One Time Angels
Where do I begin? One Time Angels is simply one of the most amazing live acts you will ever have the pleasure of seeing. Jason, Amy and I drove up to Corona on the day after they played San Diego to see them again; after their set, we adjourned to the van where we chatted at length. As an afternote, One Time Angels recently called it a day. However, the band released a phenomenal album and an amazing EP, leaving behind a body of work that should be a part of any music fan's collection.
So I have a chance of transcribing this later, please state your name and the instrument you play.
Doug: I'm Doug and I sing and play guitar.
Eric: My name's Eric and I play drums.
Scotty: My name's Scotty and I play guitar.
Mickey: I'm Mickey and I play bass guitar.
So how far did you guys get last night before you realized that the back of the van was open?
Mickey: Very far.
Doug: We got all the way to our destination, about 30 miles on the freeway.
Mickey: It was 25 or 30 minutes, and we made a stop at a mini-mart and still didn't notice.
Scotty: Yeah. I guess we did a good packing job. Nothing fell out.
Mickey: A good packing job and a small miracle.
Doug: We actually had an incident getting onto the freeway at the stoplight where we were going through a protected left turn. A guy ran a yellow and we had to slam on the brakes.
Mickey: Actually, that's what probably packed it in there.
Doug: Packed it in tighter.
Well, last night we were wondering how you could have missed the noise, but now that I see that big sheet of plywood back there, I understand.
Eric: Yeah, it's the new loft, man.
So how sick are you of talking about the bands you've been in? I've only seen a few interviews with you but it seemed like all of them wanted to talk about your old bands as opposed to the band you're in now.
Doug: I think it just goes with the territory.
Mickey: Yeah, absolutely. It's coming. No big deal. Actually, to be honest with you, I think it's good because I like to know. When I hear about a new band, I personally enjoy hearing what bands their members have been in. It doesn't make me decide whether to enjoy the band, but if I find out that someone from Lifetime or whatever band I like is in another band, it makes me a little more interested. That's pretty natural, I think.
Doug, in one interview I found, you mentioned that the name One Time Angels describes the potential that any human being has for greatness at any given moment. Then you mentioned that you had found that it was slang for people who were killed on their first mission in World War II.
Doug: Yeah, I found out very recently that it was a phrase that was coined in World War II regarding replacement troops that would die in their first skirmish.
Do you feel that ties into the band at all?
Mickey: I hope not. I really hope not.
Scotty: I was an angel when I was 15 but now I'm a little hellion so I guess in some ways it does.
Mickey: And you survived the frontlines, so I guess it doesn't apply.
Doug: No, that was just kind of something that came after the fact that I just thought was interesting.
When people have asked me what you sound like, I've described you as what Jawbreaker might have sounded like if they were a mod band.
Mickey: That's a unique summary. I haven't heard that one yet. We've all heard Jawbreaker so far, for sure.
Doug: By mod band, what bands do you mean, like The Jam?
The Jam, The Who ...
Mickey: The Three O'Clock.
Exactly. Your music seems to have more of a rock feel than a punk feel.
Mickey: Stream of consciousness.
How did you go about developing the sound?
Doug: Well, I don't know. I mean, can you answer that one, Mick? We just started throwing the songs together and they were what they were.
Mickey: When we first started out, Doug and I have been there from day one and luckily for the two of us, we've got these two rock fucking rippers playing with us now, but when we started out, we were definitely aiming at something and definitely aiming at our influences, for sure. A lot of the earlier stuff comes off like Hot Water Music.
Doug: I don't agree with that, Mick.
Mickey: Are you kidding? We weren't aiming on purpose. Let's put it this way. I think what we're playing sounds like One Time Angels and I think that's great, but early on, we weren't trying to sound like Hot Water Music but there was a certain amount of Screw 32 in there. This is completely different. I think we just started playing much more of what came naturally than what we had envisioned the band sounding like, and right off the bat, I think we envisioned the band sounding like a certain thing. I think it naturally turned into kind of a stream of consciousness. We played whatever sounded good.
Eric: I know from my point of view, I came into the band two months before the record was done and so I had to learn all the songs and I think me going over those songs with them for three hours at a time kind of made them come out a little different than they were before.
Doug: Yeah, definitely.
Eric: I think that's probably a big factor. We played so much because we only had two months so we played as much as we could to get the songs down. I think that from the demos I heard to try to learn the songs to what came out on the final package, "Sound Of A Restless City," is quite different.
So do you think that extra two months gave the songs a chance to evolve?
