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Rx Bandits

April 15th, 2006 · post by Edd · Make a comment

 

Rx Bandits

Again, for some reason there was no introduction attached this interview when it was published in Rancid News issue 6. This I think was the fourth time that sat down for an interview with Matt, and was by far and away the most successful interview I’ve managed to get. Read on for what Matt from Rx Bandits was thinking in the Spring of 2004 when they toured the UK with The Exit from NYC.
RN: OK, do you want to introduce yourself for the record?

Matt: My name is Matthew Embury. I currently play in a band called Rx Bandits. Hello.

RN: How’s the tour been going?

M: Lovely!

RN: Ok pointless first question out of the way. You’ve relatively recently started a new record label, what are you doing with that?

M: Hmm. Well it’s more of a musical community rather than it is a record label, though I suppose it does take the shape of a record label. It’s basically our friends, Rx Bandits, our friends, Secret Society, Two Giant Poets, Come All My Enemies… It’s just basically a group of friends and we all collaborate on all different projects together. A lot of the music has similar, a lot of the bands have similar members from other bands, and we’re just trying to make music regardless of commercial value or of financial worth. It’s a record label where me, and my friends can feel comfortable putting out music that we like to make. It’s just basically a means to an end. It’s a facilitation of expression. It’s a means to facilitate our expression in musical form.

RN: Do you have a common ideology as well?

M: I would say yes, though of course everybody has their own interpretations, and their own thoughts, everybody is their own person! But it’s basically understood that everybody within the community, in the group is completely respective to all people. We have many different types of music and everybody tries remain non-critical and just to appreciate the expression for what it is, and the art for what it is. And there’s no torlerance for any sort of hatred whatsoever. It’s just like… On the record label there’s almost every race of people in at least one of the band’s so it’s like nothing along the lines of racism, sexism, or anything like that is tolerated. We just try to make it a very positive environment basically. We also try to do benefits and things. There’s going to be a Mash Down Babylon compilation that’s going to be a benefit for a half-way house for battered women in the near future. We’re just trying to like I say create music regardless of any commercial influence whatsoever and also create music devoid of… or create music that is not devoid of substance. Music that is a means of motivation. Not to say that pop music doesn’t have it’s place, and not to say that songs about nothing are bad, I’m not wanting to make any kind of judgement on someone at all, but I personally think that there’s been enough of that, that there is enough of that already, especially in the age that we’re living in right now. All the music is for a purpose, has a meaning and has a message. The message is not always the same, but it’s always there, and it’s prominent.

RN: Are you doing this because you feel slightly constrained by the Rx Bandits by what you can and can’t play?

M: Yeah to a certain extent I would say that is true, not to say that I don’t enjoy playing in the Rx Bandits, because I definitely do, but I’m constantly playing other styles of music, and I continually have other projects happening. You know, I just figured why not put this out here so that other people can hear them. I mean none of our records have made any money, they’re just there if you’re interested in them. I mean I love music, and the artists that I’m into, I’m interested in all the other music that they’ve recorded. I like hearing their other forms of expression. It’s just like how you might want to have a conversation with another person because you want to relate and connect with them. It’s the same thing with what we’re trying to do. I’m into many different forms of music, as well as all the other members of the band, and MDB is basically a means to facilitate those outlets.

A lot of our time is taken up by Rx Bandits, and tour is not the most creative environment because you’re playing the same songs over and over, and you’re either loading in, loading out, sleeping or getting ready for the show. There’s not really much time where you can sit down and actually create something.

RN: Do you not write many songs then on tour?

M: No, no, not as much. Not as much as when we’re at home. Songs aren’t normally written on tour. There are lot of ideas that appear on tour. I mean I write a lot, not songs but just writing, without music. I don’t think they’re lyrics, they’re more that they’re just words. So I write a lot on tour, and I think all of us do. I mean if there’s ever an acoustic guitar lying around then we try to pick it up and play with it. But as I say you’re barely ever alone and there’s usually a hundred and one things going on around you so it’s not very conducive to writing music. But it is a huge inspiration. You come home and you take all these experiences that you get from tour, and all these things you’ve been thinking about.

