Bill: Like I said, you were with the band when you started. Do you think the lineup changes have influenced the sound shifts, because you guys have definitely had a little bit of a different sound with each record.
Andy: Absolutely. When we first started out it sounded very much like what it was; Dan had a fire lit under his ass to start a fast, hard band after he had a stroke and got together with a couple friends and enlisted me to play bass, and we just banged it out. The first record is what, 19 songs?
Bill: Yeah in about 19 minutes.
Andy: Yeah! For as long as it took us to get the record out, we sort of got together and learned the songs and recorded them just like THAT. I mean, there wasn’t much of a band input as far as what it sounded like. Dan wrote these songs that are really important to him and we just banged ‘em out. There wasn’t a lot of “writing” that went into it.
Andy: And also at that point everyone in the band was really distracted with other stuff. Dave, our first drummer, at that time was still playing in Good Riddance. Dave Hause was touring full time with the Bouncing Souls, Sick of it All and whoever else as a roadie and he had his own band the Cursed. It’s been a recurring thing with our band that outside duties have forced people to leave the band. And in Dave’s case it was starting a family, Dave Wagenshutz’s case, which is awesome. In Hause’s case it was to do his own thing musically, also which is great. I mean we’re totally happy for him, The Loved Ones are a fucking awesome band. So when we got Colin and Dave we definitely spent a lot more time writing our second record as a band. It’s a lot more “us at the time” but again the amount of time we put into writing the record wasn’t anywhere near as much as we did with our newest one. I think this might not make sense to an outsider but I listen to the records and I think they sound like the people that were in the band at the time, you know what I mean?
Bill: Yeah totally.
Andy: Everyone who’s been in Paint it Black has left their musical mark on it in one way or another. I also think it’s an issue of spending… (pause) For the new record we spent fucking hours and hours and hours and hours a day working on it.
Bill: You can definitely tell with the new one that you took your time.
Andy: (chuckle) Yeah, usually when we approach writing, with the other ones we booked studio time and then learned the songs and then busted them out as quick as we could. When we went into the studio to do
Bill: And with the new stuff, I was reading some interviews online, and I actually always kind of noticed this too, that you guys jumped straight into making full length LPs after your demo. I think it was Dan that said this, that you’re just doing 7”s from now on? Is that a serious plan?
Andy: That is the plan. Dan and I weren’t even sure about making a third record before we went into make this one.
Andy: Well only because… well I think it’s important to be your own most harsh critic. I personally think that most punk bands make maybe one good record (chuckle). And two, this might be pushing it, but I can’t think of any bands… well there’s a handful I guess, that make a real good third album
Bill: Yeah, only the real special ones.
Andy: And you know it’s been a long road with this band. We’ve gone through a load of members, you know? My only point is that it wasn’t a foregone conclusion to be like “oh alright, it’s time to make another record.” Is it worth our time and effort? Does the world really need another album from Paint It Black? I think we’ve been rejuvenated by the addition of Josh and Jared, and we were really curious to see where that would go. So we went for it, and this is my favorite thing that we’ve done. But I don’t know, a fourth LP seems like too much (chuckle). We were thinking that we’ve never really done a 7” before. Like, we did a 7” for our record release show back in January.
Bill: Oh that’s right, with the one exclusive song, right?
Andy: Yeah, the one song, screened, clear vinyl. We gave out 500 and that was that. I mean, my favorite format in music is the 7” and it seems silly that we’ve never done one. The idea was that once we were done with the third album we would just release 7”s. We haven’t really figured out what we’re going to do yet. We certainly have at least a 7” or two or material ready to go but I don’t know what the plan is really. We’ll do one on a couple different labels? We’ve been talking to Alap, who co-produced our new record, the guy from Dälek, about maybe just going up to his studio for a weekend and being completely insane and making some wild instrumental thing. I think there’s a lot more freedom in being like “yeah, you know, we’re going to put out a 7” and it’s going to sound ridiculous” and if people don’t like it, you know?
Bill: Yeah, it’s just one 7”, it’s not a full thematic, well I don’t want to say concept records with you guys but you can sense that there’s a… I’m struggling with how to say this but you get what I’m trying to say, right?
