This interview was originally printed in the Axis zine, which comes from Tumwater, WA. It was typed up for me by Jason R. J. Hurd, bless his heart.
Interview with Justin and Vern
Holly: So, do you guys consider yourselves big?
Justin: Uh... well, Vern's a little bigger than I am. I wouldn't consider him big...
H: Six foot what, two?
Vern: Something like that. I don't know, I haven't been measured in a while.
J: I think I'm getting smaller.
V: Bad posture.
J: Yep. Comes from many years of the bad attitude.
H: So you guys have an album coming out in January, can you equate this album or differentiate it from other projects?
J: Well, it's a round piece of plastic, that's about the same.
H: Can you see yourselves in it?
J: Actually, they're vinyl... the vinyl is a mirror, so it looks like a CD. You know how they make CDs look kinda like a record; we did the opposite, we made the vinyl look more like a CD.
V: They're actually picture disks that have a picture of a CD blown up really big.
J: And it says, "Buy the CD instead".
V: "You asshole" [laughs]
J: You know how people are like, "Buy the vinyl, don't buy the CD". We're the opposite.
H: Why's that?
V: We don't like vinyl. It's a pain in the ass. The artwork's too big. It warps.
J: You have to actually take care of it. You have to look harder to find it.
H: So you guys don't keep vinyl around?
J: Oh I keep some around, just for fun.
H: To remind yourself how much trouble it is?
V: To remind ourselves of the olden days people. When we have kids, we'll show 'em, "This is what the olden days people used to listen to".
H: What comes to mind when you think about that?
J: Olden day people? Well, you know... olden day people.
V: You know.
J: Like pioneers. We have a rich history of pioneers here in the greater Olympia area. We try to keep the spirit of the pioneers alive.
H: With the antiquated vinyl that you don't like... cool. So what do you guys listen to?
J: Like, music? Yeah, we listen to music [laughs] We listen to the sounds in the street. You know, birds.
V: We like that guy on 4th Avenue that plays the keyboard and has everything going at once.
J: Yeah, he's pretty good. He's kinda like my new favorite band of Olympia.
H: Are you guys going to the show [at the Capitol Theater] tonight?
J: Oh yeah.
H: Right on, it should be good. I haven't seen C Average.
J: I don't think I've seen any of the bands, except C Average.
V: I've seen C Average, they're kinda like... Rush.
J: Rush Limbaugh.
V: Without vocals.
J: They're kinda like Rush Limbaugh without vocals. [they laugh]
Emma: Ornery and bloated?
J: Yep, they're just ornery and bloated.
H: There's no other Oly bands you guys wanna give perks to, that you're digging on right now?
J: Umm... I don't know... I don't usually like talking about other bands in interviews.
E: do you like talking about your own band?
V + J: We only like talking about ourselves.
J: Or somebody like the Beatles.
E: So let's talk about you, then.
J: The Beatles? We'll talk about the Beatles.
V: We've got lots to say about the Beatles. But don't ask us what because then we can't think of it. We'll just talk about'em if it comes up. Maybe... maybe the Beach Boys.
H: You guys don't do a lot of harmonies, though, and they do.
J: We're working on some harmonies.
V: I'm learning how to sing.
J: Yep. Vern's taking voice lessons... from me. [they laugh]
V: it's gonna sound great, I promise.
J: He comes over three times a week...
V: And we just sit in his bathroom and yowl. RRRRRAUGH.
H: Do you sing on the new album?
V: I have a song on the new album.
J: Yeah, Vern makes his vocal debut.
E: Did you write the song?
V: Umm, well we kinda all write the songs. The lyrics Justin usually writes, except for the lyrics on that song.
E: What's that one about? Is it about anything?
V: Hmm, kind of, but it's private.
J: It's Vern's... "big secret". You know how Vern is big? It's the secret of how he's big.
H: That leaves a lot to the imagination.
J: Yep, you know what they say. Word on the street is... VERN'S BIG. [they laugh]
H: So are you guys pretty loyal to Olympia, do you like where you're performing and living?
V: Housing is cheap. It's cheap to drink, cheap to eat.
J: It's a good place to get things done, creatively, it's pretty easy. So we don't have to fool around with...
V: ...Making sure that we're working all the time and stuff. Like "work" work. Jobs.
J: It's easier to free up time to do what we want, and travel around.
H: You've gone to Europe at least once?
J: Three times.
V: The first time we went to Europe was in '94
H: Was there a year that you guys kinda went up a level in popularity?
J: Where we "arrived"? Steve Fisk said we arrived, I don't know when that was.
V: I think it was the fifth record. Repetition.
J: "You've arrived, now you guys can have egos".
V: We've only been arrived for a year...
J: According to Steve Fisk. And he knows everything.
H: So how'd you guys connect with Steve Fisk? That's a long relationship.
J: Through Slim, the Kill Rock Stars dude. He worked with Steve before. And, like when we were... younger or whatever, we always thought Steve Fisk was a cool producer.
H: How old are you guys?
V: I'm 24.
J: I'm older, but he's bigger. [they laugh]
V: Let's find out who's stronger!
J: Who's stronger! We're going to arm wrestle now...
V: Clear the table.
J: Will it be my experience, or Vern's... BIGNESS?
V: My sheer size.
H: Does Sara arm wrestle too?
J: Oh yeah.
V: Uh, she plays basketball.
J: She plays basketball with a medicine ball. One of those really, really heavy ones.
V: The ones that they use in practice.
