Smogtown: Fuhrers of the Switchblade New Wave By Todd Taylor

Smogtown is Southern California’s secret weapon and quite possibly the best punk rock band you’re bound to have not heard this year. Firmly lightning bolted to the region’s past – with strains of the Crowd, The Clan, Black Flag, TSOL, and The Weirdos all spreading through their musical cancer – the amazing thing is that they not only reanimate the past like kids playing with putty and dynamite, they pick up where others dropped the baton and squeal away into the future, pot smoke billowing out the windows, barren landscape ahead, with crazed sounds coming out of their fingertips and mouths. They’re the stucco culture antidote. They’re the cure to planned communities. They’re the electricity that charges the little, invisible nodes inside of us all, activated by the pulse of loud music, melting brains to headphones.

Idea brilliant.
Idea perfect.

(Todd’s note: This interview was done in the middle of 2000, and was done on the cusp of the release of “Fuhrers of the New Wave,” but due to long and stupid circumstances, it failed to ever see publication. Don’t worry. It’s not a rehash. Take this interview as part one. Another interview, done late 2001, will be posted in the coming months and will catch you up to speed on one of my favorite punk bands of the last decade. They’re that good. Really.)

Chavez – singer
Chip Beef – bass
Guitardo – take a fucking guess. It’s not a tambourine.
Tim – drums

Interview by Todd Taylor and Rick Bain
Spiritual guidance and additional questions provided by Jimmy Alvarado and Matt Average

Todd: Seeing as every person west of the Atlantic Ocean seems to have a punk band these days, what do you think sets Smogtown apart from the pack? More succinctly, what makes you so damn special?
Tim: I think just because we play what we want to play and not what everybody thinks is supposed to hear.
Chip: We play what we want to hear.
Todd: Would you say that you’re your own favorite band – without sounding like a pretentious asshole…
Chavez: Of the punk scene, I’d say yeah, but not completely, I wouldn’t say that. But as far as bands go now, sure.
Todd: So you’ve got a little bit of Radiohead secretly inside of you?
Chavez: Yeah, I’m a dick, pretty much. I’ll admit it.
Tim: You’ve got to believe in what you’re selling, right?
Chavez: Exactly right. You’ve got to stand behind your band.
Todd: Name the first toy you remember having and explain the overall significance it has in your development as a human being.
Guitardo: Your penis.
Chavez: The first memorable toy was the Steve Austin doll with the ratcheting arm that picked up a girder and he fit in the little rocket ship – you guys remember that? – and the bionic eye and you looked through the back of his head. Six Million Dollar Man. And you rolled up the skin on his arm and he had computer chips that you could plug hoses into. And then there was a Bigfoot doll that also went and Oscar, and the thing that changed faces and had a computer board underneath his head… probably that.
Tim: That one, huh?
Chavez: That was the first one in a collection of sets, but after that it was Star Wars…
Guitardo: Hotwheels.
Chip: Mine was a Daniel Boone rifle. I grew up in a corn field. Swear to god.
Todd: Was it a real rifle?
Chip: No, it was a fake one. Disneyland type fake.
Tim: Pertaining to music? Maybe the Animal fucking puppet I got from “The Muppet Show,” remember, the drummer? I got that when I was real little.
Chavez: I thought you were going to say sock puppet.
Tim: Oh, no, that’s Chip’s.
Todd: Please explain the difference between Bodie 601 and Bodie, Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie “Point Break.”
Chavez: No connection.
Todd: Thank god. So who is, what is, Bodie 601? (Who is a large character in the album “Fuhrers of the New Wave.” You should buy it, you truly should.)
Chavez: Bodie 601 is this vigilante group in Surf City who is out to kill Fuhrers because they’ve poisoned their suburb.
