Severing a long-term
relationship to chance a career in rock could be construed as either a
completely self-indulgent move or a shrewd that’s-the-way-things-go decision.
Although a break-up was supposedly the impetus behind the poignant lyrics on
Paulson’s re-released album All at Once,
lead vocalist and lyricist Logan Laflotte is extremely guarded when it comes to
"It’s like you have a
bird or something. So you take the bird somewhere fancy. You take the bird out somewhere
fancy to eat. And then you let the bird go, but if it comes back then you get
to eat somewhere fancy," he sassily said.
"It’s like you have a
The five-member pop punk band
will talk about signing with New York-based Doghouse Records or their new music
video for "Calling on You," featuring a ridiculous, hairy,
human-sized tarantula. Really, though, they’d prefer to discuss the more absurd
like guitarist Jesse Burton’s weird inventions, an interview that almost drew
tears from the eyes of a
reporter, or shaving their balls.
Paulson, July 27, The Knitting
6 p.m., $13
The full interview is after the jump.
with Paulson (Logan Laflotte – vocals, Alex Burton – bass, Jeff Widner – drums,
Jesse Burton – guitar and John Guarente – synth)
I’m going to ask a stupid question. If you guys were the Ghostbusters — the
five of you — so, including Jeanine, who would each of you be?
Um, is Slimer a choice?
I’m not Jeanine.
Bill Murray, I would be Bill Murray.
You’d be Venkman.
That’s Bill Murray.
All right. So serious questions now.
That was a serious question.
I’ve read reviews of All at Once from 2005 when you guys were with One Day
Savior. One said that you guys were about to "blow up in a big way,"
another said that it would be "the yellow brick road" for the band.
Oz doesn’t exist that’s the problem.
It was kind of like someone fell asleep in those poppy fields, you know, and
just didn’t do anything with the record.
the label was too small for us to really do much.
really, really long yellow brick road.
Yeah, were actually still on it. Actually.
brick road too, it doesn’t even go anywhere.
So now in its second life…
It goes to the yellow brick wall.
have these past months been with Doghouse?
Better than anything else. We’ve done better tours than we have, ever. They
just keep getting better and we can find our record in more places, even though
not all places or enough places. And they’re doing things that no one has done
for us before like advertising and radio and that kind of stuff.
got to shoot a big ridiculous video.
Yeah, I was going to ask you how that’s coming along?
done. We have two versions that we’re trying to decide between. Otherwise, it’s
Why’d you guys choose "Calling on you?"
Because it’s a gold mine.
like the most high impact of the songs. We have maybe three songs that we were
considering. Probably two. Probably "Calling on you" or "Slow
down." And "Calling on you" is more accessible at first listen.
I also think that it’s a little more interesting too. It’s got hooks for like
stability and it’s also got stuff for people who are music nerds. You know? It
kind of showed the whole range of what we do.
people keep telling me that their young children/child/infant dances and sings.
I keep getting the variations of how the children get it wrong.
If little kids could like it, then other people could like it.
So, the sound on this release is drastically different than Variations,
why the huge shift?
Um, we got better.
know if we got better.
decided to play different things.
It was really just honestly a reflection of what we are listening to currently
and the way that we feel. We were like younger when Variations came out
Some of those songs we had written a year after we formed and we didn’t really
know what we were doing yet.
Actually, all of us switched to diet soda.
So, what were you listening to?
Actually I think personally that it was we had been touring a lot — like real
big DIY style, like booking our own tours and playing crappy venues and then we
started to do better or at least treat ourselves better on the road. We got a
lot happier and that’s probably what inspired it mostly, being a little
kind of a more hand-tie inspiration thing, where we weren’t positively inspired
by anything we heard. But, we were on tour seeing four other bands every night
for a month at a time, every other month, and we saw everything we didn’t want
to be. So, it’s just like we ended up being what was left of everything we saw
that we didn’t want to be.
So, you wrote the album, right?
effort. I do the lyrics.
I read that you wrote those songs after splitting with a long-time girlfriend
to pursue your dreams.
The lyrics bear a certain sense of sadness, yet the music sounds hopeful.
What’s your philosophy on love and success?
That’s the best question you could have asked. I really want to know that too.
bird or something. So you take the bird somewhere fancy. You take the bird out
somewhere fancy to eat. And then you let the bird go, but if it comes back then
you get to eat somewhere fancy.
don’t know. I think it’s real weird to answer on the spot, so my only real out
is to make it into a joke.
So what was the inspiration for the tracks added to the Doghouse release?
We had to write new songs for the release. Do you mean lyrically?
about that. I don’t explain my songs to anybody like because I don’t want to.
It’s not that I wouldn’t, but I don’t in general and it’s not like all
a-day-in-the-life-of-me or anything like that. It’s not like you’re getting an
exclusive glimpse into what I’m experiencing at all times. It’s a mix of real
life and fiction. It’s not all true.
So what are you guys writing or creating now? Anything new?
Not really right now.
We’re just concentrating on getting this record out there.
Next time we have some time off. We don’t have any right now until like the
middle of August. It’s a stalemate.
I’ve read some of the praise for the CD that you have posted on your MySpace
page. One said that your music seeks the company of millions instead of
thousands. Is that something that you’re hoping for?
We definitely want as many people to hear us that are willing to hear us and
like it obviously.
Would you want to be on the radio?
