Category Archives: Interviews

The Lost Interview with Kurt Cobain

Guitar World – 10/93

in july of 1993, kurt cobain gave a dramatically candid interview to respected british rock journalist jon savage. freely discussed were such controversial topics as courtney love, homosexuality, heroin and cobain’s relationship with his nirvana bandmates. the interview was never published-until now.

by Jon Savage

the interview you are about to read transpired late on the evening of thursday, july 22, 1993, arranged as part of nirvana’s u.k. press campaign for the then soon-to-be released in utero (dgc). in contrast to their almost total silence in the american media, nirvana had five u.k. interviews and photo shoots slotted into their brief stay in new york, culminating with a showcase concert at roseland on the evening of the 23rd. this would have been an unusually grueling schedule for even the most unflappable of groups. but then, hardly anything associated with nirvana was usual.

the affable, straight-ahead presence of chris (now krist) novoselic and dave grohl notwithstanding, the atmosphere surrounding nirvana at the time was strongly reminiscent of the feeling that accompanied the sex pistols in 1977. here, too, was a group-the hottest group of the moment-who were about more than just music, and who were refusing to play the game. judging from the hysteria that greeted their return after a year of silence, nirvana acted as a kind of psychic lightning rod: a focus for everyone’s fears, hopes, loves and hates. few knew where they were coming from, nobody knew what they would do.

much of this pressure rested on kurt cobain, who-just to keep things interesting-was at once charming, arrogant, vague and unpredictable. getting him to sit down for the interview was hard. i managed to pin him down backstage after an extraordinary melvins show we both attended. “do i have to do this now?” he asked me. “yes,” i replied simply and that was that. we subsequently adjourned to my room at the new york palace hotel, where once he relaxed, cobain was intelligent, cogent and as candid as he could be, given his situation.

the interview seemed to provide cobain with an oasis of calm in the middle of the madness. i warmed to him, and wanted to believe what he said. my ultimate feeling-confirmed by the roseland show the next night-was that here was a person and a group poised on a knife-edge between considerable, positive power and self-destruction. here is a record of that pivotal moment.

guitar world: tell me about your background.

kurt cobain: i was born in aberdeen, washington, in 1967, and i lived between and montesano, which was 20 miles away. i moved back and forth between relatives’ houses throughout my whole childhood.

gw: did your parents split up when you were young?

cobain: yeah, when i was seven.

gw: do you remember anything about it?

cobain: i remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. i was ashamed of my parents. i couldn’t face some of my friends at school anymore, because i desperately wanted to have the clasic, you know, typical family. mother, father. i wanted that security, so i resented my parents for quite a few years because of that.

gw: have you made up with them now?

cobain: well, i’ve always kept a relationship with my mom, because she’s always been the more affectionate one. but i hadn’t talked to my father for about 10 years until last year, when he sought me backstage at a show we played at seattle. i was happy to see hm because i always wanted him to know that i didn’t hate him anymore. on the other hand, i didn’t want to encourage our relationship because i didn’t have anything to say to him. my father is incapable of showing much affection, or even of carrying on a conversation. i didn’t want to have a relationship just because he was my blood relative. it would bore me.

so the last time that i saw him, i expressed that to him and made it really clear that i didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. but it has a relief on both our parts, you know? because for some years he felt that i really hated his guts.

gw: you can’t duck it.

cobain: that’s what i’ve done all my life, though. i’ve always quit jobs without telling the employer that i was quiting; i just wouldn’t show up one day. i was the same in high school-i quit with only two months to go. i’ve always copped out of things, so to face up to my father-although he chose to seek me out-was a nice relief.

gw: have you writen about this stuff at all? the lyrics on “serve the servants” sound autobiographical.

cobain: yeah, its the first time that i’ve ever really dealt with parental issues. i’ve hardly ever written anything that obviously personal.

gw: what was it like for you growing up?

cobain: i was very isolated. i had a really good childhood, until the divorce. then, all of a sudden, my whole world changed. i became anntisocial. i started to understand the reality of my surroundings, which didn’t have a lot to offer. aberdeen was such a small town, and of, or who were compatible with me, or liked to do the things i liked. i liekd to do artistic things and listen to music.

gw: what did you listen to then?

cobain: whatever i could get a hold of. my aunts would give me beatle records, so for the most part it was just the beatles, and every once in a while, if i was lucky, i was able to buy a single.

gw: did you like the beatles?

cobain: oh, yeah. my mother always tried to keep a little bit of british culture in our family. we’d drink tea all the time! i never really knew about my ancestors until thhis year, when i learned that the name cobain was irish. my parents never bothered to find that stuff out. i found out by looking through phone books throughout america for the names that were similar to mine. i couldn’t find any cobains at all, so i started calling coburns. i found this one lady in san francisco who had been researching our family history for years.

gw: so it was coburn?

cobain: actually it was cobain, but the coburns screwed it up when they came over . they came from country cork, which is a really weird coincidence, because when we toured ireland, we played in cork and the entire day i walked around in a daze. i’d never felt more spiritual in my life. it was the weirdest feeling and-i have a friend who was with me who could testify to this-i was almost in tears the whole day. since that tour, which was bout two years ago, i’ve had some sense that i was from ireland.

gw: tell me about your high school experience. were people unpleasant to you?

cobain: i was a scapegoat, but not in the sense that i was picked on all the time. they didn’t pick on me or beat me up because i was already withdrawn by that time. i was so antisocial that i was almost insane. i felt so different and so crazy that people just left me alone. i wouldn’t have been surprised if they voted me most likely to kill everyone at a high school dance.

gw: can you now understand how some people become so alienated that they become violent?

cobain: yeah, i can definitely see how a person’s mental state could deteriorate to the point where the fantasized about it, but i’m sure i would opt to kill myself first. but still, i’ve always loved revenge movies about high school dances, stuff like carrie.

gw: when did you first hear punk rock?

cobain: probably ’84. i keep trying to get this story right chronolgically, and i just can’t. my first exposure to punk rock came when creem started covering sex pistols’ u.s. tour. i would read aboutthem and just fantasize about how amazing it would be to hear their musci and be a part of it. but i was like 11 years old, and i couldn’t possibly have followed them on the tour. the thought of just going to seattle-which was only 200 miles away-was impossible. my parents took me to seattle probably three times in my life, from what i can remember, and those were on family trips.

after that, i was always trying to find punk rock, but of course the

y didn’t have it in our record shop in aberdeen. the first punk rock i was able to buy was probably devo and oingo boingo and stuff like that; that stuff finally leaked into aberdeen many years after the fact.

