Yo, so Heartattack Fanzine is doing its last ever issue next month. Here is the FU interview that will appear in it. The interview was conducted by David Eliade in January of '06.
Coincidentally, our friend Rob from Columbus is starting work on the first volume of the Fucked Up physical encyclopedia. If you want to write or research for it, get in touch through David Eliade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John in Detroit is working out the official online Fucked Up discography page. If you have wierd pressing variations or a solid collection, email images to David.
Likewise, the second volume of the Mixtape is going to be out in July. If have any live footage of FU, or are in a sick band and want to debut your shit on it, get in touch also.
Regarding your current attempts to infiltrate the mainstream - what do you think is the best possible/most ideal/most insane way that this could play out?
Pink Eyes: Fucked Up becomes a phenomenon rivaling Beatlemania and then moves beyond the confines of being just a mere band and we take over the government in a sort of silent revolution by forcing them to lower the legal voting age to 14 and then we make anyone over a certain age into an interment camp where they have to take acid... shit would be wild in the streets.
Marbles: I don't know...that we get really big and then the name starts this minor debate about swearing and ethics and public decency, and then like legions of little kids take the band to heart in the most extreme sense because we're going to cast sigils on their brains, and these thousands of kids dropout and start causing havoc and baiting the public all over society and it creates a social civil war between upstanding society and our newly minted degenerate Fucked Up army. There will honestly be a lot of mind control shit and magick in the LP to try and accomplish this.
C. Camp: OK, best possible situation: FU becomes a huge band, massive, completely fucking mainstream with legions of fans, quadruple platinum records and all that shit. There are TRL appearances and we play charity concerts etc, but the whole time act a bit standoff-ish and strange. That’s phase 1. Phase 2, we convince our record label to sink a couple million into a new revolutionary ‘fan club’, “it’ll be the Web 2.0 of music”, we tell them. We proceed to set up a massive network anywhere we had throngs of people devoted to us of as many columns as possible of the Fucked Up Ant Army. The record label at this point thinks this is going to be a twist on the “street team” kind of thing where people get free CDs for putting up our stickers in bathrooms. We organize this Fan Club 2.0 the same way that Venezuela is organizing its Bolivarian Circles right now. If you’re not familiar with this, Presidente Chavez made the call following the failed coup against him in 2002 for Latin American expats and others to set up Bolivarian Circles worldwide to gather support for the Venezuelan revolution. They are basically small collectives that get aid from Venezuelan consulates and embassies to spread propaganda in their local cities and communities. They have regional, national, and international meetings as well. This is how the Ant Army would work. Initially the columns would be charged with studying and supporting the band. Whenever we played a town we would stay at the Ant Army space. They would do security and transportation and all that shit. Essentially this would be the most participatory fan club of all time. Once this was solid we’d get them to start working on bigger tasks. They would set up warehouses with auto-repair shops, metalworks, woodworking shops, science labs, and greenhouses to grow weird plants, vegetables, marijuana and tobacco. This would start to create endogenous income for these groups to subsist on. They would be told NOT to start bookstores or cultural centers. They would also harvest resources and tools from their cities and towns and just stockpile vast quantities of everything. Eventually these groups would each be real strong and networked with each other. All this would be leading towards nothing and anything in particular, people would ask all the time and different answers would be given, enough so that they wouldn’t be confused but also not angry about contradictory descriptions about what the fuck was going on. Finally, the band would count our chickens, disappear (maybe fake our own deaths) go live in Malta or the Virgin Islands and just see what would happen with these groups and all the structures they created, if they would form any kind of organic ideology that would propel them to doing something else or if they would just fizzle out and die. This would be a massive social experiment, big enough that it would definitely ruin people’s lives and make a lot of people really rich. If we don’t ever get to do this I think some band should.
On the same note - in the Razorcake interview you said you wanted to keep things underground and elite - why the change of opinion?
Pink Eyes: I still want to keep it elite but on a much lager scale now. We want to expand the pool from which we can pull the elite.
I think that it’s obvious that people really like your band, but at the same time I think a lot of people are sort of waiting for the other foot to drop in a sense and to find out it was all part of some elaborate joke or scam or something, and can't really commit to it fully. Do you sort of know what I'm talking about?