Andy: Well there’s a theme to it with all of our records, there’s an underlying theme. You can credit Dan for that. We all had input to the artistic vision of it but in terms of lyrics and stuff that was all Dan. But yeah, there’s a lot more freedom to it and I also like the idea of being able to have a quicker turn around rate in terms of connecting with the audience. I mean we generally go three years in between records, you know? It’s a long time to be writing a song, and by the time you start playing it live and people know it, you’ve been playing it for two years or whatever. I like the idea of being able to write a song, record it a month later and another month later have it out on vinyl.
Bill: Good for the fans too.
Andy: Uh huh. That’s the plan, I guess. (chuckle)
Bill: Ha, alright. One of the things I’ve noticed about you guys is that, for a hardcore band, you have a super, super wide appeal. I know people that listen to almost no hardcore at all but they love you guys, and the types that only listen to grindcore like you guys too. Have you noticed that? You seem kind of like a gateway band.
Andy: Well I don’t know. I think that when we first started out we were definitely toeing the line of being a gateway band, kind of in the same way… well at the time we were touring with a lot of other gateway bands like Anti-Flag, The Explosion or Strike Anywhere. We did it to say that I don’t think it was a bad thing per se, I think that people see gateway bands as a bad thing.
Bill: Oh definitely not a bad thing.
Andy: Oh yeah, I don’t think so either. I was thinking today about how when I was a kid I was into Nirvana, and they’re the ultimate gateway band for anybody, you know? I was into them in sixth grade, and if I hadn’t been into Nirvana, I wouldn’t have gotten into Flipper, Beat Happening, and Swans and all this crazy shit that a sixth or seventh grader should not be listening to!
Bill: (Hearty Chuckle)
Andy: So you know there are gateway bands like them. I don’t know what people would do without gateway bands. I guess if you’re talking about having a wider appeal, I don’t know. It can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. I think that we often suffered until we built up our own fan base the last couple years, I guess, of kids that are just into us. It was hard for a long time because we were too punk for the hardcore kids and too hardcore for the punk kids. So we’d play all these shows and regardless of what show it was, people would just stare at us because they didn’t know what to make of us. The thing is, that is with bands that don’t color right in between the lines, is something they suffer from, it’s the pain of being too creative sometimes. If you don’t easily fit into some sort of genre classification and people have to think about your music…
Bill: Then they won’t think about it, they’ll just write you off
Andy Exactly, right, which is typical I think of a lot of punk/hardcore kids that say “oh, I’m into nothing but grindcore” and there are plenty of grindcore bands that you can only be into grindcore and have a large record collection. I don’t really care to be like that. But we’ll play shows with bands that I liked and their fans would fucking hate us. And then we’d play shows with bands I didn’t like where maybe the kids were a little bit more open minded, but I would feel out of place. It was weird for a really long time. I think we’ve forged our own path. And I think just playing our own shows helped that a lot; we stopped really taking support slots probably two years ago. Only in rare circumstances, if it’s a friend of ours, like Strike Anywhere we’ll play with anywhere. It kind of works, the pairing works and I love hanging out with them. But certain things you just realize are not worth it. I’d rather play to 200 kids that like us than 1,000 that don’t. But, I don’t know, as far as us being a gateway band, I mean we’re always trying to get younger kids into stuff they might not know about, other cool bands, or we’re trying to take out lesser known bands, stuff like that. Kids write to us a lot and just ask what records we’re listening to. Those are my favorite kind of correspondences.
Bill: How did you end up hooking up with Jeff Pezatti for him to do the vocals on the new record?
Andy: It was pretty easy actually. Dan came to practice with this part for a song and he was like, he prefaced it by saying “this might be a little too Naked Raygun, let me know what you think.” So we played it and I was like “Well. It’s definitely Naked Raygun,” which is not a bad thing; they’re one of my favorite bands. It seemed like one of those things where, we played this show last April, we booked it at this real tiny venue, announced it the day of and played new songs, just to try ‘em out live. We hadn’t recorded them yet; I think we were about halfway done writing the record. When we got to (“Shell Game Redux”) I remember being on stage and being like “I feel kind of goofy singing this!” Since then I’ve warmed up to it but it was new territory for us. We never had a song before that was like 16 measures of nothing but “woahs.” Somewhere in there I had the idea where it was like “you know?” We knew that J. Robins and Jeff were friends, and we were tracking with J. so I was like “you know, if we’re really going to put this on the record we should really just have the guy who in our heads is singing it, we should just have him sing it.” It seemed like a long shot but we asked J. if he call Jeff, and Jeff was totally receptive to it. A guy named Daniel in
Bill: Oh wow
Andy: Yeah, right. And then when he dropped it in and I heard it for the first time I just started laughing. It was just so ridiculous to me that we got Jeff to sing on one of our records. I remember being 15 and buying my first Naked Raygun record and then flash forward ten years or whatever and that same voice is on MY record! I met Jeff shortly after, I think it was after we recorded it. It must have been, it was down in
Bill: Was that the show at Subterranean?
