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Dillinger Four


I had been trying to talk to Dillinger Four for months and having no luck until Tyler, one of the zine's readers, found an email address for Erik and sent it over. Within a week, Erik had responded and an hour later, I was on the phone with he and Paddy (sequentially, not at the same time). 2 1/2 hours later, I was tired but I had the interview. This is the second part of the interview, and contains only Paddy's responses.


[At this point, Erik gave me Patrick's number. The interview resumes with Patrick, who started talking about The Bellrays before the tape started rolling.]

Patrick: They're like the best band on the face of the fucking planet. I was just like, "Dude, every time you guys come here, you play to 100 people when you should be playing to 1,000." Have you seen them at all? Do you know anything about them?
They've played here a few times, but I've never seen them.
Patrick: Damn dude, you ought to go. They're seriously like a little punkier MC5 fronted by, like, Tina Turner from 1967. It's just fucking totally off the hook. They never stop playing, they're always getting the crowd to chant and shit, they're always bad as fuck. Their whole thing is like, "You better rock and fucking roll or get the fuck out of my way!" It's bad. It is just so awesome but it's just hard because they have a booking agent, goddammit.
So you can't just call them and say, "Hey I want you to do a show."
Patrick: Yeah. The thing is, they're down. I guess they really like their booking agent, but now it's just one of those things where now I'm trying to track down this guy with a cell phone in L.A. It gives me the heebie jeebies. So what's your name again? Scott?
Yeah, I actually met you guys at the Corona show.
Patrick: That's what Erik was saying, that we met you before at the Showcase.
Yeah, the Showcase Theater. I gave you guys a bunch of zines. I was hanging out with Jeff and Skye.
Patrick: Oh! Okay, right on.
I was the guy who you were heckling about being a poet.
Patrick: Oh, did you have poetry in your zine?
No, I was just giving you guys shit. I was screaming at you about Thomas Paine.
Patrick: Ohhhh, all right, I know exactly who you are now. I know exactly who you are now. I remember. Oh, you know. It was one of those things where I thought it was bad heckling and then I found out it was fun heckling.
Yeah, I love your music.
Patrick: Oh, right on. Cool. It's kind of weird because of that little stretch, especially last year, like the show we played in Phoenix was like a study in bad heckling. I don't think I've been as confrontational with 1,000 people as I was in Phoenix last summer. I think that Showcase show was right after that so I was probably still in mode, but I do totally remember that. Oh wow. Actually, you know what's funny when I look back on it, I don't know why I thought you were heckling the fuck out of me when you knew the name of a song. It's kind of weird when you think about that.
Yeah, and I was heckling you about Nelson Algren too.
Patrick: Oh yeah, I remember that. Cool.
"Which one of you motherfuckers is The Man With The Golden Arm?"
Patrick: Fuck man, I just realized I got a big-ass hair in my mouth. So you went to Japan with tiltWheel?
Patrick: You're a very lucky man.
It was an amazing experience.
Patrick: That's a great band to go over there with too.
Yeah. I went over to video the shows and take care of whatever, but they usually didn't need much taken care of because most of the shit was taken care of for them, so I taped and drank.
Patrick: Yeah. When we went, we had a, well you probably met him, Gurdy? He travels with us, he's like the psycho-ass little skinny guy? He's basically the fifth member of the band. We didn't even take him with us to Japan because he was like, "Well, I really want to see Japan but do you guys want to cough up the money for a plane ticket just to have me stand around?" He doesn't even drink. You know what I mean? We were like, "No, you ought to come," but then we realized that we don't know how the currency works, no one speaks Japanese at all and we were like, "Well dude, we'll take you next time."
I think that was the advantage I had; I could do currency conversion on the fly.
Patrick: Right on, really?
Well, I spent some time in a Buddhist monastery in Japan several years ago.
Patrick: Goddamn! Get down! Well fuck, you would have come in very handy with us because we made a lot of dumb decision. I believe at one point I bought a bottle of whiskey for about $739. I'm exaggerating, but I did buy a bottle of whiskey in Sendai, I think?
Sendai was fucking awesome. Did you play Birdland?
Patrick: Yes, and I bought a bottle of whiskey around the corner and the funny thing is actually is that a bunch of local punks threw in with me, like local dudes, and at the time, I was like, "This kind of sucks. I'm going to split a bottle of whiskey with eight dudes and I don't know any of them?"
Then you find out that they probably don't drink that much whiskey and they're done after about two shots.
Patrick: Exactly. And I also discovered that a bottle of whiskey was seriously like $140 and then I was like, "Whoa, sweet." It was pretty funny because half the guys had like one shot and threw up. There was one girl who spoke some English and she was like, "With a cola! With a cola!"
Was that Yasuoka?
Patrick: I have no idea. Literally, we just hung out on the curb. The funny thing is that everybody I met in Japan that I wrote, I got every letter back. Every single one. Nothing I wrote reached anybody. The thing that sucked is that I had worked out some of the best record trades in the history of record trading and none of my letters reached anybody. I know I didn't write the girl but there was a dude in that crew that we hung around with that was friends with her and I wrote him. They had a band too and I can't remember what they were called. I know Kama Zero is from Fukuyama, but the name was something like Kama Zero. It was a couple of English words but it didn't make sense. I was pretty much out of my head over there anyway because I hate flying so the whole week we were there, I was just like, "Dude, at the end of this week I have to fly again for a long fucking time." I was pretty spacey. I was space jamming.
That's pretty much how we were, just driving around with half-liter cans of beer and bottles of whiskey.
Patrick: Yup. That was my favorite part, drinking and smoking in a bank. Did you guys just go recently?
No, this was last April.
Patrick: Okay, so this is the trip I knew about. I didn't know if tiltWheel had gone again. I was like, "Fuck."
They actually just got back from the U.K. not too long ago.
Patrick: Yeah, that's when we hooked up with Davey, when he went out with Leatherface. Have they been playing?
Not lately.
Patrick: But they are still a band.
Yeah. This guy who I've known for years named Ugly Lenny stepped in on bass and Bob's still playing drums.
Patrick: Oh wait, that's really odd because the last thing I heard was that Ross was still in but that Bob was going to possibly split.
I don't know what the story is right now, but Lenny's on bass.
Patrick: Is he a good bass player? He better be.
He plays all the notes and in the right order.
Patrick: I told Davey that if he needs a bass player, just let me know. I can already play everything off everything except a couple of seven inches.
Here's the funny thing - you're about the 18th person I've heard from who wants to play bass for tiltWheel.
Patrick: Well it's funny, because I told Davey last summer, the weird thing is that when I listen to tiltWheel, exactly the style that Ross plays is exactly the style that I play which I swear is kind of an untrained style. It's figuring out, like this weird way of playing guitar chords on a bass but you don't actually play them like chords, you just kind of change up the rhythm within these couple of notes you have to play with. God, I never get this music techie dorky.
Here's what's really funny. I've been trying to learn to play bass for the last year and it's because of Peter Hook, Greg Norton and Ross. Ross actually taught me how to play some tiltWheel songs one afternoon when we were drinking beer and then I started trying to figure out how to play "Let Them Eat Thomas Paine."
Patrick: Oh, that should be pretty easy.
It took me about 10 minutes. I just had to move my hand up and down the fret board until I found the notes. I can't even tell you what notes I'm playing.
