Thank you for your reply! Before I begin I must say that your music is legendary with me and my mates. And Ryan Thomas says hi…
Thanks again, and here’s my list of Questions, if for any reason you don’t want to answer any that’s fine. Without further ado:
1. Your new band, Ramshackle Glory is soon to be releasing their debut effort “Live the Dream”. How finished is the album at this point in time? How happy are you with the results and do you think that this is a natural progression to yourself, in the same vein that Wingnut dishwashers Union was a progression of Johnny Hobo?
The album is sonically done. It is recorded and mastered. We have to work on laying out the artwork, and then send it all to the pressing plants to get CDs manufactured.
Ramshackle Glory is my favorite band that I've ever been in. The people I play music with are really good at it. All of them are really good as humans, too. We have fun when we hang out.
As far as natural progression...I don't think I would say that. Wingnut Dishwashers Union, for example, was a very intentional, premeditated point of break with any music I had written in the past. In that way it was arbitrary, not natural. To me, the only point of changing what the music was called is that it (hopefully) communicates clearly that I am not interested in playing the old songs. I would compare it more to political legislation than natural law.
2. Despite your reluctance to play/ distribute your past music library anymore, would you say that you’re ashamed of this music and or lifestyle or do you feel that Johnny Hobo helped a lot of people in the same situation as you? Are you proud of the music you released by Johnny Hobo and Wingnut Dishwashers Union artistically? Or are you just sick of people asking about Johnny Hobo?
I am not ashamed of any music I've made. There are people who like it. That's great. It's just not what I'm doing right now.
I'm not proud of anything I've made, in particular. I'm proud of people I've been lucky enough to make some of it with. I'm proud of people I've had the chance to make records and start bands and play shows with, and the people I've gotten to meet and make friends with as a result of doing that stuff.
My friends are the most brilliant, wonderful human beings that have ever lived. The stuff they think and make is some next level shit. So I'm proud that I know them. If you don't feel that way about your friends, that's a bummer.
3. How do you feel about the “folk punk” genre as a whole? Where do you think it’s going in the future and are there any grievances between yourself/ your music and this scene?
Folk punk is a term people use to describe music I make. That's fine. I hate almost everything I've heard that's called "folk punk" music. That's how I feel about every style of music: most of it isn't very good, but some of it is awesome.
I started playing acoustic music because it seemed easier than dealing with amplifiers and PA systems, but I never considered it anything except "punk music." I wasn't aware that there were other people who made punk music with acoustic instruments. Now I am considered part of this bigger genre, which is fine. A lot of the people associated with "folk punk" are great people. I'm glad to be linked to them.
Folk punk is probably going to get less popular from this point. I imagine Plan-It-X Fest this summer will be remembered as "the peak" of the scene. I have no evidence to support that claim.
4. Which artists had the biggest impact on yourself?
Choking Victim/Leftover Crack, dead prez, Mantits, Bikini Kill, Vomit Dichotomy.
5. Before you left for rehab you left a note on your website stating (along the lines of) people may be inclined to call you a sell out because you were going to college. Have you lost any “fans” or been labelled a “sell out”, or have you been accepted and supported in your decision.
Well, I haven't heard from any fans I lost. That makes sense; they probably wouldn't bother to write me in order to inform me that they didn't like my music now that I went to college.
I don't generally run into "fans" in my daily life, so I won't comment too much on the general sentiment among a vague collection of individuals I've never talked to. But I can tell you there is a lot of antipathy towards people who go to college within some factions of the punk rock community. Even more broadly, there's suspicion of people who aren't obviously, visually aligned with a counter cultural identity. People often seem skeptical of me in counter cultural spaces because I don't dress PUNXXX. That makes sense. People tend to feel most comfortable around other people who look like them. But it's interesting to observe.
6. Would you suggest the moniker of “sell out” is an inherent problem in the punk scene?
No, but it depends what your perspective is. I'm most interested in punk rock as one piece within a much bigger culture of radical thought and action that aspires to revolutionary social change. So anything that cuts ties with that "culture of resistance" to pursue something dumb like money or MTV Video Awards is fucking sell out shit.
If I didn't have that perspective on things, then I probably wouldn't care what label anyone was on. And if someone wants to sell out, that's their life. Some people are really mad that Against Me is on a major label. To me, that just means they are not relevant to anything I believe is important. That's cool. They're up to something else.
It's possible that someone could sign to a major label in order to extract resources from big record companies to funnel into the radical organizing--from what I understand, Chumbawumba has actually been pretty successful at it in some ways. (For those who aren't aware, Chumbawumba was one of the early anarcho-peace punk bands in the United Kingdom, decades before the release of Tubthumper.) But most bands that sign to major labels seem to lose their connection to the stuff I believe is important. Sell outs!
7. Do you feel that Ramshackle Glory is your most accurate depiction yet of yourself and your life?
Yup, it's the realest shit I ever wrote.
8. I know you’ve supported anarchist groups in the past so, do you identify yourself as an anarchist? And/ Or do you believe this term is too overused?
I am an anarchist. "Anarchy" just means "no rulers" (or no bosses, no governments, no capitalists, no authority, whatever term you like best). The term isn't overused, it's underused. Most people behave like anarchists often, although we rarely describe it that way.
To really simplify things: any time I make a decision or cooperate with somebody else without one of us relying on a gang of armed thugs (e.g. the police, the military) to enforce our will is pure fucking ANARCHY!!!
So on an interpersonal level, anarchist organizing is happening all the time. The revolutionary task is changing society to the point where nobody gets to call in gangs of armed thugs to enforce their will, so that anarchist organization replaces coercive institutions.
9. Have you guested or been a guest for any groups lately (I know you’ve done shows with Mischief Brew backing you in the past). Do you have any plans to in the near future?
I don't know what this means. Mischief Brew has never "backed me" for a show. Once he invited me to sing one of my songs while he played the guitar on it, but that was 4 minutes out of his whole set. He was definitely there to play his own show, not "guest" for me. But if that's what "guesting" is, it's the first and only time I've ever been involved with it.
10. Finally Ramshackle Glory is an actual band, in the sense it’s not just you and your guitar at shows, how do these two compare and which do you prefer, playing in a band or as a solo artists.
Johnny Hobo and Wingnut were "actual bands." Most of the people in them couldn't go on tour, so I would do that by myself. But at home, I always had other people who played with me. This current band is the one with the most consistent membership I've ever played with. It's really fun.
(You can get the CD when it comes out from the website. Australians will be able to order the same way as anyone else. I don't have anything to say about those other bands.)