RN: That was kind of going to be my next question. But I mean how much do you tour at the moment?

M: For the last two years… like last year we toured eight months out of the year, the year before that it was nine, the year before that it was six, or seven. We’re trying to cut back on it, because everybody in the band has other things going on in their life, as well as other musical projects that we’d like to explore, and further. Like Steve Boarts has Setori, and Chris and I are in that with him but that’s like his personal expression, he’s the pivitol person. And then everyone else is doing something… I mean we’re all trying to branch out and play. I feel that the fanbase that we’ve gained with Rx Bandits is the fanbase we’re pretty much always going to have. I mean I don’t think there’s any way that we’re suddenly going to be able to explode into the mainstream. We don’t write the songs that cater to that. So we’d rather just tour when we feel like we want to tour, and if people want to come out and see us when we do that, then we’re happy about that, but otherwise we’d like to focus on other things as well.

RN: Is the band big enough then at this point that when you get off tour you can spend all your time focusing on other things rather than having to go work some part time job?

M: No we’re really lucky, and right now, at this point in the band we don’t have any other jobs, so when we get off tour we spend a lot of the time playing a lot of music, and those who have girlfriends get to spend a lot of time with their ladies, and so it’s really cool. We don’t have to work day jobs right now, and I’m really grateful for that. It’s a really gratifying and blessed experience. I feel very blessed to be in this situation.

RN: So does this mean you’re kind of, not resting on your laurels with the Rx Bandits, but perhaps not pushing the band has hard as you maybe have done in the past?

M: No… No, I don’t think I meant to say that at all. I think what I meant about breaking into the mainstream and things like that is that we don’t… we’re not willing to sacrifice our integrity to the point that bands have to sacrifice themselves in order to break themselves into that scene. We don’t have… we made a music video for ‘Analogue Boy’, which will be the only music video we’ll only ever make, you know? We’ve been trying to make a couple of bootleg videos, but none of us ever want to lip-synch ever again you know? We’re not willing to pay a radio promoter to put our music onto the radio and… I don’t know there’s just a lot of things that you’d need to do, and need to capitulate with to get that wider audience, and a band like us … we’re not playing music to make a fortune, we’re playing music because that’s what is coming out of our soul. We’re playing music because that’s what needs to be said for us to be sane, or at least for me to be sane as a lyricist. A lot of the lyrics that I write and I sing, it’s just, if those weren’t expressed and used as a way to try and reach other people who think the same, or feel the same way as me, then I would have lost it years ago. So… But Rx Bandits will always try and push our music and ourselves as far as we can go. I mean we’ve already written almost a complete new album, and it’s definitely to the next level, in the same way that ‘…Resignation’ was a step up from ‘Progress’. But like I said music is just an expression of yourself at the time, so when you write it, it’s obviously going to reflect that.

RN: Do you ever worry that being on the label you’re on that a lot of people don’t take you’re music as seriously as you’d like them to?

M: Oh yeah that’s definitely, that’s definitely been a huge factor. It’s been pretty hard for us. I mean a lot of people will see the Drive Thru logo and if they’re into pop-punk and they hear us, then they won’t like us. But if they’re not into pop-punk then they won’t listen to us. So yeah being into Drive Thru has… But then we also have had really good experiences in terms of bands that we’ve toured with where we’ve made connections and can then come and play good shows at that town again. But for the most part most people make assumptions. We’re all human and a lot of people make assumptions and they’re incorrect. But it’s alright. It makes me feel a lot stronger about the crowd that we do have. I mean it blows my mind that tonight is sold out. We don’t have anything on MTV, we don’t have anything on the radio, and there’s more than 500 kids who are wanting to see us play. That to me strengthens my belief that good music will be heard regardless of the label. You know, to classify a band by what label it’s on is just about as ignorant as it is to classify anything just by what it’s associated with. But I mean that’s what happens, because that’s how labels gain their name, they have a certain sound to the label, and that’s how they get success.

RN: Do you get much press interest?

