This sit-down interview with The Used bassist Jeph Howard was one of those relaxing times, where each of us could sit back and talk. it was hours before his band would go on after The Almost at La Zona Rosa. Soundchecks were probably behind them and all that was left was the “hang out and wait” time that comes to those that don’t run late. sequestered on a couple of couches in a small dressing room, jeph and I talked snowboarding, utah, music and God. It was nice when standing to leave and realizing that doing your job can be something that others enjoy – even in the course of so-called “work.” I guess it’s true – I love my job.

On the DVD with Artwork, you talked about wanting to do something new for The Used. I’m curious how you guys collectively came to that decision and how hard it was to let go of the familiar and explore new territory?
It wasn’t really that hard. It was kind of just a conscious decision that we know that we have grown up in this band, really. I mean we have grown up playing music together. We have grown up, sort of, starting this unknown band in the middle of nowhere that sort of got found … that turned into something bigger and then a little bit bigger. Now we’ve been touring around for about 10 years now, ya know? You can’t help what is around you or your surroundings, all the people you know, all the things that you do sort of make up who are. Ya know what I mean? It’s the same with music, like all the stuff we’re around and all of our influences that start coming together to make us change a little bit, so over time no matter what, we change. I think to the point where we were at when this record came out, like we were sick of everything. We were stuck on the same kind of tours, we were stuck with the same kind of bands, we were stuck with the same kind of labels that people were labeling us with some genre that we never liked (and) were never even a part of. Like screamo and emo and all that scene. That’s cool, but that came from another scene. That was a scene from a scene from a scene. Like we are not going to be a part of that, like … we’re here … in the middle of nowhere, we have a whole scene propped up and was going on and that scene is awesome. We got lumped into that sort of thing. And, with this record coming around, we were just sick of everything. We actually got new managers – whole new management team. We got some new people labelers and we got new people accountants, ya know what I mean? It’s like intertwining business people, like we were sick of almost being used in a way. Like for their stuff and their tours and their things and even our drummer – he is not new, he has been with us for about three years and actually the record before Lies For The Liars, it’s a long answer but I’m…

Good, good.
Lies For Liars – he was there and recorded that whole thing. He didn’t actually record, he wrote with us, but from then on this really is his first full-length record that he recorded with us. Sort of like a release for him in a way. Just having him around, too, has actually influenced to change our band musically and, as far as friendship goes and everything, we are tighter than (bleep), by far really. Like friends, music, everything we feel so strong about each other today. And coming out of this recording Artwork, it seems like in the past couple of records got a little cleaned up too much maybe? And a sense we are being sort of “genre-ized,” if that’s a word. We love messy music. I love messy music. I love dirty music. I like real music, ya know what I mean? We wanted to be more real, we wanted to be live. Ya know, like, gross, dirty live. We wanted to be like … some of our favorite records are just simple and easy to sing along to. And we wanted this record to also be like the anthem. Like you come to shows, you know the words to that song. It’s like an anthem, it’s just … easy to sing along to, easy to understand, but it’s so in-depth and passionate in the background and it’s just more than that. And that’s kind of an idea of how this record started really. Long answer (he laughs).

That sounds like a perfect place to be in a band.
It feels pretty good.

I was going to ask you to further define “gross pop” and elaborate on that.
“Gross pop” is kind of serious and a joke, too. It’s like screamo, that’s the most retarded name ever, come on. Like emo is the most retarded name ever. Really! Like, oh my god, like Led Zeppelin. Like Nirvana, whatever. But the whole idea with gross pop is just like … we’re sick of people trying to label us. We are a rock band, we have said that for years. But if you want to make a label, we will make our label and we’ll take whatever we’re going to be. How’s that? Ya know? So we are going to be called gross pop. And we’re not the first gross pop band and we’re not the last. There’re tons of gross pop bands. Like, for instance, Weezer, Pinkerton – it’s catchy and it’s messy and it’s dirty, but still sort of poppy, ya know? That’s a great record, super easy to sing along to, easy to remember, like, it’s a fun record and it’s kind of dirty and dark ya know? Even Beck. I love Beck’s stuff. It’s gross pop, I guess. Like messy and noisy, too.

