Bill: Hi Dan, this is Bill Molloy, do you have time to do the interview now?
Bill: Alright, cool. This shouldn't take more than 15 or 20 minutes.
Dan: Ok I might have to stop at a couple points just for a second; I'm on call tonight. That cool?
Bill: That's fine.
Dan: Hello? Are you there?
Bill: I'm still here, can you hear me?
Dan: Yeah now I can.
Bill: Ok. You and Andy are the only guys who have been with Paint it Black through its entire existence; have you noticed that the lineup turnover has influenced the sound at all?
Dan: Yeah, we got better. It's definitely influenced the sound; Jared's a very different drummer than Dave. I mean Dave is fantastic and probably one of the best hardcore drummers out there but Jared's just very different and very musical and I think the drumming really fits. The drumming is almost like another melodic instrument in the band in some ways. Also this lineup has above and beyond the best work ethic of any band lineup I've ever worked with, and I've worked with a lot of lineups.
Bill: Ha, yeah.
Dan: There was so much work put in getting ready for this last record. We had always been a bit under prepared when we got to the studio, and I think most bands are, but we really got every detail and every nuance before hand because we put so much time into rehearsing.
Bill: Yeah that's what Andy said when I talked to him, that there was WAY more time put into rehearsing this record than any other one.
Dan: Say again?
Bill: That's what Andy said, that there was WAY more time put into rehearsing and song crafting for this one.
Dan: And that has a lot to do with the lineup; people were so willing to put all of their time and put everything else to the side. Can you hold on one second?
(Dan takes a medical call for two or three minutes. I drink some water and look at Punknews)
Dan: Are you there?
Bill: Yeah I'm still here.
Dan: Sorry about that, I'm on call tonight so I got paged and had to answer it real quickly. It's all good now.
Bill: No worries, it's fine. You were talking about how this lineup has the best work of any of the bands you've been in...
Dan: You're cutting out. Hello?
Dan: Yeah I can't hear you at all.
Bill: Is this better?
Dan: I'm sorry?
Bill: Is this better?
Dan: Alright, now I gotcha.
Bill: How did you end up hooking up with Jeff Pezzati and getting him to sing on New Lexicon?
Dan: That was a fantasy that we somehow made reality. We're all crazy huge Naked Raygun fans. You're from
Bill: They're disgustingly huge here.
Dan: Ha, I would hope so, they should be huge everywhere. If there were any justice in the world, if people liked quality instead of bullshit, Raygun would be the biggest band everywhere.
Bill: You're preaching to the choir here.
Dan: But, you know, people like bullshit more than they like quality; they're such an amazing band. Every time I wrote a "woah woah" anthem part I'm thinking of Naked Raygun. Even more than 7 Seconds, I'm thinking Naked Raygun. We had that song, "Shell Game Redux," the last song, I wrote the vocal part and we were joking in practice about how awesome it would be if Pezatti sings it. It was just a joke we made because we all love Naked Raygun, but I was like "You know, maybe this does not have to be a joke" and Jeff's in that band The Bomb, and we have two degrees of separation on them. One, J Robbins, who records us, recorded The Bomb's last record.
Bill: Yeah, Indecision.Dan: And then Jeff Dean the guitarist is an old, old friend of mine. I met him on the first Lifetime tour in 1992 in
Dan: I came home, and my wife's from
Bill: (hearty chuckle)
Dan: I was like "Thanks for ruining my surprise!" She said "Oh really? I was kidding!" One of the first things we ever, now this shows how important this is to me, one of the first things my wife and I ever bonded over was our mutual adoration for Naked Raygun.
Bill: That's awesome.
Dan: In the voicemail he was like "Sure, tell me what you want me to do." We recorded the song and I had Josh sing the part as a reference, we burned the track onto a disc and sent it off to
Bill: Ha, that's a really cool story. Now with this record, how would you say... Is your writing process any different from what you did with the last Lifetime record versus what you did with the new Paint it Black? I've noticed that there were a couple parts on New Lexicon that seemed kind of Lifetime-esque to me.
Dan: Kind of what?
Bill: Lifetime-esque, especially the end part of "Past Tense, Future Perfect."
Dan: Well I'll tell you about that song. I wrote that song for Paint it Black, and then when Lifetime got back together everyone in Paint it Black was worried that I'd make Lifetime my first priority, but I swore to them that Paint it Black was going to remain my first priority, because I want it that way. I love Lifetime but Paint it Black is like my baby. By all rights I should have moved that song over to the Lifetime record; the whole song I think could be a Lifetime song if you just listen to the music and take away the obnoxious screaming!
Bill: Ha, true.
Dan: So I told the guys in Paint it Black, I'm like "This song, you need to hear this song and it proves that Paint it Black is my priority. This song would make perfect sense on the Lifetime record but I'm keeping it where I intended it to go." I guess Lifetime has always kind of crept in. Originally when I started Paint it Black I wanted straight up thrash, I wanted to sound like Los Crudos, another
Dan: But the thing is that I could never keep the melody out. If you think about what you've asked me and then go back and listen to the first records you'll hear more Lifetime than you thought. "Pink Slip," the second song on
Bill: Well that one definitely.
Dan: There are definitely a couple moments on CVA. (pause) I think the process is different only in that it was liberating to share, to give the band, the other three guys so much freedom with the songs, you know? I write all the music and typically I've been a real control freak about it; this time I demoed everything on my computer and sent it to everybody and then do with it what they will. There were a lot of practices where I didn't show up until the end.
Dan: Yeah, I'd work until 9:00, they'd start practicing at 6:00, I'd show up at 9:30 and they'd say "Well, we've made some changes, tell us what you think." And at first I could see they were playing the songs and looking at me out of the corner of their eye to see what my reaction would be but with almost everything they did I was like "that's better actually." I gave them total freedom to rearrange the songs, and that was a first. It's about trust and learning to let go. It was really liberating for me and hopefully for them.
Bill: Is that something you don't think you could have done with any of the older lineups?
Dan: Well I don't know really; for whatever reason I didn't.
Bill: I noticed in a couple of other interviews you were mentioning, and this is something I noticed myself, that you jumped straight from your demo to recording full length LPs, and is your plan just to do 7"s from now on?
Dan: Well yeah, I would like to. I believe in never saying never, because I every time I say never I end up eating shit, you know? As recently as three years ago I said you'd never see Lifetime play again so I learned my lesson I think. What I think is that there are very few hardcore bands or punk bands that ever made it to a third LP. Usually by the time they do they're a fucking joke.Bill: Either they've changed their sound or they're just not as good.
Dan: Exactly. I wanted three albums. That was my aspiration, because each of my other bands broke up in between recording a second album and it being released, both Lifetime and Kid Dynamite. I reached my goal of not only doing three records without breaking up but also I think that the third one is above and beyond the best one. That's so rare and kind of at this point… I've always been so obsessed with albums, but at this point I'm thinking "let's have a go at the format that kind of is, well it's the best format for hardcore."
Bill: Oh yeah, I agree completely.
Dan: A six song 7"? Awesome. I don't want to say we'll never do another album but we're really stoked to do some 7"s.
Bill: Well if it's a 7" you can screw around a little bit, you can try some new things out. It's not as huge of a deal as with an LP.
Dan: Yeah, although I don't think we can really try too many more new things than what we did with New Lexicon.
Bill: Make an EP of all ambient noise with no actual punk rock, that'll screw with people's heads.
Dan: I want to do a re-mix 12" actually, like have different people do re-mixes of stuff.
Bill: That'd be interesting to hear.
Dan: Yeah it's one of my fantasy projects; let's see how long it takes to happen.
Bill: The other guys into that idea or is that something just you want to do?
Dan: No, everyone else is totally into it too. Everybody in this band is into a really wide array of music. Jared's iPod is crazy, I haven't heard of half the stuff in there. There's a lot of avant-garde, experimental, international stuff. He studied music in college, composition and jazz. He's really well versed and into everything. If anything I think I'm the most musically conservative out of all of us.