Patrick: Yeah, I don't know either. My mental image is gone. Well, you know that band, Panthro U.K.? Well, what's funny is that "Thomas Paine" used to be Shane. It wasn't even a real song. I made up that whole song, minus the bridges and stuff, but just the first half of the verses and the chorus was all about Shane, the drummer from Panthro. I wrote it for him on this tour and it was totally abysmal. I mean, it was the kind of tour where if it had been one of their first two tours, it would have been funny and that's cool, but every day there were two people at the show, they never got any money, there was always someone who wanted to fight somebody from the band. Alex from Panthro brought this acoustic with him and that's how I wrote that thing. Just imagine, if you will, the chorus of the doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-dooooo, the way it used to be, when I started doing that, was "Shane, he's Sha-a-a-a-ne." I would play it at him over and over in the van and he would just laugh his ass off. Then we'd always make up these different verses, like "Shane always shits his pants, Shane wants to date a girl that came from France." Dumb shit like that. The funny thing is that it wasn't until I came back to Minneapolis that I had a whole lot of ... not to get too melodramatic but I had a friend who died and all this stuff and I literally had no songs for "Versus God," and then I was like, "Wait, the 'Shane' song is not bad," and then I played it distorted and I was like, "Oh fuck, this'll be my song for the album!" Then I came up with one song, but yeah, that's all Shane.
So what happened to your Rickenbacker bass?
Patrick: I can't play them anymore. There was one place in St. Paul that I got all of them from, like all the ones I had. I think I went through ... well, Erik remembers, I always seem to forget, but I think it was four in five years. It might have been five in five years. I kept on getting them from the same place. I would just go in and get the cheapest one they had and here I think they're a lot cheaper than a lot of other parts of the country so I could find good mid and early 70's Rickenbackers for like $300, $350.
I hate you. Out here, they're $1,200, $1,500.
Patrick: Yeah, that's what I've noticed. Out East it's like that too, but I just kept on breaking them and finally I went back to this place, Willie's American Guitars, which is where I was getting them from, and I was like, "I'll take that black 4001," and they were like, "No, dude." By this point, they knew about the band and everything and they were like, "Man, there are people who spend their life collecting these. These are a bit of Americana and every year, you buy a new one and by the end of the year, you break it. Why don't you just get a Fender? You will never break a Fender." The weird thing was that I had never played a Fender and then when I played it, I was like, "God, this sounds great!" It just works better. The funny thing is that they were totally right. I've been playing that same Fender for like two years and I haven't had to get a single thing done to it. I've never had to get it worked on or anything. The other thing too is that Rickenbackers are designed weird. The pickups stick out so I always tear up my hand. Always. I just got used to it. I did one tour with a Fender and I was like, "Wow, I am never going back." All of a sudden, my hand was fine. It wasn't crippled.
There's no blood on my pick guard!
Patrick: Well, there's not always blood on the pick guard actually, but we had three tours in a row that I probably could have gotten stitches on my right hand when we came back. There were these gashes that I would tear open even more every night. Usually, that's why I would get so loaded. I'd get drunk so I could play, you know, find that nice middle ground where I wasn't so drunk that I couldn't remember how the songs went but that I was drunk enough that I didn't feel my hand. What was I about to say? It was something about the Rickenbackers too. Oh, I was going to say that the most I ever spent on a Rickenbacker was, I actually got a, it's like the Holy Grail of Rickenbackers, it's the total Lemmy Rickenbacker. I think it's a '73 4001 or something. It's this one Rickenbacker and it turns out it's a real big deal and I bought one here for like $700. It was the most I ever spent on a bass. I had the money and everybody was telling me that was the best one ever and it did sound awesome, it had a huge low end, and I bought it and the funny thing is that when I was out East, I think we were in New York City, I found out that the same bass was something insane, like $2,400. Of course at the show, I was all, "Dude, I'd never spend that much on an instrument. Are you fucking kidding me?" Everybody there was like, "Fuck you," and I was all, "See? You have to live out with the farmers. You can get a nice cheap bass when you live out in the cornfields. If I break my Rickenbacker, I just cut down a tree and make another one." Anyway, shall we start this?
Oh sure. So what are your plans for the next four years? Are you going to bunker in and ignore the government or do you think it will prove to be a really fertile writing time?
Patrick: It will definitely be a very fertile writing time. Even now, already. Jesus. I think Bush is about 12 minutes into his office and it's already painfully interesting. Plus, and I don't know if you know this, our governor is doing color commentary for the XFL. That's a plethora of interesting debates alone. It's kind of funny because Republicans are assholes but they aren't dummies. Bear with me for a second on this. I'm certainly not being overly optimistic here, but as a guy who listens to NPR for 10 hours a day which is what I do at my work, I have a theory that I think there are going to be very subtle concessions that the Republicans are going to throw to the country as far as how conservative they want to be and how conservative they will act because I do think they want to start a new dynasty in the White House, but no matter how cocky someone like Ashcroft, or especially Cheney, may come off, they still know that nobody voted - big surprise - and even of those who did vote, half of them didn't want them in.
Actually, more than half. There was a difference of about 200,000 votes.
Patrick: I should just say right now that I fucking hate the Electoral College. I understand that everyone is trying to be understanding, like "We have to let the farmers' votes count," and I do agree with that but at the end of the day, Americans should vote for the American president. It doesn't make sense that more Americans would vote for someone and they aren't in office. That just does not make sense. It just makes no sense at all that if you live in the middle of Iowa, somehow your vote means more than if you lived in the heart of Chicago or better yet, in the heart of New York City or Los Angeles or something. It doesn't make any sense at all, but I don't think I'm going to bunker in. I think I'm waiting to see what Bush does financially with the country. He's making a big deal about his tax cut and I've had jobs through a thousand points of light and the fucking trickle-down theory and usually the working people end up getting fucked on these tax cuts but part of me is hopeful that we'll see some sort of sign by the end of this year as to whether it's actually working for us. There's part of me that is pretty curious. Will this be the bone that he'll throw to America in general? Will we somehow all make a little more money? I don't know. Right now, I'm not going to bunker in but I am kind of fearful. Actually, I was just talking to the Bellrays the other night, and I was telling them that at worst, and I'll fully admit that this is at worst, but I just have this fear that no matter what Ashcroft says, part of me is afraid that in two years, Roe V. Wade will be overturned and we will be at war in Iraq. That's my fear right now. Bush is 12 minutes into office and things are already leaning that way.
Right, like the reinvestigation of RU-486 and cutting funding to international groups that mention abortion.
Patrick: And also now, what's the new initiative? I can't believe I'm forgetting the name, but the funding to religious secular groups.
Oh yeah, funding faith-based charitable organizations.
Patrick: Exactly. What's it called, the Faith-based Blah Blah Blah Initiative?
I don't remember the exact name of it. However, I'm fine with that as long as the government doesn't fund it.
Patrick: Yeah, that's the thing. I'm more than fine with it and to tell you the truth, I am absolutely 100% with it, you know what I mean? The federal government throwing money out to help alcoholics or homeless people? That's wonderful but what I think is horseshit and what I'm sure you think is horseshit is I am not down with the idea of federal money going to something that is going to fire people for being gay. I don't like federal money funding a program for an alcoholic that also has the alcoholic coming out and meeting God. I suppose the optimist in me says that if God is what it takes ...
Yes, but that should be their choice. Federal money shouldn't support that. That clearly violates the separation between church and state.
Patrick: Exactly. It's kind of funny because if there were blatantly atheist organizations where part of your program to deal with your temper or alcoholism or what have you was, say, not believing in God, then I could see the government funding the flip side too, but that's not what's going on. I don't know.
The most interesting grassroots campaign I've seen lately is the movement to make donations to Planned Parenthood in George W. Bush's name.
Patrick: Ohhhhh. Well, I just found out about this yesterday, but there are emails going around trying to raise money and a petition to put Ronald Reagan's face on Mount Rushmore. This is not a joke.
