Interviews

KEELHAUL’S WILL SCHARF GIVES GOOD INTERVIEW

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will3

Here’s how Keelhaul drummer Will Scharf introduced himself and the band via e-mail: “I understand you’re doing research on senility, bad potty habits, and coping with walkers and Metamucil. We are the perfect subjects.” Old and incontinent Scharf may be, but he’s also hilarious, and a motherfucker of a drummer. There’s heavy jams and scrumptious fills a-plenty on Keelhaul’s new album Triumphant Return to Obscurity, out August 4th on Hydra Head, the Cleveland math- metallers’ first release in six years. It offers the kind of ultra-tight, largely instrumental ass-whuppin’ that just doesn’t come around that often anymore. Scads of Keelhaul’s contemporaries have blown up while they’ve triumphantly returned to waiting tables and running soundboards in their hometown, time and time again. The self-effacing Scharf doesn’t seem too bitter about it though. While it probably doesn’t take much to please a guy that describes corndogs as the “greatest invention ever,” I discovered that Scharf has a pretty healthy perspective about Keelhaul’s lot.

The new album is called Keelhaul’s Triumphant Return to Obscurity.  It’s a pretty cheeky title considering that it’s taken you six years to release it.  Would you consider this an autobiographical record?

There’s no biographical intent or aspirations or illusions.

So why did it take so long to record and release it?

Because we’re old and we’re slow.  I get a lot of mileage out of that answer, but it happens to be the truth.  Going back to your original question, I think you were asking me the reason why we named it that… I don’t know.  We’ve never gotten anywhere doing this, and we don’t really have any delusions of getting anywhere with it, if that makes any sense.

The last one was called Subject to Change Without Notice. So since then, did Keelhaul change, and did anyone notice?

I’ve gotten older.  I’ve gotten balder, if that’s possible.  I’ve gotten slower.  We require walking aids, hearing aids, and that sort of stuff.  I’ve been asked this question a lot lately: why we seem to be getting more melodic?  Maybe you can make some sense out of that statement that just came out of my face.  I don’t know why we seem to be getting more melodic, maybe we’re getting more sensitive.  I don’t know.

The new record doesn’t sound more melodic to me at all.

Well, there you go.  I’m glad to hear that.

To me it just kicks more ass.

Everyone’s like, “Everything sounds more melodic and a lot prettier.”  If that’s how it is, that’s how it is.  We don’t really have a goal.  We basically get together and jam.  Our complete nerd of a drummer tapes the session and figures out a way to put them together.

That would be you, right?

The nerd of the drummer would be . . . yeah me.  Exactly, and I’m a complete and total nerd.  Dana tends to come to practice with songs fully assembled, so it’s basically the two of us learning his songs.  Then we show them to everybody else.  I digressed from your question.

That’s fine.  I welcome any and all digressions.  You said that the songs come fully formed.  To me, all four albums, despite slight changes in their aggressiveness, sound like they harken back to those glory days of instrumental rock, when Don Caballero and Breadwinner were ruling the land.  Has that always been the style that you preferred or written in – at least with this band?

Sure, you bet.  We don’t really have a set style or any kind of musical goal that we adhere to.  We play what we like and what we like to hear.  If something happens to have vocals, then it happens to have vocals.  That all gets figured out last minute in the studio anyway.  If we never record a record, we’d be an all instrumental band.  When you’re listening to the songs over and over again in the control room while other guys are putting down their parts, Aaron or Chris will start scribbling stuff down on napkins and then you got lyrics on songs.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that you’ve had a pretty tenuous relationship with lyrics from the beginning – you don’t even print them in your liner notes and sometimes you don’t even add them to your songs.

Correct.

It’s not that you’re scared of words, you just intend the tracks to be instrumental?

We don’t really intend them as anything.  We just play them.  We’re complete slackers, dude.  We have no direction.  We don’t sit down and figure out the theme of the record, mantra, or crap like that.  We just play.  I feel like a broken record because I keep repeating the same thing.  I have to figure out a different way to say that so it sounds more interesting.

will2Pick a different language.

