Written by: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor
So a few weeks ago I gushed about how psyched I am on Civil War Rust and their new album, The Fun & The Lonely, well I guess they were pretty okay with all the flattery since the decided to answer some questions for me. Sean and Ryan are super awesome guys with great taste in music, books, and 80s movie refrences.
Check out the interview and you can now pick up The Fun & The Lonely on CD if you prefer to have tangible copies of your music instead of phantom mp3 files.
First off, thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. Let’s start off with introductions, who are you guys and what is your role in the band?
Sean: Thanks for being curious! I am Sean and I play bass, Ryan plays guitar, Rudy plays guitar and Drew plays drums.
How did you get involved in punk rock in the first place? And what made you become a musician?
Sean: I got into punk rock in the 6th grade I think it was…I was 12 or 13 at the time. I actually had a teacher that was into punk rock and he took notice to the Green Day shirt that I wore every day. I was into Green Day at the time but had no idea what they were. That said teacher gave me The Queers’ Love Songs For The Retarded and a mixed Ramones cassette. Next came Pansy Division and it just snow balled from there. Pun hella intended.
Ryan: Growing up in the Bay Area made it easy to become fascinated with punk rock music. I think most kids will find something to appreciate inside of the music, they just need the exposure. Being less than an hour away from San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland growing up, we heard about so much great “punk” rock music as soon as we walked out of our parent’s house. I remember being in high school and seeing Hot Water Music, American Steel, Good Riddance and Strung out all in one weekend at Gilman.
Civil War Rust is a name that can trigger many different connotations, all of them totally intriguing, so I have to ask, what is the meaning behind the name?
Ryan :: I feel we spend way too much time battling with each other. Whether it a small scale such as our own families at home or people we do not know, it all seems like a waste of time and can be hurtful to ourselves and others. The name is encouraging people to stop this useless behavior. It’s time to start focusing on what is more important to us all as a whole and spreading awareness.
I noticed that the signing to All for Hope Records was announced just days before the release of The Fun & The Lonely. Did you have the album totally done before you shopped it around to record labels? If so, Is there more creative freedom in creating the exact record that you want.
Sean: We’ve known for about 4 or 5 months now we were going to be working with All For Hope. We just wanted to make sure we had all of our ducks in a row before we went off telling folks anything. I don’t think we so much wanted to keep it a secret as much as we wanted to avoid explaining to people why something fell through you know? We are super positive guys.As far as freedoms go we knew what we wanted and we were fortunate enough to surround ourselves with the right people who understood what we wanted. I think we were so hard on ourselves that we used our support system for just that… support.
Ryan: We all just wanted to make sure the whole band was stoked on whatever decision we made. Once the album was finished we had all decided that All For Hope was going to be a great family for us to be part of. Just look at their other releases (Mixtapes, Broadway Calls, The Manix, Why I Hate), we were so excited just to be a part of what was going on at AFH!
The only place that I can see to buy this album is iTunes…is this a digital only release or will fans be able to pick up a cd or album?
Sean: We will have physical copies, both C.D.’s and vinyl soon. The C.D.’s should be in our hands within a day or two actually… records are a bit farther off though.
As a writer, I am always curious about a band’s writing process. Is there a primary song writer or lyricist? Is it a collaborative effort?
Sean: I’d say it varies from song to song really. Ryan and I have written songs from start to finish together and we’ve written entire songs alone. I think that it comes down to what completes the song. At the end of the song, I generally ask myself, “Was what I had to say enough to resolve what made me start writing in the first place or does Ryan need to finish off the thought for me?” It’s different every time. The entire band tweaks the full band versions to every body’s liking after we have the stripped down acoustic versions of the song finished.
Ryan: Ideas are brought into the band usually as an entire song or at least a few parts. We usually take time to jam those parts out for a bit and everyone starts adding their own signatures to song. Many ideas are put into each song and lots of the time they are scrapped, but we are pretty open to trying anything when it comes to exploring a song.
Sean: Yeah. Whatever the case we are pretty critical of everything we do. A lot of songs get put on the shelf for later.
Was the album conceived to have a distinct flow and order or was it simply as a collection of songs?
