Tiltwheel’s a band that I gradually got into, bit by bit. Now, I’m a full-blown fan. They’re the band I’ve seen the most times in my life. One of the first times I hung out with them all was when they were recording Hair Brained Scheme Addicts several years back. I barely knew their old songs, knew them even less, but I was struck at how down-to-earth they were. But not only that. They’re all characters. I don’t mean they’re putting on a show – they’ve all got their own charisma. Davey’s the constant. He’s charming, tells a great story, and is cutthroat honest with himself. The fact that he’s got a large, sad heart makes itself evident when he plays guitar. There seems to be a direct line from his aorta to the amplifier. How he plays can’t be replicated in a lab because it sounds like his life depends on it, and you just can’t fake that type of soaring and sorrow. And in no small way, and without making this too important, his life does depend on music. Playing it, listening to it, being a fan of it.
Tiltwheel, the band, at first sounds like they’re playing very happy music. A bit of it undeniably is. The tones are bright, the songs are swelling and powerful. But there are voracious, rusted chained monsters lurking underneath. It’s a very sneaky dynamic.
What follows is the most personal band interview I’ve ever done. It’s about a guy who won’t let a band die, what he’s actively doing about it, and who doesn’t know if every hit upon the musical anvil will break him apart or if it’ll really make him stronger and provide his hard-sought salvation.
Present were Davey, Mark, and Nichol Pyle, who is more often than not Davey’s bestest friend in the world.
Todd: What’s the Tiltwheel curse?
Davey: The curse. We don’t know where the curse came from. The curse is elusive. The reasoning behind it – I have no idea, but that’s what a curse is all about. The curse first started the first time we ever thought of going out of town. It was right after recorded “Volume”, maybe ’94. I have no idea. Aaron Reagan’s mom had a station wagon. We were going to do some shows in Arizona and, I think, in New Mexico. And the curse came about because it’s got satanic overtones. We booked three or four shows. I had never been in a band that had toured before or anything like that. You read about it in punk magazines about bands that tour. You’re like, “Yeah. Fuck yeah. We’re in a band. We’re gonna tour.” Aaron says, “I can’t go.” And this was two or three in the afternoon and we were supposed to leave at five. And we’re like, “Why?” He’s like, “Well, I’m supposed to go out to dinner with my girlfriend and I’ve got tickets to Cannibal Corpse on Saturday.” So, I think that’s the satanic overtones.
Mark: [sarcastically] Real, authentic satanic overtones.
Davey: Could be. That voodoo shit, when you’ve got a curse, Satan pokes his head in. Maybe that’s where it started. I don’t know. We had gone to Arizona and back once. When the band started, Bob (long-time drummer) was a Christian. Full-on. He was friends with Gator.
Todd: The Gator?
Davey: Gator the fuckin’ murderer, who’d turned Christian before he chopped his girlfriend’s friend to bits. I remember driving in that station wagon to Arizona for some skate demo. It was the opening of a skatepark benefit type thing. We were listening to Crucified – name a band – By The Cross, or some shit like that and I think there was this, maybe the word is dichotomy. Our drummer wants us to listen to Jesus rock. Our bass player wanted to see Cannibal Corpse. Well, obviously Cannibal Corpse won. I think that’s the basic foundation of the curse.
The next instance of the curse – I booked a tour. It was a week, maybe two weeks long. We’d talked Liquid Meat (Tiltwheel’s then record company) into buying this van off this guy. He worked at a pizza place, Sorrentino’s in Escondido. $500. Fuck yeah. Good deal for a ’69 Econoline. We bought his van. We’re loading up the fucking van in the driveway. It’s loaded, ready to go. Aaron’s standing there with his bag. And some cunt in his Mercedes – he’s probably the only other person in the entire history of the world who wanted to go up this same alley way. “All right, he wants to get in. He’s fuckin’ honking at us. He’s being a twat.” So I crank it into reverse and all of a sudden, the van starts rolling, with it in gear, in reverse. What ended up happening is a cotter pin snapped. Tour’s cancelled. Forget about it.
Todd: So, what about the guy in the Mercedes? Was he just being a dick?
