Interview from Stokage e-zine #4
By Thorbjörn Thorsén. Original version available here.
Hawaii. Perfect beaches, suntanned beach bunnies, hotrods and ho-dads. Private eyes and giant mansions, glass skylines and Ironman. Army bases and sunken warships.
Emmaboda. Muddy fields, a lone hotel, almost no sun, definitly no beaches, no PI's and no ships. Only one great pop festival where two guys from Honolulu and an eighteen year old drummerboy wide-eyed are trying to find out where they are.
-Who's this, is the first thing Lance (vocals and guitar) asks me before we've even had the time to say hi.
I tell him it's Loosegoats, a band from Lund in the Pavement vein.
-Awsome band, he replies.
Awsome taste I think to myself, and it definitly isn't surprising, keeping J Churches own releases in mind. 7" after 7" filled with spunky powerpopping punkrock. The odd LP once in a while, a couple of 10" Ep's. On tons of different labels. After a short recap, Lance tells me he thinks they're gonna release 44 tracks this year. And then he laughs and tells me that writing songs and collecting records are the only things he does.
-Reed and Gardener pays my bills.
Lance and Gardener are childhood friends, they formed their first band in highschool, trying to be as cool as their friends who just had formed their first band, The Dambilders. And while The Dambilders took the indiepop kids by storm, Cringer took the pop-punk path to greatness. After a few years they moved to the mainland and became part of the growing punk scene in San Francisco. They toured constantly and broke up only to reform, taking their new name after a bus route in their new hometown.
-We didn't move to San Francisco 'cause it was the punk scene of America, it was just that when we'd toured with Cringer we'd met loads of cool people and when we decided to move from Honolulu it seemed like the place to be 'cause it was where most of our friends lived, Gardener says.
-I think it's realy cool that the East Bay is turning into this great punk rock community, Lance continues, we've been there so long now, so we've seen it grow and it's so cool to see all these bands we know and love finally make it big. When we first got therer everyone was so into the scene, everyone had their own label or zine, and almost everyone had a band and loads of those bands were so good, Green Day and Rancid aren't just marketing and money, they're great bands, which were really good and had worked their asses off to get to where they are now. They deserve every inch of their success.
Well put, and I can't help wondering if J Church will wander down the same gold paved road to fame, but Lance doesn't think so.
-We're not even close to their popularity, even when they (Green Day) were on Lookout!. we sell maybe 2,000 of our 7", and that's really good on the level we're on, but Green Day sold 50 000 copies before they signed to Warner. But Jawbreaker are going to be huge.
-Jawbreaker's new album is awsome, the quiet, new drummer Reed says.
And even though Jawbreaker and J Church go way back there's more than just friendliness in Reed's words. There's pure admiration in the air when Jawbreaker is discussed.
-Blake's lyrics is a great influence when I write, he's so personal in his writing, it's a classic singer/songwriter style I guess. You know, Jonathan Richmond, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe...
He's a modest guy, Lance, his lyrics are way up there with his heroes. Tales of everyday life, of taking the weekend off and just going somewhere, freedom for a few hours, but always back at work on Monday morning. Or like the tale of J Church on the road on the b-side of their latest 7" on Broken Rekkids, The Band You Love To Hate. Of hating airline food and being somewhere where you don't feel at home, and having someone else pay the bill. The strangeness of it all. And the Nick Love-penned Mary Provost is and always will be a pop classic. And it's a fantastic tale of the macabre end of a early Hollywood starlet.
An hour or so later, J Church get on stage and deliver one of the highlights of the festival. Lance wonders if it's ok if they start, grap his SG and take off his glasses (which make him look sort of like an out of place professor), squints at the audience and smiles. Two songs later, the audience is in a frenzy and the cold night air is filled with enthusiasm. Lance bounces around on stage, Gardner tries his best to stay out of his way and after an encore they stay on stage selling their latest album and t-shirts to loads of fresh fans.
And then they wander off, checking out Flying Saucer Attack and the Swedish Joy Division clones Yvonne. Eyes and ears wide open, as if recording the moment in order to be able to turn it into another three minute pop punk classic.
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