I have no qualms about being a big band. I have no concerns. At this point
we’ve dealt with enough fucking snakes, you know, in the industry that I just
don’t care. They’ve made it so hard on us already. Like if we could get
successful, that’s awesome.
How have they made it hard for you?
Um, everything from like various record labels telling other record labels that
they shouldn’t be signing us or like booking agents telling us that we’re lying
about how many kids we draw. People are just like shunning us. There are
websites that just won’t post our news because of whatever reason.
me $600 too. I never got my security back.
I am perfectly comfortable dealing with the corporate machine or whatever you
want to call it.
Do you want to be famous? Do you want the company of millions?
Do you want to be on the radio?
So you guys spend a lot of time touring. Any NYC-specific stories to tell?
We don’t play in
a lot. We just started really.
Well, you played in
Usually we just hang out at the show and then just go home. I can’t think of
I grew up in the
We got kicked out of the Bowery Ballroom.
went to see Julianna Hatfield. We were smoking pot, but we got kicked out
because we weren’t 21. They carded us.
‘You are minors,’ they said.
was over 21 could stay that was with us.
And then we drove by and
yelled out, ‘Hey, fuck face,’ at the bouncer.
Got him where it hurts.
So, we didn’t see Julianna Hatfield that night.
really busted our balls. That happened in
Jesse Burton walks into the room.)
Do you guys work?
I did kind of.
working at a music store, I was working at a print shop, he was working at a
print shop, he was working at a print shop. He got fired. I don’t know what’s
going on with us right now.
We’re on tour a lot though. It’s hard to maintain jobs.
they call us.
Do you guys have anything else to add?
Do you want to ask Jesse a question? He was at the merch table.
Hi. I’m Jesse. I’m sorry.
Stay in school.
Crack is wack.
Use contraceptives. Whatever.
her about Plan Beer?
Oh. I have an invention. If you publish this I’m afraid maybe someone will take
Except they won’t because it’s really dumb.
He already has it patented so no one could steal it. Make sure you print that.
Anyway, it’s an alcoholic beverage that’s also a contraceptive. It’s called
Plan Beer like don’t fuck them without Plan Beer, like the morning after pill.
I’m not really a scientist, so I don’t know how that would work exactly.
They have chewable birth control now.
So drinkable birth control, you know…
…mixed with beer
It doesn’t even have to work as long as it says on the bottle herbally
formulated to provide like you know… You’ll definitely be fine if you drink
think that would also be a big seller.
Plan Beer, you’ll be fine if you drink this.
band starts talking about college and their decisions to pursue music instead
of their majors.)
It’s pretty much a sure thing this band, so we’re pretty much putting our eggs
in that basket. You know?
There are no eggs, just a basket.
members tell Jesse about the Ghostbusters question.)
I guess I would be Egon.
He definitely would be Egon.
He’s the most mad scientist-y I guess. I’ll take that. Is Slimer an option?
start talking about the difficulty of being interviewed.)
I guess we’re not that good at that stuff yet. I mean we need to get like
someone to tell us what to say.
Why do you need someone to tell you what to say?
we say when no one is telling us what to say.
We say off-color things. You know?
I think it kind of sucks when you read interviews and it’s always the same
interview. It’s always the same questions and it’s always the same answers.
You know there’s probably like good answers to questions like you know, ‘How
are you doing with the new record?’
I hate that question. How do you feel about the new record? I hate it. It’s
like we wrote these songs that we totally hate.
It’s the best we could do.
So what would you like an interviewer to ask?
I’m not saying you are a bad interviewer, just for the record. You did fine.
Just out of curiosity.
You’re questions were actually better than most.
They ask name three contemporary bands that you sound like. That’s the worst. I
hate that. Or, how do you feel about the new record?
about Uggs for men. Ask John that, then ask the rest of us.
The best question we were ever asked in an interview, I wasn’t there actually,
but it was like ‘Why the name,’ …remember that in
band. What did she call us Toshiba or something?
call yourselves Samson? And we were like, (in silly voice) ‘Why did we
call ourselves Samson?’
don’t think we did call ourselves Samson. We were all just looking at each
other like we call ourselves Samson? She thinks we’re in a band called Samson?
So how did you correct her?
It was like this teen cable network in
So far you’re not in tears so that’s the sign of a good interview.
conversation sways back to Jesse and his inventions.)
I also have an idea for an invention, which is bottled water that’s also malt
liquor. Just like Evian with like 7% alcohol. You know what I mean? It tastes
like water. That market hasn’t been tapped yet. You know there’s like energy
drinks, alcoholic beverage with a fruit drink, alcoholic beverage. So, why not
bottled water? Everyone likes bottled water.
non-alcoholic beer that gets you drunk.
All of my inventions have to do with alcohol for whatever reason.
you know people who drink non-alcoholic beer the problem or the reason why it’s
not that popular is because you don’t get drunk when you drink non-alcoholic
beer. So, if there were a way to get drunk with non-alcoholic beer it would be
more popular. Do you know what I mean?
I was drunk enough that I threw up all over the van while we were driving. That
was pretty sweet.
would be a good interview question. What happened when you got drunk or where
have you thrown up before?
place you did it?
Jane magazine always asks that question.
an interviewer into asking us how often we shave our balls on the road. That
turned into a really good interview.
You know what that is. It’s getting down to the knitty-gritty of band life.
relationships. It’s actually about shaving our balls. Most of the songs are
about me writing songs to my balls.