Davey: Well, no. I was kinda like parked. The emergency brake was on. And he had to get through even though there’s a thousand parking places, but there’s people in the world who are too good to park on the street, even for a second, and he has to park in his little spot. There’s shit everywhere, there’s people loading out. He ruins our fucking night.
Todd: How important are UFO sightings in the formation of Tiltwheel?
Davey: Not really that important, but I always search for them. I’ve had one UFO encounter that I’ll admit to. That’s real. Completely real. Bob had this girlfriend named Jessica. Really nice girl. She was a young girl. She comes to my house one afternoon, she’s like, “Let’s go to the desert.” So we go out to the desert – here’s a great, convoluted story again. We got to the desert and go get a five-gallon bottle of Rhine wine, which always makes a good party. I’m cracking these jokes. You know when you’ll have a song stuck in your head? Well, that night the song just happened to be “Little Green Men” by Haunted Garage. So, we’re driving through the Anzo Barrego desert and I’m singing “little green men, little green men, little green men.” I was looking out the fucking window going, “Wouldn’t it be rad if we saw some aliens or something right now? I heard there’s alien sightings.” She’s freaking the fuck out. We go to this spot. It’s an unincorporated area of San Diego – it’s between San Diego and Riverside Counties, about a five mile stretch where there’s no police allowed, no wildlife preserves, and I know because of that you can get completely fucking mangled. We’ve had two or three day little parties, kegs of beer. We get out of the car. All of a sudden I see this – it’s a triangular type of object and it’s not too high off the ground. It’s low enough where we can see the shadow on the ground, flying over. The moon’s full. Didn’t make a sound. It had six or seven red lights encircling the thing and it just kind of like cruised past us at a convex angle – when you’re outside of the circle – and it fucked off. The Anzo Barrego desert is a fucking desert. There’s absolutely nothing. And there’s one highway that goes through it that goes to Riverside. So, I’m standing out of the car, going, “Fuck yeah! Woo!” She’s freaking out. She’s got her hands on her face. I started cracking this joke, “That’s a UFO. We fuckin’ saw one.” Kinda joking, then all of a sudden, we hear this car [make brake screech noise] stop really fast. In the distance you could hear, “What is that? What is that?” And I yell, “Did you see that?” And all I hear is car doors close and they fuckin’ take off. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a UFO because we weren’t the only ones affected by it. Does that have any affect on Tiltwheel? No. But it’s a great fucking story when you’re drunk in Iowa. Were we probed that night? No.
Todd: So, you were a clown.
Davey: [dejected] Yeah.
Todd: What was your clown name?
Todd: Were you admitted to Barnum and Bailey clown school?
Davey: Yes I was. San Diego State University runs a clown school and my parents went to it. I remember them coming in one night – I’m watching TV with my sister or something, and they’re like, “Kids, we’re going to be clowns.” They didn’t want us to have baby sitters or something. My dad’s a great guy. “I’m a clown, I’m going to make my son and daughter be a clown. Draw what clown face you want.” I was really young. Probably seven, tops. My sister was six. Fast forward. We used to do mall openings, birthday parties, parades – fucking parades – all the time. Dress up as a clown, walk down a fucking street, go home. But, but, that movie, Shakes the Clown, true fucking story, right?
Right now, what we’re doing; we played this punk rock show and we go to somebody’s house and we drink. Right? OK, clowns do that too. Clowns don’t remove their fucking makeup. So, we’d have these parties and once in a while they’d be at our house. I remember this one pool party in Poway, California. Sam The Meat Man was a clown. He was the bearded lady. He wore a dress and he had a fucking beard. This is totally true. They had this bar outside, right, and they’re like, “You wanna Coke?” They’re being really specific about it. I’m not that old, but I knew my surroundings. I remember these clowns doing cannon balls into the pool and shit like that. “Wooh! Check me out! Wooh!” Clown style. This is the shit I lived through every weekend as a kid. We’d have these fucking parties at my house. Most of the fucking parades were on Saturday, so Sunday mornings I’d wake up to watch cartoons and there’s not many cartoons, but you’ve got to get in on the good ones. Dude, this fucking clown’s in my fucking seat, passed out, where I wanted to watch cartoons. So, I’ve got some pictures of passed-out clowns with beers in their hands at my house.
