Showing posts with label In Your Own Words. Show all posts
Showing posts with label In Your Own Words. Show all posts

Foxy Shazam's Eric Nally: The Culture Brats Interview

On May 27th, Foxy Shazam will launch a massive summer tour in support of their fifth (and totally awesome and totally free) album, Gonzo. But first, singer Eric Nally was nice enough to drop by and talk to us about the tour, the album, recording with Steve Albini, balancing his career with fatherhood, and Twisted Sister.

You're going to be launching your summer-long Gonzo tour next week in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. What can fans expect from the upcoming shows?
Well, we're definitely challenging ourselves as a band with this tour. We're taking ourselves to a new place musically and physically and everything. We're going to bring an all-new show. We're going to play Gonzo in its entirety first. We're going to play about a half an hour, the whole record, front to back in sequence. We're going to take a break, go offstage, come back on and play the older songs that we have.

Larry And His Flask will be opening on the first leg of the tour. What led you to choose them?
I've always been extremely particular with a live band. I don't come across very many bands, even if I like their music, where I'm watching them live and I'm saying, "Wow, this is really entertaining." Where on top of liking the music, I'm being visually entertained. I don't see that very often. Even the bands that I go see that I really like sometime bore me when I'm watching them. I'd rather just be at home in my comfort zone listening to their record.

But with Larry And His Flask, that's not the case at all. Their show has always impressed me and we toured with them on the Warped Tour and that's where we met them. I remember thinking how fun they were to watch, on top of them being great music. Foxy's somebody who takes the show very seriously and we wanted to take it to the next level for our fans and I think Larry And His Flask's a band that does that. Putting a package together like this is basically just trying to give people a great ticket.

Let's talk about Gonzo. I love the album, especially "In This Life" and "Don't Give In."

You dropped the album with very little fanfare. There were hints on your Facebook page that new music was coming, but that was about it. Why did you just basically say, "Here's Gonzo. Enjoy it. You can have it for free."
I wanted to break down the wall between our band and our fans and new fans and anybody who can access the music. I wanted it to be as easy as possible for people to find Foxy Shazam and to listen to them and hear what we're doing and what we stand for. I feel like Gonzo is the record that best defines Foxy Shazam so far in our career. For us to give it away for free and make it available so easily for people, it was important to me because it's really what we are and I want people to be able to access that easily without having to save money or talk their parents into buying it. Any obstacle you could possibly come across, I didn't want that to be in the way. And at the same time it lets people know we're not in this for money. I want to make a career, I have to because I've got to support my family, but the core of this whole thing isn't because of that. It's not because of money. It's because I love to play music and I want to spread my music to everybody.

What drew you to Steve Albini? Was it one album he worked on in particular or his entire body of work?
I liked his attitude towards the artist. In this business, it's hard to believe but there's very little respect towards someone who's an actual artist. That part of it has been kind of lost. In the industry, it's not about the art, it's more about the business. With Steve, reading his interviews, it seemed like he was someone who really supported the art of something and he just lets you do your thing.

And he did I'm assuming?
Oh yeah. He just did his thing which is record our album. We just brought it to him. We got everything ready. We produced it ourselves. The album was done before we even stepped foot in the studio. When we got there, we just literally played the album straight through and he recorded it. I just think he's really good at doing that. He's good at capturing what you're good at.

Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. You recorded the album live, in order, all in the same room, and during Halloween. Was there any particular reason?
When we were writing the record in our practice room, we would always say to ourselves, "With computers nowadays, you can add as much as you want after the fact." Your songs are done and then you can go back in and add anything you can possibly think of. Even if you don't play it, you just add it. For us, I wanted it to be the meat and potatoes. I wanted people to hear the power of our music in its purest form, in its most minimal form, but it would still exceed the bigness of any record that we made in the past. We would say, "This is how it's going to sound. We're not going to add anything. This is it. What we're hearing now is how it's going to be, so let's perfect this. Let's make this as strong as it can possibly be." And that's the reasoning we did it all live because it sounded the way we wanted it to in that state.

You mentioned that the music is a bit toned down this time around. Was this done intentionally to give the lyrics, which are great and more heartfelt than your previous albums, the chance to have the main focus?
Yeah. I kind of wanted to tell a story a little bit and hone in and focus a little bit. For me, it's weird when I think of Gonzo being toned down because I had to take it up so many notches to get that out of myself. I think musically, it does come across as a little bit of a softer record but I think content wise, there's definitely more energy and more force than I've every applied before.

Yeah, I was mainly talking about the layers of music and the lack of big background vocals and all that.
This record, I'm not hiding at all. There's no part of Foxy Shazam--and I'm speaking for myself and everybody in the band--nobody's hiding behind anything. What you see is what you get.