Doug: They just had a totally different feel. I think that Eric came into the band with the perspective of wanting to learn the songs as the first time he was hearing them so as not to be adultered in his own creative process, so to speak. The songs took on a completely different feel and different life which was really fitting, in my opinion, it was right on the mark. Am I making any sense?
Mickey: It's working for me. Interviews are tough.
Interviews are tough.
Eric: I think the same thing happened on the upcoming record for Lookout!. It was the same type of thing. We decided when we were going to record and we didn't have the songs written so we went in the rehearsal room every day as much as we could to write this record. Then about two weeks into it, we brought Scotty in. He was supposed to do one track on the record. Three months later, he's doing the whole record and he's in the band, so that definitely had a huge impact on what the new record sounds like.
Mickey: I think the point of what I was trying to say earlier is that we definitely cut loose all inhibitions and expectations of ourselves and what other people might think of our band and it wound up coming out completely unique and completely One Time Angels as opposed to aiming at anything in particular.Scotty: Yeah, what you thought your initial aim might be.
Doug: I think I get what you're saying about that too, with the fact that Mickey was in Fury 66 and Marky, who was playing with us in the very beginning, and myself were in Screw 32 together, there might have been this pressure to kind of live up to those bands, but I think that the songs were coming out in a way that in reality was so different that aiming to make them like that was sort of unnatural. It had to unfold of its own accord.
Mickey: Luckily, it happened, slowly but certainly.
Did you ever feel like you were imprisoned by your past, that people were expecting a certain sound from you?
Doug: I wouldn't say imprisoned, but I think there's definitely a good number of people out there that listened to aggressive music and listened to bands like Redemption '87, which Scotty was in, or Fury or Screw 32 ...
Mickey: St. James.
Doug: Or St. James Infirmary and even like in the interview in Breakout mag, there's something that Colby asked, it's interesting that we were all in aggressive music bands that were a big part of the Northern California music scene and now we're playing something that's more melodic and mellow, but at the same time, we're all a lot older. We're at different points in our lives and this is just what comes naturally. When you write a song, it's just what you happen to be playing at that moment and what everyone is inspired to play in reflection or reaction to that. I think it's coming to a new point.
Scotty, you sounded like you had something to add to that.
Scotty: What was the issue we were tracing, about being locked into your past?
That, and feeling pressured by what you've done before to do something similar.
Scotty: Yeah, that's one that I have an interesting take on. I have always liked to be in different kinds of bands. I've been in a lot of bands that weren't even necessarily involved in the punk rock scene or anything like that. I played in two different themed cover bands, one for Johnny Cash and one for the Beatles. I always like doing different stuff but I'll tell you one thing that I think about playing music, as you get older, you learn about more records because you have more time to learn about records and that's just something that happens. You run into these records and things and different kinds of music and things you may have never thought you would have liked and you just go, "Oh yeah! I like that too! That's great!" You can see similarities in feelings you've gotten from other music and you learn about new music and it changes things and it changes you. Coming from an aggressive music background ... I'm trying to think of what I'm trying to say here. This is tough, it's an interview, but one thing that really turned me on to this band that I'm getting out of it is I feel like since I've been in this band, I've watched this band change already from record to record and I think that being in a band that has that potential to just keep changing and turning out stuff and doing it differently but doing it well is really, I think, how I feel about that. I think that's more important than worrying about being tied into a thing of the past because the people that do check it out can see that same thing.
Doug: When you say imprisoned, if we were writing all hard music because we felt we had to live up to our old bands and felt the need to please those crowds, in a way we would be imprisoned.
Scotty: You're imprisoning your crowd, too.Doug: By just forgetting about that and all those pressures and just saying that we're going to do whatever we're going to do, if people accept it, that's cool. The people that don't, it's no big deal. In a way, that's total creative freedom.
And if you were doing it the other way, wouldn't that be creative death?
Scotty: Yeah. I think that's what I was trying to get at. I think that it's your job as a band member to be like, "We did this. We know about that now. We recorded it, it's done. What else can we do?"
But isn't that also part of the premise of punk, that you use the tools and knowledge at hand to create what you can and, by using those tools, learn more about them?
Mickey: Which is good because none of us are trying to get away from the fact that we were and are, in my opinion, rooted in punk rock music, absolutely. I mean, I still feel very at home with punk rock in general. I think it's outstanding that we're doing what we're doing, especially me. I'll be honest, I was kind of concerned for a short while because I still am a big punk rock fan, very much so, but I'll tell you what, when I joined this band, if anybody had told me that we were going to sound this way and I was going to love it, I would have told them that they were wrong. It's been a fucking terrific, enlightening, learning experience for me that I will fucking cherish forever and ever. I am pleased as shit to play this music. I think it's wonderful.