then, finally, in 1984 a friend of mine named buzz osborne [melvins singer/guitarist] made me a couple of complication tapes with black flag and flipper, everything, all the most popular punk rock bands, and i was completely blown away. i’d finally found my alling. that very same day i cut my hair short. i would lipsync to those tapes-i played them everyday-and it was the greatest thing. i’d already been playing the guitar by then for a couple of years, and i was trying to play my own style of punk rock, or what i imagined that it was. i knew it was fast and had a lot of distortion.

punk expressed the way i felt socially and politically. there were so many things going on at once. it expressed the anger that i felt-the alienation. it also helped open my eyes to what i didn’t like about metal bands like aerosmith and led zepplin, while i really did enjoy, and still do enjoy, some of the melodies those bands have written, i suddenly realized i didn’t like their sexist attitudes-the way that they just wrote about their dicks and having sex. that stuff bore me.

gw: when do you start to think about sexism? was it an outgrowth of your interest in punk?

cobain: no, it was before that. i could never find any good male friends, so i ended hanging out with the girls a lot, and i just that they weren’t being equally treated and they weren’t treated with respect. i hated the way aberdeen treated women in general-they were just totally oppressed. the words “bitch” and “cunt” were totally common, you’d hear them all the time. but it took me many years after the fact to realize those were the things that were bothering me. i was just starting to understand that was pissing me off so much, and in high school, i found punk rock and it came all together. i finally understood that i wasn’t retarded, you know?

gw: did you ever have problems with people thinking you were gay?

cobain: yeah. even i thought i was gay. although i never experienced it, i thought that might be the solution to my problem. i had a gay friend, and that was the only time that i ever experienced real confrontation from people. like i said, for so many years they were basically afraid of me, but when i started hanging out with this guy, myer loftin, who was known to be gay, they statred giving me a lot of shit, trying to beat me up and stuff. then my mother wouldn’t allow me to be friends with him anymore because she’s homophobic.

gw: so did you stop?

cobain: yeah. it was real devastating because i’d found a male friend who i could actually talk to and be affectionate with, and i was told i couldn’t hang out with him anymore. around that same time, i was putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. he played a big role in that.

gw: your lyrics contain some provocative gay references, in particular the line “everybody is gay” from all apologies.” is that a reflection of that time?

cobain: i wouldn’t say it was a reflection of that time. i’m just carrying on with my beliefs now. i guess it is [provocative] in a commercial sense, because of how many albums we’ve sold.

gw: it’s very unusual to find bands talking about those kinds of things, particularly in the format that you’re using which is male rock.

cobain:yeah, but i think it’s getting better. though, now that “alternative music” is finally getting accepted, althouugh that’s a pretty sad term, as far as i’m concerned. but at least the consciousness is there, and that’s really healthy for the younger generation.

gw: have you had any problems from the industry or fans because of your gay references?

cobain: never. pansy division covered “teen spirit” and reworked the words to “smells like queer spirit,” and thanked us in the liner notes. i think it said, “thank you to nirvana for taking the most pro-gay stance of any commercially successful rock band.” that was a real flattering thing. it’s just that it’s nothing new to any of my friends, because of the music we’ve been listening to for the last 15 years now.

i suppose things are different now. if you watch mtv, they have these “free your mind” segments in the news hour, where they report on gay issues and stuff like that. pretty much in subtle ways they remind everyone how sexist the wave of heavy metal was throughout the entire eighties, because all that stuff is almost completely dead. it’s dying fast. i find it really funny to see a lot of those groups like poison-not evenpoison, but warrant and skid row, bands like that-desperately clinging to their old identities, but now trying to have an alternative angle in their music. it gives me a small thrill to know that i’ve helped in a small way to get rid of these people-or maybe at least to make them think about what they’ve done in the past 10 years. nothing has changed, really, except for bands like soul asylum who’ve been around for like 12 years, have been struggling in bars forever, and now have their pretty faces on mtv. still they have a better attitude than the metal people. i think it’s healthier. i’d much rather have that than old stuff.

gw: the track that first got me into nirvana was “on a plain.” but whats it about?

cobain: classic alienation, i guess. every time i go through those songs i have to change my story, because i’m as lost as anyone else. for the most part, i write songs from pieces of poetry thrown together. when i write poetry its not thematical at all. i have plenty of notebooks, and when it comes to write lyrics, i just steal from my poems.

gw: is that hhow the songs on in utero were written?

cobain: a little less so. there are more songs on this album that are thematic, that are actually about something rather than just pieces of poetry. like, “scentless apprentice” is baout the book, perfume, by patrick süskind. i don’t think that i’ve ever written a song based on a book before.

gw: did you read much when you were a kid?

cobain: i was probably about 14. junior high. i never took it very seriously. i’ve never kept personal journals, either. i’ve never kept a diary, and i’ve tried to write stories in poetry; it’s always been abstract.

the plan for my life, ever since i can remember, was to be a commercial artist. my mother gave me a lot of support in being artistic-she really complimentedmy drawings and paintings. so i was always building up to that. by the time i was in ninth grade i was taking three commercial art classes and planning to go to art school. my art teacher would enter my patintings and stuff in contests. but ultimately, i wasn’t interested in that at all, really; it wasn’t what i wanted to do. i knew my limitations. however, i really enjoyed art and still like to paint.

i’ve always felt the same about writing, as well. i know i’m not educated enough to really write something that i would enjoy on the level that i would like to read.

gw: when did you first visit england?

cobain: ’89.

gw: did you enjoy it?

cobain: yeah. especially the first time. we also wnet through the rest of europe, but by the seventh week i was ready to die. we were touring with tad. it was 11 people in a really small volvo van, with all our equipment.

gw: you mean12, with tad . . .

cobain: fifteen! depending on whether his stomach was empty or not. he vomited a lot on that tour.

gw: when did you first realize that things were starting to break for the band?

cobain: probably while we were on tour in europe in ’91. we’d finish the “teen spirit” video and they started to play it while we were on tour. i got reports every once in a while from friends of mine, telling me that i was famous. so it didn’t affect me until probably three months after we’d been famous in americs.

gw: was there one moment when you walked into it and you suddenly realized ?

cobain: yeah. when i got home. a friend
of mine made a complication of all the news stories about our band that appeared on mtv and local news programs and stuff. it was frightening. it scared me.

gw: how long did it scare you?

cobain: for about a year and a half-up until the last eight months or so. until my child was born, i would say. that’s when i finally decided to crawl out of my shell and accept it. there were times when i wanted to break up the band because the pressure was so intense, but, because i like this band, i felt like i had a responsibility not to.

gw: was that around the time of your summer 1992 european tour?

