Interview Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish is een ska-punk band uit Zuid-Californië en stonden ook op het programma van Groezrock.

Dan Regan & derek gibbs namen plaats achter onze microfoon.

Hey guys, how are you doing today?

Yeah we're doing good, first beers of the day so we're a little bit nervous too.

Reel Big Fish has the Skacoustic album available on Itunes since November, how is it doing so far?

Derek: I think it's doing amazing, I'm not really sure but it was fun to do.

Dan: (laughs) Yeah we haven't been doing shows as an acoustic group, we just had all these extra songs. So we decided to put that record together because we had all the music and thought it would be a fun experiment. But now we're actually thinking about doing something like an acoustic show. Because we saw all those bands doing an acoustic set over here. Except for the bass and the guitar we're pretty acoustic anyway. Maybe next year, who knows.

A lot of bands do make acoustic versions of their songs. Why do you think ska and acoustic go so well together?

Dan: Probably because the horns are pretty acoustic anyway. The guitarparts aren't very complicated usually so it's a pretty basic upstroke and that makes it simple to change it to an acoustic guitar. The only reason we haven't done an acoustic show is probably because our guitar player really likes to do his solos. That would get pretty hard doing that sound acoustically. (attempts to make the guitar sound)

You guys do loads of shows every year. Is it still fun to do that many shows?

Derek: Oh yeah!

Dan: Everyone looks like they are having fun.

Derek: It's great.

Dan: We love doing what we do. I think that's why we got so far, because we love it.

And how do you combine your social lives with being in a band?

Derek: We're not really that social I guess.

Dan: Indeed, we're all pretty settled down at home, we've got wives and kids and everything. So this is really our only chance to socialize. (laughs)

So what do they think about you going on tour and being away from home for some time?

Dan: Well, they don't like it that much.

Derek: They love it when they can tell their friends that we're in a band. But when we tell them that we're leaving for a tour, they don't like it.

Which of you does still have a hard time being on tour?

Derek: I miss some friends and family sometimes.

Dan: I miss my daughter, I've got a 3 year old daughter you know. I definitely miss her a lot. But I definitely don't miss 'home'. I don't miss being there and paying bills or filling my car with gas and stuff like that. But I do miss my daughter. When she's about 5, I'll teach her how to make a latte (coffee). And then she can come with us on tour and be our coffee-roadie.

What's the biggest difference between touring in the present and touring in the past? Like the 90's for instance.

Dan: Well, now we're not as famous as then. Back then it was also new to us so we were more excited about everything. Now we've been everywhere a few times, but that's not bad because now we have our favorite bars everywhere. So we know right where to go when we get somewhere.

So what's your favorite place in Belgium?

Dan: Everywhere with some high alcohol beer.

Derek: Yeah the tripples.

Dan: We were drinking those all night last night.

Who changed the most through the years, the band or the fans?

Derek: Probably the band right? Because the fans still seem younger and having the same attitude. Basically, we keep getting older.

Dan: We should know how to change that somehow.

But you do have fans from a lot of different age groups I've noticed.

Dan: Yeah, I think because a lot of them are so young when they get to know us we might be one of the first things they get to experience on their own. And with ska music and punk music it's not just the music, it's a whole lifestyle. When they get older it changes a bit but they still hold on to us so that's nice.

Where do you get that energy to go on stage?

Dan: We're really bored the rest of the day, we save all our energy for that moment. (laughs)

And what's your opinion about the Groezrock festival?

Dan: Actually we are all so excited to finally play this festival. A lot of friends from other bands keep telling us about it and we all see them with the sweatshirts from Groezrock. We really wanted to play this for a long time.

Is there a big difference between the Belgian fans and fans in other countries?

Dan: The biggest difference is in Europe in it's whole the fact that they have like these special nights. For example Wednesday night is ska night in certain clubs. So even if people don't know the bands that are playing, they still go and know they'll get to have a good time because it's a ska night. We don't really have that in the States. But most of the fans know a lot when they get to a show, because of the TV or the internet I don't know but they know most songs and all that. That's pretty much the same everywhere, it's a small world these days.

Derek: And over here everyone speaks English too.

What bands would you still like to check out today?

Dan: We all want to see Rancid but we will probably be very tired when they play so I don't think we'll get to see them. Bouncing Souls are playing after us so we'll definitely get to see them play because they're legends.

Can you tell us a bit more about the upcoming album the band is working on?

Dan: We're about half way done, we've got most of the parts done.

Derek: I'm done, the drums are done.

Dan: The guitars are mostly done. Now we're about half way through the horns. And after that the vocals are up but that usually takes some time. This one is mostly written by Aaron our singer, it's a lot like the first albums. It's not on purpose or going back to our roots but probably just because he wrote most of the songs too back then. These songs are mostly about hating a girlfriend so the lyrics kind of match up with the early work too.

How did the band evolve during the years thinking back from album to album?

Dan: The first couple of albums were full of songs we were playing for years. And then when we got signed we just did a bit crazy and rented all those extra instruments and experimented a lot. We got to do the songs we were working on for years. It all got a little bigger, bigger budget and all that. After that we were kind of stuck onto the record label. We needed to do what they wanted us to do just to get our songs on the radio. Even though we were very against that, we still ended up doing it. It's really hard to argue with a bunch of people that hand you money. And when we got of the label we just wanted to do a lot of stuff that they wouldn't let us. So for a while we didn't bring out new stuff, just a live album and that sort of things that we couldn't do before because of the label. This is really the first all together new full album since probably 2005. We never wanted to change anything but since everything changes we kind of got forced into that.

Are there still any goals you would like to achieve as a band?

Derek: I guess the goal now is to keep doing this for as long as we can.

Dan: Yeah, so many bands just give up you know, because it gets too difficult. You just have to keep going even though it's a battle sometimes.

Derek: A lot of us didn't have a real job for a long time and we'd kinda like to keep it that way.

Dan: As far as recording options go, I think we'd all like to do a Christmas album at some point but that's not really a high priority.

You've had a nice run so far with Reel Big Fish. What are the best memories from that time?

Dan: The craziest memories are mostly things that happened by accident and are awful at the time but you can laugh about it later on. I think the best memories we have are coming from us all being in a band together and having to entertain each other with jokes and stuff like that.

Do you think the new/younger bands still need bands like Reel Big Fish and other experienced bands to keep hanging around for a while?

Dan: Sure, even if it is just to remember them that it is possible to be 40 years old and still be rocking out. It's weird for us because we came up during the late 80's, early 90's when punkrock was still a bad word. Nowadays people covered in tattoos and playing aggressive music are considered pretty normal so that's pretty weird for us too. All the bands now are being chased by little girls like they're The Beatles. That's not the way we remember it back in our days.

What makes Reel Big Fish such a big live band?

Dan: I think it's just our physicality on stage, you can't stand still on music like that. You just can't help it. You have to be dancing around. That brings out more of a joyful group experience instead of a hateful one. We don't really dance that good but we do it anyway.

Have you ever considered making a dubstep version of the song 'Suburbian Rhythm'?

Dan: I did actually! So strange that you ask that because I started on it about two days ago. That's funny that you said that. You probably send that thought through with your mind.

So one last question for the fans. If you would only have a couple words left to say because the world is exploding or being destroyed by aliens. What would you say to the fans in Belgium?

Dan: This is your last chance to masturbate.

Derek: Maybe 'Think for yourself!'.

Dan: Think for yourself so masturbate with your left hand.

Derek: Make up your own mind.

Ok thank you very much for your time and good luck with the show later on.