Scotty: The thing that's cool about that, addressing your question from earlier, all the music changed but, like Mickey said, we're still playing in the same places, we're still doing the same thing, we're still driving around in a van and we're still having fun. Everything's the same except there's this new music we're playing.
Mickey: Luckily, fortunately, a lot of the same people who listen to good punk rock bands are definitely down to listen to bands like us. I think that's outstanding also. I'm very pleased with that. The bands are changing and the fans are changing as well. I don't want to say fans, the enthusiasts are changing as well and it's fucking terrific.
It also seems like tastes are broadening. Several years ago, there seemed to be a fairly rigidly defined idea of what punk could be. It seems that the idea is expanding.
Mickey: That's to be admired.
Scotty: Yeah, absolutely.
Mickey: I'm very, very proud of the people that are doing such things.
Scotty: Yeah, that's the point.
So what's the songwriting process like?
Doug: I guess it starts off with a basic arrangement, like I'll bring in the general structure, verse, chorus, bridges, the melodies. In some cases, lyrics are done. In most cases, they're not. Jesse Michaels also collaborates on a lot of the lyrics.
Mickey: It's very helpful, thank you Jesse.
Scotty: Yeah, thank you Jesse.
Doug: Then we get into the practice room and we go with what works. Everybody does their thing and, as a group, we refine it until it's all cohesive.
Mickey: It really works out too. People want to shine. I want to shine, Eric wants to shine, Scotty wants to shine, everybody wants to shine, but it doesn't really work that well when everyone's trying to shine. Doug is definitely our main songwriter, I have no problem saying that. Doug brings most of the stuff in and we all work on it and it works very well that way, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Doug just does a good job of being honest, saying, "I think you're grandstanding there, why don't you play with us?"
Mickey: When we start playing together, it usually starts to sound a lot better.
Doug: But the thing is, like Mick said, what did you just say? There was a term you used ...
Doug: Not grandstanding so much as ...
Scotty: That was great.
Doug: Shining. When the whole band is playing together, that chemistry is there and every nuance is done as a unit, the whole band shines. The song shines. That's the viewpoint I take it from.
It also seems like, based on what I've heard of the new songs, there are little bass riffs and drum flourishes. Like I was saying last night, it almost sounds like there's a little country and western influence creeping in. It seems like there's still a lot of room for ...
Scotty: Personality. I think that's the thing. To have a really effective songwriting process, I think the way things are structured in our band works good for us. We have a little team here and every team needs to have some kind of captain or leader who comes in and says, "These are the notes and this is the key of the song" and any other input they can give after that, like "I was thinking this kind of rhythm here, I've got this good guitar chord." I think we just take that stuff and go and all try to play. It's everybody's job to bring in what they know how to do best or things they can do. That's what happens.
Mickey: Not to mention things that are going to make the song sound unique. There are plenty of laid-out patterns you can follow, but if you can do something that's unique, and Scott lends a lot of that to this band, a lot of his playing is extremely unique, it works really well and I like that. If it comes in sounding somewhat different but good, then fucking hallelujah, that's outstanding. I think that country licks in what we're doing are fucking great.
Scotty: Yeah. The other thing that you have to remember is that you come in and everybody else is a factor in that. You can't just come in and be like, "I'm going to play like me and that's the way I play and if you don't like it, tough shit." Eric could be doing something awesome on the drums, Eric and Mickey could be making a totally unique rhythm that I see room for another one in, but it has to go with Doug's rhythm. It's a collaborative thing. We just try and work it out, but you always have to have a leader to check in with.
Mickey: You have to have a big toe like Sergeant Hulka. "Stripes," dude, come on.
Scotty: Yeah, we do little machine gun dances and everything. It's great.
Mickey: "That's the facts, Jack!" Excellent.
Eric: I just think it becomes really apparent within a couple of practices of writing the song what goes good where. We definitely butt heads here and there on certain issues, but it's apparent. We figure out what works and what doesn't really fast. We find the rough spots and focus on them and as a band I think we do that really well.
So it sounds like there's a lot of compromise in terms of what works within the structure of a song.
Scotty: Yeah, it's what's best for the band. It's the song. If something you're playing isn't working and you have all the other songs worked out, you have good parts that everyone's happy with and 90% of the time, everyone's saying "Yeah, what you're doing is good," you have to let your bandmates put you in check. I guess that is a compromise.