M: No we don’t really get much of that at all, to be honest.

RN: How do you think that you’ve got 500 people coming to your show then?

M: I’m not really sure. I think people… I think that there’s a lot of word of mouth. But I don’t really know. As I say, it just blows my mind. I’m completely grateful, surprised and I really am genuinally humbled by it. I’m not really sure if I’m worthy to be in this situation, but I’m very happy that I am. If I was to guess though I’d put it down to a word of mouth thing, and then also those that have seen us play live are normally convinced. But I think that word of mouth is pretty much the strongest form of promotion. If a friend comes up to you and recommends a CD to you that’s going to mean far more than if some magazine said that it’s great, because it’s commonly acknowledged that rock critics are close to the most ignorant people on this earth. (laughs)

RN: Do you worry then about the responsibility with your lyrics, or music, or whatever playing to this many people rather than say playing to a bar with fifty people?

M: Do you mean a sense of responsibility to uphold… I don’t know are you trying to ask do I find it difficult to have the same emotion for a song even if I’m playing it over and over again?

RN: Not really, but I’m not sure if I can express what I’m trying to ask. I was going to ask the question you just asked me though so…

M: I have no problem with that. I wrote those songs, and that’s the way I feel. Those songs that I no longer feel, I no longer play. That’s it! I cannot lie to the people in the audience. I can’t lie to them and sing them words, or play them songs that I no longer feel anymore. That’s why we don’t really ever play anything off our first two records, and there’s some songs that are on ‘Progress’ that we’ll never actually play because that’s just not me anymore. I know that a lot of bands are really worried about alienating their audience, and so they always play “the hits” so to speak. But I don’t know… I feel that I’m here, or that we’re here, to relate our emotions and if the people in the audience embrace that, then that’s wonderful, but if they don’t then that’s fine too; they don’t have to listen to our band anymore. This is what we are, this is what we’re relating, this is what we are, and this is what we’re trying to connecting to, so there is no difficulty feeling the emotion of the music every night, because if I didn’t feel it then I wouldn’t play it!

RN: I think that answers what I was trying to ask (laughs). Well the other thing I was going to ask, was it you guys who invited the ‘War on Want’ people?

M: Yes.

RN: Is that another thing you feel’s important with the band to try and get those messages across?

M: I feel that it’s important to organise like minded people together and I definitely think that part of the goal of popular culture, part of the whole entire spectacle of control that most western society governments have over their people is… and I’m not trying to sound like a paranoid, point the finger political guys, I’m trying to do that… But I feel that we need to address things more on a social level, with ourselves first, rather than pointing our finger at anyone else, which is why we don’t have any songs about Bush, or whatever, because I think that they’re superficial enemies, but anyways I don’t want to tangent on that! Those people – The War On Want – contacted us, and said, ‘We dig what you sing about, and dig what you’re into, can we come and table at your show?’ and we said, ‘Sure!’ Because I’m not going to say… it’s just so easy to sit in your cubicle all your life. People sit in their cubicle at work, and then they drive to work in their cubicles, their cars, and then when they get home they just sit in their living room watching the TV, and it’s so easy to just sit there, to be apathetic and to simply not care. Someone gets shot, but it doesn’t matter because I didn’t know her, so who cares?

I feel like, especially as musicians, but all artists, but specifically musicians, because we address more people at once, I feel like it is, it’s definitely something that we like to do as far as organising ourselves with other like minded individuals, especially groups that. At home we play a lot of benefit shows, Food Not Bombs, people like that. Because you know, if one person from our crowd goes back to their city and starts a Food Not Bombs then they made that much of a difference. And it wasn’t because of us, it was because they made that decision, and maybe we helped because of how we made them feel when we played our music. I don’t know. We just like to meet like minded people. We want to be associated with people who are doing things that we think are good ideas, or good things to be spending energy on.

RN: So, obviously being that the Presidential elections are coming up in November, do you think that’s kind of red herring, and that people should be focusing their attention on other more local issues, that it’s more beneficial to focus attention on Food Not Bombs, or other local collectives, and that in the long term they’ll have a greater impact?