That doesn't surprise me, actually.
Patrick: Well, yeah. It's kind of weird because there is this undercurrent building up of this weird rewriting of the history of the 80's and old Ronnie wasn't so bad.
Yeah, let's just forget about the secret wars and the Contras and the genocidal governments he funded in El Salvador.
Patrick: Just forget the fact that he had no fucking clue what was going on. What was it, last year they told us he had Alzheimer's?
Yeah, something like 10 years after he left office.
Patrick: Yeah. There's no doubt that it was going on while he was there, for Christ's sake. Actually, I just want to say that the whole pro-life thing right now with the government is so crazy. I cannot believe that John Ashcroft is Attorney General and that in his hearings that he actually said that he's avidly pro-life but that he will defend the laws, that he understands it's not his job to change them. I can't believe that anybody bought that. I mean, to be honest with you, this is the way I look at it and this is the way I put it to people I work with. I know I am an anti-racist person. I know this. Popular culture may try to tell me that I'm a white man and I have certain degrees of racism and have to come to terms with it, but I fucking hate that. I have no racism in me and if segregation was the order of the day and I was going to become the Attorney General, are you kidding me? I could probably get up there and lie and say that I don't believe in segregation but my job is to defend the laws, but in the back of my head, you know I'd do anything I could to get rid of segregation. That's what I think is going on in D.C. right now. The real pessimist in me thinks there's a whole lot of gladhanding going on right now and I think the real hell and high water is going to be in about two years.
If it takes that long.
Patrick: I think it will. For really ugly things, I think it'll take about two years. If you look back, Ronald Reagan came into the office loaded for bear but shit didn't really hit the fan for about a year and a half. It's kind of the Republican way. First you have to come into office, then you have to convince even the Americans who are on the fence that you're a good guy and you're looking out for them. Then once you have them in, then you just start doing anything you want, as long as you can rationalize it. That's what I think GW and party are doing right now. Actually, it's kind of funny because I don't think George Bush is doing shit. This is what I think Cheney's doing. I personally subscribe to the theory that it's kind of like those stories you hear about the supposed godfather of New York City when it turns out the guy who was really running the show was the bodyguard. That's how I picture Cheney and Bush.
I just went over to Spain and talked to people there and they think he's a puppet. If a college student halfway around the world can figure this out, why can't we?
Patrick: It's really weird. What I saw with this election, and keep in mind that most of the people I hang around with are Nader fans peppered with Gore supporters, but the people I work with like to call themselves conservative, but I don't think they really know what that means. I think to them, what that means is that their money isn't going to be wasted in the ghetto. That's the feeling I get. The funny thing is that I think a lot of people that were really supporting Bush weren't really supporting him, they were supporting what he represents. I think they do think of him as a puppet but they like him for that. I think that's something that to people like you and me is unfathomable.
So they bought into the image.
Patrick: Exactly. They really like the idea. I think in their heads, they don't think of it as just Bush because Bush Jr. also means you have Bush Sr. in there too and he has Cheney right there by his side and while he was running, there were all these pictures with Colin Powell. Remember him? He's a bad ass! Things like this. I don't think a lot of people looked at him just for him, they looked at him as the tip of the iceberg and that's what they were excited about whereas to people like you and me, that's what was really terrifying. All it takes is one guy to get voted in and that legitimizes it and then he can start bringing any old yahoo he wants into the party.
You know, I was checking the polls right up until I voted because I wanted to vote for Nader but if it was even questionably close in California, I was going to have to vote for Gore to make sure he carried the state.
Patrick: It's kind of funny and it was probably my favorite period of time on our message board, but I started getting in all these debates with people about voting for Nader. It's kind of funny because hindsight's always 20/20 and I think Nader did better in Minnesota than he did in many other states, but I'll admit that on the day of the election, someone brought something up on the message board that really put the fear in me. They brought up the Supreme Court justices which I hadn't really given a lot of thought to. I can't remember who brought it up, but someone said "Okay, vote for Nader, you made your point, but what if Bush does get in?" Remember, before the election, so many people, especially in the punk scene, thought for sure that gore would get in. I knew a lot of punks who were actually convinced that Nader could win which I never thought but I wanted to make sure he got funding for the next election, but this person on the message board said, "Okay, say he does get in. Say he does fuck everything up in four years and he gets voted out. Let's even say he gets voted out for Nader. That's all great, but if in that period of time, Bush gets to put two or three Supreme Court justices in, Nader could never do anything about that." I hadn't even thought of that. The untouchable Supreme Court. Once you're there, you're there. No one can do anything about it. I'll admit that I did get cold feet on election day and I did vote for Gore but I've actually gone out of my way at shows to tell people that if they voted for Nader, they didn't waste their vote and then we go into "Thomas Paine." Even though I did break down and vote for Gore, I couldn't stand it after the election when everyone started attacking Ralph Nader. This is a democracy, supposedly. You're going to attack someone for running? They didn't have the same agenda. Now I'm getting all worked up.
I think most people wanted a scapegoat because Gore had the election sewn up and he actively and aggressively lost it in the last few months. Of course people are going to point their fingers at Nader because he took away a fraction of the votes in certain states like Florida but that also assumes that Nader voters would have voted for Gore if Nader hadn't been a candidate.
Patrick: Also, I am a firm believer that a lot of exceptionally fucked up things happened in Florida. To tell you the truth, even though friends that are very politically radical said it was a bad idea, I really do think the only thing we could have done was a re-election. I understand that it would have thrown a monkeywrench into the entire process and what have you, the assimilation into the White House for whoever the President was, but when you really get down to it, it would have set such a phenomenal precedent because it would have said that voting does matter. I can't believe they didn't do it.
Well, the Republicans basically said, "Your vote doesn't count. Go away. We don't like you unless you're 45 to 50 and your net worth is somewhere in the eight figures."
Patrick: Exactly. I just think it's kind of funny because if nothing else it's bad PR for voting anyway because look at how much of a fight it's been to try to get people to vote again. Then all this election got out is that your vote really won't count. Then at the end of the day, if there's a problem with our system then the Supreme Court will take over.
Which will soon be run by Bush appointees.
Patrick: Exactly.
I actually liked John Paul Stevens' take on it in his dissenting opinion. He said words to the effect that we'll probably never know who won the election but that we do know that the American public's faith in the Supreme Court as an impartial arbiter of justice has been irrevocably shaken.
Patrick: It's the same as any number of things that have happened in American history. If even half of the population was fully aware of everything going on, even with the reporting, if half the country read even conservative papers, I think they'd be very freaked out by the election. You were talking about Europe earlier and Europe traditionally is more political than us; Europeans are more aware. I don't know why that is. I don't think they're any smarter, but traditionally, as a people, we're pretty laid back. I know some people call us lazy and I don't know if we're necessarily lazy but I think we're very laid back when it comes to what we pay attention to. For some reason in America, we have this weird idea that to actually be interested in politics and try to keep up with it, to actually pay attention, you have to be a college graduate. You have to be some sort of academic and intellectual and it's too bad. Politics is everything. I can't even articulate what I'm trying to say.
I think if you go back through American history before politics started becoming a fundamental part of daily life, the character of the populace was very independent and individualistic. Living in a city meant that people were a day's horse ride from the shop where they bought guns and blankets. They got as far away from other people as they could and did their own thing and people left them alone.
Patrick: It's funny because I know exactly where you're going and I completely agree. This was actually something I was talking about last night with one of the guys from The Weakerthans as a matter of fact.
I love that band. I interviewed them for the last issue. They're amazing people.
