Cap'n Jazz - 11.18.10

Interviewed by
Cap'n Jazz - 11.18.10This past year, indie/emo influential outfit Cap'n Jazz got back on the stage to play a couple of one-off shows. Ending on a final note at this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest, I was able to talk with guitarist Davey Von Bohlen (also of The Promise Ring and Maritime fame) about getting back into his youthful chops and what he thinks of the band's legacy amongst my generation.


How are you feeling about the response of these reunions shows? There's this talk of legacy from a band that never really lasted that long. Even before the legacies of Texas is the Reason or Braid or even The Promise Ring. Even going as far as being deemed the "original noodlers" in a sense. [Laughs]

[Laughs] The original noodlers. That's funny. That's the name of my new band. It's weird. It's hard to digest and divulge into words. It's weird. [Laughs] It's good. Maybe I can tackle that in parts. We thought it was going to be this awkward people our age coming out. That would have been sort of a weird, "high school" reunion style. That's sort of weird. These younger kids are coming out. That's been a good thing and has made it more worth while for us. The interaction is cooler. It's nice to finally connect the band to the people. We were a band and no one cared. Then we weren't the band and everyone cared. Then time passed, and we thought no one would care. Over the past decade and half, we were waiting to see if something like this would happen, and it's awesome that it did.

Well, two questions: Did this all revolve around the re-release of the anthology on vinyl...

No, this was an idea. Then we told Jade Tree, and they thought it would be a great idea. I think it was originally only on CD.

Yup. All the original pressings are hard to find.

Right. Let's just make sense out of this.

What do you think about the resurgence of vinyl amongst these younger kids and if that has impact on rediscovering the band or is it my generation being able to discover whatever we want with downloading older records we can't find anymore or even legally digitally?

I don't know. I'm so far outside looking in, I don't even know if people care. I feel like we are mystified by ourselves and how the music scene works. We're a little bit older and a little more detached from how things function. I don't know. Probably the availability. We're not a t-shirt band. Like a band like Bad Religion that is playing today, as long as there's a 16 year old revolting against something, there's going to be a Bad Religion record them. Even if they aren't around, there's still going to be kids who want to have others to check out their discography.

Do you think it also has to do with you guys continuing to make music under new names and bands?

It's possible. I almost think Cap'n Jazz has more residence now if we all weren't playing music after it. Like, "When did this happen?! How did this occur?" Instead of like, "I've seen Tim play in Joan of Arc or I saw The Promise Ring." Mike's been doing his own thing for years now. Maybe it's weird seeing us play together....

[side talk about Promise Ring's Wood/Water...]

Did it feel weird to get back on stage and start playing as Cap'n Jazz again?

It was weird a little bit. Yeah, it was odd. We've done like twelve of these. The great thing is that I don't have to sing!


After being in this band, I was the lead singer. Now it's like, you can get really drunk playing shows if you don't have to sing or melt your face off trying to sing notes you can't hit or make banter with the audience between songs. All the other mess you don't have to handle. "Man, it's easy to be the guitar player, and just hang out!"

Has there been talks of perfectionism in going back and not only getting notes and the style correct, but shaping it up? I just saw The Get Up Kids and Sunny Day Real Estate in the past year, and even though they are much older now, it did sound a bit cleaner. Was there any intention in making it cleaner...


Or was it about getting the residence of the past? I'm sure you guys didn't intend on revolutionizing anything past being a bunch of kids in a garage...

[Laughs] Exactly. As silly as a question as that would be, absolutely, who's trying to not make their next song the new thing. If you're not aspiring to do that, what are you doing? You wouldn't have to release records - you could just play covers. In a weird way, yes, we were trying to revolutionize music and somehow represent ourselves in a weird way, in a sonic way. Absolutely, it's that abstract and that weird. On the surface, it was also about having fun and being seventeen. It's a collection of all those things. There's a question in there we lost...


Oh wait, I know what it was. When we did [these shows,] we were like, "How do we do it?" When we played the second song, we knew this was going to be evolved, because we are evolved. Trying to play these songs differently because we aren't seventeen is ridiculous. I think what it is, being fifteen years later, is the amount of change we'd like to reflect. I'm not the same guitarist as I was, and that will reflect. The songs are not going to sound...when I say that, I'm not going to go back and put in a new chord because it would sound better. I won't do that. I think it's a marriage of the two.

