Interview: James & Jon

Chokebore - Helden aus Hawaii

(Bassist und sein Bruder Gitarrist, wobei die meiste zeit mister bass spricht)

Q: Ähm, ähm, well, operate! (Mawe auffordernd, das tonbandgerät einzuschalten, obwohl es natürlich schon läuft, da dieser teil ja ansonsten nicht im interview enthalten wäre)

Ch: Is it on? Yeah? Well, I didn't see a light.

Ch: Stand now!

Q: Well, we don't have the technology here for.... very spontaneous interview, I guess.

Ch: Right.

Q: Well, actually this was the first time I have ever seen you, I read quite a lot about you, where are you from America, how long does the band exist, all the basic stuff...

Ch: The three of us, the singer and me and my brother, we grew up in Hawaii together, we played in punkrock bands, then, as we are older now, high school stuff, we moved to California because living in Los Angeles, I mean living in Hawaii, you know, there you can only play in a couple of spots, so he (der gitarrist) was going to school in Los Angeles, so we moved there, played shows for a while, then we, look, this is a really brief, fast history, I'm sorry, so we live in L.A.

(allgemeines Gelächter ob dieser sehr kurzen Version des History-Teils)

Ch: We hooked up with Amphetamine Reptile, we started making records, we started touring, right now, we are touring on our fourth record and our third drummer, Mike, whom we love cause he is actually a really nice tourer, and now we're just... you guys have any hash?

Q: We have just apples, we are a vegan fanzine, no, just bullshit.

(allgemeines Gelächter)

Q: We are totally straight edge. No, no, just kidding.

Q: You are on Amphetamine Noise. I just remember this record label used to stand for more, I don't know...

Ch: More noise? Yeah, we hooked up with them, like four records ago or whatever. It was primarily a hardcore/noise label, you know. And that was like more the public image. But the bands were quite diverse and stuff. When we started out, we were the first, yeah, we were on of the first that were really melodic and slow and stuff. But now, they have a lot of different types, you know. In America it's like... Supernova (?) who play space rock, (noch ne andere Band, deren Namen ich nicht verstehen kann) and a lot of different things.

Q: Because I think I've got an old Tar record.....

Ch: Yeah, like Tar and Surgery and Hammerhead, and even the Cows (einige ältere AmRep-Bands) were much more aggressive and loud and stuff, and Helmet obviously, and stuff like that...

Q: Are you gonna be on a larger tour now for the new album?

Ch: In the fall.

Q: German tour?

Ch: Yes.

Q: I heard it is coming out in September?

Ch: Yes, with a new record we're touring a lot more, in Germany and all of Europe and stuff.

Q: And there will be more like a club tour, small venues?

Ch: Yeah, way smaller than tonight, that is something I guarantee you.

Q: That's not a problem, I personally think you had a shitty sound tonight?

Ch: Yeah, the sound got fucked up tonight. Unfortunately, we had a lot of equipment breakdowns to make everything more confusing, so soundcheck would last, like, four days. All we have been doing is trying to get everybody's stuff just to work during the whole soundcheck. It is kind of unfortunate.

Q: Is there a relationship between you and Tocotronic because you played the second time together, on tour?

Ch: We had a split-7". We enjoy each other, the music and as people.

Q: Do you understand the lyrics?

Ch: No, but sometimes they translate them for us. They sing like one special song for us in English...

Q: They sing "You're Quite Cool Tonight..."

Ch: Yeah, they are the nicest guys. When we started touring in Europe, Tocotronic weren't probably even a band yet and they've come then and seen our shows, so they are really nice guys, always trying to help us in Germany and stuff, this is really cool.

Q: So, are you coming back to Regensburg? Because I heard that you played there, are you coming to Bavaria... because a lot of bands don't really come to Bavaria?

Ch: I would assume we are coming to, but I don't know the exact dates yet because it is being booked. The first half of the tour is more like Scandinavia and France and Belgium and stuff like that and then Germany is the latest part and on the stuff we have there is no information about any place. I could not even tell you one place we played in Germany.

