Interview: Setting the Paces With BOATOctober 19, 2009 at 11:44 am | Posted in Interview, Seattle | Leave a comment
Tags: Boat, Magic Marker
BOAT who are poised to release their third album Setting the Paces this week are like one of those new and improved products: Now better sounding and with more pop hooks! Not that the old version was inferior by any stretch of the imagination, and not to worry long-time fans, Boat is still Boat. The animal imagery, falsetto choruses, and sincere yet over the top delivery is all still there, only now it sounds so much better. Setting the Paces is like a rush of sugar to the head. The band is now officially a four piece with the addition of J. Long on drums. Long who also works at Two Sticks Studio in Seattle produced the new record and the results are immediate and winning.
When I contacted their fictitious manager H. Fozzleberry about interviewing the band, D. Crane responded graciously accepting my request and suggested we meet face to face. So we sat down in a big red booth at Piecora’s on Capitol Hill, where the band are obviously regulars and the diet coke flows freely. I wanted to find out about the new record so I stole the modus operandi of Lars Finberg and his interviews over at Terminal Boredom and started by going through the new album song by song to get a better idea of the approach the band took in recording their new record. Thanks to D. Crane and J. Long who sat in the booth, ate pizza, drank diet coke, and talked all things Boat.
The official Boat record release party for Setting the Paces is this Thursday (22 October) at Neumo’s. It promises to be quite the production (we talk about it below). They also have a second release gig scheduled for Portland at the Woods on 5 November and some rare east coast dates coming up. Check their MySpace for details.
Friends Since 1989
J Long: One of the first songs done I’d say, for the record. But what do the lyrics allude to?
D. Crane: It’s kind of a secret. It’s about one of the guys in the band, but they don’t know. Josh and I always battle back and forth. We always get in these epic battles.
J: Because they’re brothers in law.
D: Yeah we’re brothers in law. So the song’s kinda about him and battling with him. But we’ve been friends for long time. It’s deep.
J: My favorite Boat song, and a favorite to play at shows for the past year, but it was the last one that got finished for the recording because we had tried it early on in the process and then we ended up re-recording it with all of us, me Mark and Dave playing it together at the studio. Actually, what was really fun during the last piece of recording Dave was doing, he still had to do the middle Lately vocal things and I had I had you do it like a million times. It was funny because my wife was over when we were doing it and she was like, “Wow he really goes for it when he does the vocal takes.” It was really funny going back and listening to some of the vocal tracks solo. They were so hammy but so authentic too.
Toby: That’s kinda like Boat in a nutshell: Hammy but authentic.
D: I’ll take it.
J: that was the one that I really, really liked and people liked at shows. We’d been playing it over a year and half. It was just finally getting to the point that it lived up to the greatness in my head or something, or the greatness of the shows maybe.
D: Yeah, because when it was demo it sounded like a UB40 song. I was singing it like lately, lately kinda weird chorus.
J: Not Rasta.
D: Kinda slightly English white guy reggae.
J: With some bad reverb.
D: Yeah, so it was questionable. Strange that it made it.
Tough Talking the Tulips
D: They all have a bunch of different starting points but…
J: I want to know about the lyric. The line about blocking out the sound, cover your ears maybe you can block out the sound?
D: I think some of them are kind of strung together with the other lyrics, but it’s mostly about um (laughing). These are all about you guys and myself. I guess. But this one again is about uncomfortable dude stuff, a lady leaving town on a guy, heavy stuff.
Waiter arrives with our slices bringing Dave an extra slice on the house. I think they come here a lot.
T: Is this your Wedding Present song?
D: I was not aware that the Wedding Present had song called Interstate 5
J: I remember Chris in my old band had a big I-5 shirt.
T: Gedge was living here when he did Take Fountain.
D: I’d never heard it, and I still haven’t. I would like to. I actually kind of frustrated now, because I wanted to call it something different.
J: The song?
D: Yeah, I wanted to call it Beat Me, Break Me. It would have had a single cover drawing or painting of this guy smoking. It was going to be like he took on this kind of tough oath, but It never really happened.
J: The beat me break me, bound and gag me kind of reminds me of Seal. There was some song on a soundtrack, like Batman Forever?
D: That’s Kiss from a Rose, right? I know that song and If We’re ever gonna survive. Those are the only two Seal Songs I know. Plus he’s married to the lady on Top Model…or Project Runway.
We start off on a tangent about Seal, Project Runway and Heidi Clume and Tyra Banks, whether or not my wife watches Project Runway and the importance of having the rock and roll encyclopedia in the bathroom.
100 Calorie Man
J: My favorite one to record. One of the times I was working (Jackson works at Two Sticks Studio recording studio) we really couldn’t dive into the vocal track, but I had enough time to try something else. Dave always does these interludes that were used pretty heavily on Let’s Drag Our Feet and somewhat on Songs that You Might Not Like, a little bit. So 100 Calorie Man was one that he had had a demo version of. It was cool because, I think Dave turned on the organ, cranked up the beat, and then played to the beat with the guitar amp. It was just very live. That was the song I got to actually do something. I made the little loopy, backwards-y thing, but I think the really cool thing about it is that it’s one little nugget. We finished it in a day, and it’s really satisfying.
D: I think you finished it in a half an hour.
J: It came together quick.
D: I’m not gonna say what it’s about.
J: No, no let’s hear
D: So much of my day is repetitive; waking up at the same time; going through the same routine. So I got on this thing of having the same routine every morning. Instead of breakfast I started eating these 100 calorie snacks. It’s the lamest conception of a song ever. It’s kind of like, getting ready in the bathroom, it would be dark. It’s the horrible time in the morning when you realize you’re just at the beginning of that routine and you still have 90 percent of the routine to go through. You get to that point, you know. I do like my job, but at 3:00 it’s the best time when you’re done.
We Want It! We Want It!
D: I was going to have a band with my wife. She plays the drums. I don’t remember why I was going to have a band with her. It was kind of a period of inactivity maybe?
J: I think maybe it was I was just being too slow.
D: No, no there were a couple months where we didn’t do much last winter and I was trying to force her into doing a band and we made this song. I had this sucky guitar because I get all these crappy guitars. So I played those chords and we made this song, and then I ended up liking it so much that I stole it for Boat. Then she didn’t want to have a band anymore because she felt like the second best.
J: She’s still pissed about us stealing it.
D: Yeah, she’s still pissed.
T: So you guys had a name for the band?
D: It was going to be called Genuine Diamonds. We almost played a show, but we had to cancel it.
The Name Tossers
J: that was one of the last demos we put together. I kind of latched onto it a lot because I thought it sounded very Motown. I was looking for ways to have that sort of vibe on the song. so I think we just tried to throughout the whole process of recording it, we tried to make it sound like not necessarily Motown, but kind of 50’s-esque. That was one we actually played together. Mark’s guitar part with the little whammy bar, I don’t think he had done that before.
D: It sounded like Interstate 8, Modest Mouse guitar part. It was awesome!
T: It sounds like the hit single to me.
D: It was weird, Kurt at Magic Marker, I think he didn’t like that one.
T: It’s got kind of a sound to it that isn’t typical of [what you expect to hear on] Magic Marker.
D: I think he kind of feels that way about the whole album, but he likes it. That’s pretty fun. We just started playing that.
Jeff Fell Dream (Grow Into Your Scene)
D: I can’t believe we’re getting away with the parenthesis
J: That was another interlude.
D: Yeah, It was just thrown together real quick. It’s the first draft lyric, first draft everything. Not that it was a toss-off; we liked it kind of as it was. It was one of those ones, like why try to make it something bigger? Just have it be that. We played with Jeff Fell from Tullycraft for about six months a couple years ago because we didn’t have a drummer, before Jackson joined the band. He just helped us out. He’s the nicest guy. The Tullycraft people are all nice, but he was the most genuine. If I had a big brother, I’d want it to be him. He was just super awesome and we never did anything to thank him. He didn’t really want to join the band necessarily, but we just kind of said goodbye and really didn’t hang out after that and we feel bad. So it’s supposed to be a tribute to him in some way. I don’t even think he’s aware that it exists.
Prince of Tacoma
T: Lyrically this song reminds me of Clogged Castle (from the first record).
D: It’s kind of the same…my dad.
J: Who is the Prince of Tacoma?
T: That’s a good question. I should have asked that.
J: I have a journalism background.
D: Did you take journalism? I didn’t know that.
J: Yeah, that was my major.
D: Yeah, I guess I am [the Prince of Tacoma]. I want my friends to move there.
God Save the Man, Who Isn’t All That Super
T: This is the audience participation song.
D: Yeah, it’s got the shaker part. That was all his (Jackson’s) idea.
J: It was?
D: It was kind of like Last Cans of Paint. It was very much straight strum. Then we played it as a band and thought how we could make it more interesting. So you came up with the idea of some kind of drop out, but it was going to start with the drop out, and then you had this idea to have the second verse be the drop out and have this big shaker participation part.
J: It’s got the faux Who part. What song was it, Genius that had the faux Live at Leeds version?
D: They played stuff, not badly, but a lot rocky-er than the recording.
J: I can’t think of the words to this one.
D: Really? It’s a pretty memorable song.
J: No, it is, but we haven’t played it in a while.
D: It was supposed to be a big rock song with the shaker part. I’m big into whenever we can get the shakers going. It’s really cool the way you recorded it because you did one shaker and then that shaker would stay and then there would be another shaker, and then I think there’s a third, and then a fourth would pop in. From a recording sense it was pretty phenomenal.
J: Thank you.
(do the) Magic Centipede
D: It’s a Pearl Jam reference
T: So it’s not a dance?
D: It was going to be. It was going to be like the Locomotion. Very seriously that was the idea. It was gonna be like the Locomotion. I guess that’s where the “do the” comes from. But then we both were really into Pearl Jam growing up, so it reminds me of Do the Evolution where Eddie Vedder pretends he’s a character singing it. I thought it was their most awesome song because of that. It seemed kind of silly and over the top and so I kind of wanted that song to be over the top too.
J: It sort of compares with Name Tossers because it’s hammy and sounds kind of 50’s. At least that’s what I’d like to think.
D: Like the Rodney Dangerfield ooohs and stuff in Back to School. It really is hammy. You’re right, there’s a ham element, but it’s natural. We shouldn’t be getting away with it. I’m not sure how much longer we will.
J: Our orchestral piece. Z. Duffy thought that it was a diss on Chicago, and I told him I thought it was about you going to work out.
D: I always thing that every album needs some variety of sounds. I don’t know if we achieve that always, but still not everything’s fast or not everything’s loud. That was supposed to be kind of a mellow song. The other thing I think of is that I made it when I use to go to the gym a lot the last couple years. I would just run on the tread mill for a half hour, do the chest press, do maybe 25 sit ups and leave. It’s not the most intense. It’s like the married guy’s work out. We (referring to his wife) both do about the same and then we go somewhere and eat a bunch of food. So I had this Shakey Hands t-shirt that I love and I would always wear it to work out. I would check myself out in the mirror, I didn’t necessarily mean to, but it would just have this little sweat. You could see the shadow of the sweat. Whenever I’m at the gym, I think about is that song.
J: It took eight hours to mix. We did a lot of shaping after the fact with that one. It started as song that Dave and this guy Ricky who plays with us, he’s from Portland.
D: I stayed at his house in Portland and we made up a song together, and that was it. He does the high pitched harmonies.
J: it would be fun to do a mix of that where it’s just Ricky’s overdubs. There’s toy piano, and gloc. They’re independent. They don’t work [separately], but together they’re totally twinkling back and forth
D: He’s got a weird basement full of funky little instruments
T: Is he in a band?
D: He’s was in this band the Galactic Heroes on Magic Marker. I think he longs to be in a band again so we always invite him to play with us. He’s a band nerd guy where he can transpose anything, sing these harmonies.
