Lagwagon – Let’s Talk About Feelings – Interview

Lagwagon

Let’s Talk About Feelings (Fat)
An interview with vocalist Joey Cape and bassist Jesse Buglione
by Tim Den
photos by Jay Hale

Whatever happened to the EP of compilation tracks and unreleased material that was supposed to come before Let’s Talk About Feelings?
Joey: I think we’re very good at talking about doing things. Whether they materialize or not is a different story.

Jesse: It’s been a really good TV season this year.

Joey: Actually, I think the compilation thing will end up being a full-length. I’ve been working on it a little. We’re trying to consolidate all the stuff that was put on comps over the years, and also a couple of songs that didn’t make it onto albums ’cause they were really bad. It’ll only show that the bad songs on our records are definitely not as low as we can go.

Are you going to put the first version of “Choke” on it?
Joey: Oh God, I haven’t even thought about it. And the first version of “Give it Back,” too. Those were so metal.

How were they metal?
Joey: Just way more Iron Maiden-isms in the recordings. Back then, our guitar players were pretty hell-bent on throwing any ol’ “boooodddeeeeelllleeeeettt” (prog-metal solo sound) in there.

Jesse: Hell bent on leather.

Let’s play a little trivia game: Name all the Lagwagon B-sides. There’s the comp version of “Twenty-Seven,” but spelled “27”…
Joey: Yeah, but I don’t know if we’ll put that on. It’s basically the same recording with a re-tracked guitar line.

Then there’s “Wind in Your Sail,” “Lamen Terms,” “Drive By”…
Joey: Wooph! Very good! I feel like Craig Kilborn here.

…and the one on the soundtrack of The Show.
Joey: “Restraint.” That’s four.

Jesse: Have you said “Raise a Family” yet? On Fat Music #3

Oh yeah. But that one’s kind of obvious.
Jesse: Oh and there’s… we’re never gonna get a copy of that.

Joey: What? Oh, the Judas Priest cover that we recorded live for a comp in England. “Breaking the Law.”

There’s the Devo tribute, too.
Joey: Yeah, Freedom of Choice. We also just did a New Wave comp – an Echo And The Bunnymen song.

Jesse: And there’s another one on The Blasting Room comp called “Losing Everyone.”

Joey: We also did a Jawbreaker song. It was supposed to be on this tribute comp, but the guy didn’t call me back and I lost his phone number. When I finally looked into it, he had put it out already. It doesn’t matter, ’cause we hated our version anyway. But I think we’re gonna work on it.

It’s coming out though, right?
Joey: Yeah, there’s no shame. It’s gonna say right on the cover that there’s a lot of really… fucking… bad… music on it. You gotta put a disclaimer on it. It’s only fair.

Jesse: The cover’s going to be all of us naked, sitting in this huge mound of money and laughing. We’ll be surrounded by a chain-linked fence, and all these people will be behind it shaking and screaming.

Joey: We’re having fun at your expense!

It’s just like the new Propagandhi. All the old, out-of-print shit that the band hates but the kids love.
Joey: (regressing) Oh, then there’s “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, but we didn’t finish that. I don’t think we’re gonna finish it either. We recorded it at the same speed as the original, but we actually wanted to record it slower and give it that kind of heroin vibe. In my mind, I was thinking like The Melvins, but our drummer ended up playing it with a closed hi-hat, doing it just like The Cars’ drummer. So it just ended up being this slow version that’s pretty much the same. Worse than that, we didn’t consider an alternate key for the song. Those guys sing really high. “Jes’ wah ah nee’it!” (screeching high whine)… and I had to do that slow. “Juuuuuuussssssssswwwwwaaaaahhhhh…” (slurred, dragged out, retarded high screech) It was so lame. It was killer ’cause Bill and Stephen from ALL were producing my vocals at the Blasting Room, and they were both sitting there watching me trying to do this. About the third run through, they were like, “Abort!”

Here’s a different question for ya: it seems a lot of pop-punk bands, like yourselves and No Motiv, are turning toward the sentimental side of things, both musically and lyrically…
Joey: Actually, I’ve heard that a lot. I just do what comes naturally. I couldn’t write a song like the ones on our first couple of records to save my life right now, even if someone put a gun to my head.

Jesse: In the beginning, you’re thinking “Wow, I’ve been in this band for a year. Cool!” Now you’re thinking, “I’ve been in this band for nine years…”

Joey: I’m really fucking sad. No, I think it’s more like you start to write on the acoustic, and you tend to appreciate various styles of music and dynamics. And therefore you write less flashy and more with universal songwriting in mind. It’s not calculated; you just produce whatever applies. And everybody in the band listens to all kinds of stuff.

What’re you listening to these days?
Joey: We’ve been listening to a lot of Brazilian music. Also Radiohead, and Smile, who just put out an album on Headhunter/Cargo. Some Elliott Smith here and there, that kind of stuff.

You guys ever heard of Jason Falkner?
Joey: Yeah! His new album is great. We’re all big Jellyfish fans.

Are you fucking kidding!? Lagwagon likes Jellyfish?
Joey: Oh yeah, they were fuckin’ awesome.

Now no one will ever call me a hippie or make fun of me again.
Jesse: Now they’ll just make fun of us.

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