Todd: OK, let’s get into that. You guys wrote…
Chavez: A concept album, which is very uncool. That’s why we did it; because everyone’s got these rules about what a punk album is supposed to be and what your songs are supposed to sound like and we just went against that and made our own concept album. It’s this story of this band, actually these teenage kids, that are bored of school, bored of living in the suburbs, and start this band and there are so much police, parental, and neighborhood pressure and watch over these kids that they’re really treated like criminals and therefore this vigilante group, called Bodie 601, comes. And the kids are actually treated like a cancer in their society. Bodie 601 has a way to treat the cancer, and that’s radiation. And that’s where all the radiation in the album comes from – Bodie 601… So does it all make sense, now?
Todd: Very much so. OK, is the album in order?
Chavez: No, actually, when we recorded it, it was in order but get songs get switched around because the label needs to switch them around for some reason…
Tim: Because they know what a punk album should sound like.
Rick: Is there an order of songs that that should run?
Chavez: No, not necessarily. Actually, you can take the story all from the way it’s run (how it’s on the LP)…
Rick: Because I heard the rumor that record was a mixed-up puzzle. Is that not true or true?
Chavez: It still is – it’s not really a mixed-up puzzle, no. It ends exactly like it’s supposed to and all the information is there, you just have to put it together. And any order it was in in the first place, it was almost undecipherable, unless you kind of knew it. Because everybody was asking, “What the heck?”
Tim: Unless you see the movie.
Chavez: Yeah, when the movie comes out, everyone will completely understand.
Todd: Name one record in your collection that you’re embarrassed to admit that you like and explain why you like it.
Chavez: “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Rick: Another fine concept album.
Chavez: I like it because of that. It’s a concept and the emotion of all the characters is put in and it’s just about something like Jesus, but in the album it’s so fucking rock that they make it that Jesus isn’t this savior that your parents are cramming into your head, he’s just this dude that’s got these ideas and everyone’s freaked out about his ideas, and it’s the same exact concept as the Fuhrers – everyone treats them as this crazy man, and he himself is saying, “Why are you guys freaking out over this? All I’m telling you are these ideas and you guys are freaking out, and now you’re getting crucified.” And it’s all the people, their stories that lead up to this guy’s crucifixion. That is fucking hot… and it’s a pretty fucking rad album.
Guitardo: Probably, I’m embarrassed, I like Extreme Noise Terror. All my friends hate that shit. I just think they do a good job of controlling the chaotic speed that they put out.
Chip: I’m going to embarrass this band totally. Lynrd Skynrd’s “Street Surviors” because I grew up in Nebraska and I just like that old, get drunk, fucking drive a tractor and shoot-’em-up type band. That, and I liked the album cover.
Todd: Do the Gears, Crowd, or Clan know that you stole part of their sound?
Chavez: I don’t think we stole it.
Todd: How did you channel it, then? Could this album come out of anywhere except Orange County, California?
Chavez: I think it couldn’t have come out of anywhere but south Orange County, nowadays.
Todd: Explain yourself.
Chavez: Because, northern Orange County’s poisoned now. It’s no longer this suburban revolution, now it’s like – they’ve all got kids that are growing up into punk rockers that are sixteen now. Now it’s all bred into ’em, and again, it’s becoming the same old thing, just like the metal thing was before. They already have it. They own it up there. And to fucking really charge and make a rebellious album, you have to be down here where you have fucking bands that sound like… hell.
Chip: Let’s distinguish something. We love The Crowd. Don’t get us wrong on that.
Chavez: Yeah, don’t get us wrong, but I wouldn’t say they were so much an influence because I’d never even heard of the Klan or the Detours, to tell you the truth, until everyone compared us to them. And so, I guess you’re right. Maybe it is just living down here. Maybe the Beach Boys have something to do with it.
Todd: I hear the Beach Boys in there, too.
Chavez: Actually, we do…
Todd: “Bad Vibrations” (as opposed to the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”)
Chavez: Actually, the whole “Beach City Butchers” is a Beach Boys type rip off thing but we’re not going to admit that.
Tim: You can’t print that.
