An interview with Stza from Leftover Crack, after the band headlined the Underworld in the summer of 2003.
RN: OK so how’s Europe been?
LC: Good. Europe went good. Well Europe has been over, and this is the end of the UK tour now. We finished Europe like a week ago, maybe ten days ago so… Europe has a lot of real anti-american sentiment right now, and it makes it really hard on touring bands because if you’re american then you voted for George Bush and that you’re the fucking scum of the earth. So we had a lot of problems in France with French people and… I don’t know. It seemed like every show that we played there there was this one really drunk French guy who had a problem with us just because we happened to be born in another country and they have this bizarre concept of what they think America is, and which is nothing in reality to what it actually is! It’s like me saying to the French people ‘well you know you all smell bad and have hairy arm pits and you all voted for Jaques Chirac!’ You know?!?
RN: So even with your clearly anti-american, or current anti the current status quo in america, they were still like that?
LC: Yeah, yeah, well that was what really astounded me. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand English and they just came to the show because there was a band playing, and it was a weekend and they’d never heard the band before, they just saw that we were American and hated us! So the shows were better, they were better turn outs than our last couple of tours, but uhh … I think it’s funny, the bigger, or the more popular that you get, the more people that hate you. It seems to be an equal graph of people that love you, and people that hate you. There are an increasing amount of people who come up to us and say that they hate us, but in the same relationship there are an increasing amount of people who come up to us and tell us that they love us, you know?!? That’s just the draw man! It’s just the luck of the draw.
RN: So how was this show [The Underworld, London, 29/06/03] for a last date of the tour then?
LC: It was fun. We’ve played the Underworld three times before, or no twice before I guess, and the Underworld is always a good time, but we have a real problem with the security, and the last time that we played here we actually said that we weren’t going to play here again. But it’s funny because security are such fucking assholes here but our van got broken into tonight, and a bunch of shit got stolen, so like security obviously wasn’t doing a very good job – I don’t know! But the kids were great. The crowd was great. It was fun. I mean people jump onstage alot, and that fucks us up because it’s really hard to play when people are unplugging you’re shit and knocking into you, and just kind of oblivious to what’s happening around them. And I think for alot of these kids are like getting drunk for their first time and they’re like fifteen you know and they don’t whatever, you know?!? It was still fun, but it’s always like a borderline show for me when, when I can’t play the songs properly just because then I’ll feel like I didn’t play as well, so and I worry that people didn’t get value for their money or whatever.
RN: So would you prefer then playing barrier shows?
LC: Umm no I wouldn’t say I prefer it, I just prefer fucking… [pause] I don’t really know what I prefer you know. I mean when we play a really quiet show I’m like ‘fuck it, I wish there were more kids jumping around, jumping onstage, having some chaos!’ But then when we play a fucking a show, which is just beyond chaos, which wasn’t even tonight, tonight was pretty subdued, but sometimes we play these shows and it’s just these fucking ten people on stage at once just running around, and you really gotta protect yourself you know. I always get the mic knocked into my teeth, and all my front teeth are chipped because of it…. I don’t know. I don’t really know what I prefer, it’s just that fine line! But ultimatley if I don’t feel like… if the crowd is alienating us enough that we can’t play properly then we feel like we’re ripping people off and then people feel like they got ripped off, so you know?!?
RN: Yeah. So well with that in mind do you there’s ever gonna come a time when you guys just don’t wanna play shows anymore?
LC: No, because I mean we’re definetly a live show band we never, we don’t sit in the studio and write songs like the Beatles did or like fucking Tool does. We’re not a studio band, we’re a live band, and we play most of the year, we tour for most of the year. But uhh, we might quit… I mean this could be our last Europe tour right here tonight, because we might quit playing after; when we go back to the States we’re going to be playing for a week and then that might be it, we might be breaking up after that so!
RN: So you weren’t joking onstage when you said that?
LC: No, no, it’s the truth!
RN: So is that because you just wanna do other things or…?
LC: I don’t know I think that uhh in the end, it’s a number of different things, but I think that we’re all just ready to take a break, we’ve been touring a lot, steadily for many years on end now and like. I don’t know, it’s really hard to say whether we’ll tour again or not, I mean we all really like to play music, and we like to tour, and touring can get really, really fucking hard, especially when you all hate each other! You know… it’s fucking, by the end of the tour everybodys fucking, you know, strung out and fucking tired, and wasted, and just wants to take a decent shower or for those people that don’t wanna take a decent shower, they just wanna sleep a while you know. So, I think we’re gonna take a break for the sake of taking a break and that way we can really come back and do it again with full 100% hearts into it if that’s what we feel about it at the point… but if we don’t then lets just say that we won’t play again you know!
RN: So is it a case of if you do come back you’ll be coming under a differnt name?
LC: Well Morning Glory might come on tour for a while… but are you asking me if we’re going to change the name?
RN: Sortof, well yeah, but I’m not sure whether you wanna be asked that question?
