserve it! I mean, you actually wouldn't know it was about the Internet probably if I didn't say that. It's a burn that talks shit about us.
G: There's a video for it.
L: A particular person with an America Online account talked shit about us and no one else will know what it means until that person reads it.
At which point they'll be embarrassed.
L: And they won't tell anybody because they'll weep. It's actually not that mean. They probably won't even buy the record so I don't know why I'm thinking about it. The guy who's been talking shit about us probably won't buy our next record.
R: Just put the lyrics in.
On the other hand, people might brag about that. "J Church wrote a song about me!"
L: Right, and when they say that, I'll deny it. I'll say, "What are you talking about? It's not about you, it's about this" and they'll be totally faced.
Oh, you're so vain.
L: "You think I'd write a song about you? It's about my cat."
The songs seem to take ordinary situations such as hanging out or getting together with a friend to drink beer or walking through the Financial District as a jumping off point to go into other things. How do you set that up?
L: Usually I'll start by writing about something that's going on. I used to write during work breaks. I'd jot things down that happened during the day. I'll take it as a diary entry. Then when it starts leading toward a direction, then I'll actually create a point. That's why a lot of songs don't go anywhere, so I dump them. They start walking down the street and they end walking down the street so I get rid of those songs. I write most songs now, usually, at night, right before I go to bed. That's when I spend a lot of time writing. Usually at the same time I'm filling out my diary, so a lot of it is just things that happened, people I know that are being affected by things, and I'll try to create some fantasy situation. I don't know how to explain that better, but I take something that's happening and fictionalize it and turn into something with at least some depth to it. Usually it's a matter of starting off with a basic story and then, depending on how I feel, seeing where it can lead at that point. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but I write enough songs that if it doesn't, I just throw it away.
That's actually something I remember reading as a criticism about your music. It was some zine or another and the person said, "It's like, 'I was walking down the street, I smoked a cigarette and then I stopped in 7-11 and got a slurpee and walked home."
R: That was Jawbreaker, wasn't it?
G: Starting rumors.
L: That's true, but usually they have more of a point to them, maybe not to the average person listening to it, but at least to me. Right now I write a lot about people I know at Epicenter or other friends from work, so maybe to most people who don't know us it doesn't mean anything, but I never think in those terms anyway. When you start thinking in those terms, it's easy to start either preaching or being a little too self-conscious. So I just write everything in terms of being a diary entry or what I would like to read. I like to be able to enjoy my lyrics. To me, in a lot of ways, the lyrics certainly take more time to put together than the music.
G: Every time someone says something like that, there will be someone at a show who comes up and say, "Oh yeah, that song! I did this and this is my life!" And we're like "Oh, okay."
L: And they're both equally wrong. That's the problem. On the one hand, someone can be really upset that they don't understand what we're doing or what the point of our lyrics is and that's valid, but that's not what we're doing. And at the same time, someone will be exactly like what you were saying. "Oh man, I quit my job because of that song. I ran away from home because of something you wrote or I stopped eating meat because of your lyrics" and all this stuff, and I'm like, "Well, I don't remember any song saying do this." It's flattering which is what I'm sure their intention is, but at the same time that's missing the point too. I'm certainly not trying to tell anybody what to do because I wouldn't want that responsibility. It freaks me out when people say that, because some kid who was a teenager at the time was like, "Yeah, I ran away from home because of this song." I'm like, "Dude, don't fuck your life up because of me," you know? Or certainly don't tell me that's why you did it. It's too much for me to deal with. I'm just some guy.
So you write most of the lyrics. What about the songs? Is it a collaborative effort or do the songs congeal at a jam session or a practice?
L: A lot of what I do now is I write everything like a folk song on a four track. For the last album, that's what I mostly did because 3/4 of the songs were just acoustic things and I give them the tape and they practice more than I do so they put together rhythm parts, fill it out, shit like that basically, and then add breaks.
G: We don't jam.
L: We can't jam. Jamming to us is like this, "Okay, dun-dun-dun, chick-chick-chick," and that's a pretty good jam. That's got breaks.
So I take it you're never going to pick up a harmonica and do the Blues Traveler thing.
L: Uh, no.
G: Well, we got these neat percussion instruments that we picked up.
R: Yeah, free percussion from this guy we were staying with.
L: Every song has a specific start and end. There are no free form parts, not on purpose anyway.
So improvisation in J Church songs is just an accident?