When you spoke with USA Today about your new video for "Tragic Thrill," you said "I have to fight hard to preserve that sense of reality so as to bring up my children." I loved that. How do you balance being a musician and touring and success with being a father?
It's pretty hard because there's places I've gone in my head mentally that my kids haven't been yet. When I go to these places, I'm excavating and I'm writing about it. I'm basically mapping parts of my brain and parts of the things that I figure out as I get older. I write about that and some of that is heavy stuff. Sometimes I feel scared to just put that all out there and let my kids hear it. This album has a lot of emotional issues that I dealt with my father. It's not just my kids, it's every kid that hears the record. I just want to go these places in my head and document what I find there, but I don't want people to think that they have to go there themselves. That's a scary part about being a father and being an artist because sometimes it's not always happy, it's not always good. But the fact that I'm able to get it out in an art form and not in some other destructive way, that's what I try to get my kids to focus on.

It's hard balancing that. That was a quote from Marlon Brando that I took. He's a way different artist than me but I feel he was talking about the same things. I feel very connected to what he said there. I feel you have to get certain things out of yourself as an artist but at the same time you got to be considerate how people might perceive that if they don't understand where you're coming from.

Finally, we have one question we ask every guest. You're in charge of a music festival and get to pick five other artists, living or dead, to appear on the bill with you. Who do you choose?
Oh wow. Gosh. That's a hard one. I'm gonna go with Van Morrison. He would be the headliner. Paramore, just to put a little relevance in there. Queens Of The Stone Age would be cool to put on there because I love a lot of their records. Do you remember this band called OMC? They sang that song like "How bizarre, how bizarre. Da-na-na-na." They're a New Zealand band. The singer, Polly, he died a long time ago but they're a great band and I've been into them lately. I'd have OMC. I think Richard Pryor would open the night and just put a little funniness there.

What song do you all perform as the finale?
"Unstoppable" because we'll never stop.

We actually asked the music festival question to Dee Snider and he picked Foxy Shazam as one of the five acts to appear on the bill with Twisted Sister.
Really? Wow. Hang on...

No take backs!
Okay, okay. I would invite Dee just to hang out and he'd just have the night off and he could relax and have fun.

More Foxy Shazam: Official | Tour Dates | Facebook | Twitter

Michelle Williams: The Culture Brats Interview

We've got a special interview for you today: Destiny Child's Michelle Williams. She took time out of her crazy schedule to talk with us about embarrassing moments, her new album, Jesus Christ Superstar, her WNBA team, and what fulfills her.

Looking over the list of your current projects, the first I have to ask you is when do you sleep?
Oh my goodness, I know. I have to find it. There are many times where I'm calculating, "I know I'll get three hours of sleep here."

I'm sure. Tell us about the Play On Playbook.
Play On is a campaign with Playtex. It's just basically a way that I get to celebrate women, letting them know, "Hey, I've made mistakes along the way." You know as well I've had some stumbles and embarrassing moments. We're women. We're human, and what a great way to celebrate with a company that also celebrates women in many ways.

You talk about getting over embarrassment in the program. I'm sure you've already talked talked yourself to death about the 106 & Park incident--
I have.

So let's go a different direction: what's the most embarrassing thing to happen to you on a date?
On a date? It's unfortunate because I don't even go on many of those. And the ones I do go on, I'm like, "Is this a date?" The most embarrassing thing that's happened to me on a date? I haven't had anything embarrassing happen to me on a date. Right now.

You're pretty luck then.
Trust me. I'm still open so you'll never know what happens.

Melanie Martinez: The Culture Brats Interview

On May 20th, Melanie Martinez will release the eagerly awaited The Dollhouse EP. We spoke with her about the EP, the awesome first single, her hair, her time on The Voice, and her upcoming tour.

I love "Dollhouse" and its video. They're both very dark. What was the inspiration for the song?
It was actually the first session I had with Kinetics & One Love and we co-wrote that song. We just really wanted to write a dark story. That was the start of the whole vibe for the EP and the album. It's basically a dark story at the root, but it's kind of sugar coated with a childlike aesthetic--dolls, the dollhouse, the colors. It's all very childlike, but it's a dark story about a dysfunctional family. We thought that was a great start to something.

It also has a double meaning for how I feel people view celebrities, how people put them in glass boxes and expect them to be perfect even though clearly they're all human.

What can you tell us about the rest of the EP?
They're all separate stories and what makes them all cohesive is the production and how every song has a dark story, but it's all very babylike almost. It's all honest stories that I would like people to put more attention on instead of writing about heartbreak and almost cliche-by-now subjects that everyone has been writing about lately. I just wanted to do something different and tell real stories that happened, whether it happens to me or whether it happens to someone I know. I just wanted to be honest with people and be able to tell them a different story than what they're used to hearing.

Sara Barron: The Culture Brats Interview

Today we're talking to the extremely hilarious Sara Barron, author of The Harm In Asking: My Clumsy Encounters With The Human Race, about her writing process, her mother, what she finds funny, her taste in music, and imaginary friends.

First of all, I have to tell you I loved The Harm In Asking.
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad.

