Interview with The Spits: A Clusterfuck of Musical Influences, by Petite Paquet

It’s been more than a treat to know The Spits. There’s the brothers, Sean (guitar) and Erin (bass), then Wayne (drums) and Nick (keyboards). I’d never tell them, but they’re my favorite band. Aside from that, we’ve shared whiskey, beer, practical jokes, disgusting humor, farts that smell like they eat soft cat food, and drunken laughter as they shouted at Debbie Harry to peel out as she turned a corner. I’ve watched Erin and Sean kick the crap out of each other. They even tried to negotiate a deal with my boyfriend to swap girlfriends. I look forward to seeing them this October when they come to LA on their West Coast tour. Be there or be square. They’ll be bringing their new album with them. And for fuck’s sake, if you like them, buy the album so they can get home.

Transmission on Tuesday, August 6th, 2002:

Petite: All right. Hello? Dude, I had to use a fucking karaoke machine and a speakerphone to record this. All right, so when and how did you guys form?
Sean: Basically, it was when my brother, Erin, and I started a group in the youth home. We called it Cell Block Nine. We were in juvie for beating up cops and stealing candy. We started the band and started rocking – me and Erin on little combo amps and cheap guitars. It was part of our aggression therapy in the youth home back in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Erin: Allegan, Michigan.
Sean: Yeah, so that was in Allegan Michigan. Eventually, we got out, kept getting in trouble, running drugs and shit, and got put back in the youth home. There we met our friend, Lance Phelps.
Petite: Oh, your first drummer?
Sean: Yeah, our old drummer. So we were jamming for years then we broke up and went on. We joined other bands. I was in a band called Crippled Children, Inc. Erin was in a band called The Quitters. Then Erin moved out here to Seattle and I moved out here with him. Well, I moved out here later, after I cleared up all my warrants. Then we started The Spits again. It was me, Erin, and Lance. Then we broke up again, got back together, and Lance quit the band to pursue a marriage. Erin and I found this guy in Portland who was a big fan of ours named Wayne Draves, and he came up. We were like, “Yeah we need a drummer. Let’s check this punk out.” He turned out to be an all right kid. So, he’s playing drums. We got a keyboard player who also an all right kid. He played bass for the Sweet Brats. Kinda of, uh… We don’t know about that one, now do we? That’s how that goes.
Petite: So what are your favorite bands?
Sean: My favorite bands, as far as current, or you mean bands of all time?
Petite: Whatever…
Sean: Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels, Ted Nugent, Head from Seattle, and The Sonics. That’s about it… G.G. Allin.
Petite: Cool, that’ll work. What are your influences?
Sean: Blues, old punk, a lot of R&B. We like rock’n’roll and…
Petite: A cluster fuck of things?
Sean: Yeah, a cluster fuck of things. Like I said, old rock’n’roll, old punk, girls [chuckles]. You know what I mean?
Petite: [chuckling] Yeah. So who writes most of the songs?
Sean: That would be Erin, Nick, Wayne, and me. Oh well, we all pretty much write them. We break it down and write it as a whole. Like Wayne will come with a new song and we’ll all pitch in and add to it, you know?
Petite: That’s fucking teamwork! What’s your favorite topic to write songs about?
Sean: [To Erin] What’s our favorite topic to write songs about? Secret government space shit? Naw. The ups and downs…
Petite: Butt sex.
Erin: Girls!
Sean: Girls and shitty parents.
Petite: So what’s your best show ever?
Sean: Best show ever would be in Chicago.
Petite: What happened?
Sean: The Chicago Blackout. Oh, it was just crazy. A ton of fuckin’ people, everybody was super cool, everybody was a fan. It was just amazing. The place went nuts. They went through two PA systems. The first one got destroyed ’cause people were throwing it around. Yeah, and some of like our early, early shows. We had a good one, too, at Linda’s Doll Hut in Anaheim. We’re looking forward to havin’ some good shows in California. We’re gonna be coming down there in October.
Petite: Vas from The Girls told me that you guys blew up a bunny rabbit at the Dirtnap Showcase. Is that true?
Sean: That is true. It was Joey Ramones’ birthday so we put on wigs and glasses and leather jackets and bunny ears. We played a few songs then we had this big guy in a bunny costume come out and we taped explosives all over him. Then we just fucking lit him on fire and he started blowing up and we pushed him out into the audience. Everybody got hurt. It was great.
Petite: I knew you wouldn’t let me down. So you got any drunken stories to share with our readers?
Sean: Drunken stories, um, let’s see… well, I got a bunch, Erika.
Petite: Are there any you can remember in some sort of detail?
Sean: A good one, I would say was going on tour with The Briefs and The Real McKenzies, playing in Anaheim, going to the hotel, partying and doing the little pranks on each other… peeing on their door handles. [laughing]
Petite: Yeah, I got some pictures of that. Sweet shit. [giggling]
Sean: Also, another good one would be the first time we ever toured, [scuffling in the background with Erin over whose beer is whose] Lance, Erin, and I. We’d never been to California ’cause we’re from the Midwest. We rolled into San Francisco at noon and we didn’t have anything to do, so we pulled up into North Beach and our drummer disappeared. So we find him and he’s doing shots and drinkin’ beer at noon. We don’t play until 11:30 at night at the Covered Wagon for Stinky’s Peep Show. So we get there and we’re hammered to shit and we ended up saying, “Fuck the show.” James Hetfield was there and a bunch of people were there to kinda check us out.