Q: So how long is this tour going to be? Three months?

Ch: No, about two months, about eight weeks.

Q: I've just been reading a book by Henry Rollins, live on tour with Black Flag, sounds pretty horrible, do you have any sort of, like, do you sleep in your van or do you have a hotel room, or did you use to?

Ch: It goes every way, I mean, from sometimes we have long drives so we have to sleep and drive over night in the van, and sometimes we sleep on floors and sometimes we have nice hotel rooms. Yeah, it really varies, like in Europe it is a lot more common that the band is staying in hotels and if they don't stay in hotels, they are staying at a friend of the promoters' house and they have beds, you know. It is quite a lot more civilized than in America where local promoters for small venues, they don't care, it is up to the band in North America to find a cheap hotel room. Sometimes we got hotels in America, but a lot of times we would just sleep in the van to save 25 or 30 dollars a night, just always in the van. Whereas in Europe, we usually have some accomodations. But they range anywhere from the scariest squat you have ever seen, and you're like ahh, when you are going to bed, just swatting for spiders and stuff, and to like pretty decent hotels, it changes a lot here, it's pretty.. I mean it's fun...'cause sometimes the weird places aren't so bad and sometimes the nice places aren't so fun.

Q: I suppose for a Rock'n'Roll band....

(allgemeines Gelächter)

Ch: But we like a good sleep (sagen beide nacheinander).

Q: So how big are you in America? How many people come to your shows there, just average?

Ch: America is a strange place. We could play a show and it could range anywhere. I think the worst show we ever played in America was one paid person in Portland, Maine. But I didn't feel so bad because it is not too far from D.C. and The Make-Up played there one week before us and they only had twelve people. So the shows would be a piece of shit. They don't support local small punkbands or any punkbands, small ones, I'm sure if Offspring played there there would be hundreds of people. And then there are some great shows in America where it is just really cool, people are really great, so it changes. You could have the best night in your whole life you ever had or you just had the worst night, like having the prom date not show up, then get beaten up on the way back from the prom by yourself, it is like that, it's either like you're the prom king or you're just ... Maybe a little more dramatic than normal life, yeah, that's it. That goes trough for very popular, you know, famous musicians, it looks easy but I think they have a lot of bad times, hard shit to deal with. Oh, I don't give a shit about those fuckers, yeah, I feel sorry for famous people, yeah it's all right, that's the gist of it all.

Q: Just a bit about your music, what do you consider yourself influenced by, do you consider yourself as a punkband or as a noise band, or do you consider yourself as something at all in some category?

Ch: Not really, I mean, in some description not really, because I mean, the easiest thing to say is just Rock'n'roll band. I mean we don't play Rock'n'roll per se.

Q: Like 50's sense.

Ch: No, not 50's sense at all. We have guitars, we have a bass, we have a drum, we don't use any loops or anything weird or freaky, so it's just.. there is no keyboard. Just try to make good interesting songs.

Q: It apparently works.

Ch: We got inspired by any type of music. As far as like influences and stuff, we try to keep that aside from the band, the music we love and we listen to.

Q: So what kind of music is that, what do you listen to?

Ch: I mean, nowadays just anything because I have a job back in America to work on when we don't tour, and I listen to the radio on all day at work, and I press the seek button so there is a pop station with a song I like, anything. It is just every type of music. Just even Top Forties Pop Stars..

Q: So what's your favorite Madonna song?

Ch: My favorite Madonna song is probably "Love don't live here anymore", that is rock'n'roll... this one rocks! Well, it is a good song, (er singt), it's a slow sad one.

Q: it is a kind of a theme question for the whole fanzine thing. Every person interviewed is asked about his favorite Madonna song and their favorite TV series.

Ch: TV series? Well I have no idea - I lie about that all the time. My favorite TV show of all times is Golden Girls.

Q: Ok, all right thank you.

Kicko, Säm, Mawe

Pittiplatsch 3000 (Sommer 1998)