Picking the easy targets since 1993
Interview by C. BALES
RW: I want to congratulate you guys.
TODD: For what?
RW: For finally getting in the Reglar Wiglar.
TODD: It's quite an achievement.
THEO: It's one more check off the list.
RW: Bands have been known to get their start with the Reglar Wiglar interview.
TODD: The best part about it was that I was talking to Campbell from Lamb of God earlier and he's like, "Oh yeah, we have Sony execs here and were going to film a new video, and we just finished tracking a record, and then we're going on tour. What are you doing?" I was like, "We've got an interview with Reglar Wiglar."
THEO: Oh, like they haven't.
KEVIN: Is he aware of our last week's venture? Recording live at WLUW?
TODD: No, I left that out.
RW: Well, before we get into all of that, I want you guys to introduce yourselves and tell what you do in the band, so that Wiglarland will know who you are.
KEVIN: Before you do that, is Eric coming?
TODD: I called and left him another message.
RW: We can wait.
KEVIN: We could talk shit about Eric.
RW: So, Kevin, you are going away for a month to host a show in Hawaii?
TODD: Kevin is kind of fucking us and his good buddies from Texas in self interest.
KEVIN: I am trying to make money so I can buy us a new drummer.
RW: Did you guys have to cancel shows?
TODD: Three. Two out of town with my good friends in Texas, Born to Lose, which are awesome!
RW: So how do you guys feel about him putting the band second?
TODD: We've grown used to it.
KEVIN: I clear out the time for the necessary things. It's strictly mercenary. They're paying me a shit pile of money to go over there and do it.
RW: Is it a TV show?
KEVIN: It's promoting a TV show. It's like an exhibit that goes to museums and malls and stuff. It's not going to air.
THEO: I still can't figure out why you would want to go to Hawaii for a month.
KEVIN: I was torn, then I thought, I have to go where my gay heart is.
RW: Are you gay?
KEVIN: No, but I missed the gay pride parade this weekend.
RW: Let's introduce ourselves...
THEO: Theo, guitar.
TODD: Todd, guitar.
KEVIN: Kevin, singing.
TODD: I thought you were going to say vox, man.
FRITZ: I play the bass guitar, the sex of the band.
RW: Are you the only one in the band that's single?
FRITZ: Kevin and I are single.
TODD: And Eric plays drums.
RW: What's it like to be the single guys in a rock and roll band?
FRITZ: It's great.
KEVIN: It's awesome. We don't have to worry about these jerks cutting in on our territory.
TODD: Your track record isn't looking so great.
KEVIN: It's looking pretty great. That's the beauty of being the two single guys in the band, because if Fritz and I don't hook up, we've got each other.
FRITZ: It works.
RW: Let's go back three years, when you guys formed.
TODD: What do you want to know?
RW: How did this all get started?
TODD: Theo and I played in a band together a long time ago, and when that band broke up we talked about starting a new band. We didn't really have a place to play and we didn't know any drummers or bass player, so I took an ad out in The Reader and found a drummer who consequently knew another guitar player. So I asked Theo if he wanted to play bass and he said he did, so Theo took up the bass and we started the band. Probably about three or four months into it, it wasn't really working out with the drummer so we decided to look for another drummer and we spent two or three months trying to find a drummer. We played with a drum machine for a little while, I took out another ad and we auditioned like fifteen people.
RW: Any freaks?
TODD: Tons of freaks. I mean, we only auditioned like fifteen people. I talked to about fifty, so only fifteen people made it through the door. There was a lot of stupid shit. People asking what we looked like, how we dressed, people saying they didn't want to play unless they made this much money. In general, it was people who weren't up for just rockin' out. We were sort of getting desperate, sort of bummed out. One night I got a phone call from Eric and in talking to him, just going back and forth about what kind of music we liked, I realized that he had actually been in a band that I had played with in with Team Satan. So even though we didn't know each other, we had this sort of connection. So we agreed on a time for him to come in, and he walked in the door, and right away sat down and started playing. It worked.
THEO: Right what we were looking for.
