Mad Caddies (21 août 2007)

Entrevue de Melissa Hetu avec Chuck Robertson

Chuck, le chanteur des MAD CADDIES, nous a accordé quelques minutes de son temps lorsque le groupe était en ville en juillet dernier, à l'occasion du Fat Tour

[MELISSA] Have there been any memorable moments so far on this tour, anything that sticks out?

[CHUCK] On this tour, we had a day off from Colona. We rented some wakeboards and went wakeboarding. That was awesome!

[MELISSA] Do you guys get to do that often?

[CHUCK] Its not very often we get a full day off on tour, it was great. It was our tour manager's thirtieth birthday that day and we found a three dollar margaritas for sunset dinner. And then we went to a strip club with a friend of ours they had a five dollar Coronas and killer shots. So we had a Mexican theme night.

[MELISSA] Especially with you guys being from Santa Barbara.

[CHUCK] Right.

[MELISSA] Let's talk about the record. It's very groovy, it's like very reggae driven I find - a lot more than what Ive heard before. I wanted to know if that was influenced by your state of mind, or is it because of the music or because the producer you worked with?

[CHUCK] No, it was totally intentional, it's what we wanted to do. We try to become more accessible for more people. We're growing up and our styles are changing, our tastes are changing, and we have always loved reggae and wanted to play it. We were really just trying to make an album that was more fluid. You can tell it was the same kind of record from start to finish, instead of something that jumps around too much. It's just another experience, another piece of art, another piece of music, I don't know. We had a lot more of those faster songs too that we recorded, we could have made a twenty songs album, but it just didn't fit on the record. And we are getting old for rattle and excitement...

[MELISSA] Some bands are influenced by who they play with, are influenced by all sort of things... but this was more of a conscious effort?

[CHUCK] Oh yeah, definitely, Sasha our guitar player has been going to Jamaica a few times in the last years too and working with like ANTHONY B and BEENIE MAN and writing, beats and rhythms and songs. And that definitely had a big influenced on us.

[MELISSA] Was that more challenging, or was that easier to do as far as the music part goes?

[CHUCK] We spent a lot of time on the record. We started writing in January of last year and it took basically a whole year because we were also touring. So we were off for a month and then touring for two months and then take two weeks off from the tour... So it was a slow process. We definitely tried as hard as we could.

[MELISSA] And I think it shows that you guys took more time. You worked with Wayne [Jobson], did you guys learned anything from him?

[CHUCK] Basically, he kinda came in later. The songs were pretty much done. He did have some ideas about some stuff but no... we basically paid him some money to put his name on our record! [laughs]

[MELISSA] Awesome, awesome... [laughs] Because sometimes, you know, those guys who have a lot of experience can bring some things to the table...

[CHUCK] He did for sure, he had some cool ideas production-wise and gave us a few tips on some songs that we actually used, like “maybe you should put up some reggae rhythms here” and we were like “okay it's a good idea”. It was really cool, just to be hanging out with him because he worked with everybody, even with the ROLLING STONES and stuff. He's been around for a long time and he is really really cool. Yeah, but I don”t know how much we actually need a producer because all of us are songwriters and musicians, and we kinda know what we want to do.

[MELISSA] You mean you guys could do it on your own?

[CHUCK] Pretty much.

[MELISSA] Are you guys perfectionists?

[CHUCK] Me? No. Sasha is. I'm far from a perfectionist. I just like to do it and then have no worries. But it's good to have a bit of both.

[MELISSA] Yeah, it is good, because it could delay the procedure - I mean, if you guys are always knit picking...

[CHUCK] Sure, one night we thought it would be a could idea to to some cocaine and stay up all night and, you know, knock out like ten songs... We actually ended up doing more harm and we fucked up pretty bad and had go back !

[MELISSA] So not a good way of writing songs... Not for you guys !

[CHUCK] No, it doesn't work.

[MELISSA] How do you guys keep challenging yourselves, coming out with new stuff? You've been around for a while now and there is so much saturation and the same stuff out there, do you guys go back, what do you guys do, when you listen to music or whatever?

[CHUCK] Sasha is basically addicted to music, it is his drug, it is his whole entire life. He is searching out for new kinds of music. Every day he spends hours looking for new bands, looking for new styles, for new sounds of music. So he pretty much goes out and kinda brings in some of the new stuff he found for us. For me personally I don't listen to a lot of music, I mean, I do, but I kinda listen to whatever people can turn me on to, you know?

[MELISSA] You don't go searching and all.

[CHUCK] Yeah, but I think it is a good balance, where I am from a more organic, folk-y kinda songwriting school. Kind of like, whatever comes out of me, it's cool. So the mix, it makes a nice sound and now we try to keep it fresh.