Erin: James Hetfield was not there!
Sean: Yeah, he was! He was fucking there!
Erin: Not to see us.
Sean: No not to see us, but he was there. Let me make this clear. He was there at the show, but not to see us. So, instead, we got fucked up and I met this girl. I bought her thirteen shots of Jack and then got hooked up with her. She gave me a blow job in the bathroom. After that, we got on stage and played. Then, when we were done, Lance couldn’t even stand up ’cause he had this huge fuckin’ boner! We were like, “What the fuck?!” He was like, “I got excited.” It was like, “Oh my god, what a fuckin’ idiot!”
Erin: He got an erection from playing drums! It really aroused him.
Petite: What’s the local scene like in Seattle – which would be local for you because that’s where you are.
Sean: Pretty good. We got The Briefs, The Epoxies (from Portland), and The Popular Shapes.
Erin: Here sucks, Erika.
Sean: It’s not that bad. It’s better than anywhere else I go.
Petite: Hey, he’s been to LA, so he should appreciate Seattle. (Although Seattle has become a cesspool of drugs)
Erin: That’s true.
Sean: We got a lot of small time bands and small time bars that’ll let the bands play. You know, there’s cheap punk shows every weekend. Sometimes they suck. Sometimes they’re really good, but there’s a lot more to offer than other places where they have eight dollar clubs.
Erin: It’s healthy to hate your city. You always want it to be better. Right, Erika?!
Petite: Yeeeeesssss! You guys fuck around a lot. Is that your main point? To loosen up those tight assholes?
Sean: Yeah, fucking have fun! Loosen up a little bit. You know? If not, we’ll have to kick your ass.
Petite: Does it annoy you – I don’t know about where you live – that people are too cool to fuck around?
Sean: Yeah, I hate that. I fucking hate it. That was the one thing about our first time in California I couldn’t stand. Everybody stared at you. They looked you up and down. You couldn’t tell if guys were gay or if they wanted to kick your ass, looking at what you’re wearing and who you know. Give me a fuckin’ break. It’s not like that in Chicago. People don’t get all fucking dressed up to go to a punk show. The shit out here (the west coast) is so fucking glamorous.
Petite: So why should people bother to check you out?
Sean: Because we put on a good show! We’re good, fun music and we’ll give them a bang for their buck. It’s original music. Not too many people sound like it.
Petite: That’s true.
Sean: I mean, I can go to see thirty bands a weekend around here and I’ll guarantee you they all have a certain style. All Stooges, all MC5, all Ramones and we sound a little different than all that.
Petite: Why is Erin laughing?
[hysterical laughter in the background]
Sean: Because Erin’s a dick.
Erin: I like that answer. That’s good.
Petite: That’s very intelligent.
Erin: Ha, ha, you should come and see us ’cause we’re the most original band out there.
Petite: I feel like fucking Barbara Walters with the answers he’s giving.
Sean: [in a sleazy voice] Did you like that answer honey?
Petite: Yeah, that was great.
Sean: Hey, can you make sure that back at that Covered Wagon story, you put that the singer of Poon Twang sucked my dick in the bathroom. You have to do that.
Petite: Okay, well I’m not gonna edit any of this. [devious background laughter] I’m not gonna get beat up for that, am I?! I’ve never been beaten up and I wanna keep my record clean. Aw, man… So ,how many times have you guys toured as the Spits?
Sean: We’ve only toured twice and we flew to Chicago to play the Blackout. That’s really it and we played some shows in Michigan.
Petite: What has the response been from people in other towns, especially here in Los Angeles?
Sean: They like it. Our first time touring the west coast, there was only like ten people at our shows then the next time there was like thirty-five to forty people. I think people are in shock. They’re like, “Oh The Spits. Who’s that?” They just see groovy guys with mohawks on skateboards, then they see us play and we kick’em in the head.
Petite: You’re challenging them! God damn it, move! ‘Cause you make them wanna move and they don’t wanna move!
Sean: Yeah! We make them fucking move! We’ll take the most still-standing, coolest-looking, mod-wannabe, Iggy Pop looking mother-fucker and we will make him move. We’ll make him wiggle his ass!
Petite: What’s your new album like?
Erin: There’s a couple of okay songs on it. Nothing special.
Petite: For the ladies’ future reference, who’s single? ‘Cause you know the ladies read this shit.
Erin: Nick shows his penis lots.
Sean: Oh yeah, can I say hey to the ladies out there. I am a single man, myself. I’m looking for a nice young girl, you know?
Petite: For hand jobs or blow jobs? [both giggle]
Sean: Yeah, well we love the girls. Love the shit out of them. (I restrain from making the conversation anymore perverted)
Petite: So you’re all single?
Sean: I’m totally single.
Petite: Just you? What about Nick and Wayne and Erin?
Sean: We’re all just a bunch of single guys! Well, actually, Erin isn’t.
Petite: Yeah, I was gonna say, what’d he do, shove Jesse under the floorboards?
Sean: Yeah, he does. But that really doesn’t matter ’cause he and I are the best looking in the band. Don’t print that.
Petite: Well, I can’t really agree because Wayne resembles my boyfriend. They look like fucking twins!
Sean: I think he’s a Spanish Jew.
Petite: Oh shit! That’s the worst!
[hysterical laughter]

Please send any hate mail, love letters, or questions to http://www.thespits.com/.

To order the new Spits album, go to Slovenly Records.
To order their first effort, go to Dirtnap Records.

Make sure to look for their upcoming shows in October.