T: He’s like a utility guy.
D: Yeah, definitely a utility guy. We can just tell him to learn these songs and he totally does. He just shows up!
J: That one had been around a long time. I always thought it’s a great chorus, but where does it go? We’d get to the chorus within 10 seconds. We had to expand it and make it big in the right places
D: I think the ending is almost, I wouldn’t say bad rock, but it just kind of continues
J: Well it’s got J. Goodman’s guitar.
D: So Josh in the band can play the guitar like none of us can, so we kind of let him just pour it all on at the end of the album. In the past I’d always go let’s end with a quiet song, but this time it seemed like let’s go with a crazy ass song. I think it might be my favorite song on the album.
J: That one got the full cocktail, a whole slew of shakers and tambourines.
D: Yeah and it kind of sincerely references China! It’s kinda got corny motivational lyrics.
D: Yeah, it’s corny, but it was intentionally a motivational kind of lyric, maybe not for a generation, but for 30 year olds everywhere. (Laughing) That’s totally not it.
J: A sort of a “you can do it”?
D: Plain as it can be. You can do it song.
T: The first two records could be categorized as underachiever records with title like Songs That You Might Not Like and Let’s Drag Our Feet. It seems like the band has turned a corner With Setting the Paces. Based on the title alone it’s a more confident record
D: It was kind of intentional. We’ve been the underachiever now we’re setting the paces. This is how we want it, we don’t care if you take it or leave it.
J: I think it’s supposed to be a little bit ironic, kind of like being put through your paces and setting the pace, setting the paces. It’s sort of weird. It’s sort of wrong, grammatically speaking?
D: I think it works, setting the pace. Do you think it works? Does it sound like…
T: …It’s grammatically incorrect? No, I thought it was intentional.
D: We’re setting the paces. We’re calling the shots now!
J: But we’re not really sure if we should do that.
D: Yeah, I think we are (laughs). Some of the other ideas for the album were…You didn’t ever hear some of these. I was afraid to tell you guys. Josh wanted it to be “You Can’t Believe It and Neither Can I”. I wanted it to be “I Want to Be Your Linda Ronstadt”. I didn’t have the guts to tell you guys that. And I meant it, totally corny again, my dad loves Linda Ronstadt so it was like I want to be your epic, your favorite album and it was going to have a picture of her on the cover.
J: You had the idea of having pictures of all of our dads on the cover.
D: Yeah, and having them do a photo shoot.
J: Or dig up cool old photos when they had Neil Young chops in the 70’s.
D: I know my dad looked super cool. I think I saw a picture of your dad, he was cool too. We all have dads and pretty connected families. We all have dads we keep in touch with.
T: So I was talking to Jackson a little be before about how the new album just sounds more confident. The production sounds better (than the first two albums). Was it a different way you recorded it? Is it the result of now having Jackson in the band to produce it?
D: I think with the other ones we always did the best we could with what we knew and the resources we had. Jackson just brought it to a new possible level that we didn’t know we were capable of. He also brought in this work ethic where we worked on the songs. Before I would have showed my ideas to the guys and been like let’s work something up tonight and work it up again tomorrow night and then try to record it. We sat with these songs for a long time.
(Dave orders his second large diet coke)
J: The funny thing is, I get kind of nervous about the fact that it’s a little bit more slick, because it’s hard to figure out if the way the first two records sound is part of the charm.
D: I don’t think it changes it, when I listen to it just seems clearer in a way. Your drums are cool, you do some odd little taps and stuff, but you can actually hear it. It’s well recorded.
J: Dave always does, well most of time he does a demo version of a song.
D: I actually have demos of the whole album
J: They [the songs] end up pretty different. Dave has this digital 16 track with crazy effects. The engineer side of me sort of thinks they’re funny, but at the same time I think I got a lot of inspiration recording-wise from the demos. I decided that every vocal that we recorded I would put big chorus and compression just effects to get Dave excited when he was singing it. And then some of that just ended up staying on the record. I was trying to get back to how the demos sounded, because I like the demos a lot.
