Mike Keller (Meek Is Murder)
SPB: What do you think of cassettes?
Mike: Whenever people try to give us band demos on CD, I’m always like, “Sorry, we’re only set up for tapes.” Our van has a tape deck and for a while I had no way of playing CDs at home since my computer had the Aliens DVD stuck in the drive for like two years (not complaining). I have a walkman though. We put out a tape called “88 mph” once and I was pleasantly surprised that it sold out immediately. A couple of those songs we re-recorded for “Into the Sun” but I always liked the tape versions better. One day Aliens pooped out for no reason. I got scared and pushed it back in.
SPB: Where in your hometown do you always bring visitors?
Jess: I'm from Avoca Beach on the Central Coast of New South Wales, AUS. It's a beautiful area of the world but, there's not a whole lot to do there unless you like nature or Shopping Centres. Luckily, I like the former. When I visit, I try to go for beach swims and bush walks and generally just spend time with my family. My dad really likes scrabble and vegetable juice so usually they are incorporated into the activities somewhere.
Viktor (Tear Them Down)
SPB: Do you take any precautions to stay healthy while on the road?
Viktor: Well I think any member of any band have a brief moment before going on tour like the scene in Backstage Passport where Fat Mike puts a ton of random pills in a toiletry bag. Whether it is only some pills for a sore throat, bad stomach, or whatever at least I will get some things together--although when you´re finally on the road on an underground punk rock tour common sense will get you far.
But let´s be honest, maybe that is the one thing that is lacking when you had a good show and a nice party afterwards and end up falling asleep on the promoter´s floor without a sleeping bag and it´s freezing in the morning. And at the end of the day there is nothing to cure a cold like that rush of adrenaline on the show the next evening. Ginger is nice too.
Paul Lai (Upsilon Acrux)
SPB: What is your favorite venue to play?
Paul: Without a doubt it's our home away from home, Los Angeles' infamous DIY venue The Smell. It's run by Jim Smith and some volunteers.
We have a long history with Jim and The Smell. It was our first LA show back in the late ‘90s at its original location and, honestly, I think we've played there at least once every year that we've been a band. The Smell is honestly where all the real, good and interesting bands start. It's booked primarily by the bands that have been there and so it's never really been taken over by a bunch of Hollywood shit or whatever. When The Smell got pretty famous from Abe Vigoda, Health, and No Age, whenever we had a show there I would get tons of emails from Hollywood managers and bands that swore if we let them play they could bring in 500 people...
Because Jim has always looked out for bands like us and other outsider musicians I think in return we have done the same and made a real effort to keep the shows real, with real bands and real music not just filling the place up with lame tourists. So in that vein, this place is about a lot more than attendance and what you get paid. There's always a Smell scene and it's always different and at the same time everyone that has played it and made an impact always comes back. On top of all that, Jim is unbelievably fair with the door. The shows are always $5 and he takes a very small percentage and despite working a 9-5 is still at well over 50% of all the shows, working from 8:30 pm to about 12:30 am each one of those nights. Jim has and will continue to be the most important person running a venue in all of Los Angeles and The Smell will always be keeping it real. Which makes us proud to be one of the bands that continue to play there year after year.
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