Daisy the clown, he was an all right guy. For a clown, he was pretty fucking cool. Then I got into the whole band thing and all that shit. I didn’t want to be a clown. You’re a youngster. There’s girls. There’s tits and there’s cocks. So, you don’t want to be a clown because chicks don’t dig fucking clowns, right? But I’m eighteen. My dad, every year Ringling comes to town, we’re front row. “Hey, Frosty, Lou Jacobs, Gable Williams, who passed away a couple weeks ago, bless his heart – and they all knew us. So, anyway, my dad’s all, “So why don’t you come to the auditions with us?” I was, “All right. I’ve got nothing else to do.” Go to the auditions. At the Ringling auditions, they get a group of three people lined up and you walk an imaginary tightrope across a circus ring. And then they make you walk around the circus ring. What they really want – they just tell you, “Do this.” And they want to see what you do besides that, how you elaborate on it. I walk across [makes very strange noise].
Todd: An orangutan?
Davey: Like an alien monkey… or an orangutan. You’re right. Next thing I know, these clowns pull me aside, totally grilling me and shit. “We liked what you did. Fill out this application.” And they always ask this. They ask, “Do you have family? Do you have kids? Do you have a girlfriend?” My dad was accepted a couple years before that but they denied him because we were young. In Ringling Brothers, you go on the road for at least four years. There’s two units in Ringling Brothers. Red unit and blue unit. Each unit goes on tour – one year you’re in the U.S., one year, you’re in Europe. They switch off each year. And they were, “What do you have here that’s anchoring you to San Diego?” I said, “Well, I play in a band.” And they’re like, “Do you like your band?” “Yeah. Punk rock. I really like playing music.” I pretty much decided right then that by the time I was thirty that if I wasn’t happy or if I wasn’t playing music, that I’d fucking join the circus. Seriously, the day I turned thirty I thought about it. I remember – I was actually taking a shit at the time – you’ve seen my bathroom. I’ve got that fucking mirror. You can do a lot of thinking when you’re staring at yourself taking a shit. [speaking to himself] “So, what’s the deal? Do I sell the guitar and join the fucking circus or what?” I decided thirty-five would be a better age to decide.
Todd: Did you ever get nailed because you were a clown? Are there such things as clown groupies?
Davey: From what I understand, there are clown groupies. And from what I understand, they’re not showgirls. I guess they’re not allowed to commingle. No. Never got nailed because I was a clown. No. Never got nailed because I was in a band. Never got nailed for nothing.
Todd: Have you ever been in a long, serious relationship?
Davey: One that I count, yeah. [joking, well, half joking] It’s called Tiltwheel.
Todd: What’s the worst job you’ve had to take – or the one you’re most embarrassed about – to keep the band together?
Davey: Never been embarrassed about a job, ever.
Todd: So, how was being Santa at the mall?
Davey: I liked it. What the fuck? Pyle [who provided the question, and was outside the van], I hate you. I liked being fucking Santa Claus, right? That’s good. You make a fucking hundred bucks. You walk around for three hours and give candy to kids. It’s all right.
Todd: How many times did you do it?
Davey: I did it just the one time. I try every year to do it. It’s hot in that fucking suit.
Todd: Did you have to shave the goatee?
Davey: No. It’s a really elaborate suit. My dad saw the suit and he flipped. “I want that fucking suit.” My dad is a staunch Catholic. He was a brother when he met my mom. He was becoming a priest. This guy is a straight up, by-the-book Bible man, but he believes in previous lives. He believes in his previous life that he was the Santa Claus. My dad dresses up in his Santa Claus suit more times a year than anybody should. I got a great picture of him with a Bloody Mary in his hand, dressed in his Santa suit. Look, I’m thirty-two years old, I’m sitting in a fucking van, drinking wine in Dubuque, Iowa. I should have grandkids for him. He’s fucking proud that I was Santa Claus at the mall. Good for him, you know?
Todd: So what was the number one request you got from kids?
Davey: Pokemon and trains. Gotta lot of trains.
Todd: Did you ever get nailed from being Santa Claus?
Davey: No. But I tried to nail an elf.
Todd: How’d that go?
Davey: She didn’t want any part of it… [to the back of the van] Can I have another beer, a cold one?
Todd: Is there beer there?
Mark: [from the back of the van] You want one?