L: Generally speaking, I think improvisation is bad. I think it's self-indulgent, so even if we could do it, I wouldn't want to do it. It's not that we can't, I just think in general, no matter what we say, we're here to entertain people. If we didn't care about entertaining people, we'd just stay in our practice space all the time and that's not what we're about. I mean, it's cool to have a neat noise part here and there, but if I was in the crowd, I'd be bummed when the band started going off. It might be cool for a minute.
G: That's why you go to the jazz club.
At this point in the interview, someone walked up and asked if we could spare any change. We resume with Reed.
R: With the tapes, it's really neat sometimes because we all come in with our parts and everything is done and we can do whatever we want with it.
L: It's cool, because then I don't have to teach new songs.
R: Yeah, I said something!
Feel free to jump in any time.
G: You can take that out.
R: Don't worry, you're not going to be in it anyway, Gardner.
Actually, this is a direct transcript. The only thing I edit is the stuff I say.
L: And the cars that drive-by.
G: Hey, you got a dime?
Yeah, that gets edited. And the cops saying, "Hey, what are you doing here? You're loitering!"
L: It's fun to do the four track because I like fussing with it anyway and that way, I don't have to teach them the song because that's the most frustrating thing for me. I'm really bad at explaining how tempos should go and where breaks should be and shit like that, so it's on the four track. All they have to do is listen to it.
L: Yeah, yeah.
Now, I may be totally off base on this, but there seems to be a sense of humor running through your songs, especially in "Stupid Lesson" - "Inspiration turns into dogma and I wipe it off my shoe." It seems like you toss in little jokes.
L: Yeah, but they're pretty mean-spirited jokes, I have to say. I think the main theme through a lot of the lyrics is a self-deprecating humor if anything. It's more like - my life sucks, my life has always sucked, things in my life suck, things around me suck and all you can do is laugh about it. So if my life sucks, chances are yours does too.
R: You're at the show! Chicks!
G: No chicks!
Hey, hey, what is this? I thought J Church was P.C.!
R: Rice Chex? Huh?
G: Rice Chex.
Oh, vegetarian food, okay.
G: No Chucks.
L: It's another one of those things where I'll think of something dumb and funny and I'll write it down at the end of the day and if it fits, it fits. The thing is, it's really dangerous to do that because it's so easy to become really corny and sophomoric. It's really easy to do that when you're insulting people in your lyrics and trying to be subtle about it, so I'm actually pretty paranoid about that kind of thing. That song is really old too.
Yeah. That was from your third show I think.
L: Right. Yeah, totally and that was the only time we ever played it live. That was the only time and it got recorded.
G: It was an old drummer.
L: Yeah, it was our first drummer. There was a moment when I thought, "Maybe we should just re-record it," but there's something neat about it.
R: It would make a good dance song.
L: Yeah, but it was one of those things like, "Why don't we just steal the parts and write a new song?"
You cannibalize your own work?
G: Hey, then it'd be another 7".
R: Another 7", down the drain.
L: Really, I mean, "Flip Your Wig" is basically "New Day Rising" in a different order.
Yeah, with a little slower tempo.
L: Everybody plagiarizes a little bit from everybody. We steal from everybody.
L: Yeah. When you start stealing from bands like Pavement, you're inadvertently stealing from the Beatles or Creedence or stealing from a lot of different things. Maybe we're taking it to a ridiculous proportion by stealing from ourselves. It's unconscious, but it's going to happen. It's that or drastically change your style, which I think would be ridiculous.
There's something else. On "In Vain," there's that line about Hüsker Dü.
L: That was just meant to be really insulting to new school kids. I'll admit, when I first heard Hüsker Dü, I thought they were crap. I didn't like them until pretty much after the fact. But there was a time period when I knew a lot of people, probably because of the place I used to work at in Los Angeles, who were like, "Oh, I just heard of this great band, Hüsker Dü! They've got this album I just checked out called 'Warehouse: Songs and Stories'!" That's their first thing they discovered about Hüsker Dü? Give me a break. It's just kind of a dis on people who discovered Hüsker Dü through Rolling Stone.
That album was actually the way I got into Husker, but then again, I was in high school and didn't know any better.
L: Yeah, but I mean, these are people that live in L.A. man. SST is in L.A., Hüsker Dü played there how many times? Basically, it was legitimized by Rolling Stone and that's basically what it was a dis on.
I never even saw them in Rolling Stone. I was sitting in high school and found out about them through Thrasher.
L: Oh, really? Well, you know.
That was when Pushead was writing about speed metal and hardcore.