Tell me about your writing process. Have you kept a journal your entire life?
Interestingly, I haven't. It's one of those things as an adult that I always want to do, and then I go through two-month periods and I never get back to it. It's not sustainable for me as a grown-up.

But as a kid, I did a lot of diary writing. Not once I got into high school and once you get all the homework that you can get into. Prior to that, without writing restrictions set down on me, I would always keep diaries back then.

You really expose yourself in The Harm In Asking. Is anything off limits?
No... I don't think so. I like to try, and I always make a point in saying that I don't necessarily think I succeed, but I always try to write about something in a way that feels funny and where the language hopefully doesn't feel... For example, if I'm going to write an essay about farting, I'm going to put a lot of effort into how I do that in a way that I hope doesn't feel like someone standing up on a stand-up stage and being like, "So, farting, right? Like what the f?" That's what I'm trying not to do which is why I wanted to write it. You have so much more control and so much more time you can invest in the language that you use and the way that you present things. You have so much more power than you sometimes do when you perform live. So if I can figure out a way to do it that feels funny to me, then I don't think anything is off limits.

Just for the record, I had made a conscious effort that I wasn't going to mention farting at all but you just blew that out of the water now.
Thank you! I really, really appreciate that and look at what I did. I punished myself because you were being good to me and respectful, goddamn it.

You've had imaginary orphaned teen models and an imaginary bulldog. Do they still come to visit from time to time?
The imaginary orphaned models don't but the dog absolutely does. But the thing is I don't live alone anymore. I went and got myself a husband. I feel that has cut down on my visits from my imaginary friends. However, I do work from home and my husband doesn't, so as anyone who works from home knows, you do get to do quite a bit of talking to yourself. The dog... Not quite as much as she used to, but she's still around.

Cool. But no new imaginary people or animals?
No. I kind of wish that the answer was yes, but I feel like I'm getting less and less creative as I get older.

Well, you finally have a roommate now that works for you.
Here's hoping!

How does your mother feel about your books?
Um.... she is happy that I have work, I think. I think that overrides most things. She has a a good sense of humor, so she's okay. I think. I hope. Unless she's being dishonest with me, but she's not a great one for stifling her natural feelings, so I cant' imagine that that's actually happening.

Have you had any backlash from people that are mentioned in your books?
No, I haven't. I feel like the people I write about negatively--what I think of as negatively--are mostly people who aren't in my life, you know what I mean? Who knows what can happen. At the moment, I've come out relatively unscathed. But I say that and someone can send me the email tomorrow that I would feel horrible about. I'm a ticking clock with that.

Are people are a little more guarded around you now?
No, I don't think so. But again, who knows if I'll have a different answer to that in another two years. I find that the more you do something professionally that paints you as a very honest and forthright, it actually brings out that same quality in other people. I feel like I'm one of those people who ends up hearing everybody's secrets instead of having them kept from me because somebody thinks I would end up writing about it, which, if we had a real relationship, I would never do.

Any chance we'll see a reading tour from you?
I'm currently making my way through our fair nation. Relatively limited stops, though. I'm in New York, where I've been doing a bunch of stuff. I'm onto Chicago next and then finally onto Los Angeles.

Let's talk about your taste in music: it can't really be as bad as you make it out to be, can it?
Well, you know, it can and it can't. With any of these things, you take what's funny and what's true and you sort of blow it up and ignore the parts of the story that aren't funny. What is true is there's music that I do think that you, as a man of taste I'm sure, would think is good music and you would like to listen to and I would also like to listen to that music, too. To that extent I suppose I have okay taste. But when I write about my passion for really bad music, or if you were to see what's on my workout mix, it's that bad. If I'm working and I want to treat myself to something, I am going to put on a really bad Rihanna song or something by Alanis Morissette and that's going to be my four-minute break from what I'm doing. That is very real.

What do you think of the new Tori Amos song?
Listen, my taste isn't even good enough that I'm staying up-to-date on the new Tori Amos songs. That would be too fashionable for me. If you want to talk about Little Earthquakes or something like that, we can get into it. But I don't even know what you're talking about now.

Final question: what do you find funny?
What do I find funny? I find self-deprecation really funny. People who hate themselves and make that into art, very funny.

More Sara Barron: Official | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

E.G. Daily: The Culture Brats Interview

E.G. Daily has had an incredible career. She was Loryn from Valley Girl and Dottie from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. She gave voice to The Rugrats' Tommy Pickles and the Powerpuff Girls' Buttercup. And until last week, she was a contestant on the current season of The Voice. We spoke with E.G. about her time on The Voice and what she gained from the experience, Valley Girl, working with Pee-Wee and Tim Burton, and her favorite voice acting gig.

Let's talk about The Voice. What made you decide to audition for the show?
What made me decide was a friend of mine who I didn't really know very well, that I met a birthday party, she asked me to sing on one of her shows that she produced called BalconyTV. It's a show they do on the Internet. Artists will play a song and it's usually acoustic and it's usually sung on a balcony. She said, "Would you sing a song on my show?" and I'm like, "Sure!" I ended up hosting some of those because it was so much fun talking to artists and what inspired them. I was just so moved by those things. The next thing she called me one day and said, "I hope you're okay with this, but I got you an audition for The Voice." I was flattered and I thought, "How sweet of this woman" that I didn't really know that well to do that for me. I decided that I would go for it. I said, "I don't know if they're even gonna on the show because of my history and my experience." She was like, "No, they're familiar with you and they'll still give you a time slot." It didn't matter my history, it didn't matter that I was Tommy Pickles or Dottie. None of it mattered. The next thing you know I'm on the show and then chairs are turning and I'm like, "Is this really happening at this age in my life?"

What was being on the show like? Were you given a lot of input from Blake?
Yeah, actually. We had a really nice rehearsal and we had some rehearsal times. He's awesome. He's very spot-on about his comments. He knows his music and he knew right away what my little issues were. He was like, "E.G., I need you to wind it back down and blow it out later." He knew and he was like, "You're not wanting to feel the softer notes. I want you to feel them." He was right.

So you pretty much answered my next question, did you learn anything from your time on the show that might help you down the line?
I learned so much and how to really enjoy the process, that it isn't winning the prize, it's that it's being willing to fall on your face no matter where you are in your life, take a risk at things. It was a risk for me. I could have gone on that show and had no chairs turn and that could've been "Woman in her 50s goes on The Voice and non chairs turn." I think the lesson was to keep continuing to be willing to fall on my face. And when people are like, "Oh, you can't do that!" Oh yeah? Watch me.

Let's switch gears. Valley Girl is just an iconic '80s movie. For many of you working on it, it was your first starring role. What was it like to have so many young faces working together on a major movie?
Well, we didn't know we were going to be famous at that point in time. We just got this funny little movie that was very low budget. We didn't even know if it was going to come out. But we had a blast making it. We did it because we were actors. At the time, it was pretty much like a b-movie because it had no funding. I think we even had to wear our own clothes at one point.

I've got to ask about Pee-Wee. What was it like working with him on Pee-Wee's Big Adventure?
I got cast as Dottie. I had to go through a regular casting situation. Tim Burton, that was one of his first big movies. I remember them showing me a little movie saying, "This is the director, Tim Burton, and he's known for doing this really great short about a dog." I didn't know what his work was because he was new then. When we were on the set, I was like, "This is going to be fun!" because the sets were so goofy and childlike. He was such a genius director. Paul Reubens is such a genius himself. The next thing you know, we're filming and it's a blast and it was a huge movie for Warner Brothers. Huge. You never know. I never go into them thinking, "Oh, this is going to be the thing." I'm always pleasantly surprised by how things work.

How did your incredible voice acting career begin?
Wow, thanks! I actually got cast in a play that ran in LA called Tarzana Tanzi. It was a musical and I had to do all these voices. The play was about a female wrestler and I was the star of the show. It was in a boxing ring, and each round of the play, I was a different age. Opening night at this big theater, it was standing room only. Some guy was there and he handed me his card and was like, "Wow. You are really good with your voice. You really know how to do children's voices." I was like, "Oh, thanks. I'm an actress. I'm a singer." I didn't really think much. He said, "I'd like to send you out on some voiceover things. I think you'd be really good at this." He just heard something about my ability to manipulate my voice and do different characters. I was like, "Sure, I'll try that!" The first thing I went up for, they showed me a little claymation character and I started thinking, "Hmm, that looks like it would sound like the voice I've been doing my whole life since I was a little kid." A little voice that I had been doing, it was so developed. When the producers walked in, I started doing that voice. They were blown away and the next think you know they're bringing more producers in and more producers in. And the next think you know I was cast as Tommy Pickles.

What has been your favorite character to voice?
I really liked doing Baby Mumble (from Happy Feet), he was really cute. Tommy Pickles, of course, was amazing. Buttercup (from The Powerpuff Girls) is real fun. I played a character once called Germ Girl (from Bump In The Night. She was like this really sexy germ. She lured you in with her sexiness and then she kissed you and infected you with a cold. That was a pretty funny character. Voiceovers are so fun because you can be an inanimate object, you can be a ball, you can be anything.

You do so much: live acting, voice acting, singing. Which is your favorite?
I like them all. I can be doing live shows for awhile and I love it. I love singing and working with an audience and connecting with people. But when you get a character role where you get to dive into a certain character... Like, I did the role of Candy in The Devil's Rejects. I remember when I got to the set. Something about the clothing, I got to wear little baby doll things and patent leather go-go boots and my hair in Princess Leia braids. Something about transforming your body is really cool for an acting role. The voiceovers? Forget about it. It's off the charts because you're not limited by anything physical. You're all about your voice. For me, it's all fun.

