The process by which we chose our band name was actually sort of arbitrary. I know that everyone loves to hear that there's a grand scheme behind it, but we were trying to figure out a name that didn't sound cliché, and the name "Big American Party" just didn't seem to fit the mold of what we were looking for. We kinda figured, let's have a half-professional sounding band name - we'll just give our songs dumb names and hope that people buy into it. We're dumb guys.
How did this band get started?
Sal (guitar/bassist - one half of our "band") and I (Tom - drums/guitars/vocalist - the other half of our "band") played in a punk rock band called Ink & Lead. We achieved little success, other than a split 12" that we put out with our friends and a week and a half tour in which we played like 5 shows. Anyways, that band had slowly started to fall apart, we lost a few people and tried to replace them, but to no avail. With no real steadfast decision, the band dissipated. Out of the ashes of that bad, Sal and I decided that we wanted to continue to make music together, we just didn't really have the wherewithal (at the time) to dive into it with new musicians. We found that we creatively clicked, so we decided to keep it between us. I put "band" in quotation marks when I refer to us, because we're just two guys. I guess that makes us a duo. We rock like a symphony orchestra, though.
What bands are you influenced by?
We're two people that listen to a lot of music, and by a lot, I don't mean a lot of punk rock bands, I mean an AWFUL LOT of music, so to give an idea of who we're influenced by is difficult, I think that it changes and does so often. Sal loves Weezer, he has an iPod strictly dedicated to Weezer, so it would be safe to say that he's influenced by them. He's just as much influenced by 311, The Smashing Pumpkins, and KISS. As for me, I couldn't begin to tell you where I draw influence from. Saves the Day is one of my favorite bands, but I'm not so sure it comes out in the music I write. Not to be too long winded, but with me (and this probably goes with Sal) we write music that sounds good to us. Whether it's influenced by Charlie Parker or Linkin Park has no bearing, truly.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Sal would say KISS. I know that he would. He would also say anything that revolves around Billy Corgan...mostly any 90s rock band would be a good categorization for him. I would say that I'd tour with a band like American Football, maybe Texas Is The Reason. There's something about the fact that bands like that, the whole 90's Midwestern Rock music, that really generated a lot of interest in me, musically, sonically, charismatically.
Best food to eat on tour?
Bojangles. Chicken. Biscuits. Gravy.
Why should people listen to your band?
There's a charismatic answer to this, and a realistic one. I'll spare you the "LISTEN BECAUSE I SHED BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS FOR THIS" answer because you've heard it a thousand times. You should listen to our band because you want to be entertained. That's what music does. It entertains. It allows you to connect to something on a hopefully personal level, whether it's because some dude played a chord that sounded pretty, or because he wrote something that you always wanted to yell at your ex-girlfriend, or because he nailed that drum fill that you thought you heard in an old Foo Fighters song. Really, you should listen to us because we're a band worth listening to. Not that we're perfect, we're certainly not, but we are entertaining. We write songs that sound good, and all we want is for someone else to agree. Or not agree.
If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
If you consider professional wrestlers athletes (which you should because they are, and if you don't, then we have a problem), then the answer is Chris Jericho. Solely so that I can wear an LED leather ass jacket and give people lionsaults all day. In truth, I'd switch with any wrestler, maybe with the exception of the awful ones, like The Great Khali or some shit. I think being Michael Jordan is too boring. Everyone wants to be Michael Jordan. I want to be Chris Jericho. I'll wear that belt with the pride of a lion.
If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
We aren't going to be winning a Grammy. But I'd thank my mom. Probably Henry Rollins.
If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
That you have to fucking know somebody to get ahead. It seems as though to "break into the music business" means that you have to be connected to Mark Hoppus' uncle or some length of lucidity that I can't begin to squawk on about. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I feel like having an abundance of talent doesn't quite get your foot in the door. Having said that, however, I have to say that the work you must put in to making a name for yourself is crucial, I can understand that, and I don't have ill feelings toward anyone who has "made it", regardless of how good or not good they are. There are a million and one musicians in the world, with a million and one different dreams about what they think success should be. I just want people to listen to our music, and god forbid, like it.
Memorable tour experience?
We have yet to tour. This rests on the fact that we are, unfortunately, just two people. This will change, though, that I can tell you with confidence. Once we go on tour, I will jump right back here and share a thousand stories with you all. That's a promise.
What does AP.net mean to you?
Absolute Punk has been my source for industry-related news for as long as I can remember. Before there were sponsors and exclusives, before there were huge servers and multi-national campaigns. Before there were tents at tours and festivals, before there were sponsored tours. Before it all broke through, I was there, reading along, trying to write reviews and being a mega music nerd. For all of the success that this website has garnered (and all of it quite deserving), it has always given opportunities to the little guys, like us, to be a part of something. I've seen my friends' bands get posted up on there, and I've been jubilant. I've seen my favorite bands announce break-ups and reunions and all of it broke here. So, that's what it means to me. It's a humongous part of what keeps me in touch with the passion that I have - music.
What is your favorite song to play?
As of right now, it would have to be "Robert Chicken". It's full of energy, excitement, and vigor. An older song we had, "The Duke Fightmaster Show", is another one of my favorites. Great songs. Sal loves e-bow, so his favorite song of the moment is "Ximer Eoj".
What is your vacation spot of choice?
Sal has been literally everywhere, so it's not fair for him to answer. I love Dallas. Cool city. Philly is nice, too. As a vacation spot, I dunno. Probably like Cancun or some shit.
What music reminds you of your childhood?
Sting's "The Soul Cages" and Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, Vol. I & II. No lie. The reason is this, when I was like 4 years old, and I learned how to use my parents' stereo system, those were the first three discs that I remember loading into their 5 disc CD changer (two spots were already filled, one with a CD by a group called "Information Society", which was Boy George's project after Culture Club, and another by Madonna's "Immaculate Collection"). I remember this distinctly, because we had a big, square, wooden coffee table that I used to stand on and mouth the lyrics of "Island Of Souls" and "Pressure" whenever they came on. This is gonna sound cheesy, but still, I get goosebumps when I hear the opening salvo of Island of Souls.
Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
Beer. Lots of tasty beer.
What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Sal and I hate bugs. Scary ass bugs. Bring a bug to a show and we'll drop kick you through a window.
What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Radio is there for a reason. Not everyone has the same taste in music, and for that matter, not many people obsess over it like people like Sal and I do. For those people who may not have the ear for a specific kind of music, there is Top 40 Radio. That shit won't cut it for me, and not because I have an issue with the "lack of talent", because a lot of people who create "radio music" have talent. There needs to be music that appeals to the broad spectrum of people. Not everyone likes to hear loud guitars and growling. I do. That's why I make the music I do. I hope that we have some kind of commercial appeal, or else we won't sell to anyone. I don't worry about having radio appeal, though, because we're not a fit for it. And we realize that. I think that there are plenty of musicians and bands and talents that deserve to be heard by way more people, and with the kind of range that FM radio has, it would help a lot of artists get over that hill, but it's not up to them. That's something I'm content with. Congrats, by the way, Mr. Means.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Collect records. Seriously, it's become an addiction. It's more expensive than cocaine and all of those other wacky drugs, but it's more fulfilling, I think. Got any records you wanna sell me?
What kind of hidden talents do you have?
The ability to wail for hours on end with no repercussions. Seriously. Now, go listen to our music!