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Monday, June 10, 2024





When I was a kid, I couldn't stop moving and tapping on shit. Blinking non-stop. My mom explains now that I started out as a really rambunctious kid, like lets say this is age five. Talking to strangers, yelling, running around.  One of my first memories is that I'm in class in grade two - second grade. My desk had already been moved so it's touching the teachers desk because I will not shut the fuck up and let the other kids learn geometry or whatever you learn in grade two. Anyways, the teacher goes to the bathroom one afternoon and I immediately jump up and stand on the top of my desk, screaming "We are civilized people!" No idea how that gets into the head of a seven year old.  Maybe my dad had been watching Monty Python a bit too loud the night before as I fell asleep - that was the energy. I remember standing there, orating, feeling like a god, everyone in class lapping it all up, uproarious laughter, the whole thing. The teacher comes back from the john and shuts it all down. I'm a legend.

Something happened over the years and I got really shy. If you fast forward ten years, I ended up being too afraid to make group presentations in front of the class, and walked to the back of the room during one, explained to the teacher in whispers that I was too nervous to speak. She said I'd get a failing grade, and I nodded, walking back up to the front feeling like I'd just made off with a deal. In those ten years something happened, life? There was still all this energy inside me.

I changed schools for third grade to go to a gifted program really far from where I grew up.  I panicked when I found out I'd be leaving the life I had built for myself up to 2nd grade. It felt crushing. I got up there, to Broadacres, to mix it up with all the other gifted little kids from around the city.  The class room had a bathtub in it where you could go and 'think', we did a project on how to grow plants, and kept tabs on those grey whales that got stuck under the polar ice caps - that kind of shit.  It was immersive. I can't tell you if I took to it or not, but I can tell you that as I grew shyer and shyer, that energy was still racing around inside my body.  I was doing this thing with my arm, constantly - bringing the first up in this fast motion to where it would kind of hit the front of my shoulder, closing the hinge of the arm as it were, get it? This really fast thing that after I started I could not really stop, and I could not explain why it was happening.  All day I'd just sit there, or walking around the halls, flipping up my arm.

Kids noticed and would do it back to me, rubbing it in. In a school full of weird kids I'd made mine visible so that everyone could make fun of me. That of course doubles down the anxiety and you just end up in this endless loop you cannot understand, you don't have the tools to talk about, you just have the stim, the motion, the salve of letting off this flick of the body as much as you needed to.  I did this for like years and years. Me and my stim, protecting each other.

As an adult, I'd drum a lot. Like a lot. Walking down the street listening to music, I'm drumming on the air.  Making food, I'm drumming. Girlfriends - they're laughing at me for all the drumming. What's it about? You're not even a drummer.

We're just stuck inside these bodies we don't really understand. We understand that something grows inside of us, and that's us, and it wants to be let out.  The body is there to protect the growth from the world, and vice versa. My stim protects from the ways I could get.  I started to think about it now, as this really calm, slow, older man. I still stay up as late as I can manage every single night. Past 1 - my body is tired, but my mind is not finished. What if there is something I didn't look at? The next morning, my mind is racing while my body is cursing - it's 8am, I haven't had enough sleep, but we're awake and I know from experience there is no point trying to sleep a little bit more. My mind is made up.  I lay there for hours reading, waiting for my body to catch up. Naps? I try, and my mind will sit for at most ten minutes before we're up again, the lightning inside my head dragging my zombie body towards whatever is coming.

At around 14 I started to take music really seriously. I paid for a guitar and an amp with my own money. I set it up in the basement and tried to play whatever video was playing on Much Music. I quit playing sports because I decided it had to be one or the other and I was a music person now, not a sports person.  Heart Shaped Box was a big song around then, and that opening arpeggio taught me what the basics of a power-chord was. I liked Metallica but that was too fast yet to play. I was becoming a musician.  My mom made me take piano for years, and brought me to musicals - music was already in my head, now I was making my body catch up.

I think back now to that time, being a shy kid, loving this wild music - I'd sit there waiting for them to play the Supersuckers video and the Beowulf video from the Tank Girl sound track - hearing music that fast played on the TV in my basement seemed like such an impossibility, I knew it was this glimpse into another world, this fast world. I felt fast, I wanted to live fast but I moved slow.  My first show was Strung Out in 1994 - I had never seen a mosh pit before, I had never seen stage dives - I dove off that stage, flailed around on peoples heads and ran right back up on the stage to do it again - non stop for the entire set.  I had found this writhing, twitching, moving world, and I let my body sink into it.

So now, after all these years, all these records, all this thinking about my life, my body. That's what music has been for me - a place to put the energy that my body never figured out what to do with.  I'm drumming on the air because I'm made of music. I'm making records because that's the only way my body knows how to translate what's inside of me.  My hands shook as a child - but as soon as you put a guitar in them, the strings started to vibrate, and it translated what I had always struggled to say.  The twitching went away, I stopped doing the shit with my arms, and I just played guitar, and I wrote songs, and I started to bang on the roof of the world with a purpose, with rhythm, because I had finally learned how to translate this shit that had been stuck inside me my whole life - it wasn't words, it wasn't pain, it was just life, and sound.

We're old now, so these records are all about what we give our children - what we put into their hands, what we pass down. What world we make to leave them to hold.  It's so crass, it's so fucking stupid - we come down on kids for being on their phones or whatever - we made the phones. That's what we left them.   They want the world. They want to take it from us, to use the tools to translate what's inside of them to communicate. So leave them something good, let them vibrate in the way that they need to.  Let them be weird - don't try and change the kid - let them change the world.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

WHY WE DID IT: 12 Hour Edition



You could just LISTEN to what I'm about to write, but you're already here so why bother? 

Matador had to buy out our contract from Jade Tree, who we owed a second album after Hidden World. That whole year was a crash course in the business of music for us - phone calls with lawyers, contracts an inch thick, greed, pressure. You sign your name on a piece of paper and it determines how the next few years of your life play out. I'd never had a career, I never earned a salary. I still haven't ever signed a contract for a job.  I've signed record contracts with three labels, and thats what they'll be able to find of me in a hundred years.

Jade Tree walked away with almost twenty grand in lieu of getting another album from us, and promptly stopped being a label a few years later. That amount was added to what we were about to owe Matador the minute we signed the paperwork in 2009 - an amount that we are still working off in 2024 (please by the Chemistry repress lol).  We were still playing basement shows in Pittsfield and sleeping over night at airports to get cheaper flights. At the FU fest in maybe 2007, I had 15k in cash in my hand from the door, from the merch we sold, most of it owed to other bands and to pressing plants. I felt like a millionaire.

