Interviews | Back to Issue 7

interview by Wade & Brendan

Over the summer of '97 Wade and I had the opportunity to see and chat with a favorite Ringing Ear Records (now a defunct label) band of ours; Seattle’s New Sweet Breath. We talked to them after an impressive set at Nietzsche’s on a steamy, Buffalo night sometime in July, I think. Apologies go out for the brevity of the “interview” as neither we, nor any of the guys in the band wanted to miss Tugboat Annie who was headlining. Also, the first minute of the tape was ruined, so I’ll just set things up here by telling you that we were talking about the end of the Ringing Ear Records label. (RIP) We must also apologize for the nature, and overall bad interviewing skills of our retarded selves...

Graig: ...we put out material, a bunch of it...then we just kind of put stuff on hold for a while.
NIMBY: So on just any label that would take you?
Graig: No, we just put out this new thing on Big Top. We put out a full length 7" with them because they offered to, and had money...and it was Tugboat Annie’s label.
NIMBY: Oh, OK. So are you guys in the middle of a “tour” with them right now?
Graig: We’re playing a few dates with them...tonight, tomorrow, and then we’re going to Vermont...
NIMBY: What happened with the show you were supposed to play yesterday? (They arrived a bit late to play at Discovery Records in North Tonawanda, due to traffic and being misdirected...)
Graig: Yeah, well, we went there...but it was too late...
Stephen: Destruction...destruction...We didn’t get there until 8:30, or so.
NIMBY: Damn, that’s right after I left!
Graig: Yeah, we heard everybody just left right when we got there. One thing that was fucked up there...was that for a couple of our shows, and that Tonawanda one, which was one of them, was that I had all this shit from Jon Clark from Ringing Ear, that he gave to us for contacts, and well, it was in this brown folder that I left at home...and I didn’t have any way of getting a hold of Earl at Discovery, to let him know we were running a little late.
Stephen: We played anyways though.
NIMBY: So, sorry we didn’t get this out of the way before, but could you quickly state your names for the record?
Graig: I’m Graig and this is Stephen. I sing and play guitar and he plays “lead” guitar. Oh, and Rock plays bass, and Jeff does the drums!
NIMBY: So, what are some of your influences....?
Stephen: Guided By Voices, maybe...
Graig: I listen to the new Foo Fighters a lot, the new Pie on Big Top is really, really good.
Stephen: WEEN! The new country album...its a great album, it’s hilarious...(momentary silence)
NIMBY: So how long have you guys been together?
Graig: Well, me and the bass player are brothers and we moved from Nebraska up to Seattle, and then in ’95 we met Jeff, our drummer. We were a three piece up until about a two months ago and then Stephen joined. He’s actually been with us for like two other tours...but just hanging out and stuff, and now he plays for us.
Stephen: Guilty by association.
NIMBY: Have you guys been in any other bands before?
Graig: Well just some Nebraska bands, nothing big...
(At this point Wade, Brendan and New Sweet Breath start just randomly naming bands from the Seattle area, and get way off track...)
NIMBY: Where did you get such a cool name?
Graig: Well, “New Sweet Breath” is a song by Sideshow, they’re from Nebraska. Bernie from Caufield Records puts out Sideshow stuff...
NIMBY: Do you guys like playing punk/hardcore shows more, or indie rock kind of shows like this one?
Graig: THIS show, yeah, this is a cool show.
Stephen: Hardcore shows are usually fun, but the girls beat us up though.
Graig: We do all sorts of stuff. The shows that we got on this time out with Chris from Big Top are more kind of like indie rock type shows. Umm...we played a show with Doc Hopper the other night, a Ringing Ear band, and it was a fucking totally rad show...we like playing to all crowds...
NIMBY: If you had three days to live, where would you go, what would you do, and who would you see?
Graig: What?!?!
Stephen: Well, would I get any more money to do anything?
NIMBY: Well, you could always like, rob a band or something if you had three days to live...
Graig: That’s true...hmm...three days...well I always thought if I had 3 months, you know if I had cancer or something like that or I knew I was gonna die, or wanted to kill myself...I’d just probably apply for all these credit cards, get like shitloads of money and max ‘em all out. I’d have tons of fun, you know...high price call girls!
Stephen: Yeah, I’d like to do a $2000 a night hooker!
Graig: That’s GOTTA be something. I think I’d blow whatever money I had on whores probably...
Stephen: Well...that’s pretty much what we do anyways...we just live like we only have three days left. Last night we got into a barfight, with some college kids...
Graig: Oh dude it was totally rad....It was in Buffalo somewhere. These fucking frat guys came in and were picking on me in particular, saying they’d “found Waldo,” or something.
NIMBY: Sounds...pleasant...
Graig: Actually after a few beers they finally got the best of us, and we started falling into it...
NIMBY: So you have any other “crazy” touring stories?
Graig: Well, we busted something in the van a while back...umm, the cops just north of Chicago don’t like us. We were sleeping in a parking lot for a couple hours off the road there, and before we knew it, there was three cop cars surrounding us...our first tour ever we got deported from Canada. Stripped searched, the whole deal.
NIMBY: Wow. Are you allowed to play there anymore?
Graig: Oh yeah...they basically said you gotta go back across the border, you know, you’re welcome to come back tomorrow...just not today. I have a funny story in Chicago...we played at the Fireside Bowl(?) and then afterwards our friends from Horace Pinker and this other guy were getting some cash from a cash machine, and this chick pulled up and we were trying to get her to go to this party we were going to...
Stephen: We were trying to give her some slime.
Graig: What? (yells off to someone by his van.) OK. The bass player, John, from Tugboat Annie is now pissing on our van. And it just so happens that we’re like hitting on this girl, really hard-core, trying to get her to go to this party - and we don’t know where the party is.
NIMBY: Did she know where the party was?
Graig: She doesn’t know....she’s going somewhere else...and so we end up at this place called the Borderline, and it just so happens that she’s there! And so it just so happened that we went back to Scott’s (from Horace Pinker) house, and then we went back to her house...and uh, you know...that’s the story of a romantic night in Chicago...
Stephen: I autographed breasts with a sharpie once...
NIMBY: What’s the dumbest interview question you’ve ever gotten, and do any of ours qualify?
Graig: That one. Right there. But seriously, I don’t think there’s really a dumb interview question you could ask...What are you guys doing tomorrow? You guys should go to New York with us!
NIMBY: Uh, its kind of a long drive and I have to work...
Graig: Oh it is.
NIMBY: I don’t know, its a number of hours, 7-8, something like that...
Graig: You guys go to school up here?
NIMBY: No, we live around here...but yeah, we’re in school....Anyhow, thanks for the interview, let’s go watch Tugboat Annie now, hurry!!!
Graig & Stephen: Thank you.

Thanks to Graig and Stephen of New Sweet Breath for tolerating us. Check out their latest CD (that I know of); “Shotgun Down An Avalanche” on Big Top Records, you won’t be disappointed. For more info, contact New Sweet Breath at: