Artiest: Stick To Your Guns
Geïnterviewde: Chris Rawson, Josh James, George Schmitz
Interview afgenomen op: Groezrock
Label: Sumerian Records
Stick To Your Guns is één van de meest spraakmakende hardcore bands van Amerika. Op Groezrock 2015 konden ze weer eens plaatsnemen op de Impericon Stage, net zoals in 2013. We konden de leden van Stick To Your Guns al zien binnenkomen, alle vijf op een rijtje, met een appeltje in hun mond. Een zeer grappig beeld naar de pers toe, en een zeer grappig interview werd het ook!
Hi! Welcome to the interview with Festivalblog.be. Alive ‘n’ kicking?
Josh: Yeah. We have arrived (laughs). WE HAVE ARRIVED!
George: Yeah. We arrived a couple hours ago, at 11 o’clock.
Well, can you introduce yourself to the readers of Festivalblog?
Josh: I’m Josh, I play guitar.
George: I’m George, I play the drums.
Chris: I’m Chris, I play guitar.
George: Oh, we are Stick To Your Guns, btw (laughs).
What do you expect from the show today?
Josh: I expect people to watch us and us to watch people.
George: Actually, I don’t expect people to watch us. I HOPE people will watch us (laughs).
Chris: Yeah (laughs).
Josh: Nah, I expect them to watch us.
George: I have zero expectations today, but hopefully it’s great. Last time we’ve played here, it was great.
Josh: I think it’s really hard to have a bad show at Groezrock. For me, it’s my favourite festival in Europe because the line-up has always been what I’ve wanted to see. We will try to have a good show!
Which bands would you wanna see at Groezrock 2015?
Josh: Today I want to see Lagwagon, Pennywise and Social Distortion. And Iron Reagan and I watched Masked Intruder. And I watched a little bit of The Swellers.
George: Against Me!
Josh: Yeah. I want to see that, too. And I want to see the guy from My Chemical Romance.
Josh and Chris: Yeah.
Josh: Yeah. I haven’t heard of it, but I heard that you have to see it.
Josh: But I am very upset that we are not gonna be here tomorrow, because I really wanted to see a lot of bands tomorrow like Millencollin and Good Riddance.
Chris: Yeah, Turnstile too. Great band!
Josh: Well, I have the feeling that we can see the hardcore bands anytime but bands like Good Riddance, we want to see them immediately because it’s a rare thing to see.
Well, I know what you mean. But if we are going back to the history of Stick To Your Guns, would there be a story to tell or not?
George: The history of Stick To Your Guns?
George: Well, it’s very complicated. None of it makes sense. We just shouldn’t exist. So there you go.
Most weird answer ever.
Okay. Well, can you tell me something about the new album ‘Disobedient’?
Josh: ‘Disobedient’ came out a couple of months ago. It was recorded over a year ago. Unfortunately we sat on it for a year.
George: Not our fault. That’s a whole other story.
Josh: It’s another bands fault, but I can’t tell you what band.
Josh: I don’t know. It’s a great record. I enjoyed it.
Tell me something more!
Josh: Well, what you want to know then? (laughs)
Like everything? The lyrics, the music?
George: Fanatically it’s about disobedience. It’s about civil arrest and protest, I guess.
Tell me something about the artwork then?
George: The artwork? What do you want to know about it?
Josh: Have you’ve seen it?
Josh: Well, I think it speaks for itself.
Who’ve made it?
Josh: Euhm, his name is, euhm..
Josh: Wait you... (laughs).
(Josh is looking at George and Chris)
Josh: Is it Danny?
George and Josh together: Donny Phillips.
Josh: He used to be in a band called the Warriors. It’s an awesome artwork. We’ve had some people that did the artwork, but it didn’t work out and we’ve talked to Donny and gave him the idea of the record. He spit that out in no time. It was a perfect match. The artwork ‘in the songs’ go well together with the music. It suits each other.
And the new album is more in the sound of the previous album ‘Diamond’?
