O.K., kids, school's starting, take your seats. Your teacher? Reese, vocalist and all around spiffy dude from Five Iron Frenzy. The topics? Ska, face dives, and much more. Read on, rudie.
How did the band get started? This particular band started as a side project of another band that Scott, Micah, Keith, and I were in. It was a pretty dumb band, and I don't want to talk about it really. We really liked punk and ska, so this band rapidly replaced the other one. We then added all the new kids on horns and drums.
What's the first ska band you ever heard? The first Ska band I ever heard, and actually knew it was ska, was Skankin' Pickle. But what really made me like ska was the NOFX album White Trash Two Heebs and a Bean. Tracks like "Bob" on that album are an excellent blend of punk and ska, and since I was into punk rock, it made me like ska. What is really cool is that Skankin' Pickle is a very big influence on me and some of the other guys in the band, and I now e-mail Mike Parks, who used to be in the band. He is a christian, and a super cool guy.
How do you feel about ska getting so popular in the last year or so? Who would you say are your influences (musical or otherwise)? *Musically, some of our biggest influences as a band are NOFX, Skankin' Pickle, Less Than Jake, Slapstick, Weezer, Smashing Pumkins. I don't know, it's kind of a mixed bag. Scott, our guitar player who writes most of the music, has been listening to a lot of power pop lately and it is definitely showing up in our new songs. I would say my biggest influences lyrically are people like Mark Soloman (The Crucified, Stavesacre, Native Son), Jyro (Mortal, Fold Zandura), and Fat Mike (NOFX). I read a lot of books that give me inspiration as well, such as: THE BIBLE, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, 1984, stuff like that.
How did you guys get hooked up with 5 Minute Walk Records? We played with Black Eyed Sceva and Dime Store Prophets about a year ago last October. It was one of our first shows with all of the horn players that we have now, and we were just starting to get a good grasp on what our sound would be. I guess Masaki Lieu, from Dimestore ( the guy that produced our album and is our best pal), called Frank Tate (5MW president) after the show from a gas station and told him we were good and that he should sign us. Frank's first question was, "Well, do they love the Lord?", and Masaki really couldn't answer because he had just met us. So it took about ten more months to actually get signed to the label. Towards the end of the summer, when we really did sign, there were about 15 Christian and secular labels who were interested in us. Our pastor called up Frank and told him how badly we wanted to be on the label, and I guess that was all it took. Frank just wanted to know where our hearts were, and if we were accountable to someone. So we signed last August, and NO ONE in the band regrets it at all, because we love the label and what it stands for.
When's the next album coming out? The next album should be out next October on SaraBellum records, which is a division of Five Minute Walk being distributed by Warner Brothers (yikes!).
If you had the choice, what band (secular or not) would you choose to go on tour with? A lot of us really want to go on tour with Less Than Jake, because they are awesome, and we know them pretty well. I guess personally, I would give my left arm to play one show with the(late great) Crucified. But if Mark Saloman hears that he'll probably kick my butt.
Speaking of tours, what are some of the whackiest things you've ever done in concert? The list goes on and on. I think the wackiest thing I've ever done in concert was diving into a baptismal and then jumping over our drummer from eight feet up and doing a belly flop on the stage. I split my chin open and bled everywhere, but I kept singing. But just wait until Cornerstone this year. It will be the Grandaddy of all Five Iron Frenzy shows.