L: We're in the black, dark cauldrons. You have now entered ... the Puszone.
G: His Top 100 Albums.
L: His Top 100 Albums. "Draw The Line" by Aerosmith.
G: Septic Death.
L: Septic Death is like, number 1.
That band was always frightening.
L: I cut the strings! Come, chi-chi guy.
So I guess the next thing I should ask you about is "The Precession Of Simulacra." That doesn't seem like a title people might expect from a punk band.
L: You say it very well.
I've read Baudrillard.
G: Yeah, me too. L: Baudrill-what?
Uh, he's, like, a French dude.
G: Oh, cool.
So is there any postmodern theory behind that, anything from lit crit or Roland Barthes or people like that?
L: Not so much that. I mean, there's certain books that I feel affect everything, like "Simulations." It's one of those books where you read it, that and "Ecstasy Of Communication," and if it means anything to you, it's going to mean enough that it's going to really affect your life. It's going to change your concept of life - media, political landscapes, boundaries, everything. So to me it was a really heavy book to read and it really influenced me a lot. That, and "The Revolution Of Everyday Life," which is an old Situationist book. Those two have had a bigger impact on me than anything. I've read other stuff. I've read some Derrida and Foucault and all this other shit, but those books in particular have a more heavy effect, and also because that 10" was supposed to be the first in a series of three and it's not really happening. It's somewhat influenced by the character of the songs. The first one is "Precession Of Simulacra" - this sounds too much like a concept record - but the idea is that there's a song where the lyrics are entirely taken directly from an interview with an actress.
Right, "Jennifer Jason Leigh."
L: Right. There's that and there's a song that's entirely about where candles come from and the writing on a candle and stupid shit like that. It's too complicated to explain, but also the idea of having an old, old live song that has nothing to do with what's happening now but gives depth to the record in a weird way. So to me, that tied into the idea of simulations, blah blah. The next 10", which is coming out soon, is called "The Agony of Alienation and the Ecstasy of Communication." It's hard to explain, but the lyrics are revolving around more personal issues and fucked up relationship things and all this crazy shit. There was going to be a third one but it was getting way too stupid and conceptual for me from a songwriter's perspective I suppose. Besides which, it seemed really dumb.
L: It just seemed really dumb, so it's not going to be a trilogy. It seemed too pretentious for a band like us. That's the other thing, it's easy to teeter into the world of pretension.
Another thing that pops up periodically is that song titles don't necessarily have a clear connection to what the song is about. For example, "Foreign Films" or "Yellow, Blue and Green." The titles seem significant to the songs, but it's difficult to figure out what it's about just from looking at the lyrics.
L: They do though. It sounds stupid, but a lot of times I'll write the song title first and I write the lyrics after that. I come up with a title that I think is interesting or has something I can work off of or whatever and then I write the song around that. In fact, that's definitely the case with "Yellow, Blue and Green" and "Foreign Films." I had the idea for the title and possibilities for lyrics from that and then it just grew from there. So when you're starting with the actual title, you have no idea what the song is going to be like, so it's easy for the song to go rolling in a different direction by the time it's over. Yeah, a lot of times I come up with the title first. It's just that sometimes, the title ends up not even being in the song at all.
It did in those two, although only one line of "Foreign Films."
L: Right. And "Yellow, Blue and Green."
So what politics does the band have? Sometimes there's a more or less clear view, like in "Marge Schott" and "Why I Like Bikini Kill." It seems there's feminist theory running through the songs in a lot of cases, so what politics does the band have outside these songs, that aren't expressed in these songs?
L: The thing is, everything has changed for me pretty drastically in the past few years. 10 years ago, I was super into the whole anarcho-peace punk scene. I still have everything on Crass Records and I was really into following all that. I got involved in all these protests, I've been arrested a million times doing all this crazy stuff. I guess because I'm more influenced by Situationist politics now and especially living in San Francisco, almost anything you do on a big level in California or in San Francisco gets so muddled down by bureaucratic, liberal politics. To me, it's just as counterproductive as being on the wrong side practically. I don't feel like I'm cynical at all. In fact, I consider people like that to be really cynical. If your solution is trying to focus on who's okay, to me, that's cynical. If your idea of changing shit is writing letters and protesting when there's obviously a lot fucking better things in this world to do, that, to me, is cynical. So I just can't be bothered by that shit any more. As stupid as you'll think it is, I do still think of myself as coming from definitely an anarchist perspective and definitely a Situationist perspective I suppose in a lot of ways, but it's just that I couldn't possibly give myself labels like that now because of all the baggage that comes with them. I don't want to be associated with, like, a bunch of fucking drunk crusty punks and I don't want to be associated with a bunch of people, like, writing letters to, like, Bill Clinton. So I don't know how to answer that and I don't want to sound apathetic, but I don't want to sound like I'm part of a cause either because I don't believe in causes or movements either.