It was getting to be the business. I'm trying to put myself in the mindset of why we came up with the 12 hour show back then. On tour for the DAVID repress a few years ago, Robin told me that she thought I had Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Brigitte used to always tell me I needed to "come from a place of yes" instead of from a place of you know what. I think in these stark categories - black and white. I try and fight that urge for the songs - I want them to be about understanding. But we are different in our lives from what we put down in the booklets, in our songs.  We imagine the world as against us - their world vs ours. Hidden World - that was a secret, that was the blackness underneath the world that we imagined ourselves to live in. You think that way when you are younger, trying to make sense of the world around you by fighting through it.

We never really trusted anyone at Matador. We obviously wanted to put the albums out on their label, we wanted the cash, the exposure, we were going for it. It stank of success, and we just stank. It's a great label full of wonderful people, but we never trusted that side - I think we imagined ourselves to be taking advantage of them in this punk way or whatever. You know what I'm talking about. We weren't really trying to work together, we were still trying to work against it, like all the songs we knew.

Matador shared this huge office with all the other Beggars labels - Rough Trade, XL, the other one, 4AD, down near the tunnel to New Jersey. We'd be going there a lot - Damian would walk out with a box full of records every time, I'd be trying to flirt with Brigitte while she was working, Jonah would be outside looking for somewhere to park the van.  They had these "FAT" meetings they called them, some acronym - to come up with ideas on how to sell the albums.  It was just these people who loved music, trying to do right by the bands - I didn't trust it. It's naivety, its fear. I was 28, still just a kid, a bit autistic, trying to put walls around the world around me to help understand my place. 

In school I'd often have to leave group presentations, whisper to the teacher in the back that I wasn't gonna say anything because I was so nervous. Just a scowl on my face, from fear. That's a lot of punk. Ask why you burrowed down so deep away from everything.  I was afraid. I'm smart enough now to have come up with ways to negotiate these sorts of adult situations, to be charming, to be funny - it's a front, we all know this. It's hard.  In 2008 I was in the back room of the office with like, 25 people? I'd met Chris, Patrick, maybe Miwa, Nils, Brigitte, Claire. A room full of people trying to make my dreams come true, can you imagine?  It was like in a movie - me scanning the room with my special glasses on, trying to keep a safe distance from the aliens, trying to stay safe inside the categories I was constructing in my head.

I thought - All you people - you work in this office, you have these boring lives - that's you. Us - we're pirates, we travel the world in our little van screaming - we're not like you.  I said we'd play a show that lasted 12 hours long, we'll pretend we're like you for a day. Just rudeness, a stunt, or like a dare even, like a toddler would pull, or someone trying to tank a relationship. Try and accommodate my difficulty, try and normalize this behavior. Everyone in the band I think thought it was a stupid idea, but the label was into it. They wanted to help, you know, they wanted to accommodate what we were trying to be. They probably understood what that was more than we did in 2008.

Everyone put their notebooks down and started getting to work on the idea. Dean and Gabe started to scour the LES for a place to have the show - the first idea was the Russian and Turkish baths on 10th - can you imagine.  Someone must have had a friend that worked at Rogan, because a clothing store didn't jump out as an obvious possibility, but it was perfect.  This old beautiful corner building, it looked like the first shop ever built in New York. 

It was in the glare of CBGB, which we could count as our past - Ian booked us there with Forward, Tragedy (the drummer tried to pick up my girlfriend from the van as we drove away), one of the most insane shows of all time. Me and Josh drove down to see one of the Kraut reunions, I sat on that crows nest thing for the entire show. 2009 and we were a block further along the Bowery.

So we set off into our camps - the band needed to figure out how to play music for that long, and the label had to figure out how to sell the idea, which ended up just saying that all these celebrities might show up. That felt like something we'd do ourselves. I think Seal was on the flyer? Seal didn't come. There was a fridge full of free Vitamin Water, there was free beer. People came. Katy Perry reviewed one of our songs that month I think in the NME? She didn't like it. The Municipal Waste guy did the same thing. He didn't like it either.  Damian was on the cover of NME, we tore up MTV on that cycle. We put a motorcyle in the bathroom in the basement and Damian almost lit it on fire. We were going for it.

 We invited friends to shore up some of the time - Vivian Girls played, I can barely remember what else. People came and did cameos, that's been covered.  We aren't an amazing live band - we barely practice, we don't live in the same country anymore. We just play really fast for people who move really slow. We're like a train going by you so fast you can't see the details - all you see is the marvel. 

I think we opened the show with Crooked Head - we made Jonah play the drum intro for maybe 10 times as long as it was meant to. The rehearsals for the show were just like "that'll eat up some of the time", and "Get Jonah to do his part longer". I've long said Jonah is a pure Newtonian object - once you push him in a direction, he'll just travel along that axis to infinity unless something gets in his way to send him careening in a different direction. I met Jonah at a hardcore fest in Streetsville in 1999. He bumped into me maybe during a Drowningman set, so I picked him up and threw him - he's still hasn't landed.

They got MOBY to show up. I'm gonna skip the music part - he thought we were Youth Of Today. I stood next to him outside during a break while he was being interviewed by Rhapsody, and he was telling them about the first time he saw us, at the Anthrax Club in CT in the late 80s. He thought he was filling in for Porcell. MOBY EXPLAIN YOURSELF.

I used to make fun of Vampire Weekend a lot on this blog when they were coming up (I switched to WAVVES I think a few years later). Ezra came and did a Blitz song with us for maybe the perfectly inverse reason as the reason we were doing the show in the first place. He called the audience nerds, wearing a vintage rugby and docksiders, and it was great, he disappeared down the Bowery. J came and ripped a guitar solo for 25 minutes straight (tell your children this). If we had booked the show in 2015 I would have lobbied to have Phish come do a song. We were trying to be Phish, but we had no chops.

The label got us this trailer van that we parked around the corner that we could go chill out in. Imagine needing a lunch break. They filled it with pizza.  We set this thing up like we were going to D-Day. We were doing an honest day of work for god's sake. That was the point - but WE were the point, without realizing it. It was this stunt, to try and shine light on a working day. Imagine filling that with a show? Imagine trying to fill a work day with some useless musicians? And we're still talking about it, 15 years later.



Friday, February 02, 2024






In November, we were doing the Europe leg of our touring for that year, hitting a few places on the mainland that we'd missed for years and years.  Our first ever trips east would lead us to all sorts of places - Hungary, Slovakia, Czech, Serbia - we'd land at Schipol and just drive east and east and east - they'd always be on the itinerary.  Over the years as people started having families and the deeper parts of life and age, we'd have less time to travel around, and stick to the fundamentals - the UK, and if we had time, some of Germany.   In 2023 we released a modest album at the beginning of the year and headed straight for England, then did the east coast of America, and found ourselves with extra time, so we toured across Canada for the first time in a decade, and by the end of the year we were back on the mainland.

Josh found us a nice place a bit north of Gracia in Barcelona, and it had a roof that looked over the full stretch and twinkle of town - a hundred miles away was the spire of the Sagrada Familia, that eternal construction, time crystalized in a never-ending piling of bricks. To the west you could make out the mist of Montjuic, the roving lights hitting the clouds in the darkness.  We dipped our toes into the still pool on the roof, it was freezing and I was just wearing my 'one day' t-shirt.