D: I think it’s definitely a new level of recording Boat, and that all should be attributed to you. The songs were more rehearsed and more developed.
T: How did Jackson join the band? This is the first album where Boat is officially a four-piece.
D: I think it’s the last line-up of the band. I just don’t see it like… Yeah, so how did you join?
J: I knew Josh from Bellingham. We’re both from Bellingham. Dave also lived in Bellingham, pre-dating me. I was in a band named Racetrack up there. We broke up, and then I moved to Seattle. I went to the release show for Let’s Drag Our Feet, and I really liked it but I’m kind of one track minded about stuff. They had asked me to play in the band but I wasn’t sure if I could totally commit to being in a new band and going full tilt. If I was to join I wanted to make sure I knew the whole back catalog of songs and try to be a full-fledged member.
T: What is BOAT’s drink of choice while making a record?
J: It’s Diet Coke. When I’d go down to Dave’s place, he’d be like, you want a soda, or maybe a beer somewhere back there in the fridge.
T: There’s a video from when you were recording the record of you guys kicking a 2 liter bottle around the kitchen. So Diet Coke is only Dave’s drink of choice?
D: It’s kind of semi-official, because Jackson, you don’t really like it. You’re kind of a classy beer drinker; you drink some weird stuff at weird times. You’ll come up with a giant 22oz of, I don’t even know, Dos XX?
J: No, no.
D: What is it?
D: [says smoothly] Oh, Negra Modello.
J: You can get Josh to drink. Mark doesn’t really drink, he’s pretty wholesome.
D: I still don’t know how a lot of bands get home from the show if everyone gets drunk. The reality of playing is you’ve gotta drop off the stuff after the show. It’s not very cool. I mean a lot of bands do get totally drunk, but I don’t know how they get the job done, unless they have a driver.
J: A designated driver.
D: But sometimes when they give you the free beer it’s hard not to just…
J: I like it when Dave drinks. Drinking was partly responsible for the drum dive at Neumo’s.
D: Yeah, that was bad.
J: Everything came apart. I played the whole song with the drums at an angle. Two cymbals fell. You put them back up, but they were way out.
D: They gave us Red Stripe, but they were super bottles. They were like little tanks. I was joking that I was going to drink them just like they were regular [size] and I had three really quick. I thought I’d be like Robert Pollard, because I saw him play at Neumo’s and he was great. I would just pretend it’s not even affecting me and then we got there and I was just grinning the whole time. I stood up on the monitors and I was playing the guitar and I think people thought I was going to jump off. It was a really full show because Harvey Danger was gonna play. I was gonna jump. [thinking] maybe I should. It was that moment of incoherence, and then I turned around and jumped backwards and fell into the drums. It was such a bad moment. It was not even a cool jump.
T: So, on the new record there are lots of lyrics about debt and money. For instance: “Go to Citibank and Take out a loan”, “practice your math so you can pay your bills”, “the subject of the day is how can repay this debt of all the money, money we aren’t making”. What is BOAT’s take on the global economic downturn?
J: I had an answer until the question was actually asked. I think about Dave and home ownership, which is awesome. I’m jealous of that. I spend a lot of time thinking about wanting to have a house so I can do recording things, and have my own space. I’ve seen other people do that a lot of them have to really take the leap into adulthood. I think maybe for you and maybe for me, we’re teetering the line between wanting to be a kid, or wanting to just do the band, or we have to face the adult responsibilities.
D: I think we’re getting to that age. Being able to make songs, because my wife is super supportive, she would listen and not be real judgmental. So I can’t say, I wish there was this era where I could go back to when I could do whatever I wanted. It’s a constant struggle of wanting to do more. I’m jealous of some bands because they do a lot of touring, because I don’t know that we’ll ever get that chance unless someone made it work somehow. Not wanting to admit that at the end of the month you have to go to work, you have to pay your mortgage bills. I couldn’t quit my job, and I wouldn’t want to either. It’s super awesome to play shows but if I did that year round I think I’d feel like kind of a putz. There’s a certain element of what else are you going to do with your time. We both have stuff that we’re super into with our time that we wouldn’t want to give up.