cobain: yes. that was when the band started to really fail me emotionally. a lot of it to do with the fact that we were playing these outdoor festivals in the daytime. there’s nothing more boring than doing that. the audiences are amssive and none of them care what band is on the stage. i was just getting over my drug addiction, or trying to battle that, and it was just too much. for the resy of the year i kept going back and forth between wanting to quit and wanting to change our name. but because i still really enjoy playing with chris and dave, i couldn’t see us splitting up because of the pressures os success. it’s just pathetic, you know? to have to d osomething like that.

it’s weird. i don’t know if, when we play live, there is much of a consciousconnectionbetween chris and dave and i. i don’t usually even notice them; i’m in my own world. on the other hand, i’m not saying it doesn’t matter whether they are there or not, that i could hire studio musicians or something.

gw: i know it wouldn’t be the same. for me, the original band is you and chris and dave.

cobain: i consider that the original band too, because it was the first time we had a competent drummer. and for some reason, i’ve needed a good, solid drummer. there are loads of bands i love that have terrible drummers, but a terrible drummer wasn’t right for this music. at least, it isn’t right for the music that we’ve written so far.

gw: you haven’t really been on the road for a year, not since the nevermind tour.

cobain: i’ve been recuperating.

gw: why did drugs happen? were they just around?

cobain: i had done heroin for about a year, off and on, i’ve had this stomach condition for like five years. there were times, especially during touring, when i just felt like a drug addict-even though i wasn’t-because i was starving [an outgrowth of his condition-gw ed.] and couldn’t find out what was wrong with me. i tried everything i could think of. change od diet, pills, everything. . . exercise, stopped drinking, stopped smoking and nothing worked. i just decided that if i’m going to feel like a junkie every fucking morning and be vomiting every day then i may as well take a substance that kills the pain. i can’t say that’s the main reason why i did it, but it has a lot to d owith it. it has a lot more to do with it than most people think.

gw: did you find out what the stomach thing was?

cobain: no.

gw: do you still get it?

cobain: every once in a while. but for some reason it’s just gone away. i think it’s a psychosomatic thing. my mom had it for a few years when she was in her early twenties, and eventually it went away. she was in the hospital all the time because of it.

gw: are you feeling a bit better now?

cobain: yeah. especially in the last year, since i’ve been married and had a child, my mental and physical states have improved almost 100 percent. i’m really excited about touring again. i haven’tfelt this optomistic since right before my parents divorce.

gw: did you find it dis heartening that you’d started this band and you were playing these great songs when suddenly, all this weird stuff started happening in the media?

cobain: oh yeah, it affected me to the pont of wanting to break up the band all the time.

gw: was it mainly the vanity fair article?[the september 1992 issue of vanity fair insinuated that cobain’s wife courtney love, was on heroin during her pregnancy with their daughter frances.-gw ed.]

cobain:that started it. there were probably 50 more articles based on the story. i’d never paid attention to the mainstream press or media before, so i wasn’t aware of people being attacked and crucified on that level. i can’t help but feel that we’ve been a scapegoated, in a way. i have a lot of animosity towards journalists and the press in general. because it’s happening to me, of course, i’m probably exaggerating it, but i can’t think of another example of a current band that’s had more negative articles written about them.

gw: why do you think that is?

cobain: a lot of it just simple sexism. courtney is my wife, and people could not accept the fact that i’m in love, and that i could be happy. because she’sss shuch a pwerful person, and such a threatening person, very sexist within the industry just joined forces and decided to string us up.

gw: let’s talk about in utero. it sounds claustrophobic to me.

cobain: i thnk so, yeah. the main reason we recorded the new album in utero, with [producer] steve albini is he is able to get a sound that sounds like the band is in a room no bigger than the one we’re in now. in utero doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a haall, or that it’s trying to sound larger than life. it’s very in-your-face and real.

technically, i’ve learned that the way to acheieve that is to use a lot of microphones. i’ve known that for years, ever dince i started recording, because microphones are so directional that if you want ambient sound you need to lose a lot of tracks. or you need to use an omnidirectional microphone, farther away from the instruments, so you can pick up the reberation from the walls.

gw: how many mikes did you use in in utero?

cobain: i have no idea, but a lot. we had a big old german mircophones taped to the floor and the ceiling and the walls, all over the place. i’ve been trying to get producers to do this ever since we started recording. i don’t know anything about recording, but it just seems so obvious to me that that is what you need to do. i tried to get [nevermind producer] butch vig to do it, i tried to get [sub pop producer] jack endinno to do it, and everyon’es responce was, “that isn’t how you record.” steve albini proved to to me on these songs, although i don’t know exactly how he did it; i jusst knew that it had to be done that way. he had to have used a bunch of microphones. it’s as simple as that. which is why live rcordings of punk shows sound so good. you really get a feel of what is going on.

gw: did you re-record any of the tracks?

cobain: no. we remixed a couple because the vocals weren’t loud enough. steve is a good recording engineer, but terrible at mixing, as far as i’m concerned. to me, mixing is like doing a crossword puzzle or something. it;s like math, or something really technical. it drains you; you really have to concentrate on it. there are so many variations in the tones of each instrument that it can take days to mix a song if you really want to get anal about it. i’m all just for recording and however it comes out on a tape, that’s howit should come out. but for some songs it just doesn’t work.

gw: i really like the slow songs on in utero.

cobain:they came out really good, and steve albini’s recording technique really served those songs well; you can really hear the ambience in those songs. it was perfect for them. but for “all apologies” and “heart shaped box” we needed more. my main complaint was that the vocals weren’t loud enough. in every albini mix i’ve ever heard, the vocals are always too quiet. that’s just the way he likes things, and he’s a real difficult person to persuade otherwise. i mean, he was trying to mix each tune within an hour, which is just not how the songs work. it was for a few songs, but not all of them. you should be able to do a few different mixes and pick the best.

i never thought i would enjoy talking about the technical side of recording. it nev

er made any sense to me before. but now, i don’t think it’s a bad thing to talk about.

gw: you appear to be in a really good postion, since even if the album doesn’t do well you’ve made the record that you wannted to make.

cobain: absolutely. oh man, that’s why i’m so excited about this record. i actually want to promote this record, not for the sake of selling records, but because i’m more proud of this record than anything i’ve ever done. we’ve finally achieved the sound that i’ve been hearing in my head forever.

gw: you didn’t on nevermind.

cobain: not at all. it’s too slick. i don’t listen to records like that at home. i can’t listen to that record. i like a lot of the songs. i really like playing some of them live. in a commercial sense i think it;s a really good record, i have to admit that, but that’s in a cheap trick kind of way. but for my personal listening pleasure, you know, it’s just too slick.

gw: how do you sing? because you use a number of voices . . .