We designed these t-shirts (pictured above) for the album based on the title card from As Tears Go By, Wong Kar-wai - I was in the middle of a Maggie Cheung obsession while I was working on the album, even watching the weird shit like Green Snake and the Heroic Trio. The title card looked so bold, so striking, and I wanted to make a shirt like the punk shirts I remembered seeing as a kid at the Warped Tour - NOFX shirts that looked like the snickers logo, you know the ones. We only made like 30 or 40 of them, they weren't a hit - but I liked them, and I liked how my title looked as Hanzi, I could imagine them blown up in neon, above a bar or something. One Day.  I almost put it into the CD booklet.

We took the tiny European back downstairs with an older Chinese couple, almost squished together.  The man read the front of my shirt - "One Day" he said, with recognition and some slight disbelief, nodding.  I smiled and affirmed. I proudly turned around to show him the english on the back "FUCKED UP" - he laughed and said "Disgusting!"

I did a lot of talking and explaining about the album last year, sort of poking around my intentions with people in interviews but I never felt like I really got to lay out in full what the intentions with the album were.  Now that it's a year old and we're in the middle of the last leg of the tour, here I go:

When the album came out at the start of 2023 we hadn't done a record in almost five years, but there wasn't ever a point in that stretch that felt like a break.  After Glass Boys ("after glass boys" is gonna be the ongoing current in these post 2014 posts) we all almost went our separate ways. Jonah moved to England, Josh got a job, ect. It felt like we toured forever for Dose, but I'm only now just remembering that something else big happened that stood in the way of time.  The last bit of touring we did for that record was to Australia and New Zealand, towards the end of 2019.  Coming home from NZ felt like coming back to earth after an impossible amount of years like in cryosleep on a space ship - its so remote man.

I dusted off for a few days and tried to stretch into some time off at home, having been away for essentially a full year, or whatever it was. There and back, all that nonsense.  In Toronto I live alone, and had just gotten my party era out of my system with Dose.  I unpacked, did the laundry, went to the gym a few times, picked up my holds from the library, saw the family, etc.  The odd thing about not working a day job, is that your time off feels like the weekend, even if it stretches out over months and months.  Even after an album cycle, you've got little weekends to play - that feels like Monday, even if its six months away.  On weekends you rest, you get the groceries, you wait for the responsibilities to return, and the days start to blend together while you wait.  You can only take so many weeks of waiting for the spout to turn back on.

As it turned out, I was able to take roughly two weeks of it, before I called (texted [emailed]) our trusted engineer Alex Gamble (esq) to book myself a few days in the studio.  As fans of FU should know by now, we don't record our albums in a normal way, even before doing it in this even less normal way that we've settled on post-One Day.  Jonah moved to the UK about a decade ago, which splintered our ability to get into a practice space to jam out songs with any regularity, yadda yadda.  Since then I'd been waiting for him to get to town to book sessions, mostly to poke away at the various Zodiac projects, but after this tour I couldn't stand to wait around doing nothing for more than the few weeks I'd let myself sink into.

We booked four days at Candle Studios on the old Sterling Road, this weird industrial street that broke through the bridge at Dundas (rip) and snaked along the path of two train tracks. You'd walk by a huge chocolate factory where they make Kit Kats and shit like that, until you make it to the giant vacant lot that now houses Toronto's contemporary art museum.  You know what comes next - about a year after we recorded the One Day tracks, the loft complex that housed the studio handed out their eviction notices so that richer, more priviledged art-appreciators could eventually move in without having to live in the glare of any art actually being produced within their vicinity, once all the sweat and blood had been soaked out of the ground with the orange machines of industry.

I really loved that Mike Leigh film Another Year.  It was the gift of squeezing meaning out of the mundane, putting a shining spotlight on the everyday, the elevation of a daily struggle into something heroic and meaningful.  To me it's romantic, thats why we have art in the first place, not just so we can take big swings, but also to validate what we must do every day to muster the energy to take our chance.  The last song on Dose is "Joy Stops Time" - I had that Situationist pre-occupation with time in me, daily this, recaputilation that, every day every day.  

On tour you get used to living your life in segments. Today we're in Barcelona, tomorrow we've got to drive all the way to Milan (we truly just did this). You have to make peace with finding a little home for yourself to live in every day, in a different place, far away from your actual home. A day becomes a place, because the place you are in is just time - and it's limited. Your friends hear about the places you go and you don't understand the shutter - you get a glimpse, that's it. It's just one day - that's your home, over and over.  In order to not simply convalesce, you have to learn to grasp what you can from this day, before it trips over into the next one.  The van door shuts closed before it speeds off into the horizon.  It's hard to make plans for tomorrow when every day is yesterday.

After so many decades of this way of life, it starts to seep into my life at home. A month becomes a day, waiting for a tour to come. It's hard to plan things, to hold onto friendships, to build. But the fact of it is, One Day is all any of us really have. We wake up, we do the things we have to do, and then it all happens again, and the growth, the achievements are only build on all the other days behind us, incrementally pushing us over our walls. That's romantic to me as well. How we achieve, and how we live.

What could you do in just one day? I had become sick of waiting - not just to leave again, but for music to materialize in my life. I don't even really like touring - I'm not performative by nature and I have a lot of issues being onstage, being perceived. I'm much more comfortable inside of a studio where it's just me and Alex and sometimes Jonah.  But time is different in the studio. The song you write today rarely see's the light of day inside of a year, if you're lucky. Year of the Horse took five years to make, and after you hand in your album you are still looking at six or seven months before it gets released.  So I gave myself a day to make an album, divided into 4 equal segments. We'd track for six hours per session, with about an hour or two left from an eight hour day to do a bit of editing and fucking around.  Plus maybe 20 minutes for me to nap on the couch while Alex did his thing or ate lunch.

You set up and then have to play your instrument for a while so Alex can dial in a sound and fine tune the EQ. I put my hands on b, but low down the neck so it was on the a-string. B is a big chord for us. We use B chord a lot in our songs, it's been sort of our center. While I was warming up I found the opening riff for "Found" and off we went.  Over the four days I ended up with about 16 finished songs, with 12 ear-marked to possibly go on an album.

Did I consider doing the whole thing in one 24 hour go? Of course, and for a while. But I also considered the quality of the songs, and Alex's sanity and to a lesser extent my own. The convention would only stretch so far, and I tried to take it just that far.  This time, the idea was more important that it's exact execution. What could you do in a few days, in just one day, in an hour, in a lifetime? To me there is an equality in those questions, each of them matters as much as the other while you're inside.

So it's been a year, and thank you for going along with our experiment. I envisioned these "Day" albums a bit as a reaction to the sort of stuff we'd been putting out - long form, double album, big swing - I wanted a more modest approach, one that (ironically?) focused more on the music and the sound than the conventions, or the length, or the contrivances that have weighed down some of our weightier albums. We each spent a day with the music, and now we've been able to stretch that out into a lovely year with the album and with you. We'll be on this tour with heroes Superchunk for the next week, then we go home to come up with something new again.

