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to Issue 10
the promise ring. the interview. take one
We join the interview a few minutes in, talking about baseball players from Milwaukee, the Promise Rings hometown. Talk about baseball, playing pickup basketball games and a few other questions were lost, as the beginning of the tape was mysteriously erased. By the way, this interview was done in July of 99 right before Very Emergency came out, so its kind of dated (weve survived Y2K) and conversational. Sorry. Interview by Brendan and Wade, outside the Grant St. Mighty Taco in Buffalo.
NIMBY: Being from
Milwaukee, how do you feel about Robin Younts election
into the baseball hall of fame today? I think its awesome he spent his
entire career with the Brewers.
Davey: Yeah, thats like old-time baseball, man. When players play like 30 years for the same team, thats awesome! Now you cant get a player to play for more than like three.
Dan: The whole thing about Robin Yount is one time I was at the game, and it was one of Rollie Fingers no-hitters. It was the bottom of the ninth and
Davey: Rollie never started!
Dan: Whats that? Really? No! I thought
Davey: The only brewer to ever throw a no-hitter was Teddy Higuera. Or Juan Nieves, I cant remember.
Dan: Anyway, there was some important thing
Davey: Oh, the game where Robin made that diving catch?!? It WAS Nieves.
Dan: Yeah, yeah, Juan Nieves, same shit. Anyway after the game they were interviewing Robin and asked him how he felt about the catch. And he was like Oh, you know, I just did it for my teammate. Hes a real team player. He didnt say, you know Im so fucking awesome, that guy was nothing to me. He tried extra hard to catch it so Nieves could have a no-hitter.
Davey: Yeah, I remember that! It was amazing. Two outs in the top of the ninth and someone hit a total liner into the gap. And it was the first year Robin was in center field after hed gotten too old to play shortstop. There was no way he should have gotten to that ball; he totally laid himself out and made the catch. The team was pretty stoked.
NIMBY: Yeah, he was one of my favorites. Longevity and heart. So, which city is more happening on a Saturday night? Milwaukee, Madison or Urbana, Illinois?
Davey: On a Saturday night? I would say Madison during the summer.
Jason: In the summer, all the kids arent in school!
Davey: I think U of I has more parties than Madison does. But in the summer Madison doesnt lose as much. But thats just my opinion.
NIMBY: But they all beat Milwaukee, huh?
Davey: Milwaukees not really a party college town at all. But Id rather be in Milwaukee on a Saturday night than either of those other two towns, but thats just me
(Tape gets garbled for like 2 minutes. Fuck.)
NIMBY: So you guys have been approached by some major labels before, Im guessing. Is that something youd ever consider? Jumping to one, I mean.
Davey: Nope. Weve never been approached. Its more a thing for the rumor-mill.
NIMBY: Honestly? Wow.
Jason: We considered it. Well, there was that one time that we managed to sign to like 9 major labels all at once. For millions and millions of dollars! So we were able to sign with them and then get out of it. And now were independently wealthy!
NIMBY: So they never offered you like a vice presidency like that guy from Limp Bizkit?!
Davey & Jason: WHAT?!?!
NIMBY: You didnt hear about that? The singer from Limp Bizkit is supposedly like the vice president of Interscope records.
Davey: Whered you hear that? Cmon.
NIMBY: My friends in Massachusetts and I were talking about it. We were complaining about the sorry-ass state of modern music
Dan: Yeah, like a major corporation like that would let some knucklehead do that
Davey: I can run a business, Im 22! I can see them explaining the contract to him now: AND you get to be the Vice President!
NIMBY: Well thats a good lead in for our why does modern pop music suck question.
Jason: It doesnt! I dont think it sucks!
NIMBY: Well, the bands that get on the radio, I mean
Davey: Yeah, but they dont all suck. I think to say that the state of modern pop music sucks is to imply that at some stage pop music was amazing.
Scott: There have always been shit bands
Davey: Its just like, because it wasnt your era you dont know about all the shitty bands that were there.
Jason: All the bands, all the Creeds of back then have been forgotten about over time. Like twenty years before you were born you would never know.
Scott: Its hard to say. All the oldies that are hip to like now in like 40 years these hip tunes are probably going to be like Matchbox 20, and people well, Im going to be like This sucks!!!
Jason: Yeah, lots of people are gonna be into old ballads, I think. Like Poison ballads will be good fare for people in the future!