Todd: [to Chavez]: Where you ever in Dokken?
Chavez: No. “Rockin’ Con Dokken.” I’ve seen one of their videos.
Tim: Which guy does he look like?
Todd: He looks like the lead singer of Dokken with his hair cut.
Tim: I don’t even remember what the guy looked like.
Todd: I happened upon a picture and it’s unnerving, actually.
Chavez: You should put that picture next to mine in the layout. You know what? The last couple of years have been hazy. I might have been in Dokken.
Todd: What was the worst show that you’ve played so far and what experience did you learn from it?
Chip: I’ve got this one. Our worst show was our first show ever in Club Mesa when we first got together as a band. And I knew Ray (Chavez) played in a band and no one else had, and we went up on stage and everything went fucking wrong. I mean, it just went hell.
Todd: So what did you learn from that experience?
Chip: I learned that…
Chavez: Don’t let Guitardo drink wine.
Chip: Yeah. Don’t let these guys get really drunk on stage, you know. It was bad.
Todd: Were they falling down?
Chip: No. Guitardo was playing a different song. Tim, I don’t know what the fuck he was playing. Some fucking…
Tim: We weren’t starting at the same time.
Chip: He was like he was playing in his fucking parents’ house or something. Me and Ray just looked over, and I looked at everybody because I’d just joined this band, going what the…
Tim: That was really a bad show. There was only two people watching, so who fucking cares?
Guitardo: I’ve played many bad shows.
Chip: But that was the baddest one I’ve ever played.
Tim: The most embarrassing show.
Todd: [to Chip] Were you in any other California bands?
Chip: I was in Fag Rabbit and this band Mud Knuckle, a long time ago.
Todd: Any Nebraska bands?
Chip: No, no Nebraska bands. Just a lot of obscure music.
Todd: Ray, what band were you in before?
Chavez: White Knuckle Driver, I was in. It was just like some hardcore band I was in in my late teens, early twenties. And that’s all I’ll comment on that… that’s my most embarrassing show.
Rick: Ray, that story’s actually better than that. It was just a bunch of metally guys with a punk ass singer and the metal guys couldn’t figure out what the fuck he was doing.
Chavez: Here is how it was. There was this metal band down the street from my house and me and Guitardo would just cruise down there. We’d hear them playing. They’d have all this fast music. And at the time – it was the late ’80s – I was into The Accused, Septic Death, and all of this crazy, ass-fucking, hardcore shit, and I’d just go down there and yell all this shit into the mic and basically make a mockery of what they were doing, ’cause I knew they were metal heads. And then this one day, the one guitar player came up to me and said, “Dude, why don’t you join our band?” And one by one they all got hair cuts except for the last guy… but we were called White Knuckle Driver. It was funny.
Chip: Ray was famous, though, as we’d come to find out.
Todd: Really, how so?
Tim: Famous in suburbia.
Chip: Ray was in this crazy band. Everybody I met would know him because of that band.
Chavez: They’d be like, “You were in White Knuckle Driver,” and I’d be all, “I think you’re thinking of my brother.”
Rick: He fudge packed some stripper the first night they played.
Guitardo: On the hood of his Impala. They were great.
Tim: I was in a band called Vader’s Crank that was around here for a short period of time.
Chavez: We stole Tim from Vader’s Crank.
Todd: How long did you play for them?
Tim: Maybe like a year or so. They never did anything, so… One guy kind of lost his mind and moved away and then I don’t know what happened to the rest of them, so yeah, they’re not around, actually.
Todd: What was the first punk band that you listened to that really affected the way you view the world – not just specifically sound-wise, but made other types of impact?
Guitardo: Adolescents.
Chavez: I’d say the same thing. That first Adolescents album (self-titled, often called The Blue Album, because, well, it’s blue) it was like the soundtrack to my juvenile delinquency because it had that same feel – that suburban revolution thing going on again. It’s like, you’re not poisoned by all this big city badness – the gangs and all – it’s less than that. It’s the overwhelming…
Tim: You’re just crying because you’re bored.