Doug: The song comes first. The song itself is more important than any individual part. It's all the ingredients that make the cake, so to speak, and if you throw in too much of one or too little of another, then the flavor of the cake changes for better or worse. It gets difficult at times because maybe some people like a saltier cake ...
Mickey: Or a dry cake.
Scotty: I know, definitely for me, if I'm doing something and I think it's just the cat's meow and then my bandmate tells me it sucks, it definitely isn't so much fun to play it anymore.
Mickey: The thing that also rocks about it is that it's still a work in progress. I mean, this is our attitude, this is the way we feel about songwriting, for sure, we feel firmly that it's all about the song but it's going to come up again and again. Even we're still getting accustomed to really keeping ourselves in check and so on, relying on each other and trusting each other's input and what does sound good for the song.
Doug: The bottom line is that within the song, the song's life is based on the personalities of each member. If you replaced any one of us, the song would be a completely different animal. The way Eric plays drums, the rhythms and grooves he brings into it, allow me to hear the songs differently and inspire me to do things differently and vice versa.
Scotty: It's like that for everyone in the band.
Doug: Scotty will pick out chords that accent and augment the melodies or sometimes inspire harmonies that weren't there before, or whatever. That's when it really becomes a collaborative and a working effort, when everybody is balancing on each other, not so much verbally but aurally, like listening and hearing things and working off that. I feel like this is what we've been aiming for and I feel like we're just starting to get there. It's pretty cool.
Just based on what I've heard over the past two nights, it sounds like the songs are still evolving. They sound different than they do on the record.
Doug: Hopefully, that will never change.
Mickey: Yeah, I'd have a problem with that.
Doug: I hope that every record sound different than the last.
Scotty: Yeah. It goes back to our theme again. You just have to keep going and trying to do new, cool stuff and make it better.
Mickey: And if the same songs sound different each night, I don't want to be a jam band or Grateful Dead-y, but if they even sound a little different night by night, I don't have any problem with that.
Scotty: Yeah. We've been playing "Two Steps To The Edge." Just the other night, Doug started playing guitar and Eric started playing the drumbeat and it all worked and everyone figured it out.
Mickey: Did that happen right tonight? I don't think it worked tonight.
Doug: It worked. It was just different.
Mickey: Well, it ultimately worked.
Eric: I think it's like going to the same restaurant every night. You're going to get sick of it.
Mickey: Yeah, change the menu, would you?
Eric: As long as you stay within a framework and we all know what's going on, there's so much room to have fun every night.
So was there any kind of theme for "Sound Of A Restless City"? On some of the songs, it sounded like the album was almost about the idea of the community disintegrating and resisting that disintegration. In other ways, it sounded like it was almost about the gentrification of the city and how corporate influences might be taking over smaller communities.
Doug: That's an interesting take on it. To be totally honest, none of that came into mind when we were writing lyrics. Most of the stuff was about stuff that's really personal to me in my life and just social circumstances. Jesse wrote the lyrics to a few songs and a few of them were written for me to sing. "See You In Spring" is about me making a decision to have a child. I have a five-month daughter.
Doug: Thank you very much. It was a really strange time to be making the decision to have a child, but it was the right decision so that's obviously what that song is about. From song to song, I think they all have different themes, but there isn't so much emphasis on politics or what was going on in Oakland. I think that maybe that's underlying and beneath the surface because it's the city that I live in and sit around in and view it every day so in a lot of ways, what am I getting at here ...
Eric: You're a product of your environment.
Mickey: You might be getting at the fact that, in the music we do, there's always going to be a certain amount of unrest, I think just because of where we come from, be it personal, emotional or dictated by the surroundings. For one, ask Jesse Michaels about the lyrics because some of the songs he wrote are more emotionally charged that way, but I think there's always going to be a certain amount of unrest, not in every single song, but every record and it could be really mild, but it's going to exist, for sure, and that's what makes for emotionally charged lyrics. I think personal, emotional, family even, you're always going to have that. Most of the bands we listen to, most of the bands we've grown up listening to and still listen to, there's just a certain amount of discomfort. Sometimes it's made to be beautiful. Sometimes it's meant to be fairly harsh.
Doug: With every song, there's a pretty simple theme. "Soul Rebel Sound," a song Jesse wrote, it's pretty simple. It's about being discontented with a social scene that revolves around vanity and making the scene and that whole idea, just bullshit. "Rose Carnation," the whole concept behind that song was the idea of trying to live up to something in life that you think is much greater than yourself, comparing a rose and a carnation. It's that simple. "Side Tracked" ...
