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Lagwagon - Interview

  by Anastasia Grabov

published: 2 / 2 / 2004

Lagwagon - Interview


Santa Barbara-based group Lagwagon have been one of the most durable punk bands of the last decade. Ana Grabov chats to bassist Jesse Buglione about their long career and new album, 'Blaze'

As one of the very first bands to be signed onto NOFXs Fat Mike’s record label, Fat Wreck Chords, Santa Barbara-based group Lagwagon nailed themselves firmly onto the list of recognisable punk bands in the early 90's. And they’ve stayed there ever since. Still going strong, Joey Cape (vocals), Chris Flippin (Guitar), Chris Rest (Guitar), Jesse Buglione (Bass) and Dave Raun (Drums) recently released a new album, 'Blaze' . Pennyblackmusic spoke to Jesse Buglione about his long-serving group. PB : How do you think the new album differs from the other ones you have written over the past ten years? JB : The process of recording this album took much longer than any of our previous albums, which could be considered a good thing as well as a bad thing. Instead of recording the entire album in one session, we recorded blocks of songs in three or four different sessions. This gave us a chance to sit on the songs, make changes, and record different versions, which seemed like a luxury at the time, but I'm not sure if it led to overanalyzing and dilluting the feel of some of the songs. As far as the sound of the album, I honestly can't say that there is a distinct difference between this album and our previous ones because it's hard to stay objective about songs we've heard hundreds of times. PB : How did you enjoy your European tour? Do you prefer touring in the US? JB : It was good fun. Europe's nice to tour because people actually come to our shows. I'd say the only thing I prefer about touring in the U.S. is having cell phone service and always being able to find English-language reading material. PB : What changes have their been to your line-up and why? JB : After our third album, our drummer and guitarist left the band over a dispute regarding the merits of 'The Simpsons' versus 'Bonanza'. If you can't agree on which television re-runs to watch, the collective band morale suffers. Despite having an album named after a character on 'Bonanza', we choose to be a Simpson-oriented band. We enlisted Dave Raun (ex-RKL), and borrowed Ken Stringfellow (ex-Posies and Simpsons fan) for the 'Double Plaidinum' album and following European tour, after which Ken was replaced by Chris Rest (aka Leon the Terrible, also from RKL). Some people say we're just trying to be like RKL. They might be on to something. PB : Why did you change your name from Section 8 to Lagwagon ? JB : Basically, we realized that a) there were already 7,448 bands named Section 8 and b) Section 8 isn't a very good name to begin with. Not that Lagwagon was much better, but at least we were the only band with that name. PB : How does the writing process go? JB : Usually, Joey will give us an acoustic tape with basic chord progressions and sometimes a rough melody, and the rest of the band takes the song, adds parts, throws in some metal, changes the arrangement, and generally ruins Joey's vision. PB : Do you still enjoy playing your old songs? JB : Most of the old songs are still fun to play just because of the live dynamics. We've been known to change some of our songs around in concert and rotate a few songs every tour to keep it fun. Although I would be thrilled if I never had to play 'Brown Eyed Girl' ever again. PB : I imagine you now earn enough money to support yourselves. How long did it take for you to get to that stage? JB : I'm still working on it. When we have a heavy touring year we can get by without having legitimate jobs for a few months at a time. I've been looking for work for the last few weeks because we don't have much touring in the near future. Are you hiring? I'm cheap, and I have spellcheck... PB : Who are you all influenced by? JB : Iron Maiden, Black Flag, the Cars, Black Sabbath, Circle Jerks, the Go-Gos, Bad Religion, Judas Priest, Howard Jones, Dayglo Abortions, Gorilla Biscuits (personally speaking), Devo, Manowar, Drive Like Jehu, Sonic Youth, Descendents, Blondie, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Clash, the Misfits, Motorhead, New Order, the Pogues, the Ramones, RKL, and the Smiths (but not Morrissey solo). You know, the usual stuff. PB : What music are you listening to at the moment? JB : The Mars Volta's pretty fun. Grandaddy, because I'm going to see them next week. At this particular moment, though, Billie Holiday's in my CD player. Please don't tell the punks. PB : Have you purposefully been avoiding becoming well known in the mainstream world of music? If so, why? JB : Most definitely. I love the fact that I can play in a fairly decent band, almost make a living at it, and have only been recognized in my home town twice in the last eight years. I can't imagine waking up, going to the store for coffee and cat food, and having everyone recognize me and either love me or hate me based on a song. I much prefer being the geeky guy in glasses at the back of the venue who looks out of place at the punk show. I don't have anything against bands that try to go big and do the major-label, MTV thing - most of my favourite bands are on majors, and I remember how stoked I was seeing Jawbreaker on MTV, but it's just not for us. I really have absolutely no desire to turn on the TV and see myself on it. Everyone in Lagwagon looks pretty goofy (especially me), so I don't think we have any business being in the public eye. PB : What do you think you would all be doing now if you weren't in the band? JB : We'd probably have legitimate jobs and be thinking "wouldn't it be cool to play in a band" rather than going on tour and thinking "It would be pretty cool to land a legitimate job." PB : Thanks a lot! The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Jay Blakesberg

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Lagwagon - Interview

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Interview (2005)
Lagwagon - Interview
Californian punks Lagwagon were the first band to sign to seminal punk label Fat Wreck Records. Singer Joey Cape talks to Ana Grabov about his ongoing loyalty to the label, his band's longevity and his two side projects

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Live In A Dive (2005)
New 22 song compilation of live material from durable Southern California punks' Lagwagon, the seventh instalment in their label Fat Wreck's 'Live in a Dive' series

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