Previously unpublished Interview with Nick 13
Conducted 11/14/03 at Nation in Washington D.C. on the Rancid tour
Interview by Megan Lahman, Saintangelsin@aol.com for Weird Living Fanzine (with help from her friend Andy)
Transcribed by EVB
ML: So we're doing this interview in the bathroom, and its not so bad
ML: So How is the tour going?
Nick 13: Its going really well so far, this is our first time on the road in about a year actually and yeah, we're glad to be back
ML: Its about time we get some psychobilly action
ANDY: I was going to go to that one show you guys did with the Damned - up at Laga - I really wanted to go to it but had no ride
Nick 13: oh, up in Pittsburgh, cool, yeah, that was the last time we were on tour out here or anywhere really, last October
ANDY: Um, so any plans for next year
Nick 13: Yeah, lets seem our new album, which we're still working on, we'll probably be finishing that up in January 7, 2005
Nick 13: That’s supposed to come out in late April on Hellcat and kinda probably shortly before and the whole year after that happens we're gonna be on the road a lot
ML: So can we expect you guys on Warped tour?
Nick 13: Hard to say we haven't really heard about that yet so we don't know if that’s gonna happen or not but we definitely plan on being on the road from the spring time until the weather gets too bad
ANDY: What's your favorite thing on tour been like
Nick 13: Its hard to say, there are a lot and sometimes its not the things you'd expect to remember like some times its some joke with a band in a gas station or some random place
ML: or like the sock incident, I still can't believe you remember that, that just kicks my butt, very cool pink socks BTW
Nick 13: Thanks, I got those in Japan
ANDY: I got this tie in Japan, it has these numbers on it, it was $38, outrageous
Nick 13: yeah, clothes are expensive in Japan
ML: Well everything is expensive there
ANDY: I got like Dir En Grey CDs there...
Speaking About music, what do you think of the state of punk right now, if there is such a think
Nick 13: Well, to be honest I don't really keep up with punk music, its definitely something I grey up listening to and some of the bands that I consider you know to be making some of the better punk music today like Rancid..
ML: and AFI
Nick 13: yeah AFI, they're definitely making good music, I don't even know if you could call it Punk
ML: Yeah, you can't, I don't think you can
ANDY: Were you on their new album
ML: What Song?
Nick 13: I don't know, I was in there for a day, I sang on a couple of things and to be honest I don't even know what tracks
ML: And speaking of AFI, I heard that you and Davey and Jade have a tattoo that you all have the same thing...
Nick 13: my 9 lives tattoo
ML: where is that, can we please see that, that is so cool, very awesome
ANDY: What was the first Tiger Army show like?
Nick 13: Lets see, the first Tiger Army show was actually opening up for AFI at Gilman St in Berkeley, it was in March 96, it was really fun, the crowd was really cool, we didn't have anything out of course but it was a good time.
ANDY: the Temptation EP came out in 97?
Nick 13: unfortunately I think we sent in the tapes for that about the fall of 96 and we got them back, I think we got the records the day after we played our last show for a long time in early 97
ML: I really like the fact that you guys have such a unique sound, the first time I heard of Tiger Army was around the time your first album came out, my friend played some of your songs on his college radio show, he had a rockabilly/psychobilly show and it just blew my mind, I think its cool you got to mix those elements. What kind of rockabilly still influences you?
Nick 13: lets see, um, my favorite rockabilly would be basically all the stuff from Sun records like the early Elvis stuff, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, all that stuff
ML: Gene Vincent?
Nick 13: yeah, gene Vincent, also probably the Johnny Burnett trio, that’s probably my favorite rockabilly recordings of all time. So much stuff… Eddie Cochran, Warren Smith, Charlie Feathers, I could go on and on
ANDY: What's the evolution of Tiger Army III?
Nick 13: OK well everybody asks me that and its always hard for me to hear the changes because its something that just naturally progresses but I would say the new record in some ways it goes back and kinda touches base with some of the earlier elements from the first record and in other ways it’s a step forward so its gonna kinda be a combination of everything that’s come before and a little something new
Any possible names for the new album
Nick 13: Its going to be "III" (roman numeral) Ghost Tigers Rise
ML: I like that
ANDY: Really cool. with Live Freaky Die Freaky coming out in a few months, are you looking forward to that?
ML: yeah, we heard you are in the movie,
ANDY: Yeah, an announcer or something
Nick 13: yeah, you know what, to be honest I don't know a whole lot about it other than just what John Roecker who's creating it has told me and it sounds like its gonna be really cool, its like a puppet.....
ML: claymation thing
Nick 13: yeah, stop motion animation but with based on the Manson family
ML: So its like Nightmare before Christmas meets the Manson family
Nick 13: exactly
ANDY: Do did you do your speaking parts for it
Nick 13: Yeah, I did those I think it was actually after an AFI show in Orange county early in the year
ML: Speaking of movies, I heard that you are a fan of old school B films like the old cheesy horror movies
Nick 13: definitely
ML: I watch Ed Wood movies all the time
ANDY: Have you ever seen Nekromantik?
Nick 13: I haven't - the European one? No
ANDY: It is like totally messed it, it is like weird
ML: I like the Plane from space 9?
Nick 13: Plan 9 from Outer Space?
ML: Plan 9 From Outer Space, that ones pretty cool
ANDY: you ever seen that cult movie, Battle Royale, its a Japanese film?