Davey: I never got nailed because I was Santa Claus. I want to. I would love to look at a girl’s tits and say, “Ho, ho, ho! Rudolph.”
Mark: [joking, well, half joking] That’s not too far off my pickup line. “What’s up bitches? What’s up sluts?”
Todd: What, specifically, now are you trying to do to keep Tiltwheel full time?
Davey: Sitting in a van in Dubuque, Iowa.
Mark: Not being Santa.
Todd: There have to be conditions, concessions.
Davey: I live with my parents. I’m thirty-two years old. I work for forty dollars a night doing sound. I wake up and do what I call “band shit.” Emails. Playing guitar. Writing songs. I’ve started a few labels. Basically, I sit at home and wish I was on tour. Then we practice. They I go, “Hey, let’s go on tour.” That’s all I think about because I can’t fucking do anything else.
Todd: What number tour is this?
Mark: Two Tiltwheel tours for me.
Davey: I consider the first one – a trip out to Provo and back. But that was the tour. Five – because we’ve been to Fort Collins twice.
Todd: Are you scared of what the band could become?
Davey: No, I’m scared of what the band can’t become. Laziness. Comfortability at home. I call it fly paper. Streets are covered with fly paper. It’s a lot easier to stay in your own little prison then to go out and experience the world.
Todd: Are you personally scared – beyond comfort?
Davey: I’m scared of what’s going to happen when, to quote RKL, I break the camel’s back. I’m scared of what’s going to happen but I’m really not scared because for a long time I’ve had this vision in my head of sitting on a street corner on Fifth and Broadway, downtown Escondido, or B Street where the drunk tank is, where all these bums sit and that’s what I see as my future. Everybody sees their future in a different way. Literally, I look like Charles Manson. I’m wearing olive drab. I could probably point out the dirt marks on the jacket. I’d just be drunk all the time and hopefully – hopefully – having a guitar.
Todd: Do you feel guilty that there are bands that you admire, such as the Urchin, who are opening for you?
Davey: No. What I worry about is having some convoluted hair-brained scheme to tell a band that I love – and chances are that I may be the one of the fifteen or twenty people in the U.S. that feels that way about this band – and to bring them over and have them spend all of their money and lose their jobs. It just breaks my heart.
Todd: Is it breaking your heart right now?
Davey: Oh, completely. I’ve been a wreck for a couple days over this shit. Especially last night. There was forty people or so watching us play. Those people were all watching Toys That Kill and The Arrivals. It was really hot and I was completely mangled so I didn’t get to see The Urchin too much. I caught about five songs, but it was us, the people in the van, that were watching. That’s a heartbreaker. Punks in the U.S. are a bunch of snobs. It’s fucked up. This is the one thing. If you’re a punk, music should be the only thing that makes you happy in life and to not pay attention to a band for any other reason than you’re totally burned out or tired. It’s just wrong. It’s snobbery. And then I get depressed when we show up in a town with six fucking dollars between us and a band we spent $3,000 getting over here, who worked their fucking jobs just for the opportunity to not to work those jobs. To get that one bit of happiness in your life. You know what I mean? The one little shining moment. You’re like this old man sitting on a porch, or a bum on Fifth and Broadway, just talking about what you did in your life.
Todd: Do you think your humility gets the best of you?
Davey: Oh, totally.
Todd: Do you think it’s counterproductive?
Davey: Yeah, but it’s really hard because it’s not convoluted in any way because I’ve thought about it. But, yeah, it does get the best of me. The worst part is that it gets the best of other people. Kris [the touring bass player], I’ve seen him sad for a couple days. It’s breaking my heart. I don’t want to see people sad. I want to see them happy. Yeah. You’re totally right. Humility is a fucking pain killer that will destroy you.
Todd: Does San Diego have anything to offer you after all of these years?
Davey: That show at the Livewire with people who have seen this stinking, shit-fucking band a thousand times playing the same fucking eight or nine songs over and over, just going completely ape shit. That’s what it has to offer. I don’t want that to sound like in a way that we were the center of attention. The fact that people were enjoying themselves and that’s what we have to offer. We live in this place – we’ve got all types – bums and the richest people in the United States. The Hotel Del Coronado. I think Kennedy got married there. The fucking king guy – the prince of England who married the American broad. The pauper broad, got married at Hotel Del Coronado.
