Interview from Vision On zine #14
By Chris from Travis Cut.
Q - Did the band set out to consciously release so much stuff or did it kinda just happen? Did you chase labels originally and is that situation now reversed?
Gardner - It just happened. I don’t think Lance or I have ever really thought ahead about anything and of course at the beginning it was much slower. We never chased labels, simply because we had friends who had labels and wanted to put out our stuff right from the beginning. J Church was able to pick up right where Cringer left off, so that helped us. I would say we definitely get asked a lot for songs by labels, but would stop short of saying that they chase us.
Q - Does Lance still amaze you with his productivity? Do you ever wonder about quality control? Are there heaps of rejected J Church songs?
Gardner - "Rejected J Church songs"? Never heard of it. Really. I doubt there is one. There are some that we might have played once or twice and then Lance dropped, but I think on the most part Lance does that on his own when he writes them. I doubt that there is a song we recorded that hasn’t been released. That is part of Lance’s idea about running this band. I don’t always agree with it but as a concept I think it’s certainly valid. I think quality control would have helped a lot, and lots of people have told me as such, but that’s one way of looking at it and Lance doesn’t choose that way. As for amazing me, I guess I take it for granted, but if I stop and think about it, it is pretty impressive.
Q - What are your favourite and worst J Church releases? Where would you advise someone new to the band to start?
Gardner - My favourite is probably Arbor Vitae or Camels.... I think some of the split 7"s are not so good, but Quetzalcoatl and Prophylaxis disappoint me the most in thinking the songs were really good but didn’t come out well due to poor recording or some aspect of playing them that we should have done and can see clearly now in hindsight. For a starting point I would say Arbor Vitae or one of the “best of” type CDs.
Q - You recently changed drummers, how do you decide what songs he should learn?
Gardner - Lance probably chooses and then I try to persuade him to include more of my favourites or ones that I think people are going to demand. Usually one of us is sick to death of something and really pushes to leave it out, other than that it is more time consideration, and the fact it is pretty boring teaching old songs to someone when you’d rather just work on new ones. But we have no illusions about having to play old songs if you are going on tour, people want to hear them, and if it were me in the crowd I’d feel the same, so it’s no big deal.
Q - Do you have a copy of everything yourself? Do you think that the bands’ volume of releases is an extension of Lance’s record collecting?
Gardner - It usually takes a while to get copies of new things, but aside from that I am pretty confident that I have copies of EVERYTHING, probably even more so than Lance, because I’m more anal and Lance is more relaxed. I think that Lance’s enjoyment of records and CDs as a medium, including packaging etc. is probably where the excess comes from.
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