Jeff Rosenstock is an American musician and songwriter from Long Island. He was the lead singer of the ska-punk band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, the musical collective Bomb the Music Industry! and the indie rock band Kudrow.
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EDIT: HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII. OKAY THERE ARE A LOT OF QUESTIONS HERE. I'M GONNA ANSWER 'EM FOR A LITTLE WHILE AND THEN I'M GONNA STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER, AND PROBABLY GET BACK TO A LOT OF THIS LATER... THANKS A LOT FOR GIVING A SHIT ABOUT MY MUSIC Y'ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
Hallo. My name is Jeff Rosenstock. I make music with my friends and put out a record in October called WORRY. I play/have played in a bunch of bands (Antarctigo Vespucci, Bomb the Music Industry!, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Kudrow, blah blah blah) and I've produced a bunch of records (The Smith Street Band, Laura Stevenson, Dan Andriano, Mikey Erg, blah blah blah). In 2006, I started Quote Unquote Records, a donation-based digital record label. I'm about to go on tour in the United States with The Menzingers and Rozwell Kid. I also have particularly low-light vision and particularly bad dental hygiene.
Oh and check it out, we're letting you see our new video for "Pash Rash" first RIGHT HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wssFJIxkedw BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.
Okay, okay now ask me questions.
Still loving the new album, and stoked to come out to see you in March in LA.
How have your views on the punk scene changed as you've aged/matured?
What is one trend that you wish you could see scene-wide, among audience members, bands, venues, labels, etc?
How involved were you in the production of Never Get Tired? How'd you feel seeing it once it was done?
What's been your favorite non-musical thing that you've made?
Who's an artist you feel deserves more attention than they get?
Thanks for the music and the candor, my friend.
Alec / A Fistful of Vinyl
edit: Open invitation to come do a session with us. you know that.
Beastie Boys is my gut answer.
My stance on "free/donation" house shows has changed a little bit because I quickly realized people have $5, they'd just rather spend it on beer which in most circumstances supports a big corporate beast instead of a small artist. That said, I'd never be down with turning someone away just 'cause they had no money so maybe WHO KNOWS NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
I think our scene has been doing a great job at being a safe inclusive space over the last few years, but obviously it's hard to ignore that there are people who get groped/harrassed at every show and that fucking stinks. I'd love to see 2017 as the year where it doesn't happen at all, where people going to see punk bands respect each other's bodies. Punk has always been the only place I've really felt comfortable in my skin and it bums me out that at some of those formative shows I went to as a kid, there was likely someone having a way different experience.
I wrote all those graphics out. I tried to stay out of it and just answer questions honestly. It was pretty insane seeing it when it was done, I was mostly very proud of Sara, Amy and Adam who worked their buns off on the movie.
I thought the artwork for Famous Graves by Cheap Girls turned out real good.
what is your hand size?
i can't the nsa is listening
WORRY. got a lot of end-of-year love from unlikely sources. Which praise was most surprising?
When we found out we were going to get a Pitchfork review, I was pretty shocked, especially since Ian seemed to really like it. I've put out and worked on a lot of records at this point and none had ever made it up there.
But, I think obviously, #1 record on USA Today is a pretty fucking insane thing to see happen.
hey Jeff ... is the recording from the final BtMI! show ever going to be released? was such an amazing show, i would love to experience it again!
I think eventually, we had a really hard time mixing it and then it got pushed to the backburner, sorry!!!
I'm the one who's been dropping the ball on this. I am supposed to beat out the whole thing and only have about one third of it done. Combo of being busy and writer's block.
I think we're both dropping the ball, I put out one of the songs on WORRY.! HI CHRRRRIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSS
How did you manage to get Can't Complain in an episode of the Office?
A good buddy of mine, Pete D'Angelo, runs Ernest Jenning Record Co. and split released Vacation with me. He also works at a licensing/publishing place (Bank Robber/Rough Trade), so all of his records get worked by them.
We were lucky that they were looking for "non-descript indie rock with no vocals" (that's not the ACTUAL quote, but it's close!)
When's the buddy cop comedy with you and Chris Farren coming out?
once these hollywood fatcats get us a script.
Are there any B-sides from WORRY?
Nope! Not a single one! Ha!
Hey Jeff. As member of the LGBT + community it is really comforting seeing support from you and your music especially in light of recent events and tho earlier last year. So how did you come up with your spin of the pride flag that you have on your stickers and more recent wall flag you been selling? Also what made you decide to put those out in the first place?
Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it! I came up with that logo at the 11th hour for a vinyl spindle adapter that was supposed to come with a 7" I was putting out. It's hard to say why it happened, but I am glad it represents the things it represents and that people liked it. We made stickers, and people asked for flags so we ended up making flags.
The first batch were a benefit for the PULSE Shooting Victims... I think like a lot of people who were not in Orlando and couldn't donate blood, I was just like "fuck, what can I do to help???" and I thought that would not only raise money (I think it ended up being around $3,000) but also spread a good positive message in a non-self-serious way. I feel like it's a rallying cry, but also it's light-hearted... thirteen pot leaves on a flag is gonna be kinda funny no matter what. Then people kept asking for them, so we kept making them, only this time TAKING THE MONEY FOR OURSELVES BECAUSE WE'RE EVIL!!! WE ARE THE CORPORATION!!!!
What are your thoughts about drinking milk on stage and how do they differ from Chris's?
Also, when you were starting up Bomb, what did you feel was the hardest part about being as close to no-profit as possible? Like, what was the biggest hurdle?
Thanks for 2 decades of solid music.
I think the biggest hurdle for me was trying to record albums that sounded as good as a real studio with like, one microphone and a laptop. I don't think I ever quite got there on my own, but I think constantly facing that challenge taught me a lot more than if I had not done it on my own.
Also, we kinda treated it like vacation when we had started touring... it wasn't meant to be a thing, so we worked day jobs and dipped into our own money to go on short tours. Once touring became regular, and it was harder to hold down jobs, we had to make little concessions like selling shirts and stuff like that... but that was only cause we were starting to look at it a little more full time.
Hey, Jeff! It's that one girl who played "Teenager" with you on stage when you came to the HiHat last May(never got to tell you what I go by, I was too shy and in shock ahaha.), but I'm super stoked that you're doing an AMA again! I wanted ask you these both times when you came, but I was too shy.
Anyways, these are the 7 biggest questions that I've always wanted to ask you.
I've always wondered this ever since I started listening to you, but why do people not consider Summer to be an album? Every time I read an interview about you, they almost exclusively only mention I Look Like Shit, We Cool?, WORRY.M and even some BtMI!/ASOB albums, but never Summer! Why? I love that album!
Why did you stop making song titles long/funny? Like "Pizza Claus Is Coming To Town?" Do you feel like you outgrew that stage of songwriting?
Your DIY ethics have had such a big impact on my music and life, teaching me that I need to be self-sufficient. Do you have any advice to give on doing things yourself? Where to start?
I've described you to my friends who don't really listen to you as "a dude you can just chill with with a 6-pack until 5 in the morning just talking about nothing." Agree/disagree?
Backstory on Blink 182 Reunion? I always found the name funny for some reason, since I was a pretty big Blink 182 fan in my middle/early high school days.
SKA CHORDS! HOW DO YOU PLAY THEM? I CAN'T FIGURE THEM OUT!!!
And finally(WHEW!), that one part in Side Projects Are Never Successful, "They wanna rise when it's done, be a leader with a gun.
Be a leader of what? Like a hundred and one?" Is that a Fallout 3 reference, the 101?
first off - MY BAD! Thanks for understanding!!!
I dunno, I kinda consider Summer and I Look Like Shit more mixtapes than full records. Summer is especially weird, because a lot of those songs are covers, one is a demo and it was released one song every two weeks. I'm glad you like it though, I do too! Maybe the lack of attention will avoid future copyright law suits!
Ummmmm, I think "HELLLLHOOOOLE" is pretty funny and "Staring Out The Window At Your Old Apartment" is pretty long. Maybe I've done a lot of longer song titles and thought it'd be fun to challenge myself into being succinct.
My only advice is to just do it, try to be ok with and learn from your mistakes and don't worry about anyone else telling you that things are impossible.
Maybe not FIVE IN THE MORNING COME ON NOW. Honestly though, my wife and I both have a serious problem with staying up late talking and hanging out. So yeah, sometimes. Or put on a Built To Spill record and a basketball game.
It made sense at the time, but I forget a little bit. That song is about growing up, so I think since they wrote the "I GUESS THIS IS GROWWWWING PUPPPPP' song it's likely a reference to that!
You can do them playing normal bar chords, but the trick is the articulation with your fretting hand. A lot of the time I've done them with just the top three strings to make them real trebly.
No. It's like there's gonna be a very small amount of people on the earth if the sun explodes. FACT.
