Yo, this is the Swingin' Utters
       Here you go punks, an interview with one of the best punk bands to dance to, on the planet. Pick up their record and get slam dancing, and have a great time. I had a problem with my communication problem while interviewing, so I wasn’t able to ask things, I wanted during the interview. But I hope it still turned out well. Hope you like it, and don’t forget to pick up their new record on Fat Wreck titled, “A Juvenile Product of the Working Class.” and also their last record on New Red Archives titled, “The Streets of San Francisco.” Both are filled with great ’77 punk, you’ll definetly enjoy.  -Brian

Who are you all and what do you play?
Kevin: My name’s Kevin and I play Bass Guitar. Max: I’m Max and I play guitar. Greg: Greg, Drums. Johnny: Johnny, Vocals. Darius: Darius, Guitar.

How old are you guys?
Kevin: I’m gonna be thirty in December. Max: I’m going to be thirteen in June. Greg: 26. Johnny: 29. Darius: 25.

How long have you guys been together?
“The first party we ever played was about 8 years ago, but with this line up, 4 years.”
“92, basically.”Swinging to da Swingin' Utters

You guys have a new album out called, “A Juvenile Product of the Working Class.” on Fat Wreck Chords. Do you think this is as good or better then your last album on New Red Archives, and why?
“I think; the sound wise, it’s better, because we recorded it the way we really wanted to record, initially.  Like with the New Red Archives one, we went into this place and did it on ADAT. Which, we kinda don’t like it too much and we did this record ANALOG and so it’s got a bigger, beefier sound. But, there’s good things about both records. I mean, this is a lot newer material, that record most of the songs were written years ago for “Streets...” and so it’s kinda neat. I don’t know, it’s the new record, so I’m really into it, right now.”
“Plus, we had better equipment, too. So, that made the new record sound better.”
“We could play a little better.”
“A little better.”
“But, you know it’s hard to say things like that. Because I mean, Streets of San of Francisco was that and a different kind of sound and everything. I’d hate to say like ones, better then the other. There’s just different qualities about each.”
“As for the style or whatever, we didn’t totally branch out or anything. I think it’s a little bit more varied then the last record but basically, the same of kind of stuff but it sounds better. It’s a really good thing.” [Everyone chuckles]

So, What was the reason you changed from New Red Archives to Fat Wreck Chords?
“I wouldn’t say we changed. We just moved on.”
“New Red Archives is really fucking cool, but they can only do so much basically.’’
“Really small.”
“Money was maybe a little bit of a problem; Distribution and Fat is everywhere and it’s a bigger label, so it’s better for us basically.”
[Something about Nicky]
“When we first signed to New Red, he was like most bands just use us as a stepping stone. I mean, the idea is to keep expanding and growing you know and one of the ways we wanted to grow was to get our records to more places. Fat is really good at running ADs and really good about setting up interviews. It’s alot more organized and it takes alot of the weight off of the bands shoulders as far as like the smaller more label orientated things. We were doing alot with New Red trying to help out. At the time we were on New Red, they didn’t have any touring bands so they weren’t really used to having a band that was out all the time you know, and we needed tour support. Ideally, it’s probably the best label for us, out there; of all the labels. So, we got the label, that we really wanted. It was cool.”

How many records have you guys put out?
“This is our second LP”
“And, we have a 9 song - 10 inch that came out a few years ago. But, this is like our second legitimate LP and we have a lot of singles.”
“All of the earlier material has been consolidated onto a record called “More Scared...” that was put out by Side One. So, that’s pretty much everything; besides these two albums. Then there’s an EP that’s floating around, but right now it’s not out. It’ll probably come out down the road at some point.”

Is that the CD-EP?
“Yeah, on IFA.”
“It’s switched; it’s not on IFA anymore. New Red owns it. I don’t know, what they’re going to do with it. They might put it out. Apparently, I heard they might try and sell it. So, we don’t know, what’s happening with it right now. Basically, we’re mainly concerned with `A Juvenile Product...’

