This interview with Fabulous Disaster was done in early 2003, with their old singer Laura.
RN: Do you ever feel stifled by the fact that the only thing you’re ever described as is a girl band and nothing else? Does it annoy you?
L: Well it does and it doesn’t because being an all girl band can get us alot of attention but also being an all girl band can also put doubts into people’s minds about, ‘well how do they play their instruments, are they good enough? Can they play with guy bands? etc’. So it really dosen’t upset me because I know sooner or later when people see us play live everything goes out of the window. It changes their whole opinion. So no it’s good, everything’s working out really good and yeah…
RN: Cool…I read somewhere that you didn’t wanna play the Ladies Lounge stage on the Warped Tour cause you didn’t like the fact that it’s segregated, like why should girls be stuck on one stage and all…
RN: Well do you not think that the same kind of idea applies to pink & black records in relation to Fat Wreck Chords?
L: Well you know that’s a good point. Well first the thing behind what happened with the Ladies Lounge is that Erin – Fat Mike’s wife – who runs Pink & Black records said ‘look you guys are too good to play the ladies lounge, we’re gonna wait a couple of years and see what happens!’ And we’re like ‘ok’ because we really didn’t want to be segregated because it’s segregated enough in music anyway – you know male, female band…they’ve just gotta seperate everything, which sucks, but we’ve been lucky enough to play with NOFX, the Ataris, Mad Caddies, and we’ve been on tour with all of them, and we get along just fine and we carry our own. But at the same time I do understand you’re question beacause it’s like you have Fat Wreck Chords and then you have Pink & Black which is the female dominated label.
L: Well…it is a bit of segregation BUT I think that Fat Wreck Chords is more of, if you look at all the bands on that label the only female in any of those bands is Cinder Block in Tilt, so I think it was time for them to expand their horizons a little bit and to start a female label. I mean they have Honest Dons, which is a bit more ecclectic like Nerf Herder and the Real McKensies and umm it does seem a little bit segregated but to me is…to me Pink & Black is Fat Wreck Chords, but it seperates it a little bit more so if someone is on the website they can go and take a look what else is happening at Fat Wreck Chords and see what they’re trying to do to expand…but thank god we got signed to them because they’ve helped us so much and it’s just been a really nice experience working with all of them. I mean they work just down town like us so we can go down to the office at any time and talk to them about anything. It’s like a family it really is! It’s really interesting! But we always wanted to get signed to Fat Wreck Chords so when they started this label we were like ‘Oh well this totally makes sense’. I mean if you don’t have a choice then Pink & Black sounds great! Otherwise we just would not be able to record, well we could record but it would take us forever to get the money together for us to be able to do it, and then they help so much for the touring. But yeah I do understand where you’re coming from!
RN: Do you think there’s a difference between the US and the UK scene?
L: Oh god yeah. Yeah I mean do you mean with the fans or with the muscians…?
RN: Both I guess.
L: Well I think that over in the UK I think that people are really really much more into music than they are in the US, and I think that the US might be a little bit more reserved with their feelings. For instance if they’re in the audience they might just stand there and look at you, but in the UK the kids go crazy and they just want to have a good time. I don’t know whether it’s the drinking age being lower but whatever it is it works! The UK, we haven’t been back in a couple of years and I’m dying to come back because I love the UK so much…
RN:…yeah actually when are you coming back?!?
L: Well we’re touring in the spring – we’re setting up a tour right now for April.
RN: Are you going to be coming on your own or are you going to be supporting someone?
L: Well the thing is right now we’re setting up a tour with umm our booker moody in Germany and we have European dates from you know April until May, but the record label the other day suddenly said that they wanted to put us on some big festival over there, which might bring us over a month later. But I don’t know whether any of that is going to include the UK…and we’re like, ‘We really have to go to the UK right now’, because I mean we have to we have so many fans over there and they’re all waiting for us to come over, and we really don’t want them to get bored and just go ‘Fabulous WHO’! ‘Who are they?’ So yeah it’s really important that we come back!
RN: Well yeah cause didn’t last summer you guys do a tour in Germany but not come to the UK?
L: Exactly, but believe it or not we didn’t have much of a choice because it’s the booker that sets up the tour and that’s the way that it is, we can make all the suggestions that we want, but if it isn’t feasible with the timing then it just dosen’t work. But it’s unfortunate because I would really like, I would prefer, to go over to the UK and spend like three weeks over there and do a really thorough tour. It will happen, if we don’t do it this time – it dosen’t look like it will happen – but we’ll be adding some dates over there!
L: …but if not then we’ll come back here for a month or two and then go back over to the UK so we’re really trying.
RN: OK – I believe you!