TODD: So we started playing with Eric and we decided we wanted to go into the studio to record 'cause we got a good deal from a new studio but we didn't have any vocals. We had known Kevin through open mike as his alter ego which sort of frightened us a little bit.
RW: Does your alter ego have a name?
KEVIN: Barry LaCroix.
RW: Like the water?
KEVIN: The water came second. Barry's much like the biblical Adam; first.
TODD: So we talked about it over a couple of weeks, all of us knew Kevin. He came in one day, same thing, opened up the pipes and started singing. Then we went to the studio three days after that, laid down the tracks to our first CD. And then I would say about six months later, in the course of—we went on tour, it's really kind of fucked up, the van blew up the first night. Out of eleven shows, we only played five. We spent about $2,200. We got back and started talking about the future and when we wanted to go on tour again, and in discussing it, our old guitar player, Jason, a great guy, sort of said he wasn't interested in touring. He loved the band and wanted to play with us but he just bought a house and didn't want to spend that much time on the band. I think collectively we all discussed it and we thought the idea was that everyone wanted to work for the band and decided we wanted to look for another guitar player or put Theo on guitar and find a bass player. Fritz had kind of conveniently been hassling us about playing, so it was sort of an easy transition.
RW: How do you get rid of somebody that was a founding member of the band?
TODD: I don't think that it's ever easy. He wasn't fired. I hate to use that sort of business terminology. The hardest part of it is that we all love Jason and he's still a cool guy.
KEVIN: Theo and I still do stuff with him in our sketch group.
TODD: And in all honesty, he really loved playing in a band and we loved playing with him. But the four of us really wanted to play more—as much as possible, and tour more. He had this other stuff going on which I can understand completely.
KEVIN: It's fun as shit to play and rock out when you can but when you got to ask off a shit load of time from work, you're risking your job. He's married. Todd's married too. Wives don't like to be left home a lot. It's not that he didn't want to be a part of this.
RW: (to Fritz): What did you think of the Decibators? You told them you were interested.
FRITZ: I liked them. There was something missing in the band when I first saw them. You guys had the energy I was looking for in a band and I think I told one of you guys that they needed a real bass player in the band and I offered.
RW: What's a real bass player?
KEVIN: Someone who's a bass player first, not a guitar player.
FRITZ: Fundamentally, a guitar player can play the bass. (To Theo) You couldn't fuck your bass playing you had to fuck your guitar. You belong on guitar. My other band (Muchacha) was on the downhill, slowly breaking up, and I needed to join a band that could rock. These guys could rock.
KEVIN: We actually played a show together (with Muchacha).
FRITZ: We played a couple of shows together. I just needed a band. They were different from what I was used to playing, but it had the same spirit and energy I wanted to continue. Plus, I'd known Eric, for about fifteen years and I'd played in bands with him forever, so my big selling point was if you guys want to get tighter, I know the drummer really well. It was more and more of a tighter band. I don't really consider you guys being a band for three years. I think when I joined, that's when I consider it a real band. I used to watch them play and it's over the top now.
RW: Over the top how?
KEVIN: Arm wrestling competitions.
TODD: We have arm wrestling competitions with crowds before we play. If we win they buy us beer.
THEO: And we actually crash a semi into the club.
KEVIN: We actually don't even tour in the van anymore. We bought a big rig with a work out bar.
RW: (To Theo) Are you getting more action now that you are playing guitar?
THEO: No, not really. I've got default action, I've got a girlfriend.
RW: It seems like you focus more on your live show, on playing out, than you do on recording.
TODD: I think its primarily a money issue. I've always loved live bands. I mean, I love a good record, but seeing a band live is great. For me personally, the first and foremost thing about being in a band is playing live.
RW: You've put out several three or four song demos...
TODD: Two. No, we did the one seven inch with Reagan National, we did three songs with Jason, the old guitar player, and four songs in December/January of this year.
RW: Decibators (are) upset that there's only one tape. What does that say about them?
TODD: What does that say about the Wiglar's budget?
RW: We're going to cut this down to two pages anyway.
TODD: You've never had a band on the cover, you should go with that angle.
RW: What's the best band on tour?