Mickey: That's Doug's problem.
Doug: It's about my short attention span.
Mickey: So what were we talking about?
It's interesting because you're talking about unrest, but then a song like "See You In Spring" seems like a moment of rest and relief and celebration.
Scotty: That's the point of the song.
Mickey: Which is very refreshing.
Scotty: That was always one of my favorite ones on the record when I was first listening to it and learning the songs off of it.
It just seems to express the conflict that we all experience in life. Some days you're up, some days you're down. Some days you're scrambling to pay rent, other days you're flush.
Mickey: With a lot of your thoughtful musicians and songwriters, you're going to find exactly that in every single one of their records, exactly what you just said.
So I'm really interested in how things work with Jesse writing songs. It sounds like a very collaborative process, but what is it like to play songs with lyrics written by someone who isn't touring with the band?
Doug: It's pretty awesome. Jesse and I are really close. We've been collaborating together on music for 10 years now. We were in a band together for a while, recorded demos and we just know each other really well. He knows me really well. Stepping up to the challenge of being a singer has been a difficult one. Honestly, the lyric process is something that I'm just now getting the hang of and there were a few spots on "Sound Of A Restless City" where I was stumped musically. I had themes and I had some words here and there but I needed help and I asked him if he could collaborate and help me out and he did and it was cool because, as a friend, knowing me and knowing things that I was going through in my life, it was almost like he could express my feelings from a different perspective, like "Rose Carnation." There are lines that are just totally gnarly. There's a line that says, "You cannot even ..." I can't remember it right now. I'm spacing out.
Mickey: "You cannot touch a baby testing gravity"?
Doug: Thanks. This is horrible. I'm so out of it, I can't even remember the words, but obviously that stuff was directly related to me dealing with the decision of having a child too, weighing should she get an abortion ...
Mickey: And it wasn't anything Doug asked for. It's not like Doug was like, "Hey man, how do you feel about writing something that maybe has to do with the fact that I'm having a kid?" Jesse just came to it on his own.
That's outstanding. It sounds like having a fifth member of the band.
Mickey: Yeah, of course it's outstanding.
Doug: He really is in a lot of ways.
Mickey: He's kind of a genius.
Doug: On the new EP, he wrote pretty much everything lyrically and it's great. It's a weird process in a lot of ways because I write the melodies and we'll make these little tapes where I'll hum the melodies and we'll sing the words that we have, I'll tell him what the themes are, names of songs, and we'll go on that basis but it's pretty cool. It wouldn't work with anyone else though. If we just tried to find somebody that we didn't know to help us with that, it wouldn't work. It has to be somebody that's so close and rooted in the band.
So here's a specific question about lyrics from "Soul Rebel Sound." "We were born to do much more than sit around / And feed the doom / With one hand scooping dollars / And the other clutching wounds." That reminds me a lot of "We are here to do more than die out / We don't need anything but the subtle will to peace."
Doug: Awesome. I'm surprised you even know those lines.
That Big Rig 7" has been a part of my collection since it came out. "Persistence" is one of my favorite songs ever.
Doug: Rad. It's similar motivation, just about trying to do good things more for humanity than for the dollar's sake which is a tough thing to do in a lot of ways. I mean, I'm wearing leather shoes, whatever.
That's something else I got from the record, that some of the songs carry a sense of desperation, but through it all there's an unflagging hope that it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, you're going to go down fighting.
Doug: Nice. I like the sound of that.
Mickey: Yeah, me too.
Is that something you consciously worked on?
Mickey: I think it's hard to say that we were really necessarily conscious of anything in particular. We were just trying to write a record and the ingredients that are in that record are actually still a pleasant surprise to me at times. That's our first record. That's our first effort as a band and it came out a certain way and we're very pleased with it but I don't think that this band has accomplished a consciousness yet. I think it's going to take a while and that's a welcome challenge for us and a welcome opportunity for discovery, really. We aren't set in any ways yet. The fact that the record came out the way it did and the lyrical content and musical content and so on is still a pleasant surprise to me. I'm hardly different than your first-time listener, really. I don't think this band really has a firm grasp on much yet and I'm really pleased with that. That's exciting to me. It leaves a lot of room for discovery and I'm excited to find these things out.
All the possibilities are open.
When you don't set boundaries for yourself, you have a lot of room open for exploration.