Bill: That was a great fucking show.
Andy: Yeah it was a lot of fun.
Bill: My boss actually got kicked out for stage diving at that show.
Andy: Ha, oh really?
Bill: Yeah, when I first started working at this place we were talking and it was “so did you go to Lifetime?” He’s like “Yeah, I got kicked out,” so my first thought was “I’m going to enjoy working here.”
Andy: That’s great! Yeah, that was a great show. I’ve done a little time in Lifetime off and on when their normal bass player can’t do it and that was definitely one of the most fun shows I’ve played with them. But for example, there were all these other guys, like all the guys in Fall Out Boy were there and some other quote-unquote “famous” dudes were there and I didn’t give a fuck; Pezatti was there! Holy shit I don’t know what to say to this guy! So then like a year later, you know, somehow he sang on our record and he’s telling me stories about fighting skinheads in the 80s over drinks in
Bill: That’s awesome.
Andy: Yeah Jeff’s awesome, Raygun still has it, and I love that guy.
Bill: Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be playing this year; they’ve played the last couple, so it should be a good time.
Andy: I think we’re going to do a really quick East Coast tour with them in the fall.
Bill: Oh seriously?
Andy: I think in November.
Bill: That’d be a hell of a tour, it’s just a shame it’s on the East Coast. But back to what you said before about the
Andy: (chuckling) Yeah.
Bill: Not to call you out or anything, but you know, was it just life getting in the way of the band, just couldn’t end up getting the time to do it?
Andy: Um. God, how do I answer this diplomatically? (laugh) It’s not meant to be an insult to the
Bill: And economically with gas prices now and with some shows being spread out so far.
Andy: Yeah, like, we’ve really been having to make… we don’t make money off our band in any way, you know. Certain people in our band can’t afford to lose money. Even going to
Bill: Were the
Andy: No, the Sailor Jerry show was in Philly in April, I think.
Bill: Oh, never mind then.
Bill: Yeah, if you’re not from here it can be a pain in the ass to get to.
Andy: Yeah it just becomes… (pause) and frankly, this is not meant to be a dig against any of the local scenes or anything like that.
Bill: Yeah, it was just apeshit packed.
Bill: With people reacting.
Andy: And playing cool shows with people we know, we’re going to spend 50 hours in the van and lose hundreds of dollars. I don’t know, as I’m saying this I feel like an asshole.
Bill: Eh, it’s reality.
Andy: We can get to
Bill: Yeah, that opened up towards the end of last year. It’s a good 300 capacity room, it’s pretty cool.
Andy: I know that’s where The Loved Ones are playing.
Bill: Yeah, that’s where most of the smaller mid-sized punk bands are playing.
Andy: Who’s playing there?
Andy: Who’s playing there?
Bill: Oh, you know, it’s where most of mid sized bands are playing now. Actually some of the larger bands are playing there now instead of playing the bigger club shows with barriers. It’s been kind of cool, they’re taking shows away from the bigger clubs which is usually fine.
Andy: Yeah, I think we’ve played
Bill: Yeah, the Fireside and Bottom Lounge are gone now. I miss those places.
Andy: Obviously Fireside was cool, Bottom Lounge was cool, I just don’t know what’s cool there nowadays.
Bill: It was in flux for awhile where there weren’t many places for bands to play if they were too big for basements or they couldn’t bring in a thousand people. It really sucked for a little while.
Bill: There are a couple new places coming up. You mentioned that there are so many fests now and I was looking on your myspace page at the tour dates and it seems like you guys were playing almost every one! This is Hardcore, Sound and Fury, you usually play The Fest, and now you’re doing Riot Fest in the fall. What do you like or dislike about the festival atmosphere.
Andy: Well I actually, I don’t want to say that I hate the festival atmosphere but I always feel kind of overwhelmed by it personally. Like for example, we played another festival on the West Coast tour in
Bill: Yeah it’s pretty cool.
