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members present:
Joe Nixon, Greg Togawa, Ryan Kepke, Kevin Clark

conducted on: December 2001
by: Rocio Villalobos
official website
shout-out to PZO


PZO: How did the video shoot go this past weekend?
Greg: Great.
Ryan: Cold.
Joe: It went really well. Except for the fact that we were wet for half the time.
PZO: What song was it for?
Joe: It was for the song “Alone.”

PZO: What was the concept behind the video?
Greg: Basically it’s kind of like a melancholy song, I guess, if you wanna say. And so it’s kind of about being away from people you love and being on the road and feeling kind of alone while you’re on the road, even though you’re around people that are your friends and playing shows for them. Stuff like that. So it’s just kind of about feeling alone, I guess. So we just drove around and took shots like we were on tour and then the other major scene is just us playing and it kind of starts out sunny, but then it gets cloudy and starts to rain and then it’s sunny again.

PZO: I heard you got a new bass player, Kevin. How did you meet him?
Greg: We were trying out bass players for a while and we were getting a bunch of e-mails and none of ‘em were working out. Kevin had sent us an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, I guess, and through frustration I just disregarded all the rest of ‘em pretty much, and I went back and gave him a call. So he came down to my house; we played for about ten minutes and I knew it was gonna work out pretty good, so we had one practice and then the next day we jumped into the video already. So it’s working out good for these past two days!
Joe: <laughs> Yeah, really.

PZO: You guys are coming out with a new album next year; have you decided on a name for it?
Greg: It’s gonna be self-titled. Very original, huh?
PZO: <laughs>

PZO: When do you plan to start touring again?
Joe: We start touring in February, actually. We’re on tour probably for about a month…maybe about 5 or 6 weeks. Then we come home and we’re back on tour in April.
PZO: Do you have certain cities in mind that you want to visit?
Joe: Um, I’m really looking forward to going back to Canada.

PZO: Do you have any control over what the t-shirt logos and the designs look like?
Ryan: Yea, we pretty much have complete control over that.

PZO: What’s the most memorable thing a fan has said to you?
Joe: Well, personally I had someone come up to me after a show and tell me that our music helped him to not commit suicide, in a way. Ryan’s lyrics were so positive that even though he was so depressed and had a lot of problems, it just helped him through what he was going through. That was probably one of the more touching moments, I’d have to say.

PZO: Do your fans bring you anything at your shows?
Joe: Well, sometimes we get the occasional letter…and a shoe or something like that.

PZO: How is your new album going to be different from Wake Up Screaming?
Ryan: I think it’s a lot more cohesive, in a way, than Wake Up Screaming. Although I liked a lot of the songs on it, it’s just to me it sounds kind of just random; it’s not together, in a way. I don’t know what it is, I think we were all kind of frustrated and ended up going through different stuff, so it doesn’t sound…there’s not a lot of heart in it. I think this one has a lot of what Wake Up Screaming was lacking in that way.
Greg: We were really more together as a band and spent a lot more time with this one. So I think we were more on the same page and it came out a million times better than the last one, that’s for sure.

PZO: What event in your life has had the greatest impact on you?
Joe: I’d have to say it was the birth of my first child. I don’t care what kind of person you are, but the moment you see a child being born I just changes your life forever, especially when it’s your own child. It just softened my heart and made me more compassionate to everything else.

PZO: Is the music business like you expected it to be, or is it a lot more different?
Greg: Like, when you’re a fan it’s a completely different world than when you’re actually in it.
Joe: Yeah.
Greg: Everything seems nice and peachy and…
Joe: Everything seems hunky dory when you’re looking in from the outside, but when you’re in the music business you realize how much of a business it is, you know? It’s not just fun and games.
Greg: I think a lot of people also look at bands up onstage and say “hey, they’re on a record label, they must have a lot of money”, when in actuality it’s not that way.
Ryan: Every kid in the audience probably has a lot more money than you do.

PZO: How do you pick which songs make the cut for your albums?
Ryan: I think it kind of just has to do with everyone liking it, really. Especially for this album: we wanted everyone to be completely satisfied with the album. If there was one song where even just one person was like, “eh, I don’t really like it,” then we’d change the song around, or just not even do it at all.
Greg: Whenever you finish an album you always go back and say “I wish we could change this, or that,” and I think for this one I think we got really fortunate to re-record it from the first time and there’s a lot of stuff we changed. It probably made us a lot happier in the end.