Dan: Id have to disagree, because you cant say that a Who record or something like that would be looked upon as just as good as the Matchbox 20 record twenty years down the line. The Who was first the Who paved the way for Matchbox 20, you know? Itd be a sad state of affairs nonetheless. Id say Oh my god, how awesome is that?
Jason: But I dont think the Who is really pop music though.
Dan: Yes they are; they were. They werent as pop THEN as Matchbox 20 is now. Even more so, theyve probably sold more records.
NIMBY: But I mean if you compare Matchbox 20 to something like Foreigner. Pick like two loser bands. I dunno. Okay, that question fell apart. Sorry.
Dan: No, no. I just dont see the purpose of you cant knock the classics. I mean theyre classic for a reason.
NIMBY: Yeah, Because theyre the first to do something, something new, something cool. And so they sort of can be like a point of comparison, even if bands hate to be compared.
Davey: Yeah, well it just amounts to saying what will be and what wont. Only point I really want to bring up is that its kind of really easy to rebel against whats popular now, and not even think about whether its good. I personally dont listen to the radio. But I dont know if its because its good or bad; its just, I dont.
Jason: I think in the era of the Who there were a whole bunch of popular bands that that the genre sort of changed the Who THEN probably wasnt probably considered pop music. Yeah they sold lots of records, but pop music NOW is like a whole series of different bands.
Dan: Well were not just talking about music that makes it on the radio; its music that people LISTEN to. The Who made it on the radio. Matchbox 20 makes it on the radio. Whatever. I dont know what you want to call it but
NIMBY: So would you guys be psyched to hear something of yours picked up by mainstream radio?
Dan: Sure. If it happens it happens.
NIMBY: But its obviously not what youre ultimately shooting for, right? I mean at least I dont think if thats the way things should be.
Davey: I think we look at it more as if we make it, great. But as long as we can keep making songs we likethats the ultimate goal. That is THE intention. To stay together, keep having fun, and keep making good songs. But it certainly makes it a lot easier when more people are reached with your songs. It doesnt change what were doing if some radio station decides to play the song. But if they do, good for us. Because that means were dissin Matchbox 20 by taking up some of their air time, you know?!
NIMBY: More power!
Davey: Well, we think so; I dont know if thats true or not! Okay, whats left?
NIMBY: Well, I guess this would be the lyrics question.
NIMBY: I dont know if this is anything you want to get into but where do you look for inspiration... and how do you approach writing lyrics? Im guessing Davey writes them all ?
Davey: Yeah, I write all the lyrics. I dont know. This new record was written a lot more on the fly than our other records. I used to have a huge book of lyrics which I still do have but now I like writing the lyrics as I/we write the songs. I start writing the melody as soon as I start writing the song, you know? And as soon as I start writing the melody, I try and think of words. So I start making stuff up. Thats pretty much how it works. Sometimes Ill get to something and be like that sucks or this just doesnt work then Ill replace those. But if I can get a catch-phrase and work around that, then its good. I try to do it as much in the well, as part of the wheel of the song, more than I used to I guess. As the song is being written I like to write the lyrics. But of course this method is not foolproof, by any means. Oh, inspiration. Um, I dont know where inspiration comes from. Your head. Which is constantly bombarded with messages. Blips. I mean everybodys it, you know?
NIMBY: Cool. So, this is your first show in Buffalo, right?
Davey: Yeah. Weve never played Upstate New York at all. Nowhere north of New York.
Dan: My first band played Syracuse once. Its a nice town.
Davey: Weve never played there because Jason always says we couldnt. But seriously, I dont know why we havent yet. Its kind of a weird routing to come out this way.
NIMBY: Oh no its not!
Davey: Okay, thats a bad excuse. I think upstate New York has fallen prey to Canada. Thats the way we usually have our tours planned out. Usually after Cleveland we do Toronto and Ottawa and Montreal. But I dont know how much longer thats gonna happen, I see there are people here that appreciate us coming!
NIMBY: Yeah well, neither of us will probably be here next year, but oh well we might
Davey: Well, if Doug Flutie shows up, thatll help! Hes on the list, so somebody call him! His band could open up since the sixth band cancelled!
Jason: Cancelled! Who?
Davey: Angels in the Architecture, I think?
NIMBY: I dont know. I think they mayve broken up. Oh, another question: What are you guys doing for the Millennium? I heard that Pink Floyd is doing this thing in the desert in Egypt; there just going to set stuff up and play near the pyramids! Every band is doing something, you know?