Do you guys like this record, alot?
“Fuck yeah.”
“Yeah, totally.”
“We spent alot of time on it and it was good.”
“It’s a learning experience, to have alot of time. Because, the last one, god I don’t know. I think recording the actual music was five days and with this one we had two weeks or something. So, we had alot more time.”
“But, even then... There was complications during this record recording. We didn’t really have the time we were hoping to have. We were kinda cut short on this album to. So, the next record ideally, we’ll take even more time trying to do it, properly.”
“Alot less troubles.”
“We’re not ever going to be one of those bands that goes in and takes months to record their album just because it sounds lame. After a certain point you just start messing with what you’ve already done, and your never going to get it any better. Ideally, we just want to keep it short and sweet when we’re in the studio. But, there’s a certain amount of time you need to like get the sounds. Like that can take a long time.”
“Somethings a little out of tune. You want to be able to like go, let’s do it all over. Because, that’s what happened with my bass on this last record. I recorded like 12 tracks and it was like I think it’s a little of tune and my bass just started fucking up. It took me several days to get them all down, the way that they should be. We wouldn’t of had as much time; and the bass would of been out of tune on the record. We may not of noticed it when we were recording, but when you get the product home and listen to it.”
“Yeah, we had a really, really good engineer and co-producer and Ryan Green. Ryan and Mike produced the record, so they were together and Ryan was doing all the engineering with Eric Dodd. Those two guys, they engineered the record and they did a really good job. They took the time, and had a really good ear. Like the bass stuff, we couldn’t tell it was out of tune. But, his neck was warped.”
“Yeah. And, I mean it was pissing me off, but I still had to go in and do it, over and over. And, I’m glad I did, but at the time it was really annoying.”

Who writes the songs?
“We all do, but Darius probably writes the most. These two write most of the actual lyrics on this last record.”
“We all contribute musically, Darius writes the most. But, everybody has a couple songs on the record atleast and we all do the arrangement together.”

How’s your tour going?
“Lunachicks rule. We’ve been having a killer time with them. Like this is their first time seeing us, and this is our first time seeing them. When we did our first show together, we really clicked. Before that we did the south of the US with the Queers.”
“That was great.”
“Now we’re about to do the US with the Descendants.”
“I’m sure that’ll fucking rock.”
“Naww, it’s gonna suck. (sarcastically)”
“I don’t think anybodys gonna go.”
“Naw, it’ll be killer.”
“Naww, it’s going to rule.”

When’s your tour over?

Christmas present.
“Yeah, no kidding.”
“We have a week break... In a few days, like 5 days or something; we’ll be off for like a week, then we’ll take off again.”
“Then after that we have a month, and then we’ll probably go back out on the road again. we’re going to try and tour the hell out of this record as usual. Which is what we always do, try to goto Europe. We’ve done Europe before, try goto Europe again, try to do a place we haven’t toured before. Like...”
“Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South America... Any places basically, that will let us play, we’ll go.”
“Guam, Hawaii, Turkey...”

How about Iceland?
“Iceland? Fuck yeah. I’ll go.”
“Antartic. I’ll go.”
“Basically, just try and use the bands vehicle to see the world. I mean, it’s a great way to do it.”

What do you think about what’s going on with ABC No Rio at this time?
“I think it’s basically the same thing, that’s been going on with ABC NO RIO. I’m not sure if there’s new news about it. When we were there last it was still open.”

I heard it was closed, wait a minute; No, I heard it was open.
“I think they did a show when we were in New York.”
“Yeah, Citizen Fish was going to play.”
“I don’t know, it is one of those things; any other punk place all over the country.”
“It’s always sketchy...”
“Yeah, if it’s run by punks and it’s done real DIY, then you run the risk of getting closed down constantly, people trying to close you down. And, that’s basically what has been going on there since they opened up. It’s a cool place, it’s teeny. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but it’s really, really small. We played there and it was awesome.”
“It’s a little basement basically.”
“We played there with Chaos U.K. and it was like a hundred people maybe could fit in there.”
“It’s not much bigger then this room...”
“Lower ceilings...”
“The only thing that’s kinda a draw back is that, you couldn’t get that many people in there to see the bands. Like there must of been atleast 300 people that could not get in to see the show. Because, of how small the place is. But, it’s cool, I mean whatever. It’s like the east coast gilman street, I guess. Gilman Street is lucky because it’s so out of the way. It’s like in a total warehouse district.”
“But, they still get shit, too.”
“They get shit, but they’re really professionally run. They know what they are doing. They know how to keep everybody happy. ABC NO RIO seems to be the same kind of deal, but it’s right smack dab in the middle of lower east side Manhattann so you got alot of residential people around you, alot of little stores. Alot of people that can bitch and whine.”
“Everything around Gilman closes on weekends except for the liquor store up the street.”
“They only have weekend shows.”