There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is also something on the side track.
You have two options:
WHAT DO YOU DO, SNOWSENSTOCK?
P.S 905 forever.
NUMBER 1 and I just steal all their ideas and have my own fuckin' cruise, DOYYYY.
SAUGA CITY BABY.
I know a lot of your fans are very enthusiastic, and that you are kind enough to hang around and meet people after most shows. Is it ever too much? I imagine the support must be nice, but do you ever wish people would leave you alone, or people that cross the line?
Thanks for all the music (and for the most ridiculous podcast that I subscribe to)
I answered this somewhere in this AMA... in short, yeah, it can be, but I'm eternally grateful to be able to make music and everyone's pretty nice, so I try to just remember what it's like what I meet someone whose music I like and do my best.
RE-PRESSING OF THREE CHEERS WHEN??
Love the new album, Jeff!
I listen to you to go to sleep at night Jeff, love all your music, huge fan.
In the intro to All Blissed Out, what is the question you're answering? "Always go for it. Always make it happen?"
When is Bomb the Music Industry making another album?
Does Dan P. play at your shows?
We were just talking about stuff. I think I'm saying "that should teach you a lesson..."
There are no plans at all for another Bomb record, but there's like eight old ones!!!
Dan P. plays with us like half the time. He's the best. Occasionally some of the folks in my band have other obligations and can't play shows and stuff, and that's totally cool!
What are your thoughts on the newly released BTMI film?
I think Sara, Amy, Adam and everyone else involved did a great job. It was kinda crazy to watch my life flash by like that. There was a day where I actually had to write out a timeline of everything that happened in my life musically, for fact checking purposes. That was nuts.
Hey Jeff! You’re honestly one of my favorite musicians of all time, your show at villain in Brooklyn was the best show i’ve ever been to in my life and your music has definetly changed my life. I just wanted to know what effect living in New York has had on the way you write music? Thank you!
GREAT QUESTION! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
Hey Jeff! Been a big fan ever since BTMI! split (bad time to become a fan of that stuff huh?) I wanted to ask, how did you meet Sean Bonnette, and how would you rank AJJs records from best to worst?
I met Sean when our bands got "signed" to Asian Man around the same time. I booked them a house show, they were late cause Sean had an allergic reaction to a cat, the show got moved 'cause too many people came, the new location was a punkhouse called "The Cat House" which obviously was full of cats, and Sean couldn't go inside. When I went to meet him I was very drunk on 40's of malt liquor. Someone (possibly Joe from Silent Barn) set them up a last minute show at a bar on Grand Street, that I can't remember the name of but I know lets you drink free on your birthday. I was pretty scared to show my face after kinda screwing up the show by not following the one rule I needed to when I moved it, but I went and met them and we became fast friends and the next show we played. Then we toured together and became besties.
Me and Sean are close, but I love all of the people in that band. They all came to my wedding straight from Europe. They are constantly inspiring to me.
I can't rank AJJ records because from "People..." on I believe they been batting 1,000 but I definitely have the most personal attachments to Can't Maintain and Christmas Island.
I was at your show in Detroit two days after the election. It was one of the most cathartic nights of my whole life. You and Katie Ellen and Hard Girls all spoke really beautifully from the stage, and you all put on incredible shows. Punk shows have been an important community for me the last few months and that night was really important or that. So thanks.
My question is, would you be willing to revive the Cover Yer Ears project on this upcoming tour? Specifically, would you be willing to play The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down at the Detroit show as the culmination of a years long inside joke?
I think our one rule for Cover Yer Ears was no inside jokes for a few people, ha! SO NO!!! WE'RE BAD PEOPLE!!!!!!!
I loved that contest but it definitely got stressful at times. I wonder if we'll do it again this time around. I like to take an easy tour and make it hard.
Hey Jeff, huge fan. Think I first found your stuff after seeing a video of you covering Sabotage with PUP and I have to admit WORRY. was my favourite record of 2016.
In the making of video for WORRY., what was up with the guy at the door bitching about noise? Neighbour, police? The studio or house or whatever looked pretty remote to me.
June 21st was a song that really resonated with me. Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder, but do you have any advice for someone finding this winter particularly tough? (Your record is keeping me going though, even when shit heads south).
Any plans to come to western Canada any time soon?
Thanks a bunch for doing this, cheers! :)
I guess my only advice is try to use that negative energy towards something creative, then at least it's not a waste!
Hopefully we'll get to Western Canada this year, thanks for wanting us there!