I forget who I was talking to, but we were discussing the fact that they had walked away from an influential project, did some other projects and now are stepping back into the old suit. Did that effect them to turnaround back into their original outfit? Did you feel nervous about going back into it...

That's the deal. We're just playing super organically. Here's the songs. We're going to play them to the best of our memory. Whatever happens, happens. It's still like, no one remembers the band the way we do. Even the [recordings] capture the day we recorded it. When we play them, it's almost like being back in the band and [fooling around] again. We're not going to go into a "Sweet Home Alabama" jam. Some of the songs we've extended. We always joke how people yell song songs at the band. It's like, "I don't know if you're familiar with the band, but we have about fourteen songs, and we're going to play all of them." [Laughs] We're not going to play "Winter Wonderland," but we may play some other funny covers. We're going to jam out some of these endings. I think asking people for a certain amount of money and only playing for a 20 minutes is dumb. We're just going to do our thing. I know people want to see us. It's a reunion and nothing past that, so we're going to [live in the moment]. This is not going to last, and it won't.

You know, I'll never forget. Matt Pryor once said something along how people talk about the lo-fi sound of all these old records, but says that wasn't the point since it was being recorded in these high end studios. What do you think about the recordings? If you listen to the Cap'n Jazz recordings, it feels lo-fi, yet even a bit contemporary. What do you think about these bands going in and fine tuning their recordings with the technology present these days? Is there a gloss over passion?

I think that's case by case. First part of that, no, if this band were to make a record again, it would not be anything hi-fi. Maritime just finished doing a record, and I wanted to bang my head against the wall. "It's taking so long. I already hate it because it's taking so long!" So, I think I read Coldplay say, "Any record after three weeks, you're just ruining it. You're moving backwards." It's almost like a matrix scenario....It's like shuffling a deck over nine times or something, you're just bringing them closer back together. [Laughs] I always want to do things lo-fi. I just want to say, "Here it is. So it's screwed up, I always screw that up." It's weird with professional style, it's weird to just do a one take and then clean it up. I don't know if I have a problem with that....At that time, financially, [Cap'n Jazz] had five days to do it. Maybe if we had a day to clean stuff up, we'd be like, "Sick! Let's do it!" [Laughs] As far as that's concerned, it's what you have. If you have the ability to make the best record you can, then you should do it. Any band should do what any band wants to do - which is the terrible answer to that. However the band needs to represent themselves at that point in time, just do it. If that means recording every string on a separate track to have that Def Leppard thing, then whatever. Do it. Go nuts. That's awesome. That's exploration and that's what it's all about. No one knows what the new cool thing is going to be.
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
02:34 PM on 11/18/10
Christian Wagner
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So jealous. One of the most influential emo bands ever.
02:53 PM on 11/18/10
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Dog_Sized_Bird's Avatar
Any chance you might post the side talk about Wood/Water?
03:07 PM on 11/18/10
I make music.
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bradsonemanband's Avatar
Any chance you might post the side talk about Wood/Water?
i was wondering the same thing
03:32 PM on 11/18/10
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Adam Pfleider's Avatar
i was wondering the same thing

I'll blog it tonight.
03:48 PM on 11/18/10
there's a lot of beauty, sometimes
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yellowhouse's Avatar
Amazing. Youre a lucky man.
04:33 PM on 11/18/10
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SmeezyBeezy's Avatar
Never got into Cap'n Jazz, Wood/Water's one of my favorite albums though, and all the Maritime records rule.
09:44 PM on 11/18/10
Rid Ickulous
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The Wood/Water sidetalk would be more interesting than this interview.
I see most people on here liking it and I recently picked it up again and loved it - but that was the single most hated record when it came out. 10x worse than On A Wire.
02:10 AM on 11/19/10
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Adam Pfleider's Avatar
The Wood/Water sidetalk would be more interesting than this interview.
I see most people on here liking it and I recently picked it up again and loved it - but that was the single most hated record when it came out. 10x worse than On A Wire.
hahaha. sorry the interview wasn't to your liking.

will post the "two minute convo" about Wood/Water in the blog this weekend...
04:11 PM on 11/19/10
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Great interview! Davey Van Bohlen is cool. I talked with him before after a Maritime concert and he was super nice.
03:22 PM on 01/04/11
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NotebookMusic's Avatar
Just found these guys today...
Got both Analphabetapolothology disks.
Inspirational I must say, haha. Sickness.

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