Nick 13: no, Fred our drummer is into that, he's always talking about it
ANDY: Awesome, you should really check it out
Nick 13: I'm definitely into Ed Wood, pretty much any kind of horror, crime, juvenile delinquent movie from the 30s to the early 60s
ML: I like a lot of the crazy B films, John Waters is pretty cool
Nick 13: I never got into him
ML: Peckers got an awesome rockabilly soundtrack BTW, that's just a reference for ya
ANDY: what's your thought on the music industry, how its going?
Nick 13: you know its really hard to say because on the one hand I'm kinda surprised it didn't happen sooner, I mean a lot of the music that gets put out is so generic and so terrible I can’t understand why anybody would buy it
ML: it should be free, or they should pay you money to listen to it
Nick 13: at the same time it seems to be trickling down to the independent scene which is kinda scary you know I understand people are gonna check out music on the internet, I just hope that if and you know they probably should I don't think there's anything wrong with that but I just hope they realize that bands like Tiger Army and a lot of bands like this, we're not getting rich by any means and if you hear a record and you really like it and you listen to it…
ML: I like what you say on your MP3 part of your website - if you like it please go buy…and I always send my friends there to go check you out
ML: Do you think we'll see Tiger Army on MTV2, well actually I did see you there once
Cupid s Victim was on
Nick 13: They actually played our video for Cupid's Victim quite a few times, I thought it was really cool because I directed that video myself. I was really proud of that vide, unfortunately it hasn't been played anywhere very much, but we'll put it out on DVD one of these days.
ML: So do you think you'll get regular rotation?
Nick 13: I would hope so , I mean we're not gonna compromise our style, we're not gonna change what we do but you don't have to go to the mainstream, sometimes it comes to you
Nick 13: a lot of my friends, we play music, I mean I know them, I know where they are coming from and I know they didn't sell out or compromise who they are or what they want to play, what they are about and if you can make music or art like that without compromise and it does get played on the radio more power to you
ML: If you could take out one artist or group - I mean just take them out, who would it be?
Nick 13: gosh, I wouldn't know where to start..
ML: well, can you give us a list? 3 bands?
Nick 13: Wow…. To be honest, the way I deal with modern music is by totally turning it out. I flip it on just to hear what's there & then flip it off if I don't like it
ML: Andy and I will be hosting a college radio show so we do hope that people listen to certain extent
Nick 13: College radio is really cool, the thing is where I live in LA, KROQ actually does play some cool stuff.
ML: yeah they do
ANDY: Tiger Army?
Nick 13: I've heard they have at night. And you know there's Rodney on the ROQ, I mean they were the first station to play a lot of bands
ML: In DC there is a sister station, WHFS and they play all kinds of crazy stuff, the midnight DJ she's even played the Dropkick Murphys at night
Nick 13: yeah on KROQ in LA you can hear AFI, Rancid, the Dropkick Murphys..
ML: And then one minute you're listening to Depeche Mode or something
Nick 13: Yeah they also play a lot of cool stuff from the 80s so I wish more commercial radio was a little more adventurous like that
ML: Yeah I think we all wish that
ANDY: What is your thought about the whole Iraq thing?
ML: Yeah what do you think of our lovely president?
Nick 13: Well I don't know if I want to touch that one
ML: Oh come on, you won't make us mad, we want to take him out too
Nick 13: Generally I don't discuss politics because it doesn't have anything to do with our music, one thing I will say is I have, you know like a lot of people I am concerned about the situation over there and I hope that the men and women who are fighting for our country over there are safe
ML: So can we ever expect a Tiger Army political EP or just one song?
Nick 13: Nope
ML: I thought so. Speaking of songs, was it a lot easier this time because I know this year you have been through a lot…
ANDY: Fred Hell getting shot..
Nick 13: Yeah
ML: Poor Fred, he's like the 50 Cent of punk rock
Nick 13: yeah, he's doing really well, as far as writing, its hard to say you know, I actually wrote a lot of songs that are on the album in the time off we had when Fred was recovering because there was nothing else we could do, we couldn't play and yeah, I felt like I did have, you know there was a pretty natural flow of songs, every month a song came out and I'm really happy with the stuff from a writing standpoint this time.
ML: How many bands have you been in? I know before Tiger Army you were in a band with Jade and…
Nick 13: yeah, I was in a band with Jade and Geoff, (Andy says somethi ng muffled) no that was Jade's other band, the band I was in that was called Influence 13 and it was me, Jade who is now in AFI, Geoff who was in AFI and is in Tiger Army now but that was my only real band, there was a rockabilly cover band I was in before Tiger Army that was just kinda for fun we only played a couple of shows
But Influence 13 was the only other serious band I've been in
ML: How long have you been playing guitar
Nick 13: Gosh,
ML: since you were a kid
Nick 13: yeah, I started I think in 8th grade
ML: What's your guitar set up
Nick 13: live?
ML: My dad was listening to you last night, he said "its sounds like those guys use Gretsch"
Nick 13: yeah, he's right.
ML: My dad's a guitar junkie
Nick 13: Yeah, I basically almost always play Gretsch, I will use other guitars in recording to achieve a certain effect on a certain part in a song but what I play live is a '57 Duo Jet reissue, I do have a 57 that I use on record but I don't tour with it any more and I play it through a Fender Tonemaster amp and I use a Boss analog delay and some kinda cords usually.
ANDY: How much does an upright bass cost?
ML: Shouldn't we talk to Geoff about that?
Nick 13: yeah, he could tell you better than me
ML: I would be really cool if you could do something with Brian Setzer, I love the Stray Cats
Nick 13: yeah we just saw them out in California, they played a show on the July 4th weekend, it was really cool
ANDY: Do you do to shows when you have time off?