Chavez: Exactly. And that’s where punk kind of lost it is that everyone kind of pisses on that type of thing when they’re saying, “They’re an Orange County band. They live in the fucking suburbs.” Well that’s what punk’s about is about a revolution and what are you rebelling against in the big city dressed as a punker? You’re just another freak living in the big fucking city where you’re supposed to live and act like a freak in this club. That’s expected of you. So, it’s just kind of lost it, like the big rock scene after 20 years. It’s the same thing, over and over again, and nothing really good to say is coming from the city. It seems like there’s a lot of leftovers…
Tim: It seems like you’ve got a lot of hatred over here.
Chavez: I do. I hate a lot of things. I hate, therefore I am.
Tim: This guy speaks for himself, not for all of us.
Chavez: All that I’m saying is that’s why we sound the way we do and that’s why I liked that album.
Tim: What was the question, anyway?
Todd: Punk album that changed your view of the world.
Chip: Devo. Everybody started cropping their hair and looking totally different from the jocks in high school.
Todd: Do you think it opened up a lot of people, too?
Chip: Yeah.
Todd: Put in context, Devo’s really strange.
Chip: Where I lived, in high school in the ’80s, it was different. It was really jock oriented. I dunno, Devo really did a lot for people. It changed your view. You could be different, you know.
Todd: The thing I really like about Devo is that it’s really hard to be a tough guy listening to them. But you can be very, very strange.
Tim: “Jocko Homo.” Loved it.
Todd: Exactly. [Plaintive sound of bong hits in the back ground.] Who do you consider a personal hero and why do you consider them so?
Tim: Superman… no, I don’t know. As in like a real person?
Todd: I’m leaving it open.
Tim: Rick Bain. (co-owner of Hostage Records, present at the interview)
Todd: On the back of that question, why isn’t Rick thanked on the back of the new album?
Tim: He’s not?
Rick: That’s a very good question.
Tim: That’s Ray’s problem. I told him to also thank Chip Hanna from the US Bombs because he loaned me his cymbals on the recording and he didn’t put that in there, so talk to Ray.
Chavez: Chalk it up to a good marijuana habit.
Rick: Yeah, you fucker, now that I think about that, I’m gonna kick your ass.
Chavez: I’m sorry you guys.
Rick: On the Hostage records, I have to type my own name in there for the Thank You.
Chavez: Because we know he’ll put it in.
Guitardo: Max Hardcore.
Todd: [to Guitardo] Is there anything in your life that you’re limited from because you wear leather pants all the time? Will you not hop over a fence because of them, due to restriction?
Tim: I think he performs better in his leather pants.
Guitardo: No, you can pretty much do anything in these. See, I’ve got a rip in the butt and I don’t really fucking care.
Todd: Do you wear them all the time?
Guitardo: Yeah, a lot.
Chavez: Actually, that costume, if you go into his closet, it’s all the same shirts, same pants, same boots. Just rows of them. Except for there’s rotating shirts. The other one says “Smoke Marijuana.”
Guitardo: Ray likes that one.
Todd: What is the new wave? You mention it in almost every one, if not all, of your releases.
Chavez: This new suburban punk attack. This beach punk attack is the new wave.
Todd: So, you’re setting D-Day. Who’s in your battalions, then – or is it just a battalion of one?
Chavez: They are all the bands that are down here. The Stitches, Bonecrusher, Pushers, Smut Peddlers, Le Shok, The Numbers, I guess they can be in it.
Todd: Are there any bands from other areas that can be honorary members?
Chavez: Of course. Any band from any city. You’ve got to take over your beach. You’ve got to own your beach. You’ve got to rule this Teen-age. It’s the new beach invasion. It can happen in any city.
Todd: When’s the last time you hit somebody for a really, really good reason?
Chavez: I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve hit anyone in a long, long time that I can really remember, and if I did, it probably wasn’t for a good reason.
