New Bomb Turks – Spanish Fly By Night – Interview

New Bomb Turks

“The Worst Interview We’ve Ever Done”: Tarnishing “Journalistic Credibility” with New Bomb Turks

Spanish Fly By Night (Glazed)
An interview with Eric Davidson (vocals), Matt Reber (bass), Jim Reber (guitar), and Sam Brown (drums)
by Jon Sarre

Singer Eric Davidson came to talk shit, but my mind was somewhere else, mebbe in another city, but methinks I was just tired. Not so the New Bomb Turks and they were definitely in another city, Portland, Oregon, so Eric decides to launch out on various petite polemics re: the PacNW, which I steadfastly decline to bite on cuz I don’t care, I’m not from here (like everyone else I know). As far as being “prepared,” I wasn’t, so I got no questions, but turned the tape recorder on anyway, figuring our jet-lagged heroes’ll supply enough wordage to “make this thing worthwhile.”

As things worked out, I guess it was, the show anyway, tho’ some jerk knocked my jaw outta joint and the crush o’ bodies almost gave me heat stroke and the next day I hadta move and most of the dirt that got dished was shit and it was the next day and it was channeled so NBT buddy Brett Falcon (formerly of Gaunt) could get into my ex-girlfriend’s panties (and how is talking shit about me gonna accomplish that, I dunno, but that’s where the title comes from) and judging from the shitty tape quality I’m not gonna quibble with Jim Reber’s postmortem appraisal (even if it was for blatantly self-well, Brett-serving purposes!), right, anyway…

Eric: Before we begin, I just wanna tell you guys that Jim’s porno name is… “Flopsey Maplewood.”

Flopsey Maplewood?
Eric: His first dog and the first street he lived on.

You had a dog named Flopsey, Jim? Ya wanna talk about that?
Jim: Uh… not really. I mean, it was a cool dog. It was like a basset hound. It had these big ears and I was like a little kid and he was flopping all over the place, so he was “Flopsey.”

Matt: What if you didn’t have a dog?

Eric: The first pet, I guess and the street you grew up on… or the other one was your mom’s maiden name and childhood street.

No, that’s your drag queen name.
Matt: That’s a good idea.

Brett Falcon (I think): Mine would be Gideon Lantern. That’s just weird.

Sam (arriving): Oh, hi. This is Bill Randt. I’m in New Bomb Turks. You may have seen my picture in the paper.

Matt: No, Bill Randt’s in Seattle. We’re in Portland.

Sam: Oh yeah.

Eric: This weekend we’re gonna try a different drummer every show, just for the hell of it.

You’re not happy with Sam?
Eric: Sam? Oh, Sam. Right.

Matt: We want him to shave the beard cuz he keeps getting mistaken for a Taliban guy and all that shit.

He actually kinda looks like that John Walker kid.
Sam: It’s actually a paste on.

So what’s Osama like?
Jim: O-Sam-a.

Eric: After last night, I wanna answer all questions with a joke about either farting or (unintelligible) last night was like the stupidest…

Jim: Sausage party central.

Matt: Total sausage party.

Sam: We coulda taken the gist of like the past forty hours and put it on one page and copy it over and over.

Matt: It was very silly.

Jim: There’s no point in getting into it.

(The soundperson comes over)

Soundgirl: Just wanna know if you guys wanna do a soundcheck. Do you guys wanna do it?

Jim: Can we really do it? You guys wanna soundcheck? Are we gonna soundcheck?

(There’s a couple minutes of soundcheck-related conversation with the merits of soundchecking vs. not soundchecking discussed)

Jim: Yes, we’d like to do a soundcheck.

Soundgirl: Okay.

Sam: Yeah, but we… gotta… get… that… guy’s… drum set… set up, whoever’s, that guy’s or that girl’s.

Matt: What she’s saying is if we wanna soundcheck, we gotta do it quick.

Sam: Are the drums set up?

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: Let’s get some questions done.

So I originally tried to get ahold of someone at Epitaph to set this thing up and hey, you guys aren’t on the label anymore!
Jim: Yeah.

What happened there?
Jim: Ask them.

Matt: They were downsizing and we got caught in the budget crunch.

Jim: When you’re on a corporate label, you get downsized. Besides, it was a three record deal and three records were up and they didn’t do anything with the last one at all.

Eric: It was like, “let’s just do it with some friend’s label or somebody else.” [They] would probably do as much if not more advertising.

It’s too bad, cuz that last record…
Matt: It was our best record and that’s what Epitaph thought too.

Eric: They just admitted that they were clueless about anything other than the shit they know, the Pennywises, the stuff that kinda sells itself anyway. They just didn’t know… like they wanted to do this stuff like send all these promos to college radio stations and stuff and it was like, “why would you do that?” They’re not gonna play shit like us.

In the past ten years or so – you guys have been a band that long – you have people who rip you off all the time, so why don’t you think…
Eric: Not on the radio!