Thursday, January 18, 2024



This week it was announced that Conde-Nast was laying off half the full time staff of Pitchfork, a website they acquired in 2015, and merging it with GQ, whatever that means. Like imagine working as a journalist writing about outsider music and getting your walking papers from fucking Anna Wintour.

 The last real job I had was from 2003 to 2006, at a place in Toronto called Karma Co-op, which was a grocery co-op that started as a small basement operation in the 1970s, where some friends started ordering vegetables in bulk to save money and inviting friends and neighbors to buy from them.  When I got there, it was a fully fledged member-run co-op with a lovely store front tucked away like a coach house inside of a block of tony houses in the Annex neighborhood of Toronto, where infamous nimby Margaret Atwood lives.  My first forays into the Annex had been as an 18 year old, taking the streetcar downtown from my parents house in Long Branch, to see shows or work shifts at Who's Emma (the anarchist book/record store in Kensington Market that I've talked about 1000s of times) or go to Full Blast to buy records with Damian.  Chris Colohan and Lisa Mclean lived at 148 Barton, just a few blocks west of Karma, and we'd usually end up at that house ("1-4-Hate") to talk shit or make food or whatever.  Lisa was a member at Karma so sometimes I'd tag along to look at kale or fill up the container of raw peanut butter, that kind of thing.

I was doing a weekly shift at Who's Emma with Ryan Gavel, so I sort of knew what a co-op was - this very loose business model where the entire place seemed to run on volunteer labour, but Karma was different - it was more formalized, more professional, and the people who shopped there weren't crust punks or anarchist, they were families who lived in the neighborhood that brought their kids to the store and cared if something was produced in Israel or had GMOs in it, and all did 'work shifts' as co-op members, doing the easy stuff the staff didn't do like refilling the giant containers of oats, and sweeping, and shit like that.

In those years I was spending most of my time along the little stretch of Bloor Street between Spadina and Bathurst.  From like 2000 and 2004 until I started working at Karma I had little jobs at 1) The market at Markham and Bloor, setting up the produce and spending hours alone in the tiny basement being the guy that puts saran wrap over like pieces of cantaloupe 2) working at Suckers Candy doing absolutely nothing 3) working at the big Metro grocery store 4) working at another off-shoot organic food store and 5) working the 10pm-3am shift at the Pita-Pit, serving shawarma to drunk guys coming out of the Brunswick House after last call.

I got a 'real' job when I was 22 or 23 once the first Whole Foods opened in Toronto, and I did that for a year, leaving every single shift with a backpack full of organic produce, and usually a bunch of sushi I had traded a bunch of mangos for.  I would have done this job forever, but I found out from Lisa that Karma was hiring, and I came over and started working there.

My boss was Michael Armstrong, who had been in bigger Toronto bands like Change of Heart and King Cobb Steelie, and who had started a family so had left music behind, but was still in an alternative modality, working a real guy job at the food co-op.  He quickly became a sort of mentor to me. Our shifts started at 7am, setting up the produce fridge - making sure everything that went out was trimmed, checked for blemishes, shit like that. We made fast friends because I was basically the young version of him - a kid about to embark on a trip into trying to make it in music - a trip he was on the other end of. The store opened at 11, which gave us three hours to take our time through the work, talk shit about the customers, and listen to music.

At 22 or 23 or whatever age I was, I felt as though I had heard every punk record ever made. Me and Damian had exhausted the well, heard every Killed By Death Comp, we'd spent the better part of 10 years together trying to get to the bottom of the obsession. Fucked Up had done our first few 7"s and were starting to become a more real thing, doing more tours, planning for an album, things like that. I had pivoted to collecting soul 45s, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that there were different kinds of music.

Michael was a more album-oriented guy, and would bring in CDs to listen to over the speakers, shit like Stereolab, Air, Spiritualized, a lot of Funk and Disco.  King Cobb Steelie (he played percussion) was groovier than anything I listened to - the percussion in my music sounded mostly like a race - they'd worked with real producers, guys like Bill Laswell. It all went over my head but I was enjoying it. I'd be making these northern soul CDs of songs I'd downloaded from Kazaa - reading about rare records on forums and in magazines, and leaving my computer running over night to let the rarer shit download.

There was a computer in the staff room, and we'd both be using it until the customers showed up - I booked all of the first Fucked Up tours on that computer, including a five week tour of Europe, our first, and a full six week tour of the states - both before we had full albums out.  He would check this site Pitchfork, which covered indie music, focusing on these daily acerbic long form reviews.  After a while I'd start checking the site myself, trying to catch up, categorizing this whole other world of music by the numbered review score they got for their releases.

In 2004 that big Arcade Fire record came out and it got a 9.7 on Pitchfork, which to my by now felt the same as if they'd gotten the cover of Time Magazine, or like a breaking news chiron on CNN.  Paul, another guy who worked at Karma, knew the band from being diy people in Montreal, so it felt a bit closer.  Michael had seen them play at this little club in town called The Rivoli (where we'd recorded for a live album a decade later).  Karma felt like ground zero now for this seismic event in music history.  We all gossiped about the bidding war to sign them, all of that shit.  

Soon Pitchfork was all you ever heard about in music. Those numbered scores with the little decimals contextualized an entire generation of music.  As has been written about endlessly, careers would be made or broken on those scores.  Before we put out an album, Fucked Up wasn't a full time band, and we weren't in any way a part of mainstream or indie music - we still designed our own covers, made our own posters, we didn't have booking agents, and I had all the money (including coins) we made from shows in a tupperware container that I kept under my bed for the first five years we were a band.

From 2001 to 2005 we did a lot of touring all over the world, we wrote a lot of songs, and we put out a steady stream of 7" singles. I resisted putting out an LP for years, because it felt like a sell-out to what we were doing. My ideas came out song by song. I had an idea for "Police" so that was the record, with a bside that was disconnected to the work.  Putting out an entire albums worth of ideas felt strange.  It needed a big swing.

In like 2005 I got an email from Paul Sommerstein, this punk guy who'd gone to shows in New York at the tail end of the 80s and through the 90s, and had become a lawyer for that class of bands who don't know what the fuck they're doing, but are getting popular enough that they need someone to help them interact with a bigger world.  He said he'd seen us a bunch at the little clubs we'd play in town, and that if we ever needed help getting a deal he'd like to help. I wasn't sure what that meant, but it was starting to seem like time to start thinking about an album.

We were using an hourly rental place to practice at this point, going in maybe once a week to either rehearse for a show, or writing songs. Our last thing before the first album was the "Litany" 7", which did really well, and had four songs instead of two, so that essentially felt like a full-length to us. Can you imagine trying to write a 70 minute album in a hourly rehearsal place, once a week for like two hours at a time? On little amps that didn't ever work properly. I threw one across the room once in that space because it wouldn't turn on.