TODD: I don't know if there was a best band, I think there were a lot of good bands.
KEVIN: Do you want a list?
RW: Wiglarland wants to know.
KEVIN: We played four dates in Texas with Born to Lose, good buddies of ours. Hatchet Taylor in Austin was awesome. Disengaged from Ohio, and Riverboat Gamblers.
KEVIN: People out there in Wiglarland, Columbia, Missouri: if you are out there and you know the drummer of The Him (The Ham-ed), kill him and never go see his band. Go see his band, just don't....
TODD: We showed up in Columbia and the band we were playing with, The Him—respectfully, I think they are a good band for what they do. I would bill them as a weird mix of a hippie jam band and Frank Zappa-style fusion band.
KEVIN: All the guys were cool.
TODD: Except for their drummer. When we were playing, about four songs into our set, I guess he didn't like what kind of music we were playing and he thought we should be done.
KEVIN: There were only two bands on the bill, us and The Ham. We're the touring band, they obviously brought the crowd which was liking what we were doing. He felt The Ham needed a three hour set. So we couldn't play our thirty-five minutes so he decided to cut us off.
TODD: He walked up and after four songs decided to cut the PA off. For about fifteen, twenty seconds, we couldn't figure out what was going on.
KEVIN: Eric saw it.
TODD: Eric stopped playing and I didn't know what was happening. We eventually turned the PA back on and I walked over to the door guy and asked him if we'd gone too long and he said "No, man you guys play as long as you want." We asked the bartenders and they said, keep playing. Afterwards there were some words exchanged. Personally I wanted to kill the guy, but I think we handled it fairly well.
KEVIN: But then we went to these hippie people's house to jam...
TODD: No, before we went to the hippie's house we went to a trailer and got kicked out for some reason.
FRITZ: I wasn't there. I was having a little adventure of my own.
RW: What kind of adventure?
FRITZ: I lost a lot of my cords and tuners and my little suitcase of tricks.
THEO: And that was the last time I was in charge of shutting the van door.
TODD: The trailer door never got shut all the way twice on tour. It opened on the Interstate. Shit rolled out.
RW: Holy shit.
TODD: We lost all of Eric's hardware in St. Louis.
KEVIN: We did this twice. Once in Columbia, which was very early, and all we lost was Fritz's bag of tricks, and later on in the tour we lost all of Eric's hardware. He was the last to lock it.
TODD: Which we didn't know until someone on the interstate as we were driving back rolled down the window and was like, "Hey you might want to check out your trailer." So we borrowed hardware from two other bands.
THEO: But it was an excellent tour all around.
TODD: I guess with any tour you have the good and the bad. The good part was we completely broke even. We sold all of our merchandise. We didn't spend any of our own money. That's a successful tour in my book. We didn't make any money of course, but considering the last tour where we lost $2,200...
RW: How does your band dynamic change while you're on the road?
KEVIN: I think other bands would hate us because we never blow up at each other while we're driving or anything.
THEO: I think as far as getting onstage and playing in different towns, for some reason, for me, it's pouring a bunch more energy—because it's not the same place you've played a couple of times.
KEVIN: You'll spend all day sleeping in the van and like, "Oh God I'm so tired, I'm done," and then your first beer...
TODD: I think any band will tell you if they go on tour, it's a lot of fucking fun and at the same time it sucks balls. I mean, we only do it for two weeks so I'm not about to get into the ring with people who do it for six, seven weeks at a time. It sucks because you're driving five, eight hours through the middle of nowhere, you show up, there's nothing to do for five hours. When you're on tour you're hanging out with a bunch of friends but you're in a vehicle for two weeks straight.
KEVIN: I think we got along amazingly well.
RW: When's the next big tour?
FRITZ: I'm sorry, I have to go to work. (leaves)
RW: So how do you feel about the Chicago music scene, if there is one? If there is a scene, how do you fit into it?
TODD: I could give a very long-winded answer but I'll let you guys go first.
THEO: I really don't have any complaints. It's such a big city it's not like there's any one scene, so to speak. There's all kinds of shit going on all over the place. I don't have too many complaints. I do sometimes wish people would do more than just stand there with their arms crossed while they're watching the bands.