How do you know when you’ve finished a song by The Used? Where is that line where more tweaking and adjusting starts to diminish the final result? And how do you gauge where you are in that process?
It’s a hard thing, I guess. I mean, there is nothing perfect. Nothing ever written is perfect. But that’s the kind of idea behind this record. Perfection isn’t the most important thing. It’s the energy involved in it. There’re mistakes in these songs, there’s (bleep) ups in these songs. A lot of people use computers now so much for recording that they’re putting things like drums to make sure the drums are totally inline 100% and everything. These drums sound perfectly in line; these drums sound the same, like a snare. Because sometimes no matter what, you aren’t going to hit it as hard, because you’re playing. We didn’t use any of that in this record. The drum sound and the other sounds are what they are like. We played it straight and it is what it is. Which to me makes it more real. That’s what they always used to do and why aren’t they doing it now? Just because we have computers doesn’t mean we should use it that way. I think some of that stuff sucks the goal out of it, really.

Yeah, I don’t think there’s such a thing like – maybe there is – synthetic leather. Part of leather’s quality is mistakes and scarring. How do you know when a song is good … that it’s solid – it’s a keeper?
We just let it go, we let it be what it is. Let it be.

What do you think of Jesus Christ?
It’s funny how he keeps changing races, I think? (he laughs) Really, I mean… I’m not religious at all, ya know? Like, I grew up in a very religious place right? My dad’s side, his family is really Mormon. But my dad never was … he was kind of the black sheep in the family, like, wasn’t into religion, thought it was kind of a joke. Ya know what I mean? My mom’s side is all Catholic and … I was just kind of in the middle. My mom is not religious at all. So, like, I saw the reality of both sides, I think, and living where I live I saw the reality of everyone else’s religion and how they lived and what they did. I was a nerdy kid. I still am kind of nerdy, but I was a big Boy Scout. We would go to the church and do Boy Scout stuff, which is weird, because everybody knew everybody. This is probably not answering your question, but it’s just weird to remember. Everybody knew everybody, because they all went to church together. So I was kind of an outcast, because I didn’t go to church and at the school it’s the same thing. You get a class off to go to (this) off-campus thing… Because the church is on campus, it’s really … it’s totally illegal, but it doesn’t (bleep) matter. But since I never went to that, I didn’t really fit in as far as that went, because all my friends had to go and their parents made them. But, in my last year of high school, I only had one class. I think people can believe in whatever as long as they’re happy. I just think … you shouldn’t believe something to make you a better person. That, to me, is kind of … that’s weird. And I’m not a preacher. I don’t really care. I don’t know, I just…(It’s) funny how stories and things can change events of other people. That’s kind of the way I see a lot of religions, ya know? Like money… Money is such an object there. Why is money such an object? Mormonism – you have to pay tithing to church. It’s like … I thought religions were supposed to be helping people. It’s supposed to be of this “God guy” and blah, blah, blah. Ya know, why are you taking money that we are making? I just think it seems weird.

Good point… What do you think of His claims to be “the way, the truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me?”
I don’t even know where that’s from, who said that?

Uh, the Gospel passage…

The quote is attributed to Jesus.
Um … to me … (that’s) a weird thing. Like I believe, things in the past made habits for certain things ya know? Like, there is all sorts of (bleep) that happens, but one thing that is crazy, is the first religion that ever existed. The very first civilization that ever existed, going back in time to the Sumerians, right? It’s like there is nothing before these people, maybe cavemen and all of a sudden out of nowhere these groups of people came together. Like, they started plowing. You can buy books on these Sumerians. And there’s, like, thousands of inventions which we use now. Like with the calendar – time really. We’ll come up with seconds and minutes, ya know what I mean? They came up with all of this stuff. What they believe in religious-wise? Not even religious wise – reality-wise – is pretty much all the same. All the religions combined into what they believe in, which is kind of weird, too, but also with God and all of this stuff. It’s weird how … something that people were a part of, sort of over here changed and molded into this … thing, ya know what I mean? It’s not even originally intended to be, ya know what I mean? I kind of like old, old, old-school stuff like that. I don’t know. I’m way into that kind of old stuff. I think it’s weird how their life turned into like that… Like Adam and Eve, but it wasn’t religious like that. It’s just weird how, there’s stories and lives turned into something that now… Like something above and beyond what it ever was originally, ya know what I mean? It’s crazy. Have you ever looked into that stuff? It will blow your mind. It’s amazing actually. It shows inscriptions – the pictures, like Adam and Eve shows like a goddess holding Adam on her lap and there’s Gods in the background looking at her and stuff. It was supposedly like a mixture, like the gods needed to make a… I don’t know … I could really get into it. It made like a hybrid god/person thing and that’s kind of what they were into – the Sumerians. We are half breeds of God and stuff like that, it’s pretty crazy.