Patrick: Oh yeah, just awesome, awesome, awesome. What we were talking about is the lyric in Thomas Paine, "Community forgets its role." It's kind of funny because there is the whole image of the American as a maverick, like you were saying, an individual. I think a lot of people who sing along with that song at shows don't realize that the chorus is actually supposed to be ironic, but I think it's really too bad because I think a lot of Americans just figure that they're getting by, like, "I hear the drug war is really bad and people and getting fucked over but I'm too clever. They won't get me." You know what I mean? That's a whole lot of Americana right there. There's no real sense of community here and then when it does exist, even people who are pretty conservative just write it off as some weird kind of left wing thing. Community? What are you talking about, a commune? I think if you go other places in the world, like Japan has an overwhelming sense of community, anywhere you are. It is not some flaky thing, like hippie drippy, "We're all friends." There's just this understanding that this is where we are.
There's a commonality between us.
Patrick: Exactly. It's weird. I was blown away when I was in Japan; if I could speak the language, I'd move there. I was just blown away by it. Anywhere I went, I felt all right. I didn't have to look over my shoulder or anything and it's really weird because as Americans, we have the polar opposite. We have these inbred defense mechanisms that we actually celebrate in popular culture that I think make us slightly deranged. It all goes back to the maverick American mentality. In the back of our heads, we like to think we're like these wild cowboys on the plains just doing what we have to do to survive. We don't realize that if we were all a little bit more concerned about what was going on with the country in total, we wouldn't have to be so paranoid all the time.
Not only that, but that image has basically been reified and marketed back to us. Most of the people who think they're a cowboy couldn't survive in the wilderness for 15 seconds.
Patrick: Exactly. That's what I was meaning to say, but exactly. Rambo. I'm trying to think of a more modern version of him which, I hate to say, might be someone along the lines of Eminem which is kind of depressing.
Or Arnold Schwarzeneggar. He's talking about running for governor of California now.
Patrick: Very nice. That's always nice.
Good news for you on a Friday morning.
Patrick: I can already see him winning and in his acceptance speech, he'll say, "I'll be back" and the crowd will go crazy and eat it up and the t-shirts will sell like crazy and the bumper stickers will be everywhere.
And we'll have Reagan all over again.
Patrick: Yup, because he brought confidence back. We could already set up the Schwarzeneggar plan because even though he screwed everybody that isn't rich and/or white, "He brought confidence back. He made me proud to be a Californian again. He got on the treadmill to make sure the generators ran and there's no more blackouts!" I had to make some sort of joke about that.
You know, the only thing I've got on is my computer. I don't turn on a light until it's too dark to see by the light from the monitor.
Patrick: It's funny because my day job is that I reproduce files for lawyers for court cases.
Like legal services and such?
Patrick: No, it's kind of a glorified Kinko's job. Literally, half of our job is cataloguing. We literally photocopy files, no matter how old or destroyed they look. We photocopy them and then we have to register them with the state, but the funny thing is that we have tons of clients from California and we have the craziest things going on with the clients in California and it's all because of rolling blackouts. Weird things like huge shipments that were supposed to come in and that don't come in for three days and then we find out that we have one day to do it to get it out for the court case and it's all because something went down somewhere and a particular file got lost or something. I can't imagine. I cannot imagine.
I was actually sitting in a movie theater the other day and in the middle of the movie, the lights went out.
Patrick: No way, what movie?
Patrick: Ooooh, that had to suck. Actually, I haven't seen it yet, but I really want to see it and I can imagine if I was seeing it and the lights went out.
It got about an hour in and it was over.
Patrick: That sucks.
So you've written a lot of my favorite Dillinger Four songs. Lyrics like "Praise God and pass the bottle of Beam / 'Cause tonight I can't seem to say what I mean" really capture how I feel. One of the things I've always gotten from the lyrics is an undercurrent of feeling alienated and lonely and ostracized, and then a bitterness underneath that, like bile and rage rising up in your throat because you feel like that and because society or the government or some larger social structure that you're at odds with has put you in situations that make you feel like that.
Patrick: First of all, thank you. It's really weird because, to be honest with you, the lyrics that I like the most, which are lyrics that end up getting used, are generally ... I don't even know how to say this ... they're the ones that I almost had to think about the least. Does that make any sense? It's almost like I just let myself write something. It's really weird. Even "Doublewhiskeycoke" lyrics, sometimes I'll read them, like "Spoiled baby tees with credit cards," and it's weird to me that for years now, no one has had to ask me what that means. If you look at that sentence in and of itself, it doesn't make any sense but it seems like a lot of people know what I'm talking about.
Well, it's a great image.
Patrick: Yeah, and that's the thing, I didn't even really think about it. I've told people this before but I think, especially in this day and age, there are people who write punk songs and then there are punks who write songs. I like to think of myself as a punk who writes songs. It's really weird to me. Sometimes we'll play shows with bands, and I'm not going to name names, but bands who have these working class anthems. That's what they'll tell people, "I write working class anthems. I write songs about how America hates me." When you talk to them about what they're doing day to day, America doesn't really hate them at all. They're making quite a bit on tour. They're paying their taxes. They don't have jobs. Their job is playing music. It's always been really important to me to write what I know and what I know is working. And I hate it. What I know is that there's a popular culture that, ever since I was 12, I've hated. Even before I had cool friends that I could talk about cool things with, it always just seemed shallow and foolish to me, and actually very alienating for sure, but also detrimental. I remember being a kid in the early 80's. My friends were rocking out to Def Leppard and wearing their Ocean Pacific 3/4 shorts and I just remember thinking that it was all like cartoon characters and I couldn't relate to it. And the weird thing was that it was expensive and I couldn't afford it. I think that's what comes through the most for me now. That's what was going on for me when I was 12 and now I'm 29 and it's never been any different. At the same time, another thing that I've always hated is that a lot of punks will kind of shut themselves off from anything else that's going on around them. For example, I've told people before that it drives me nuts when I have to work with punks, not because they're punks, that's cool, but most punks won't talk to the people they work with because they aren't punks. A punk will get hired at my work and he'll talk to me but not to anybody else on the floor. I've always hated that too. I've always viewed it as the subculture that I truly appreciate and that has changed my life. I'm all about it and I love its ethics but at the end of the day, I'm also a guy with a job and I'm no better or worse or different than these people I'm working with, for the most part. They're a part of my world and I'm a part of theirs. I try to get that across in a lot of lyrics too.

[The tape ended here. While I was turning it over, Patrick's girlfriend came home.]

Patrick: What's that? Scott from San Diego. I'm doing an interview here. I just thought I'd tell you what's going on.
Whenever you're ready.
Patrick: I'm ready.
I'm probably going to have the same problem in about half an hour. Between talking to Erik and calling you, I emailed my girlfriend to say, "I'm doing an interview. If you get my voice mail, just come over. I finally got through to this band, they're ready to do the interview, I have to go."
Patrick: Have you actually been trying to reach us?
Yeah, I tried to contact you through Hopeless, through Maria ...
Patrick: Maria?
Yeah, she did some publicity for you guys.
Patrick: Oh yeah. She did that tour for us last summer. We don't really have a publicity person.
Actually, the funniest part of it is that I finally got your email from a kid back East named Tyler. Actually, he had a funny story that he wanted me to relay to you. Apparently, he loaned "Midwestern Songs" to a guy he knew who was somewhat curious about punk and his BMX friends who liked Slipknot and Limp Bizkit said, "What the fuck is this shit?" and torched it. Apparently, they didn't like your music.