Mark: Dave, he’s asking if San Diego has anything to offer you.
Davey: Oh. Yeah. [laughing] Fucking beer and pussy. No. San Diego has nothing to offer to anybody. That’s not a valid question.
Todd: It’s a totally fucking valid question. Why San Diego?
Davey: Because my parents fucking moved there when I was a kid.
Todd: So you’re going to use that leash as your excuse for saying that it’s not worth anything?
Davey: No. No, but that’s why I’m there.
Todd: Why don’t you move to somewhere like Gainsville? The rent is virtually nonexistent compared to a place like San Diego.
Davey: I would love to move to Gainsville. I even liked Erie, Pennsylvania. That guy bought a two-story house for $160 a month. Erie’s a place where guys can talk themselves out of drunk driving tickets. It’s a great place.
Todd: Where does your hope come from, Davey? You smile when you play and really love people like Jimmy The Truth (ex-Panthro U.K. United 13, currently in Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission), and there is hope out there in bands like The Thumbs and there is good music out there.
Mark: Like fucking Chinchilla.
Davey: Super Chinchilla. The Arrivals.
Todd: Yeah, but I want to position that against something else, though. With The Arrivals, and you said this with At The Drive-In, they were so good that you wanted to quit. Is that facetious or is that actually hope?
Davey: That’s true.
Todd: Then where’s your hope coming from? You can’t say that the thing that destroys you completely is giving you hope.
Davey: But they give me hope.
Todd: You can’t have hope and annihilation in the same sentence. You can’t.
Davey: Yes you can. [stomping his foot]
Davey: Yes you can. You can’t explain it. [yelling] Take The Arrivals, because they’re the most recent addition to the fucking two-man list.
Mark: What about Chinchilla?
Davey: No. They don’t want to make me want to quit. They just give me hope for continuing on. Isn’t that weird? I don’t feel challenged. Doesn’t that suck? I’m a fan of music. I like music. The only thing that’s ever made me happy in my life is stinking music. Beer and pussy. That shit’s great.
Mark: But that will just get you to the next day. God, I can’t believe what this is going to look like later.
Davey: [flustered] When you’re at home, Todd, and you’re sitting in your fucking house and you’re completely just washed up. You’re to the point if you had a gun – I don’t for a reason – and knives and poison and heroin, or whatever and you don’t want to wake up tomorrow and you put in a stinking fucking band that nobody’s ever heard of. Sometimes it takes two seconds. Sometimes it takes a minute and a half. It’s like you’re fucking window of opportunity to make you forget about everything. The next thing you know, at three in the morning, the fucking world around me is asleep. Miserable fucking cunts because they have to wake up in two hours, and I’m fucking dancing in my house to a band I love and they make me forget that I didn’t want to wake up tomorrow and that’s what it’s all about. If that makes any sense.
Todd: Would you say that people like Mark and Kris add to that hope?
Davey: What was the first song we played together Mark?
Mark: Me and you?
Davey: No, with Kris. Kris?
Mark: Kris is drunk.
Davey: Good. I hope he’s fucking smiling, you know what I mean?
Mark: “Truth.” It was the first song I ever played with you, too.
Davey: From a selfish standpoint, it felt great, but that’s a selfish feeling because the feeling doesn’t include Mark and Kris. Did we meld together the first fucking time we played that last note? I wanted to move to Denton [where Kris and Mark live around]. Is that selfish because I want to move to Denton and find the fucking people I’ve been searching for in San Diego my entire life? You know what I mean? I said “I” three times in the last sentence. I don’t know how to react to a question like that.
Todd: How do you feel about being the…
Davey: It’s shit. I hate it.
Todd: ..the main…
Davey: It’s shit. I hate it.
Todd: The Tiltwheel guy.
Mark: Actually Todd, to interject, if you listened yesterday at breakfast, Dave is no longer the main Tiltwheel guy. He’s on vacation for a couple days. I’m the main Tiltwheel guy and Kris is the shift leader. Right now I’m on lunch.
Davey: [to the front yard full of minors] Who’s got a smoke for Davey?
Todd: What’s the furthest you’ve traveled for a canceled show?