Josh: Yeah. It’s like that style. We experimented a little bit more with a few things on ‘Disobedient’ that weren’t on ‘Diamond’ like the last track. It’s definately more balanced. We pushed us a little bit more, because we didn’t want too put the same record out again. Stylished it wisely.
Chris: It falls into the line with ‘Diamond’, yeah.
Josh: Yeah. If you heard ‘Diamond’, that you will like ‘Disobedient’ and the rest what has to come.
Where do you find the inspirations for your lyrics?
Josh: Well, the person that writes the lyrics is now at a different table doing an interview. (Josh points at singer Jesse Barnett). You're shit out of luck on a lyrical question.
George: I think that Jesse draws inspiration from events that he observes and things in surrounding.
Chris: Personal life.
George: The usual stuff, yeah.
Well, what do you think about the similarities and differences between ‘Disobedient’ and ‘The Hope Division’?
George: Well, as far as musicianship we progressed as musicians. And songwriting...
Josh: ‘The Hope Division’ was the first record at the majority of this line-up. So now you’re three records deep and our ideas are shared easier then in the beginning.
Chris: I agree with that.
Are you very tired, Chris?
Chris: Yeah. I’ve could fall asleep, but I just didn’t sleep well.
Oh my God, and you have to go on stage in about an hour.
Chris: Yeah, but then it will be good.
Josh: We are usually very sleepy before we play. That wakes us up. And then we go to bed right after.
George: Yeah, right after.
Okay. Well, where did you find your influences for making this kind of music?
George: We look at the whole gimmic. But there may be bands like Pennywise and Lagwagon that are an inspiration.
Can you tell me something about Belgium then? Do you like it or not?
Josh: Yeah, we really like Belgium (shouts)! We tell you about Belgium, it’s great. When we see that Belgium is on our list to play, we are very siked, because 99% procent of the time it’s fucking insane. Honestly, most European festivals are always great. But I think that our stage has a great line-up for our music.
Is there a big difference between the European hardcore scene and the American one?
Josh: Yeah. The European hardcore scene is more open.
George: People are more openminded. They haven’t been jaded.
Josh: European people just LOVE music. Doesn’t matter it’s hardcore or punk. There are so many festivals in Europe and so many people going to the festivals, it’s mindblowing. There are not so many festivals in America.
George: No, there are like three.
Josh: That’s because they haven’t had any good business to run. So, I just think that it’s a part of European culture to go to a festival and it's not like that in America.
Okay. Thank you for the compliments. Well, different question. You’ve toured a lot with many bands and had many tours. But what was your favourite tour you’ve ever played?
(band is thinking)
Josh: Well, Never Say Die Tour 2014 was one of the better ones for sure.
Chris: Yeah, it was a very great tour. If you put us with a band like Terror or any band that we’re friends with, in that moment it’s the best.
That’s a good answer!
Josh: When things don’t go according to plan, that’s the only moment when the tour is just fucking great! We’ve got a lot of great shows and laughs with other bands, like the other day our bus blew up and we sat in the Ikea for like 7 hours. We were miserable. But it was like kinda fun, because there was the chaos. It’s something you couldn’t planned for, it was so unexpected. Days like that, that maybe are terrible, are the days that you remember on tour. We just laughed, ate some pizza and went to bed.
Maybe I had to ask this answer in the beginning, but what do you think of the hardcore scene today?
Josh: Chris, you can answer this question at best. What do you think about the hardcore scene?
Chris: Well, worldwide or general?
Chris: Right now I’m excited about it. I feel like that there was in the last 10 years an era about the music, all bands were just the same in music and lyrics. You had to play a role. But now with bands like Turnstile and stuff the 90s hardcore scene is back. Bands are experimenting all the time and I love it. I like the fact that younger bands are bringing the weird back. And that opens the door again.
George: Yeah. Kids seem to be more open then before.
Okay. Can you describe Stick To Your Guns in 3 words?
George: We fucking suck. (laughs).
George: 3 words?
Josh: The best around (laughs).
Chris: Best friends forever.