More E.G. Daily: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Roger Manning Jr.: The Culture Brats Interview

Years ago in the hazy '90s, Roger Manning Jr. and Andy Sturmer, two guys who had survived the implosion of the San Francisco based Beatnik Beatch, shook off the new psychedelic moniker assigned to so many bands coming out of that area and formed the fantastic Jellyfish. Along with bandmate Jason Falkner, they produced 1990's Bellybutton and 1993's much heralded Spilt Milk. The sharp jarring melodies and lush sophistication of the music thrilled fans and critics alike, but sadly before they were able to show us more, the band split acrimoniously, leaving us with the question of what could have been.

We spoke to Roger Manning Jr. about the upcoming Radio Jellyfish, his current projects, and what the future holds.

Okay, so I want to get right into what's happening on December 10th which is the release of Jellyfish's live radio performances, coming out as Radio Jellyfish. It's a ten-track collection, nine of which were unavailable to your fans before. I know you guys are no strangers to live recordings, but there is something about the stripped-down raw honesty of the recording and the simplicity of a song when it's laid bare like that. Do you think a band and a song delivers when it's performed simply like this and live? In other words, does it test whether it's actually a well-crafted, well-written song without all the bluster of production?
Well, it really depends on what kind of style or genre of music we are talking about. I mean, there is some amazing dance/pop stuff that I guarantee you that if you took away all the computerized programming and computer sleight of hand, there wouldn't be much to stand on. And that's just fine. That music is built more around beats than it is actual melody and harmony content. But when you do any kind of music that's classic in a melodic sense and is built on very strong hooks, harmonic movement, with a lyric, it works well with all that. As far as I'm concerned, I love hearing artists do that--just a guitar and vocal, as well as the other side of the coin with full-on production from top to bottom. I love listening to what producers and bands come up with as far as arrangements. But that's only going to work with a strong catchy hook that can hold someone's attention. So I'm proud of those recordings because that's how the songs were written. They were ideas that came from me and my guitar and me and my piano and with the wonderful musicians we had working at our side. We filled in the blanks and we all enjoyed creating very colorful arrangements.

Jeff Kinney: The Culture Brats Interview

If you have a kid, chances are good he or she has read one (or all) of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books. The series already has 115 million books in print and looks to increase that even more with the November 5th release of the eighth book in the series, Hard Luck. We spoke with author Jeff Kinney about the new book, his favorite character, his favorite authors when he was a kid, Poptropica, and whether or not his own kids are fans of his book.

Hard Luck, the latest in the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series, will be released on November 5th. What does Hard Luck have in store for Greg Heffley and his friends?
It only has something in store for Greg Heffley because he has no more friends. Greg is, for the first time, on his own. He and Rowley have sort of gone in separate directions because Rowley has a girlfriend. So Greg is left scrambling, trying to figure out where he falls on the social ladder now that he is solo. Greg decides to start leaving his decisions up to fate because he decides that the choices he's made on his own haven't gotten him very far, so he's going to give himself over to fate.

There are an astonishing 115 million books in print from the series. When did you first realize that this was going to be so big?
I don't think I really realized that it was going to be so big. In fact, just recently that number jumped up a lot when we counted up our foreign sales and things like that. That was a big shock to me. I thought that if I ever got to 100 million... I thought it was an unachievable number, actually. I'm still not sure what to make of it.

What made you decide to focus on the middle school years for Greg and his friends?
I think the middle school years are just ripe for comedy because they are the years in which kids can be physically so different from one other. I thought that would be a great setting and usually authors try to avoid it because it's such an awkward time period. Most people don't want to hear about middle school kids.

Which character do you relate to the most?
I think I relate to Greg the most. He's the most like me, but I think that Rowley is my favorite character because he likes being a kid.

Will we see any further films based on books from the series?
I think that now we're going to move to animated holiday specials. As far as the live action films go, we're moving away from that because the kids have aged out of their roles.

Are your own sons fans of your work?
I think they are. My oldest son has enjoyed the books, but he moved past them pretty quickly. He moved into more challenging reading. His favorite books are the Percy Jackson books. My younger son is in third grade and he's just now getting into my books and it's very exciting to see that he's enjoying them.

Do they ever try to give you ideas to put in your books?
Not often. We really don't talk about my books very much in the house. That might seem weird, but we keep those worlds separate. We try not to overwhelm the kids with the Wimpy Kid stuff. They treat my books like any kids would, as a new book in the house that they read through. I don't think they really interpret it any differently than that.

You're also the creator of the hugely successful Poptropica. What led you to create that?
I was mowing my lawn one day and thought, "Wouldn't it be neat to create a virtual place for kids to play?" So I came up with the idea and I pitched it to my company, Pearson, and they liked it so we built it. That's still my full-time job.

What authors connected with you as a child?
I really liked Judy Blume. I liked those coming-of-age stories. They were probably written more for girls than they were for boys, but I really liked those. When I got a little bit older, I liked fantasy. I liked Pierce Anthony and J.R.R. Tolkien. Those are some of my favorites.

Finally, you get a lot of kids interested in reading through your books. What advice do you have to any of them wishing to follow in your footsteps?
I would say that if they have an idea, to take your time with it and nurture it. Make it grow into something good because you'll be tempted to put your first idea out there, but you'll have a better product if you take your time to develop something.