PZO: What’s the best prank you guys have pulled?
Joe: Oh man, that’s got to be the one in Cornerstone. Well, basically it boils down to this: there was a new band on Tooth and Nail and we were at this festival in Illinois, I think…somewhere around there. So we decided one day that we were gonna mess around with their trailer, so we just kind of wrapped it in toilet paper and put baby powder and stuff like that. It was really innocent. So they retaliated by covering our trailer in Crisco and wrapping it in saran wrap. Later on a few of their guys [from the Undecided] and a few of our guys were on the way back from some place and they found a dead raccoon and they stuck the dead raccoon in the new band’s trailer. So I think that’s probably the worst thing we’ve ever done.
PZO: Were they pissed?
Joe: Uh, you know, we didn’t really stick around to find out. We drove by a few times to see if they were outside so we could laugh at them, but from what I heard they were pretty alright with it. It’s kind of something you expect from other bands on the road and stuff, so I fear their retaliation; they just might blow up our trailer.

PZO: If you could put a tour together, including yourselves, who would be on it?
Greg: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera…
Joe: Basically, like Metallica and like, I don’t know. It’d be the weirdest tour ever…we’d have Metallica and then Blink…

PZO: Is it hard to see yourselves doing anything else besides music since you formed this band at a pretty young age?
Greg: I think we’re more fortunate to do it now.
Ryan: I never really thought when I first joined the band that I’d be doing it for even this long; I thought it was just gonna be something like 2 or 3 years max and then just for fun. But now I just…my love for music has grown so much that I would love to be able to do this for my whole life. I think that would be the coolest thing I could ever do; that would kind of be like my dream, I guess, if you wanna say.
Joe: Yeah, it’d be great to be able to do this for a long time.
Ryan: What do you think, Kevin?
Kevin: Um, definitely…
Greg: Dude, shut up…stop talking!
Kevin: I’m still thinking about that raccoon thing.
Kevin: I’m looking forward to that…

PZO: What’s been the best experience about touring?
Joe: Just the tour in general. Every time we go in tour it’s so…it’s 50/50. It starts out where you leave and you’re kind of bummed ‘cause you’re leaving your family behind or your girlfriend, or whatnot. And then what takes over is…I don’t know, ‘cause we’re pretty tight-knit. We always have so much fun on the road. The whole tour experience in general is so hilarious and fun for us all the time.
Ryan: It’s like an unreal experience because we got to do what we love: write songs, and play music, and play in front of crowds, and hang out with kids, and see the whole country and hang out with each other. These guys are my best friends, so there’s nothing else I could do that would be as fun than hanging out with my best friends and doing all that stuff.

PZO: Do you have any crazy groupies at all?
Joe: No, not really…well, actually, we have a couple. So I’d have to say yeah.

PZO: What’s the weirdest thing they’ve done?
Joe: I don’t know, I can’t really tell from where I’m at.
Greg: I think Ryan gets most of them, probably.
Joe: There was one that kind of just ran up to him and tackled him and tried to kiss him.
Ryan: Yeah, I guess that was kind of awkward.
Joe: Yeah, that was kind of weird.
Greg: Joe gets most of the guy groupies.

PZO: What do you do if a crowd isn’t responding well to your music?
Greg: Walk off.
Joe: Yeah, we all throw temper tantrums and we all drop our instruments and just walk off the stage.
Joe: I think it’s kind of tough, to be honest with you, but like, my goal personally is just to get at least a dozen or more kids into it. If we have a totally dead crowd, which it’s been a while since we had that, but that’s just it…you gotta play for whatever amount of kids that are out there going off and having fun to it, you just gotta play for them. Then eventually the other kids will get into it.

PZO: What’s the best part about being in a band?
Joe: I think at different stages of your career it’s different things. Like, when you first start out it’s just fun. You’re just having fun. Then you start to get grateful that you can actually do it and get by. But the greatest thing is the music in general. I love playing drums, so the fact that I get to play drums and be in the band is just great.
Ryan: It’s incredibly rewarding to get to write something and see it develop to where, not only just enjoying it yourself would be incredibly rewarding in itself, but then playing in front of kids and having them buy it and tell you how much they like it is really cool.
Greg: I think traveling is the best part for me. I mean, you never get a chance to go around the whole United States and we get to go 4 or 5 times a year. You wake up in New York and the next day you’re in Pennsylvania, which is crazy. You get to do what you wanna do and you get paid for it. Well, kinda…
Ryan: You also get to see new people everyday; that’s great.

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