J: It doesn't bounce.
"At this point, Quitty from Behead the Prophet: No Lord Shall Live wandered in with a friend. The interview waited while they cleared up some details about an upcoming tour Unwound is doing with another band of Quitty's, Tight Bros. From Way Back When, and an L.A. band called Godzik Pink. Justin described the Tight Bros. as "wholesome family fun" so you know it's got to be interesting. They're just doing a quick tour of the West coast and then they'll be playing here at the Capitol Theater on January 16th, in Seattle at the Crocodile Cafe on the 17th and at the Velvet Elvis the following night."
H: So you guys are booking your own dates for this tour?
J: We have a lady who books us. She's an agent of the booking variety.
V: She knows what's she's doing. It's kind of a pain in the ass to do it. We don't like doing it ourselves anymore.
E: When did you stop?
V: When did we stop, '95?
E + H: When you arrived?
V: Right when we arrived.
J: When you arrive, you don't have to book your own tours anymore. And you can have a big ego.
V: Like us.
J: [laughing] Like us. Vern's already big, so his head's even bigger, cuz he has more room to hold the ego.
V: If my head got any bigger I'd have to start lifting weights to hold it up.
H: Or just start playing basketball with Sara.
J: I like bouncing a ball when I play, she doesn't bounce. [laughing] She rolls it along and then shoots.
V: SHE's good at it, but...
J: Well, it's her own thing.
V: Whenever you play one on one with her, though, it's impossible.
J: She wants to create this fusion game of curling and basketball.
V: Where you play basketball with a medicine ball, on ice, and you've got two people... [they laugh]
J: You have to shimmy the medicine ball down to the hoop!
V: It hasn't really caught on yet, though.
H: Well there's not much ice around here.
J: We need an ice rink... a curling rink. [to Vern] Maybe that's what we should go into.
V: Do a curling rink? Yeah, there's already too many bars in town.
J: Yeah. We'll start a curling rink...
V: ... that serves beer.
J: [laughing] Yeah.
H: You could get the people with the brooms hired on for free beer...
J: Off the street and into the curling rink.
V: Maybe we could do a nonprofit curling bar, get funded by the government.
H: Proceeds going to...?
J: To beer. Getting people drunk!
V: Getting people off the streets and into our curling bar.
H: So you guys have been here a while, you're from here?
J: Born and raised. We weren't born in the 'Tumwater Hospital'. [they laugh]
V: We were born in the Olympia hospital but lived in Tumwater.
J: Yeah. But I hear there used to be a Tumwater hospital...
V: ...according to this guy we saw tonight.
J: He said he was born in the Tumwater and I was like, "Were you born in a barn?"
V: He said that they tore the hospital down after he was born.
J: Yeah, they put it up right before he was born, and then they tore it down after.
V: I think that guy's full of shit.
J: [laughing] I think so too, I think he was on drugs.
H: So how long has it been since you toured last?
J: It's been a year... except for our tour of Hawaii.
V: Hawaii and New York were the two this year, that was it.
H: Would you guys consider yourselves a hard-working band?
J: Oh... sometimes.
V: We were pretty lazy this last year. Before that we were really busy, but since we "arrived" we don't have to be. Def Leppard, they only put out an album every five years or so.
J: THEY have arrived.
V: They've totally arrived.
J: But we're gonna tour for like six months this year, so...
H: Going back to Europe?
E: Who are you going to tour with?
V: Just ourselves.
H: Any other things you guys want the world...of the Pacific Northwest to know?
J: It's a beautiful place to live.
V: Every day is a gift! [they laugh]
H: I was reading this review where they introduced you guys as being a product of the shitty weather up here...
J: What's so shitty about it, huh?
V: Yeah! This weather is great.
J: It's rainy, and dark...
V: ...just like my soul. [laughs]
J: Just like the inside of me...
V: They don't know what they're talking about.
H: that's like the biggest reputation for the Northwest, the rain.
V: Right. That's why grunge is grunge.
J; Yeah, it's cuz when it rains it gets grungy out.
V: And Steve Fisk said "That looks grungy." so it was grungy all of a sudden. He invented grunge, did you know that?
J: He actually invented Olympia. 100 years ago.
V: He put it on the map, and he can take it off. He told us that.
J: There was a big map of the world and Steve Fisk stood on it and put that little dot there.
E: I think it gets a star for being a very special place.
H: So you guys are pretty excited about what you're doing?
J: Yeah. Yeah, we're having a good time.
V: I like the night life, I like da doogie. [laughs]
"Around this time the interview started to wind down, but before we made our separate ways over to the Capital Theater Vern mentioned what a great time he had seeing Dan Bern at the Capitol Playhouse back in November. I had heard the show rocked the rafters, but Justin and Vern made it sound absolutely vicious. Of course, as with most things they said, the story had to be taken with a few grains of salt."
J: There was a real big mosh pit., it was killer. [laughs]
V: Fuck man, you should have SEEn all my bruises.
J: Fuckin' crazy. He came out with his arm in a sling...
V: A patch on my eye...
J: And a pirate accent.
V: Aye, arrrr.
H: Had you seen Dan Bern before?
V: No, I'd only heard him a couple of days before the show. It's pretty good. He's kinda wacky.
J: He's kind of "quirky", you know. Why be normal?
V: It's like "funny punk".
H: How would you guys classify yourselves?
J: RealWeird. [laughs] "Why be normal"
V: Pobody's nerfect.
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This document was last updated 7 April 1998