More Jeff Kinney: Official | Twitter

Too Much Joy's Tim Quirk: The Culture Brats Interview

On December 10th, SideOneDummy Records will reissue Too Much Joy's 1991 classic Cereal Killers on vinyl. I caught up with singer Tim Quirk to talk about the reissue, KRS-One, what kept TMJ from being the biggest band of the '90s, and the five songs that define the band.

First off, I've got to tell you I was a huge fan of Too Much Joy, so I have to ask: why weren't you guys the biggest band of the '90s?
That's a mystery for the ages. I don't know. The honest answer is probably because we were funny. It's hard to be taken seriously when you're funny even though we always thought our humor was kind of dead serious. That's pretty much what it comes down to. We had lots of people advising us to cut down on the wacky shit as career advice and at the time we were like, "Fuck you." Not that I would've done anything differently, but maybe they had a point.

It seemed that you guys were always more famous for your exploits than your actual music which always seemed like a crime to me. Like the Bozo sample and the 2 Live Crew concerts and stuff like that.
It's hard to take that amiss. I think you have to look at shit like that and say, "Maybe people didn't feel like talking about the music." If they were talking about something other than the music, maybe it's because the other stuff was more noteworthy than the music we were making. I don't know. To me, it all felt like it was all of a piece. We said this before: it's not like we went out looking for this shit. This shit just tended to find us, with the exception of 2 Live Crew which was deliberate and I'd do a thousand times over. Everything else just kind of happened. We were magnets for that kind of thing for whatever reason.

You're going to reissue 1991's Cereal Killers on vinyl in December through SideOneDummy Records. How did this happen?
You know, I don't know. I got an email one day saying, "Hey, what do you think about this?" from the label. My answer was, "If you can talk Warner into it, we certainly have no objection."

I'm really pleased with the partnership so far. And the colored vinyl looks pretty.

I see that certain packages come with an issue of Joybuzzer. Is that a new issue or one from the archives?
I haven't seen it myself. My understanding, which could be wrong, is that it's a combination of some new stuff with some "best of," but I won't know for sure until they actually publish it.

Any chance the reissue of the album is your way of testing the waters to gauge interest for a reunion tour or album?
There's zero chance of that, unfortunately. Well, there's not zero chance of actually playing some shows, but it's not testing the waters. I was just minding my own business and an email popped up in the inbox and we were all like, "Yeah, go for it." We're proud of the music and we want it out there in whatever form is possible, but everybody's pretty much slammed with what's happened with the rest of their lives since then. While we were trying to make it work to do at least a handful of shows to celebrate this, nobody's looking to get back together for an extended period of time.

KRS-One guests on "Good Kill" on [Cereal Killers]. Around the same time that was released, R.E.M.'s Out Of Time came out, which also had him on "Radio Song." Were you guys ticked off or anything about that?
We were fucking furious. Not at the almighty Blastmaster, he can go appear on anybody's music that he wants. What pissed us off was we had done it well in advance of R.E.M.

Warner signed us and they reissued Son Of Sam I Am. Basically, we recorded Cereal Killers but we were touring on the reissue of Son Of Sam I Am. So Cereal Killers was in the can for almost a year before it came out. So we had this thing in our back pocket that we knew was coming out and we were really proud of it. We knew it was good and the label was just waiting for the right time to put it out. While we were touring and waiting, R.E.M. got KRS-One to come in and do a song and our albums literally came out on the same day. I've gotta say, I was and remain a huge R.E.M. fan and I can be objective about what's good of theirs and what's bad of theirs. It's a fine song, but I do not think they used him to very good effect on that song.

No. They didn't.
He doesn't really rap on it. He just goes like "Yo!" and "Hey hey hey!" If you're gonna put him in front of a mic, have him fucking say something, you know? [Our] next album, Mutiny, had a line on it that went "I'm ahead of my time, but only by a week." That's one of five times where something like that happened to us. We did a pop/punk cover of Tom Waits's "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" and the Ramones put out the exact same thing. We were doing it for years before they ever put it out. I don't know if they ever heard it, but it's not like it's an idea only one person in the universe can have. We were covering "Seasons In The Sun" before Nirvana did it. Shit like that happened to us all the time. You can tell I'm still bitter about it.

You do such a great job of detailing the thoughts, feelings, and happenings behind the band's songs on the website, almost to the point that it makes it pointless for me to talk about certain songs with you. What made you start the chronicle?
I don't know. That's a good question. Ego, probably. Part of it was when we created the website, we knew we weren't going to be making a ton of new music, but you need a way to keep it updated and fresh and since we don't have a lot of news, I guess the thinking was "Oh, well we can go backwards." When J.D. Salinger died, that was a good time to talk about "William Holden Caulfield." There was the Hartsdale Cheesery, this weird little store in the town where we grew up, closed one day and since we referred to the store in the lyrics to one of our songs, we went, "Let's talk about 'Pride Of Frankenstein.'" That's why we started it. Why we kept doing it is probably just ego and wanting to be understood and not dismissed as a joke novelty act.

