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How long did it take to shoot the cover photo?


About a day. Well, no, the snake was very fussy, so…

Obviously a snake is not going to pose.

It posed, though, it did. I don’t think snakes possess vanity, but he’s really old and about the full length a Burmese python can get. When he was around my neck, I could so easily feel how he could instantly kill me. After about five minutes of trying to get away, he was tired enough that I could lift his head and pose him.


I’m sure that being fed helps. It eats larger meals than you or I do, whole chickens and rabbits.

Live. Genie, the woman that I’m posing with, lives in a neighborhood where a three-year-old child, which is much bigger than a chicken or rabbit, was killed and eaten by one of these snakes. This was in Gulfport, Mississippi, but you see people with snakes around here at Mardi Gras and it’s a big thing in the ghetto.

But they’re smaller snakes, right?

They’re smaller, yes. Like scarves of evil. Living, breathing scarves of evil.


Offend Maggie

Kill Rock Stars

What is “Basketball Got Its Groove Back” about?

Ed Rodriguez [guitar]:

Satomi really wanted to get a song into the Olympics. The dream was to have a sort of “We Will Rock You.”

Deerhoof’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

Ha ha… Yes!


Hell Hath No Fury


Forgive my ignorance, but what does the name of the band mean?

Liza Graves [lead vocals, guitar]:

It’s a cat, an African cat, kind of an aggressive cat…

Did you choose it because it correlates to the band’s sound… because it’s an aggressive animal?

No, I chose it because it was, like, the coolest name I’d ever seen.



Secretly Canadian

Why is it called Devastator?

George Hunter [vocals, guitar]:

It’s a nice, uh, punch in the face, for lack of better term.

I hear a lot of 70s work-all-week-and-let-loose-on-the-weekend rock on the record.

Well, it is about laboring on the road, trying to keep a relationship together while on the road. I wanted this record to be straight and to the point. I wanted it to have a muscular sound.


What is the band named after? A restaurant or rural fishing lodge?

Oh, it’s a very, very rural trailer park that I lived in for four years when I was growing up in southern Missouri. It was a very important place. I had a lot of little adventures, like a neighbor killing a snake that was trying to attack me when I was walking home from school. But it is also a couple of restaurants, that’s for sure. One of them got in touch with us.


Cities of Glass

Skin Graft

Is the album named after the Paul Auster novel?

Chloe Lum [vocals]:

I’m fixated on the international styles of modern architecture, where it’s just like big glass towers that are so impersonal and are dominating urban cores. Since we’ve decided on that title, I’ve just been seeing that phrase everywhere. I saw some comic book called

City of Glass


That’s the graphic novelization of the Paul Auster novel. It’s a great, famously left-field crime-fiction novel. Anyway, I’m detecting a Black Flag influence.

Well, we are Black Flag obsessives, and Yannick and I have

Get in the Van

as our personal lifestyle bible. I’ve read it 13 times. We’re taking the ideas in that book and turning them into an entire lifestyle philosophy: making music, making art, and just doing stuff on a DIY level. That book and the Mike Barnes

Captain Beefheart

book are the best.


JJ Got Live RaTX

Drag City

I didn’t know you went by “JJ,” like in the title.


Jennifer Herrema [singer, songwriter]:

It’s great, it’s so good, right?

Yeah, I like it…

It’s like… wait, what did you say?

I said yes, I like it. I like the record.

Yeah, OK, [

mimicking me

] “You like it.” That’s just a lackadaisical verb. If that’s your trip, then I can set you straight.

Jennifer, do you know how many records I DON’T like?

This is a bad time. It’s fuckin’ Armageddon, people are taking the goal to the grave, and they better jam up on it right about now. No, things are not right, things are just not right.

It’s not right! You know what else is not right? Hash.



How’d you come up with that title?

Gustav Ejstes [main dude]:

Ha ha… I counted. It’s a nice number, but really it’s the fourth album.

Do you think this album is going to open you up to a bigger audience?

I don’t know, we have people who listen to the music all over the world, but at the same time, when we were touring for the last record, I think I only succeeded two times in pleasing the hipsters. That kind of listener, I respect them and their taste in music, but they’re kind of only into something for one month. So if that audience listens to this record, I think they’ll appreciate it more than the others.




J Warshaw [vocals, bass, electronics]:

The last time


ran a review of our record, it was really, really mean, kind of inaccurate, and pretty petulant.

Oh, err, hey, I hear some Alan Parsons Project on this record, which I like. Ever gotten that one?


No, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer was the only 70s prog-rock luminary we’ve been compared to.

It’s not a bad thing. My promo copy came with a blurb sticker that said you guys combined Hüsker Dü and the Minutemen with the noise of Wolf Eyes. How do you feel about that? Personally, it sounds sort of ridiculous to me. It was from Wire magazine.