Like, what part of the earth?
Where all the wars always been – Iraq and Iran – that whole area. Like the oldest civilization of everything. Like everything is spread out there, it’s just crazy.

Tell me something unusual or funny about each member including yourself.
Um…unusual or funny?…Um I’m a little brain dead today. *Laughs* *Silence* Everybody is kind of quirky … like, if I had my way, I would do a documentary about Quinn and everything that he does every single day. I would go in 100% of the time, it would be like the Truman show. I think to me it would be the most amazing television show ever just because so many random things happen to Quinn and how he reacts to certain situations, it’s amazing. I wish I could get more in depth into that but it’s sort of like observations, it’s kind of hard to word out that kind of stuff. Um…Dan is amazing I mean. He’s defiantly a partier in a good way, he defiantly likes to party. Party all night is what we usually call him. He probably is the most random person out of the group um…he is one of those guys that will say things without really thinking and says it just because he says it. Which to me is amazing because I love that kind of weird stuff. Everyone is corky, Bert is corky. Everyone in our band is really corky and different and an individual. Yea it’s kind of hard to explain really, it’s hard to put into words when I think about people.
If there was a band or person in the music industry that was like an angry beehive that is probably best left alone – who or what is that entity and what would they be capable of if so stirred up?
Um … the label maybe? Ya know, it’s weird, labels and radio stations are always the same. A lot of radio DJs are really cocky. I’ll be cocky in a way. I have friends that work like…each state that you fly in has reps from the label, those people are usually pretty cool, because all they’re doing is to get the radio to play your songs and kind of help you out, and try to set something up between you, the radio and the label, ya know what I mean? They’re actually really cool, but they have to meet with radio station guys. They have to bribe them and be, like, “Come on, play our band, please? You know you like it, all these kids like it. If you play it, it will be good for your radio station; it would be good for us.” They’ll come up to me and, you know, like every band that we met and worked with are amazing and nice, respectful, but these radio station people are cocky and snobby and like … it’s insane. The real rock stars aren’t in the band, but they’re the radio people. That’s weird. I mean, I’ve never been in contact with radio station people like that, ya know, but that’s amazing to hear that kind of for a minute. We’ve had ups and downs, every band does with a label. Our label, honestly … there’re a lot of good people who work there. Some people aren’t really great, really cocky and think they know everything. They even think they know things and have opinions about your band and they aren’t even a part of it. They try to question you and tell you what you need to do, because, “I … me being who I am, because I work with who knows what, believe this is what your band should do … this thing. You need to listen to me because I’m one person.” Ya know, who are you? There are a million kids that are saying a different answer than you are, but since you’re this person that thinks he knows what you’re talking about, then all of a sudden it’s like … it’s weird. But the thing is, some of these people you have to like, their ultimate goal is to make sure your band does good. Even though their cockiness … you still have to, sort of play this game a little bit. It’s like “Oh, okay, well, maybe you’re right.” You still have to play this little game to go where you want it to go ya know? It’s kind of (bleep), but at the same time record companies are going down anyways, so it doesn’t really matter.