Any chance it would lead to a book one day?
I don't see very much chance of that at all.

You're still heavily involved in music as the man being Google Play. What current bands have your attention?
That's a really good question and I will answer it momentarily. But the fact is I've been listening for the past nine months almost exclusively to obscure classic soul from 1964 to 1972 or '73. I don't know what happened, I just got this obsession and now I've become this insane crate-digging geek. Pretty much all I do all weekend long is lie in my hammock, listening to classic soul and try and forget about work.

But when I'm listening to current bands... I'm a great admirer of Okkervil River and their most recent record is pretty awesome. I really, really like The Thermals. All their records sound very similar in a good way, kind of in that Ramonesy way. And they put on a great show. Titus Andronicus, I really, really like even though they cancelled on a Google Play event at SXSW a couple of years ago. I still admire the band. Dick move to cancel, but still I like Titus Andronicus. They haven't put out anything new in awhile, but Canada's Hidden Cameras--they're awesome. They're so good, you can be singing along to a song before you realize it's about pissing on your gay lover. But hey, it's so catchy that even once you realize that, you keep singing along.

Let's finish things off with the five songs that you feel define Too Much Joy.
Oh geez. I'd have to give that some thought. Basically, I'm going to answer your question, and then I'm going to be pissed at myself all day long as I realize I should've named five different songs. Let me do this: let me pick one from each album.

I'm going to skip Green Eggs And Crack because we were still trying to figure out what the hell we were doing.

Right. Although "Drum Machine" is very cool.
I get it. I would say "Drum Machine" and "The Otter Song" are the only two songs from Green Eggs And Crack that survived in sets to this day. We'll see. We'll circle back and maybe that will end up making the list.

Off of Son Of Sam I Am: "Kicking." That was among the first songs that we felt we were really hitting on all cylinders when we wrote it, to the point where while we were touring even before Son Of Sam I Am came out, we would literally open and close the set with that song because we liked it so much. We would play it twice. There's funny lines in there, but it's sort of a really serious song. One of the things that made me happiest in my career was when Robert Christgau wrote about that song. I forget what his exact line was, but it was something like "it might be about cancer and it's definitely about turning 23." I was like, "Oh! That's a perceptive rock critic there! That's exactly what that song is about."

Off of Cereal Killers... There's like three off of Cereal Killers that I could pick and I'm trying to limit myself to just one. I'm gonna go with "King Of Beers" rather than "Theme Song." "King Of Beers" is something that sounds like it's frat rocky, but there's actually a bit of self-reflection and depression and sadness in there. "King Of Beers" because it's not just a gag, although you can shout along to it drunkenly at a show and then regret it in the morning. That's pretty much what the damn song's about.

What was our next one? Mutiny. I'm going to say "What It Is." It's just a couple of chords and we weren't really a jammy band, we didn't really jam all that much, but that was one that I don't think we ever sucked when we played that song, even at the shittiest show. There were some nights when almost everything goes wrong, "What It Is" never went wrong. That song just felt right and I'm proud of the lyrics. And it's a true story. I was in Ireland visiting some site from prehistoric times. Literally 2,000 years ago, this fort had been built on the edge of the island.

And somebody actually wrote their name on it.
Yeah, some dick named James. He sees this thing that connects you to the history of mankind and makes you realize, "Wow, look at what we've done rising from savagery and now we have civilization and how weird and awesome that is." And some dude's reaction is, "I'm gonna write my name here!" I looked at it and thought, "Great. Now you're part of history, but your part of history is that everyone knows you're an asshole forever." I just don't understand that impulse. So that's "What It Is."

So our next album was "...Finally." I'm going to change my mind tomorrow, but I'm gonna say "Underneath A Jersey Sky."

It's gotta be that. I think that's the most beautiful song you guys have ever written. I love that song. I think it perfectly captures that suburban feel.
Thanks! We were literally in Jersey, we were in Hoboken. There was a studio we were recording at a lot, mostly because we didn't have any money at the time and the dude let us come in for free and it was an excellent studio. He was having a party, so we were hanging out with a bunch of Jersey musicians and people at the same stage of their career that we were at. We were in Jersey and we were looking up and it was a starry night, although not that you can see that many stars from Hoboken. We just had a sense of our place in the universe that was not necessarily awesome. So that's what that song is about.

So now I guess I either have to do Gods And Sods or Green Eggs And Crack. Yeah... I guess I gotta do "Drum Machine." Like a lot of things we did, it was a song we wrote while we were waiting to do what we thought was the real thing we were doing. There was literally another band in the studio and we were sitting outside the studio with an acoustic guitar and we were bored and we just started making fun of the other band in the studio that was ruining our day.

There was just something about it. It's simple, it's stupid, but you can sing along to it. That sums up Too Much Joy!