RW: How is Chicago different from other cities you play in?
THEO: That's really hard to say. It seems like a lot of times playing in other cities you only see these people for three hours. Whatever's going on after that, you're spending the night at someone's house or at a party.
KEVIN: I think it's playing, from being on tour the small towns we play, like Omaha for example, one of the best nights we had show-wise and partying, meeting people. Small towns, people there, maybe because they don't have the access to it, they appreciate the show. They're into it. They don't get to see touring bands from Chicago or New York. I don't want to say that people in Chicago are spoiled but you go out to thirty different venues to see thirty different touring bands. So it's like those small places end up being kick ass shows. We had a great time in Oklahoma City. The larger cities, we see more of the arm crossing, play-for-us sort of thing.
TODD: I think Chicago, the music scene is a love/hate relationship. The greatest thing about Chicago, and the reason why I initially moved here, is that you have a huge city that people can work and live, be artists, be musicians and not kill themselves. It's not New York where you're paying like $3,000 a month for rent. It's not LA, where it's so spread out you have to drive everywhere. There is a collective scene that is really, really cool. At the same time, that collective scene is very much like DC, it's very incestuous, it's very much like you have to know the right people. Fortunately, Chicago's great for us, we do really well. A lot of people seem to like what we're doing—get what we're doing, which is great.
THEO: Living here has given us the opportunity to play with a lot of different styles of bands.
RW: Yeah, I noticed that on your list on the Web site.
THEO: It's across the board. It's hit or miss sometimes. We've played some great shows and some where we're kind of the odd man out. Its like we didn't quite fit into that bill.
RW: This is a yes or no. Is it true you guys rock much ass?
RW: I heard you rock balls is that true?
TODD: Yes. Theo's balls.
KEVIN:Any part of the anatomy, we rock it.
RW: Have you ever intended to rock ass but rocked balls instead?
DECIBATORS: Yeah, but usually rock balls into the ass.
KEVIN: One time we meant to rock balls but we ended up rocking a clitoris.
RW: These are all things you claim to do in your e-mails. How much blow do you guys do on a given out-of-town night?
TODD: Depends on what city we're in. Columbus seems to be the capital.
RW: Hey, we don't have a lot of time here. What rock hair style would you have other than your own?
TODD: Do we have rock hairstyles? I think were probably the most un-rock looking band.
THEO: Whatever's cheapest.
KEVIN: Theo, you'd surely have a mullet.
RW: Kevin, you've sported several different hairstyles.
KEVIN: One that I've never done, and if the band started paying the bills and I didn't have to work the day and night job anymore, I'd go with the Mohawk.
TODD: Dude, I'm telling you the best look you've ever had is the H.I. McDonnough. You could rock that everyday of your life. The mustache and mullet going on. That would go with the Limp Bizkit braids.
RW: I'm grasping here from "Inside the Actor's Studio"—what inspires you?
KEVIN: Time travel is one. I love to do some time travel. Drinking. And fast cars. Even though I don't have one and will probably never own one, I think they're cool.
TODD: I don't know. Good people are inspiring.
THEO: There's one thing; going home and listening to Montrose.
RW: I don't know who Montrose is.
TODD: Sammy Hagar's first band.
KEVIN: Just to piggy back off of what Theo said, something that inspires me in for the band, the fucking noise of this goddamn city.
RW: That was my next question, what makes you mad?
KEVIN: The train behind my house and the dance club beneath my apartment. And the construction that starts at 6 AM. But I have really cheap rent.
RW: What song is in your head right now?
TODD: Tight Phantomz, I don't know the name of the song, the first song on the most recent record. The first record they put out. It's a great song.
THEO: I actually have the same answer because we're talking about it and it's the song that goes, duh duh duh-dun duh dun tuh-duh.
TODD: That's the third song. I highly recommend you or anyone reading this magazine, go out and buy that record. It's fucking good.
RW: The readers are listening.
TODD: All five of them?
RW: Who do you want to be compared to as a band?