Andy: I don’t know, I mean, my friend Timmy does a fest in
Bill: Chaos In Tejas. I went to that this year, it was my college graduation present to myself and it was one of the most completely fun weeks of my life, it was amazing.
Andy: Yeah, I was there too, it was fucking awesome, and he does an amazing job with it every year. Just like I guess every fest does it gets bigger every year. But I think Timmy gets it right, The Fest in
Bill: Yeah, yeah.
Andy: It’s basically the guys from Municipal Waste and some of the other crazy
Bill: The beards take over.
Andy: Just drunken summertime fun with bands. It’s really super positive and non-corporate, no bullshit. I’m super excited to be playing that one. I think that festivals for us are a great thing and sort of a necessary thing because of how little time we have to actually tour. Often times we’ll do something fun, like last year at The Fest in
Andy: They were playing in an apartment and they were like “oh you guys want to hop on and play” and we’re like “yeah but only after Naked Raygun is done playing.” So I guess they finished playing their set and they started texting us asking “Where are you guys?” and we text back “in the front row for Naked Raygun!” As soon as they were done we ran down and played, and obviously the cops came, busted in and grabbed us while we were playing, I think the floor caved in. It made the papers the next day.
Bill: That sounds pretty awesome.
Andy: They give us the opportunity to give us cool stuff in conjunction with them too. I mean, I like fests, you get to see a lot of cool bands all at once, and I don’t know who’s playing Riot Fest this year, but…
Bill: It’s going to be… actually, T.S.O.L. is going to be playing, they’re coming out. ALL with Scott Reynolds is playing, Raygun’s going to be playing one night, Mighty Mighty Bosstones are playing. I’m trying to think of some other ones.
Andy: Someone told me originally Hot Water was playing and he mentioned Cock Sparrer but they seemed real hard to nail down.
Bill: Yeah Cock Sparrer fell through, that was almost guaranteed but then at the last minute something came up and they’re like “oh, nope, sorry!”
Andy: That happened to Timmy too! He was going to get them for Chaos in Tejas and they were all set to come but then no. I don’t know what their deal is. I guess they don’t need money or whatever.
Bill: They really must not, I mean from what I know from this, they’re getting offered… they’d be taken care of if they were to play these shows. It’s their loss I guess.
Andy: Yeah. Well that all sounds cool, I’m excited. I’m excited to hang out in
Bill: Yeah it’ll be cool. There are still a couple of things that are a little up in the air, but I think the official announcement is going to be made on Thursday, I want to say.
Andy: Oh really?
Bill: Yeah, it’s coming up soon.
Bill: I only have a couple more quick questions. You know, everyone knows what Dan does for a living, the whole “Doctor Dan” thing, but what do you do for a day job?
Andy: Well I book shows shows in
Bill: That’s cool. The shows in Philly, they’re usually at the
Andy: Yeah that’s mostly where we book out of.
Bill: I’ve heard a lot of reports that it’s really awesome. One day, you know?
Andy: It’s great, it’s where I’ve grown up, I’ve been going there since I was a young teenager. It’s weird, I don’t feel like my connection to the scene or in terms of the operation of it is any different now than it was when I first worked there.
Bill: That’s cool, that’s a good feeling to have.
Andy: Yeah it’s really nice. It’s total DIY, there’s a very direct connection between the people that frequent it and the people that play it. I think everybody that works the door, like Liam from Dillinger Escape Plan, Tony from R.A.M.B.O., all these different people are the ones stamping your hand or setting up the PA and then a week later they’ll be selling the venue out. It’s really cool and I think that kids who come to the venue know that too, they’re aware that the people playing are the people taking their money at the door or helping you find the bathroom or cleaning up your vomit.
Bill: I’m out of questions so do you have any last words or thoughts that you want to speak your peace on?
Andy: Nope. I hope that
Bill: Ha, that won’t happen, the couple of people I’ve told are like “holy shit, Paint It Black are actually coming? Yes!” And that’s not a dig at you guys, it’s not.
Andy: (laughter) Yeah, I hope that it turns into a… kind of a… Best case scenario it’s like (sheepishly) “hey, it’s been awhile” and people are stoked, not booing and telling us to get the fuck off. Regardless, I’m excited and hopefully it’ll open the door to us coming back on a more regular basis. Even flying in and out wouldn’t be a crazy thing to do because it’s not super expensive to fly to