Bill: One of the things that I've noticed about Paint it Black is that you have, for a hardcore band, you seem to have a lot people that are into you but they'll say "I don't like hardcore but I really like Paint it Black." Do you see Paint it Black as kind of a gateway band to get into more hardcore stuff if they're coming from the more melodic side of things?
Dan: I think so. And I think not just from the melodic side but also... (pause) We're about substance, we're not about bullshit, we're not about brutal breakdowns. We don't write songs for people to beat each other up to.
Bill: And thank you for that.
Dan: Ha, I mean I'm all for moshing and stage diving and stuff. I'm against violence and unnecessary brutality. I don't like seeing people dance in a way that scares me; I don't like all that karate bullshit, which scares the crap out of me. But circle pits and stage diving, and old 80s style moshing I love. I think people sense that we're a hardcore band that is for everybody. There's no hard guy attitude, no egos. There are anthems, politics that people can relate to. I think a lot of hardcore gets written off almost as the Harry Potter of underground music.
Bill: What exactly do you mean by that?
Dan: You know, you're reading Harry Potter and your more literary friends are like "I can't believe you're reading Harry Potter, isn't that a children's book?" I kind of feel like hardcore is like that in the independent music world, where a lot of grown folk are over it or don't take it seriously. I think kids know that we're the band that's hardcore, but anybody who likes non-mainstream music can take us seriously. I think in a lot of ways, at least in the cities where we're most popular it's almost like Avail was in 1995. That was the band for everybody, the ultimate populist punk band. Straight edge kids, militant vegans, crusty punks, mohawk kids; everybody went to see Avail. I aspire to be in that kind of band.
Bill: That's not a bad ambition to have. I never made the connection with the Harry Potter thing either but it is pretty accurate. It's been a couple years since Paint it Black's been to the
Dan: I'm so excited. We're going to come out again later and do
Bill: Yeah we were all super bummed out when the Fireside closed down a couple years ago.
Bill: There was nowhere else to go for awhile. Ugh. Are you guys still really active with Shirts for a Cure?
Dan: We'll every time they ask for a new shirt we give them one. We defintely support them in that way, we've played some Shirts For A Cure shows. Whenever they have a show we play it. Mark's an old friend of mine. I love him and I back the cause.
Bill: That's cool.
Dan: Yeah definitely.
Bill: One of the things I noticed after looking through the tour dates posted on your myspace page is that you seem to be doing a ton of fests; Riot Fest you're obviously playing, the Fest in
Dan: I love the energy of all these people coming for a whole weekend to be stoked about music and nothing else. You see old friends, meet new friends, find cool places to eat and drink and see just a TON of bands. I love the energy, it's just this concentrated feeling of exhilaration, it's kind of in the air and palpable. I love playing all kinds of different fests, like we're playing a few straight up hardcore fests, we're playing Best Friends Day in
Bill: Now this might be kind of strange but I've always wondered where the bare feet thing came from, I've seen it referenced...
Dan: You're cutting out again.
Bill: Sorry about that, I just had this phone replaced and it's kind of shitty. One of the things I noticed as a superficial, this is kind of funny thing, you always seem to play shows without shoes. I've always kind of found that curious.
Dan: Oh admit you think it's adorable. Ha, I'm just kidding, it's only in Lifetime.
Bill: It is?
Dan: In Paint it Black I wear shoes because I'm getting old and my back hurts, my ankles hurt, my knees hurt and there's no reason to do more damage than I've already done. Jumping around in just your socks is really bad for you.
Bill: See that proves that you need to hit the
Dan: Ha, I'm sorry.
Bill: Ha, whatever. I'm out of my pre-prepared questions so do you have any last words or anything you want to say?
Dan: I'm really flattered that we were asked to play Riot Fest and we're so, so stoked. That's all.
Bill: Alright, thank you very much for your time.
Dan: Thanks for supporting us.
Bill: Not a problem at all. Talk to you later.