Davey: Really?! Were gonna open for Prince. Nah, Im gonna be hiding out.
Jason: Its definitely freaky. I think people are really underestimating it. I do.
Scott: Eh, I think people are overestimating things.
Davey: Those two opinions are why I think it will be really intense. I think if youre out driving down the highway that night you just cant trust a single driver! Its kind of crazy because you dont know how other people are gonna react.
Jason: Im going to be somewhere where theres not a lot of people to bother me.
NIMBY: That works.
Davey: That I totally understand. But I think its going to be either pretty wild or pretty nothing at all. One of you will be right! I dont know which.
Jason: Well, I dont think things will be like the Apocalypse. But maybe things will be fucked up to a certain extent where its gonna be a major inconvenience. Some people will be hit a lot harder than others. Theres a lot of things to take into consideration. Like the whole bank scare, a lot of banks are saying that theyve taken care of it and if they have then thats good, and if they havent then its bad but you dont really KNOW. But regardless, I think a whole shitload of people are gonna be terrified of it happening, so lots of people might pull their money out even if its safe to leave it there. And that is something that could cause total chaos! And theres lots of cities that are more prepared for it than others. Like, Im sure Minnesota is really prepared. Theres a lot of states that get their electricity and power from other states. I think Pennsylvania supplies a lot of electricity/power for a lot of states, and they are totally not prepared! So some states are gonna be fucked even if they are ready because they get power elsewhere. There are like so many things that can be affected by this scare, its unbelievable. Like small towns, if they cant get food or if the power goes out somewhere theres no way to converse. Therere just so many possibilities, its unbelievable.
Davey: Uh, yeah.
Jason: Ive been reading up on it a lot. A lot of its scary, because its stuff we dont know about firsthand. Its all second hand. Thats why its scary to me.
Davey: The only thing I know first had is of a guy that works at an electric company, Wisconsin Electric. Wisconsin Electric runs Illinois because they dont have their own, they borrow from us. So this guy I know says hes 99 percent sure that nothing will happen, but if something DOES happen, well be like 3 days without electricity!
Jason: And its something small like that could cause total chaos! I mean imagine a city the size of Chicago going without power for like 3 days. Like total looting, et cetera. I mean, remember when New York City had the brownout? It wasnt even a blackout and people were going totally fucking crazy.
Davey: Im sure theyd get Chicagos [power] back up as soon as possible if something did happen, but then you know Southern Illinois could be out for like a week or something. Because theyre thought of as less important.
Jason: Also nuclear power plants: they were doing tests on them to simulate Y2K, and one of them DID totally fuck up! And the thing is, they knew what has to be fixed, and they fixed it, but the problem is, they can only test it every 6 months! So they cant test it again before the end of the year. Thats fucking scary.
Dan: I have a cousin whose ex-wife who works for the Dept. of Agriculture and shes on a task force of forty some people who are trying to get the Dept. up, and they said that at 100 percent efficiency with those people and their full-time plus overtime jobs doing everything they can do in their manpower, they can finish only 43 percent of what they need to do by the end of the year! And the task force has been going on since like 97! So, I dont know if that 67 percents going to mess up or not, but that is scary
Jason: And theres also the fact that all these other countries, like third-world countries wholl get hit really hard. And everyones economy directly effects all the other economies. So even if the U.S. was totally prepared, if Japan goes totally under then that affects us in ways I dont even know
Dan: I still think that 99 percent of this stuff isnt gonna happen, but that one percent chance, thats whats really fucking frightening.
Jason: Yeah, overreacting is going to be the big thing, I think. I agree. Nothing will probably happen. I listen to too much Art Bell, sorry
NIMBY: Okay, that was an involved answer
Davey: Yeah, that went a little bit overboard but Y2K is freaky. I was thinking I might just spend three days working, sleeping and writing songs in the studio for Y2K that was one of my ideas. Write as many songs as possible and record them. Otherwise Ill probably be hanging out in my house. If I have electricity
NIMBY: One last thing I thought of is well, you know Braid is breaking up in like a month
Davey: Yeah, you gotta love their plan to break up! At their high school break up they were like Yeah, Im going to college, so lets break up. Now theyre playing like 4 more shows
Tape ends, but you didnt miss much. More talk of Braid and basketball, and we walk back to Showplace from the Grant Street Mighty Taco. They turn down a request to play Saturday, opting to do a lot more new pop stuff. Good show.