RN: I hope you’re looking forward to this chat…oh my god that sounded so scripted.
Viz Spectrum: Whatever, that’s alright.
RN: I’ve been revising for exams all week so I’m feeling really excitable and I haven’t had much sleep which means I’m probably going a little insane…
R: Well it’s good we’re all here to freak you out then!
RN: How was last night’s gig at the Cooperage? I really wanted to make that one instead of tonight’s show but I couldn’t get out of Durham.
R: It was a lot of fun, playing shows and venues like this with NOFX is really very new for us and we are used to the smaller clubs and they are kinda more like home, so just getting into a smaller space and getting….You kids are distracting me! I’m trying to sound smart here…but just getting to interact with people before and after and even during for that matter makes a huge difference to me I guess I’m just not used to the barriers and stuff.
RN: Was that a gig you wanted to do or did you get coerced into doing it by those Triple Threat scamps?
R: We didn’t want to do it at all! We don’t like that guy Dan! This is all very sarcastic by the way.
V: Did you guys have the same experience I did with that show…it’s actually scarier than the giant shows in a way, because we’ve been kinda gotten used to the…
FM Static: The distance….
V: …The barrier and the distance. At the small show I was actually more nervous than playing to five thousand.
F: I guess in a way I did, yeah, now that you mention it. I mean I wasn’t nervous in any sort of way like that, but I felt it a little more.
V: But yeah I felt it was a little more intimidating, kinda because it was like…
F: And part of it was because we were the main attraction?
F: Which meant like if we sucked the whole evening was ruined, for everybody.
V: Pretty much, yeah.
F: If we sucked tonight it doesn’t matter because nobodies here to see us.
V: Nobody gives a fuck. Yeah, exactly and there’s those security guards that are going to save us from being killed.
R: What was the question that we just didn’t answer for you?
RN: What question, you answered it a treat! You said on your website you didn’t expect everybody wearing a NOFX t-shirt to be into your band, how have the kids taken to you on this tour?
V: Well I would say that statement’s been born out by our experiences.
R: Not all of them seem to like us.
V: Not all of them like us, but…a lot of them like us, you know?
R: Yeah. It’s a good mix, some kids have been really, really great, some people just stare and don’t quite know what to make of it and then there’s the…
V: And some of them call us faggots!
R: Yeah, some of them flip us off and yell obscenities, but you know I’m kinda bored of the same old obscenities. I’m looking forward to something new and creative.
V: They should have some new things to call us in Germany.
F: I’m looking forward to that.
RN: The thing is I think they’re going to welcome you with open arms in Germany.
V: I think they might.
V: I think they might be a little friendlier there, but not that it has been unfriendly necessarily, but a contingency of unfriendliness.
R: There’s been some great faces in the crowd, you can pick them out and they’re so excited and they’re just waving their arms around and its all worth it.
F: Kinda the whole idea with the ‘Fat [Wreck Chords]’ thing is that we’re exposing ourselves almost entirely to people who haven’t heard us before, entirely new people and a lot of people, there’s some head-scratching going on for sure, and some of them get it and some of them don’t.
RN: You see I’ve always taken the opinion that if you’re a true NOFX fan you’re probably going to be a fan of the label and what Mike likes, so you should respect the fact that he’s going to use an opportunity like this to turn people onto newer bands?
V: I think that’s for sure…like some of the kids out there are lending us an ear that they might not, just because they respect Mike.
F: People love Mike. It’s very surprising it’s like…
V: He’s like Jesus to a lot of kids.
F: I had no idea!
RN: I was going to end on this but it’s the same for me. I’ve had this chat with my friends in the pub before, and often wondered…if you ever found the chance to talk to him do you say something, do you say hi, or do you risk finding out that he might just be a meanie and have all your dreams shattered? What do you do?
R: With Mike? Well shoot, he came to one of the first San Francisco shows of our US tour. He and Erin showed up and saw us play and approached us and were telling us how great they thought we were and I of course have known of NOFX for years of course and I’ve listened to them and at that point I was just meeting a fan and I just happened to know who this fan was and they were very supportive and they’ve been very supportive since then so, it’s especially interesting on this tour; seeing the kids going up to the bus when the bus pulls up and seeing what he is really like, because we just met him as a regular guy.
F: He’s very nice though.
V: I think the thing is he’s yeah a totally nice, cool interesting guy, which is fun to talk to and fun to hang out with, you know. Of course a lot of people’s experience has varied because he’s got so many people coming at him all the time.
RN: Well that’s kind of what I meant and the test arose earlier on…he walked past, and I was stood there for a minute or so musing over whether or not to talk to him or to leave him in peace. I chose the latter.
V: He’s certainly going to be friendly to you; he’s not going to be a jerk.
RN: Is it true that he doesn’t like to come over to the UK too much because he’s still worried he’s going to get gobbed on at every show?
V: I have no idea.
R: I don’t either, I know that he had mentioned ten years ago that he got attacked and I think I noticed during one set someone threw something, and he said hey that’s not cool, but I don’t know.
V: It was a CD that they wanted him to hear! I actually picked it up after the show and there was a note, ‘Dear Fat Mike, this is my band, I love you guys so much yada, yada, yada, P.S we usually have covers and art work and stuff,’ and its just a self-burned CD…
R: You should leave that in the interview so it will go into print and they will see that we found it and they will be so disappointed.
V: Everything I hear from him he seems to be having a ball. He’s selling out every fucking show I think he’s having a good time…making millions of dollars
RN: Back to the main event though, what is it like being asked questions about your new record when it actually came out a while ago on Dirtnap?
V: We haven’t been asked that many questions about it actually, we have been asked questions about Fat, and the Rock Against Bush comp, and how we are enjoying Britain and that sort of thing.
R: Well in terms of that we know when it came out and we also know that it has been hard to find here and it’s new to people over here so we can certainly respect that.
RN: I was going to say, it picked up quite a cult like status in the States, but I’ve never heard of you in the UK before, I don’t think many people have.
V: We don’t get that much distribution here.
F: Nor any way for people to hear of us, even if it was distributed, we are not playing shows and we don’t have any kind of organisation behind us, so the record stores aren’t able to pick it up, you now? I think what we’re doing makes a lot of sense intuitively to people in our neck of the woods and just a lot of people in America and I think we maybe have to go and show everybody else, you know, but we are a really hard working band and we tour the States a lot and that’s a big reason why we sold so many records there.
V: Three US tours in a year you know. The US is big, much bigger than this place, that’s almost half the year.
F: Yeah, we have spent half the last year on tour. So I imagine if we put that kind of effort in here it would be about the same, but it’s nice that we get a leg up on that by getting better distribution and promotion and that kind of thing.
RN: Which leads perfectly onto my next question…why sign to Fat?
V: That’s basically it you know, we love Dirtnap and we love Ken. He’s got great taste in music for great bands, and he’s treated us really well, but Fat just has better resources as far as promotion and distribution and that kinda thing…
R: And good people.
V: And really good people, as far as we can tell Fat has an amazing reputation. Everyone we have ever talked to has told us they have taken wonderful care of their bands, and it’s an opportunity – again – to put us in front of all these ears that probably wouldn’t hear it.
F: It also helps Dirtnap out a lot, because the way it all worked out is that Ken is still going to get something out of the European distribution, so it’s kind of like a good deal for everyone. People were upset, they were like ‘why are you fucking off Dirtnap, why are you blowing off this cool, small label, to go with this big major thing?’
R: A major independent!
F: Yeah, It’s not like that. He’s totally happy.
R: Yeah he’s really excited about it.
V: Yeah because this is going to help him out, he wont have to do any work and hopefully he will be able to sell a lot more records and a lot of people, you know if we do well that brings attention back to him and all his other great bands, you know.
R: And in light of that dirtnapecs.com. You should check out Dirtnap bands they really are really good.
F: Expand the mind perhaps!
R: They have The Exploding Hearts, The Spits, The Briefs, and so many more great bands to check out.
RN: You said you got labelled after the first full length came out…what kind of labels where being thrown around that release?
F: I guess the thing I always hear is ‘an eighties band’ which is pretty untrue, but the thing is when people think ‘eighties band’ they think ‘Wham’ or ‘A-ha’ or something like that, which is not what we are doing at all, you know? It seems like the influences we are taking with us are like ‘76 to ‘81, and you know, we’re just a punk band…with synthesisers, but that’s kind of all there is to it as far as that goes.
RN: You said you don’t like to keep yourself labelled for too long, what kinda sticker are you hoping to get from the next full length?
R: I’m not going to worry about it.
V: How about ‘Incredibly Wealthy Geniuses.’
RN: Or they might dumbfound you all and put little stickers on the record saying ‘As seen with NOFX!’
R: That’s what we were planning on titling it actually!
RN: Ok what’s more important the music, or the ideology?
F: What is more important the actual music or the ideology behind it?
V: The music, there’s no contest!
RN: Is it a creative process or a mechanical process?
F: Both, but mostly…well, I don’t know, the creative process is more important but the mechanical process is more time consuming.
V: We run it all through a computer to make sure it checks out mathematically.
RN: Like the one they used on the Simpsons that was designed by NASA?
F: Yeah, we’re trying to get L.P striker to be our new manager.
RN: How much electrical tape do you get through on tour?
F: Well, do you want to see the bag?
R: It’s right behind you.
F: I think we brought about fifteen rolls for this tour, which may or may not prove to be overkill…there’s a long way to go.
RN: Is there anything duck tape can’t fix?
F: A boat! That wouldn’t work.
RN: Its pretty standard duty for any touring band I suppose, so you might as well rejoice in its splendour?
F: Yeah, there are about twenty different colours of duck tape…I was going to say a broken heart, but I’m not sure that’s true,
RN: That would make a brilliant cover for an Epoxies record – a heart with a little bit of pink duck tape over it. I haven’t covered any Intellectual Property on my law degree yet so I’m not 100% sure whether I can sue you or not if you steal my idea, but I wouldn’t anyway. Viz, has the world reaped the benefits of any of your inventions yet?
V: Entertainment wise, I think maybe a little bit.
F: Which seems like more than enough for the world considering all it’s done for us.
RN: Did you get told you weren’t allowed to bring the bubble machine with you?
F: No we did bring the bubble machine with us…
V: It didn’t last, it was very fragile.
RN: I heard it was lethal.
R: It’s dead already?
V: No the original bubble machine. People did beg us to not use it, after the first couple of minutes because it was an assault bubble machine.
F: It was more or less as though we were holding people down and pouring dish soap into their eyes…which for some reason they objected to.
RN: Is there anything you’re working on at the minute?
F: Do you want us to sing something?
RN: No, I was just wondering if this tour’s made you realise there’s something missing in your lives that need’s to be invented?
F: Yeah there are things missing, yeah there are projects in the works definitely.
RN: Like a duct tape dispenser…that’s gonna look after your teeth in the long run?
F: I don’t think we should give away anything…it seems as if we had something we were working on the other night, some great idea, I don’t know.
V: Ahh crap, you’re right we did have a good idea the other night, but we were too drunk to remember it.
RN: You see, that’s why you need to collect all the interviews to remind you.
F: Maybe next time we’ll have beards and a beaded fringe and we’ll play sitting down.
R: That’s going to be a real challenge for me to grow a beard!
F: You could wear a Stevie Nick’s type floaty dress and tree dance while we play.
F: Stilts I would like to do, that’s one thing I would like to do!
RN: It’s been done before.
RN: Marilyn Manson…he had some huge stilts but I suppose you could just have little six foot ones.
F: Seems like a far enough distance to fall to make it exciting for everyone.
RN: Any closing comments, what can we look forward to in the future?
F: Well we’ve got the album coming out at an unspecified time on Fat, and mostly I think everyone’s looking forward to getting done with that and getting back to Europe…seeing what kind of damage we have done in the first tour.
RN: And back to ruling the roost again…back to it being your show?
F: Well you know after the NOFX stretch we’re going to be touring Germany for twenty days by ourselves, and I think we are all kind of looking forward to that because it’s a little more our element.
RN: And then you can come back to the UK now you’ve paved the way for it?
V: I’ve had a ball.
F: Yeah that’s it hopefully next time it’ll be…
V: Right, as long as we can come over here and play all these weird gigs where we don’t understand what’s going on.
RN: Have you been to Scotland yet?
F: No, that’s my ancestral homeland and I want to go.
RN: If we’re talking language barriers it’s a shot in the dark worse than Geordie up there!
F: The accent?
RN: I think that’s probably going to be the worse thing you’ll encounter on a UK tour!
END NOTES: Interview/ Photos: Chris Lever. I’d just like to say thanks to the Epoxies for having me, especially while we waited for Weibke to turn up with my tape recorder (as with all long stories it’s better not to ask). The Epoxies self titled debut serving is now available from Fat Wreck Chords theepoxies.com // fatwreck.com