I guess we’re copying King Crimson songs or something [laughs]. We’re a King Crimson cover band.  Gently guide me back to the original question if you would.

Your relationship with lyrics… is there any reason why you don’t put them in your liner notes?

Oh, because they’re not important.  I’m sorry, that was the answer I was trying to get to there.  I think that the lyrics and words are important for a lot of forms of music that are very vocal-centric – ours is not.  I guess that the structures of the songs are complex enough that I think they should hold their own without other stuff on top.

Absolutely.

I think any vocals that should happen is an additional instrument, rather than something that would generate a theme of a song.  Bands that tend to have lyrics in their songs tend to name their song after the chorus.  The big chorus of the song, like “Johnny has holes in his shoes,” becomes the name of the song.

It’s funny that you mention that.  I tend to listen to music just as the music first.  If I want to invest any extra attention, then I’ll listen to lyrics.  I was just listening to Brady’s Lament, and I didn’t realize it, but Brady is your producer Andrew Schneider’s dog, right?

Brady?  Yeah, Brady is Andrew’s dog, correct.

So the entire lyric is from the point of view of a dog complaining…

Of a dog. Correct.

…about hanging out in a studio with all you guys.

He would just sit on the couch, pissed off, like, “I just want a spot on this couch.  I just want some of this pizza.”  He’s cute.  He’s real cute.

Tell me about that.  Your band is heavy as fuck, but there is so much levity and lack of seriousness to what you do in the song titles and even your answers to this interview.  Would you consider humor a really important part of what Keelhaul does?

If you don’t have humor, you might as well be dead.  You’ve got to have humor.  It’s the same as if you’re in Oklahokie, Alabama, and there are three people at the show and the pizza is about five hours old and there’s only three slices left.  There’s no beer.  There is only flat, stale Coke – Coca Cola, that is.  If you can’t laugh at shit like that, you’re going to go nuts.  Yeah, it’s pretty important.  That’s my short answer:  “Yes.”

It’s a good answer.  Tell me a little bit about your drumming.  To me you’re way too creative with the beats and versions to be trained in just rock music.

I’m creative all right [laughs].

It’s great.  Do you jam on other styles of music as well?

Yeah.  I started off when I was a kid listening to Priest.  That was right around when Stained Class and Unleashed in the East and all that stuff was coming out.  Because I am old.

We went over the baldness already.

I think the first record of that ilk that I really got into was British Steel and Unleashed in the East.  I was always a big fan of Zeppelin and Sabbath and all that stuff.  Right around the late 70s and early 80s, I think I heard my first Miles Davis record.  That kind of messed with my program.  I was like, “Really.  This is interesting.”  I think Milestones is the first one I heard.  I heard stuff like Jeff Beck and there was an early Kevin Eubanks record that I heard that kind of got into my brain, Tommy Campbell and Tony Williams.  I got into that stuff when I was about 18 or so.  I didn’t start playing drums until I was 16 or 17.  I had played jazz for a long time, and I played at some TV stuff – a dance in Cleveland, played in bars and restaurants and stuff like that.  I’ve always been a metal head, and the frustrating thing about playing jazz music is that I like to play loud.  I’m a basher, and you can’t really do that.  You’re really to be felt, not heard.

Exactly.

It gets frustrating.  I came back to metal and played punk rock.  There again is my really long winded, bloated answer.

It’s been like that ever since you came back to metal and punk rock?  You haven’t looked back?

I still play weird stuff.  I play jazz every once in awhile.  If I find someone who wants to knock around for a minute, we’ll play.  Chris and I have a little thing called Pitch or Two  for a minute because there was a lull in the band.  It was pretty much Keelhaul riffs that never made it to Keelhaul songs and made them a more jazz version of Keelhaul.  We had a couple of different sax players – Bruce Lamont from the Yakuza played sax, and Ed Stevens on bass.  We still talk about resurrecting that.  I wouldn’t say that it was dead.  It was more improvisational.

To me, Keelhaul feels like every element of the band is just united in these really muscular riffs and it’s just like four different parts of the same riff that are all coming together.  Do you ever feel like a tension between wanting to do that really, for lack of a better adjective, brutal battering ram kind of riffery and then just sort of wanting to go off on your own thing?

I pretty much go off on my own thing the whole set.  If you ask anyone in the band, [they’ll say] “He doesn’t play anything the same any night.”  I guess there is tension for me because I like to mix it up a little bit.  Chris Smith summed it up like five years ago.  He said, “One thing we kind of go for is a natural jam like quality in the midst of structure.”  You got me on a very inarticulate day for some reason.  There’s a lot of music like that that is very noodling to me.  We get accused of being noodley at times.  I think we try to keep the noodlest to a minimum even though it does rear its ugly heady at points.  Many points.

Too much noodling is a lot of empty carbs.

It’s a lot of empty carbs, dude.

Definitely.

You got to put some sauce on it somewhere.  You need some Newman’s Sockarooni sauce on it.

You know Sockarooni, too. It’s a sad thing that he had to die.

It is a sad thing, dude.

He took the Sockarooni to his grave.

I thought he was a class act, man.

Absolutely.

Did you ever read the story about how he started the salad dressing? With his friend in the bathtub?

Oh, I didn’t know about that.

Yeah, it was pretty funny.  The story I read goes: that several years back, he and a friend – I forgot the friend’s name – they were probably drinking a bunch of beer and wine, and go, “We should make some salad dressing.”  So they started making this big, giant batch of salad dressing in a bathtub in Newman’s house, I think.  They kept adding stuff until the batch was just right.  Then they were like “Okay,” and then probably sat down to a really big salad.  I thought that was pretty cool.  “Hey, let’s make some salad dressing in a bathtub.”

I wonder how much of the original batch is still out there somewhere.

I don’t know.  It’s probably a pretty tired batch at this point.  I don’t think I want to try it.

It takes like the ass of a dog.

It probably tastes like some of the food we eat on tour.

Tell me about Keelhaul’s lineup.  You’ve had the same lineup since forever.  What’s the secret to the band’s longevity?

Stubbornness and the basic stupidity of being too dumb to quit.  That’s pretty much it.  I don’t know, for some reason we have a weird pitch and dynamic in the band.  There’s a lot of stuff about everybody in the band that everybody else really absolutely hates.  It gives everybody a lot of stuff to break everybody else’s balls about.  We keep the lines of communication open in that respect because we’re always yelling at each other about stupid shit.  The grievances are constantly getting aired, so there’s no room for stupid shit to back up and all of a sudden explode.  Maybe that’s my answer.

Was it always that way?  Even in the early days?

Oh yeah.  It’s always been like that, especially when we first started touring.  That’s when we really realized “wow we are 4 giant, bull-headed, pains in the ass.”  We are like the 4 of the most completely impossible to live with/tour with people.  It’s like our own punishment or something.  It’s our own really shitty karma that we have to be locked up in a van with each other.  We all deserve each other because we’re all complete mongoloids. If that makes any sense.  At the same time, we all care deeply about each other man!  We love each other dude.  [Talking like a hippie]  Whatever, insert whiney voice here.  We do get along on a lot of other levels.  I just highlighted all the bitchiness about everybody else, but we do get along and we really appreciate each other’s company as well.  We’re all really good friends.  If you don’t become friends as a band after spending as much time on the road as we did back in the day, forget about it, you’re fucked.  It ain’t going to happen.

Are there even other people that make the kind of music that you do in Cleveland, so that if somebody did leave the band, you could find somebody else to take their place?

I wouldn’t say that anybody in the band is really replaceable.  I mean, we’re all complete retards, and none of us really knows how to play our instrument.  If we got someone that actually knew what they were doing in the band…

It would screw everything up.

Yeah.  It’s fucked up, but none of us know how to read music.  We just put circles, triangles and shapes and stuff on the walls for our songs to figure out what we’re talking about.  Instead of actual notes on a wall, we just write the numbers.  “Thirteen is the thirteenth fret.  Seven is the seventh fret.”  Shit like that.  We’re complete idiots.  It’s funny because when Chris and I were playing with Ed Stevens, we were doing our typical completely retarded “Okay this riff is 5, 7, 2, 2, 0, 1, 13” and Ed was like “That’s B flat, A sharp and G.” Whatever the fuck it was. We were like, “Wow, it’s weird to have notes on the wall.  This ain’t right.”

will1It’s like somebody else speaks our language.

Exactly.  It’s not hard to translate.  It’s just a bunch of caveman riffs played by a bunch of cavemen.  That’s all it is really.

Speaking of old, crazy caveman, who’s that weird dude that’s rambling about sandwiches and getting wasted to the intro in Pass the Lampshade and that last track KFB?

That’s our good friend and comrade, Kung Fu Bob, hence the initials of the song. The story goes like this: he was riding in the car with Jacob Cox of Disengage (who I think was driving) and Aaron.  I think Bob was in the backseat, and he was out of his mind (as you can hear on the thing).  So he started going “I’m going make my own song, man.”  Aaron just happened to have his handy dandy trusty little tape recorder with him.  So they were kind of egging Bob on “what’s the song dude?  Let’s go, man.  Stop fucking around and let’s hear it.”  So Bob was in the back doing that, and Aaron taped the whole thing.  This was about 4 years ago.  He hung onto the tape because he knew it would come in handy at some point, and it did.  So he brought it to the session and played it.  Dana had a little, pretty song that he wanted to put on the record, and one of us (I don’t remember who) got the brilliant idea of putting Bob’s little tape on top of Dana’s song.  So we tried it out.  Dana recorded the song and put the thing on it, and it fit perfectly dude.  It was like the cadences were . . . it was nuts.  It was pretty funny.  It was a complete and total happy accident or angry accident depending on your perspective I guess.

I like when it’s quiet and he stops and reads “I got a bologna sandwich.”. It just fit.  It was a complete coincidence.  There was no crazy editing or anything.

So every album of yours has at least one track that’s got a three letter acronym as a title.  Is there some significance to that arcane practice?

I don’t know if there is significance.  I guess it’s sort of a tradition or something.  The one on the first record… what’s the one on the first record?  God I forgot.

ESP.

Oh, it’s ESP.  That stands for “especially for the ladies” because it’s so pretty.  It’s fun for a lady.  Which is pretty funny because everybody has that clichéd shit in their crap.  The second record was LWM which are the initials for Dana’s father who had passed away earlier that year.  So that song was dedicated to him.  On the third record I think it was HMG, which stands for “high maintenance girlfriend.”  This one stands for Kung Fu Bob.

You heard it here first.

I wish I had a more entertaining answer for you, but that’s the truth.

No, I love it.  Has anybody else asked you about the acronyms?

I think you’re the first.

Yes!

I think you are the first.  I’m not sure.  I have an interview for a French magazine in my inbox, and there might be a question like that in there.

Alright, so this is the first one in English at least.

Correct.  I hope I did a satisfactory job answering it, and there won’t be any quibbles.

I would personally sponsor your next interview – put money behind it, get my logo on it.

This is really going to put a dent in your integrity, dude.

I’ll withdraw that.  Erase it from the tape.  Tell me about your long term love affair with Hyrda Head.

It’s all about Mark’s beard, dude.  How can you not love a beard like that?

Hydra Head is the only label that is cool enough to keep putting out our stuff, which does not sell at all.  I don’t know why they keep doing it.  I don’t know what their problem is.  They even put out a Craw record, which I’m sure probably sold three copies.

They’re great guys, and for whatever reason, we get along with them.  They’re good guys.  I don’t even know if this story is fit to print, but on our first tour in ’98 or something like that.  Our first record just came out.  We put it out by ourselves.  We actually ran out of money while we were making it and had to borrow money from various people to get it finished.  Escape Artist was kind enough to re-release it a couple of years later.  Our first show was in Boston and Turner came to the show and said “hey, you guys are cool.  I have a label called Hydra Head.”  We were like “Hydra Head?  What the hell is that?  Never heard of it.”  “Anyway, here’s a box of crap.  I want to put out your next record.”  So we had a box of crap in the van.  We didn’t have a CD player in the van at that point either, so we couldn’t listen to what was in the box of crap.  About 3 weeks later we were in Austin, and there was this crazy record breaking flood and we couldn’t leave the city.  We had to cancel a couple of shows.  I was stupid and drank the water that night, so I had food poisoning and I was peeing out my butt for 4 days.  I was completely miserable.  We met up with some really awesome people in Austin and became really good friends with them.  They put us in their house for like a week.  While we were there we broke out the box of stuff from Hydra Head and were like “wow, there’s some pretty good shit in this box, man.  It’s pretty alright.”  Harvey Milk was in there, Cave In was there, and all sorts of shit.  We were like “damn.  This label wants to put our shit out.  Okay.  I don’t know if we’re worthy.”  So we put the next record out on Hydra Head and they’re dumb enough to want to keep releasing our shit.  I don’t know why, and we’re dumb enough to want to keep playing it.  There you go, another long winding, boring answer.

Were you officially considered on hiatus since the last record or did Hydra Head keep hounding you for a new record?

They don’t go hounding.  They were actually pretty surprised to hear that we got back together and doing stuff.  I think for some reason I talked to Mark or Aaron randomly, I don’t know why, and mentioned that we were playing.  They were like “you guys are playing again?  Well shit it’s nice to tell your label when you guys start playing again, you dick.”  I was like, Ssorry.  I didn’t know it was that important.  Didn’t know anybody gave a shit.”  Apparently they do.  I think the hiatus thing happened sort of on purpose and sort of on accident.  We came back from a European tour in ’04, and I was the only one that was really gung ho about putting out another record and touring more.  Everyone else was kind of burnt out and frustrated by the tour and everybody else.  So we decided to go on hiatus for awhile.  That lasted seven or eight months.  I think we did that New Year’s show with Unseen in Cleveland.  That’s when we got back together to play again.  We just needed a break, that’s all it comes down to.  Back in the day, you can’t tell by our schedule now, but we used to tour quite a bit.  We never really got anywhere at it.  We never experienced the level of success that a lot of our contemporaries were beginning to experience at that point.  Some of which have gone on to experience awesome levels of success, and I congratulate them on that.

Which kinds of bands are you talking about?

Well first and foremost I would say Mastodon.  They’ve done great.  They kept touring when we pretty much called it a day.  They kept at it.  Slayer took them on tour a bunch of times.  A lot of bigger bands took them on tour.  Everyone says that the key to any kind of success in this genre . . . do we even have a genre?  I don’t think we do.  Weirdo metal music.  The only way to get anywhere is to get taken out by a bigger band because if you get enough exposure, people will wind up paying attention to you on your own merit.  That’s pretty much what happened there.  Mastodon continued to hit the road relentlessly, and they’ve reaped the benefits of it.  If you have the tenacity to keep plugging away at it, eventually you’ll see some kind of success especially if you get taken under the wings of some larger acts.  There are plenty of others that I’m leaving out: High on Fire would definitely be another one.  I don’t think they’re experiencing quite the level of success that Mastodon is, but they’re doing pretty well for themselves.

Absolutely.

We never actually toured with them.  We had the opportunity to, but we had to decline because we already had a tour booked.  That sucked because it would have been great to do that tour.  When your agent is busting his hump setting up a tour for you that 4-6 weeks long, you don’t want to go “Oh by the way, sorry, High on Fire asked us to tour.  Could you please cancel this tour for us that you’ve been working on for the last month?  Thanks.” It’s kind of a dick move.  So we had to pass even though the High on Fire tour would have been way better than our shitty individual headlining tour.  I’m going to check the level on the battery on my phone.  Give me one second.  I’m good to go.  Anyway.

Excellent.  You’re about to embark on a bunch of comeback gigs, including that big New York gig with Minsk and Unearthly Trance.  Are you pretty excited about it?

Sure.  You bet.  It’ll be fun.  I don’t know if it’s really a comeback because I don’t know that if we’re anything to comeback to.  We never really got anywhere.

Well put it this way…

It’s just more shows.

They’re the ones that the shows immediately precede the release of your first album in six years.

It’ll be a fun show.  Hopefully we’ll have copies of the record for sale at the show.  I don’t know if they’ll be getting to us in time for that.  Hydra Head has alluded to that, but we don’t really have a commitment or a sure thing.  There are going to be a bunch of shows, but that one in particular is going to be pretty great.  There have been a lot of promo that has been put into it from what I understand.  We haven’t played the East Coast in a good little minute, so it should be pretty fun.

will6Is there a larger scale tour that you got in the works at some point?

We don’t have any plans for the U.S.  I think the only way we’re going to tour the U.S. is if someone larger than us takes us out.  That’s the only way we’ll be doing the States.  We did Isis shows several weeks ago.  We had 2 shows by ourselves that were not with Isis on our way back from the Isis tour.  We were like, “Okay, this is why we don’t tour the States anymore.”  They were definitely clunkers.  There were a few that were decent.  They were pretty low key shows.  Everyone that was there was having a great time.  It’s pretty much the same thing.  We can either play in our basement and invite 10 people over, or we could drive twenty hours and play for ten people.  It’s retarded.

The choice is clear.

If a larger band (hint, hint, hint!) takes us out, we’ll go.  We’re cheap.  We’re very cheap.  We are going to Europe because Isis has been kind enough to ask us to do 2 weeks of their tour over there in the Fall.  So we’ll be doing a couple of weeks with them in November/December.  Then we’re going to do two weeks by ourselves over there.  That’ll be fun.  Europe is definitely a different environment for us than the States for the most part.

They’ve traditionally been more supportive of you?

You bet.  Absolutely.  I don’t know if it’s a cultural difference or there’s less Clear Channel over there so people actually have to seek out shit for themselves, but it seems like Europe embraces weird bands like us more than the States.  I think formulaic bands do much better here than weirdo bands like us.  We’re totally not formulaic because we are formulaic, but we don’t really have a formula.  So I guess that’s formulaic in and of itself if I could speak with a forked tongue.  There you go.

Formulaic in an unformulaic kind of way.

Yeah.  Everyone has a formula.  You can’t duck that.

What do you and the other band members of Keelhaul do to support your band habit?

It’s like a hobby.

Or an addiction.

I am a waitress at a place called Night Town in Cleveland Heights.  It’s a pretty cool jazz type restaurant.  I also own some properties.  Chris was a machinist by trade.  He just resigned from that to pursue full-time his ambition of owning a print shop which he has had for about 2.5 years at this point.  He’s also been a screen printer by trade for a few decades now.  So he’s pretty experienced in it.  He started his own shop 2.5 years ago.  He moved all his equipment there on the coldest day of the year.  Probably the coldest day in 5 years.  It was completely ridiculous.  Dana works with me on my shacks.  He’s pretty much a master everything.  He’s a bad ass carpenter and plumber.  He does everything but electric.  So he does that.  That’s his gig.  Aaron runs sound and monitors for The House of Blues.

In between Chris and Aaron, you got somebody to do all of your merch for free and someone to run all your sound for free if you happen to play at The House of Blues in Cleveland.

Right. If we happen to play The House of Blues, which is never going to happen.

You can do their Sunday Gospel Brunch.

Right, the Sunday Gospel Brunch.  We’ll get the choir gals up there.  Sweet.  We got a guy who works on the van (which is me), we have a guy who does the shirts (which is Chris), Aaron likes to drive (he drives all the time), and Dana likes cheese.

Alright.  Two more simple questions then I’ll get out of your lack of hair.

[Laughs] Don’t worry, I don’t even feel you up there.

Keelhaul is named after this nasty method of high seas punishment favored by pirates back in the day.  What do you think about pirate metal bands like Alestorm and Swashbuckle?

I couldn’t tell you.  I haven’t heard them.  I think I heard Alestorm because they have that thing up on YouTube, and every once in awhile I do a search to see if anyone has put videos of us up, which generally doesn’t happen.