What are a couple of specific examples of things the media has done that make you angry? On the converse, what are one or two specific examples of things the media have done that have pleased you or given you a sense of, “Yeah, that’s how the media should handle things.” (news, network or mainstream media…)
That’s a good question. I think it could be 50/50 always. I mean, no offense, but any and every interview you do, is interpreted differently, worded differently. Like, whoever edits it and puts it together, might hate your band, and you say one thing out of context, they’ll use it against you. It happens all the time. Like, I can’t think of anything particular, but retarded stuff. You say something like a joke that you hate something and they will put it up in the front as the headline, ya know, “The Used hate like this” and I can’t believe they would ever do this to me, ya know, out of context. That’s pretty (bleep) and then they’ll focus on the negative. A lot of interviews are really focused on negative things about your band and negative things about people saying that. Not the whole thing, of course, but they try to find gossip. Like, there’s this drama with us and My Chemical Romance. Those guys are like our brother band. We toured with them for, like, 4 months maybe. Our sound guy ended up quitting and becoming their drummer and our tour manager ended up quitting and becoming their manager. We had deep connections and there was a little drama for a minute, but it wasn’t a big deal. But press is what it is. It blew out of proportion where there was this war between both sides and they’re making it worse than it ever was; and so it probably was making them angry and it was probably making us angry at the same time. Somebody said something like, “Oh they said (bleep) you guys,” and I’m sure they didn’t. But since press is what it is and they want to hear this, it turned into this hip-hop battle for a while. Good things? I mean, ya know, sometimes it’s kind of funny, because that’s when press thinks they can put in their lies a little bit to see if it makes it work at all or see if things happen a certain way. That to me is fine. (he laughs)
How do you decide if a guitar melody is working against a vocal melody and what sort of adjustments are made as you compose?
Um…ya know I play bass so as far as that goes play through a lot of melodic stuff. Guitar is more up an upfront in your face sort of angry but the way Quinn plays guitar too he uses a lot of like…background like almost past stuff, plays like airy sometimes. So I try to balance in between like going up front to lead a little bit, ya know what I mean? Kind of coming up with a little melody to go over the top of that. Then I will kind of come back and blend into the background because my job as a bass player really is to bridge the band, but I think it’s important for everything to have melody and there is always room I mean to do something that is a little catchy for a minute and have some kind of fun hook in there and sit back. I mean it’s tough I guess, you can do it too much or overdoing it and things get cluttery, ya know it’s all about feeling, it’s all about listening to it to see if it’s overdone.

I got a list of bands and I want you to tell me which ones are better.
Okay, cool.
The Almost or Underoath
Ya know, I’ve seen them back to back. I really like the drummer of The Almost. Joe is awesome, a nice dude.
Sting or The Police
Hmm… I would say The Police. There is something about the original way of tension in that band – how they didn’t really like each other. Ya know what I mean? Not, like, all of them, but Sting and the drummer guy, I can’t remember his name – they had big issues, but that tension and the way they work together, really made that band, I think, in a way. I mean, the music, too, but the tension helped.
Genesis or Phil Collins?
The Raconteurs or the The White Stripes?
Ya know, The Raconteurs. I mean, I can’t ever say their name. I can’t even spell it, but I like them. The White Stripes are cool, but I never got that into it as much. The other dude, in The Raconteurs… The guitar player in that band was cool. He had kind of a Beatles feel to him. Ya know what I mean? Not Jack White, but…
Jack’s Mannequin or Something Corporate?
Don’t really know either of those bands.

How much of an art is the ability to understand another person’s point of view? Why or why not is that important?
That’s an awesome question, because that’s so cool. I’d say 100%, because art and music, anything artistic is 50% the artist and 50% the viewers. Ya know what I mean? Because you could see anything and not like it, but that’s your take on whatever this thing has been done. Like, the other person’s heart and soul is in it, but you have to put something into it to understand what it is. That’s what it seems like to me.  And, just because you don’t like something, just means maybe you’re not putting the right energy or the right whatever into it and it just doesn’t click with you. Ya know what I mean?

Okay, pick an example of a controversial debate and try to articulate the argument for the opposite side of your opinion. I’ve got a few debates. The death penalty…
Um … so, pick the side of…?

Yeah, and argue for their stand. Argue for them, like a defense attorney.
That’s hard, because I’m very … um, very fair-based. So, my answers are always 50/50. So, for something like this, I’m for it and against it. Because the death penalty is … if somebody really (bleep) up and somebody that really sucks and somebody is just like (bleep) and like … what are they doing? Do they even care? …To kill them? That’s not fair, but jails are overrun because of douche bags, ya know what I mean? People that are bad people. Like there are bad people in the world, but at the same time … who’s to judge them and say they need to die for that? So, at the same time… That’s even a hard question to answer for your side, probably.

Evolution vs. Creation?
Um… ya know, 50/50 – like that stuff I was talking about. I think it’s 50/50. I still do. I mean, I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe there is this magical being that has, like, a horse that flies down and drops, like, seeds on the planet and makes them, ya know what I mean? …Makes them grow like that. But, ya know, like everything came from something. Everything started somewhere and is expanding, ya know what I mean? Um, just because there is, like, all this life on this planet, ya know what I mean? People are so, like, “Oh, must be magic!” Ya know what I mean? At the same time, it’s like everything’s happening – everything’s folding, everything’s moving. Like, dinosaurs were here and they had their chance. Didn’t work out. They are gone, ya know what I mean? It’s like waves. It’s almost like things are like a wave, ya know? The sun really is all this power, ya know what I mean? And all this energy. If the sun wasn’t here, planet might not be around, ya know? Energy comes from inside out. But, back in the day, people used to worship the sun. Ya know what I mean? If you go to New Zealand, people worship… I just found this out today: People worship the mountains and the oceans and the rivers, ya know what I mean? And they worship the nature of everything. Really, nature ultimately. Like, there’s no rainforest, there’s no life, right? We coexist with everything on the planet.

