Readers, when we checked our inbox one recent morning and discovered an invitation to interview The Expendables, Chip got super-hyped. OF COURSE we wanted to talk to Stallone and Schwarzenegger and Chuck Fucking Norris and the gang. It turned out, however, that these particular Expendables were a hardworking reggae/punk/metal band out of Santa Cruz. Lucky for us, they ended up being even more interesting than those old washed-up action geezers, so it's all good.
The Expendables are poised to hit The Midland in Kansas City with Dirty Minds this Thursday, July 11, and we're promised that it will be a "raging night." Check out their official website here, "like" them on FB here, and enjoy our wide-ranging chat with drummer/vocalist Adam which covers the full arc of their career, from the early DIY days to the Warped Tour to their current "mild success" on the Slightly Stoopid label. Rage on!
Richard: I’m going to level with you fellows right off the bat. Most of our readers are PBR-swilling scenesters who listen to either shoegaze music or garage rock (while standing completely still) and are allergic to reggae and skateboard culture and Slighty Stoopid. So can you offer a few words of comfort that will convince them to stick around and read this interview. Maybe emphasize your fondness for 80’s punk, for instance, or tell them you’re also really into Pavement.
Adam: Well I don't know what to tell them. I hate PBR and consider myself a semi-professional dancer, so it looks like we are all screwed. I do, however, enjoy 80's punk.
Chip: I see that you are veterans of the Warped Tour. Were the young audiences receptive to your sound out there? Or did they push you out of the way while running toward the next fucking screamo act? Also, can you tell us a wild and/or seedy tale about your experiences on that tour?
Adam: The Warped tour is a brutal tour. It's hot, dirty, and sweaty. It's like camping with 1000 musicians every day. But the kids who come out to Warped are pretty awesome. I used to be one of those kids. They seem to have a great time, and some of them actually watched us play. We don't just play reggae. We play kimd of a lot of rock, punk, ska and even metal. So I think we may have captured a few screamo fans on that tour.
Seedy or wild???? Well, Warped is unique in the fact that you only have to play for 30 minutes a day. So the rest of the day you can do whatever you want. And that includes drinking mass quantities of beer. One night after he had been drinking all day, our guitar player peed into our tour manager's bunk while he was sleeping, and then a few days later our guitar player did the exact same thing again. I guess i could say our tour manager was "pissed". I also would like to clarify that we are all over 30 years of age.
Richard: I love the title of your recent 2012 acoustic album, “Gone Soft.” Were your fans receptive to a more stripped-down approach of some of their old favorites? And do you often take these versions out on the road for “Expendables: Unplugged” evenings?
Adam: We actually got the idea for this album on the Warped tour. We played an acoustic set every day at our Merch booth. Our fans really seemed to like the acoustic versions of our songs. So when we got home from Warped we decided we wanted to try and record an acoustic album. But we wanted to do it ourselves at our practice spot, not in a studio. It was really a lot of fun doing that ourselves at home. And it's actually given us the motivations to start building our own studio. And some of this next album is actually being recorded there.
On the road we like to throw an acoustic or partial acoustic song in the mix every once in a while. Someday I'd like to do a full acoustic tour for fun, but we really prefer to rock and/or roll.
Chip: Tell our readers what to expect from the “Cabin in the Sea” tour with Dirty Heads which hits the Midland in KC on July 11. I’ve heard your shows described as a “raging night.” What exactly does that mean, and how stoned do I need to be for this evening on a scale of 1 (slightly fuzzy) to 10 (Bonnaroo-level baked)?
Adam: A "raging night" to me is basically having fun with a touch of naughtiness. Basically not caring about a thing but having a good time.
The Dirty Heads have been our friends forever, and I got to see them play recently and they put on an amazing show. I would say "raging" is an understatement. I would say this tour is going to be pretty much the most raging time ever , And we like to throw a little party while we are on stage too, so it's going to be a fun night. Expect to dance, mosh, laugh and cry. Honestly our fans range from sober to hallucinating and everything in between. And we will take them all. Just have fun the way you want to have fun. You can tie on a three beer buzz and a bowl or get so messed up you wake up naked under a bridge in the middle of a hobo orgy. It's really up to you.
Chip: I'm going for the "hobo orgy," for sure.
Richard: You guys have been playing together for quite a long time, since 1997, and you were obviously very successful even before winding up on Slightly Stoopid’s label in 2007. What advice would you give to struggling young band members who might stumble upon this cheeky interview while browsing the interweb.
Adam: Well, the secret to our mild success is having absolutely nothing to fall back on. So basically we had to do this. And that's actual good advise. If you just keep at it and never give up, something WILL happen. Most bands quit because they get a good job, a rad girlfriend, or something better to do. Just don't have any of those things and you're set.
Chip: Final question, and this one’s important. Do you guys enjoy those bad-ass Expendables movies with Stallone and all those guys blowing shit up? And, if so, who’s your favorite Expendable? I have to go with Chuck Norris in Expendables 2!
Adam: Honestly I haven't watched one of them yet. I'm still pissed at them for (A) not having us do a song or all songs on the sound track and (B) pushing us to page 8 on the Google search. When the third one comes out on DVD, I'll get drunk one morning and watch them all and cry.