M: Well Food Not Bombs, and other collectives like that, at the moment, are more of a protest than they are a movement right now. Not to say that they couldn’t become a movement, but right now there’s not enough, there’s not enough people who are aware to do it, or become involved with it. And groups like that try to make people aware. I’m not putting more importance on them, than on the elections, though I have my personal opinions on the elections just like everybody else, but those don’t matter, because you know it’s just my personal belief or whatever. But it’s all organisation, it’s all an expression of humanity in itself. For me it feels like, ‘We’re all human, let’s get together, let’s do something, and celebrate that we’re alive’. Let’s not just take what we’re given, let’s make a choice and do what we want to do. What does red herring mean though? Like a façade of something?

RN: Yeah a distraction or something like that.

M: That’s what I thought.

RN: Oh do you not have the phrase in the States? (laughs)

M: No we don’t have that one! (laughs)

RN: Yeah it’s the distraction element. A lot of people say that you’re not given a choice. You’re choosing that’s someone who’s slightly less bad…

M: Yeah the lesser of two evils, yeah exactly. I mean I think that in the long run the greatest social change will be made by the grassroots, and by grassroots organisations. That’s why we have War On Want tonight, it’s why we support Food Not Bombs and Interval House, and charities like The Los Angeles Mission and things like that. The bottom line is there are a lot of people with a lot of money, and there are a lot of people with absolutely no money at all. There is more than enough money to go around for everyone on this earth to not starve to death, and it’s ridiculous.

There’s a lot of distraction in the media, and in everyday life, everywhere. ‘Come and play…’ Like Zach, Zach De La Rocha said, ‘What do the billboards say? Come and play, come and play. Forget about the movement’. It’s like, it’s all… In the long run it’s definitely the grassroots that will make change. But as I said before it’s not a movement now, it’s still a protest. We need more people to become aware for it to become an actual movement. But one thing about the elections that I will actually say, and I’m not sure how you’re elections are run, do you guys have County elections?

RN: Yeah we have county council elections.

M: See, those are the most important ones, because the Presidential elections are just bullshit. It’s a rich guy running against a rich guy. More to the point it’s rich white guy vs rich white guy. I mean what the fuck? I can’t relate to those people, no one can relate to those people except for the rich white people, and I’m white, I’m not dissing on white people, I’m not making a prejudice comment, but doesn’t it make sense that someone who is ruling the majority should somehow represent the majority? So the Presidential elections is for sure an election over the lesser of two evils. Bush, Kerry? It doesn’t matter, either way they both voted for mostly the same things, whilst one was Governor and one was Senator, and most likely not much will change if Kerry entered the Oval Office, except perhaps the environmental policies would be reversed. But as far as the war is concerned I don’t see John Kerry pulling out of Viet… (laughs) How’s that I almost said Vietnam! I don’t see Kerry pulling out of Iraq, there’s too much money involved, and he wants money just as much as Bush or anyone else does.

What I was saying though is that is’ at your county elections, or local elections, that’s where the possibility for more progressive, or more average, normal people to get elected. I think that a lot of the apathy that a lot of our generation has stems from the fact of, ‘Well who are you going to vote for President ‘Some Dumbass’ or ‘A Nother Dumbass”. Well if that’s my choice I don’t even want to vote, because my vote doesn’t matter and whoever I vote for is going to do much the same as a previous person. But if people get elected, or fully involved in the local elections then you can make some change, and if that happens across the country then you can make a massive change. It’s a choice between that or taking a lot of empty bottles, some rags, some gasoline and setting them on fire, and go at it. It’s one or the other.

RN: I was actually wanting to ask you about that. I mean what’s your opinion on the effectiveness of mass actions, and also in violent direct action, or property destruction? Is it something that you’d focus your attention on, especially considering you have quite a few links with non-violent direct action stuff?

