INTERVIEW ON OCTOBER 6, 1995
Fungus Boy: When you guys first
started the band what goals did you set for yourselves?
Aaron: We didn’t really set any goals. We just started a band with just people that we liked and had a good chemistry with, who we liked playing music with. That’s pretty much it. There was not really like any goals, we just like—me and Clint wanted to play music with people who were like-minded as us.
FB: And you guys were only together for five months before you recorded your first single?
Aaron: Um, humm. Yeah, it was like an E.P., a four song E.P. on Leopard Gecko (a label started by ???).
FB: Did you guys feel lucky that you were involved with Sub Pop before all the intense media hype started?
Aaron: I don’t know if whether it was a blessing or a curse but whatever. I guess it was cool to have just a record label put out our records, you know, in our first year of our existence, and it was cool that it was a local label. So, I mean I don’t know, had it been another label it might have been better, it might have been worse, whatever.
FB: How long were you together before you recorded “Despised” ?
Aaron: That was probably about like a year and a half after we’d been a band, I’d say, maybe.
FB: At what point did you decide that you had ran your course with Sub Pop?
Aaron: We just did a short contract with them and it was just over, the contract was over and we just didn’t want to do any more records with them. (laughs)
FB2: Where did you get the picture that’s in “Despised” of the guys around that tree?
Aaron: Bruce Pavitt brought that picture up, I think. ‘Cause we were like going through a lot of like microfilm of old pictures in Washington in the libraries and found a lot of the other pictures, but that one I think Bruce found. It was really cool.
FB: At what point were you guys able to quit your day jobs?
Aaron: Right around the time “Weak” came out we quit our day jobs. But it wasn’t like—I mean we just went for it, you know, it wasn’t like we were—we had saved up some money and we put out a record and we had of course like we had a van from Sub Pop. We just went on tour, we just quit our jobs and went on tour for nine months and it’s always been just kinda shoestring. (laughs) So that was like Spring of ‘92, I believe.
FB: Was the “Measure/Turnout” single the first thing you guys had recorded yourselves?
Aaron: Yeah, Clint recorded that, but yeah it was.
FB: Whenever you guys played at the Outhouse, I think it was ‘92, we were talking to John and he said that the single was kind of a spontaneous thing.
Aaron: Yeah, I can’t even remember writing those songs, at all. It was so long ago, so I have like no memory of anything except for that we recorded it at Clint’s parent’s house. They don’t even live there any more, his mom died, but it’s like this total Brady Bunch house. He had built this little studio in his basement where we practiced sometimes and it was real small, but we recorded the drums up in the front room, like where his family were, and I think the vocals too. I just remember it was kinda embarrassing having to like—’cause you sing, It’s not like you sing with the band, you sing over, you’re singing just in a room by yourself with headphones. So like to hear the vocals of that single if you can imagine just if you were like Clint’s parents. (laughter)
FB: I thought that was a great single.
Aaron: I really like “Turnout”, the B-side, better than the A-side. But yeah, a lot of people like that. I hate playing that song, “Measure”, I mean that song.
FB: Do you think that your sound is influenced by all of things that you listen to at that time? Because I’ve read things where you guys have said you like Beat Happening and the next sentence you say you also like bands like Slayer & Metallica, does that kind of reflect in your music any?
Aaron: I think so, I mean I don’t know, I guess. One would figure that one would be listening to music all the time and the hooks would just kinda get into your subconscious and those would be the kinda things that you would play, that sounded pleasing to you so that’s the type of choices you’d make when you’re writing the songs.
FB2: TacWa is that Clint’s studio?
Aaron: It’s now called Uptone Electric because TacWa was in the basement of his own house but now he doesn’t own the house that he lives at and uh, henceforth he bought a building, he didn’t buy a building he leased a building in downtown Tacoma, and he has a partner now. Now they have like a legit studio, but like he hasn’t really done anything there, like some local bands have been recorded there (but) not by him. He actually recorded me and some friends of mine, just friends I have grown up with from other bands and stuff that live around and weren’t busy and we just wanted to jam. Because I record a lot like at my house, I record on four track every night, so I write a lot of songs. So we just recorded some shit over at Clint’s studio and it’s awesome, we’ll be recording our next album there for sure, which is cool ‘cause I can ride my bike to it from my apartment, which is awesome, much better than driving to Seattle.
FB: Was Sub Pop totally behind the recording of “Four”, you guys doing it on your own? Did they like that idea?
Aaron: They liked it ‘cause it wasn’t over budget. Usually when people make records they go over their budget and it was just like nothing, that's how we were able to fuckin’ not have day jobs, it’s just that we pocketed money and recorded the shit ourselves all the time. It’s virtually like just a couple of thousand dollars was spent on that record. I don’t think they believed that we could do it, I think that they just figured “whatever”, they don’t really give a fuck that much about their bands they just let them do what they want. I think they were a little skeptical about it but it worked. I think they were surprised. I don’t know what they thought, they fucked that record up real bad, so I don’t know, as far as putting down stuff, and I don’t think they even think about it. I think they’re probably thinkin’ about some real wimpy Canadian band right now or something. (laughter)
FB: What is your opinion of the label now?