L: (laughs) Yeah I know I have to convince myself because I really have to convince the booker to book us there!
RN: So are you happy with the new record (’Panty Raid’) then?
L: Oh god yes! Yes! I listen to it and get goosebumps and want to cry. (laughs)
RN: Is it the best one that you’ve recorded?
L: Yeah it is. It’s our third one and the second on the label and it just…it…I don’t want to say that it just blows ‘Get Out or Put Out’ out of the water but they’re different they’re still great albums, but this one has a special charm to it. Have you had a chance to listen to it?
RN: No I haven’t I’m afraid it got sent on Wednesday (this is being done on a Sunday) from Germany but it hasn’t shown up yet I’m afraid!
L: But you’ve listened to ‘Put out or get out’?
RN: Oh yeah yeah…no my girlfriend made sure that I started listening to that (laughs)!
L: So you’ll be able to compare.
RN: Oh yeah but I’ve never been able to get the record that was released on Evil Eye because it dosen’t seem to be in print anywhere.
L: Yeah you know we’re gonna be getting some more pressed up because we only got 1,000 done originally and over the years they sold. But we’re gonna be getting more cause, I mean I think I only have one, I gave all of my copies away! I wish I didn’t cause I could give them to … people!
RN: Throwing a question in out of the blue here but what do you think about America, Britian and the Iraq situation?
L: Oh I think it’s terrible. I mean it’s ongoing and it’s sad. I’m not really political so I don’t really like to get into all of that. I mean I like to know what’s going on in the world but you know it’s so depressing and it’s just so frustrating because none of it’s needed. It’s just big men in big suits with big guns, causing big problems and it really dosen’t have to be this way. I mean every day on TV over here they show all the big ships leaving with all the boys on them and all the girls on them and all the families crying and it’s like ‘Jesus Christ we don’t need it’! I just think that America gets involved in far too many issues when we don’t need to. I think it’s because we think that we’re so cool and so big. I mean our egos over here are terrible. I mean not mine personally but the government’s.
RN: I’ll agree with that…going back to the main focus of the interview do you have any advice for any new bands starting up?
L: Well first of all I would say if you believe in yourself that’s the number one key. I mean you really have to have that inside you to begin with – you have to really want to go for the gusto! You have to know that it’s a really long road and you have to pay your dues…and you better be nice going up that ladder because if you’re not (laughs) you know you really have to learn from people and play the shitty slots and play for shitty money and do the shitty tours, and you have to write songs from the heart. Don’t write songs that you think the radio is going to play. Don’t write songs that you think will make you money, I ideally yes it’d be nice to make some money from music some day. I mean you go to school (uni in the UK by the way)…you go to Harvard, and you want to be a lawyer and you come out and you’re a lawyer. It’s like you think that if you’re in a band and you write great songs that you could make a living doing that, it just dosen’t work like that. So it’s just if you believe in yourself and you keep plugging at it you’ll get it. You might not ever be rich but you’ll be really happy, and that’s whats important to be happy! I mean I make hardly any money doing this and that’s why I have a day job. I mean if I didn’t have music I’d be in the nuthouse! (laughs)
RN: So does the same advice go to girls that are in the punk scene?
L: Yeah totally same advice. I just tell them pick up a guitar, bass, microphone, drums whatever, just keep plugging along and you know alot of girls come up to us and say ‘We started a band because of you’, or ‘Can we cover one of your songs?’ and I’m always like you can do whatever you want to do. I mean if I can do this then you can do this – it’s really that easy it’s just a case of believing in yourself and never giving up.
RN: Why do you think it is that so few girls in the scene are picking up the guitar or microphone or whatever as boys do?
L: Well you know I think it’s because they’re a little bit nervous. I think that they think that they just don’t have what it takes to compete – but they do! It’s just a confidence thing. Because the way the world is everyone knows it’s a mans world – even though the women really know it’s a woman’s world we won’t tell you that (laughs) – but it’s a man’s world so I think that they get timid. They’re like ‘Well if I pick up a guitar my boyfriend might laugh at me because I don’t play that good and his band is better’. It’s just a confidence thing. I mean like I said just believe in yourself – start off just having fun, and I mean you can’t be too serious, but then it does get to the point of where it does get more serious and then you know the cross over line that you get to where you realise ‘Wow something really cool is happening here’. That’s what happened to me when I was younger – I just knew. I mean from the age of three or four I knew that I wanted to be a singer, I wanted to be in a band, I wanted to work in music. But it took me years to get up the confidence and the courage to even sing in the first band because I was so shy! But when I’m onstage I’m not. But in front of like a group of people at a party I’ll be really nervous. And I won’t do karoke because I’m too shy for that – and people are like ‘but you get up and sing in front of all those people’ and I’m always like ‘well that’s different’. It’s my element – Karoke though is not! (laughs)
RN: Which celebrity would you most like to have a fight with?