cobain:most of the time i sing right from my stomach. right from where my stomach pain is.

gw: that’s where the pain and anger comes from?

cobain: it’s definitely there. everytime i’ve had an andoscope, they find a read irritation in my stomach. but it’s psychosomatic, it’s all from anger. and screaming. my body is damaged from music in two ways: not only has my stomach inflamed from irritation, but i have scliosis. i had minor scliosis in junior high, and since i’ve been playing the guitar ever since, the weight of the guitar has made my back grow in this curvature. so when i stand, everything is sideways. it’s weird.

gw: you could go sorted out.

cobain: i go to a chiropractor every once and a while. you can’t really correct scoliosis, because its a growth in the spine. your spine grows through out your adolescent years in a curvature. most people have a small curvature in their spine anyhow, though some people have to wear metal braces. it gives me a back pain all the time. that really adds to the pain in our music. it really does. i’m kinda grateful for it.

gw: do you feel now that there are contradictions between your ideals and your enormus success? is that something that worries you?

cobain: i don’t really know anymore. i thinkk i was probably feeling a lot more contradictory a year-and-a-half ago,because i was blindly fighting and not even knowing what i was fighting for. and, to a point, i still am. like i said, i don’t really know how to deal with the media. a year ago, i said there was absolutely no fuckinng way that i would ever speak in public again, and that i would go out of my way to never show my face again. but then i decided that i wasn’t going to let a handful of evil journalists dictate my fucking life.

i’m just grateful that within the last year, i’ve come across a few people who happen to be journalists that i trusst and i like to talk to.

gw: maybe this would be a good time to address some of theee rumors that have plagued you. when nevermind hit, there were reports that you were a narcoleptic.

cobain: no, no. . . that was just a story i made up to explain why i slept so much. i used to find myself sleeping a lot before shows. a lot of times the backstage area is such a gross scene, i don’t want to talk to anybody. so i just fall asleep. there are so many people that we know now, so many friends and stuff that i can’t ask them to leave. i don’t want to act like axl rose and have my own bus or my own back room area.

gw: speaking of axl, what is the story behind your altercation with him backstage at the 1992 mtv music awards?

cobain: well, apparenty axl was in a really bad mood. something set him off, probably just minutes before our encounter with him. we were in the food tent and i was holdong my daughter, frances, and he came strutting by with five of his hugge bodyguards and a person with a movie camera. courtney jokingly screamed at him, “axl, will you be the godfather of our child?” everyone laughed. we had a few friends around us, and he just stopped dead in his tracks and started screaming these abusive words at us. he told me i should shut my bitch up, so i looked at courtney and said, “shut up, bitch, heh!” everyone started howling with laughter and axl just kind of blushed and went away. afterward, we heard that duff [mckagan gnr bassist] wanted to beat chris up.

gw: i thought it was great when chris hit his head with the guitar at the end of your performance that evening. you’re all trying to be cool and smashing your instruments, and he really fucked it up-it’s really good!

cobain: that’s happened so many times.

gw: an impressive finale, and you end up looking really stupid, but that’s great too.

cobain: it was so expected, you know? should we just walk off stage, or should we break our equipment again? we went through so many emotions that day, because up until just minutes before we played, we weren’t sure we were going to go on. we wanted to play “rape me,” and mtv wouldn’t let us. they were going to replace us if we didn’t play “teen spirit.” we compromised and ended up playing “lithium.” i spat on axl’s keyboards when we were sitting on the stage. it was either that or beat him up. we’re down on this platform that brought us up hydraulically, you know? i saw his piano there, and i just had to take this opportunity and spit big goobers all over his keyboards. i hope he didn’t get it off in time.

gw: tell me, i have to ask what happened with the gun thing. was all that bullshit? [on june 4, 1993, police arrived at the cobain home after being summoned to break up a domestic dispute. love told police they had been arguing over guns in the house.-ed.]

cobain: oh yeah. total bullshit. that’s another thing that just made me want to give up. i never choked my wife, but every report even rolling stone, said that i did. courtney was wearing a choker. i ripped it off her, and it turned out on the police report that i choked her. we weren’t even figghting. we weren’t even arguing, we were playing music too loud, and the neighbors complained and called the police on us. it was the first time that they had ever complained, and we’ve been practicing in the house for a long time.

gw: that’s the way they expect you to behave, because you’re a controversial rock star.

cobain: the police were really nice about it, though. i couldn’t believe it. see there’s this new law, which was passed that month in seattle, that says when there’s a domestic violence call, they have to take one party or the other to jail. so the only argument courntney and i got into was who was going to go to jail for a few hours. and they asked us out of the blue, “are there any guns in the house?” i said no because i didn’t want them to know that there were guns in the house. i have a m-16 and two handguns. they’re put away, there are no bullets in them, they’re up in the closet, and they took them away. i can get them back now. i haven’t bothered to get them back yet, but it was all just a ridiculous little situation. it was nothing. and it’s been blown out of proportion. it’s just like i feel like people don’t believe me. like i’m a pathological liar. i’m constantly defending myself. people still haven’t envolved enough to question anything that’s printed. i’m really bad at that, too. i still don’t believe lots of things that i read.

gw: but you must behave badly sometimes.

cobain: sure. courtney and i fight. we argue a lot. but i’ve never choked my wife. it’s an awful fucking thing to be printed, to be thought of you. you know, we haven’t any problems, any bad reports, any negative articles written about us in a long time. we thought we were finally over it-that our curse had worn itself out.

gw: it must also be because people have percieved you as a threat.

cobain: i think courtney is more of a threat than i am.

gw: what have been the worst temptations engendered by your success?

cobain: nothing i can think of, except lollapalooza. they offered us a guarentee of l

ike six million dollars, and that’s way more money than. . . we’re going to break even on this tour because we’re playing theaters , and the production is so expensive at this level. but other than that, i’ve never though of the guns n’ roses, metallica and u2 offers as any kind of legitimate offer. they just never were a reality to me.

gw: so what are the plans for in utero? how much are you touring to promote it?

cobain: we’ll tour for about six weeks in the states, starting in october. then i don’t want to commit to anything until we see how i feel physically after that. maybe we’ll go to europe. i’m sure we’ll be over in europe to support this record within a year, but i’m not sure then. i don’t want to set a whole year’s worth of touring up.

gw:there seems to be a tension, in that you defined as being influenced by punk, and part of punk was

that it wasn’t cool to be successful. did you feel that tension, and has it caused you problems?

cobain: that’s not how i perceived early punk. i thought that the sex pistols wanted to rule the world, and i was rooting for them. but then american punk rock in the mid-eighties became totally stagnant and elitist. it was a big turn-off for me. i didn’t like that at all. but at the same time, i had been thinking that way for so long that it was really hard for me to come to terms with success. but i don’t care about it now. there’s nothing i can do about it. i’m not going to put out a shitty record on purpose. that would be ridiculous. but i would probably have done that a year-and-a-half ago-i would have gone out of my way to make sure that the new album was even noisier than it is. i know we’re not going to have a fringe millions who don’t enjoy our music, who aren’t into our band for any reason than as a tool to fuck. but we did this record the way we wanted to. i’m glad about that.

gw: it worried me a bit that you might get into the trap, because its not interesting.

cobain: that defeats the whole reason for making music. i’ve been a validation beyond anything. but i would gladly go back to the point of selling out the vogue in seattle, which holds about three hundred people. i’ll gladly go back to playing in front of 20 poeple-if i’m still enjoying it.