Aaron: I have a lot of friends that work there, but most of them aren’t the ones that make any cool decisions. (laughs) If they did they’d probably drop most of ‘em. My best friend Curtis Pitts is one of their A&R people, he took my old job at Sub Pop because that was the job that I had quit, I was just packing orders there because we made them give me a job as part of our deal. When we signed to the label we made them say that anytime we needed jobs they had to give us one. So he took my job when I quit my day job as we were discussing earlier. And he signed Sunny Day Real Estate so he got like an A&R position there. He just signed this band Plexi, who is playing here tomorrow (at the Daily Grind). And I really like Bruce, they guy who owns half of Sub Pop, he really doesn’t do much at Sub Pop anymore, and I hang out with him on a regular basis. So some of the people involved, as far as like an organization, I’m not really into ‘em. I mean I don’t like any of their new records really. The new Sunny Day record’s good.
FB: In my opinion the album “Four” signified an evolution in your sound.
Aaron: I think so.
FB: Do you feel that as you grow as a person your music has grown with you?
Aaron: Most definitely. Not just me, it’s everybody. And together as a band too.
FB: You guys are kind of veterans of the studio now. Are you comfortable while you’re in recording?
Aaron: For sure, that’s the heart of the deal. Like “Four” totally demystified the entire album making process for us. So this time we recorded at like five different studios and even that it made you just not think about the room as much as you were thinking about this little box that has the tape with the information that is the music on it. And that’s whats important, not like mic placement in one room or what drum sound comes up because we’d just tear down our whole drum sound every two days and build a new one. We’re insane.
FB: I read that you spent the most time recording this album as opposed to the other ones.
Aaron: We spent probably a couple more weeks, no we might even have spent a whole month longer than we spent on “Four”. But we spent five weeks on “Four”, we spent two weeks on “Weak”. This record we spent probably six weeks recording it and two weeks mixing it, seven weeks—eight weeks, at the end of eight weeks. Like I said we get really crazy in the studio, re-take drums, you know, threw out complete tracks, re-do songs like three or four times. We did that on “Four” too, just ‘cause we had the studio to ourselves so like we didn’t have to pay time and we just get really obsessive about things. This time we had to pay for time, which is kinda crazy, but next time we’ll have our own studio again so we can be super obsessive.
FB: Do you think the length of time you spend in the studio affects the outcome of the album that much?
Aaron: I think it depends. I think it depends on how you go about your recording session, like some bands they just spend the whole time getting slick and that would fuck you up I think. Because like part of the best part of rock ‘n roll is spontaneity, you know. But like we just write all the songs in the studio, like always, and we just try to get really crazy drum sounds and crazy sounds as opposed to like slick sounds. Clint’s really into the Flaming Lips, they’re like one of his favorite bands, and they are a total model of making insane, bizarre sounding records that are just like—sound crazy, just have bizarre sounds. Things like in the early ‘70s and the late ‘60s people were constantly just making crazy sounds, like that was the whole thing, how crazy your band was. Like now these days people like do one thing like, “OK, now
we’re gonna do distortion vocals”, and then everybody just has distortion vocals, instead of like doing it a new weird level.
FB2: How did you come up with the name “Spanaway” ?
Aaron: It’s just a name that we liked, that we agreed on.
FB2: I read that it was a place in Tacoma.
Aaron: It’s a town outside of Tacoma. We had this riff that we used to call—this jam that we did that was really butt rock sounding that we called “Spanaway” and then we just never recorded it because it was just so silly, so I guess it got a title of an album instead of making it on an album.
FB2: How about the cover, who came up with that idea?
Aaron: That was an idea that I had actually.
FB: Do you guys still deny any involvement with the band The Fuckers?
Aaron: Well there was involvement, Clint recorded ‘em. I mean that was the whole thing, he never denied that, that’s why people think it’s him because he recorded it. And that was recorded at his parents house, not the studio. I was gonna bring that up earlier but I don’t like getting into the whole Fuckers debate because it’s just annoying, but he recorded one of the Fuckers’ singles before he recorded the “Measure” single and that’s why Sub Pop let us do the “Measure” single in his basement because they liked the sound of the Fuckers single.
FB: Which one of your videos did you guys have the most fun making? We just watched the one for “Squint” last night and I think that’s a pretty good video.
Aaron: That was not fun to make. Making videos is not fun, I’ve never had any fun making videos. It’s fucking stupid, I hate videos.
Cherubs Mavity: I haven’t seen any. Which ones do you have videos for?
Aaron: “Kid Candy, Start With, Measure, Squint, Bill, One Out Of Four, Losing Skin.”
FB: “Kid Candy” was shown on Beavis & Butthead, do you think some people might have been turned onto you from being on there.
Aaron: Umm humm, and that’s cool but it’s just like, I don’t know, I’m not into videos. I don’t have a fucking television so like—I don’t like television, I’m not into it and I don’t like MTV, it’s fucking suck ass, it sucks. (laughs) I like it when they play our videos because it’s cool ‘cause people find out about us and that’s cool, but the rest of the thing is just fuckin’ bad news, thumbs down.
FB: Do you base most of your lyrics on your own personal experiences?
Aaron: I think like our last—part the of evolving of our last record, you were saying evolving, is writing less about personal experience, and this record is like a lot less, there’s only a couple like real personal songs. They’re more like political songs, I think, but they’re political in a personal story fun way. I’m really into Calypso and stuff like that, that type of music was really political but it wasn’t like serious. One can be political and still have fun. Rock ‘n roll is about having fun. I’m into more just writing fuckin’ cool rock ‘n rollsongs, but you know I’m into having somewhat of—singing about something. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a message.
FB: I was wondering if there is anything behind the song “Undeniable Hate”?
Aaron: It’s kind of about Christianity. It’s kind of just about being locked into a collective reality, a collective consciousness. Basically Christianity’s complete disrespect for the Earth.
FB: I was reading some your old interviews last night and one of the guys said that you usually wait until you go into the studio to write the lyrics. Is that how you do it now?
Aaron: It’s kinda like half and half. Usually I don’t ever finish them. I never right them actually down until the end, I make like notes and stuff. Usually there’s a chorus, you know, but most of the lyrics end up—I’d say the verses usually most of them get written at the end. It’s just kinda like I sing and the song just kinda like takes form, you don’t really want to write the lyrics until the song has finished it’s personality. The song has it’s own personality and you don’t want to sell it short by writing bad lyrics. ‘Cause I’ve done that and then there’s songs I just don’t like ‘cause I don’t like the lyrics on it and then it’s like if it’s a cool fuckin’ riff you’ve sold yourself out. (laughs)
FB: I think you write good, unique lyrics.
Aaron: Well thank you. I like the lyrics on our new album more than any other album. Like there isn’t really a song on the album that I don’t like the lyrics, that I think are like offensive. And that’s the first on any album we’ve ever made, and I like a lot of ideas. I mean I try to get across ideas that I have and I think I do it better on this new record. I mean like Clint, our guitarist, has gotten some ideas from our songs and I figure if I can get through to him, he’s never ever even mentioned anything—well except for sometimes they get in their minds like weird words they don’t like me to say, “That word bothers me”. Besides that I don’t think that Clint’s ever said anything about the lyrics so I figure then that’s a good sign.
FB: Have you ever caught yourself when you’re doing something and thought, “Wait, we’ve done this before.”?
Aaron: Yeah, I mean especially like when I’m singing, like when we’re writing songs and we’re just jamming. I notice that I sing a lot of the same words over and over again. (laughs)
FB2: Do you have any plans to put out any more 7”s?
Aaron: Uh, no plans. I mean it might happen, I don’t know. We just made a record so we’re not making any plans.
FB: How did you get involved with the “Warped Tour” (sort of a skateboarders Lollapalooza) that you just got off of?
Aaron: I don’t remember. They just called us up and asked us to be on it I guess.
FB: What was that experience like? I saw a little bit about it on TV.
Aaron: It was cool because there was a lot of cool bands that I liked out there. And that was cool but it was real long and it was kinda like a fair, there was so many bands. I like just being on a normal tour, it’s more fun.
FB2: Since Hollywood Records is owned by Disney did they give you any Disney related items?
Aaron: Uh, yeah, you can kinda get that stuff but you gotta like ask for it. I don’t really want any of it. I think I got a copy of Ed Wood but I don’t have a VCR so—or a television so it’s not really gonna do me any good, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it. My girlfriend’s got a television and VCR and she lives with me sometimes so I guess I’ll get to watch it someday.
FB2: That’s a pretty good movie.
Aaron: Yeah, I saw it last year on the screen at a great old gothic movie theater, so it was killer.
FB: What do you usually do when you’re not playing with Seaweed? Do you have other projects?
Aaron: I spend a lot of time hanging out in the woods.
FB: And the other guys?
Aaron: Clint records stuff, and golfs, he golfs a lot, he golfed this morning. He got up at the hotel and just found a golf course and went golfing. And Wade watches a lot of television and smokes cigarettes, and John, don’t really know what John does, he’s kind of a mystery guy, I think he hangs out with his girlfriend a lot. And Bob, he goes to India, that’s what he did, that was the last thing he did in his spare time.
FB: Are you guys real good friends with the guys in Rocket From The Crypt?
Aaron: We know ‘em, yeah. John Reis especially.
FB: We interviewed them back in ‘93 and he (John) said that you guys were a big influence on everything they did.
Aaron: That’s cool. I think that they’re a cool band.
FB: I’ve noticed that you guys have used Kim Warnic on backup vocals on the last three albums.
Aaron: Yeah, she’s kind of a fly member of the ‘Weed, on the fly member. She sings the backups on “Free Drug Zone” too, it’s cool.