(Photo courtesy of JayWestPhotography.com)
Welcome to the second and final installment of "Awkward Interviews That Were Going To Be Published As Straight Q & A's Because I Didn't Feel Like I Could Write A Story Around Them." This is with Jake Kolatis, better known as Jake Casualty. He's a nice guy, as are all of the guys in the band actually, but as you can see I wasn't exactly the best person to be interviewing them. This reads pretty close to some 14 year old kid putting together his first cut and paste zine (although now I guess it would be photoshopped zine?) rather than someone who has actual journalism experience. Oh well, live and learn. This is being posted for two reasons: 1) Get my name in on those sweet "The Casualties Interview" google returns! 2) For everyone to laugh at me.
Bill: Hey Jake, this is Bill Molloy, I talked to you yesterday.
Jake: Yeah, how ya doing?
Bill: I'm not too bad, how are you?
Bill: I was wondering, do you have some time to do the interview?
Bill: Alright, cool. So The Casualties have been around for almost twenty years now, are there any special plans for when that comes up?
Jake: Nah, we don't even really care about shit like that. I hate it. I feel so jaded with bands that are like "yeah we've been around for twenty years" and really they've only been around for a couple of years back in the 80s and got back together now. And I don't really want to be an old band that everybody thinks is getting back together for a fucking reunion.
Bill: So you don't want to dwell on the fact that you've been around?
Jake: Yeah. You know, live for today.
Bill: Cool. Now since you have been around for so long, and it always seems to me like you're on the road, have you ever hit a fatigue point where you're like "Fuck this, I'm done."
Jake: Yeah, a lot more lately than before because it's harder as you get older. People's lives get a little more complicated, things like that. Jorge has a kid now and I have a tattoo shop now. It definitely gets harder especially when the shows don't go as planned, stuff like that. You definitely do get fatigued, there are those bad days where you're like "what the fuck are we doing any more?" you know? But then the next day might totally erase that because it's so awesome. Those feelings are definitely there sometimes.
Bill: Is there any major label interest in The Casualties?
Jake: When we first started doing Warped Tour a lot of labels got in touch with us through Side One, but thing was that I feel... we weren't really going to change our sound, we weren't going to get softer to appease more people. So I think it kind of went in the direction of them thinking "well they're not really going to change their sound." And we talked to a couple of labels but we didn't really feel comfortable with it. We just want to put out records, we don't want to be in debt to a label and owe a label a record. When we make a record with Side One they just put it out, it doesn't matter. They won't make us change it, they won't shelf a record.
Bill: Well they have such a diverse lineup of bands on there that sound nothing like each other.
Jake: Yeah. With major labels they can take our record and just shelf it; they're in a position to do that. So that kind of sucks, we never want to deal with that kind of shit. When we work really hard on a record and a label's like "No, we're not going to put this out" we're pretty much burnt, there's nothing we can do at that point.
Bill: You guys played Riot Fest last year, how was it?
Jake: Oh it was awesome, it was one of the best
Bill: Are you excited to be doing it again?
Jake: I think it's going to be even better this time.
Bill: Have you seen the lineup for this year at all?
Jake: I haven't yet. Ron (
Bill: It's pretty stacked this year, the initial announcement is out and there's going to be more stuff announced next week.
Jake: What are some of the bands?
Bill: The Bosstones are playing, TSOL is coming in, DOA, ALL, Teenage Bottlerocket, Paint it Black, Municipal Waste and some others.
Jake: Oh cool.
Bill: It's a good diverse lineup; it'll be interesting to see all the fans of all the different bands meshing.
Jake: Is it in the same place?
Bill: Yeah, the big show is in the same place, it's at the Congress Theater again.
Jake: That's great, I love that place.
Bill: The Casualties seem to be a gateway band for younger kids that are getting into punk rock. Do you see a lot of your old fans sticking around or is it a constant influx of new kids?
Jake: We're starting to see some older people now, and when I say older I mean our age group, but usually it is a solid influx of new kids. A lot of the kids that... I mean we're not a flavor of the month band that'll be here today and gone tomorrow. There are a lot of trendy punk bands that'll be really hot in Maximum Rocknroll for a minute and people will like them but then be onto the new thing. We never want to be that so we never will be that. I feel that with that it there is a constant influx of kids. Our fans are from seventeen to twenty five? Well no, maybe even younger dude, maybe like even fourteen or fifteen, you know? I don't mind being a gateway band at all; I've heard that a couple times lately. For people getting into punk, if we're like what The Exploited and GBH were to me then so be it; I'm totally comfortable with that.
Bill: So do you feed off of the younger audiences?
Jake: Yeah yeah, it's way more fun. Once you see people getting into your band and the know the lyrics and you see a circle pit happen you totally feed off of that, I mean I know I do. It's the kind of thing where it totally brings the energy level of the show up. I mean we'll give it our all no matter what but if people are into it, it makes it even better for us.
Bill: The band just put out a DVD recently, right? Was that the last major release?
Jake: It was a live album/DVD.
Bill: Are you working on any new material as of right now?
Jake: Right now no. I mean we're writing a new record but there's nothing solidly done yet. We're just writing right now, we don't even have any demos right now. Well we have little scratch demos but we wouldn't send those to anyone.
Bill: After re-doing vocals for On The Front Line in Spanish, has the band ever thought about doing an album of all new material in Spanish?
Jake: It'd be cool, but I don't know if it's necessarily... It'd be cool but I don't know. If we do that then we alienate a lot of people and I don't want to do that. I'd rather do an EP or throw some Spanish songs on a record, that way it's something for everybody, you know? I don't want it to be like "Well this one is just for this type of person."
Bill: Well I was wondering about that because I've seen in the last couple years, maybe this is just a
Jake: I've noticed that too, I've definitely noticed it too. It's really cool.
Bill: Were you involved with PunkVoter at all in the 2004 election?
Jake: Well I wasn't, but I voted. We weren't directly involved, but do I think it's awesome? Yeah!
Bill: Does the band have any plans to do anything special for the 2008 election?
Jake: Not really. I vote, and I'm going to go with Obama, but I don't see anything that we're going to do. I feel kind of bummed because we did all that stuff, especially NOFX being the head of all that, but I just feel like it didn't do anything. I mean everybody in the country was voting but somehow Bush still won. It's fucking unbelievable.
Bill: Completely disheartening.
Jake: Yeah, just doing stuff every night, telling people from the stage to vote and trying to change what was happening, and it just sucked.
Bill: How do you feel about explicitly politically active bands versus the more nihilistic "fuck everything" types?
Jake: I think you have to find a balance; you've got to find a middle ground where punk can have substance but also be very fun and very angry. That's what I feel it's supposed to be. All aspects to me are important. I'll listen to a wide array of music, and that's the beauty of punk is that you don’t' just get roped into one thing.
Bill: Well that's all the stuff I really had prepared, do you have any last words or parting comments?
Jake: Not really man, we'll just see you guys in
Bill: Alright cool, looking forward to it.
Jake: Thanks for the interview I really appreciate it.
Bill: And thank you for your time, talk to you later.
Jake: Alright, see ya man.