What do you do if you don't drink and are the vocalist for a hardcore band playing at The Fest? You out-rage everyone at the damn event! Scene Point Blank spoke at length with In Defence vocalist Ben Crew and guitarist Jason Lupeituu in regards to the band and of course, The Fest.
Scene Point Blank: Did you tour on the way to Gainesville?
Jason Lupeituu: We flew into Richmond to meet our singer Ben who drives D4, who ended their tour in Richmond. Then we drove down the coast doing shows on the way to Gainesville.
Ben Crew: For the better part of October I was on the road with Dillinger Four driving them on their tour with NOFX. That tour ended in Richmond, VA on Oct. 25th and they all, with the exception of Paddy, flew back to Minneapolis. The rest of the In Defence dudes flew out to Richmond and we started out tour there down to The Fest and then back up to Minneapolis.
Scene Point Blank: You used D4's gear on tour?
Ben Crew: Yeah, I still had the trailer from the D4 tour and they said we could use their stuff. It made it easier for folks who were flying in and out. A couple of the nights people got excited because they thought D4 were playing.
Jason Lupeituu: Since we flew into Richmond to meet Ben we couldn't bring much gear. Thank you D4!
Scene Point Blank: How hard is it to book shows in the southeast before and after The Fest?
Jason Lupeituu: Pretty hard! There are a lot of shows to and from Gainesville on the way to Fest. And everyone is touring and the shows are good for networking but not so good for the gas money.
Ben Crew: It's not easy. When I first started booking that part of the tour I had a lot of people tell me not to come through. A lot of the DIY promoters were saying it was getting harder for them to get good turnouts recently, plus with so many touring bands it's harder to make gas money. We ended up doing several dates with a band from Sweden called Sista Sekunden. Their tour driver ended up losing their van keys so they ended up piling in our van for a couple of the shows. It was a fun time. I think we all learned how to speak Swedish incorrectly.
Scene Point Blank: Loopy was arrested Friday night at The Fest?
Jason Lupeituu: We just got out of the van and I had a beer in my hand and, Blam! there was a cop on a segway. He cuffed me and spilled my beer on my butt and I got a ticket. Pretty embarrassing to have that happen 'cause I was the joke of the night.
Ben Crew: Yeah, Loopy got arrested by a cop on a segway about five minutes after getting out of the van in Gainesville. He had an open beer. It was pretty lame but funny at the same time. The cop took his beer and tried to put handcuffs on him while maintaining his balance on the segway. The cop ended up pouring beer down Loopy's back. He walked him down to the station and let him go later that night.
Scene Point Blank: Was this your first Fest?
Ben Crew: This was our first time at Fest and it was rad! There were so many bands and so many friends that we have met over the years from touring all in one place hanging out and having fun. The shows were all really great. Leaving Gainesville was hard. It was such a good feeling to be there the entire weekend.
Scene Point Blank: What sticks out about the event?
Jason Lupeituu: What sticks out the most was how fucking badass the weekend was, start to finish.
Scene Point Blank: Have you played other (non-Fest) shows in Gainesville?
Ben Crew: We played a house party on Friday with Ramming Speed, Star Fucking Hipsters, and an acoustic Leftover Crack set by Sturgeon. That was awesome. For the first couple of bands there was no PA system so I was running around screaming in people's faces, jumping off of couches, chairs and tables, and throwing people into each other. I think at one point I was swinging a 2x4 around. It kind of freaked some people out. We were also going to play another house party on Saturday but by the time we were suppose to go on it was 4:00 am and two of our guys were passed out drunk from a solid day of partying.
Scene Point Blank: After playing the house show, you had an early Saturday show. How hard to play at 1:30pm? I was still pretty lifeless before Ben took that first stage-dive.
Jason Lupeituu: It was hard to play that early - especially hung-over - which Ben was not.
Ben Crew: At first I was worried because everyone was out partying on Friday night. I was worried that people would be too hung-over to be there at 1:30 in the afternoon, including members of our own band - including myself and I don't drink. But we made it out to the show got set up and I told myself I don't really care who comes out or if they get into it or not, I'm going to have fun. So I started stage-diving onto random people and tearing up the stage decorations. At one point I apparently dove on this guy who had a beer in his hand and he dropped it. Later that day a friend of his came up to me and said he was pretty pissed because he knew I was straightedge and thought I did it on purpose. I thought it was funny because when I run around like that I'm pretty oblivious to stuff like that. I just see bodies. I guess the bartender gave him another beer so it was cool. But, yeah, by the end of the set we had a circle pit, wall of death, and a big pileup on stage. It was a blast.