You’re not really photogenic.

I really don’t know much about pirate metal bands.  I know that this guy named Tyler from Boston gave us a call around ’98 when we first put out our CDs, and I was sending out demo tapes.  That’s right, you heard me right – “tapes.”  I didn’t have a computer, so I sat in a room making cassette tapes from a CD and writing letters and calling people because I didn’t have E-mail or a computer to book the first couple of tours.  I was completely caveman style about it.  Anyway, I got a call about 3/4 of the way through booking that first tour, and this guy named Tyler in Boston who said he had a pirate metal band called Keelhaul, and he had a publishing deal with the name and a federal trademark of the name and all this other crap.  We were like “okay”.  So I called the guy back and left a message.  I talked to him for a minute, and it turns out that they wear costumes and all that stuff.  I bet they looked pretty great with the eye patches and leotards and stuff.  We hired an attorney and did a search for their trademark and their copyright of the name, which didn’t exist.  So we immediately copyrighted the name.  So we own the name now.  That’s our experience with pirate metal.

You should tour together.

Tried to take our name.  There are a whole bunch of Keelhauls out there too.  There’s one in Canada.  There’s a guy named Wayne in the band that I shot a few e-mails back and forth with.  He was like, “Oh do you want us to stop using the name?”  I was like “I don’t think anyone is going to confuse the two bands dude.  Just keep using the name.”  He was a pretty nice guy.

That was sweet of him.  My boss at an old label I used to work for had the exact same name as the guy who does his web design. They don’t confuse each other for each other, but he said there was one time they spoke on the phone, and it was just really weird.  They agreed to never do that again.

Really?

Yeah.  Hence forth, it’s just been instant messaging.

[Laughs] That’s pretty fucked up, man.

I know.  He was like, “What would you do if you met yourself on the phone?”

What would I do if I met myself on the phone?

Yeah.

I’d hang up, dude. I don’t want to talk to me.  I’m an idiot.  “You sound like you’re drooling.  You have a facial tick or something?  Get off the phone.  Get away.”

I’m going to turn your attention to corndogs.  That’ll be the last question.

Ah, corndogs!  Excellent.

will4I’ve seen a bunch of mentions of corndogs in your past interviews and your MySpace page and the few E-mails that we sent back and forth to set up this interview.  Do you eat corndogs like most metal bands drink beer?

We tend to eat a lot of corndogs.  On the last tour, there really weren’t that many corndogs.  We didn’t encounter many which is kind of odd for the States.  They don’t have corndogs in Europe which is a pretty sad state of affairs.  There are no European corndogs to be had.

You could be like the Marco Polo of corndogs – bringing them over to Europe.

Yeah, dude.  You can’t go wrong with a good corndog.  It’s readily accessible at your favorite roadside convenience store at the side of any highway in the U.S.  Put a little mustard on it, and you’re good to go.

You’ve clearly thought about this before.

I have not thought about that, but it is the truth.  That’s off the cuff.  I’m not proud of it, but that’s all I can come up with.  That’s the best you’re going to get out of me.

That’s all the questions I have.  Anything else?

I don’t have anything else, dude.  Do you like corndogs?

Sure.  You convinced me.

I’m not really getting a strong sense of conviction here from you, dude.

I’m going to be honest: they’re not my favorite food, and I find them so rubbery.

That’s what I’m talking about.  Popeye’s or KFC?

Popeye’s.

Popeye’s.  Good answer.

I would say Pioneer Chicken over either of them.

Pioneer Chicken?

Yeah.

I don’t think I’ve had Pioneer Chicken.  That must be a Hell-A thing.  Is that a Hell-A thing?

I think I’ve seen them a little bit outside of Hell-A, but definitely southern California.  They make some excellent chicken strips that I still dream of ten years after I’ve had my last one.

Really?

Mm-hm.

That sounds like a friendly bird.  I’ll keep that in mind the next time we tour the West Coast, which will probably be never.

I’ll ship some to you.

Awesome!  Ship it on a slow boat because I’m really into decay.

Okay, you get to taste entropy.

-SR

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