Gun control vs. the NRA?
Um, gun control pretty much means no guns, really. Right?

Well, no. That could be debated, but let’s just say really tight gun control vs. the NRA. Both of them have restrictions, I guess or limited. It’s extreme on both sides, but both sides are probably pretty moderate.
My dad owns a bunch of guns and he has them for protection and stuff like that. He’s a realtor and I guess a lot of times  where he’s at realtors get jumped and stuff like that. They take them to a house that they haven’t been to, like they know he’s going to be there. These people meet up and take it to the house and rob them, ya know what I mean? So, my dad carries guns on him all the time. I mean I’m supposed to argue the other side? And the other side be: “Everyone takes your guns away?” Let the government  take over everything and it’s already slowly happening (he laughs a bit). I couldn’t even argue the other side, I don’t think, at all. There’s that thing: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” ya know , but… That’s tough! Trying to argue an opposite side of how you believe sort of is like … giving in a little bit, ya know what I mean? The reason to not have guns? I guess if there were less guns, would there be less murders with guns?  Then you think about Europe and people get stabbed all the time in Europe, which is what I would rather be shot than stabbed. Stabbed is so, like, up-close and up-front. To stab somebody you have to be angry. You have to have hate to stab somebody, ya know? That happens in England a lot compared to being shot. In Japan there’s no guns at all, really. I mean it’s pretty rare to have a gun there. And there really aren’t that many super violent crimes, I guess, ya know? It’s a different culture completely, so you can’t really argue that at all. That’s just one of those things that they need to find out. It’s too bad that you can’t test it and see what would happen. It’s like a cultural difference really.

Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life
My honest honest opinion? I’m definitely Pro-Choice. 100%. Because, like, people are having kids that don’t want these kids and they’re bringing all these kids into these places and they’re ruining these kids’ lives, really. Ya know what I mean? Like, taking these kids and sort of keeping them not really caring about them, ya know what I mean? And getting money from the government and, like, doing that or they’re just having kids and they are really young and giving them up for adoption and then they’re growing up in adoption places and sometimes getting adopted, ya know what I mean? It kind of strains their minds a little bit and stuff and, ya know, I don’t believe some of the lives are really alive, ya know what I mean? Like really! I don’t believe so. To argue the other side? To argue the other side on that (he laughs)… It’s weird, because if you believe so firmly in something to try to argue the other side of things, like I’m saying, it’s really like switching your mind totally out of sync in a way. I mean, I guess some people say a life is a life no matter what, ya know? Which is kind of true, but I mean … if it was my choice and my life and I was born this way, ya know what I mean? I guess I have met many … I’m not saying it’s right for everybody… I guess that’s why I’m Pro-Choice, I think, because if people want to keep their kid, that’s great. Ya know what I mean? But if people want to have the kid and give it up for adoption, then that’s great, ya know what I mean? But it’s how they believe, ya know? I’m Pro-Choice because people should do what they believe is right for them. So, to argue the other side of that would be: “This is my way. Listen to me, because I’m the one telling you the answers.” Ya know what I mean? To me, that seems wrong. You can’t tell people what to do and that’s telling people what to do. In a way it’s like gun control – going back to that, like, I’m taking these guns, because you haven’t killed somebody yet, but you will because you own a gun. Ya know what I mean? Like…

Acting like a radio DJ?
Yeah, yeah! That’s all of it, it’s like people being too cocky, really (he laughs).