The State of the Music Industry in 2003

(This post was written by Cody Breur and taken from his page.)

Taking Issue: While On High Alert, Music Biz Can Still Flourish

Is it just me, or are we at Code Orange in the record biz? This state of high alert, where Billboard reads like a collection of obituaries and general grumpiness reigns supreme, is growing a bit tiresome, no? And there are a lot of questions, so let me take a crack at a few of them.

Are we at Code Orange? Yes, we are. But it does not mean that music is dead or dying. The fact that the music business has lost some momentum is not stopping people from going into their garages, basements and bedrooms and dedicating their lives to their instruments and ideas.

What can we, the little guys, do as the majors attempt to make music just a minuscule part of the cultural fabric? We can give the creation of music the respect it deserves. We can share the joy of hearing something that moves us. We can support new artists on records and onstage. We can open up our minds to the incredible diversity of sounds coming from all over the world. We can separate music from movies, videogames and advertising. We can teach children how to play instruments.

Is music just a sales tool to move refrigerators? Some very powerful people seem to think so, while some other very influential people don’t seem to have a problem with it, so the real music people have to buckle down and give the customer something more. Like, for instance, personal service, music knowledge and ties to the community.

Are kids under 18 the only audience worth selling to? In the old world, yes; youth should be served. But in the new world, there are still folks over 18 who have a lot of money to spend on music. They come from a time when music was the most intimate, mysterious and moving thing that pop culture had to offer, and they are dying to hear something that moves them again.

Is a record that sells 100,000 copies a failure? If the label spent $500,000 promoting it, it sure is.

I am aware that you have to spend money to make money, but things are getting way out of hand. I think that we need a market correction on the money spending. Some of these bottom-line-conscious majors should stop acting like Bill Gates and let these bands build their audience the old-fashioned way: on the road.

Will the current business model for selling records in stores made of bricks and mortar last? After visiting an iTunes store, I sure hope so. Standing in a room of iMacs, looking at a screen and downloading onto a disc is like going to the dentist’s office or being in an airline terminal.

I hope music is a lot more than data. Doesn’t the package mean anything? I’ve learned more about music from reading liner notes and record jackets than I have on any Web site. I’ve found out tons about my favorite records from talking to human beings on the floor of a record store.

The personal digital age is fine, but there should always be a place where the communal nature of music can flourish. I think an ideal candidate for this is the independent record store. Of course, if people just want to live the life of working, ordering online and sleeping, that is their ebizness.

Is there anything positive going on right now in the music scene? Yes. The rise of Cuban and Brazilian music, underground hip-hop, the bluegrass revival, heavy music (pro- and anti-mullet sectors), the nu-soul movement, funky 45 collecting and compiling, DJ culture-an excellent example of how the Internet does not kill the music industry-all the diverse sounds of Africa and an ever-growing list of music that we never had a chance to hear before we became so “connected” with the rest of the globe.

So, perhaps, it is the best of times and the worst of times in our little ol’ biz. Things may be shifting gradually to a world we don’t understand and can’t even fathom right now, but, if I’m looking for a ray of light in the darkness, I can always go back to the basics. Turn down the lights, shut off the computer, click off the TV, close my eyes and listen. The music always has an answer.

Cody Breuler is a sales and marketing rep for Navarre Entertainment Media in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Interview with Mute Math

Mute Math
By Logan Lenz

(As published in Rag Magazine, 2007)

Don’t be ashamed if you have never heard of Mute Math; not a lot of people have. Slowly but surely, however, the band has begun turning heads and earning fans after their album debuted at 17 on Billboard’s “Top Heatseekers” chart. The band’s eclectic blend of musical genres has enabled the group to headline their own theater tour in the fall. Known for their vibrant and sometimes dangerous live performances, Mute Math only has room to grow. Paul Meany, the band’s founder and vocalist spoke exclusively with RAG Magazine on his band and their rapid rise to stardom.


In your own words, how would you describe Mute Math’s music?

Meany: I would describe it as good music. That’s the only kind that I was interested in making when we started. If there is a category that we would fall into, it would have to be that one.

What is the meaning behind the name Mute Math?

Meany: There is no meaning. It was our drummer’s email address. If it meant anything, it simply meant that we didn’t have to continue looking for a name, which we had arduously done for months and months.

How did you guys end up teaming up with an act such as Eisley for the current tour?

Meany: We met Eisley a while ago. They are a bunch of sweethearts that make sweet music. We played a Christmas party for Warner Bros and we were horrible. We just botched it! It was one of those shows where we finished and nobody would talk to us or even look at us. Eisley happened to be there and they were the only ones that came to talk to us. They pretty much nursed us back to health. We’ve been friends ever since.

Mute Math offer a myriad of different elements in their music. Did you guys set out to make something different and unique when you formed or is that something that just happened over time?

Meany: All we wanted to do was create something that we would be excited about. Mute Math really started out as a side project. We always just tried to keep everything simple, while trying to steer clear of any particular musical category.

Who influences Mute Math’s music?

Meany: All of the greats: Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Michael Bolton – you can just go through the lineage.

What’s your favorite track off of the album?

Meany: It varies from day to day. Today, I’m in a “Stare at the Sun” mood.

You guys were very wise in your decision to release your albums independently through your own label Teleprompt Records. How did the partnership with Warner Bros actually work? Did they pursue you or is that something you planned on doing anyhow?

Meany: Honestly, we really didn’t know. Ted from Teleprompt had a lot of friends involved with the bigger labels. His dream was to have his own imprint label that would eventually upstream to Warner Bros. At the same time, Darren and I started making music together. That model was very attractive to us and it worked out rather well.

I hear you guys have been working on some material for a new album. What can you say about that and what can everyone expect?

Meany: Everyone can expect that it will be a better record than the first. We won’t release it if it’s not. We have been working with a lot of cryptic ideas during soundchecks and our occasional free time. From the few songs we have written, I am pretty exhilarated just thinking about the next record.