G: A perfect example of that is I used to catch the bus to work and it went down the main street and there were always these protests. They'd block the street and the bus would stop and all the people on the bus would just be like, "Aw man, fucking protests," and they'd all have to get up, get off and go walk to work. You couldn't even tell what it was about and it happened so often, it's such a perfect example because it was just such a bummer for all of us. Now we have to walk to work and that's all it means.
L: It sucks in the neighborhood I live in too because I live in the Mission which is a pretty mixed neighborhood, very heavily Latino I suppose. A big mix basically. Whenever there's a big protest in the neighborhood, you look out and it's all these fucking upper middle class white kids from the suburbs and shit and the handful of people that are there to check it out or sell pot or whatever, but that's mostly who it is and it's so condescending for these people to come into this neighborhood, not like I should talk, I wasn't born in the Mission or anything, but it's just so condescending because these people are bringing their message. It's just as offensive as the English taking their message to the Third World. It's just insulting. Give me a break, man! You're passing out your poorly Spanish translated flier to people in this neighborhood who are laughing at you.
As long as we're on neighborhoods in San Francisco, what does the J Church streetcar have to do with the band?
L: Well, nothing now. Nothing at all now. It used to be where I wrote all my songs.
G: That was cool.
R: I almost got hit by it the other day.
L: Oh, really? There you go, we hate it, that's why.
G: He was trying to steal the sign.
L: If you live in San Francisco, for some weird reason, there's a weird scene of people who are really into riding all the buses, like my friend Lydia.
R: There's a bus scene in San Francisco. Where do you meet people on the bus, which bus is the best bus to meet guys or something.
L: There's a whole scene for that in San Francisco, people that are into going by themselves and spending all night to see where the bus ends, see where the route goes and all this stuff and the J Church was the best line, really. It's such an interesting ride. It takes you from the Financial District across the northern part of the Mission through this weird, almost like a Disneyland-type area that goes behind all these houses towards Noe Valley. It goes through all these neighborhoods. The first time I ever rode it, I was into it.
G: It doesn't mean shit.
L: Yeah. Basically it don't mean shit.
So, no significance for that one.
L: The answer is no.
The answer is - or something. Standard answer. Okay, more lyrics stuff. "Your politics are your security/ Your politics are just polemic smokescreen." What do you mean by that?
L: God, I haven't heard that song in so long. What was the line before that?
I couldn't tell you, I just jotted down those two lines.
L: "Lucidity is merely part of our artillery," ... sorry, I'm just trying to remember it. I think that, from what I remember anyway, I had used that line before, that whole idea of in San Francisco, political groups have more meetings than doing anything else and I also that politics in general are bad because it's a way for people to ignore issues by getting caught up in semantics and definitions and bullshit like that, falling under umbrellas and shit. It just seems like it's a good way to avoid dealing with anything. It's exactly what you'd expect from liberal politics. There's no reason for people in that condition to really be politicized other than guilt, so if that's your only motivation ...
At this point in the interview, someone came up to bum a cigarette.
P: You all had some good sounds coming out of there. My name's Princess, what's yours?
L: I'm Lance.
P: Hi Lance, my pleasure to meet you.
P: And yours?
P: Hi Scott, my pleasure to meet you.
P: And yours?
P: Hey, Gard. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your music. I haven't ever been inside of this place, but it really sounded good from the outside.
P: You're welcome very much. And even though I'm a different color, don't get alarmed.
Man: Fuck them! Let's go!
L: Anyway ...
P: Take it easy.
L: Thanks a lot.
P: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Man: Fuck the small talk!
L: The song is mostly about, it's the thing that's a big problem with all these political groups. They're all making excuses for not really doing anything and that's inevitable because of their background, so that was the basis for a lot of that.
Richard Kadrey, the person who wrote "Metrophage," had this great line in that that book that was something along the lines of "Politics is just a way to avoid discussing what really hurts."
Do you think that idea comes into play at all where people get into politics? I mean, over the years, San Francisco has been a place where a lot of people went to hide from people or lose themselves or find themselves or whatever.