C. Camp: FU was never supposed to be a joke, but for the first year or so it got kind of treated like that because of the name I think. We just never commented on it and then down the line started putting out records and writing lyrics that made people think we were a scam for totally different reasons. This might be the only constant in the life of this band, people thinking that we are just fucking with their heads. If you look at the first single “No Pasaran” and compare it to “Looking for Gold” it won’t make any sense, there’s virtually no connection stylistically. I think some of the new shit we’re doing is going to have the same effect but again for different reasons.
Marbles: Yeah, that I think is our fault, but I'm glad. It sort of keeps people hanging on, because I think people want the other foot to drop, like they wait for it in all aspects of life. I'm sort of dismayed that it causes people to have a hard time taking us seriously, because I really do put a lot of effort in the lyrics and I mean even like the shirts have meaning, the lyrics, the layouts, all that shit, they all have a lot of meaning that we sincerely want people to be able to take something from. But I guess maybe we wanted people to know that we have a sense of humour? I don't know.
Pink Eyes: Yeah, I think we are also waiting for the other shoe to drop as well and find out if it was all a joke.
What do you want to accomplish with the band? Either for yourselves as people, or for your band, or in a greater sense?
Marbles: I just want to take it as far as we can go, just keep growing and multiplying like a virus. I really like writing music and if I could I would quit my job and do it full time. I want to help turn on some more switches.
Pink Eyes: I would love to produce a classic LP that has some sort of lasting importance but I guess that is more of a dream then a goal. I would love to tour Japan. I have a really hard time thinking in terms of goals for the band because it is not that kind of band. As far as I'm concerned it is far beyond any sort of goal that we have made it this long as a band. I would love to be a band like the Melvins, a band that sticks around and continues to have some integrity and some level of importance to a core of people but this one again is more of a dream then a goal.
I've heard that most of the members in the band aren't really involved in punk - how do you reconcile being in a punk band that is a major part in shaping this wave of punk, yet there is such a disconnect, like I guess a cognitive dissonance?
C. Camp: 3 out of 5 is most, it’s true. Mustard Gas is the most scornful of punk these days. Marbles I think would like to re-create the scene in his own image and sees FU as the vehicle towards that end, but it’s like he’s working in absentia. I still consider myself a punk but I identify with the term mostly as a synonym for ‘cynic’, which is what society tends to understand. But to take your question at face value, I don’t think we really have to come to terms with being non-punks “shaping this wave of punk”. I think punks have to reconcile the fact that their culture is being fashioned by a bunch of interlopers. HA!
Mustard: Collectively, our involvement in the punk rock scene amounts to decades of work, time, and contemplation…it’s just not something we gloat about all the time. That said, who can expect anyone to keep doing the same thing they’ve been doing since they were adolescents? It’s just not fair for any human being. While we’ve admittedly become more selective about what we like or do in ‘punk’, you can’t erase years of mental conditioning that it can have on a mind. As for the notion of cognitive dissonance, we’re just different and so people don’t always know what to do or think about us. As individuals and as a band, we just are what we are and we just do what we do, and however we shape this wave of punk is purely an artless act.
Pink Eyes: I think that is a bit of a misconception that stems from some stuff 10,000 Marbles has said in interviews. He was talking about how we aren't really into what is considered hardcore by many people these days, which I guess is true to a certain extent. But I wouldn't say that we as a band are not part of this thing. I do a zine, Beat does a punk radio show, we all still listen to new punk and hardcore bands and go to shows. I hate it when I read about someone in a punk band that says they don't listen to punk anymore, so I would never want to give that impression about myself. As for the question, I'd like to think we are having an impact on punk but I would never think for a second that we are shaping it. We have just done what we would think would be cool to see another band do.
How is the LP coming along anyhow?
C. Camp: Great. We’re recording mid-February 2006. I think it’s about 13 songs and totals about an hour of music.
Mr. Jo: We got these really loud amps, and, like, they're really loud so we can't even turn them up half way...but...if we wanted we could blow the roof of the place if we wanted to.
10,000 Marbles: It’s coming along great. We are firming up the first singles and are going to be ready to record soon. It will be the definitive Fucked Up project. I was dismayed watching the TV today, a Green Day video came on - it made me compare this new Green Day record - which I'd say could be counted as basically the definitive rock record of this era, like heavy guitar record, as opposed to like a Radiohead type of thing. Compare it to the same sort of record that would have been released like 35 years ago - it would have been like a Led Zeppelin record, a Black Sabbath record. The records, the things that define our "eras" are all shit, or not those things they purport to be. I thought then, "well what are the good records that this time period is creating?" and thought of the popularity of bands like Sunn, or Orthrelm or like that whatever noise scene and remembered reading something about this new movement in music about making essentially "unlistenable" music. Its ridiculous, but it makes sense somehow. Slowly everything gets reversed. People hate the president, people hate their wives, people hate the food they eat, people hate exercising, and now people can hate the music they listen to also, because it isn't even music anymore, and people love that. We're trying to get with this sort of general dissonance. We wrote "Generation" as a tribute to that - we tried to write the most anthemic sounding song we could, and inject it with the most insipid lyrical content imaginable, just utterly devoid of any meaning. That way, we knew that people would be able to find the most meaning within the song. Me and Camp always give each other knowing looks when we play that tune live, and a billion kids are singing their faces off to these ridiculous and trite lyrics, giving it their all. It makes total sense to me. The LP is hopefully going to be in this vein.
I like those bands. I think the point of noise bands is to eliminate the foundations of music, and then build a new art form as a replacement. Its the same sentiment that gives rise to a lot of social movements - I mean this is basic stuff I think, where you take something that debases your live, and you smash it, and build something new, or at least something different that will shock the shit out of the people trying to maintain the old foundations. This is pretty much what you talk about with "Baiting the Public".
10,000 Marbles: In every activist community or what have you, there are always the few people that everyone else shuns, because they are a little too weird, and you start to think "what if that fucking freak has a say in the new world?", and then soon enough that attitude gets implanted into your entire outlook and everyone you brush up against becomes one of those freaks to you, and you think "these psychopaths are trying to smash the world into a compost mush" and its very frightening. If in the new world I have to play feedback for 2 hours through 12 distortion pedals, and throw out all my original Keen pressing Sam Cooke LPs, then you can first lock my head into a cage and fill it with rats.
I personally think the whole fascist/"push button" imagery thing you guys were/are doing was pretty effective, but I keep hoping that it’s going to take a next step - how are you going to push this sort of shock tactic stuff further?
Mr. Jo: Let it be heard that Heart Attack wants us to push the envelope with the fascist thing. Where were you born again?
10,000 Marbles: See my above answer. Plus, we have a song about pedophilia now.
Mustard: My involvement in this area is pretty non-existent but I have to say that it’s interesting to study the reactions some have to Marbles’s, uh, mystifying societal experiments. The downside to all of this is the annoying job of clarifying to people that we’re not fascists, which actually makes the project that more intriguing. I don’t know if I’d call if a shock tactic, but I can see how it being similar to one would mask it as one. I don’t know what’s in store for the future – no plan is usually the best plan.
C. Camp: See I think a lot of that imagery and those lyrics were misinterpreted. As I see it, the “shock factor” is secondary and acts kind of as a capsule which carries the ideas that we’re really all about inside of it – power, leaders, followers etc. With FU people read the lyrics and see metaphors, but then they’ll take something that we say in an interview or put on a record that seems straightforward and just run with it. But this is classic doublespeak, which is so easy to use and fuck around with. Case in point, Maximum Rock ‘N Roll took a quote from an interview we did with them and pasted it on the back of their magazine. It basically said that punk was only dangerous when it had charismatic leaders with the power to incite the audience to riot or burn down police stations. Greg Ginn was no Führer but it’s easy to imagine him as one. This virtue, most punks would claim, is completely antithetical to their collective self-identity, yet it seems attractive to them all the same.
One of the aesthetic parts of your bands that interests me is that you tend to take disgusting and terrible parts of humanity or history and put them really upfront for people to see, but without any commentary. Like the nazi shit, or the school shooter stuff in Pink Eye. War, poverty, all things terrible have always been prominent parts of punk image, but always with slogans attached. With you guys it seems more mysterious but almost fetishized because you don't pass judgment on it. Why is that?