L: Oh which celebrity ohhh, I’m gonna say Angelina Jolie just so that I can get close to her! (laughs) I love that woman. It would be a lovely fight.
RN: So not a very vicious one then!?
L: No…it would be more loving we’d play it off as vicious though just for the media…that’s a good question! I love that.
RN: You said earlier that girls don’t have the confidence to pick up instruments and the like…do you think that they’re is a solution to that problem or do you think it’ll just take time?
L: I think it’s going to take time I really do. But I think right now for women in music I think that this is a very good time, because I’ve noticed bands like Sahara Hotnights and the Donnas and us and then there are Dover and other bands spread out across the world who are breaking through. So I think that this is just a really good time for all the girls just to start. I see it getting better I really do. I think we’re going to see alot of oppurtunities in women in the punk scene in the near future. I mean Brody from the Distillers that’s opening up a little area – that wavelength, just to encourage someone to pick up an instrument. We basically just need more chicks, because I mean it just takes one person in your life – I mean for me it was Joan Jett and the Go Gos and I was like ‘Oh my god that’s it I’m gonna do that there’s no question about it!’ It’s just seeing something like that that triggers that spark in your brain to say I know I can do it now, and it’s a basic confidence thing, and I think it’s the same with guys to, they just see, or want to emulate someone that they look up to, and it just takes one song on the radio, or one video that you like that makes it all click together.
RN: So if the only thing that Fabulous Disaster had done at the end of it’s life was to get some girls to pick up guitars would you be happy?
L: Yeah! If this band never makes money – which I don’t really care about though I would love to pay my rent – but if all this band has ever done is to make some young girls to pick up guitar, and even young guys as well – we don’t like to seperate. I mean if some girls have gone out and picked up guitars and start bands because of us then that’s … that’s the biggest compliment that anyone could ever get.
RN: Whats the coolest rumour you’ve ever heard about your band?
L: The coolest rumour! Umm I don’t know – the coolest rumour, jeez.
RN: Ok well what about the worst rumour then?
L: (laughing manically) Ok then the worst rumour is – well I’ll have to answer both of the questions now – the coolest rumour would be that Angelina Jolie was in love with me! Hows that? (laughs wildly) We’ll say that and the worst rumour we’ll say that umm I’m trying to make it funny and true. The worst rumour is that Mr. Nancy can shot a Roman Candle on fire out of her ass…
L: (laughing) That’s a pretty bad rumour! Actually I did actually read that somewhere.
RN: Did you really?
L: Yeah yeah, well because three of us are gay so sometimes people will put these little jokes in there and we’re like…they’re so funny! But yeah.
RN: Well if three of you are gay have you ever come across homophobia in the scene before?
L: No not at all, it’s been quite pleasant. I mean we don’t preach politics, we don’t preach that we’re gay, we’re not up there on a pedestal. We’re just up there playing music, and noone would really know unless they read the bio, unless they maybe look at a couple of members of the band and see that they have short hair and be like ‘well they could be gay’. But no, I mean we’ll talk about it and we’re very open about it, but we don’t preach about it.
RN: Do you think that guys have more of a problem in that department than girls?
L: That’s a good question. You know I think maybe … you know I don’t know how to answer that because we never really see that problem …. I mean maybe guys do because then they know that they can’t get into our pants (laughs). I mean there have been a few guys who’ve come up to me and been like ‘Oh I really like you’ and blah blah blah and I’m always like, ‘Ahh but I’m gay!’ But it’s cool cause they always stick around and talk, so that’s cool, because it’s not like they just wanted to have sex with you so I’m not sure that it really matters or shocks people. I think it actually intrigues people a bit. I mean I don’t have short hair I have long hair and I don’t look like you’re typical lesbian, I assume anyways that I look more feminine. But I think that it can’t hurt because it’s just more publicity and it’s just something else to talk about. You know and it’s kind of intriguing because I’ve had alot of straight women come up to me and I get the feeling that maybe they want to kiss me or something so it’s like … I think it’s because maybe they see you onstage and maybe wanna start a band and maybe admire you a little bit, and it dosen’t really matter. I think that people are attracted to people because of personality, whether it’s male or female. I’m attracted to some guys but I’m a lesbian so it’s really the person.
RN: Well I’ve officially run out of questions now – but do you have anything else you wanna add?
L: Well all that I can say is that Fabulous Disaster really really wants to come back to the UK so badly and we’re bugging our booker so much that he better take us back. Yeah we love the UK…I wanna move there! I wanna move to london, yeah I almost did, but I can’t obviously because of the band, but people are so nice there.