Jim: We don’t really think we sell records. Not hundreds of thousands…

Matt: Maybe Epitaph in the United States was a bad fit for us. We’re still on Epitaph in Europe.

Eric: When you say there’re bands that rip us off, even if they did, they’re only sellin’ a couple thousand records. It’s not like there’s all these people out there makin’ money off our sound.

This is true.
Soundgirl: Okay you might wanna think about plugging your stuff in…

Sam: Okay, alright. We gotta go.

Matt: I guess we’ll continue this in a little bit…

Eric: I’m the singer. All I have to load is my big fat cock. That’s not my line… It was the singer for another band, believe me.

You write all the lyrics?
Eric: Yeah.

You use lotsa double-entendres.
Eric: It’s called skirting around real emotion… it’s a good way to do it. I’ve really tried with the next record to lay off… I mean, I like puns and I like… Paul Westerberg, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, people who can write lyrics that are twisty and kind of funny and maybe say a little more than the usual shit. At the same time, I kinda feel like I’d like to be a little bit more… blatantly…

Don’t take this badly, but yours are a bit more obvious… like “Born Toulouse Lautrec.”
Eric: Yeah, but not so obvious as compared to your Gearhead-style bands that we get lumped in with.

Well, yeah, you’re funnier…
Eric: Yeah, I just don’t wanna have songs about Cars and Girls… gettin’ fucked up… not like those things aren’t involved with my life… not really cars… I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 31.

Why’s that?
Eric: No money. What am I gonna do? Buy a car? I can’t even pay my rent. I always felt really disingenuous, is that the word? Tryin’ to sing a song about a Hemi or spark plugs or whatever people write about in car songs.

Why would you wanna write a song about spark plugs anyway?
Eric: Ask the entire roster of Gearhead Records, I dunno. Kidding, I like Gearhead. (Digression to the glasses worn by Gearhead’s owner and then Eric’s own corrective lenses [contacts, he claims]) I’m blind as a fuckin’ bat and that’s no fuckin’ metaphor.

What’s your vision?
Eric: For the future? Hmmm. More taxes. More money for schools. Less cars. All that Portland Northwest shit. I love that shit!

I just live here.
Eric: Clean air. Free love. All that crap. White Power. I love that mix of environmentalism and white power. We don’t get a lot of that in Ohio.

Tom Metzger (founder of the White Aryan Resistance) was up here a little while ago and he made that very point: If you like the environment, you should hate Mexicans, cuz they eat a lot of beans, or somethin’. Absurd!
Eric: Like the Jews cut down all the trees, right? They own John Deere! They own Proctor & Gamble! I don’t know, whoever makes chainsaws, the Jews do! Anyway, so… uh, you were talking about touring… We’ve been all busy with shit in our lives… I had a big fallin’ out with my girlfriend… ex-girlfriend… you know it was just a weird year… it started out with our real good friend Jerry Wick dying… if you can find Gaunt records, buy ’em!

More Ohioans… there’s lotsa goin’ back to…
Eric: Phyllis Diller’s from Ohio, Hugh Downs. Dean Martin. It’s like the Kevin Bacon shit. Everyone’s from Ohio… usually northeast Ohio.

A buncha people who never went anywhere, too. Peter Laughner…
Eric: He went to heaven, or I hope. He went to Nirvana, no I don’t mean that fuckin’… that fuckin’ Nirvana, you elitist Northwest readers!

The magazine’s based in Boston.
Eric: Whatever. I’m just sayin’ that cuz I’m in the general vicinity, but yeah, there’s a real genuine organic thing that happens (in Ohio). I remember seeing Death of Samantha in Cleveland, the Mice, My Dad is Dead… they never went anywhere. I thought, “Man, if Death of Samantha can’t get any press…” and you grow up learning that you won’t get any press. Nobody’s gonna care! Even if an A&R guy comes out, nothing’s gonna happen! I meet kids in L.A. and no wonder they worry about the money shit and the press shit and all that cuz they have to! You pay to play in the clubs!

At the same time, how many good bands came outta there vs. Ohio…
Eric: None! It is my contention – and the rest of the band will disagree – but there is not one band to ever come out of Los Angeles, California!

Black Flag?
Eric: Transplanted. But they’re close, but even that… one band! People think L.A. is the cultural media center of Western civilization but there isn’t a lot of indigenous stuff. I don’t wanna belabor the Ohio thing, cuz no one really likes those bands [from Ohio]. If you put ’em all together, maybe they sold 400,000 records. Looking back, well, maybe we should’ve been a little bit more pushy, but that’s stupid… I mean, we’d have to change our sound a lot to get played anywhere, and we’re not capable of doing that.

Do you think you were a credibility signing for Epitaph?
Eric: Oh, totally. More credibility than Offspringtenfootpole? I hope so! Rancid wanted us to open up for them and then saw us live and were like, “No, don’t want a band too energetic to open up for us!” I mean, what were they worried about? All those kids are not gonna be screaming for more of us when Rancid gets on stage! Whatever… I don’t care anymore… We stopped caring about five months into the band! (laughs)
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