Todd: Well, that was the second part of my question: What was the last time you hit someone for a really, really bad reason?
Chavez: You know, I just thought about this yesterday, too. Remember that huge guy, Fester? And I took all those pills and got super drunk on gin and tonics on my birthday.
Guitardo: Yeah.
Chavez: I reached out and started punching the biggest guy… When people told me what I was doing, I didn’t believe them myself. He basically just laughed and flicked me off. I woke up the next day around noon with, like, a shirt tied around my back, behind me, faced down on a couch with my pants pulled down, and when I woke up, I asked them why I was like that. That wasn’t happening. I asked Guido’s girlfriend at the time, “Dude, what happened?” They were like, “We thought you were going to throw up and choke on your puke or something. You were acting really weird and out of control. We had to lay you face down and tie you down and you passed out that way. And that’s the last time I think I hit anyone.
Tim: That’s the way you tell it.
Guitardo: That’s right.
Chip: I haven’t hit anyone in a long time. I want to hit every member of this band about every fucking night.
Tim: Yeah, I think we need to start hitting each other some more.
Chip: That’s where my next hit’s going to be, for sure.
Todd: So what’s the biggest dispute you guys have had – and not necessarily physically?
Chip: Me acting like Ray’s girlfriend. That’s my biggest argument yet.
Chavez: That was the biggest dispute ever and that was a couple of days ago.
Chip: We got arguing over this club we were going to play because they cancelled the show on us and it was a pretty big show, so I said I wasn’t going to play there again, and Ray mentioned that we should play there just because this and that, this and that, and we just got in an argument about it and he said I was acting like his girlfriend, and it went on from there. But we would never fight with these guys because it would be over with.
Tim: We argue a lot about…
Guitardo: Having to practice.
Tim: These guys like to cancel practice. Or annoying people in the van when someone gets too drunk…
Chip: Like Mike Lohrman (of the Stitches) .
Tim: …or whoever drinks a lot and is talking a lot. It’s very annoying when someone’s talking in your ear and you’re trying to drive.
Chavez: That’s true. If you’re sober in the van on the way home, it sucks. [in drunk voice] “Let’s get chicken fried steaks.”
Todd: Do you think “Fuhrers” could have been made in the ’80s?
Chavez: No, because we would have been way too young to play those instruments.
Todd: Do you think it’s time specific, though?
Chavez: Yeah, it’s totally time specific.
Tim: It kind of sounds like it is, but I don’t think so. I think it could have been made in the ’80s, ’cause I listen to some of my old records and they sound just as good… punk.
Chavez: Sure, if we were all that age and knew each other.
Chip: I was that age.
Chavez: Some of those songs were written in the ’80s. Those really nice, melodic songs were from Guitardo’s old band.
Guitardo: My death rock band.
Todd: Which was?
Guitardo: Ceiling Zero. We only played in garages, at each other’s houses for people, and they would video us and tape record us and that’s about as big as we ever got.
Chavez: And that was “Ode to Street Violence,” “Fuhrers of the New Wave,” those two.
Rick: I have a question, going back to the record. You had a whole shitload of songs that you had already done that had nothing to do with the concept of the record – like “Judy Is a Model” was not really a part of the record. It was an old song. What did you do to incorporate the old songs into the new theme? What was the stuff that was not really part of the concept record that you worked into it?
Chavez: The only thing that’s worked into there is “Replay.” That’s not part of the concept, but that’s just their obsession with pinball. Our – my, excuse me – obsession with pinball that’s interjected in there.
Rick: But “Judy Is a Model,” wasn’t that an old song that was written way before the new stuff?
Chavez: It’s an older song but it was written way before the new stuff, but then again, so is “Neighborhood Brat,” which was our very first song. And it all just ties together. You can relate the same experiences – that’s basically the theme of the band. It’s what the “Fuhrers of the New Wave” is about. All of the songs that we’ve ever done can be incorporated into the story. If you pick a song, I can incorporate it into the story.