In 2005 I was working full time at Karma, I was trying to finish my University degree, and we were touring a lot, playing probably 60 or 70 shows a year, it was madnesss. And we were practicing enough to come up with whatever it was, fifteen new songs for an album. Paul emailed to say a few labels were interested, Jade Tree being the most prominent.  I listened to those first two Lifetime albums more times than I can count, and the purple Damnation AD LP, but I didn't know what else they put out, but it felt off. They offered us 10 grand for an album, which was the same thing as one billion dollars to us, so we all sat down in a stairwell inside our practice space to look over the 100 page contract they'd mailed to us (in the mail).

Paul was positive, and he knew the guys who ran the label from way back, and they'd got guys working there who were in bands, so it seemed friendly enough.  We booked two weeks with Jon Drew (who'd recorded the Police 7" for us) at Signal To Noise Studios on Spadina, and went to work on Hidden World, this loose assemblage of songs we'd thrown together at the space, that some how coalesced into a real full length over the few weeks we spent at the studio. We went overtime, of course, and me and Damian both spend a lot of time on the phone with Tim, trying to get them to send more money so we could pay the studio.

We got Jaybo to paint the cover, a guy we knew from doing a few insane shows in Pittsfield Mass, and off we went.  Some time in 2006, I got to work one morning and checked Pitchfork on the office computer and saw the cover of Hidden World on the screen, with like, a long and considered review of the music, the themes, all of it.  It felt extremely intimate to look at your work being examined in such a way, not just because we were used to punk reviews, which were more on the level, more insular.  This review talked about how the guitars felt, it tried to contextualize our album into the greater world of what was happening in music.  We made the album as our tribute to our own genesis as musicians - wombed inside this hidden world of punk and hardcore, this like, shadow community that exists as it's own thing - we were still using fake names on our albums at this point - but here was this review on the front page of world music. 

Pitchfork through the 00s became this other kind of shadow itself - this thing that was so ubiquitous in music that you wouldn't even want to acknowledge it by name, but you knew was in everyone's head. It was like air. You'd have guys in bands talking about how Pitchfork was their home page on their laptop. You'd hear about the only way to get a good review was to be booked by Windish (or vice versa) because they were the same company.  You'd try and think of ways to get on there, to get a good review, your dreams, schemes for your band all relied on these clandestine white guys from Chicago who wrote reviews.  That site was like an electric current running through all of music - it powered the entire house, but if you tried to touch it you'd get zapped.  There came an entire generation of this indie music, replete with claps, fuzzy hair, vintage button up shirts, red-faced desperate vocals - like, designed to try and get an 8.4 score. By the late 2000s, Pitchfork was a genre of music.

I grew up reading. I wasn't allowed to watch more than a half hour of TV a day until I was 15 or 16.  My mom took us to the library almost every day, and I mostly read books. When I was a teenage, I had a subscription to Spin Magazine, as well as Metal Hammer.  I had a job working as a locker room attendant at a swimming pool when I was 16, which meant sitting alone in a changing room for twelve hours a day - I read every word of every issue of Heartattack over one summer, as well as any copy of MRR I could get my (ink stained) hands on.  Me and Damian would pore over scans of Change Zine, Hardware, Slash - last year I gave him my zine collection, which filled up like four milk crates.

There was something missing from punk and hardcore writing, something that really had never grown into it's own form. You'd learn about scenes, communities, what shows were like - you read about what punks were like, how fast an album was, you'd learn about the ethics of punk, about the community - but the writing never allowed for the music itself to be taken seriously.  We put out Year of the Pig in 2007, what we felt like was a moving, serious examination of abuse against women in Canada, and Martin from Crudos thrashed it in MRR because it was too long and slow.

Punk journalism offered you a window into a lifestyle, but it was lacking in giving credit or examination to the massive musical influence underground music has had on mainstream culture. So many of the innovations of rock music since the 70s have been because of punk. So many of successful musicians from the last thirty or forty years, are musicians because they went to punk or hardcore shows in their town as kids.  Talk to Damian if you want the receipts. 

Really quickly after Hidden World came out, we started to feel the pull of this larger world (get it?).  We knew that we were leaving punk, this close knit global community that we'd been birth from. I imagined us in this tiny boat, setting sail from the world we'd grew up in, setting sail to who knows where, just hoping that there would be land on the other side of whatever this great ocean was, like how all those guys do at the end of Lords of the Rings.

In 2007 we played a show at Europa, an upstairs club in Greenpoint. Damian went record shopping with Jay and Fat Rich, and didnt get back to the club until the rest of us had been set up and standing on stage with our shit for almost ten minutes. The show was great, packed, sweaty, wild - we had three or four years solid of shows like that. Maybe 250-300 people - perfect. We met these guys wearing nice sweaters and real shoes after the gig, who said they were from Matador Records, and that they loved the band.  In my head now, they're standing in a dark corner of this insane club, using umbrellas to protect their vibes from the wild detritus of the show. We exchanged numbers maybe. I didn't have a phone yet.

Black Lips had signed to Vice in that time period, and there was this wave of punk that had been emerging into the mainstream - us, Mika Miko, No Age, Jay Reatard - coming from nothing, getting good notices, good reviews, playing increasingly large and wild shows. It was this little post-indie movement of a slightly different kind of energy. We made some friends at Vice, because they had these deep Canadian roots, they threw parties, it made sense. In 2007 if there was a line up in any city on earth, it was going to a Vice Party. They started a label to try and capitalize and crystalize this own little movement they'd started. You have to say now that Pitchfork should have just started a record label?

Anyways, we were hot. For like a full year in 2007 and 2008 there was this bidding war between Vice and Matador to sign us, as well as a few other bands.  I was living in a house with some friends behind the 7-11 on Bloor Street near High Park, trying to come up with ideas for another album. I had gotten the title from this book about mycelia I'd seen at Robarts Library (I was STILL in University, almost seven years later, trying to finish the thing) - "The Chemistry of Common Life" - my attempt at summarizing a greater moment, by going deeper into weirdness and obscurity. I had maybe a little tape machine that could record sound, but I didn't have an amp at my house, so I'd play little riffs from my eletric guitar acoustically into this tape machine, so I wouldn't forget the riffs. I worked out the "Son the Father" riff that way, over a few weeks of fumbling my fingers over the notes. 

In the summer of 2007 we'd decided as a band to go 'full time' and quit our day jobs and try and do as much touring as we could.  We still didn't have a booking agent in North America. Sandy was the only one of us who had a real office job, so the rest of us weren't giving up much.  I'd get up in the morning, check my email, look at Pitchfork, talk to Paul about if Matador or Vice made more sense, read, fuck around on the guitar, go to the record store. After a few months of this, we had enough music to make another album.