Pre-order the vinyl reissue of Too Much Joy's classic Cereal Killers at SideOneDummy Records!

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Cage The Elephant: The Culture Brats Interview

Have you heard? Cage the Elephant released Melophobia, their highly anticipated third studio album today, and if the band has its way, you'll be spending a good chunk of time listening to their handiwork and enjoying the fruits of their labor. The challenge for longtime fans and new converts is getting on board with a band who changes sounds like toddlers change underwear. Trying on something new can be tricky but Cage The Elephant has experimented successfully and broken new ground with each new release, delighting devotees and gaining new listeners with every chance they take.

We spoke with guitarist Lincoln Parish about real life, rock star status, and raising the bar.

Hey Lincoln! How are you today?
Hey! Good, how are you?

Doing great. Where are you guys?
We're in Boston right now. Good we're on the same east coast schedule. I like to get up early.

So I listened to Melophobia and I loved it. But I've got to ask you right off the bat if it's a nod to the Talking Heads' seminal Fear Of Music album? I got this wild hair that it was parallel to the whole way that record was the bridge between their first two albums and the rest of their career and Melophobia is your third album as well as actually meaning "fear of music."
That's funny, because someone else brought that up the other day but actually we didn't even think about it.

So now I sound like a completely unhinged hidden conspiracy theorist. Talk about reading too much into something!
Isn't that what they were thinking? What is the meaning behind this?

Okay, so going with the bridge between albums idea... This is your third. And after Cage The Elephant and Thank You, Happy Birthday, I was actually a little surprised by this album. It sounds familiar but also expands out into territory you haven't much covered yet. Was that a conscious decision when you went into the studio? Did you set out to attain a certain something or was it more improvisational?
Yeah, I would say that this one was probably the one that we went into with the least amount of contrived ideas. Before we went into the studio it was kind of like we need to leave some bookends open and you know, not have everything completely sussed out. Just because we wanted to leave some room for spontaneity, for things to happen. We had the songs. The songs were for the most part there, but the general sound of the album was the least known when we went in. And that's kind of where the title of the album came from. I guess that's what it really means as a band, is not having to make music to cater to any one type of particular sound. Not sure it that actually answers your question.

Adam DeVine: The Culture Brats Interview

If you or your kids (or you and your kids) are fans of Cartoon Network's Adventure Time or Regular Show, there's a damn good chance you'll be fans of Uncle Grandpa, which premieres tonight. Uncle Grandpa was created by Peter Browngardt, who also worked on Futurama, Adventure Time, and Chowder. It tells the story of the titular character, his talking belly bag, a dinosaur named Mr. Gus, a Giant Realistic Flying Tiger, and Pizza Steve, an egotistical slice of pizza who is voiced by Adam DeVine from Workaholics and Pitch Perfect. Adam was nice enough to take time from filming the upcoming season of Workaholics to answer a few questions about Uncle Grandpa, his favorite cartoons, the upcoming season of Workaholics, and more.

How are you doing today?
I'm tired. We're in the midst of shooting Workaholics and my brain is melted. Besides that I'm great. Hopefully this breakfast burrito will get my mind right.

Tell us about Uncle Grandpa, your new show on Cartoon Network.
It's a cartoon I would have loved as a kid and would still love as an adult. It reminds me a lot of Ren & Stimpy in how cool and raw the animation is.

I've watched the "Tiger Trails" and "Belly Brothers" episodes and feel that fans of Adventure Time and Regular Show are going to love Uncle Grandpa. What attracted you to the series?
I thought the shorts that were on YouTube were awesome. So it helped that I didn't think the show was gonna suck. Truly, I wanted to do something that my extended family could watch and not think I'm a drunk/drug addict maniac who shouldn't be allowed at Thanksgiving. I'm sure that's how they think after watching Workaholics.

You play Pizza Steve, a cocky, talking piece of pizza. Is that the strangest role you've ever played?
It's definitely the most delicious role that I've ever played. Pizza is my life blood so it really is a dream role.

What are some of your all-time favorite cartoons?
Ren & Stimpy, Rugrats, TMNT, and DuckTales. I almost broke my neck as a kid trying to dive into a pile of change. I dunno how Scrooge McDuck pulled it off.

I'm a big fan of Workaholics. Have you started writing the new season yet? Anything you can share about what we can expect in the new season?
We are shooting the new season right now! I'm writing this from set. If you like Workaholics, you're gonna love this season, and if you don't like Workaholics, just go to bed, you're no fun.

What else are you working on right now?
I have my own stand-up show coming out on Comedy Central this fall called Adam Devine's House Party. I basically have a giant house party and invite my favorite new stand ups to perform in my backyard. It was bonkerz. Also, I'm gonna do a few episodes on Modern Family this coming season!

Best of luck to you with Uncle Grandpa, Workaholics, and everything else!
Thanks! Let's be best friends or something?

Here's a preview of "Tiger Trails," one of the two episodes that premiere tonight at 8:00 PM on Cartoon Network: