Dog Fashion Disco-Interview with Jeff and Todd.
MI-What is your birth date?
MI-Describe your music to me.
Todd-Heavy. Inaccessible. Not available in stores. Influenced by System of a Down. Tool. Zappa-that kind of shit.
Jeff-Exactly the same way.
MI-Who are the members of the band and what do they play?
Todd- I, Todd Smith, sing. Jeff over here plays keyboards. We have Mike Oliver who is the drummer. Jasan Stepp is the guitar player, and Steve Mears is the bass player.
MI-So tell me how the band got together.
Todd-I formed the band with two other guys who are no longer in the band because they are smart. They decided to go off and start families and make money. We got Steve after that. –We started in high school, had a bunch of different members. Kept playing after high school. Got Steve our bass player. We had another keyboard player, another drummer, another guitar player-we played with them for a little while. We kicked the keyboard player out because he is a fucking prick. We got Jeff and he is not a prick. The other guitar player and drummer left. We got the two new guys, and we have just been touring ever since-making albums that can’t be found in stores.
Jeff-Exactly the way he said it.
MI-Tell me who your music influences are.
Todd-Tool, System of a Down, Melvins, Zappa, Radiohead, Beck, Dido, Captain Beefheart, Motley Crue, and a bunch of others I can’t think of.
Jeff-Similar ones-Radiohead, Zappa. I like a lot of different stuff. I have been listening to a lot of accordian music lately. I like old school rap music. I like a lot of stuff.
MI-Tell me about an average day in your life.
Todd-I get up in time to check out of a hotel room, then I smell my clothes in my suitcase and I figure out which clothes smell the least soiled-and then I put those clothes on. I take a shower before I put those clothes on. I get in the van and drive for long hours with four other guys. We get to a club, then we sit around forever, and then we play. Usually, after we play, I am really drunk and then I pass out in the van and then we drive more. Then we go to sleep. Before I go to sleep, I usually try to get laid at the club and it usually doesn’t work out-except for sometimes, and if it doesn’t work out then I get more drunk and then I try to go to sleep. Sometimes I eat-but I am trying to lose weight so I jerk off and go to bed.
Jeff-I wake up before everybody else because I am old-so I get up before everybody else. I take a walk and come back. Take a shower, masterbate, get dressed-wake everyone else up. Drive for long periods of time. Get to the club, sit around. Play for forty-five minutes, get done. Watch everyone talk to Todd. Hope that someone will realize that I am in the band and want to talk to me. Get in the van, and drive to the next town.
MI-What made you decide to get into music?
Todd-Listening to Metallica back in the day made me want to play guitar, so I got a guitar when I was about fourteen. I started playing, learning songs from bands that I liked…this that and the other thing…I basically just kept with it because it came easy to me and it was a fun outlet for creativity.
Jeff-I didn’t really have a lot of friends in high school so I used to go to shows a lot to have something to do. Seeing a lot of local bands back in the day, the punk bands, -They weren’t quite musicians, but they didn’t give a shit about anything and it looked like they were having a lot of fun. Music was my escape, and I was just so into it that I picked up a guitar and I picked up a keyboard and just started learning how to play.
MI-Who is your hero and why?
Todd-My mother is my hero. When my parents split up, she raised me the best that she could. She worked her ass off to provide the best life she could for her only son and she is a beautiful person. She is my hero.
Jeff-I am not trying to copy the man, but my parents are my heroes without a doubt. They gave up everything just to make sure that I could eat. I owe them everything.
MI-If you could open for anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
Jeff-I would like to open for Bob Marley. He was just such a revolutionary person. He came from a third world country to become this huge mega superstar. His music was just so influential-I think more so than just about anybody else. I don’t know if it would be a good combination-but just to meet the guy…
MI-What is your goal as a musician?
Jeff-Just to be able to play music for a living and have enough money to have a place to live and be able to eat. That’s about it.
Todd-I would like to four songs that are hit singles so that I could sell millions and millions of albums and then buy a house with my own studio and make music that no one could listen to.
MI-If a genie came to you and granted you three wishes, what would they be?
Todd-Is the genie hot or is it a guy? (MI-Whatever you want.) First it would be-everybody says a lot more wishes, but I think I would stick to my three-I think I would have the girl of my dreams, an unlimited cash flow, and I’d have a bigger dick.
Jeff-I would say two out of those three. I would definitely have ridiculous amounts of money, the perfect girl…and I would like to be big and bad ass enough to be a professional wrestler.
MI-If you were not a musician, what do you think you would be doing today?
Jeff-I’d probably work in some office somewhere-looking forward to five o’clock so I could go home.
MI-What about the world pisses you off the most today?
Todd-When homeless people ask me for change. If homeless people wanted to, I think they could get along by themselves-unless it is like a single mother or something-but there are support groups out there for her to get her on her feet. So I would say, all the homeless who don’t want to get jobs-there are a lot of holes in the roads-we put them in the holes in the roads and fill them over with asphalt.
Jeff-When girls I like don’t like me back. If we could go back to that wish thing, I would have the perfect girl and it wouldn’t be a problem.
MI-Who do you compare yourself vocally to?
Todd-I am a Mike Patton rip off.
Jeff-I think Todd is his own person. He has his own style. You can hear elements of other singers-but he has got his own style that is completely unique.
MI-If a nuclear bomb was to wipe out everybody but you and three people, who would those people be?
Todd-First there would be Barbara Fara-second there would be my mom-and Tiffany Amber Theisen.
Jeff-I would want somebody that would just kill me because I wouldn’t want to be alive with just three people.
MI-What inspires your lyrics?
Todd-Life. Just the ups and downs, highs and lows…
Jeff-I don’t know, Todd writes all the lyrics. In the lyrics you can tell, he is inspired by things that have happened to him.
MI-Who do you think the greatest rock star was of all time, dead or alive?
Jeff-The person that probably took more chances and broke more barriers would be Frank Zappa.
MI-If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be, dead or alive?
Todd-Hitler. Why not?
Jeff-My grandfather, he’s dead. I want to hang out with him again.
MI-What comic book hero would you want to be?
Todd-Aquaman-because you could suck dick underwater.
Jeff-Superman, because he can do everything.
MI-Have you ever inhaled?
Todd-Inhaled what? You can’t say?-Yeah, of course.
MI-How do your parents feel about your career?
Todd-They are ready for me to get a real job. They haven’t given up on me. They are just thinking this might not work out.
Jeff-They are still pretty supportive-I think they feel the same way (as Todd’s). I think they are ready for me to try something else. They would probably be happier knowing that I had something more solid. Regardless, they support me in whatever I do.
MI-Do you believe in psychics?
Jeff-I think the ability exists, but I really don’t buy it 99.9% of the time.
Todd-I think people have psychic premonitions and maybe are in touch with the spiritual world, but as far as everybody on TV making money-no.
MI-If you could play anyplace in the world, where would it be?
Todd-Brazil, because the women down there are unbelievably hot.
Jeff-Italy. I love Italy. I think it is a great country. I have been there. I think the people are cool. I just want to go back.
MI-What was your worst job?
Jeff-The worst job I ever had was working at an auto reconditioning place where I had to steam clean car engines in the middle of summer.
It sucked, because the job itself sucked, and I worked with ex-cons on work release and they used to fuck with me all of the time.
Todd-I sold speakers out of the back of a van for a day in the ghettos of Baltimore Maryland and it was pretty bad. We almost got shot a couple of times-and the guy I was with keyed some black ladies car.
MI-Where do you see the band in five years?
Jeff-Hopefully to a point where we are entirely self-sufficient. We don’t need to rely on anybody else to make a living at this. We don’t need to kiss anymore people asses and beg people to get on tours. We don’t need to beg people to make us sound good when we play, and put up with asshole sound guys. We won’t have to put up with all of the crap that I am tired of putting up with-all we have to do is make music and have people enjoy it-and make enough money that I can live.
Todd-I see the band being broken up in the next five years. I just feel that way.
MI-Tell me about the new album.
Todd-I think it is a great album, and it is not going to be heard by as many people as it should be-BUT WE CAN BLAME THAT ON SPITFIRE RECORDS-and you can put that in capital letters. They only shipped out 5000 cd’s when we sold 15000 on our last release-and they are not interested in sending out anymore. We have sold out almost all those in the stores-so you figure there is one thousand copies between fifty states. How are we really going to get any further with that? We have been working hard to do everything we possibly could for this band. Spitfire just doesn’t seem like they care anymore.
Jeff-I think the same thing. It is a great album and people aren’t going to be able to hear it and it’s unfortunate. What I see happening is a year from now after this album is completely forgotten-I think there are a lot of kids that do know who we are-and people are going to be like oh, what’s this? All of these people will all of the sudden want to know who this band is and what they are doing, where they can get the record….
MI-What do you think about the US actions in the Middle East and Liberia?
Todd-I am not about politics. I don’t even want to get into it.
Jeff-Everything on the news is a lie. I don’t believe what I am told, so I can’t really make a valid opinion.
MI-What do you want people to know about you?
Jeff-That I have worked really fucking hard the last four years on the road-well we all have-to make things happen. I want people to know that we should be on fucking Ozzfest. We should be on radio stations. We should be in every fucking record store, and we’re not. There is no logical reason why we’re not. MI-I heard you had to have some bucks to get into Ozzfest-something like 7500. Jeff-75,000, and you have to be asked. You just can’t show up with 75,000. Todd-Basically to get anywhere in this business, you have to have somebody behind you with some money, and that’s cut and dry. That is the reality of our business. It is not about artistic creativity. It is not about pushing the envelope and taking music to a place it has never been before. It is about what’s the latest fad? What’s gonna sell? What’s gonna make the most money? No labels or any higher ups that have money are interested in nurturing a band if it makes a movement to push music in a direction that is anything other than what you hear on the radio.