You're stuck in a room with John K. Samson for three hours and he'll answer anything, and play one song with you. What questions do you ask and what song do you play with him?
Who's your favorite pup in PUP?
Any plans for the Midnight Special III when you play the Metro in March?
If you could produce a record for someone, who would it be?
Got any good ska band names?
Thanks in advance Jeff, you're the best. Also Jamie Coletta is a sweetheart and deserves a shoutout.
I don't play any song with him, I just let him do his thing. If I get to pick one song, "Utilities"
I don't know what that means, so yes.
I'd love to do more with Laura Stevenson, I really like doing music stuff with her. Pipe dream: Against Me!
Jeff, What is the most punk version of trail mix?
I like the cajun mix SO THAT ONE.
Jeff! At some point on some social media platform you mentioned you wanted to drive around Australia with Wil Wagner and do some shows at some point. Has that ever gone beyond the "yeah man that'd be siiiiiick" stage?
Cheers for occasionally visiting us on the other side of the planet anyway.
Yeah, we played two shows together in Sydney and Melbourne last year!!! It was sick.
Also, I LOVE AUSTRALIA AND MISS IT FUCCCCCKKKKKKKK IT'S COLD HERE
Merrymakers or King James Version?
Merrymakers, but I started with King James and that is a very very very hard call.
Was there any particular moment that made you question your straight edge attitude towards alcohol and stuff that it seems you had when you were young? Do you keep a dream journal? Which Arrested Development episode is your favorite?
I'm sure there was, but I just can't remember it. I definitely started drinking because a handful of very bad things went down, haaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Nope! I should.
Ummmmmmmm... off the top of Motherboy?
Hey Jeff! Big fan.
What have been some of your biggest obstacles/setbacks in your life thus far (musical and/or otherwise) and how did you overcome them?
The drummer from that band you pulled up on stage in Ottawa back in December 2015
Ps you make dreams come true <3
OH ALSO what kind of chords do you use at the end of the intro to The Lows?? I absolutely adore them
Probably the biggest one I've had has been my social anxiety. In ASOB, my dear friend Dave did most of the show booking, talking to the promoters, making friends, that kind of stuff. That gave me ample time to warm up to a situation if I wanted to, or I was allowed to just not talk to anyone that day 'cause I didn't really have to.
When that band broke up, and Bomb started to be an actual thing that meant I would be the one booking the e-mails, I'd be talking to all the promoters, talking about money at the end of the night, all this stuff that I had a really hard time with. I also did a lot of solo tours, some of them in other countries, some of them had me spending weeks with total strangers, just in their vans and cars.
It took a lot the first time to force myself to be in those situations, but the alternative just seemed worse. I started reminding myself that there are things in my life that could turn out amazing if I could make that first step to talk to people. When that concept fails, I try really hard not to let it get to me. This all kinda forced me out of my shell, and I made most of my best friends through tour.
That said, I'm still not great with it. I still get anxious talking to people at shows and not at shows, I still put off replying to e-mails and texts... I wish I didn't but I do. But I try to catch myself if I know that I'm doing it, and push myself to go for it, 'cause I know that good stuff has happened the times that I have.
In "HELLLLHOOOOLE" when you say "She knows we're terrified of change," who's the "she?"
the card dealer in the line before that, the one who is grinnin'
What inspired you to write/what the story behind Darkness Records? I love the explosion of sound and then the wave of calm in it. It's quite possibly my favorite song. Keep on being fucking SIIIIIIIIICK.
Lyrically, it was heavily inspired by the Atmosphere song "Little Man" which is basically him writing a letter to his son, his dad and then himself. For me that song is talking about art, love and the future - and trying to tear it all down to build something better... that's what that sound explosion's all about!
how much time in the van is taken up with john's theories on birds?
I'm not sure if just asking "how many birds do you see?" is a theory.
Is Chris Farren a ghost? It's alright, we wont tell anyone.
GET OVER IT HE'S PROBABLY A LIVING NORMAL PERSON
What is something you wish your fans better understood about you, personally or as a musician? Conversely, what do you wish you better understood about the fans that love your music?
I don't think I could really ask for more supportive fans... for example, I was starting to get really anxious about taking pictures when I'm walking around at shows and stuff, to the point where I wouldn't leave the green room or talk to anyone. So I tried just asking people "hey, is it okay if I say no? It makes me feel weird." And nobody gave me a hard time. Small things like that are very very nice. And I'm starting to get better at being around and talking to folks and stuff because of it. So yeah, nothing. 99% of the people at the shows kick ass.