[MELISSA] You guys seem like good friends, whether it's on stage or in general. Do you think it helps the band to stay together and make the band work? Because you know so many bands are formed together and are like you know “ah, hey this guys plays this and...”

[CHUCK] Yeah, we are all very close, definitely. We spend a lot of time with everybody on and off tour.

[MELISSA] Yeah, it must be interesting, it makes the touring easier probably. I wanted to know also, you guys have been up for like twelve years or so... since August '95, is that scary ?

[CHUCK] It is! I don't know... I'm almost thirty!

[MELISSA] Since you've been playing for twelve years, obviously some things have changed, whether it is the cities you play in, the sales, the shows, the genres that are popular and all that. How much did you have to adapt, and if any, or have you always done your own thing and ...

[CHUCK] We've always just done our own thing, we never tried to be like anybody else. It's hurt us a lot but it's also helped us a lot. The trends come and go and sometime we go to a city for a year or two and we could be really big there and all, and then we come back next time no one comes, and then a year later people start to come. We've watched the whole thing go in and out so much that we just decided that we are just doing own thing, we are not trying to be big, we stay the same.

[MELISSA] You do have to adapt as a band, you know, the whole Internet, iTunes - you had to adapt in some way...

[CHUCK] For sure, we are totally hip on the MySpace thing you know, and really worked hard on that, making sure that it's always updated and that it always shows cool stuff and contests and, you know, just things for the fans, giving away free shirts and all...

[MELISSA] Cool because so many bands are against that, but I guess it's pretty much what gets you more fans?

[CHUCK] A band like us never makes money selling their records, we don't sell enough records. If we sell enough records, it just pays for the club, that's it. There is a little bit of songwriting money, but... You make money touring, that has always been the case - unless you're selling a million records...

[MELISSA] Obviously you've been with Fat Wreck Chords for a long time, it's probably like a family and all that. What works? I mean, other than the fact that's a family, because a lot of people would switch after a while to another label. I mean, it meets your needs and...?

[CHUCK] I'm really close with Fat Mike and all of us are friends and we helped developed the label. I've made friends with people that work at the label, and everybody is totally cool, and it works well now. But I don't know where the CD business is going now. We don't know, our next record may could be on a major label, or we might just put it out ourselves, which is completely opposite directions, we don't know. It's been great up to this point. And now we're starting to feel like, if we stay I mean it's just going to be us that have to adapt, and we feel like we need to change now.

[MELISSA] Is that scary?

[CHUCK] A little bit, but it's also kinda exciting, you know, I'm looking for maybe just doing something radical, like putting out the record ourselves and you can't even buy in in a store; You can only download it from our site, and instead of like, fifteen bucks, you can download the record for seven bucks. Or if you want, we'll mail it to you, a real copy, for seven dollars. Because we feel we are at the point now that we have the fans that we have, and they are going to buy it from us. If we make it half the price, we'll make three times the money. And that makes sense, because we are cutting out the stores, and the distributors, and all those people that make more money than you do, and that shouldn't! Out of anybody that lays their hands on CDs, the band makes the least out of record sales. So with the Internet now it's so easy, with every last person that's on your thing getting an email that says “Okay, here is the new record, it's seven dollars and guess what, the band gets a hundred percent of it”. So it's actually going to the band and not these people, distribution and all...

[MELISSA] And I think it would encourage fans even more when they know that, because you know, they are here to support you guys, they don't care about fucking WalMart and all that.

[CHUCK] Yeah, they don't care about HMV and all. So we are kinda excited and all because you know, we spent three years last time before putting out a new record and now we are ready to start putting out two records a year, and you know, just doing the crazy shit - doing an acoustic record, and a hardcore, punk record or whatever, we just continue making music!

[MELISSA] Keeps you guys busy too I guess.

[CHUCK] Yeah definitely.

[MELISSA] Did you think you would be here, I mean, almost thirty years old, playing shows, having tons of kids still grooving to you guys ?

[CHUCK] I don't know, I really don't know. The first time I went and saw a real concert it was like SKANKIN' PICKLE and FISHBONEor something. I was sixteen, and I watched the show, and you know we had just started playing music and stuff, and I told myself “I can do that, I know I can at least get that love to play”. We can totally do that and now we are still doing it, and that was a long ago...

[MELISSA] ...and still having fun...

[CHUCK] Absolutely, we're having a blast, too much fun!

[MELISSA] That's not bad ! I wish every job was like that, too much fun ! Thank you so much for your time, I appreciated it.

[CHUCK] Sure, thank you.

Merci à Chuck d'avoir pris le temps de de discuter avec nous, à Melanie chez Fat d'avoir coordonné le tout, et à Val pour la transcription de l'entrevue.

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