Featured Rock the Vote Artist
Middle Class Rut
Tell us about your first concert experience:
My first real concert was probably Deftones and Downset at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco. I was 13 maybe 14. Around that time my whole interest in music was based around anyone from the Sacto scene. Deftones were just starting to break out of there on a more national level. I didn't really know how to be at a concert, where to stand, how much merch would cost. I probably wasn't expecting to get slammed around. Changed my life though, after that the plan was to go to as many concerts as possible and buy anything I could get my hands on.
If you couldn't be a musician, what would you be doing instead?
I would have to not know about music altogether. Otherwise who is this person keeping me from being a musician? Its hard to think like that because the goal was always to find something you love and try and do that for a living. If I wasn't able to be a musician id be who I was for a long time, a miserable person wishing I was able to play music instead of working wherever I was at the time.
If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It'd be a lot of different people for different reasons. Id wanna collaborate with Dylan just be able to hang out and bullshit with him… not necessarily because I think itd be a great fit. I wish I coulda been the guitar player when Johhny Cash went to Folsom Prison to record a live record. Luther Perkins was never a shredder but always played loop based hooky lead lines so I identify with that. Sean and I make a lot of music that sounds like huge raw hip-hop. Be cool to be able to slip one of those beats to Lil Wayne. You can tell the guy likes heavy guitars but when your not a part of a certain scene you have no way of knowing what sounds cheesy or not. He needs guitar driven beats that are as raw as his voice. Not horribly fuzzed out Katy Perry guitars with replaced drums.
If you became President, what is the first action you would take?
First thing id do is probably resign. Leave it someone who was born to lead a mass amount of people. Seems like this country has had enough people in charge that ended up there because they answered certain questions the right way.
What social cause is closest to your heart?
I don't have a specific cause or organization that I fight for. Not to say that there aren't some I believe in. The people spearheading social causes are generally a lot more informed then I am. As they should be. I guess im out for the basic human looking for wherever they fit in in the world.
What does the right to vote mean to you?
It gives someone the power to be involved or make a change if they want to. I don't necessarily believe that my one vote is going to sway something one way or another. I mean that's usually the selling point “your one vote can change it all!”. I think it allows the people fighting for a specific cause to go out and inform people as to why they should be thinking one way or another. I don't believe in ignorant voting.. as in being there just because someone tells you to vote. Even though you don't know the first thing about the issues or the people trying to be elected. Seems like with this last election it became about who had a cooler art campaign. People were voting for Obama because he had the most shirts for sale in Urban Outfitters and it was the cool thing to do. Being President shouldn't be about making someone into a pop culture icon. That's when they lose me. Then it starts to feel like everything else. When all the hype is saying listen to this band! Wear these clothes! Vote for this guy! Seems like the quickest way to cheapen something is to saturate people with it.
What bands or artists did you listen to when you were in high school? And which bands or artists influenced your style the most?
From jr high into high school Rage was always up towards the top. I was pretty split down the middle. I was into almost everything that came out of the seattle scene and also heavily into our local scene. As I got older I got more into artists like quicksand and failure, sunny day real estate. Anything I heard about that other people didn't seem to know about felt good to listen to. Id wear shirts of bands and have kids ask me what it was. Felt like you knew something they didn't. As for people that directly influenced what I do now, its all of em. Ive always loved heavy music and ive always loved melody. So when we started this band, and I was thrown into having to be a singer and a writer, it came natural to me to want to scream and sing melody. You try let everything just come out as it wants to. As soon as you try to steer it one way or another it loses what made it yours to begin with.
What activity or group were you involved with in high school that might surprise people today?
I wasn't involved in anything in high school. I might as well have been a ghost. I went to high school in Berkeley but my whole life existed in sacramento. So days were spent waiting to get out, waiting to go play music, play shows, see my friends, etc. You could probably ask everyone I went to school with about me and they might vaguely remember some kid wandering around that coulda been me.
What's the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in high school? (could be personal or academic)
Staying there long enough to graduate. My parents were strict when it came to education. Seems like they would pretty much let me do anything I wanted as long as I held up things on that end. From 6th grade on I wasn't sure who I was or what I was doing there in terms of school. All my memories of it are waiting for it to end.
Do you do any volunteer or community work when you're not on tour?
Touring feels like a type of community work. Traveling around to different cities and meeting lots of people every night. Hoping to leave them with a piece of whatever you got from going to shows as a kid. We've been touring so much over the past 2 years that when im home I just want to be home. So no, I do not volunteer or do community work.
What change would you like to see in our society in the next year?
Id like to see more happy people, more people being nice. Basics. Especially since we travel so much I always find that when we run into someone nice it's a huuuuge deal. Everyones talking later... “wasn't he/she so nice!”. its become a rare quality. Everyone makes you feel like a burden. Ordering food, checking into a hotel, trying to park, looking for a place to plug your amp in, needing a receipt, can I have a few extra lemons on the side? You start walking around feeling like everyones miserable where they are. Maybe they are. More nice people would be good.