Patrick: That's okay. I wouldn't like them either. I've told people this before. I love the fact that people buy our records and like them, but at the same time, I hate this whole yo metal thing so much. Honestly, if anybody can listen to Fred Durst's lyrics and say "Oh man, this really means so much to me," I would really hope that they would hate us. I would really hope that they would hate us.
So far, that's being borne out in practice. Anyway, Tyler got your email address off your message board. Then Erik emailed me this morning saying, "Well, I can do it right now."
Patrick: Right on. That's awesome. We had to put that email address up there. Just as a side note, we had to put that email on there because Erik and I felt like our hands were tied with the message board. Even if someone asked us a question on there, the minute one of us actually posts anything, there are a million little incidental things that we do want to answer but there are a million of them. Neither of us ever have enough time to sit down and spend like two hours on the computer typing responses, so we decided to put up that email because if it was important enough to somebody that they would email us, we'll email them a response. The funny thing is that I probably check that message board every three days but I usually just read it to see what's going on, but I can never post responses because every time I have, it's just like bam! A million things are on there. I don't really know if that last thing I said before the tape ran out really was what you were looking for or not. I always feel really weird when I'm talking about that.
About feeling alienated and growing up and how punks deal with other people?
Patrick: Well, it's just really weird because I know this is a total cliche with people who write songs. The two big cliche responses are "I don't write lyrics for anybody else but me," and then other people are like, "Well, you know, I'm just trying to write the poetry I wish I had read before," or something goofy like that. You know?
Or they don't want to talk about it at all because they don't want to take away meaning from anybody else.
Patrick: Right. The thing is, for me, it really is just venting. It really always is just venting and that's it. I don't really know what to say other than "That's cool, I'm glad you like them." I mean, I've told people before that if you've read the lyrics, you know me. I mean, really, when it gets down to it. Last night, I was drinking double whiskey cokes with no ice. Just the other day, I was barking about how much I'm getting screwed on taxes, which I really am right now. I really don't make very much money at all in a year. I'm well below the poverty line. I don't know. It all comes down to these nice songs with nice packaging.
And a pleasant image and an aesthetic that appeals to the kids and makes them go buy more product.
Patrick: Yeah, and maybe we'll get a few harmonies in the bridge and it'll be delightful. It's just kind of funny to me when we go on tour. Sometimes we'll do interviews with people who are like, "So do you guys have day jobs?" Damn man, you just asked me about a million lyrics and you're going to ask me if I have a day job? Hell yeah, I have a fucking day job! How could I write these words? You think I've been watching "On The Waterfront" nine times a day every day for the last month?
Well, you could have been a contender.
Patrick: Well, actually, that's Erik. Oh, okay. "On The Waterfront." I'm sorry. Like I said, I'm slow. I'm actually having my first cup of coffee while I talk to you. "You hadda tell me 'Tonight just isn't your night.' You shoulda been lookin' out for me." Oh, I'll go off on that for fucking ever.
That was a great flick.
Patrick: Oh my God. Actually, my father was a longshoreman in Jersey City until the day he died and about the half the guys in that movie, he lived with. I mean, they weren't just friends, they were the guys he worked with for 50 years of his life, but it was awesome to watch that movie with him. All the scenes in Johnny Friendly's office and stuff, my dad could point in the background and be like, "And that right there, that's Carl Landa and right next to him is Joe Bumbledick." He could just rattle off everybody's names because apparently when they filmed that movie, they would just hand out $5 bills and be like, "C'mere. Stand here and don't say anything." These guys would just hang out. You know the fight scene at the end on the docks. Actually, there's a little side note that would be cool if you put in the interview, an interesting side note for anyone who's a fan of "On The Waterfront," and that is one of my favorite movies of all time, but off the pier, the office that was Johnny Friendly's office where the fight happens at the end, eventually New York City made that a city landmark because there were so many people who would come to see it just because of "On The Waterfront." Immediately after they did, a storm came into New York, it broke off from the pier, drifted out into the river and sank. Totally true. My dad told me about it. All these people freaked out because everything that was in there for the set was still in it and the whole thing just sank to the bottom of the river.
There's a message there.
Patrick: That Marlon Brando is a very lucky man?
That too. So how did the whole Nelson Algren thing come in?
Patrick: I'll tell you, as a kid, I didn't read. The song "Dick Butkus," that's mostly about when I was an early teenager. I think I was like any number of kids from South Evanston on the north side of Chicago. I ditched way more school than I ever went to. I didn't read. It just wasn't a statement, I just didn't do it. To make a really long story short, my mother was old friends with a guy who ended up being a headmaster of a school in northern Indiana. I got thrown out of public high school when I was a sophomore and then they made me go back because I was only 14 or 15 and it was illegal, obviously, for me not to go to school so I went back and eventually, I was going to quit on my own, as soon as I was 16 or 17 or however old you have to be to leave school, and to make a really long story, well, I'm trying to make a long story short, my mom talked to this friend of hers, Jim Moore, who actually accepted me to his boarding school which is a very good boarding school in Indiana, it's called the La Lamiere School and they only accept 100 kids per year, but he accepted me because my brother, who's ten years older than me, went there on an insane scholarship, my brother had been a great student, and I basically went on the same scholarship my brother did. I had to play a sport every season, I had to work in the kitchen. In the summer I had to come and help do the painting and what have you, all this stuff. Of course I hated it. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was a skinhead, I listened to hardcore music and I fucking hated the whole idea of going away to this school. When I went, there was one teacher, this guy Mr. Patrick Hickie who was actually an English teacher and he was a total south-side Chicago tough guy who had put himself through like two Doctorates and put himself through Loyola University and all this stuff, just a phenomenal guy and he was the first person ever in my life that asked me point blank if I had ever read a book. Of course I was like, "Yeah, fuck you. Yeah." He was like, "Well, okay. I know you're lying." He gave me, as a gift, a collection of Nelson Algren's short stories and he gave me "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut. He was like, "I dare you not to like both of those." The funny thing is that he made me read the first two stories of Nelson Algren in front of him and the man was a fucking genius. It totally worked. I'm an avid reader now and it's all because of this guy actually presenting me with something I would want to read. That's the thing, I just have a real fondness for Nelson Algren, like the line, "Nelson Algren came to me and said, 'Celebrate the ugly things.'" That's what I loved about him as opposed to anything else I had ever read. It didn't seem like this Dickensian, "I'm going to write about the wrong side of the street" or what have you. You could tell he actually was this kind of street guy.
Right. There was an affection for it.
Patrick: Exactly. It rang true, just like at that time in my life I could tell when someone was full of shit when they were talking about whatever, like a drug deal that went wrong or a fight they supposedly got into the night before. You can tell when these people are lying. Nelson Algren, if he was writing about these people who lived in a cold water flat and they were two days away from death and the woman was a junkie and whatever, you could tell that he's been there, he's actually known people like this, they have actually been friends of his, they might have been him. To tell you the truth, at that point, at times when I have been really low, when things are just not going well which is actually what "Doublewhiskeycokenoice" is about, it's about this one bad night, is that a lot of times I can pick it up in my head if I just imagine life as a short story, as a Nelson Algren short story. It's kind of like when things are going really good but you're involved in a really fucked up, crazy situation. I tend to imagine my life as a Vonnegut book, just things like that. Actually, the main night that inspired "Doublewhiskeycokenoice" or made me write it, what have you, that was actually something I remember thinking that night, like "Jesus, I feel like I'm in a Nelson Algren story." At the same time, what I got out of it is that this isn't so bad. It's kind of a shitty time, but it could be a lot shittier than what it is and it's really just another day in life.
Now, to go back and clarify something, you said you were a skinhead. I can't imagine you ever being a Nazi skin.