Scene Point Blank: I was back at The Atlantic on Sunday and all of those Styrofoam teeth where gone from the stage. Have there been any collisions or weird incidents as a result of Ben running around onstage? Anything that has interrupted a show?
Jason Lupeituu: Yeah, he knocks me out of tune all the time hitting my guitar, and crashing into the PA stacks and knocking them over and picking up stuff and smashing it, and throwing things into the crowd. Yeah, he messes stuff up.
Ben Crew: At one show I was tackled by our bassist and broke my thumb. We still finished the set. At another show in Boston I got naked and cut a huge gash in my foot and was bleeding all over the place. We still finished the set. I wrestled the promoter during our last show on this tour. He used to be a professional wrestler and body slammed me a few times. There were a few songs I was too winded to sing but we still finished the set.
Scene Point Blank: Your guerrilla Taco Johns show was a YouTube hit. Did you see the Paint It Black U-Haul show?
Jason Lupeituu: No. It's on my viral video list now.
Ben Crew: No, but I'll check it out. Guerilla shows like that are a blast and really what punk rock is all about. When we were playing Taco Johns it was amazing to watch people come in to order tacos and go, "What the fuck is happening." Kids were jumping off tables and going crazy. I think someone should start a website for stuff like that to document those shows.
Scene Point Blank: Moving away from Fest questions, I'm not as familiar with your discography as well as I should be. Do you have one or two full-lengths?
Jason Lupeituu: One full length and a slew of 7 inches and a discography disc.
Ben Crew: We have:
Twin Cities Crew 7" I.D. / Guns N Rosa Parks split 7" I.D. / Birds of a Feather split 7" (Those three releases were also released on a first year discography CD)
TCHC comp 7" I.D. / Black Market Fetus split 7" Don't Know How To Break Dance LP, CD, Cassette
Scene Point Blank: Generally speaking, your lyrics don't take themselves too seriously. Was this the idea when the band got started, or did things kind of take a turn somewhere in the process?
Jason Lupeituu: We were more serious at first but, I think as we got established, we noticed there was a lack of bands that were having fun and just letting loose.
Ben Crew: We're sarcastic. We try to have fun with this band. We're not at a point where we're making any money, so it better be fun. Hopefully the experience is fun for others too. Maybe if someone offered us a lot of money to write boring serious songs we would think about it, but until then fuck that!
Scene Point Blank: What's the inspiration behind the lyrics? I mean, we all like tacos, but how does transfer from mere enjoyment to deciding to write a songs about it?
Ben Crew: We just take the dumbest shit and write about that. War is dumb so we wrote a song called "No War But Star Wars" because we also think that Star Wars is rad. A lot of punk bands are naming themselves after pizza like Pizza High Five and Party By The Slice. We think that is dumb but we think tacos are rad so we wrote a song called "All Hail The Taco Avenger," plus we played at Taco John's so we also develop lyrics from our personal experience. We wrote "Call More Dudes" about a show we played to only ten people. We were like get on your phones and call some more dudes! Then we wrote "Call More Dudes Pt.2" 'cause there was a show we played to 1,000 people and there were only like ten out and proud gay dudes there. Hardcore in general is pretty homo-erotic if you are playing bigger shows like that and only have ten people who are out you know there is still a big problem with homophobia in our scene. And homophobia is dumb.
Scene Point Blank: Who does your art? The flyers really stick out around town.
Jason Lupeituu: Ben likes to make a lot of our flyers, but primarily we work with Paper Prophet and Bill Hauser.
Ben Crew: Bill Hauser is a comic book artist who is a friend of ours. He designed our logo and most of our artwork. He has also done artwork for Hirax, Ozzy, Brody's Militia and 1-2-GO! CREW.
Scene Point Blank: I like that it's a continued theme. It reminds me of Suicidal Tendencies and other 80s stuff.
Ben Crew: 80s for sure! Reagan-era punk/hardcore/crossover thrash is the best!!!
Jason Lupeituu: Thanks again, man!
- In Defence Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/indefence