For anyone that did not witness it, explain how Mute Math became the first band to play backwards on television.

Meany: That would be a confusing statement to me too. We filmed the music video for the song “Typical” in reverse. It’s not an original idea by any means, but we did it as a performance. Everyone learned their parts backwards. It was a blast! Someone at Warner Bros recommended doing the same thing on live television. So, all we did was recreate our video on TV for Jimmy Kimmel’s show. It was extremely awkward and confusing for everyone in the audience, but when they aired it, they flipped it and the end result was a visual festival.

How did the Transformers gig come about? What was it like writing the theme song for such a blockbuster film?

Meany: Going back in time to an eight-year old Paul Meany, it was hoped that one day he would get to sing the Transformers theme song on its soundtrack. I was obsessed with Transformers. Warner Bros called us and told us they were doing the soundtrack. They didn’t have anybody doing the theme song and they asked us if we would be interested in taking a stab at it. Of course, we obliged. It was a real pleasure.

Is there one moment or period of major accomplishment that stands out to you?

Meany: There has been a few. Doing our first headlining tour was a big one. Just seeing people show up to watch you perform was a stellar collection of moments. Another one would have to be playing David Letterman. All of us have a huge respect for that show.

What about all of the new music out there? Are there any newer bands that stand out to you?

Meany: Shiny Toy Guns and The Cinematics – both great bands.

What is to come for the future of Mute Math?

Meany: All I see in the future is a lot of shows. Hopefully, we will be able to record our next record at some point early next year.

Interview with Tegan & Sara

Tegan and Sara

By Logan Lenz

(As published in Rag Magazine)

For these two Canadian identical twin sisters, music has always been the only option. Since 1995, the two siblings have become one of the most unique and beloved independent acts in North America. This year not only birthed the group’s fifth full length record, The Con, but also will spawn a major fall/winter tour; the duo’s grandest to date. RAG spoke exclusively with Tegan Quin, one half of the creative brilliance behind Tegan and Sara.

For anyone unfamiliar, how would you describe Tegan and Sara?

Quin: I don’t know. I typically don’t describe our music. When I meet people at random parties or something and they ask me what I do, I tell them I have a band. When they ask me what it sounds like, I just tell them to check out our mySpace page. So, I don’t know if I am getting lazy or if I just don’t know how to describe us.

Aside from your early cassette releases, Tegan and Sara have released five CDs; the first of which, Under Feet Like Ours, was originally released uunder the name Sara and Tegan. I have heard that the CD has become a hot commodity. How can a fan obtain a copy?

Quin: We negotiated with our record label for us to be able to sell it live. I saw online that our fans were buying it for a couple hundred dollars, and I thought that that was pretty unfair. We started manufacturing it again so now you can buy it straight from us at one of our shows.

Why switch the band name after you had already released an album?

Quin: When you say “Sara and Tegan,” it sort of all blends together. But, when you say “Tegan and Sara,” you have to annunciate everything.

What is your favorite track off of the latest record, The Con?

Quin: To play live, I love “Are You Ten Years Ago” because it’s such a massive beast. It took us a while to figure out how to play it live, but we have managed to make it even bigger than the recording of it.

The Con was produced by Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. How was it working with him?

Quin: Chris was great. He really wanted to “create an arch” and make a record that is worth listening to from start to finish. He loves to sequence records so that everything fits and you know what is coming next. He had this meticulous nature that I easily responded to.

Who are some of your main influences?

Quin: We listen to all sorts of stuff. Growing up, we listened to the 70’s and 80’s classics like Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Police, and the Pretenders. In our teens, we got more into punk and alternative music. Now, however, it’s a combination of all of that stuff. I like a lot of electronic music. I think we infuse a lot of different styles into our music and it comes out as a pop fusion.

How did you end up pairing up with Northern State for the tour?

Quin: I met Northern State a few years ago. I knew a little bit about their music. We met up with them in New York and just thought they were so cool, so hilarious, and talented. Coincidentally, they were working on their latest album while we were in the studio doing The Con. Their record turned out perfect and I thought it was in-line with a lot of the subjects we were talking about. I told them to hurry up and get a record deal so that we could take them out on tour with us. They got the deal and it happened.

I have read that you and Sara live in different cities and that you do not get along all of the time on the road. Is it just sibling rivalry or do you guys really get sick of each other often?

Quin: Sara and I actually get along pretty well. I think people project their own ideas about being on the road with their siblings and they are horrified by it. When you spend as much time as we do together, you will have arguments. But the same goes for anyone in the band, not just Sara.

I heard about a side project with Hunter Burgan of AFI. Can you give us any insight into this?

Quin: We have been writing together for the last year and a half. I don’t know what is ever going to happen with that. He was touring while I was off, and now I am touring while he is off. We are both very creative and into a lot of the same styles of music, so we started writing material and sending everything to each other. I don’t know when if and when it will surface, but I hope it will eventually. It’s good stuff. I wouldn’t want it to disappear completely.

At only 27 years old, you have released a great deal of music. What do you still hope to accomplish, that you may haven’t had a chance to yet, at some point down the road?

Quin: Having a side project was always something I wanted to do, and I am getting to do that right now. I look forward to exploring that further. I think that we are getting to the age where we don’t need to tour all of the time. I don’t want to be a superstar that is selling millions of records. Because of that, I think there will be longer spaces in between our records. I don’t want to just pump out music just to make more money.

What is to come for the future of Tegan and Sara after this tour ends?

Quin: We’re definitely going to tour a lot on this record and then take a break. We’re hitting Australia in December, Europe in February and March, and back to the States in the spring. We also have a

new video coming out for “The Con” in a couple weeks.

Godsmack Interview

(As published in Entertainment World in 2006)

After years of sitting atop the throne of the alternative rock world, Godsmack will return in April with a new album entitled “IV.” The band not only promises one of the best albums they’ve ever made, but they also slate this time around as being “only the beginning” of their already lengthy career. I, fortunately had the chance to speak with Godsmack heavy-hitting drummer, Shannon Larkin, who went on telling me about the art of rock drumming, the band’s upcoming album, future touring plans, and what exactly the name “Godsmack” really means.

Entertainment World Exclusive
Interview with Shannon Larkin of Godsmack

By Logan Lenz

Entertainment World: First of all, I would like to thank you in advance for this interview and pay my respects to you and your career thus far. Being a drummer myself, I can’t begin the interview without stating how much of an influence you are to the drumming world.

Shannon Larkin: Wow! Thank you very much! I just like to hit ‘em!