Patrick: Absolutely not. No, not at all. Actually, I'm glad you brought that up. There have been times when I've thrown that around and I think there are people who are like, "Wait." I think something that not a lot of people know is that in a lot of parts of the country in the mid and late 80's, there were huge skinhead scenes.
SHARPs and such?
Patrick: Well, there weren't really SHARPs then. SHARP was kind of starting up. I can't even really explain it. There were towns that had tons of punks and there were towns that had tons of skins and at that point in Chicago, it was mostly skinheads. Really, it was just sort of this thing that was passed down from generation to generation. You look at the Effigies from Chicago, a punk band everybody knows, they were totally skinheads. Somehow, no one knows that any more, but they were. Bands like Lost Cause, they were 3/4 skinheads, Articles of Faith all dressed like skinheads.
Yeah, Vic Bondi always did.
Patrick: Exactly. By the time I came around, which was like '84, '85, I was really young.
Right around Naked Raygun's heyday.
Patrick: Well, they had been going for years, but definitely when I got into it was around the time when "Throb Throb" was the new record and they were quickly becoming the kings of the town and by the time I was 17, forget about it. They were the biggest thing in town. But you know what's funny? Most of my leftist leanings came from when I was a skinhead because the scene in Chicago at the time, there had been a huge group of guys called CASH and they got famous. There was this guy named Clark and he had this Nazi organization called CASH, it was like the Chicago Aryan Skinheads. A lot of the older guys that I would eventually become buddies with, it was quintessential fighting in the streets, fighting at shows, fighting everywhere and eventually all the Nazis moved to Detroit and northern Wisconsin and what have you, but by the time I came around, there were as many black and Hispanic skinheads hanging around as there were white and the funny thing is that it wasn't until I moved away from Chicago that I realized that there aren't as many Jewish people in America as there are Christians. In Chicago, I always knew Jewish skinheads, I always knew Hispanic skinheads, I always knew black skinheads, I always knew skinhead girls. These were just all really common things. The funny thing is that a lot of them were very productive people, they would do fanzines. There was actually a pretty notorious, and it's too bad people don't really know about it anymore, but a guy named Corky and I believe his girlfriend's name was Ellen, they did a very left-wing political fanzine called "Colorblind" in the late 80's and these were people I saw every day. No, it was definitely nothing skinheady or anything like that. To tell you the truth, it wasn't even that much of a tough guy scene. There were certainly the tough guys, they were around for sure, and there certainly were a couple of guys who would get drunk and pick a fight at random, but I think every scene has those guys. It's just that in Chicago, it just happened to be predominantly skinheads. I mean, at that point in my life, to be honest with you, the skinhead scene in Chicago was seriously probably 400 or 500 people strong. It was absolutely massive. There were a lot of people that were skinheads that probably wouldn't be later. I mean, the more I got into hardcore, the less I was a skinhead. I'm glad you gave me a chance to clear that up.
Part of it is that I know a lot of people who read the zine don't know that history of punk. While it seems like most people now associate skinheads with Nazis, it wasn't always like that.
Patrick: No, but the thing that got even harder for me to deal with, because I've lived a couple of different places - I've lived in Minneapolis, I lived in Green Bay for a while - and I realized that there a lot of places in the country where the skinheads were just tough guys and that was it. They were not about any sense of community, they were not about the punk scene. They were the guys who wanted to come to the show, get wasted and fight somebody smaller than them and that's really too bad. I've been enough places where I know that is the only skinhead history. It isn't something I throw around often. It just comes up every now and then. It's kind of funny because even at the time, for years there, I made skinhead fliers with a bunch of people that we put up around town, like "Anti-Nazi Skinheads, blah blah blah," but for the most part, I told people I was a hardcore kid and it was a term I used all the time. Eventually it got to the point where I'd tell people I wasn't a skinhead, I was a hardcore kid, because I began to realize that all the skinheads listened to was tons of Oi. I really liked Oi, that's how I got into punk, but I was getting way more into hardcore by '87 than I was into Oi because American hardcore bands were singing about stuff that I knew about, things I could relate to. I couldn't really relate to something the Four Skins sang in 1981 in London. I mean, when they sang about being on the dole, I didn't even know what the dole was until I was like 17, but I'd been singing along with lyrics about it for like four years by that point. Yeah, it's kind of funny that people don't understand the background. I think at this point it's just so unbelievably confused and I think that's too bad. I think that today there are jocks who didn't make the football team and just decided to shave their head and be a skinhead. I think it does happen and that's sad. It's a co-opted culture and that's too bad. It also cracks me up now. Supposedly Oi was the punk rock of the working class and somehow has ended up becoming the most expensive records that there are. Have you noticed that when you go to a record store? You can buy a NOFX LP for $9 or $10 but for some reason, to pick up like a Cocksparrer reissue, well, no, because they're on Doctor Strange.
Well, I've actually seen Cocksparrer discs going for $23 or $24.
Patrick: Yeah, that's what I mean. That's the thing that's so funny, especially bands like the Four Skins and Red Alert and Blitz. Their songs were predominantly about being a working man, but somehow to pick up these reissues of their records, even on vinyl, it's like $19. Doesn't that kind of defeat the point?
That's the same problem I have with a lot of leftist publications. A lot of anarchist books are $20 or $30. The people who would be most receptive to their message are least able to afford it.
Patrick: Right. It's too bad. Actually, like I said, I work at a glorified copy shop and I do a lot of books that I think people would enjoy. If I have down time at work, I'll just photocopy the whole book, make a couple of copies of it and put it out at Extreme Noise, this all volunteer record store that I volunteer at here. Lately I've been doing a lot of Situationist stuff and putting it out there for people.
Like Raoul Vaneigem, stuff like that?
Patrick: Actually, a friend of mine got an excellent copy of the anthology from Europe so what I did most recently was I made about 10 copies of most of that. It's really long.
The Situationist anthology that Ken Knabb put together?
Patrick: I believe so. Actually, I'm not really sure off the top of my head.
That's what I've been getting into lately and there's not that much.
Patrick: It's really weird because there's not that much you can get now. For example, my friend here sings for a band called the American Monsters and she showed up with this huge book and I want to say it was called "Paris '68" but I'm not sure, don't quote me on it. You can quote me on saying "Don't quote me on that." It was a phenomenal book all about the history of the riots and the takeovers and the smashing in the streets and it had the most unbelievable photos. It was a very professionally done book but it was done in the mid-80's and I'm sure they never made it again but they're floating around. There are things you can get through AK Press and if any kids reading this interview and I do mean like a kid, like if you're 15 and you're interested in cultural terrorism as I like to think of it, there are things you can get from AK Press for sure. I just got the "Back Up Against The Wall Motherfucker" book from AK Press not a year ago. They didn't make it but they distribute it. That's cool, but once you've raced through most of what they have on their menu, it really boils down to going into weird used bookstores in New York City, for people who can, or wherever. The whole reason I brought that up is because, to me, that is a form of class war. This is information that people should be able to read and the books are expensive and a lot of people can't find them so you aren't really screwing anybody over by just photocopying them and putting them out. All I did was put a heading sheet on these things that I put out at Extreme Noise that said "Here's a lot of stuff on Situationism, read it and pass it on to a friend." Now I know it's going to wind up rotting in a lot of people's bathrooms because people are going to be like, "Oh, I want to check this out. The Sex Pistols were into this," but hopefully a couple of people are going to check it out, and they'll be into it or they won't, and they'll pass it on. It's kind of the same way with Oi and a lot of sort of institutions, like "My Rules," the old Glen E. Friedman punk book. That's how a lot of those books got around. There were only 1,000 real copies of them and then people would photocopy them and then pass it on. I know my copy of "My Rules" is actually a photocopy of a photocopy but it's all I really needed. I wanted to read the text from HR, Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Chuck Dukowski. That's what I wanted it for, not the photos. The photos I could see anywhere. I'd like to see that come back.