TODD: I don't want to be compared to anyone.
KEVIN: I've never been upset with any of our influences people have said.
TODD: I don't know, comparisons whatever. I mean critics will do that. I just want people to like it. I don't care what else people like, they can like Glen Campbell for all I care. If they like our record that's great.
KEVIN: It's not a comparison, but we had one blurb in a paper that said, "If AC/DC were to start now." I thought that was pretty cool.
RW: How would you describe Decibators in one word—besides Decibators?
TODD: I've got four; breaking hearts and lighting farts.
RW: Have you ever played a show completely sober?
TODD: As a band, no. Individually yes.
RW: What's the worst band you've ever played with.
DECIBATORS: Live Animals. Really nice guys though.
RW: Depp or Pitt?
TODD: Johnny Depp. Brad Pitt? Come on.
KEVIN: Have you ever seen Kalifornia?
TODD: I've seen Kalifornia. Have you ever seen 21 Jump Street?
KEVIN: Brad Pitt's made too many mistakes. Johnny Depp's done too much right. But Kalifornia is the best movie. Johnny Depp over all.
TODD: Who would you fuck, Kevin?
KEVIN: Brad Pitt because Johnny Depp would do something weird, creepy to my balls.
RW: Would this interview have been better, or more thought-provoking, had I had a British accent?
TODD: Yes, women with accents are great. Maybe not thought-provoking but I would have loved every fucking question you had.
KEVIN: Off the record, you should have a British accent.
TODD: Lets go on with this interview. That was a bad question.
RW: Why was that a bad question?
TODD: If you had an English accent? Self-serving question.
RW: Self-serving interview.
TODD: What are you, a psychiatrist?
RW: Describe your practice space. How much of your time do you spend there a week?
KEVIN: Not much. (laughing)
THEO: Not as much as we should.
TODD: Recently, we haven't spent much time. I think the idea is to spend at least three nights a week for three to four hours. Twelve hours a week would be good. Our practice space has been taken over by a junk storage space.
KEVIN: We have another band who gives us some money . . . or doesn't.
THEO: Well, actually we're getting ready to do some spring cleaning.
TODD: We've got lots of pictures of girls though.
KEVIN: Yeah, we have a fucking shit-load of nudie pics.
TODD: That's nice, that's inspirational. It is one of the bigger things that inspires us and I personally am able to take credit for trying to establish this little collage going on there.
KEVIN: It's really good, Todd's an artist.
TODD:My premise was that we had a stack of—
KEVIN: Nudie mags.
TODD: —soft and hardcore porn magazines, and to sort of get rid of the stuff in the space, I thought well there are these images that everyone sort of enjoys and if they were around they could—
KEVIN: We call them "The Muse."
TODD: We look upon it as our muse.
KEVIN: Todd did the door hardcore and then the wall softcore.
TODD: No, it's a little bit mixed. The door is a mix of hardcore—
KEVIN: Eric ripped it down. Eric enjoys the practice space probably most out of any of us and the funniest thing I think I've ever seen in the space is one day we came in for practice and, I don't know the women's sizes that well, but what would a women's plus size be in the underwear department?
RW: Like a fourteen?
KEVIN: Like really fat, really fucking fat.
TODD: Like eighteen?
KEVIN: Like a size eighteen thong was hanging on the wall. None of us had been in the space for a while and we were like, "Eric what the fuck?" And he's like, "Oh,yeah, I came in here after the show with this guy and we were doing some blow and he brought these girls over and they were real fat."
TODD: I think it's like Eric's fort. You know when you were a kid and you would build like a little blanket fort?
KEVIN: It's kind of your fort too, but for you it's more for solitude. You go there to play the guitar. Eric just likes to go there and hang out and play music and smoke pot.
TODD: But we have spring cleaning coming up.
RW: I think it's interesting because it's the space you go to to be creative.
TODD: I personally don't like it that way. I like the fact that there's this outlet that we have, but I don't like it that it becomes the place you have to go to to be creative. Personally for me—
Sorry to cut the interview short but it wasn't gonna end itself, know what I'm sayin'?
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