L: I think it's a way of siphoning people's guilty feelings. Like I said, I think that's a lot of why people get into politics is because they feel guilty about something. So [they don't] acknowledge that they're part of the problem because of their background and [they don't] realize where they come from is not this nostalgic thing that they can be attached to and look fondly back to, but is actually part of the reason why things are fucked up. People don't want to look at you like that, so that's why they become so entrenched and committed to these causes that, if they really looked through it, they would see are making excuses. I don't think it's so much that people aren't looking for things. If they're looking for excuses, they're looking for excuses of what's fucked up about their life. It's an old Situationist thing. When the Situationists started, they said they were anti-political because they were post-politics. It's also a mental bureaucracy. How that happened, I don't know, but that's a big part of it certainly in world politics these days. It just seems pointless to get wrapped up in it when it all stems from a fucked up situation.
I've got a couple of last questions. Is there any question you wish someone would have asked you so you could get a chance to set the record straight or just talk about or something like that, that no one has ever asked?
G: I'm just surprised that more people don't give a shit, like, how come you re-release all your songs on different formats and stuff like that. I'm not saying I wish they would, I'm just saying I'm surprised they never do. Also, this wasn't J Church, this was Cringer and we were touring during the Gulf War, I was really surprised no one, especially since we were with Citizen Fish who are ex-Subhumans and are so political, bothered to even ask why we thought it was worth driving across country in this van with horribly bad gas mileage to play music while there's this war going on for oil and stuff. Besides that, no one even asked what we thought about it at all or anything.
L: It's weird though. In interviews in the mail or that I talk to about that shit, people have this impression of us like we're super-Crass, intellectual, blah blah blah, like we're that hard to interview, but we don't know shit. We don't know any more than anybody else does as is evident to anybody who's ever interviewed us.
R: We're full of it in other words.
L: Yeah, we're basically full of ourselves and people are weird about that. It's really fun because I think that for a band that has turn-outs like we do and shows like we do and tours like we do, it's pretty weird how few interviews we do overall. I mean, nobody wants to interview us, nobody wants to talk to us. Maybe they just don't give a shit. I mean, this is the only interview we've done this whole trip. Yeah, the thing I think I would like to clear up though is the thing with all the records because people haven't ever asked us about it, but people talk shit about it on the Internet and the whole thing is that we try to release things in England as well as over here and, at this point, in Japan as well, and the idea is not to have five versions floating around, but it's just that our CDs and singles are really expensive in London and it's really expensive over there anyway, so to make it cheaper for them, we're letting people over there release the exact same songs and just to make it fun for them, we let them do different covers and artwork and stuff. Sometimes it's not different.
R: Record collectors go crazy.
L: Yeah. I mean, if you're a really a collector nerd and you're doing it to be a collector, then I don't give a fuck. You can pay import prices for that stuff, that's fine with me, I don't care.
I wondered about that when I saw some CD EPs were $9 and I'd think, "This is Allied stuff, it shouldn't be that much."
L: Well, stuff like that, we don't have any control over. Mordam has a set rate for everything, so if stores arbitrarily mark stuff up, that's the store. Allied isn't any more expensive than Broken or AT or any of that stuff. It's all virtually a set rate. Maybe it varies by a nickel or a dime, but it's nothing more drastic than that. So if it's really expensive in a store and it's domestic, it's the store. They probably bought it from a different distributor that bought it from Mordam.
That clears that up.
L: Right. That's really old news. The only reason why things are more is because it's an import and again, there's no point in buying any of these imports because it's the same songs that come out over here on different releases. There's no point in buying the Spanish single. The Spanish single had three songs that were on our first album and came out in Spain, it was Spain only, and because people just buy shit without thinking about it, Cargo and Revolver imported, altogether, 400 copies and sold them all within a week. The whole thing is these are three songs that came out domestically, cheaper than the single, years ago and that you can still get cheap as a CD, but people still bought it. It even said in the pressing that went out for Revolver [that it was] three songs from the first LP that was for collectors only and they still sold 400 of them. Maybe people don't care, but if people don't care and know, they should know that we're not doing it just to rip you off. It was just to get it out to Spain because there's nothing available there, but if people want it, they're going to sell it here and we can't stop that.
Reed? Any questions?
R: No, I'm just the drummer.
Hey, if it wasn't for you, where would the bassist be? Where would he be without you?
L: He'd be sampled with the drums. It'd be like the Human League or something.
G: Anyway, we better get going.
Well, it's been great talking to you, I appreciate the time.