Hakim Bey put a really interesting copyright notice in "Temporary Autonomous Zone." Basically he allows copying in whole or in part for any reason at any time for anyone.
Patrick: That's awesome. Who published it?
Autonomedia. This book is just mindblowing.
Patrick: That's the kind of stuff that I'm glad people have. I was so fascinated when I first moved to Minneapolis, there was somebody who would write these short stories. Now granted, they weren't especially political but they were good short stories and they would fit on two sides of regular 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper and they were making photocopies of them and leaving them at bus stops. I'd always see these thing sitting there but it wasn't until I picked one up and I realized it was a story and it was good. The thing that was really cool was, and I don't know if it's true, but from what I heard it was just a local guy who liked writing short stories and didn't want to go through the hassle of getting published and wasn't particularly interested in it so he'd go to Kinko's, make copies and drop them off at bus stops. He figured people would read it and he was right. There were times that I'd be at the bus stop and there would be like five of us reading these things. It's stuff like that that warms your heart. That's just so right on.
Well, it's because people are doing it for the right reasons.
Patrick: Yeah. I don't think there's anything wrong, obviously, with writers making money. It's just getting it out there. Yeah, it's kind of funny. I don't know if you noticed the anti-copyright on the first Propagandhi album but for years, we always joked to Chris and John when John was still in Propagandhi that we were going to re-do their whole album, put it out on Hopeless or something and be like, this is "How To Clean Everything" by Dillinger Four. This is our new record, we wrote this, like we were just going to re-record the whole thing and copyright it ourselves and get rich. "I don't know dudes, you said there were no copyrights, this is ours." Actually, I heard something kind of crazy. I think that happened to the Sex Pistols. There was some weird loophole, like somehow at some point their singles weren't copyrighted, like anybody could have recorded "God Save The Queen" and just made it their own song. Whoa. My cat's sticking her ass in my face. Sorry.
My copyright philosophy has always been that I don't care if people reuse stuff as long as they ask first and properly credit it.
Patrick: Isn't that how Maximum Rocknroll works? You can use whatever you want as long as you give credit, which is the way it should be when you get down to it.
Well, isn't it all about the exchange of ideas in the first place? Isn't that why we do this?
Patrick: Exactly. That's the thing that kind of bums me out. I'm not vegan or even a vegetarian but I have friends that are involved in animal rights and I thought it was really sad that a lot of the magazines and fanzines about animal rights tended to just be fliers that somebody made somewhere and reproduced. I always thought that was too bad on one hand because it's kind of rhetorical; people see the same thing over and over again and it means less and less but also because it made me wonder who did it in the first place. These graphics that we've all become really familiar with, who did it first? I'd be really interested in knowing and I think that goes with a lot of stuff. I know when we were in Japan, there was a one page kind of fanzine that I saw in Japan and a lot of it was written in English. I realized there was this whole stretch that I had read before and it was from a column that Felix Havoc had written. We know Felix because he lives here and we're actually good friends with him and he's a really good guy, but it really bummed me out because I asked, I can't remember his name, the tall bass player for the Urchin.
Patrick: Yeah, I asked Kio what all the text was around it and it didn't say anything about Felix anywhere and that's really too bad. Felix is a columnist for Maximum Rocknroll so if somebody read this and liked this, it was basically a rant about the validity of hardcore or whatever, but that would make somebody want to read his column all the more and that should be the point, not that Felix would care that someone reproduced something. I'm sure he'd be doing cartwheels and be excited about the fact that someone in Japan would like what he had written so much that they reproduced it, but it just kind of defeats the point if you don't say where it's from.
And then there's the potential of lost information. Someone who read that and liked it could have gone through his older columns and found something that rocked their world just as much, if not more. They won't have that chance. Erik and I didn't talk about this stuff in this much detail. We talked about the state of punk and what's going on with it now because out here, it's basically a lot of pop bands playing three chords and writing songs about girls and claiming to be punk.
Patrick: It's funny. I have this new theory. All through the 90's, people were bagging on Screeching Weasel. Screeching Weasel was bad because they'd influenced all these terrible bands, of course not taking into account that I still firmly believe that Screeching Weasel is a great band and their recent records are phenomenal, but after the last two tours we've done, I've come to a different conclusion. I think the time of the Screeching Weasel wannabe band is over, I just don't think anyone has noticed it yet. Now is the time of the wannabe Get Up Kids band and the wannabe Dropkick Murphys/Swingin Utters band or even the wannabe Blanks 77 band. When we go on tour, I'm telling you, like every night on every bill, if there are local bands, and there almost always are, they almost always want to be the Get Up Kids or Blanks 77 or they're doing a Dropkick Murphys thing, but the weird thing is that people are still bagging on the Screeching Weasel wannabe bands and it just bums me out.
Just wait until the Dillinger Four wannabe bands start.
Patrick: Well, I'm still waiting to see one. It's kind of funny because I read reviews in Maximum Rocknroll where they say "This is very Dillinger Four" and I'll check out the record and be like, "We sound like this?" I don't really see it.
Well, a lot of times reviewers make comparisons because they can't think of anything more original to say.
Patrick: Yeah, that's what I think too. Actually, it's funny, because we were friends with The Thumbs before I read a couple of reviews where they got compared to us and I was like, "Wow, well, I really like The Thumbs so I'll take that as a compliment, but I don't think they necessarily sound like us." It was cool. If it's going to work to convince somebody to buy a Thumbs record then right on.
You know, I'm looking at this tape and I probably have about 2 1/2 hours between you and Erik to transcribe.
Patrick: You know what's really funny is that you talked about the punk scene stuff with Erik because I tend to be the guy on tour who goes on crazy rants forever so that probably worked out a lot better. I'm sure he was much more concise than I would be.
Well, we didn't go into it in any great detail. One question I usually ask bands is why do you do this?
Patrick: It's kind of funny because I think over a period of time that you do a band, you do it for different reasons. I think anyone who's honest will say that. I don't know how much Erik told you about when we started, but the bands that Erik and I were in, because Erik and I have been in bands together for 16 years, but the bands we were always in in Chicago were hardcore bands. The way D4 started was that Erik and I were just like, "Man, wouldn't it be awesome to do a band where people could have fun and they wouldn't beat each other up while you were played?" It kind of started as a fluke. I mean, our first name was the Ted Kennedys and our set was going to be mostly covers. That was the original plan. We were going to do punked up versions of Who songs and Creedence Clearwater Revival and stuff, not necessarily funny, but just to be a party band, really. It wasn't until we played around a couple of shows, and it was all originals, we ended up going that way, and people were like, "You guys are really good, I really do like this." So then we're playing around because we like these songs and other people seem to also, so we kept on it doing it. Then when we started touring, we realized that a lot of these bands act like assholes. When they tour, a lot of these bands act like dicks. Fuck that, we're going to be against that band. We're going to be the band that will be excited to play your fucking kitchen 2,000 miles from home. I think you kind of get different agendas as you go along. At this point, at least for me, I just do it because, to tell you the truth, I've seen tapes of what we are live and I know I would us. I know I would. I like the kind of attitude we have. Dude, I spend at least $50 every week on records, I know most people in bands are like, "Well, I don't really listen to what's going on." Well, I do, a lot. I'm crazy. So does Billy. We buy records every fucking week and the thing is that there's a lot of bands I love, but I like what our contribution is, you know what I mean? I like our lyrics, I like the way they come out, I think we have a perspective that's pretty genuine about what's going on right now in the scene, but on the other hand, I also like our approach to live shows. I have fun doing it, I see people having fun and that makes me want to keep on doing it. It's kind of weird. I think right now in a couple of different ways, the scene has become very macho and the other side of the extreme is dead serious. I like to think that our contribution is that we aren't completely goofnuts, like a funny band, because we put a lot of concern into our lyrics, but at the same time, when we play live, we try to make it fun. We try to let people let their hair down and have a good time. That's why I'd like to keep doing it. Really, at the end of the day, punk rock is a participation sport. Ideally, everybody would be doing something and this is our contribution. As it is right now, I don't know if Erik told you about this, but they're building the extension onto his bar to start doing shows and I'm going to book shows with him there and it'll be all ages and bar shows, but that will be a contribution too. As it is right now, I like this as my place in punk rock. I'm one of those guys who's in bands. Dillinger Four is the band people know, but there have been a bunch that I've been in and it's just kind of what I do. I play the bass, I can sing, I enjoy writing lyrics and I enjoy finding myself in weird situations around the country and playing. Really, what it comes down to is carrying the torch when it comes down to how you tour, what kind of shows you play, how you deal with people. Every day is your contribution to the greater picture and I'd like to keep contributing and my particular contribution is playing music. That's why I like doing it. Plus, dude, I rock. Oh man, that's going to look terrible on paper. Can you put that in italics or something to show it was sarcastic? I'm afraid it's going to be like, "Hey, and by the way, I'm bad ass, dude!"