Rick: OK, “Judy Is a Model.”
Chavez: Judy is the girl that ends up dying and they finally end up saying “We need to get rid of the Fuhrers because this girl, this model girl, this girl that really does have a bad side and does all those bad things that all of the community and all her parents don’t even believe that she would do, is out doing those bad things and ends up dead and they don’t blame Judy, who’s doing the bad things, they blame the Fuhrers, who Judy is with. And it comes down to that.
Todd: How is your self image and the image of the band changed since you’ve started?
Chavez: I have to have this band. I would go into deep depression. I would have no outlet. I could go surfing and all that stuff, but then again, I would just be one of these guys – I don’t mean these guys – beyond them, beyond the wall.
Tim: Welcome to the Chavez Experience.
Chavez: I don’t mean that. You know what I mean. I’d just be one of those guys just out there.
Todd: How important is the image of Smogtown?
Chip: There is no image.
Todd: Beyond the music of Smogtown… Why do you dress the way you dress? Or is it to play in this band, you’re walking off the street and start playing an instrument?
Chip: Pretty much, for me, that’s how it happens. These guys all knew each other. I never knew them.
Todd: So how did you hook up with these guys?
Chip: Actually, they came into my destiny, really. They did. They found me. I met Ray at a gas station and that started after that.
Chavez: Me and Guitardo worked at a gas station.
Guitardo: Ray pumped his gas.
Chavez: I saw him. He had a bunch of tattoos. No, you know what it was, was John Potty was wearing an Underdog shirt. I was like, “I get records there all the time,” and you said “Oh yeah, you guys jam at all?” And I’m like, “We’ve got a me, a guitar player and a drummer.” He was, “Dude, I play bass. I’ll jam with you guys.” We grabbed him. We had those first four songs.
Tim: We had that other guy.
Chavez: Yeah, we had another bass player but we dropped him.
Tim: As far as an image, we are the way we are. We just aren’t like other normal people, I think, I guess, or something.
Chip: We’ve all got own image.
Tim: We all live in our own little worlds.
Chip: The only time we come together is practice. It’s weird.
Chavez: No, we do come together quite a bit more than that.
Guitardo: We wreck each other’s houses.
Rick: Todd, what do you think their image is? Because if everyone thinks of their image from photos they’ve seen, what do you perceive the image is? Can’t you ask them? They don’t know.
Todd: I come from a very graphic point of view, laying out a magazine, and some people are very, very intentional on how they want to be portrayed. That’s fine, but for some people, their image projects and overshadows other things like their talent and their capability.
Tim: So our image sucks?
Todd: No, because, more basically…
Chavez: Check this out. We just started out playing the music that we wanted to play and everyone told us that we were “beach punk.” And “You guys sing about the beach. Except we never really thought about it. It was like, “I guess we kinda do.”
Guitardo: It’s what we live and what we played. And we were living those lives.
Chavez: The New Beach Invasion didn’t come until after all the beach punk hype started around Orange County. Then we just went with it. The New Beach Alliance caught right on. Basically, there was one member from each band that would all meet at the same beach on Saturday and we’d all surf and we basically created The New Beach Alliance right there and took over this beach break, paddled right out there and said, “Yeah, we own this place. We’re taking over.”
Todd: So, back to the movie “Point Break,” did you beat other people up?
Chavez: No. You don’t have to do that. Just take their wave. They know better.
Guitardo: Nobody wanted to challenge.
Chavez: If you have enough people, you don’t have to beat anyone up. I would never beat anyone up over a wave, though. I almost did get beat up over a wave, though.
Rick: Who’s in the New Beach Invasion and who is The New Beach Coalition?
Chavez: The New Beach Coalition is actually Northern Orange County. Down here, the Beach City Butchers, that’s basically us. The Fuhrers is just a nickname, fantasy type thing to protect the innocent in the movie.
Chip: All the bands will unite in The Coalition and The Alliance.
