Previously unpublished Interview with Nick 13
Conducted 11/14/03 at Nation in Washington D.C. on the Rancid tour
Interview by Megan Lahman, 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

ML: Nice!

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

ML: Awesome

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

ML: Exactly

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?

Nick 13: yeah, its funny because before this year we were on the road for almost 2 years straight and I didn't go a lot to shows when I had time off because you're always at a show and its more exciting to rent a movie or something but after we had some real time off this year definitely I started going to shows again

ANDY: what's the best show you've ever seen live

Nick 13: Wow…

ANDY: Cradle of Filth a few years ago

ML: for me it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Depeche Mode or AFI last May

Nick 13: I can answer your other question now, the Red Hot Chili Peppers is the band I would like to get rid of

ANDY: I agree with him, I can’t stand them

ML: see, I thought they were great live so…

Nick 13: Anthony Kiedas has the worst pitch of any singer in rock, I hate that guy

ML: OK,. I'll just shut up then…

Nick 13: OK I know they pro tools the hell out of it and pitch shift it and everything and he still can't sing in key

ML: do you guys use pro tools? I know AFI used it on their record.

Nick 13: yeah we actually did use some of it but we're using a combination of analog tape and pro tools

ML: oh that is so cool, and speaking about the record, any guest vocalists this time round?

Nick 13: you know it kinda depends on everybody's schedules, I don't know exactly when we'll be doing vocals so it kinda depends who's around Andy - I really like that early years EP, I like how you guys put that out, you don't see many bands put something like that out

Nick 13: Yeah I liked that EP, I don't think its, I', not as proud of it as, I mean its not anywhere near as good as our albums I think, at the same time…

ML: it gives us a taste of what you guys were like back then

Nick 13: And that record (Temptation) there were only 500 of them, I would get asked about it at basically every show like "where can I get this?, how can I get this?' , it was going for like $300 on bay

ANDY: Are you sick of people paying out like the ass prices?

Nick 13: yeah I wanted, Temptation is a cool song and I wanted people who like Tiger Army to get it for like six bucks instead of three hundred bucks..

ML: Definitely and thank you for giving us a price cut

ANDY: Do when did you decide you wanted to be a rock star

Nick 13: I don't ever want to be a rock star like I'm actually not really into the idea of fame at all, I'm kinda a private person - I love being able to play music for a living

ML: I think that’s what Andy meant…

Nick 13: Yeah, I mean I definitely appreciate the fact that there are people who care about the music we are playing that’s really cool,, but there are people who are into it just to be recognized and if I could do what I do and never be recognized but do it on the level where its cool that would be my ideal

ANDY: there are a lot of influential bands who never got recognized -

Nick 13: We're starting to see an influence that our music is having after playing for several years and it’s a really cool thing

ML: What do you think of your peers like the Living End, Nekromantix?

Nick 13: It really varies by the band

ML: there's punkabilly and psychobilly…

Nick 13: one thing a lot of people don't realize is that this overall style has been around for a long time, its been around for 20 years plus and I think we do have a unique sound but its unique within that even if you put us next to other bands we sound like Tiger Army

ML: yeah I think you stand out and I think its cool that you keep some roots alive, it really bothers me that kids don't care about the roots of their music

Nick 13: there's a lot of it out there that definitely has it's roots and I would strongly encourage people to check it out

ML: If you could recommend..what are you listening to right now -

Nick 13: lets see, you know its funny when people ask me that question which is in most interviews my mind goes completely blank

ANDY: what did you listen to today?

Nick 13: I don't think I listened to anything today, I was mostly asleep, I was up all night…yesterday I was listening to some bluegrass, I was listening to Bill Monroe, I was listening to the Stanley Brothers, you know I'm always happy to check out new psychobilly stuff when it comes out, other than that I listen to a lot of other things.

ML: Can you give us three unknown bands you think people should hear, not because you want to promote them but because you think these guys will blow you’re mind, they're just great

Nick 13: let's see, people should definitely check out the Quakes, they were the first American psychobilly band, they started in the mid 80s and they did this style before anyone here and unfortunately they were about 15 years ahead of their time and they never got the respect they deserved over here anyway and their album "Voice of America", that’s a great place to start if you want to check out some cool psychobilly…let me think…I'm sure there's a lot of stuff I'd like to promote but my mind is… let's see, unknown bands people should listen to - Tiger Army

ML: laugh... yeah definitely

Nick 13: as far as psychobilly goes, the Meteors were basically the first psychobilly band and still one of the best, if you are interested in the roots of psychobilly that’s where to start

ANDY: how did you feel when Johnny Cash died?

Nick 13: It sucked… I'm really happy that I got a chance to see him live about 8 years ago, it was amazing, it was right before he stopped touring and not to sound hokey or anything but that's a memory that I'll always carry with me because it was something really special and I don't know, I think Johnny Cash really illustrates the way music can really touch people's lives and I can only hope to have a hundredth of the influence and touch people in the way he did

ANDY: he had the punk rock outlook…

ML: my thing is what guy has the balls to say he shot a man just to watch him die…

Nick 13: Yeah one thing people don't realize, I mean I personally don't think drinking or taking drugs is all that cool but a lot of those old country guys they took more pills, fucked up more shit, burned things, shot things…

ML: they were bad like Led Zeppelin

Nick 13: they were way badder, I mean like Johnny Cash, George Jones, all those…they fucked some shit up at a time when it wasn't such a tired cliché to fuck shit up

ANDY: do you think you can push things any further these days (in music), I mean there was a time when you couldn't show Elvis' hips

Nick 13: yeah people keep trying but yeah

ANDY: I don't think you can go any further, nothing is really taboo any more

ML: What is your favorite Cash song?

Nick 13: ..Lets see, wow…I would have to pick them by eras I think…I think "I Still Miss Someone " is my favorite from that kinda mid period, "Home of the Blues" is probably my favorite of his Sun stuff

ANDY: If you only had one album for the rest of your life what would it be? That you'd never get sick of?

Nick 13: I don't think there is anything that I would never get sick of, I 'd probably rather have no albums than have just because then even if I loved it I would hate it

ML: Outlaw Heart is my personal favorite… Do you play steel guitar live or in studio?

Nick 13: Its mainly a studio thing, the guy who played on our records, this guy named Greg Leisz and he's just an incredible pedal steel guitar player, he did actually play with us live one night which is really cool, it was the record release party for Power of Moonlite but Outlaw Heart when we play it live we just do it without the pedal steel and In the Orchard we don't do live because the pedal steel is so essential to it.

ML: because I read somewhere that Fred said Outlaw Heart is his favorite live because it gives him a chance to breathe. What is your favorite song to play live.

Nick 13: Umm… It would be too difficult to pick just one, there are a lot of things I like about particular songs

Nick 13: its definitely nice to have the time to actually craft something in the studio and not have to bang it out and get it out the door.

ANDY: you guys must spend a lot of time on the new album

Nick 13: yeah, we've been in there for a long time and we have a ways to go.

ANDY: How far are you? Half done?

Nick 13: its hard to say , you know its really hard to judge because you'll think its half done and then the rest can go like that… I'm a perfectionist myself.

ML: Well I have one last question - would you like to do a radio liner for our station

Nick 13: Sure

ML: Its 91.9 WFWM Frostburg, if you need Andy to write it down I can press stop on the tape.

ML: OK We're back and here's Nick.

Nick 13: "Hi this is Nick 13 from Tiger Army and you're listening to 91.9 WFWM Frostburg"

ML: Awesome - thank you so much for interviewing, talking to us because we're a small college but it’s all good!

Many thanks to Megan Lahman for allowing us to post this!

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