What a bunch of Swingin' guys!“Yeah, that’s it. They only play Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday’s.”
Why’s that?
“It’s the only way they can do that, because no one is open around there, so no one can bitch.”
“That’s been the tradition since they’ve been opened.”
“No alcohol allowed inside, there’s no alcohol allowed on the premises. There’s no drugs allowed inside.”

There shouldn’t be any jocks, allowed inside. (Sarcastic)
“There isn’t.”
“They don’t go to shows.”
“Not really.”
“Although, I know, last year atleast they were trying to put in a Hothbrow thing across the street or something, a yuppie bar deal.”
“All the punks signed petitions to keep it out. If it opens up it could be a big problem because, Friday and Saturday nights are going to be really busy and there will be lots of punks out roaming around on the streets and they will probably will complain.”
“If it opens, Gilman will be gone.”

It’s been going on this long, so maybe they won’t.
“Yeah but, if they’re somewhere across the street. If you fuck with them, they will. Not even fights, just a bunch of 14 year old punks hanging out, scaring the yuppies.”
“The city isn’t going to listen to a bunch of punk rockers. They are going to listen to someone running a bar.”
“Because he owns it, and he put alot of money into it.”
“Because, he can pay more taxes.”

If you guys sell a few hundred thousand records on Fat Wreck or whatever - Will you guys give some of that money back to the punk scene and if so, where will you give it and why?
“I know Fat donates alot to Food Not Bombs, so that’s already covered. I don’t think, we’re going to sell hundred’s of thousands of records on Fat because they haven’t even really done that with anyone yet.”
“I think any band, if you’re a punk band you inevitably give tons back, the bigger you get you’re going to give money back to the punk scene. Just like Green Day, Rancid - and all those bands, have given tons of money back to the punk scene by just helping the labels expand. Say we sell; two hundred thousand copies of this record on Fat Wreck Chords. It has a huge trickle down theory.”
“Chain reaction.”
“Yeah. Because of us gaining fame through Fat let’s say, this is all hypothetical obviously. Our back catalog - our old record on New Red is going to start selling a hell of a lot more, so New Red’s going to have alot more money and they’re the smaller label. They’re going to be able to start signing alot more new bands - Promoting those bands better. Those bands in affect will start to get a little bigger. You know, It all kind of goes back, you can hire your friends to work for you, the more money your making, the more friends you can hire.  The more money the label’s make the more money they can spend on ADs which has an affect on the ‘zines, because the ‘zines get paid more money for the ADs. So, ‘zines will expand. That means there will be more coverage for punk bands in the ‘zines. I mean it’s like the better bands do the more money that is just going to go back into the scene. It can’t help it self, you know”
“That’s like what happened to Lookout.”
“Yeah, Lookout before Green Day it was just a tiny little label. It had good bands, but wasn’t making that much money. Then Green Day start selling a ton of records, then they make a ton of money. Lookout, boom they’re huge; they have tons of money, they sign tons of new bands. They’re way better at taking care of the bands on the road, Distribution, making ADs. Same with Fat. Fat has just been really lucky and totally lucky since it started, so they have money to make sure the band’s are doing well. The better the bands do, the longer they will stay together to; is another thing. Alot of bands break up just because they can’t afford it. It’s really expensive, being in a punk band basically.”

Yeah, doing it yourself, with your own money.
“Right. Even now, even when it’s like Fat will spring alot of money in advance so that we can take care of things.”
“That’s money for borrowing.”
“Yeah, boom it’s gone. You wouldn’t believe how expensive everything is. New Gear, studio costs, vans, trying to eat, take care of yourself. Limo’s, Planes. Gas for planes is really expensive.”
“All those designer drugs.”
“Expensive women.”
“Designer drugs? (laugh)”

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