Anti-Muslim sentiment vs. a supportive attitude for Islam
Um I really don’t know so much about any of that stuff really but ya know same thing how I think religions are not the greatest things in the world like they started out as a good idea I think ya know what I mean? It brought people together, let people believe in similar things and it seemed to help people in the beginning ya know? Getting out of so much war, there’s so much hate, there so much killing, there’s so much all this like…more evil than anything like really there’s more evil involved honestly like…everything that is going on over there…religion really right? Um… I mean oil is a big part too which is…I mean that’s fucking money which money and religion are hand in hand. They are best friends really. Um, why are churches so expensive? Why are like Bishops and those people have such nice houses ya know? Why do they have such nice cars? Like…money money money money, money’s not really worth it. Um…oil money blah blah blah. To argue the other side uh…I guess freedom of religion ya know? I mean you should believe in whatever you want. Really. That’s my sight, you shouldn’t hate because it’s a lot stronger than believing in some power ya know what I mean? Like you believe in some ultimate power and your hating on other things, hate is a lot more powerful than anything. This is this test, this Japanese guy did. I don’t know if you heard about this. It’s an amazing test, he got bottles of water and he would write um…like words on them like love and he would concentrate like he would concentrate the feeling of love while having this bottled water. Ya know what I mean? He would get like water from like ponds and certain places. And he would write like hate on it and concentrate hate to it. He’d go from like different places and get like some water and each place like he would water and do different tests on each one. And he would concentrate whatever word it was, like of course a Japanese word, but whatever word it was onto the water, he would just concentrate on it. And concentrate how he was feeling in that actually feeling and how it made him feel and everything. Each water, each single water, um depending on what it was, like love when he zoomed into like the chemistry of it the chemicals, not the chemicals but the um…maybe the crystallization of it, I’m not really sure but when he zoomed inside of it. You can find it online, it’s amazing. Um…like love and all of these uplifting words made like snow flakes almost. Like beautiful designs really how the water was sort of made up and he went to the other stuff which  was hate, gosh dangit, fuck you and go to hell. Like all these evil words um came out like mud, like the water was almost black in parts, so like the crystals weren’t even like real they were like shard. Like it looked like the feeling. It really did. There are tons of things that he has done on this. Like tons of studies. And um, it ultimately goes back to your body being made up of how much water? 70%? And everything that you talk about, think about and feel is what your body is. Really ya know what I mean? It’s kind of like you are what you eat type of thing. So that’s why I’m coming back to that. What I feel it’s like, if you have this much love for religion, but you have this much hate inside you, ya know what I mean? That’s like a 50/50. I don’t know where I’m going with that haha, but yea you should check that out it’s pretty interesting.

Yea, it sounds pretty insane, that’s cool. I want to give respect for your time, I’m sure we’re out of time but I got like 3 more questions.
Yea whatever man, I’ll just wait.

Smoking bans in public building vs. smoking areas
My reality is I hate cigarettes sooo much. Like beyond hate it. But um…again 50/50 on everything blah blah blah. I don’t think people should be banned from doing anything they like ya know, but at the same time you always have to consider that, you have to be considerate. Like if you smoke and I don’t smoke and you smoke in here, the smoke is going to take up most of the room. So really, your taking over the room in a sort of way. But you want to smoke which is fine go ahead and smoke. Maybe there is like an area you can go to where you can smoke and that’s cool ya know, that to me seems like a fair 50/50 chance. But far as the other way goes, I guess, I guess…the other way to me seems very selfish. Ya know its like, “I always smoke after I eat, so I’m going to smoke in this food court. Haha ya know what I mean? But it’s like what if there’s people’s kids right next to you, ya know what I mean? There people who have emphysema who are sitting on this corner that you might not know it. There is the guy behind you that is probably allergic to cigarettes ya know what I mean? Because it’s like uh…I mean I’m a little allergic to it, if someone is smoking at night and I’m around, like I can’t breathe. Ya know I’ll wake up like sick and my lungs would close up. Um…to me there’s always these different factors. It’s weird because I’m trying to argue the other side but I’m not going so well on it, but I’m trying to come over it. Haha

Uh last one in this group, gay marriage.
Um…how I believe, awesome, cool. Like um…you can’t put bans on your beliefs like I said. Ya know what I mean? You’re not hurting anybody. The only person’s business gay marriage is, is gay people. 100% ya know what I mean? Anything else is religious to me. It’s like I was in downtown L.A. during um…because you heard about… are you from California?

I grew up there. All four years of high school I’ve lived here and have been ever since.
Oh cool, awesome that’s amazing. Austin’s amazing, I would live here if I lived in Texas. Um but…yea gay rights was passed for awhile. And it was totally cool, you could get married if you’re gay it’s not a problem and all of a sudden, tying this back all to Utah, tying to everything else, um…they had a new election coming up. The new gay rights thing that was going to be passed for something else right?