Chavez: The New Beach Coalition is part of the New Beach Alliance.
Chip: It’s like different chapters of the Hells Angels but it’s the beach.
Todd: Are you paranoid?
Chavez: Ummm. Nu uh [shaking his head]. Only around holidays when the inlanders invade.
Chip: Depends about what.
Guitardo: Only at my house. I dunno. Just always a paranoid place to be when everybody’s on drugs… and loud.
Tim: Distributing them.
Guitardo: Living in a family orientated apartment complex.
Tim: Don’t print that.
Todd: Do you get pissed off if people write your name wrong?
Chavez: Yes. Smogtown is one fucking word.
Todd: Why is that?
Tim: Why is it one word? Should it be two words technically?
Todd: Yeah, because it’s an adjective and a noun.
Chavez: Yeah, that would represent a town that is smoggy. Smogtown is a specific place that starts in Tijuana and stretches all the way to Ventura, eastward to the San Bernardino Mountains. It’s fucking paved, the whole area, and you know what? Everyone tries to tell you, “Smogtown is this place, Smogtown is Burbank, Smogtown is San Fernando.” Smogtown is the whole fucking place.
Todd: Southern California.
Chavez: Exactly. And everything that happens in that whole place is what’s represented in the songs that we make. That’s what they’re about. Every single one of them.
Todd: So you’re like under this umbrella?
Chavez: Basically. Because it’s a place.
Tim: So that’s why it’s one word.
Todd: What gets me is that it’s always in all capitalization, so if you had the first letter capital and the rest lower case, I could understand that very easily. But I accept your explanation… so, Chavez, how much weed do you have to smoke to get a masters? (Directly referring to the lyrics in “Teenage”?) [laughter]
Chip: That’s good that you picked that line up. I’m impressed.
Chavez: He comes right back with what we were just talking about… a lot of weed. I forgot.
Tim: He doesn’t get high, he smokes so much.
Guitardo: You can apply that to every day.
Tim: He doesn’t get high. He just keeps smoking it and smoking it.
Todd: How large a factor is that in touring? What percentage of your preparations are around that?
Chavez: Actually, the problem isn’t around marijuana. We just like to say that. We judge how much pot is it going to take for us to get us from Portland to Seattle or San Francisco to Portland. Do you know what I mean?
Chip: These guys, they’ve got to have pot.
Chavez: Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to deal with Chip.
Chip: I can’t deal with them. They’re bad. They’re like women on the rag. It’s pathetic.
Todd: So, what are your day jobs?
Chip: Computers. Telling people how to put modems and memory in their computer. Customer support.
Tim: UPS driver.
Guitardo: I work in a tainted grocery warehouse. We sell market food.
Todd: Do people know they’re damaged?
Guitardo: Oh yeah.
Todd: Do the people that they sell it to know it’s damaged?
Guitardo: Yeah. We sell to like white trash and rich people. No one in between.
Chip: It’s a rad store.
Chavez: I work in a molecular biology lab. It’s true. We clone human parts and ship them to neutral countries where it’s legal to put them together and make an actual cloned human.
Todd: No.
Chavez: Yeah.
Guitardo: It’s the damned truth.
Todd: Shit.
Chip: His girlfriend’s a scientist.
Chavez: She’s twenty-three.
Tim: He sweeps the floors. He’s lying.
Chavez: No. I build DNA purification kits [laughter]… it’s true. I fill solutions in little beakers and put nitric acid on things and shake them and put things the centrifuge…
Guitardo: Makes a good martini…
Tim: He smokes a lot of pot.
Todd: What’s the most memorable thing you’ve hit with your car?
Chavez: I’ve never hit… oh, a possum. I had a Volkswagen bug and it went underneath the wheel, underneath the tire, into the wheel well and was go big that it just slowed my bug down to a stop. I had to put it in reverse and kick him out of there.