Mickey: Absolutely. And again, it's our first record. It's as new to us as it is to listeners. Of course, we're a little more intimate with it.
So what's going on with the band's sound? How is it evolving?
Mickey: I think it's gotten more raw and I'm really pleased with that. There's a lot of good rock music on it, there's a lot of really accomplished stuff on it, it's extremely well-rounded and I like that as well. I don't want to listen to a record that has extremely similar songs. The formulas are different, the progressions are different, the styles are different and that's nothing we did on purpose. It's just back to the fact that if it sounds good, then that's what we're going to play.
Doug: Hey Mick, you got that Crown Royal?
You guys answered most of my questions when you went through the lyrics, but where did the album title come from?
Doug: Well, I've lived in Oakland for a long time and I've always believed that the music that people make is a product of their environment. You go back to the blues and you hear chicken scratch beats, horse hoof beats, farm-like sounds, almost, that drive the music. In modern times, bands from cities have the sounds of railroads. I don't know, I just feel like there's this more industrial impact behind the music and for me, I could see so much in the city that I lived in changing on a day to day basis. There was a pretty crazy episode for a while where these investment companies were buying big buildings that were condemned and then torching them to collect insurance, arson, fraud, and on any given night over a period of about three weeks, you could see a city block burned down which is a pretty crazy sight to witness. I manage a bar underneath the Tribune building which is kind of the center point of the record, and I just felt like everything I was seeing in daily life was what inspired me to write music and it seemed like an obvious choice for the title.
The last time I was in Oakland, I stayed with a friend of mine who lived on East 11th in this converted warehouse and we went over to the Ruby Room ...
Doug: The Ruby Room?
Oh man, I love that place. The DJ had an original pressing of the "Garage Days Revisited" EP.
Mickey: I still do.
Doug: You know that's one of the bars that I manage?
I heard a rumor that was the case, but I don't put much stock in rumors. People talk too much shit.
Doug: Actually, Terry from The Frustrators manages it and we work together.
Terry's the guy wearing the kilt tonight?
Anyway, we went over to Jack London Square for breakfast, and what is there, a Barnes & Noble there now? You can't find "The Iron Heel" in Barnes & Noble. What are they doing in Jack London Square? It strikes me that corporations are going into communities that have no use for them.
Doug: I definitely think that there's a use for it. I mean, I'm not really sure what's going on in the sense that they're building up Jack London Square. That's all their emphasis right now, all of Jerry Brown's focus is on making that place a tourist attraction, getting as many artists living down there in warehouse spaces. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing but then again, I'm not aware of who it's affecting. I know for a while that a lot of people were getting paid to move to Pittsburg or Martinez, farther out east of the delta. I mean, it's simply gentrification but again, it's good for the economy and the city. To be honest, I'm not a politician. I could give a shit about politics. I mean, it affects my life and I try to stay abreast of it, but it's not my bag.
So what keeps you going when the van's broken down and you're stuck in the middle of nowhere?
Doug: I just do it because it's something I love so much. I couldn't imagine not doing it. It's a great outlet. It's a great hobby too, in a lot of ways. We aren't making a living off of this so it's basically something that we're doing for pleasure. It's fucking great.
Scotty: Yeah. I know for me, I have to play. If I don't play enough, I find myself in a really foul mood and really closed off. I'll think to myself, "When was the last time I played for real?" Really, I think a lot of guys who play music don't know any other way. It's what they do. I know for me, that's what it is. It's what I do. I want to be 50 and be playing in bars and have been in all different kinds of bands and have done different things. It keeps me sane. It heals me.
So do you have any last words - anything you want to add or clarify?
Doug: Not really. If you want to get in touch with us, contact us at our Web site.
I always include the PO Box and Web address.
Scotty: Yeah, that's great.
Doug: Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Scotty: Yeah, thank you for driving all the way out here. That's my last words.
Doug: I'm sorry if I seemed a bit spacey, I'm really tired and not feeling too articulate tonight, but I'm doing the best I can. I'm never too good at interviews.
You know, based on what I saw in the Breakout mag one, it seemed like there was something going on there and I felt bad for you because it seemed like the questions were like, "How do you feel about the scene? How do you feel about punk rock?" They just seemed like general, vague questions that weren't about your music.
Scotty: Yeah, or how do you feel?
Doug: Well, Colby's a cool guy but he's a really big fan of Fury 66, Screw 32, Redemption '87 and St. James Infirmary and he's interested in our band for that reason. When he reviewed our record, he even said it was something that he wouldn't normally like and that it was a cool record and he digs it, but it's a stretch for him. You look at the focus of the bands that he's working with and he's into and you're talking about Sepultura and the Sacramento Hoods, really hard, in your face music, and we're a bunch of lingerie-wearing softies compared to all that shit.