J: It’s interesting for me that if our stuff gets reviewed on Pitchfork, there’s other stuff that’s getting reviewed, albums that took months and months with large budgets to make. It’s funny for us to be putting out an album by two dudes that teach school all the time. We’re not a full time band but we still get to be reviewed and hopefully listened to by a wide range of people.
D: I’m bad with money. My wife’s the more responsible one. With records and stuff, I put a certain amount in savings every month, but I still have this kid thing where I think, the rest of the money? Fuck it! I can just go to zero at the end of the month. I’m always teetering the line of going broke. Or is she going to look at the account and go, really $200, there’s seven more days of the month we gotta get groceries, and other stuff. You know real life.
T: It’s kinda cool that the way music is disseminated these days and being on the kind of record label that you’re on that you have that luxury of being able to be in a band and have regular jobs too.
D: It’s pretty awesome, to be able to go play in New York and have people come out to the shows. It’s still like a weird dream though. You go over there. Last time people showed up. Hopefully this time they will again. It was crazy to be able to do that,I had never been there before. To say we played New York City, a legitimate show at these places where the cool band of the week played before.
J: It’s exciting to do that even though we’ve got no big architecture, or no big machine behind us, no manager, no booking agent.
T: So you guys book your own shows?
D: Yeah, it’s that horrible email, H. Fozzleberry Presents. I didn’t even realize it said that until I saw that someone forward the email to me.
T: Who is H. Fozzleberry?
D: It’s just a joke. When we started out I tried to get shows and I pretended we that had a manager. I was like, I’ll just go ridiculous with the name. Thinking people will kind of realize it’s a joke, but they’ll be ok with it.
J: Someone this week wrote back, Mr. Fozzleberry, what can I do for you good sir?
D: They’re kind of making fun of us but I bet it’s a very dull job. It’s probably boring to sit in the back at Neumo’s and book shows. In reality that probably sucks and so they think I’ll have a joke with this guy with the shitty name. They probably have a laugh about it. It’s been getting a lot of mileage lately. This other guy wrote back and it was a lot of that kind sir, Mr. Fozzleberry. So I might just go with it and keep attaching the name.
T: Before hooking up with Magic Marker and releasing Songs That You Might Not Like you put out a couple self-released records Comic Book Rock and Life is a Shipwreck.
D: And another one called After All, It’s Pretty Deep.
T: So is that stuff kind of tucked away in the annals of Boat history, or have songs from those albums leaked onto subsequent records?
(Dave orders his third diet coke)
D: Some of the Shipwreck stuff was on Songs That You Might Not Like, redone. We thought, now that we’re on a label we should re-record it, but some of it sounds worse. Not worse, but the originals were cooler. Songs That You Might Not Like was half new songs, half old stuff. Then we stopped making that stuff [self-released albums]. It was more me, Mark and this other guy Greg who was in the band for a short time at the very beginning. I don’t even have copies of that stuff. I’m horrible at keeping stuff. Josh in the band somehow tucked away everything. I’d make like 10 of them and give them to my friends. So he has all of them, my parents have them all and that’s like it. I don’t even have them on my computer.
J: We put a few up on the web site. I think as a fan because a lot of it pre-dates me. From a fan standpoint having a section where you can hear unreleased or unheard stuff is a good idea.
D: Ideally in the future, it would be cool if Kurt and Mark would somehow do a reissue. They did a Dear Nora one. If we could do that with the old Boat stuff. We’d have to actually sell something this time for them to do that.
T: There seems to be secret BOAT language (castles, reptiles, centipedes, minivans, donkeys, lobsters, snakes). Is there a BOAT Rosetta stone? You use a lot of child like imagery to convey mature themes. Does minivan mean something else?