Proposition 8
Proposition 8, yea and Mormons became involved and dropped a couple million dollars on it. Which to me…first off, where does religion have a part of in taking control of other people’s lives that aren’t part of the religion? Like that to me is wrong. Ya know what I mean? That to me is people like, ok you’re here to help and here to help the world because of your religion but you’re butting into people’s lives that are good people probably that have their own beliefs and their own religion. So really your spreading a religion onto people that don’t believe in it, but in a way you’re doing it to a point where you’re ruining their lives like in a way, these people have these hopes of like whatever ya know like…maybe they are scared. Maybe they are scared because gay marriages seem to last longer than normal marriages ya know what I mean? Because for them to actually get married right now is so hard and is so difficult, that for them to actually get married it’s going to last because they tried so hard to do it. Ya know maybe that’s why so many of these religions get so scared but ya know…but to argue for the other side, I mean I guess, it’s found in the Bible I guess. I can’t even argue for the other side of that one either. There is no excuse to ruin other people’s lives for your own beliefs in a way, like that right there ties into other questions, like, you can’t ruin someone else’s life because of your belief.

What one or two horror stories from recording with computers that have happened or has happened to you?
Oh we lost a song one time. We had to re-record over from the beginning. It wasn’t so because once you’ve already recorded it you know it so well because you’ve done it so many times. Yea so it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve heard more horror stories than that. I’ve heard losing a whole record. That’s why because you’re not really backing it up on something solid. You’re backing up on something like, you know what I mean like, air really. It’s not like tape where you can see it, ya know what I mean? It’s backing up to electronics which is a bunch of 1’s and 0’s ultimately which is like anything kind of glitch could happen.

Okay, last question. Please explain what was exactly done to Bert’s vocal cord and that surgery. What was the common fears and anxieties from the operation?
Um, well in your throat (he draws it on a napkin), it kind of looks like a vagina I guess. Looks like this sort of, and kind of closes down like…like little…that’s kind of where your vocal chords are right? So you sing…the problem is singing and screaming together uses a total weird contrast and a lot of people that do it have this weird like, they have problems. If you don’t take care of yourself, like it’s going to fuck you up really bad. So like…you have to really really really take care of yourself in order to be like singing like that and it’s really abusing your voice. Ya know what I mean? The way that Bert screams and the way Bert’s voice is, like he screams so hard and so loud, I’ve never heard anyone like this before. Like if you hear his voice, you know it’s him because that’s how he is. The way he sings too, he sings really loud. He is a very heavy singer. He sings really high too which is another hard part like all these factors involved. Plus like touring back in the day, like we would tour, I lived in a hotel, like for a long time. I’d come home from tour and sleep in a hotel for like 2 or 3 days. Because I didn’t have anywhere to go, I didn’t have a home, I didn’t have anything ya know what I mean? So then we go back on tour for another 4 months and I’d come home for like a week in a hotel and then the same thing ya know what I mean? So like…that much pressure on his voice, I mean he’s a crazy partier which is awesome, he is very much a lead singer rock star, which is awesome, *he is very much…*???? Um… all of those factors ya know, when you play an instrument for long enough, you get calluses on your fingers, um, he got calluses right here on his throat. And getting a callus on your throat is a whole lot different than getting your fingers ya know? It actually affects the way you sing and the way you scream and like everything, it’s like a lump in your throat, you can feel it ya know?  So what they had to do…this happens to a lot of singers, very commonly, it had to go inside and cut that little callus out. They had to go in there through this way I think. On your vocal cord and he wasn’t allowed to talk  for like two weeks or something like that, even talk.

Like no noises for two weeks. Tough stuff that was crazy. But um yea that was fun. It’s just a matter of taking care, ya know understanding how your voice works and understanding how you can abuse it and if you have long tours not abusing it and it’s all about your understanding on how to use it. Like with me it’s a different problem, I get calluses on my fingers it’s not a big deal. Ya know what I mean? Like Dan our drummer’s hands are very callus, ya know, from holding drum sticks and that doesn’t affect him at all it’s like, it kind of helps in a way. But calluses on your voice is a different story.

Cool, well thanks for your time.
Yea, not at all it was fun man. Those were all well thought out questions I think.

I also like to print what you say word-for-word, like I’ll get a transcriber and print them all, because it just seems honest and I got the feedback from bands in the past, like, early on: “We so appreciate that, because you don’t know how much we get misquoted!”
That’s hard man, people get misquoted on so many different things.

© Copyright 2010 HM Magazine. All rights reserved.


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