I’d much prefer that than what


said about our last album! Those are three bands that we really love and respect, so I don’t have a problem with it.




You were just at soundcheck? Who are you playing with tonight?

Andy Adler [bass]:

We’re playing with some band called Puddin’ Tang and—

Pootie Tang? A band called Pootie Tang? Not only is it dated, but there’s something else wrong with that.

No, I think it’s Puddin’ Tang.

Oh. Describe the Crystal Stilts audience.

I’d say it’s definitely not hipsters. It’s closer to record-store people.

Like, Flying Nun fanatics?

Oh, I don’t think our audience is THAT serious about records.


Heart On


Are you worried how this record is going to be received? It is different from the other two.

Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes [vocals, guitar, percussion]:

My worry is not really in that context. My worry is that I don’t want the devil to be overshadowed by the sweet-naturedness of it. It’s a dirty-ass record. I don’t want the mass audience to feel like they’ve been tricked when they realize how horny this record is.


There’s a pretty serious Stones thing going here. You can’t deny that.

Oh absolutely, dude. I’d only been playing guitar since about five months before we recorded the first album, and I wanted to be like Keith Richards, Little Richard, and Angus Young.

And “Now I’m a Fool,” the ballad…

For that song, I was listening to Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” obsessively, then going to back to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”


Beware the Circling Fin

The End

Are you totally happy with Jack Endino’s production work on this record?

Mike Conte [vocals, guitar, bass]:

First off, if I’m totally happy, something is probably wrong. But yes, he’s awesome. He’s no bullshit and he knows exactly how we should sound. He was in that band Skin Yard, and he recorded all of the early grunge stuff, which is either heavy rock or heavy metal, depending on whatever argument you want to get into. He was known as someone who could get a killer drum sound. Toxic Holocaust did their record with him, and that’s the record I heard. I mean, of course I knew who he was, you’d have to have your head in a fucking hole not to know the name. A lot of newer thrash bands and older guys who have been around forever are starting to notice him. People might think he’s 25 years past his prime with the grunge thing, but no way. That guy is great.

Since you’re from Tampa, which was at one time the American death-metal capital of the world, has your band gotten a reaction from any of the old-school death-metal guys who still live there?


Matt Coplon [vocals, lyrics]:

We were playing this old movie theater and David Vincent from Morbid Angel and his wife, Gen from the Genitorturers, were there, and he doesn’t look metal at all, he looks like someone at a WWF event. He’s wearing some big shirt with a red pentagram that you’d get at Hot Topic. He comes up to our drummer, Ken, and he talks really precise, like [

affects a deep voice

], “Yes, I saw the show, and you hit the drums really hard.” He says the most basic things but in such a philosophical manner. I saw him at Starbucks once and can hear it like it was yesterday. “Yes, can I get four pounds of Sumatra coffee and a blueberry muffin?” I’m not talking shit on the guy, but I just thought, fuck, here’s the most satanic guy in Tampa and he’s ordering a muffin.



TSM Recordings

Being a drummer, especially one with a particular style, do you get sick of people asking, “How do you get that drum sound?”

Josh Garza [drums]:

Actually, I don’t get sick of that question at all. People have an opinion about it, but they never ask HOW I get the drum sound. For this record, I actually grabbed the engineer and I told him to stand behind me while I played the drumbeat for the song we were about to record. He stuck his fingers in his ears and I said, “Look, just listen to it, take your fingers out of your ears and hear that. I need you to be a laboratory technician and to take what you hear and translate it onto tape without having to tweak it.” That’s what kills me about bands today. You go see them live and realize that the record is all smoke and mirrors.



Like This but Sexy


Chaz Kourday [vocals]:

Let’s be clear, you’re talking to me right now. I’m Chaz, that’s Georgia, and Lonni’s the one passed out in the corner.

Sweet Georgia [vocals]:

Darling, I’d like to talk about my recent visit to rehab if we could.

Yes, please.


It was for sexual addiction. One of Georgia’s favorite games is to lift up her mattress and try to figure out which person each pubic hair belongs to. She can literally play it for days.

Wow. How randy do your live shows get?


It gets pretty down and dirty, doesn’t it, boys? Pretty sexed up. Most shows end with the clothes off and everyone fucking in a mass orgy. There’s dancing, there’s prancing, there’s romancing.


And all for a $10 entry fee.

So you’re like the Fugazi of post-electroclash. You charge a nice low rate.


We are of the people, for the people, and in the people.


Invisible City

Seventh Rule

Aside from the hardcore/metal combination, something else I hear on your album is an updating of the late-80s and early-90s aggro scene, but it’s not like Clockcleaner or Pissed Jeans, who pull from the looser Cows or Jesus Lizard side of that, it’s the more technical examples like Today Is the Day and Hammerhead.