Entertainment World: Being such a great and well-known drummer in the metal world you have found yourself playing for many accomplishing names in the field before ending up in Godsmack. How has the overall experience been as a member of Godsmack?

Shannon Larkin: Great! It was sort of weird for me at first. Not a lot of people know that Sully was the drummer for Godsmack on the first two records. Sully is Godsmack. He writes every song and every lick. So, I thought I was coming in to a situation where I would have no freedom. But, it’s really been a pleasure. The album “Faceless” had pre-written drum parts that Sully wrote, but the new album “IV” is finally the time where Sully was confident enough to allow me to come up with my own drum parts.

Entertainment World: How sick is Sully’s drumming? Honestly?

Shannon Larkin: Really rad! He actually played for a speed metal band called Meliah Rage prior to Godsmack. I believe they put something out on Epic Records. It’s funny because Sully and I will play to some speed metal tracks and look at each other and just shake our heads. It’s just so crazy! It wasn’t until after that band, when Sully realizes he needed to step out front and be the frontman of his own band. He wanted the control and wanted to be able to write his own songs. That’s why he formed Godsmack.

Entertainment World: So, Godsmack has a new album coming out on April 25th called “IV.” Tell me a little about what the fans can expect from this album and how it compares with your previous releases.

Shannon Larkin: Our fans can expect the same tough Godsmack sound. There are some really heavy songs like what were on the first record. And there’s also an acoustic song called “Hollow” for all of the fans of our acoustic record “The Other Side.” The heavier stuff on this album just sounds more epic. This time around Tony, Robbie, and myself had freedom enough to write complete songs on our own which ultimately makes this album have different sounding songs.

Entertainment World: I can’t help but notice that a new song on the new album is titled “Voodoo Too.” Is this a continuation of the original “Voodoo” song or is it just a clever title to a song with a similar feel to it?

Shannon Larkin: It’s just a similar feel. I wrote the song with a bass guitar and a drum beat. I thought about how the original song “Voodoo” was really cool when I first learned it after joining the band. I tried to repeat somewhat of the same feel to form a newer version of a great song. We actually think it’s just as good, if not better than “Voodoo.”

Entertainment World: The question is often asked, “What do those guys mean by the name ‘Godsmack?’ What exactly does the name mean and how did the founding members come up with it?

Shannon Larkin: It’s the name of an Alice in Chains song. The name eventually took on a meaning of its own, though. One day, the original drummer Joe, showed up to a photo shoot with a cold sore on his lip. Sully and the guys were all making fun of him. Then about a week later, Sully showed up with one on his face. So, it was then that they realized that ‘God’ had ‘smacked’ him in the face for making fun of Joe. It’s sort of like a karma thing.

Entertainment World: Has any religious groups ever protested or expressed any displeasure regarding the band’s name?

Shannon Larkin: No. I haven’t seen anything yet.

Entertainment World: What is your favorite Godsmack song to play live?

Shannon Larkin: “Straight out of Line” is definitely up there on the list. I love the drumbeat and the verses. Off of the new record, I’d have to say “Livin’ in Sin.” “One Rainy Day” is great too. It’s got a bluesy feel to it. I think that’s what I’m going to be doing when I’m sixty years old and retired. I’ll be jamming out and playing the blues.

Entertainment World: What can we expect to see from you guys in the near future other than the release of your new album, IV, on April 25th? I’m expecting a huge arena tour, right? What can we expect from that?

Shannon Larkin: We’re leaving America to tour Canada, Japan, South America, Mexico, and Australia. We won’t be back until late August. Then we’ll hit America hard. We don’t know what type of venue we will be playing yet because of the crash of the music industry. It’s harder to sell records these days. But, wherever we play, we will certainly bring a show. We’ll bring the pyro, extra percussionists, and dancers if we need them. We will bring the shit! But, it all depends on how well the record does.

Hot Seat:

Entertainment World: Favorite movie?
Shannon Larkin: Evil Dead 2

Entertainment World: Favorite actor or actress?
Shannon Larkin: Bruce Campbell

Entertainment World: CD you cant live without?
Shannon Larkin: Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Entertainment World: Best video game platform?
Shannon Larkin: PS2 – Soul Caliber 3

Entertainment World: Ipod or actual CD?
Shannon Larkin: I love both of them too much!

Entertainment World: Favorite type of TV show (sitcom, drama, reality, home make over, etc)?
Shannon Larkin: NFL football

Entertainment World: Celebrity you’d like to be caught in tabloids with?
Shannon Larkin: Angelina Jolie

Entertainment World: Location of biggest portion of your fans?
Shannon Larkin: Boston, MA

Devin Lima Interview

(As published in RAG Magazine)

Devin Lima & the Cadbury Diesel
By Logan Lenz

Before you go and make your assumptions about Devin Lima and his stint with the boy group LFO, perhaps you should take the time to look deeper into the man, while refrain from your judgments of the boy. Since the 2003 break-up, Devin Lima has been slowly transforming his being, in preparation for the creation of his own music project, Devin Lima & the Cadbury Diesel, in which he would combat songwriting for the first time. Almost five years later, his first-born baby Mozart Popart is ready for release, complete with eleven well-crafted songs that lie somewhere between pop and “indie dance rock..” RAG Magazine exclusively spoke with Devin Lima about all of the excitement in his life, while strategically avoiding the dangerous and obvious questions about his former boy-band experience.

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RAG: How did your new project, Devin Lima and the Cadbury Diesel, come to life?
I’ve always known that I wanted to do something like it. I knew that I had to continue doing music. I got too many tattoos and became this creature that could never work behind a desk. The last few years, I met people and wrote songs with what I had. I had rock guitars, but wanted to make a great pop record. The new album is something that I am very happy about.

What is a Cadbury Diesel and why did you choose that as the name for your band?
Because of the whole “pop” thing, I thought about the presentation of everything. So, I thought about what is attractive to me. I ended up taking two things that meant something to me. My girl always loved Cadbury eggs and I went through a phase wear I loved Diesel Jeans.

What have you been doing since 2003? What took so long to get this project going?
After all of my previous work, I decided to analyze everything completely. Why did I have certain tendencies? I pretty much tried to create a new being. I never had “garage years” like most bands do, so I had to go through all of that as well. And it took several years.

What does the album title Mozart Popart mean?
One of my favorite bands is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In a song off of the album By the Way, they use that line. That’s always stuck with me. At that point of my life, I was trying to see what certain signs meant. While we were recording the album, we used a Mozart soundboard and then one day we all ate at a Mozart Café. It was just one of those freak things.

What are you hoping to achieve with this record?
I don’t “hope” anymore. I only think of what I would like to make happen. I don’t like to think negatively anymore. I know that this album is the step that I need to take to make things happen for my music.