Don't sweat it. I ask some of the dumbest questions. I don't think anyone really takes what goes in the zine seriously, but I want to try to catch everything that makes punk rock exciting and that makes it worth going to a show. It seems like these days, those things are fewer and farther between.
Patrick: I think sometimes you have to look for it. Like I said, I listen to a world of different genres that fall under the punk umbrella. I'm very excited. I just saw The Bellrays this week. I fucking loved them. I think they're a phenomenally awesome punk rock and roll band that is just super bad ass, but at the same time, the other thing I've been excited about is the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers 10" which is one of the greatest records to come out in years and that's just a total Cleveland hardcore record. At the same time, I got excited before this interview because you told me tiltWheel was starting to play again. I think you can have a lot of fun in punk if you keep your ears open to different things. There are a lot of people I know who only listen to one particular kind of music and I think that's too bad because there's a lot of good shit going on. It's the same way with fanzines. There are a lot of different kinds and if you keep your mind open, you can find things that will keep you at least slightly optimistic.
I'm glad you mentioned Cleveland because that reminded me of Cleveland Bound Death Sentence. How did that happen?
Patrick: It's kind of weird. I feel schmucky whenever I tell the store because I think people always assume there's more to it than this but there really isn't, but we as a band met Aaron because he played drums for Scooby Don't and we toured with Scooby Don't which was actually the first American tour we ever did. We just kind of became buds with him and whenever he came through Minneapolis, we'd see him and he has a lot of friends here. I was living in a house a couple of years, this place called the Dead End Alley, and we did shows and all this stuff and Aaron has heard about it. He was in Chicago and it wasn't going so well and he called me up and he was like, "Check it out, I can be in Minneapolis in two days, can you get a lineup together because I'd like to play these songs," and I was like, "Yeah, totally." Honestly, it was not to record. We thought we'd play a show or something but it was really just for fun. He showed up with two songs that had music and another four or five, well, actually, he had a folder full of lyrics, but he had four or five that he wanted to put music to. Emily from Cleveland Bound Death Sentence is a really good friend of mine who's actually in the American Monsters now and she had been in this great Minneapolis band called The Saltines that had just broken up and I knew she was bummed about that so I asked her if she'd play with us because it would be a chance for her to play again, and Spitball was actually an old friend of Aaron's and an old friend of mine who also played guitar and his band, Oswald Armageddon, had just broken up and he was trying to build a studio in his basement. It just all worked out. Literally, the day he showed up, we started working on songs, we practiced that night and we kept that routine up for two weeks. By the end of it, we had what turned out to be the first 7" that we recorded ourselves in Spitball's basement. The weird thing was that we just ended up making the tape because we realized that all that equipment was there so we might as well record it and we were just going to give the tape away to friends but then Jason at THD heard it and was like, "Dude, I want to put this out. This is really good, I really like this." We were like, "It's not like we can ever tour." Aaron left Minneapolis by walking to Missouri or something. Wait, that was the second time. Anyway, Aaron was just about to leave and we were going to tour that summer and I was like, "It's not like we can really do anything with this band" and Jason was like, "Well, I'd like to put it out anyway. I think it's good." Really, that's all there was to it. The 7" ended up selling a lot better than we thought so Aaron came back a year later and we played a show here in Minneapolis and recorded another record. You know what's funny? When Lookout! put out the discography, I don't think a lot of people know, because most people buy CDs now, that the records were both benefits for the Minneapolis Coalition for the Homeless, both of them were. It was kind of guilt free. We were like, "All right, we'll put this out which seems kind of vain, but we'll make them benefit records so it's just fun and if it doesn't sell well, that's too bad, but if it does sell well, people won't think we're trying to scam money off of them." With the discography thing on Lookout!, it just became more of an issue and we knew it wouldn't sell well and it didn't. I think it's discontinued now. I don't think Lookout! makes it anymore. I'm really not sure. I know when we were on tour last summer, I had probably 50 people ask me where they could get a copy and they couldn't get it anywhere. Yeah, there really wasn't much to it. I know it sounds corny but it was just four friends who got together. The funny thing is, for people who are fans of Aaron, he probably puts out a new record or a cassette with a new band probably every four or five months. I was just on the No Idea Web page and he has a new band right now in Pensacola, Florida, and they have a 7" they just put out. He's had all these bands all over the country. I think we were just one that, maybe because I'm in D4, we just kind of seemed to get more attention than the other ones. Well, obviously not more than Pinhead Gunpowder which is the most famous of the lot, but we somehow floated to the top. There wasn't much to it. Without getting into it, Spitty's on the run from the police right now so he's out of it but I've talked to Emily about maybe doing something again when Aaron's back in town. It's kind of a goof. It's fun.
Okay. So here's the last question.
Patrick: Is a zebra a white horse with black stripes or a black horse with white stripes?
Actually, I wanted to know how many punks you think it takes to change a light bulb.
Patrick: Okay. Well, first of all, a zebra isn't a horse. There are so many responses. Do you want them all?
Erik gave me a few.
Patrick: Okay. It just takes one to hold the light bulb while the world revolves around them. 10. One to do it, nine on the guest list. 100. One to do it and 99 who say they want to do it someday which is actually kind of the scene one too. None. Punks will never see the light. See, a lot of these are ones we've heard on tour. Literally, the reason I gave that name to that song was because it was supposed to be none, punks can't change anything. That was the big joke when I was young. When I got into punk, punk was not fucking cool.
Can you hang on a second? I think my girlfriend is here.
Patrick: Oh yeah. Well, actually, I should probably hop off. Is that okay? Do you have enough?
Yeah, that was the last question I had unless there was anything else you wanted to add.
Patrick: No, just that tiltWheel ought to go on tour because I'm going to have to kill them if they don't. I'd like it if you printed that.
I absolutely will. Actually, Dave Quinn writes for me so I know he'll see it.
Patrick: That's Dave's last name? I didn't know that. He's always been Davey tiltWheel to me.
Yup. David Q. tilt. Davey Q. tiltWheel, etc.
Patrick: Damn. That makes sense. He looks like a Quinn.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008

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