Davey: What seems likes the furthest? With Everready [which Davey plays bass for on occasion], we were supposed to play Rockford, IL. I remember we had 40 cents to our name and we hit a dollar toll and she let us through. We gave her all of our money and we had some show at a skatepark in Rockford, IL and we went there. I had this white van. The fuel gauge didn’t work on it. I kept a five gallon gas tank in the back. And we ran out of gas in the last toll booth to Rockford, so we’re sitting in the middle of the freeway gassing the thing up. So we fucked off to Rockford, ran out of gas at the skatepark in the driveway as we rolled up. When we get there, we say, “We’re Everready.” They’re like, “Who? We cancelled the show.” We’d talked to them at ten o’clock that morning and the show was still going on. We get there at four or five. Over with. There was a bunch of cars from the kids who were skating, and we siphoned gas out of the their cars so we could get out of there. They were all skating. We grabbed another gas can, just in case we needed that extra edge to get us to a gas station. No money in our pockets, 3,000 miles from home. We made it from the gas station to a Taco Bell in a parking lot of a Safeway that had a Western Union and Brian Everready called Hopeless Records – our label guy, Cool Guy Records – wouldn’t answer the phone. “Louis, can you loan us some money. $75 to get us to the next show?” I called my mom. She said, “I’ll give you $180. That’s what I’ve got.” She wired money and Louis wired money and we ended up having $200, which is more than we started the whole tour with. We were starving. We go to Taco Bell and all order our one bean burrito. $1.80 for the three of us. We meet this girl. She had a Cure patch on her purse or jacket. We start talking to her. We learned that she was a go-go dancer. I guess Rockford, IL doesn’t have titty bars, but they have go-go bars.
Davey: And push-up bras… She was willing to put us up. She brought us to this bar and got us drunk for free. The only thing we weren’t allowed to do was sit in front of the stage, even though we were the only people in there. And they were doing the full-on strip show. There’s a law that if you sit in front of the stage, you have to tip. So we sat at the bar and she danced, and we thought, “This is cool.” We ended up having a show after that… That was the furthest we ever had to go.
Todd: Looking at the fact that so much of Tiltwheel’s releases are relatively hard to get, why don’t you start putting out your own stuff?
Davey: Don’t have the time. It sounds like I’m being an asshole, but there’s three people in the band and for some reason I’m the only person who does anything besides practice and play shows. That’s why. I’ve started labels. I just don’t have the time. You know how it is. If I had the ability and the smarts and the conviction to be self-sufficient, I would be, but it won’t work out that way. I would love that to happen. If there were 26 hours in a day, it’d be no problem. I don’t know if it’s apathy or what, but it sure is frustrating. Part of that, too is why we only have two records in seven years.
Todd: Speaking about song, you’ve got a one: “It’s Amazing the Things You Find in Your Pocket After a Bender.” Give me a some pertinent lines in that and then give me the gist of the song.
Davey: OK. You go into a bar and you just want to get mangled. I do this. I always tell the bartender straight off, “Here’s the deal. I’m fucking depressed. I’m pissed off. Something’s going to break.”
Mark: [from the back, from nowhere, and more drunk] Hey Dave, Congelliere (of Toys That Kill) said that you said that you were down to blow me.
Davey: That would be a non-fact.
Mark: Congelliere did want to know if he could blow you, though. He’s over there on the phone and said that whenever you’re done with this. In fact, Todd, when you’re done with this, you might want to go over there and make note of what happens.
Davey: As much as I like punk rock and I like Toys That Kill – I’m kinda digging on their lyrics – having another person who smells like Boys That Smell or whatever they’re called – touch my dick, is not really an option.
Mark: I’m sorry. I didn’t try to side track anything. I was trying to be silly.
Todd: [re-railing the train of thought] Bartender, depressed.
Davey: I always tell them, “Here’s the deal. I don’t have a lot of money. I want to shoot somebody or myself. This is the way it goes. Do you mind if you put up with me tonight?” I’ll warn bartenders of what might happen. If I remember correctly, that song was written at The Bombay in Chicago.
Todd: Give me three or four lines.
Davey: “Don’t mind the broken glass/ ’cause this too shall pass/ and won’t look back/ Don’t mind the broken jaw or the broken hearts or the dreams that we left shattered/ I’m going tits up/ I’m all mixed up/ everything’s falling apart/ If I pass out or even cash out/ tomorrow might not be so hard.”