George: Yeah, there it is.
Well, next then, what was the craziest thing..
(Josh interrupts by screaming very loud in the mic)
Josh: I REFUSE TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION! We get that question every time. I want something different.
Well then, what was the worst thing that ever happened on tour?
Josh: The worst thing?
Chris: I broke my foot. That was the worst thing for me.
Josh looks straight to my face and says: I was at a show where a girl got raped.
Where the hell was that?
Josh: In America, in Orlando. That really was the worst thing ever. So there you go.
Well, if you ever wanted to do a splitalbum, with which band would you record this CD?
Josh: That’s a good question. We just did an album with the band The Story So Far. But what I like to do is cover singles of another band that hasn't the same genre of music like us. That would be fun and is something different. It’s too bad that splitalbums are very rare in this time. I love these albums, they are sick!
Okay. What are the future plans for Stick To Your Guns?
Josh: Well, we are now on a tour with Being As An Ocean, Deez Nuts and Trash Talk. We just did the US, South America, Australia and now Europe since the record came out. After this we are having a break for a few months. We have some tours line up in the States and some shows in Europe.
George: Yeah, we are back for this show. (pointing at a paper of Ieperfest).
Josh: Ieperfest? Oh my God, that’s a great line-up!
(Josh, George and Chris are mumbling something about their tour in the summer. They are so excited about the affiche of Ieperfest, that they are planning to go earlier to the festival in the summer. Here’s something about their conversation).
Josh: I just fly in on the first day.
Chris: Who plays the first day?
Josh: Caliban, Judge, Ceremony, Lionheart.. (reading).
Chris: Is that our first day of the festival?
Josh: Second day there is Biohazard, Chokehold, Walls Of Jericho, Nathan Gray, Trial? I am coming for sure!!! By the grace of God. How good is this?
(George is leaving the conversation because he needs to set up his drums, so the interview continues with Josh and Chris discussing the line-up of Ieperfest.)
Josh: Day two looks sick. Also three, because we are playing (laughs).
Well, this is the last question, but more personal.
Josh: Well, why don’t you ask? I really like personal questions.
Okay. What’s your job besides Stick To Your Guns?
Josh: This is my job.
Chris: Yes, playing in a band like Stick To Your Guns is intensive and we are always on the road.
Josh: Chris and me are very lucky. We were in other bands before Stick To Your Guns, and we are very lucky to have a future with this band and just play music.
So what do you do outside of your job?
Josh: Well, watch a lot of movies, hanging around with friends, ...
Josh: Yeah, I like horror movies. It’s great! Besides that I read and I write, I exercise, skateboard once a time, I live the life of a youth instead of an adult.
Chris: I’m so the opposite. I live the life of an adult, I change a lot of diapers, I renovate my house and so on.
Josh: Like Chris has a house and a newborn baby girl and a girlfriend. I have none of the above including a home (laughs).
Chris: So where do you live then? (laughs)
Josh: I’m homeless.
Oh no, you are kidding, right?
Josh: No. Do you wanna see where my house is? (laughs)
(Josh takes out his Iphone and shows me some pictures on his phone like one of his home: a storage with a lot of boxes).
Josh: Let me see here, right before Australia. I’m gonna find it.
Where do you live then? Is it in a box or in the street or in a station?
Josh: No, I just travel.
Is it in the car?
Chris: No, he flies.
(Josh shows me the picture).
Josh: Okay. This is it. What do you think?
Well, I don’t think I can believe it. But you are really one of the craziest persons I’ve ever met.
Josh: thanks for the compliment.
I really wanted to ask the next personal question. What is your favorite tattoo on your body? And has it a special meaning or inspiration for you?
Josh: There’s one on my thigh, I can’t show you. It’s kinda vulgar. And his lyrics from this band or group or artist. It says: ‘If I had a heart, I could love you'. Yeah, it’s a self reflection of my misery. Chris has no tattoos.
Well, that was the last question. Thank you for doing this great interview. And good luck with the future.
Josh: Thank you, too. This was such a great interview!