Marbles: Well I guess its more about taking for granted the fact that certain things can be assumed about the people you are aiming at - if someone doesn't understand an image or a lyric in the same way that I do, I'm not interested in trying to convince them of something. I'm not a politician, and I’m not on trial. I think it’s generally a good idea to keep people guessing and thinking about your aesthetic. If our records said "Nazis - bad", it would be a no brainer and you would just move onto the next thing. You would think “shit yeah, this is bad”. But the point is to try and make people double take and have to think about things more. If you see a really shocking image, but with no transcription, you have to them say “wait, how do I really feel about this?”. The idea behind the album, "Hidden World" is that there is such a multiverse in the quality things you can get involved in - if you take a medium or an idea and hide things just below the surface of what’s there, and have people find them, they're going to start looking for other hidden things in everything they see, and start being more conscious, about everything. Just like when you're a child, and you find your first nickel on the ground - you start to look at the ground with a lot more attention and concentration.
Pink Eyes: I don't think it is really so much of a fetishizing as it is a morbid curiosity, at least I would hope we aren't. It makes the horrible stuff in life easier to deal with.
In the MRR you gave off sort of a "fucked if we do, fucked if we don't" sort of volatile politics, but then I read that it was just someone in the band who wrote the whole thing. Dance of Death and Baiting the Public sort of speak to that kind of attitude however, so could you say that’s sort of a prevailing sentiment of the band?
C. Camp: I think this whole wave of inertia is fucking played out and I blame it mostly on French academics and Hollywood. It is the prevailing sentiment of our band though in “The Matrix” sense of it where you have to be something before you can destroy it.
10,000 Marbles: Yeah, well I guess so. I pick "don't". It’s like, ”what is the fucking point?". Why does it matter if I cut my grass with a human powered lawn mower if I’m just going to get run over by a car? Everything is the same, there is no division. There is no such thing as "I am an environmentalist" because we are destroying the environment. There is no such thing as music, so how can I be a musician? Volatile is a good word.
I guess as a follow up to that question, what are some of the things that the band members share in common? You guys seem to try hard to come off as a collection of disparate and hateful elements.
C. Camp: Everyone has a good sense of humour and not a whole lot of friends.
Mustard: It’s been said that we don’t get along, sometimes from our very own mouths. But the fact of the matter is that we’ve known each other for a very long time (in some cases, ten years); and, as a result, the relationships we have with each are very unique and very unlike the ones we have with the other significant people in ours live. The things we have most in common, in order of truth, are: the joy of playing music and the ability to travel and meet others who share the same interests; our political and personal beliefs; a similar cunning sense of humour; our ability to laugh at ourselves; our ability to agree and disagree harmoniously; and a profound trust and respect for each other. It’s very much like a sibling relationship.
Pink Eyes: We all love music. We all grew up white, lower to upper middle class, judeao-christen kids in a major urban center in Canada, so from the perspective of background we all have a somewhat similar one. We were all drawn to this kind of music and have a general negative outlook on the world. But that is really about it. We are not a group that can say we share a common out look or even a common opinion on the music we play.
Mr. Jo: Yeah it's the same as liking our band. You're fucked if you do, and you're fucked if you don't.
One thing that usually takes a back seat in punk rock music is the actual music - like the art of creating music. I'm assuming you are partly doing this band because you love writing and playing music - can you talk about that a bit?
Mr. Jo: I would say that a lot of my enjoyment of this band comes from the musical aspects. My role in the band being far more associated with the method of delivery as opposed to the cargo allows for a real indulgence of that aspect. In fact, if there was ever any glue that consistently holds me in place in FU it's the music.
You guys get a lot of flak about putting out records that are hard to get. Why do you think that is?
Pink Eyes: Everyone is down on rare records until they get one. I'm the same way. If a band puts out a limited record I'm like fuck them... until I track down a copy. I think we have that reputation but it is for the most part undeserved. We have only ever put out one legit limited record and one kind of limited record the other ones have been mistakes by pressing plants or label fuck ups.