Scotty: Yeah, we're fucking stoner hippies.
Well, you looked like the paisley underground last night.
Doug: I thought it was a pretty honest interview.
It's just a pet peeve of mine that it seems like so many interviews focus on tangential issues that float around the music instead of focusing on the music.
Mickey: It is very seldom where you read an interview or an article on a band where it's very insightful. Usually, it's a stream of the exact same questions, like you're saying. I don't mean to ask you about where the band came from or whatever because I'm so accustomed to reading this, but that's the kind of stuff you encounter, for sure. When you're reading interviews, it's all the same old stuff so to be asked diverse questions is fucking super cool. It makes us think.
Well, and it's better than the old standby of asking who your influences are.
Doug: Wait, you didn't ask that, do you want to know?
Mickey: Yeah, yeah.
Uh, I'll pass.
Scotty: It's a pretty amazing list.
Doug: Why don't we all list off our record collections.
Mickey: You know, the answers are your influences too.
Scotty: Everyone should give their Top 5.
Okay, Desert Island Discs then. Top 10 albums for a desert island.
Mickey: "Rum, Sodomy And The Lash" by The Pogues.
Eric: One for me too.
Mickey: Absolutely. In a heartbeat. "The Harder They Come." Almost anything by The Clash. Tears For Fears, "The Hurting." I fucking love that record.
Doug: That's why Mick's in the band.
Eric: Shout, shout.
Mickey: No, "Shout" was later than that.
Eric: "Songs From The Big Chair."
Mickey: Terrible record.
Scotty: We should just do a Top 5. Ten is gnarly.
Mickey: Yeah, really. Just for out and out punk rock purposes, I want to throw in the Code Of Honor/Sick Pleasure split 12", for sure, because I fucking love that record, but that could change tomorrow. All five could change.
As any good list should. Eric?
Eric: I would definitely have a Pogues record. Guided By Voices.
"Bee Thousand," "Alien Lanes," which one?
Eric: Actually, the last two were my favorites. I like the lo-fi stuff too but I'm definitely into production. Elliott Smith, any of them. An old Accused record.
Like "Martha Splatterhead"?
Mickey: "Martha Splatterhead," absolutely.
Eric: Yeah, or "The Return ..."
Mickey: "Revenge Of Martha" is good, I still have that on vinyl.
Eric: The original line up, Blaine, the drummer, I can't remember his name. What else? I'm trying to think of what I listen to a lot. Come back to me.
Doug: Led Zeppelin, "Physical Graffiti." The Beatles, "Revolver." Elliott Smith, "Figure 8." Rites Of Spring.
Mickey: Aw, man! See, ask me tomorrow and I'll throw that in there.
Scotty: We're all stuck on this island together.
Mickey: Oh, excellent! Cool!
Scotty: We can compensate for each other.
Doug: And we'll still have instruments.
Mickey: Cool. We get to listen to all these records on the island together.
Doug: Um. Then, for the fifth record, that's tough. This is the hardest choice because it's the last one. I'm going to say the new Jimmy Eat World. I'm just kidding, but I do like that record.
"Bleed American" is a great record. "Sweetness" is an great pop song.
Doug: Yeah, it's amazing. I'm just going through my record collection.
Scotty: You're probably going to die from dehydration.
Doug: Pixies, "Surfer Rosa."
Eric: My last one would be ...
Slayer, "Reign In Blood"?
Mickey: "South Of Heaven"?
Doug: Alkaline Trio?
Eric: The Weakerthans, "Left And Leaving."
That album is amazing.
Doug: That is a good one.
So Scotty, how about you?
Scotty: All right. I'd definitely need a copy of The Who "Sell Out." I would definitely need a copy of, and this is a tough one, but I think I'd have to say Albert King, "Live Wire/Blues Power." I'd need a copy of that. Let's see.
[The tape ran out at this point. While I was turning it over, Scotty asked whether box sets were eligible.]
So I can do the Merle Haggard "Down Every Road" box set?
Yes. That's not cheating.
Doug: Well, make all of my choices box sets.
So you want the Zeppelin set.
Scotty: Okay, so I've got Cream, Albert King, or no, I've got Albert King, The Who "Sell Out," it's a toss-up between "John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton" and "Fresh Cream." I'd have to say "Fresh Cream" for creative purposes. I'm down to one record. One last record. It would probably have to be ... fuck this is tough.