We booked this place Halla with drew, because Signal to Noise had closed - it was in a tiny warehouse on the east end of Toronto. We booked two weeks to lay down the beds. All five of us did most of those sessions together, all cramped into this place in the winter. We ended up with bed tracks, but also a lot more work to do. Finishing the album ended up taking about a year - we'd go on tour, come back, I'd book smaller studios to work on overdubs, editing. So many guitars, so many amps. I'd check my email, there would be another contract from Paul, bigger numbers, more pages.

We signed with Matador because it felt like a more real record label, even though none of us had any kind of history with that kind of music. Pavement? We were writing our most unhinged album of our career. Vice seemed like a more maleable thing, and we needed like, someone to help us focus.  Matador also put up more money.  We handed in the album and I got my ex Mimi to take the cover photo, she was in New York working at Pace Gallery, and had time on her hands in midtown to take photos. It took months of re-shoots to get that cover, because I was coming up with all the album concepts as we were going, and I kept making her go back to shoot more layers. It's a perfect cover, to her credit.

We went on an endless tour around then, maybe five trips over to UK and EU in one year. The album came out in the fall of 2008. In the UK, we'd stay at Bens Aunt's house in Bristol if our show that night was within like a 90 minute drive of Bristol, so we wouldn't have to pay for a hotel that night.  I'd sleep upstairs in this little kids room (the kid would be with his dad in another house) on the floor because everyone else would snore. I woke up one morning in that room, looked around at like the kids toys, the rocking horses or whatever. I opened up my laptop, one of those space-age chunky white ones and looked at Pitchfork. 

The album got an 8.8, a rave. I went downstairs for breakfast. It's trite to say, but that was a turning point in our career, that morning. The score infected the room - we all knew that we couldn't barely address it, but we all knew what it meant, we had to. Looking back you could say that one review is why we still have a career.  We knew everything about bands, but not much about how to be in one.  We knew everything there was to know about music, but we weren't musicians. We made that album by luck, I can say now looking back 15 years later. It just poured out of us. We barely knew what we had made - but they knew.

Now, I organize my life into when Fucked Up albums came out. 2006 - Hidden World, I know what guy I was around then. Two years later, Chemistry. We just did the band non-stop in those years. Fucked Up, this band that formed in the basement of an anarchist book store in Canada, we played every festival in the world over the next few years. Leeds, Reading, Glastonbury, Coachella, whatever. So much of it was lost on us, because our mecca was still like, Antiknock, CBGBs. That weird poorly dressed with the swear word for a name, they made it.  At Glastonbury we played the John Peel stage in front of like fifteen thousand kids, we knew the whole time that barely any of them had any clue what or who we were. But we destroyed that show.  We no doubt stayed at Bens Aunts house that night to save a hundred bucks on hotels. Damians face was on the cover of the NME, of SPIN. Are you kidding me.

In 2011 was David, which also got another rave.  I wrote the guitar line for Queen of Hearts in 2004 on a broken guitar with locked tuning in the basement of my little rental on Davenport, after I got home from Karma. It was supposed to be one of our Christmas 7"'s. Things would just happen, by accident. Despite us, our weirdness, our deficiencies, our unseriousness,  things grew and gave us this life.

We kept going. We made our albums from the weirdest and most impractical ideas that we could come up with, and somehow stayed inside the current. It only caught up to us ten years later. We tried for the first time to make a respectable album in Glass Boys, in 2014. We tried to reflect what we saw in music, instead of just showing what oddities were inside of us.

That album wasn't even bad, and the review wasn't bad, but it wasn't a rave, and it unwound us from the current. It was clear that we were being detached from whatever ship we'd become affixed to. It truly did set us back as musicians, in our career. It took a few years of brooding just to think of what we could do as a follow up. We played less shows, we got booked on smaller weirder festivals, less people came. We lost a lot of our confidence. Truly, we were ending up in where we should have been the whole time - in a modest place, with a small group of people who loved the weird shit we did. When you create music, you can physically feel when you're being left behind by whatever is going on. It's rare that you get to hold on as long as we did to that zeitgiest, or whatever you want to call it. Glass Boys was our last record for Matador, after almost ten years of costing them way too much money than we were good for.

I'll always make music. Fucked Up will always be a band. Looking back I can feel glad that such a fucking left turn happened to us, that let us sneak into the Hidden World of mainstream music for so long.  

Thank you Pitchfork writers for taking our music seriously before we did. Your words changed my life. 

We live now in this way where there are more words than ever, but they mean less than ever. Now I just go on twitter all day and watch people fight, words are weapons to argue, to make your brand, whatever. Words are commerce, they are coercive. They want more from you than they offer.  So much of what I read and hear feels like they just exist to try and sell me something.

 I wish the site had spent the last ten years trying to find more strange bands like ours instead of trying to carve and indie feeling into corporate music.  Someone said it feels like the end of an era, for this chapter of music to have the finality that will come with the end of Pitchfork as the force it is, and that feels right.  We all get our time in the sun, lets remember what it feels like.

Friday, January 05, 2024

Seven Inches







It's really easy once you get to a certain age (and old one) to look at the world around you through this reflection of your own time on earth, and start to convince yourself that everything used to be different, and also better. That whole thing of the old man yelling at a cloud, confused by how everything changed around him, leaving him trapped in this indecipherable world of modern gadgets and inconveniences.  And because time seems to move so fast now (it moved slower when I was younger...) it feels like the age people start doing this is basically like, once you are a teenager.  

 In music, or I'd imagine in most of show business or creative arts or whatever you want to call it, you're always very aware of this continuum your work and you life is part of, because the entire point of that life is making things and then trying to make them stick to your point in the continuety. If you think I'm gonna be rigorously spell-checking these posts, think again.  But still, everyone does this. You walk around town, lamenting how many of the things you grew up with have been replaced by newer things that newer people are going to grow up with, and then measure it in some dissatisfaction, some scale of change where the baseline is how you remember things how they used to be.  Because every is so aware of everything now, it seems like this can happen like daily. Micro genres come and go over night, we have these communal ways of communicating that can harness the attention of basically everyone on earth, and we can elevate things just as fast as we can forget them.

It always felt like a trap to me, to look at things in this way. Kids have phones now, no one has attention spans, all the venues are closed that I used to go to, whatever. We feel special about the way the world worked when we were young, because we were young, and life is better then. It IS a better place, back there, but not in some objective way that everyone is going to agree on - it's better for you, because you were better. It's fun to be young and discover how the world works, and start making something of yourself, and touching the stuff around you and learning this power to re-arrange it.  Things didn't really change - YOU changed, but it's hard to really notice, because we're all stuck inside of ourselves.