D: Obviously not, because I’m trying to think of something cool to say. I think a lot of the songs could be read as symbolic, but I think a lot of times sadly, there more literal than one would want to believe. They could be deeper, the Magic Centipede could be something else. Who’s to say it isn’t, or it could be a person in a giant dragon costume. In Beacon Hill when I use to live there, you’d drive through the international district and there would be people in giant Dragon costumes for Chinese New Year. I always imagined a giant centipede costume.
J: Mark and I were talking about the 100 Calorie Man, where you’re basically just going through your day. I was saying how much I liked the lyrics, and it kind of feels a little bit sentimental but doesn’t go too far. It is kind of a cool moment. I asked him, do you think he’s saying something there? Mark says no, don’t read into it. It’s just Dave, you know Dave. But you are saying something, but without being over the top about it.
D: There are so many bands and singers who sound like they’re trying to sound like they’re someone else. The first songs that I felt that I could actually call songs were things where I wasn’t really trying to sound like anyone, some of it’s pretty corny or pretty hammy, but I usually stop when I have an idea, or I accept that idea when I feel that it’s kind of at that point. So that’s what comes out. The animal stuff, the imagery, I think of people as animals. I’ll call my wife some type of dog, and I think a lot of guys wouldn’t get away with that, but she knows I genuinely love dogs. Yeah, It’s kina questionable. Or even calling someone a little donkey, or elephant, I think it’s more naive.
T: What’s the deal with the confetti? It seems like every time I see you a Boat gig there is more confetti than the last one. When you guys go on tour, is that what you do in the van, cut confetti?
D: Yeah, we get local weekly’s and tear them up in the back of the van. (8:55)
J: There’s a couple pair of scissors in my shoulder bag. I think we’re sort of conflicted about it.
D: Now it’s at a weird place. It never was supposed to be…It started off as a spur of the moment thing and now it’s like, do we stop doing it? Should we do it? Is it stupid?
J: You mean at practice?
D: Yeah we did it at practice a couple times. What do you think?
T: I think it’s cool, because it’s something different. Most bands I see just play, with you guys there’s interaction with the audience. Some people might think it’s corny.
J: Those people probably wouldn’t like it anyway.
D: So you’ll have people who will say, I was with them…
T: Until the confetti.
D: [continuing] They seemed so serious and good-looking. I don’t want it to be predictable. The Flaming Lips are cool, but it’s strange how they got on this thing about pretty much doing the same thing year after year. I saw them in Chicago the second year they were doing it and I thought it was awesome, but now seeing it….oh you’re gonna do the ball thing again? It’s cool, but it’s like going to Cirque du Soleil.
T: Now people going to Flaming Lips show and if they don’t see it then they’re disappointed.
D: What if they just try to play their songs? I mean I feel for them, I don’t want it to become something like that with the confetti, but it doesn’t keep me up at night.
T: I think it just looks like you’re having fun. I was at a Coconut Coolouts show and they had the individually wrapped white Lifesavers they were throwing out telling everybody they were acid.
D: I think it’s fun to have more interaction. We’ve played with some bands on tour, sometimes big bands, and I don’t know how they get away with being so disengaged. When we went to New York, we were just blown away to be there, and it was obvious.
J: I think we went all out too. It was almost more comfortable to be ourselves, to try go full tilt in New York. Confetti, shakers, crazy signs.
T: You’ve alluded to the record release party at Neumo’s is going to be a big production, is it true?
D: Yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be big! There’s going to be a lot of cardboard art. Do you know Claes Oldenburg? He makes jumbo stuff. In New York there’s a giant clothes pin probably as big as this restaurant. So I really like the idea to make giant cardboard stuff that has to do with the songs. There’s a lot of pieces that have to do with the different songs, specific lyrics that stand out to me. The stage is going to be crazy decorated. My hope is that it looks like a bad high school musical. Well, not bad because it’s going to be cool. It’s not going to be shabbily done, but you know it’s made out of card board. We’ve made this big cardboard light up Boat sign. I’m trying to get the guy at Neumo’s to figure out how to hang it. Giant tulips, a giant toaster.
J: A bagel
D: So the plan is to be like the big apple at Shea Stadium in New York, after songs to have the bagel to come up and out of the toaster, and then have the smoke machine behind the toaster so it looks like the bagel is burning.