Todd: What ever happened to crossing musical platforms and making a pop, country, and punk record as a triple release?
Davey: As I was saying before. I don’t have any options. What’s to do after I completely snap and give up on being the person I am now? That’s bound to happen whether you push a pencil or play music. There’s a point where everybody snaps, so I was thinking to supplement punk rock – I like a lot of country music and I don’t really see a difference between country music, blues, and punk rock. I think punk rock is blues. It’s the natural progression from blues, from sitting on a porch, trouble on your mind and you’re a long ways away from home, that’s what blues is all about. To me, that’s punk rock. So, that’s country music, too. Real country music. Not that Alan Jackson fuckin’ stuff. Hank Williams Sr. Jimmy Rogers.
Todd: Buck Owens?
Davey: Buck Owens is a little different but he’s all right.
Todd: So how does this fit into the cross platform?
Davey: Well, my friend Bob, Evil Bob Thomson, was saying that he knows some people in Nashville that buy songs and you write a song and somebody buys it. There’s a movie called, “The Thing Called Love.” It’s got River Phoenix and Samantha Matthis in it. They’re a bunch of songwriters and they’re trying to get somebody to buy their song. One guy in the movie, Trisha Yearwood buys his song and he knows he’s going to be rich because of it. I’ve always thought that the worst times in your life, for some reason, country music is all about your woman left you, you’re sitting at a bar, truck broke down. I always thought I could write a song – a punk rock song, or a Shitwheel song – like that then translate it to country music and see if somebody would buy it and out of that you can make a lot of money. Dwight Yokam, who I fuckin’ love to death, has on his first record, [singing] “I don’t mind if I fall off a barstool.” Perfect fucking song. That song could be a Tiltwheel song because that’s what it’s about. Kind of as an experiment to see how far it could possibly go.
I’m a humble guy. One of these days I’d like to go, “I wrote that stupid, stupid song and other people are singing it.” But they’re not punks ’cause I have too much respect for punks. But people in cowboy hats and brand new Justin boots and all that bullshit will be singing it. I can’t fucking stand country music in its current state. What I would like to do is take the money from a song like that and supplement punk rock with it. Maybe start our own label. Get our own distribution. Fund a zine. God forbid if some stupid country song I wrote made a couple million dollars, I could buy a fucking building and house homeless kids and, “Here’s the deal. Here’s your house. You fucking run it. You’re self-sufficient. If you’re a fuckoff or a drug addict, you can’t live here.” Completely live outside of the system but funded by the system at the same time. It’d be fucking amazing. I think it’d be great.
Todd: How important is beer to Tiltwheel?
Davey: More important than reality, I guess.
Todd: Will Davey ever be content?
Davey: When somebody else takes the reigns.
Todd: Yeah? No.
Davey: Once somebody else… [long pause] When I don’t have to worry about making other people happy. When I don’t have to worry about watching out for my friends. When the people around me are actually safe. Literally, when we’re an army. When we’re a threat. The day that the people I fucking deal with walk down the street make the businessman and the congressman, they make their lives a complete hell. Right? I know this sounds like complete babbling. Instead of “What are we doing? Where are we going? What are we here for?” When you get out of the van and say, “Let’s ruin this town’s life. Let’s give them something to talk about.” That’s when it’ll be a success. As far as I’m concerned, playing music is an excuse to go out and create mischief. To ruin people’s lives that need their lives ruined. That’s when Shitwheel will be a success. If we could blow the earth up without hurting anybody, it’d be fucking great. That’s what I think.
Todd: Are you scared of success, though?
Davey: No. We’re in a world, if you’re successful, automatically, you’re the enemy. Tonight, tonight, I thought we played all right.
[girl’s voice from the lawn]
Girl: Is anyone here over 21?
Davey: I am. What’s your name?
Sarah: I’m Sarah. You’re just the man I’m looking for. [Davey gets out of van to engage in the illegal activity of purchasing 12ers of Busch for underaged drinkers.]
Mark: All right. So Dave’s off with some lass. I believe he’s tits up. Do you know where he’s going?
Todd: He went to go buy them beer. They’re driving him.
Mark: These people were just asking me to buy beer.
[happy sound of beers opening all around us]