M: Hmm [pause] I think that the romanticism that lies behind those actions is correct. However, I feel that the actions in themselves in the end serve no purpose to that end goal, in my opinion. And this is why. I feel that – and especially in America – given that the media driven culture that we have, all that is doing is just giving fuel to the common people, who are just as oppressed as those who are protesting, it gives those people a way to be like, ‘Oh look at these savages!’ And it further segregates, even though they’re essentially the same, with the same problems. You have the poor white families in the Mid West, and you have the Middle Upper Class, and you know it’s mainly the Middle Upper Class people who go on these protests because they have the free time…

RN: Of course…

M: Throughout history it’s only ever been the leisured and merchant classes who have incited a revolution.

RN: Except for 1917 Russia.

M: Yeah except for Russia, and even then I think that a lot of the pamphlets and things were passed out and distributed by that class.

RN: No certainly that’s true, and I mean people like Lenin and Trotsky were members of the intelligentsia but the revolution itself, though not instigated by them, could certainly be argued that it was supported by the peasantry and the soviets until the following February when the Bolsheviks cancelled the elections. On a tangent.

M: Indeed! (laughs) Definitely a close relation to that was the French Revolution of 1968 with the Situationalist Internationalists, but that was more the college students, but by that point of course some lower class kids had started to attend university in France, and it was also from there taken up by the factories, and labourers who all went on strike. Shit what were we talking about?

RN: Segregation between ‘Activist’ and …

M: Oh yeah right, yeah I think that it’s a means to… it’s the picket line or the television. It’s almost that extreme. I mean I understand where the activist kids are coming from. It’s like, ‘We’re upset, and this is what we’re prepared to do!’ The thing is though that the media contorts those images to be like, ‘Look at these crazy idiots destroying things’. And then you have the people who could have been…

I personally just think that an increase in knowledge is what we need. I believe that knowledge is the ultimate power, that the increase in education in all people will eventually lead to the integration of all people and the understanding no matter what culture or class where you come from, understanding where you fit in society, and how you can change, and do what you want to do. I don’t want to incriminate myself by being part of those actions, that’s all I’m going to say! (laughs) But I definitely see it both ways. I mean I don’t really believe in destroying people’s property, especially when people turn over cars and burn them, because they’re probably just an average person’s car, and it just turns into the mob mentality. Although I don’t know whether I have … no I think I’ve already said what I think. I mean I don’t believe in stealing, I don’t believe in violence and I choose to live my life like that no matter what. Whether it was stealing from Starbucks or from the Mom N Pop Corner store I steal wouldn’t steal no matter what, though some people would probably say that it’s more justified to steal from Star… [tape cuts out]

RN: Ok I think you were talking about how some people would say that you could justify stealing from Starbucks.

M: Right, and I’m just saying this is my personal opinion, and this is only me, and I’m not saying that anyone should live like me, and I’m not saying that anyone even… especially people who like the band, I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh I have to be like Matt because I like the band’ or anything like that. That’s bullshit you know? The only reason I sing the lyrics that I sing is because that’s how I feel. I’m not singing it for anyone to follow my footsteps. I’m a human being and I make mistakes everyday. I’m not exalted, I’m no better than anyone else, I just happen to be blessed with the opportunity to play in front of people. For some reason people like my music and it’s fucking awesome. But I’m just saying that some people, some of my friends, actually no just people I know, certain activist people justify stealing and certain destruction of property because, ‘It’s a corporation and they fucked over these people’s lives etc’ and I’m not saying that’s wrong or that’s right, I’m just saying that the way that I live my life is that I don’t steal from people, I don’t destroy other people’s property, I don’t punch people, I don’t hurt people and I live my life that, strictly. I don’t care if you’re a fucking Congressman who just voted to change the law to take all pre-natal care from lower class families or if you’re a right-on anarchist who’s fighting for medicare for the whole country. It doesn’t matter to me, I just believe in treating everybody equally, and justly. But I’m not saying that I always do. I’m human, like everyone else and I make mistakes. I just attempt to live my life like this.

RN: Has this always been your opinion, it sounds like you started off slightly more militant – if that’s the right word – than you are right now?