MI-Tell me a dirty joke.
Todd-How do you get a dog to stop humping your leg? A.-Pick him up and give him a blow job.
Jeff-How do you know if you are at a gay cookout? A.-The hotdogs tast like shit.
MI-Do you have a message for your fans?
Jeff-Thanks so much for coming out to the show and supporting us. Please tell your friends to buy the record and not download it if you can buy it. Maybe if you could bring some food to shows so we could eat, that would be nice.
Todd-I would just like to say to everybody-no matter what happens with the band we appreciate their love and support. We feel like they are a part of the family and hopefully some miracle will happen and we will be able to keep the family growing and keep this whole band moving forward.
MI-If you could be with any other label-who would it be?
Todd-I would like to be on universal records. Any major would be nice.
Jeff-I would like to be on a label that actually gives a shit about seeing this band grow. A label that shows up and says okay-I believe in you guys-here’s everything you need. Here’s the tour support you need. Here’s enough money so you can eat on the road. Here’s enough money so you don’t have to get yourself in debt anymore. Here’s tours that we are going to put you on where you can play in front of more than ten people a night. Somebody who is really going to put forth the effort to get us somewhere, because the fact is every time we play in front of new people we always walk away with a shit load of new fans. If we play for thirty people, we will end up selling like thirty cd’s that night. So if you convert that-imagine doing that for 15,000 people every night. If any A&R person has the balls to step up to the plate and say hey-this is a band that can actually do something-let’s take the chance. Make it happen. MI-Remember when they used to send scouts out? They don’t do that anymore. Jeff-No, they sit behind desks in their offices all day. We went on a tour with Mindless Self Indulgence who regularly draws like eight hundred people a night. People at the label and booking agents that we work with were like who the hell is Mindless Self Indulgence? Why would you waste your time with that? -That’s the kind of mentality that we are dealing with. People don’t know what the fuck they are talking about, and they are the ones that are basically in control of our careers.
MI-If you could be in charge of your own career, would you do it?
Todd-Oh absolutely. I don’t want to answer to anyone else, but it is like winning the lottery-being in charge of yourself.
Jeff-Absolutely-gotta be around other people-ya get screwed.
MI-What do you think about MTV?
Todd-I think it is a big factory for turning out carbon copy bands. It is all about money. That is what it is all about-I like The Real World though.
Jeff-At one time it was pretty cool, when it first started. It is just like any other big radio station now, or media conglomerate. –Whoever owes somebody a favor, whoever has enough money…the whole thing is a joke.
MI-What do you think about reality TV?
Todd-I don’t watch too much TV. To be honest. It is entertaining I guess.
MI-What do you think of the whole music industry in general?
Jeff-I think it’s horrible. You have record labels that don’t take the time-well not ALL record labels-but a lot of people that make the decisions aren’t nurturing music anymore. I understand that they have to make a profit-that is their job. There are a lot of bands out there that didn’t make money for their labels, and somebody took a chance on those bands. It doesn’t seem to happen like that anymore. I think the record industry is a at fault for a lot of bands not making it anymore because they never took care of the whole internet issue. I mean, if they were smart, before any of this happened-before any of the Napster stuff happened or the Kazaa stuff happened, they would have nipped it in the butt and people could have kept making money.
If they would have lowered cd prices a little and worked with people, things could have been great, but they didn’t-and now you have HUGE bands that are complaining because they only sold three million records instead of six million from last time. Nobody hears about the little bands that without it could have sold fifty thousand-which means they could have stayed on the road and made more music. But now because of the internet they have only sold ten thousand. It is a reality, and nobody knows that.
Todd-I think the music industry is filled with a bunch of money hungry, dirty businessmen who lie and don’t know really anything as far as what the kids want except for if you shove it down everyone’s throat and put it on the radio-then everybody will be convinced that they should buy it.
MI-What is your favorite quote of all time?
Jeff-Those that fail to remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Todd-I would like to quote Jim Quinn after he saw us in Cleveland he was really impressed and he said-I am going to go back to Spitfire and I am going to make things happen. I am going to turn this label around for you guys and I am going to make sure that they see that this band has a lot of potential.
MI-What do you think about the Cobain diaries being released?
Todd-I could care less. I leafed through it at the bookstore, and it wasn’t interesting to me at all.
Jeff-Somebody saw it, and they were like hey! What a great way to make some money! Just like everything else.
MI-What do you think about the Morrison’s going to court over The Doors?
Todd-I think for all the other members of The Doors to put him in the place of Jim Morrison is kind of cheesy and stupid, but when he was alive his parents pretty much blacklisted him from the family-but I guess now they care about Jim Morrison.
Jeff-Whatever his wish was-you should honor it. It is that simple.
MI-How does it feel to be back in Atlanta?
Todd-Peachy. MI-Where is your next stop after this? Todd-South Carolina, Spartanburg-at Ground Zero.
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