Curran Reynolds [drums]:

I’m really glad that you hear that. Today Is the Day was like the next wave for me after being into Pink Floyd and Metallica, which was the first wave that began when I was 11 or 12 years old. Today Is the Day blew my mind and became my favorite band. As Wetnurse was coming together, the guy who would eventually be our singer, Gene, was into hip-hop and dance. He was given a bag of mushrooms and Today Is the Day’s



CD by our old guitarist and he walked around Manhattan for 24 hours listening to that one record. The following week, he showed up for practice and said, “I want to sing for you.” This is a kid whose whole background is hip-hop, and he just transformed. I give a lot of credit to that Today Is the Day record.


Saint Dymphna

Social Registry


Josh Diamond [guitar]:


Sampled robotic voice answers with a hardly intelligible “Hello”




More robot voice


Oh, OK, I get it..


I thought that you were going to call and fuck with me. I don’t do this sort of thing anyway. We’ve been able to avoid interviews up until recently.

Look, this is loose. We can talk about anything. I mean, I don’t really care what the fuck we talk about.

OK. Well, maybe we can talk about how this record was an enormous pain in the ass to make. It took us three years.

Why is that?

There was a lot of pressure to make something good, and we wanted some space. The record actually ended up reaching this very dark place for us. Then we played a show that was some crazy Nike-sponsored thing that paid us a lot of money, and Brian and our soundman and I went in and finished it in a week. So now I like it. I like the work we put in at the end, and I really like that it’s done.

Do you have people actually bemoan the introduction of more structure into your music?

If there was a blog somewhere that discussed such subjects, which there probably is, then maybe it’s being discussed, but I don’t pay attention to that sort of thing. We pay attention to one another and it comes naturally. I like structure. I don’t listen to much amorphous music.



Songs for the Broken Hearted


Your last album came out three years ago. To some people in the music industry that’s a lifetime. When you recorded this, did it seem like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes or did it seem like putting on a hair shirt?

Windy Weber [vocals, bass]:

As a band, it was probably too long. For us, in the Detroit area, we’re known as the people who run the record store. So when we have a show, or when we open for someone like Do Make Say Think, different kids in town will come up to us and say, “What are you doing onstage?” They don’t have any idea, to them we’re just the record-store people.


Tight Pants EP


You’re nasty, but in a lovable way.

Telli Gramz [vocals, lyrics]:

Yo, we love all the kids that come out to the shows. The kids mean everything to what Ninjasonik is about. We got a hardcore background, we got a hip-hop background, we love everyone that comes out to the shows. We love all the hip-hop people and all the indie kids and just everyone. We’re here to give everyone the best possible show they’ve ever seen. And every time we play, we give the most we can give, we put more and more into it.

So what’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at a Ninjasonik show?

Yo, for the release of our EP earlier this year, there were 75 kids crowdsurfing onstage, and then a marching band of 14-year-olds came out and were marching to a song that goes “I wanna fuck, fuck, fuck!” That was probably the craziest thing.




Indie Recordings

So how is this record different from Ruun?

Grutle Kjellson [vocals, bass]:

The sound. It sounds better. Each instrument sounds better.

It’s eight in the morning over here and late afternoon over there in Norway, so I must ask, what is the future like?

What is the future like?

Yes, you’re nine hours ahead of me. What happens in the future?

Oh, hahaha. I get it. It’s not so bright. Don’t believe the hype. It’s raining.


Appeal to Reason


Have people ever come to you and asked, “How can you guys be on a major? Isn’t that hypocritical or something?” Because you write songs that criticize capitalist culture and whatnot?

Tim McIlrath [vocals, guitar]:

Not so much now as four or five years ago. I think we got reactions similar to the ones that I had when my favorite bands signed to a major label in high school. It seems like, “Oh no, they’re going over to that world and they’re no longer ours, they’re going to change.” The hardcore scene is not prone to any type of change. I remember when we first started Rise Against, we were “sellouts” to some people because we signed to Fat Wreck Chords. It’s really tough because I hate to hear that sort of criticism. That can be very distracting from, you know, the big picture. We’ve signed to a major, but we’ve tried to keep fans in the loop.


Animal/Not Animal


Why the double album?


Richard Edwards [vocals, guitar]:

It’s two records.

Why so much material at once?

Because we turned in a record and they didn’t like it. So we let them compile a bunch of bullshit they liked and put that out as well.


is ours, without any changes or input from the label, and

Not Animal

is a collection of songs they chose.

I didn’t get a full-art promo, what’s the cover art going to be?



, it’s going to be a painting of a barn with a bunch of zebras flying around and stuff, and with

Not Animal

, it’s just the barn.

Well, there you go.