M: Oh yeah, I think I definitely used to be more extreme in the way that you know if it was corporate or a multi-global organisation I had no problem stealing from them or destroying their property or whatever. Not to say that I’ve destroyed that much property, because I haven’t but I’m just saying as far as disrespect is concerned I had no problem disrespecting those people. Now, I just don’t contribute. I don’t contribute as much as possible. I don’t contribute to the multi-global corporations such as fast-food and we try to avoid Clear Channel, we have nothing to do with Viacom. Mash Down Babylon is currently trying to get away from Viacom, and Clear Channel. We don’t know for sure yet, but the next Rx Bandits album might come out on Mash Down Babylon. It really depends on what Drive Thru decides to do. But we’re not going to put out another record with them if they decide to stay with Clear Channel, Viacom, Geffen and all of that because we can’t contribute to that. We don’t want to participate in that. But you know, like I said before that’s just how we choose to live. It’s not a rhetoric for anyone else to live. The bottom line is… we all go through many trials, and many cross-roads in our lives, and you’ll make compromises and you will stay true to what you believe at many different times in your life, and everybody has that uniqueness, and everybody has to decide for themselves. That’s what I’ve done. I’ve chosen simply not to contribute, rather than simply to criticise.

RN: Do you feel then things like consumer boycotts have any power?

M: Oh yeah absolutely. I honestly – in my opinion – more than political… as I was saying before it’s the grassroots where a movement will appear, if a movement is to come … Our power as consumers is the most power any of us have. I don’t know whether you know about but Buy Nothing Day?

RN: Oh yeah end of November…

M: Yeah things like that, they may seem like nothing, but I’m pretty sure that things like that have an incredible impact. I’m sure that has an incredible impact on consumer culture, and on companies that rely on our money. If people… it’s just like gas prices and gas things… the whole idea is to put people into a situation where they have no more choices and that … especially living in California, where we had ‘Red Cars’, Trolleys (I think he means trams – edd) which could take you anywhere, and GM – General Motors – bought them all up, and ripped them all out and replaced them with freeways and roads, because they wanted motor cars to be the way everybody got around. It gets to the point where you have to contribute to that company. One of the companies – along with the rest of the gas, and car companies – who have caused more deaths than any other corporations in this world. But you’re forced to contribute no matter who you are, because you know you’ve gotta eat. It doesn’t matter who you are, the toughest punk-rock anarchist ever, but if you’re not working then you’re going to be a homeless tough guy anarchist, and you’ll eventually starve to death unless you want to steal from people. Or I don’t know live in the middle of the forest or something, which I guess is a great idea but not very feasible for someone like me.

What I was trying to say is that I think our power as consumers is the most prominent power that we have. If you don’t like something, or want to change something, if you can get enough people to boycott – as you said to consumer boycott – that has an incredible impact. Especially if you send them letters telling them that you’re doing it, and why you’re doing it, because at the end of the day they just want you to buy, so they’re going to change whatever they have to change in order for you to keep buying.

RN: To play devil’s advocate slightly. If a consumer boycott is powerful then perhaps stealing their products is that step further. If you don’t like Nike and steal from Niketown, or don’t like WalMart so steal you’re food from there is that not even more damaging? You’re taking money away rather than just withholding your own money?

M: That’s an ideology that personally don’t live by, but I personally wouldn’t disagree with. Like I say it’s just my personal opinion.

RN: I was just curious.

M: No it’s a great question, it’s awesome. I just… that’s definitely a statement in itself. Like I don’t know taking Nike’s shoes and giving them to homeless people then that’s definitely a statement in itself, and I don’t see… I think that’s a very chivalrous move, all I’m saying is that’s not how I live my life, and choose not to steal no matter who it is.

RN: That’s cool. Well going back to the band thing, do you ever worry – and you kind of mentioned it a second ago – that being on stage you’re somehow more important, or deemed to be more important, than the audience?

