Obviously, Scott, Chris and Garrett have all remained pretty heavily involved in music over the past decade plus. But you’ve kind of been the one person that really hasn’t done much in the way of creating music since you were playing with Jonah Matranga for a little bit a decade ago. Is it fair to label you as the one hold-out for this band? That you’re the one that kind of has to agree to do it before it can happen? Or is it kind of a communal thing?
No. This band has always been a 100 percent democracy, and it’s always been a situation, too, where we know who this band is. We could never do this band with anybody else, so the fact that it hinges on these four people at all times means something to how we can approach anything to do with it. So, sometimes it’s better for me than others, and sometimes it’s better for Scott than others, and sometimes it[‘s better for Garrett than others, but as far as my quote-unquote “career” in music, it’s not like I’m stubbornly not playing in a band or something like that, but I did get a little bit of clarity in the last few weeks of doing this and thinking about it in the sense that I really feel like these four people in this combination of members in a band or whatever, I’ve never felt the same way about playing in a band since, and I’ve never felt the same way about playing in a band before we got together.
I actually pulled out a letter the other day, and I may post it on Twitter if Garrett will let me… Garrett wrote me a letter after our first practice on this typewriter that he got—it was obviously 1994, writing to each other on a typewriter—he wrote me this letter and was just thinking about how there was something to it. We wrote that first 7-inch pretty much the way you hear it in, like, one 10-hour day. I remember coming home from that practice with the tape and listening to it and being like, “This band is real.” I’ve never felt that before and I’ve never felt it again, and it‘s just a thing with us four for some reason. When you put us in a room together, it made sense, and it still makes sense. It’s a shame that it’s also such a wild experience. I think that as far as the four of us are concerned, I mean, we’ve never left each other’s lives, and so we’ve been at each other’s weddings and birthday parties and just hanging out and, you know, whatever. I kind of feel like this band is just going to outlive us all.
So, with that said, do you want to create more music with the band if it felt right? I know you played a couple “new” songs six years ago that you had worked on for the follow-up to Do You Know Who You Are?, and I was always surprised that after you played those, you didn’t record those. Even for like a quick, one-off digital EP or a benefit 7-inch or something like that. It just seemed like there was too much talent there to not document it. So do you see yourselves doing anything with that new material or even coming up with more new material?
I can be perfectly honest with you: We actually did plan on recording those songs, and scheduling conflicts screwed up the date that we had planned to do it. And, again, it’s just we have these really complicated lives right now, so it’s not like we can just drop everything and be like, “Okay. We’re going to this place for a week.” So we’ve thought about it once before and got far enough in the process of thinking about recording those songs before actually realizing we couldn’t that I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for those songs to get recorded at some point, but I think right now for our band… Historically, I think it’s better for us to not plan so far into the future, because we definitely… I just feel like we operate better when we just have one thing set in our sights at a time, and everything just seems to flow smoother that way. So, I think it’s great to be in a position now where we feel like, “Okay. We can just kind of leave this door ajar,” and we don’t have to kind of create this situation where we’re just putting our foot down and saying “no.” But, at the same time, I think we’re probably a little shy to leave the door wide open, too. I think that’s understandable.
Absolutely. So looking toward the show, what do you think will be different for this show than for the original reunion shows? How do you think it will change at all?
One of the main things that I think is different is the vibe. First of all, these shows [in 2006] were completely ours, right? Everything was on our heads, and we pretty much did everything for those shows just completely were in total control of what happened. We had even done things, like, we hired a lighting designer. We really, like, went for it, and it was because when we broke up, I feel like we never really had a chance to really enjoy that peak, and in 2006, it just happened that the peak got bigger. So, we just thought, “Let’s enjoy it. Put the money back into production. Let’s make a real concert.”
I feel like we’re going into this show specifically with a lot more light-hearted feeling: a very much like “let’s have fun” feeling. Not that that wasn’t there last time, but I feel like this time, there’s really an interesting celebration, because it’s not completely about us, and we can kind of play with that a little bit. And we’re still kind of talking about exactly how we’re going to approach this show. You know, what kind of special things we can do, but we haven’t really nailed it down yet.
At this point, it seems like virtually everyone and their mother has gotten back together to make one more go of it—
We started it! [Laughs.]
So, who’s left? Who do you want to see get back together that has not done it yet?
The Promise Ring just played New York, we hung out, saw them. Christie Front Drive played here this year. We were really happy to see them. That was great, but the one band from that era that we were friends with that I personally love and would pretty much love to see again, just fly anywhere to see, is definitely Mineral. And I don’t think that will ever happen.
Well, you know what: People thought you guys would never do that again, let alone do it twice, so the door is always ajar, as you said.
They were just one of these bands that I felt [were like us]. They just kind of broke up after they made this really great album. I get it. I relate to them. I want them [to reunite].
I will say this about reunions, and I think that this is kind of my rule of thumb and it’s also, on some level, my guarantee of quality: I very much feel like if you’re going to do a reunion, you need to be at least X many years as good as you were the last time you played. With Refused, for example, I just saw those guys play, and the last time I saw Refused was in 1998 in Stockholm, and I remember watching them a couple months ago, and saying they’re definitely 14 years better than the last time I saw them and then some. So I definitely feel like I would never, ever, ever play a show with this band unless I felt that we were going to be at least six years better than we were in 2006. It’s absolutely important to me to do everything right. Not for the sake of a legacy or some sort of rock ’n’ roll mythology, but just personal pride. It’s something I love.