LC: I don’t know… sometimes we change the name… I don’t know… We like to change our name sometimes, I don’t know why, it’s just, it adds some newbility into it, it’s new, and fun, and gives you more artwork to work on and some new songs to work on. I mean I think that every band has a shelf life and uhh once that shelf life has expired then there’s no point in being a band after that because the goods are up, they’re rotten, they’re no good anymore, so you may as well quit!
RN: So when you’re practicing with the band do you practice in the C-Squat or do you have rehersal space or something?
LC: We don’t practice! We just play, we just play shows!
RN: So how do you write new songs, is it just in the van or something?
LC: Yeah usually one person will write a song and then bring it in… usually one person will write the song and then everyone else will add their take to it. But if one person knows already exactly what they wanna hear then they’ll just tell everyone what to play. We don’t usually jam, we don’t jam stuff out, we’re not like the Grateful Dead or something!
RN: So it’s not like four.. five best friends playing together?
LC: No! No. I mean we like each other. We’re like each other we love each other, and we hate each other, we fight alot but we fucking, we also support each other to a certain degree, and personally I wouldn’t wanna be in a band that was, that got along all the time, that was all lovey dovey, there’s no fucking dirtiness to that. I don’t want to fucking be… I don’t know… I think that part of the reason that the music is good… [cue a really drunk person walking into the middle of the interview to compliment me on the zine! Definetly not what was needed! -edd] Anyway… [pause] Anyway what was I saying?
RN: You were saying that it wouldn’t be interesting if you all got along.
LC: Yeah, yeah I think that the excitement and the negativity in our music comes from fighting alot with each other, and the chemistry that it creates, you know? I think that alot of bands miss out on that. I mean quite alot of the time we’ll have a bad day with each other, but then we’ll have a great show, but then other times we’ll all be having a good time, and then we’ll play a crap show! You just never know!
RN: That’s fair enough… I was going to ask how you got into the squatting scene in New York, was it just out of neccessity or some form of political whatever?
LC: I think everybody gets into it out of different reasons, but I don’t think that anybody actually gets into it because they believe politically what that should be how society is, because squatting isn’t a comfortable enough life style for people to stick by their beliefs like that. I personally got into it because I had nowhere else to go, and there were abandoned buildings around, so I just started sleeping abandoned buildings. It made sense you know! I mean better to sleep inside somewhere, or sleep outside and get fucking mugged, or raped, or beat, or fucking put in jail or… I would rather risk going to jail by sleeping in an abandoned building where it’s safe than fucking sleeping outside, so… and then I realised that there were a whole group of people living in abadoned buildings, and we all became friends, you know, started opening buildings together, that kind of thing… and so yeah that’s how I got into it basically just from living on the street.
RN: I don’t know but is it like a group of friends, family whatever, does everyone know everyone else kind of thing?
LC: Yeah, yeah… You get a pretty close knit group of people, and it’s a pretty big political faction right now too, and that has been for the past kind of like ten years. Squatters in the lower east side of New York really got organised in the last ten years and uhh have like a coalition and stuff, and it’s good you know. I think that squatters are an extremely disfunctional group of people, and family nonetheless but I don’t believe that family is 100% strong, all things break down at some point, and blood family being the biggest example of that so! You know squatters are a close knit group of people, but at the same time they’re still people you know what I mean?
RN: Everything changes kind of thing?
LC: Well not even neccessarily … Everything changes, but people fight, and people have their conflicts, and maybe even more so in the squatters society because lets fucking face it it’s a society of dirtbags who are like you know mostly alcoholic and had a really hard life, and have no other family except their friends and so they tend to turn on each other sometimes, which is really sad but that’s just the fucking reality of life.
RN: So in the States do you not have the kind of rule where junkies and drunkards can come stay the night but that’s it it’s just one night?
LC: Yeah well, squatters typically are a very elitist group of people and uhh I try to be as unelitist as possible but alot of times, alot of times, groups of people come around and they don’t have a clue what squatting’s about, they don’t seem to understand that alot of people live there, and that some people have kids, and most have jobs, and stuff, and so they just think that it’s a free for all party to fuck shit up, and burn shit down, and they’ll end up burning your building down, or killing someone, or fucking overdosing in your building, and it just brings in bad heat and you’ve gotta live there you know? So it’s like a fine line between being careful and not being careful enough! You wanna be friendly to people and remember that you were once sleeping on the street as well, but by the same token, you don’t wanna lose you’re place to live you know… so!
RN: OK umm the last question… where do you think that the states are going to go after Iraq?
LC: Ahhh jesus man that’s a really indepth question for a last question!
RN: That’s true… sorry!
LC: No that’s cool, I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to even begin with that. And you know what alot of people take what we believe in politics, and America in our lyrics because I really, really don’t like going to see bands that preach onstage about politics and everything, especially at punk rock shows, because you’re preaching to the converted! And you know people are there to be entertained, and it’s good to educate somebody, or other people. But you know I’m not a fucking educator, and I don’t believe that I know anymore than anybody else does, you know? So I’m not going to try and tell people what to do, or how to do it, or how to act, or how to vote, and I’m certainly not going to give a political lecture onstage. If people really wanna know what we think about that kind of shit then they should listen to the music, because it’s all in there you know!
RN: Yeah that’s cool!