Marbles: It’s because a lot of record collectors are full of shit. We did those Euro-only presses of some of the Deranged tunes for tour and lots of people got pissed off because they had a hard time acquiring them. So there are all these people who advocate the practice of ridiculous
record nerdery by trying to get all these records that no one else can get, but then blame a band when they can't get the records they make. Its hard to understand - we made those records because the older singles didn't really get to Europe and it would have been too much work repressing every single, and all of a sudden you hear people shit talking the band because they can't get the record. They weren't made for North Americans. If you can't own every single Fucked Up record, don't get mad at us, maybe re-evaluate your priorities in life.
So why did you publish such an extensive discography on the blog, if not as an invitation to try and get everything?
Marbles: It was more as a discouragement, to let people know how mpossible/ridiculous it is to try and get it all. Especially with the singles coming out for the LP.
I just read a Pink Eye interview with you and Jonah from the band and you came across as really in touch with a personal and like therapeutic side of your self - how come this doesn't come across in Fucked Up?
Pink Eyes: Fucked Up serves a different purpose for me. The lyrics I write in fucked up address broader themes. Pink Eye is a very selfish thing for me. It's a lot of fantasies and personal ranting set to music. I hope that Fucked Up reaches more people and people can take something away from it. With Pink Eye it is not important that anyone gets anything more then a surface level enjoyment. I read a review of it that alluded to it being some kind of joke band and at first I was hurt that it would be misinterpreted, which is not to say that I didn't have some humor intended in the lyrics but that some one could so easily dismiss it as a comedy thing when there are parts which I am serious as a heart attack about, but I quickly realized that it doesn't matter. With Pink Eye, it is something so personal that I can't expect anyone else to get what I meant.
What was the idea behind I Misogynist?
Pink Eyes: I went through a really bad break up and became a really angry bitter person for a while and two separate friends commented on how I seemed to start hating women. It really shocked me to hear someone say that because I had always made a point of avoiding sexist language and fashioned myself as a feminist of sorts but I really came to see how much misogyny was ingrained in me so I started to think about exploring it on a level that misogyny is so much a part of our culture. All it took was a little heartbreak to upset this politically aware view that I had fashioned for myself. In the end I came to see that this would be to almost impossible for me to articulate this through music. One song was carried over to Pink Eye but we left it off the 7" for the same reason that the whole band was scrapped.
What other projects fill up your lives?
Pink Eyes: I'm in school full time and I have a job. Apart from that I collect records, draw and promise myself that I will work on my zine tomorrow. I've been really into doing shit for pink eye as of late... like making t-shirt designs, flyers, posters, buttons, etc. and I hope one day that someone will put out a book of all of it. I'm only half kidding.
10,000 Marbles: I'm working on a movie script. It’s for a movie called "Triumph" and I’ve got the first scene mapped out. Its going to be a 2 hour mega-blockbuster based around a car chase that begins modestly and escalades into hyperreality at around the 40 minute mark. The remainder of the film will be a voyage into unknown territory and movie infamy. There will be minimal dialogue, no plot, no character development, etc. Just 2 hours of relentless action and ridiculous mayhem. Its sort of a "fucked if you do, fucked if you don't" project. It will be seen by millions of people the world over who will throw their popcorn into the air with joy, and high-five their young sons. The only way to get ideas into the cesspool of culture is to play by the rules, in this case, to the Nth degree. "Triumph" is the movie that people don't even know they want yet - a truly "extreme" film for an "xtreme" culture.
What is the point of that?
10,000 Marbles: I watched "War of the Worlds" last summer because it was supposed to be on the cusp of special effects. It was boring, and while there was a cool scene where an alien thing blew up a highway, it didn't knock me out of my seat. We have reached a point where the main vehicle for expressing our culture (popular movies) has come to a standstill in its evolution - where in the past movies, or anything else, eventually make quantum leaps and become new things, the progression of music, movies, television shows, technology, have become stuck like a broken record, and are just making miniscule progressions on the same tired quantum leaps that were invented 20 or 40 years ago. I mean - here is this small mp3 player - but now here is an EVEN smaller one! You know, 50 years ago you could watch King Kong climb up the Empire States Building, but now you can watch him do it in even higher resolution. Well, why didn't anyone ever think to make the movie cause a mass hallucination and cause a resulting life transformation? It probably isn't hard to make these mediums leap out of their seats and into the next dimension. That is the point of "Triumph", to do that.