M: Yeah, and sometimes it bothers me, especially when people place me on a pedestal. Like just a few minutes ago some kid asked me to sign his ticket and he was like, ‘I’ve never met someone famous before!’ and it was just like, ‘Come on man you’re just as cool as me’. To say something like that is to almost demean yourself. I’m just another human being, I just happen to be here playing music. And so at times that does definitely bum me out because I don’t want people to think that they’re less than me just because I’m onstage playing. I won’t people to be like, ‘I can do that too, I can make a difference’ – not that I’m saying I’ve necessarily made any difference – but, ‘I can play music, and I can sing and express what I’m thinking to all these other people’. I don’t want people to be like, [making adulation noises], I don’t want people to be like that. Probably one of the main reasons that we haven’t tried to break through is because I don’t know how any of us could handle that sort of celebrity. Once you’re a celebrity you’re no longer human, you’re just this persona, and fake public façade. As I said I’m just a human, I’m just me, and I’m not trying to be anything else. It’s very flattering when people do that to me, but at the same time it’s hard because I want to have… sometimes I’ll meet people at shows and I’ll have incredible conversations with people, and people ask me questions like you have, and we talk for hours and I come away from that just like, ‘That was wonderful. That’s life’. That’s what life’s about, it’s about experience with other people, and with yourself, and it’s about growing everyday. When people come up to you and they just want your signature [pause] My signature is nothing, fuck my signature, what is that? It’s fucking nothing. So yeah sometimes it makes me want to be a hermit! (laughs)

RN: I mean what does it feel like when you’re playing the Astoria or something like that, does it feel the same as playing here?

M: No it’s a pretty horrifying experience. Maybe I’m a glori-phobic in a way. Playing a big show like that I rarely come out because you have… if you’re a band that big you have to have a lot of ‘hype’ fans, fans that are there because they’ve got this twinkling in your eyes, because these guys are famous. It’s not because you like the music, or relate to the emotions but just because, ‘Oh everyone else loves them, I should go’. Shows like that kind of put me off. Not to say that I wouldn’t want my band to be that big one day because it really would be lovely to be able to play music, and live off my music, for the rest of my life. That would make that, that much easier. But it’s a trade off. There’s this huge separation between us and the audience. We don’t want to consider the people in our audience simply as ’seats’, they’re people, and every single person is just as important as the next, but at a show that huge it’s that much harder to connect. I mean you can’t even look everyone in the eye.

RN: I think this is going to be my last question. But one thing I’ve always noticed from talking and doing interviews with you is that you always condition things with, ‘it’s just my personal opinion’, or you won’t say something for that reason. Like you’ve done it quite a bit in this interview, and I’ve always wondered do you do that all the time, because it’s always kind of given me the impression that you don’t see your personal opinion as being valid?

M: Oh no, that’s not the way I mean it. I’m just very conscious of that, especially in interviews, but I definitely say that a lot when talking to anyone. I do it because I never want to come across as being judgemental, I never want to come across as being critical to another person, and to another’s point of view. So especially in interviews I try and relate the fact that this is just me, this is what I’m saying, this is what music is for us, it’s just our personal thing. I find, or feel, that a lot of bands that make social or political commentary tend to put people off because they’re saying, ‘You should do this, you should do this. You’re fucked up because you don’t do this.’ And I don’t want to say that. I just want to say what I think, and what I feel, and that’s it, you can take it or leave it, and it doesn’t matter, it’s either way. No, I’m not saying that my opinion is invalid, I believe it to be just as valid as the next person, I’m just trying to make it apparent that I’m not seeking to lay some gospel down. I also don’t want kids who come to our shows to think that if they don’t act like me, or if they don’t follow the same ideals as the band that we won’t like them, or hang out with them, or talk to them, because that’s not true. I believe that’s the root to all misunderstanding. It stems from people who subscribe to an ideology and then criticise anyone who doesn’t live their life like that!

RN: I don’t think I’ve got anything else to add, do you have anything else?

M: www.mdb.com. Ohh and the Rx Bandits DVD is coming out on MDB records. I have no idea when it’s coming out in the UK, it may be coming out on licence on Eat Sleep Records in the UK. But it’s coming out on Mash Down Babylon on April 27th, so I’d imagine it was sometime around there over here too.

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