In addition to playing guitar and singing in Spazboy, Jay Flounder also worked at Off the Record, one of San Diego's best independent record stores.
What is the state of the scene in San Diego?
Jay: It's pretty bad, I think. It's the people who are going to the shows and the places that have shows. The places that have shows do things really poorly and the people that come to them are doing it for the wrong reasons. They're doing it because their friends think they should. I don't know if they're really into the bands so much. There's a lot of people just standing there. It's like they go to the shows to be seen instead of actually to be at the show, and the places to have shows, especially all ages, are really in a sad state because the way things are run at them, it's more politics. It's more how many people you can bring and less how good of a band you are, so that in itself there's something wrong with.
Is there anything wrong with punk music in San Diego?
Jay: There are a handful of good bands, but again, a lot of the bands, I think, are doing it just because it's cool to be in a band. They're not doing it because they like playing, they're doing it because their friends like them to play. Does that make any sense? It seems like every kid in high school is in a band, which is cool if that's what they really want to do, but I think a lot of them just think the cool thing to do right now is to be in a punk rock band, so these kids are spiking their hair and learning to play and it all ends up sounding the same, to me at least.
What's good about punk music in San Diego?
Jay: Yeah, there's a lot of good bands I think, like Carter Peace Mission. They don't subscribe to the spike your hair and play thing, they just go out and do it. They really like what they're doing and you can tell. There's a lot of good, so it's not that bad, there's just a lot of things cropping up. The attitudes that come from these bands too, they're no fun to be around because it's like a competition to see who can be more punk than the rest. They rip their clothes and do their hair. They're trying to be individuals but they end up looking the same when they do it, and punk, to me, isn't the way you look or the music you play, it's how you think and that kind of goes against it anyway, trying to change what you look like because of what other people think. That didn't come out very well, but I think you know what I mean. They're just conforming because it's cool right now and next year maybe guys wearing dresses will be cool and then all the jocks will be wearing them.
How do you think people act at shows? Do they seem to be having a good time?
Jay: Some of them do. A lot of times, people will go just for one band and it's usually their friend's band. That's why high school bands do so well, because they have all their little friends and those kids, they're really closed-minded. They go for one band and then they leave and stuff. It's hard to get people who have never seen you before to get excited about you, so a lot of times there are people who just stand around. You have to find some way to make them move, but yeah, it's usually pretty dead shows. At least, the ones we've seen.
Do you see any problems with the crowds and the people who go to see shows?
Jay: Just the jocks. There's a lot of people who see it the way it was with metal a few years back when people really started slamming to that. There are some people who just think of it as a way to kick ass and there's a problem with that because there's some people out there who aren't there for that, so there's always the testosterone-fueled, "I'm more tough than you" guys that go slamming into people who are standing there. There's one guy, we used to call him CPK because he chased one of my friends down the street [screaming] "CPK!" once. It was really funny. You've probably seen him at shows, this big fat guy, he always wore a Black Flag shirt and he was that way. He would go slamming into anybody, not even people who were out there slamming with him, he would just slam into anyone standing around and he got into a lot of fights that way, but he'd usually win them, so nobody could stop him from doing what he wanted to do. He was about Derek's size, Derek is six something and 320. This guy is about the same size but about half a foot shorter, so he was just wider. Those are the kind of people that go out there just to cause problems and everybody is supposed to be there to have a good time, and maybe that's his idea of a good time, but the people he's picking on, the people that he's fucking with, aren't having a good time at all.
What can we do to make the scene better?
Jay: We need to find some way to make the shows better. I think a good way to do that would be to find other places to have shows. I know the Che was starting to do shows and that was always cool, but the Che shows have this way of not happening. There's a couple of other places we're looking into. The Rocket Ranch out in El Cajon, we talked to that guy about having shows and that would be cool out there. Our friend Pete, Music Trader Pete, Pirate Pete, he wants to do a collective, kind of like Gilman, down here, which would work if he could get the volunteers to run it because then that would keep overhead low enough that the shows could be cheap too and he wouldn't run it the way SOMA or Soul Kitchen are run. He's got a specific way he'll run it, pretty much like Gilman where you don't have to pay anybody because it's all volunteer run and you go in, the bands get half the door and touring bands get first crack at the dough which is the way it should be anyway. I mean, anybody's who's doing it for the money is doing it for the wrong reasons because there's no money in it. I hear all these bands talking about how they want to draw people so they can get all this money, and it's like, "Okay, is that what you're doing it for? Money? It's not there." As far as people going to shows, just try and have fun rather than look cool. People go to the shows trying to be cool instead of trying to have fun. People putting on the shows try to be cool too. It's not hard to put on cool shows, you just have to do it because you want to do it, not do it because you think you're going to make money at it. The scene right now is so money and so numbers oriented, and it's not about that, at least to me. It isn't about that. It's about who the good bands are, and the good bands are not the bands that, unfortunately, get the good shows really.