T: Instead of Stonehenge, you’ve got the bagel in the toaster.
D: And then we’ve got Ron Hexagon, he’s a comedian who’s going to be the MC. The hope right now is for him to have a desk at the side of the stage, kind of like Leno, corny comedian.
T: So is the art just a hobby or are you more serious about it?
D: It’s a hobby.
J: And you teach it at school.
D: I taught art last year, totally unlicensed. All the schools have shifted to no art. There’s no shop or anything cool for the kids to do. If you get below a certain WASL score you have to take an extra math, and if you get below a WASL Reading and Math [score] you have to take an extra reading and math. You don’t even get P.E. It’s messed up, I kinda can’t believe it’s going on. So I got a job in Federal Way and down there they’ve have this deal where if the kids pass stuff then they can have an elective. Which of course they [the schools] have no plans for the electives. So they’re like Mr. Crane what do you want to teach. So I said, let’s do art? And they’re like sure! I’ve gotten way into it. I do the projects with the kids. It’s exciting!
T: So there’s not going to be a show at a gallery of Boat artwork some day?
D: I don’t think so. I don’t know.
J: This year you were working on drawings of 100 dudes.
D: It’s weird. I drew a lot when I was a kid. And then my wife got me a bunch of sketch books on Christmas and I started doing a lot of cartoon stuff again. I’ve gotten way more into it. I have this garage, and I we cleaned it out and I just do artwork out there. It’s awesome to be out there at night. It’s kind of a scary part of town. Just out there with the lights on and just be painting.
T: You guys are obviously big baseball fans. Who do you think should be invited to Cooperstown first, Barry Bonds or Pete Rose?
D: He’s more into it than I am. I’m more into the nostalgia.
J: I like Pete Rose more than Barry Bonds.
D: Barry Bonds, there’s not a lot of charm there. Pete Rose, his nickname is Charlie Hustle. He hustles, very respectable. Bonds, he was a dick to press, to the fans, to everybody.
J: He took Willie May’s Number.
D: Yes, he’s less easy to like. Pete Rose, you kind of feel bad for him.
J: Didn’t Pete Rose stick with one team?
T: He went to the Phillies later, but I think the Reds let him go.
J: The thing that irks me is the players changing teams. There’s so much trading and so much emphasis around the trading deadline. I grew up watching the braves. All the players for the most part were from their farm system and the stuck with the team throughout their whole career. Now a guy gets good and he leaves.
D: It’s not as interesting to me anymore. But I would definitely say Pete Rose. Would you go on record saying Pete Rose?
J: Yeah, I guess so.
D: I think Pete Rose is from a more charming era too. When you think of him you think of him diving for first and second. With Bonds you think of this coldness. He’s hitting these home runs and it’s not even clear, because they don’t show it on the camera very often him running around the bases. You almost think he hits it, and they just call it a home run and he’s back in the dugout. On the highlights they just show his swing. He’s got kind of a cool swing, and they show him at home plate pointing to the sky, totally lame. When he was on the Pirates, he was cool.
J: He was a different person.
D: When they had Bonilla and him and Van Slyke and Sid Bream. That was a cool team.
T: Setting the Paces is the first record you guys have released on vinyl. What do you guys think of the vinyl resurgence?
J: Not that ever I buy stuff to resell it, but if you buy a CD its value immediately depreciates. If you buy a new record on vinyl its value doesn’t go down. One reason we really wanted to go with vinyl, with people buying less stuff and all the downloading you’ve really got to make a package cool to give people some incentive. I think that people want that tangible thing, for the same reason they buy that $40 t-shirt at the end of the Pearl Jam show. They want to have something tangible.
D: I love the artwork of the albums. I even like the feel of the paper and cardboard. With CD’s you’ve got the plastic jewel case that suck. The artwork is big. I’m kind of fascinated by it. It makes me listen to albums. With an iPod you end up listening to only parts of them. I’d just rather buy a record on vinyl