What’s your favorite track off of the new album?
That’s a hard one! Let me back away from it for a second and look at it from the outside…. (Pause)…. I really wanted to write a song about ice cream. I didn’t know how it was going to work, but I didn’t care about the whole corny thing. “Rocky Road” was born, and it sounded good. Right now, I would say that is my favorite.

Has it been a drastic change going from the choreographed and aesthetically important world of LFO to a full-out rock band setting?
(Laughs) No, not really. The entire band is rooted in rock. As for me, I still do my dancing on stage, but it’s more of a B-Boy style and spinning. So, it’s not completely out of my comfort zone.

Where do you think this group falls compared to other artists that are out there right now? Do you think you could handle touring with a rock act or are you hoping to pick up the same younger “poppy” boy group demographic?
If you step back and listen to the music with a free mind, there is no doubt that everybody, no matter their background, will find something that they really enjoy. There are so many different types of songs on the album, even though they are rooted to the same idea. In today’s world, I think we are going to have to create our own market somewhere in between pop and rock.

I’m assuming that LFO didn’t write any of their own songs. Has that changed with Cadbury Diesel? Are you penning everything yourself now?
In LFO, all I did was sing. That was always a dream for me, to be a singer. That dream was fulfilled. Then, I asked myself what do I want to do next? I wanted to be a songwriter. With this record, I got to do that myself. It took me almost five years to be comfortable with writing, though.

Briefly take us through the songwriting process.
A lot of it is just speaking to your self. Let’s say I wanted to write a song about this interview. Your name is Logan. Everything that comes to mind when I say that is Logan‘s Run and the future. So, the track would have future sounds. I would take words that stem from the word Logan and run with it.

Who are some of your main influences?
Stevie Wonder, Prince, The Beatles, RHCP, Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, and everyone else that has made any form of music.

How did you land the gig at the Grammy’s with Sly and the Family Stone last year?
(Laughs) My manager is also the manager of Sly. It was just one of those things. I was on a tribute album t

hat was made for them. Then from there, the Grammy’s wanted to do some kind of special performance for Sly. I was just fortunate enough to be there for it.

Would you ever consider a reunion with LFO if given the chance?
Maybe at some point after I am done doing what I am doing now.

What is planned for the future of your new venture? National tour? DVD?
We’re going to get the single out there and see what happens. We’re going to practice our asses off. Next year, hopefully we’ll get on a cool summer tour. Either way, I think we’re going to be in it for the long haul.

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Paramore Interview

(As published in RAG Magazine)

With the release of their sophomore album RIOT!, Paramore has rapidly become one of the most in-demand young rock bands around. Fronted by the vibrant 18-year old female prodigy Hayley Williams, Paramore was destined for stardom since their 2004 conception. The band hope to continue taking the world by storm by handling the headlining duties on this summer’s Warped Tour. RAG had the exclusive privilege to speak with guitarist Josh Farro about what it’s like being young and being loved.

RAG: In your own words, how would you describe Paramore’s music?

Farro: Our music is really energetic and youthful. It’s definitely filled with raw emotion. I wouldn’t classify us as emo, although a lot of people do that. I think we have a new sound. A lot of people make the comparison to Avril Lavigne just because of the female lead, but I beg to differ. We’re a little more aggressive.

What makes the new album RIOT! different for the band this time around?

Farro: First of all, I feel like we were all much more comfortable with our instruments. For the first album, we were all so young when we recorded it. Zac Farro (drummer and brother of Josh) was only 13, I was 16, and Hayley was 15. Everything happened so fast. After two years of touring, we entered the studio to record RIOT! with such a familiarity with ourselves and a better understanding of our capabilities.

What is meant by the title RIOT!?

Farro: We really wanted a one word title for the album. I was looking in the dictionary one day and found the word “riot.” I discovered a meaning for it that stated “an uncontrolled outburst of emotions.” Hayley really liked that because a lot of the lyrics on this album can be considered emotional outbursts. They are all pretty straight to the point and even somewhat vicious at times. The title was a perfect fit.

What’s your favorite track off of the new album?

Farro: I’d probably have to say “Misery Business.” To me, it’s probably the most unique song we have ever written.

Briefly explain how Paramore’s writing process works.

Farro: I usually write the music and record it right away. Then I’ll give it to Hayley so that she can add lyrics and melody to it. From that, it builds into a complete band effort, where we’ll work on dynamics and complete the structure of the song. Sometimes, however, it ends up being the other way around. Hayley may come up with an idea and I will contribute to it shortly after.

Who are some of your main influences as
a band?

Farro: Jimmy Eat World is probably the most influential to us. Death Cab for Cutie has to be listed in there as well.

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a band thus far?

Farro: I think selling 42,000 records of RIOT! in the first week is pretty groundbreaking for us. We are completely surprised and humbled by the album’s success. We really can’t believe it.

How was it growing up with a musical sibling like Zac (drummer)?

Farro: It was really great! We started covering songs for a long time until we finally started writing our own material. It was great to be able to work on songs whenever we got bored.

Paramore’s big break came very uniquely in that you were actually discovered and signed by Atlantic Records. They actually thought it was wise to work out a deal with the indie label Fueled by Ramen to reach the kids in the scene’s “purest” form. How does the relationship between the labels affect the band?

Farro: Well, I would say that we are officially signed to Fueled by Ramen. We work a lot more with them, but both labels are involved somewhat. It has only been recently that we have seen Atlantic Records really getting involved with us. But you definitely have it right. Not a lot of people know that information.

Nobody in Paramore was older than 16 when the band was signed. How do you think your age has affected the band’s success?

Farro: It’s definitely an advantage. Kids can relate to us since we are going through the same things they are. Being young is really great also because if this band doesn’t work out, we have our whole lives ahead of us.

Since the band is so young, do you still have to deal with school on the road?

Farro: Unfortunately, we do. Being the oldest, I graduated high school early on. Hayley just recently finished up with home schooling on the road. Zac, the drummer, however, is struggling right now. It’s very difficult to stay focused when you’re surrounded by music and friends 24 hours a day.

You are co-headlining Warped Tour this summer. What does that responsibility mean for the band?

Farro: We’re just going to try and have fun. We’re going to make sure we go out there and present ourselves better this time around. Our live show is going to be tighter and more energetic. We’ve worked a lot on transitions and making the show very entertaining for everybody.

Aside from the release of RIOT!, what else is to come for the future of Paramore?

Farro: We’ve talked a little about a DVD. We have to get a lot of footage on Warped Tour this summer before we do that. As for the fall, we are going to the UK to do some festivals and probably do a European tour after that. After that, who knows? We have yet to observe all of our options at this point.