Sean: I think we had a theme for sure. We knew what needed to be said but the record itself chose in which order they needed to be heard. We didn’t decide on the final track listing until after we had our masters back.
Ryan: Once we started listening to the tracks in this order everything felt right. We are very happy with the flow and over all feel of the songs.
What are your favorite tracks on the album? And Why?
Sean: Diving without a doubt. It’s the most positive song on a record that has very dark and at times pessimistic feel to it for me personally. It had to be the last song or it wouldn’t have had the impact on me that it does. Our whole record was written about the need to leave where we were, for whatever reasons we had. An urge to do what I wasn’t doing, risking failure and discomfort for a change of scenery and an experience I wouldn’t have obtained where I was. Drunk in the same old dives I guess you could say. And then to wrap the album with such a positive feel brought a sense of adventure to me. You know… This sucks, that’s terrible, it’s never gonna work… but you never really know until you try type of thing. Plus, Ryan wrote it and he is super rad.
Ryan: I really like Legalized Romance, it has a message and chorus I see a lot of people standing behind. Also Diving, it seems to be one of the few songs that really let’s the fans know where we stand as a band.
You guys seem to have been met with a lot of positive feedback from your two EPs and now from The Fun & The Lonely. What is next for you guys? Is there any (weird or rather traditional) milestone that you can reach and know that you “made it”?
Ryan: We are headed out to do some touring in Southern California and Arizona in mid-April. We want to keep getting out on the road and meeting new people. We are so stoked on this album, we just want as many people as possible to hear it. We will continue writing of course, it never stops. We are working on some songs for splits and a couple more music videos sure would be a lot of fun as well. I don’t think we will ever feel as if we’ve made it. We always strive to do our best and we put in so much time and spirit into this band but I just don’t ever wake up and think we should have the day off and not move forward. There is always another milestone that is near and in reach that keeps us getting up and working every day. That being said playing shows with bands we have loved for years always seems to keep me occupied for the night. There isn’t much better than hanging with bands you love and getting to know them. It’s great.
I saw that you are playing some dates in California and Arizona, do you have any tour plans coming up, ones that may involve trekking out to the east coast?
Sean: Nothing I feel I can talk about without the possibility of having to explain why plans fell through to somebody yet but there’s emails being sent places… The East Coast is very much on our places to eat pizza list.
As a fan, what is the best show you have been to?
Sean: I’m still doing a bit of research.
Ryan: Tim Barry in Concord, CA at the Red Hat Sports bar. Maybe 30-40 people, everybody was drinking and Tim as beat up and brilliant as ever. An Amazing evening that we shared with about 15 of our closest friends. Lots of Jim Beam, lots.
Dream line up for a show that you are playing?
Sean: Pegboy, The Influents, Menace and Hoyt Axton.
Ryan: NOFX, Rise Against and Dead To Me.
First album/cassette/cd you ever owned?
Sean: George Straight Pure Country Soundtrack… On cassette.
What are your guilty pleasure bands?
Sean: Hoyt Axton.
Ryan: Counting Crowes.
There are kids discovering punk rock every day, what bands should they be listening to?
Sean: A little Rancid, Dead To Me, Broadway Calls, Hot Water Music and Pinhead Gunpowder never hurt anybody. That’s just the tip of the ice-burg though. The Sex Pistols, Menace and Husker Du too. There’s too many. You have to get them all.
Ryan: Red City Radio, French Exit, Leftover Crack, Random Orbits and more NOFX.
Do you have any irrational fears?
Sean: Nope. There are many and every one of them is completely rational. Every. Single. One.
Ryan: I’m afraid I’ll lose my voice.
Secret (non-musical) talent?
Sean: I can put lip liner on using only my supple breasts.
Ryan: Rudy can do your hair.
Sean: Whipping Star by Frank Herbert.
Ryan: Against The Stream by Noah Levine.
Worst job you ever had?
Sean: I worked as a salesman at an ad agency that supposedly didn’t partake in “soliciting” for a couple of hours once. That sucked.
Ryan: Selling newspapers door to door.
Describe the band in five words.
Sean: Broke. Poor. Inspired. Frustrated. Stoked.
Ryan: The Fun and The Lonely!