This comes up in punk a lot, and probably lots of other communities I don't understand, because punk has always been this historical document that people stretch thinner and thinner over time. There was this moment in the 70s when some bands became punk bands, and that happened for a few years, and then those bands broke up or became recuperated by the music industry, and for a lot of people, that was that. Every month some British magazine will put the Clash or the Sex Pistols on the cover for some retrospective like its' a tour through a museum. That's fine. For probably anyone who is reading this, punk is like, what we stretched from that original document. Punk turned into a community, a lifestyle, a way of doing business, a set of ethics, and then that further got mutated into all these sub genres that are still being formed, as a living thing. Just yesterday SPIN magazine published an article about the "second wave of egg punk". (I'm not kidding)

We did a whole record about this idea - called Glass Boys, that came out 10 years ago. What we were trying to say with that album was that whatever you want to become involved in - it's a continuum. It's a spectrum of time, and the best way to engage with a continuum is to be as aware of the future as you're aware of the past.  Fucked Up came up in like, the fourth wave of hardcore or something? Our band was conceived as a reaction to what had been happening to hardcore in the late 90s and early 2000s, as power-violence music was mutating into something called thrash-core.  Thrash-core to me seemed very focused on appearances and artifice, despite having this veneer of carelessness. You'd have guys showing up at shows at once looking heroically disheveled but also finely curated. It was a trend I think, but based on a very solid foundation of an amazing chunk of punk music, bands like Crossed-Out and Cop Out and all that.  Specifically to us, I just got tired of shelling out for these singles with like ten songs on them, which to me seemed like a corruption of the form. Which brings me to why I'm writing.

Me and Damian as we were forming the band, mostly collected 7" singles.  Our rooms (we lived together for I think a year around 2000 or 2001) were filled with shoe boxes filled with 7"'s. I stole a bunch of concrete cinder blocks to make a shelf that held either six or nine of these boxes, all filled with singles.  Once we'd bought all the punk records we could afford, we branched out into other things. I started collecting Northern Soul 45"s, which were very popular at the time, and slowly the boxes began filling with records with just dust sleeves instead of proper covers. But the 7" seemed like probably the best way of listening to music, song by song, one at a time.

You'd get home from whatever you were doing, pull a bunch of singles, and then sit there and listen to them. Soul songs are rarely longer than three minutes, just like punk songs. And all the best punk songs came on 7" singles. We became enamored with Killed By Death comps, mentally flexing our meager paycheques against how much they'd cost us. Dangerhouse Records, a late 70s label from LA, offered us the template for our entire career basically, with the two-song American punk single. (we're canadian). Nothing looked better in your box than like, a Dangerhouse record, or a single on Stiff, or Chiswick, or Tamla Motown for that matter, where the label was mostly the same on every release, and the grooves were filled up with just one thing at a time. 

The single doesn't give you the space to do anything else. You can't really use the computer, because it's all the way across the room, and you're going to have to put the need back at the start, or flip the side in a few minutes. You can't check your phone because they didn't invent phones yet.  You can't talk to your friends because you don't really have any, and bsides, the friends you have are in their own rooms listening to their own singles on at a time.  This is how we curated our young lives, by filling them with singles.  The thumb on my left hand I think is permanently curved over, because thats the thumb I use to press stuff on my phone - it's curled and always at the ready.  It was the same thing with the tips of your two index fingers when I was growing up, because those were the fingers you'd use to swiftly shift through 14 boxes of 7"'s at the record store pretty much every day after school or work.  The supply of singles in every store was limitless - you could spend hours rifling through the boxes, only to discover more boxes under the tables, or the guy at the counter would say there was a secret room full of them in the back, or possibly the box was somehow re-filling itself while you fingered through it.  The amount of 7" singles on earth is infinite, and that is a fact. No one will ever have them all. Someone I think on earth could concievably get ALL the money, like get everyone's money (some would say that capitalism is designed to do just this) but that guy will never get every single, because I am going to be buried with my copy of the Nerves single (which somehow has a first press vinyl, but a second press cover).

So, things really do change. People listen to music on their phones now, they listen to it casually, in the back ground. Music just seems to happen. But Fucked Up will never change, because we were conceived as part of this continuum.  We looked ahead, at ourselves looking behind, to imagine what kind of legacy we'd want as a band, and then created that, started with our first record, which is a two song punk single.  Since then I think we've made 55 more of them, which to me seems like a small number.  A few months ago we designed this poster of all of them (well Daniel Murphy and Giles Hill designed it) and I wrote a little thing about why I love singles to put on the back, and here is what I wrote:

Every 45rpm  7” single will exist forever.  What does the end of time sound like? You’re holding it in your eager sweaty hands.

Long after we run out of ones and zeros, long after all the magnetic tape on earth has been scrunched together into a giant magnet to power the last Tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, long after every scrap of paper has been assembled to make a giant airplane bound for Venus, the last kid one earth will drop the needle on “Be My Baby” and hope his crush hears those pummelling first bass drum hits across the vast distances of empty space. The everlasting sound of the end of reality.

I own 45s from the 1950s who, once you wipe the sheen of history, of dust, from them, are as new as children, still. They pop and crackle like soda fountains, like roller coasters, like fireworks, like cartoon sticks of dynamite - and that's before the music even starts. If in the 1960s they had released a 45rpm record consisting just of it’s own sounds, it would have topped the charts. I know this because I own a misprint Sweet Inspirations 45 from the 1960s which just has ’Sound’ as the b-side instead of a tune. I’ve listened to that more than the a-side.

The first 45 rpm single was released in 1949, and that single is still alive somewhere, whole, waiting, storing its information for the right time, like a Jurassic mosquito resting in amber in a box in someone's mothers basement.  No one has ever dropped the box off at a Goodwill, or to sell at a record store, because that box transcends value. It will be around longer than any currency.

Fucked Up exists because of the 7”.  In 2001, all of our rooms were full of those slender cardboard boxes full of singles - the cardboard wearing from the constant shuffling of singles.  Waking up in the middle of the night to make sure you actually own the record that was playing in your dream. Holding it, then, to fall back to sleep. We loved Dangerhouse Records, which was a living museum for music, boasting a flawless discography of 45rpm singles that were music - music fully formed as the union of sound and artifice, creating as every 7” does, a new unit of reality: Time and space are truly unified in spacetime.

The Avengers, The Dils, The Weirdos, Bags - these names we called each other, these songs that shot up from the spinning plastic like torpedos, over and over.  The singles drew us in, we became part of them as we had to get up every three minutes to drop the needle back at the beginning, restarting time like Chronos sitting in his chair. Time had stopped but the records kept spinning.  

Soon it was Poison Idea, another exercise in the unification of Shape and Form, Turn and Drang, Sturm und Drang, who created music so fast it was barely believable that they were able to trap it onto the grooves of something you could pick up with your own hands.  There are 13 songs on their debut single, an entire galaxy fit into a miniature bottle.  It was a privilege just to be in the same room as something so deep.

Between the five of us, we owned every punk single that had ever been pressed.  I pivoted to soul music of 45 - Motown/Tamla, Okeh, Brunswick,  Mayfield - labels of such Imperial power that they had to build fortresses around their sound, upon which, across all-night parties, the sun never set.   Somewhere in time, people are still dancing.   It was clear that these were objects of immense power and we wrote all our first songs to fit onto them, throwing them like a discus into the community we came from.  We resisted writing albums for as long as we could last, knowing that there was just dissolution in additional inches.  What we already had was perfect.