Eric: Number five, baby!
Mickey: I know, it's a killer, isn't it?
Scotty: It would have to be The Animals, "Animalisms."
I was wondering when someone was going to toss in Roxy Music. That's a pretty good list.
Mickey: And I think if you asked everybody tomorrow, it would be even more diverse. I'm sure.
Scotty: Yeah, I don't have Rolling Stones "Out Of Our Heads" on this, I don't have "Sticky Fingers" ...
Mickey: You see what you've done to us?
Scotty: I don't have the Beach Boys "Pet Sounds." I don't have "Sgt. Pepper's." I don't have all kinds of shit. "Beatles 65" is one of my favorite Beatles records. It's a weird American release of stuff. The list goes on.
For my liking, I'd have to have some Woody Guthrie on there.
Eric: Oh, I left off Billy Bragg. Shit.
Mickey: Oh yeah! So did I! Shit! All right, I'm done with this question.
Eric: Billy Bragg, "Mermaid Avenue."
That puts you at six.
Eric: Yeah. Put Beulah down too. They're awesome. They're a San Francisco band and they're fucking amazing.
Scotty: Yeah, I'd want to hear The Black Crowes too, dude.
Doug: What about Neutral Milk Hotel?
Scotty: What about The Undertones?
Mickey: What about The Strokes? Everybody's talking about The Strokes.
Scotty: I want to change one of my selections. I realized something. If I was really stuck on the island, I would be going through my record collection and I would see "Animalism" and I would leave it because Neil Young's "Decade" would be right next to it and I would have to have that.
What kind of filing system are you using that has Neil Young's "Decade" next to "Animalism"?
Nice "High Fidelity" reference.
Scotty: No, I always sort of just end up listening to the two. I don't know. That's where they are right now. That's what's popular during my music listening hours when people are over.
Mickey: And it's because Scotty is more than slightly bizarre.
Eric: All I can say is that if we were the characters in "High Fidelity," I would be Jack Black.
Mickey: You look most like him, that's for sure. I'd be John Cusack just because he's tall, but he has more hair than me, so I have to be Moby. All right, we're getting slappy.
My favorite part of the movie was the Pegboy sticker on the case.
Scotty: It must have been so fun to make that movie and decorate the counter at the record store. There must have been some serious arguments about that.
Eric: I loved it when they were playing Belle And Sebastian and Jack Black walks in and says, "Holy Shiite! What is this crap you're listening to?"
And then he puts in that tape with Katrina And The Waves on it ...
Eric: "It won't go up any louder!"
Mickey: Quite a shame.
Okay. Any last words?
Mickey: I'm going to finishing by saying that I really appreciate this opportunity. You're an outstanding interviewer and this is the most unique interview I've ever taken part in.
Scotty: Yeah. I want to say that I'm personally flattered that you drove all the way out to the show from San Diego and taking the time to put together a well-thought-out interview.
Mickey: And I will add that I am very, very pleased to meet a new friend. Very much so.
You're only the second band I've driven up here for and the first one was Dillinger Four.
Mickey: Which is one of my favorite bands, so I'm flattered.
Eric: I can say too that this trip has been fucking awesome so far. We played in San Diego for the first time ... well, was it the first time?
Eric: Second time. But there were like 15 kids up front, singing along.
Scotty: That was insane.
Eric: It fucking felt rad.
Mickey: Are you kidding me? It was so touching. It so made me want to play.
Eric: That was a first.
Scotty: It made me go off.
You don't really have people singing along at your shows?
Mickey: Hell, no.
Eric: Well, especially not out of town.
Mickey: And also not in town.
Scotty: Not in any town.
Eric: It was just cool because we were with the Influents and we're all buddies and we're all intertwined in so many ways with work and other shit that it was just fun to have this whole crew of Oakland people down from out of town, making lumber, making friends.
Scotty: That's the thing, if you eat a burrito every day, that's your log and when you're taking a shit, you're making lumber. That's my quote. Making lumber is officially a new term for taking a shit.
Scotty: I'm going to the mill, I'm going to make some lumber.
You know Scotty, it just hit me that you remind me of Jason Lee in "Mallrats."
Mickey: That rules! He reminds me of Jason Lee in fucking "Almost Famous"!
Doug: That's excellent.
Scotty: You should have seen me when I had my mustache.
Mickey: Your looks have become a real liability to the band.
Eric: That shirt was awesome.
Mickey: Thanks, Puckett.