Guitardo: I had this ’70 Dodge Dart, hit this berm jump off of the Ortega Highway, went thirty feet through a barbed wire fence, into some guy’s nursery where he grew plants for the agriculture around buildings and stuff. And it trashed a hundred bushes. He didn’t press any charges and the engine was still running and DRI was still on the stereo. I thought we could drive away but it wasn’t going. I got out of the car and the entire bottom chassis was fallen from the bottom of the car. It was crazy.
Tim: In my car, maybe it was the rent-a-car parked on the side of the road in my Dad’s Mustang when we were thirteen, driving down the fucking street.
Chip: Center divider in my mom’s Oldsmobile in Mission Viejo. I was drunk. Don’t remember what happened, but I woke up on the center divider. It was all fucked up.
Guitardo: Everyone’s crashed.
Todd: Where did you get the cover for “The Fuhrers,” because I’ve seen it before. There’s a 7″ and the band’s name starts with a “D,” I think – I saw it in a record bin – and they’ve got the same pictures, although not tinted yellow.
Chavez: Is it a Dis band?
Todd: I don’t know. I just saw the cover. Could be.
Chavez: We got it out of this Time Life magazine type thing. It started with the 1900s, 1910 and it was out of the 1960s and it was just some picture in there. I think it’s Kent State. It said the guy had a broken hand. That’s what it says in the caption.
Todd: He’s a protester, right?
Chavez: Throwing back a smoke grenade that people had lobbed at him.
Tim: I didn’t know that someone had used that before.
Todd: You know what, it was when I went see you guys play. I saw it at Head Line Records.
Chip: Uh oh.
Chavez: Do you look at packaging?
Todd: Oh yeah. Just out of habit now.
Chavez: Same here ’cause I think how an album is packaged is really key, you know what I mean? I can do a lot of the packaging. It’s part of the attack. I never can spend enough time, except with “Beach City Butchers.” That’s my favorite cover.
Todd: Assuming there is a God, what would be the first thing you asked him if he ended up riding shotgun in your car?
Guitardo: “Can I sit at your left hand?”
Chavez: I would say, “What were you thinking with Pope Pious?”
Todd: Why would you ask that question?
Chavez: Just because, my dad’s a Catholic, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t a Catholic and that was my reason. Pope Pious and joining up with Hitler and shit – that’s kind of bad and people just sort of just blow it off and it was just sort of weird to me. That would be my question to God: “If Catholicism is right and the Popes do know what your will is, what were you thinking with Pope Pious?”
Tim: Oh man, you can’t follow that up.
Guitardo: “If you made it, why can’t we smoke it?”
Tim: “Why didn’t I win the lottery all those times I prayed to you?”
Chavez: I might be a lottery winner right now. I played.
Chip: “Why did you let my best friend die, God?”
Chavez: It’s just like Chip to bring things down.
Chip: Fuck yeah. That’s what I’m going to ask him.
Todd: This is the last question. Look to the person to the right, who’s in the band, and tell me what you like most about them.
Chavez: I’ll tell you what I like most about Chip.
Chip: Oh, great.
Chavez: Chip is the most generous, father-like person that I’ve ever met. Seriously. He lent me two hundred bucks. I haven’t paid him back for that. And I’ve gone sleepless for the last five years for it. Seriously, and I will pay you back, Chip. Swear to God.
Tim: Chip doesn’t like anything about me.
Chip: Tim’s a cool person and he fucking just plays the drums so tight that I feel like I just fit right in with him. It feels like I belong with him when I’m on stage. He’s so tight I don’t even have to worry. There’s no stress. It’s weird. It feels like I’ve known him forever.
Tim: Guitardo, I like. He’s got a great personality. He doesn’t say too much but he’s very easy going. He’s a pushover. That’s what I like about him.
Guitardo: Chavez, ’cause he’s got this Latino charm thing going. All the girls thinks he looks like some Latin lover.
Chavez: Erik Estrada.
Guitardo: Yeah.
Tim: That’s what you like about him.