I will never stop releasing singles.  Here's to around 50 of them looking back on a lifetime, and here's to 50 million more.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024




There are phones now.  I haven't posted on this thing in just close to ten years, this blog which was the main/only way that FU communicated with the outside world (besides our singles) for almost ten years before that, and I'm trying to come up with what the main differences are from then (2006?) to now.  I think it must be phones?

I got my first personal phone when i was 30, in I guess 2010.  We were on 14th street in New York stopped in the van outside the Levi's store, Jonah or Sandy or something was in there looking for pants. We'd just played and were about to leave town for somewhere else as I remember it, and it was getting old that I had to keep up with my partner at the time through email, these long, wonderful, romantic, flowery emails we'd keep up with each other across space and time, paragraphs unfolding across my laptop, emails that would keep us both going until I was home (or in whatever place she lived). I ran over to the little Best-Buy vestibule across from the Whole Foods and grabbed the smallest thing I could find - a plastic flip phone the size of a larger pack of matches, which felt almost weightless in my hands, as if it was mostly made from data instead of molecules, or that it was hollow.  It didn't have games, i had to press buttons thousands of times to write anything, but it was sturdy and I remember it fondly.

It was just for texting and calling. I couldn't have added data if i wanted to, because there was no way to display a website on that thing. I didn't have a plan, it was pay as you go, like most things in my life in. 2010.  I think on the way back to Toronto from that tour is when I landed back into an apartment after living basically on the road for three years without a home, moving in with Katie and Mandy and Amy and Sari.

So I had this device that let in two things - voice and these messages. Now instead of these long emails I could communicate with everyone in short unrelenting bursts that never ended. What I was doing, where I was. This duel thing we're all used to now that comes with incessant brevity - total security and total security. This person on the other end was always there but I really had no idea what was going on in their life.  

I hung onto the blog for a few years past it's due date. Even now, writing, I'm not certain it will even publish, if this is even a real website.  But I don't like the short bursts, I mean we released a 90 minute song a few years ago. I do well with the longer form, the contemplation, the detail. But mostly the blog was fun because it was it's own thing, disconnected from the rest of the internet.  I wrote it on my laptop at home or on tour, and you read it on yours. It wasn't this vital link between us, but it allowed for a certain amount of connection without the clutter of everything else.

But now everything comes through the phone.  Not only that, EVERYONE is everywhere. I have to go on instagram, facebook, twitter, to talk, to promote the band, and everyone is there, like a party you ended up at where no one knows you. And you have to stand there with every person on earth in this little room, and try and make your case in the tumult. When I was writing here, it was just this.

I don't want to have to compete with all of that. I don't want to have to assess the politics of the assholes who own all these sites just to talk about my stupid band and try and convince people to come see our concerts. A career in music now is just trying to negotiate the rules and fees of all these different cages you have to deal with to exist, to try and decide which one is the least bad out of all the bad options. The guy who owns the thing you need to communicate is a fascist.  The guy who owns the other one turns a blind eye when his cages is manipulated to over turn governments, plus you can't even put an advertisement there because your band has a swear word in the name.  The venue you were booked at supports genocide, or snuck a merch cut into your contract, or the fest you got asked to play is a gentrifying agent in that city.  You go to make a tweet about your tour and the first thing you see is Grimes talking about how sick white supremacy is, or whatever. It's too much, there needs to be another thing, another place we can all go.

All of the work we do that isn't work, all of our leisure time, our output, our communication, talking to our friends - they stole it all. They own it. Now you text your girlfriend to say you love her, and its just data that apple sold to google about your location and what time of day you usually send messages. They own it.  You make a tweet that you think is funny, and elon musk owns what you said. It's his, and he can sell it as an aggregate to whoever he wants. We all write novels every year across all this shit, but we already sold it for nothing to the guys who already have everything.

Your music got stolen by a bald swedish egg fuck because your label made a deal with him, and now you don't get paid, and the only place anyone ever may hear you is that same room filled with everyone on earth I was talking about a minute ago, but like, Taylor Swift got invited as well so everyone is paying attention to her, and besides, the swedish guy just decided he doesn't want to pay most of the people in the room ANYTHING anymore, and thats just ok. You put out these albums, but the label owns the music forever and you just have to keep pushing further into a world that keeps getting bigger, running from a history that keeps getting smaller.

The means of production, we don't really own any of it. I love making music, I love being in a band, and touring. I love coming up with ideas, and folding them into a paper airplane and throwing them into the wind, hoping they fly for a bit. But none of it is ours. This was mine - this way of sitting, putting on music, writing my pithy little quandaries, the updates on the band, the jokes, there was nothing else that it had to compete with. We'd pore over the data of what countries this writing was making it into, we'd read the comments and laugh at everyone making fun of us. It was simple and nice and just before all that other shit started to really creep in, and I have fond memories of that time.

So anyways happy new year, I'm gonna try writing on this when I feel like it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Hey so stereogum posted a list of the top-ever FU songs HERE.  It is cool that they did that and we feel #blessed.  Here just for the record is my (D. Eliade) top favs, which is essentially the definitive list:

1) Baiting the Public
2) Year of the Rat
3) Police
4) The Chemistry of Common Life
5) Last Man Standing (soldano mix)
6) Looking for Gold
7) Triumph of Life
8) Teenage Problems
9) Royal Swan
10) Son the Father

Here is what I'm guessing damians is:

1) Year of the Dragon
2) Toronto FC
3) Generation
4) Mustaa Lunta
5) Son the Father
6) DET
7) Police
8) Hidden World
9) Ban Violins
10) My old Man's a Ginger

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Friday, May 02, 2014


Hey everyone, it's new record season over here at FUHQ which means more INTERVIEWS. we take interviews from everyone, big press, small zines, feel free to get in touch if you want to talk to us, for an interview or anything else. For those of you working at magazines/blogs who want to avoid boilerplate, here is a handy FAQ we can just get out of the way so you don't have to rely on these q's;

that isnt a question
we did a concept record last time.
no, it isn't really a concept record
it's mostly about growing up in a band, and the challenges you face as a person and an artist and the things you deal with along the way.
probably yes
yes, to paraphrase.
we write all the songs in a month or two over a summer, sit on them for about a year and then take another year to slowly record them.
we felt that these new songs are a bit groovier than some of our stuff, and could work at different tempos so we decided to record them at both tempos. you will be able to buy the half-tempo record as part of a delux package.
no that's just something people in the press say.
no we think that's one of the special things about the band
its personal
we didnt really go on a hiatus, we just stepped back for a split second.
yes we are late
you already asked me that
like pushing the boundaries of punk and hardcore
probably more records and shows

Friday, March 21, 2014