I wish that I knew at every show what would be the best thing to do to make everyone enjoy the night as much as possible.
Why is there two different versions of Bomb The Music Industry! (and Action Action) (and Refused) (and Born Against) Are Fucking Dead.? One of them starts with a guy in a job interview, the been there, done that, bought the t-shirt stuff and the other one starts off with someone talking about asking to be the godfather of someones child. From which movies are these quotes, and why are there two different ones?
They're both from The UK Office. I think there are different ones because it was put out on vinyl long after it was recorded, I didn't have the original sample and thought it'd be a cool easter egg to have two different things.
Hey, Jeff I was wondering if you'd watch some animation my friend did of one of your songs. He's really talented and loves your work. Thanks for looking if you did.
Will you look?
Yeah but I gotta do an AMA rn!
Hello Jeff! I’m so happy you’re doing this AMA, I missed the last one you did. Let’s get straight to the point:
What is your vocal range? Sometimes I feel disadvantaged since my singing voice is in the lower register, but then I remember I can sing along to most of your / BtMI!’s music with little to no problem, and I don’t feel bad anymore.
Do you remember the first gig you played? Was it with ASOB? How was it?
Do you still maintain the notion you expressed in the Myrtle Beach video that ”all opening bands are terrible…”? If not, what is the best opening act you’ve either seen or has played before you?
(bonus question): Do you still use your firstname.lastname@example.org address? For about 2 years ago, when I just started writing and recording songs myself, I sent you a fan mail to that inbox. I totally understand if you didn’t have the time to answer it, but I just wanted to know if it got delivered and you read it, or if it went to an outdated email address (or, ya know, got caught in the spam filter).
I give a thank you to you for doing this (and answering my questions, hopefully), and I give a finger to the one who invented time zones, because here it’s 1AM and I need sleep. Yes, that was an AJJ reference, and yes, I know it was poorly executed. I look forward to the day you come to Sweden.
I have no idea what my actual vocal range is, I think it's arguable that there's no notes that I sing particularly well, ha. I think it's all about working with what you got... the dudes in MOBO sing low as fuck all the damn time.
It was in my parents backyard with The Poseurs, The Swifties (i think!) and a Nirvana cover band my friends had called Top Sync Bottem Jerrold. I was around fourteen, we were very bad, our drummer quit mid-set, the rest of the show was good.
Hahaha... I think when you're drunk at a ska show for about a dozen people in South Carolina for the first time, yeah, all the opening bands are at least going to seem kinda bad. We're an opening band sometimes, so, ya know, I know we're terrible to some of the people in the crowd.
Our bands selected a bunch of openers on that last tour and off the top of my head my favorites were Shortly, Early Bird, Teenage Bigfoot, Shutup and Canker Blossom.
Thanks, thekatt08, we're gonna try to get over to Sweden this Spring... that area is kinda far from everything huh?
Hi Jeff! Any plans to tour Scandinavia?
We're going to try to this spring, but fuck it's hard to get over there and I don't know anyone who books shows there!
Hey Jeff! Been a huge fan of yours ever since I heard We Cool? and have had the honor of seeing you live multiple times in the past year (and at least two more times in the next few months). Still amazed I got to see you do an acoustic show and get an autograph at Dan's record store in Sayville. You told me that Vacation was going to get re-pressed soon after I told you that I spent an unnecessarily large amount of money on my copy.
Which leads me to my question, is there any time soon we can be looking forward to repressings of your older albums? (i.e. Vacation or Three Cheers for Disappointment)
Yeah, I just need to DO IT... I'll put it on my list for next week promise.
Yo Jeff any advice on recording diy with limited gear and musicians?
Don't give up until you make it sound the way you want. If you have limited gear, a lot of that can be in mixing, can be in mic distance, how you EQ it beforehand. Just don't settle for something if you don't think it sounds rad, 'cause YOU CAN DO IT!
Hi Jeff im from Venezuela and i love your music
What do you thing about Weezer and wich is your favorite song by them?
What you consider is the most remarkable moment of your career?
P.S: come to South America ;)
Oh wow!!! That's wild, thank you!! I hope we get to come to Venezuela some day.
I love everything about early Weezer. My favorite song is probably "Falling For You" off of Pinkerton.
The weekend WORRY. came out was really special, from the release shows to the response it got. Also when I spoke to Mike Park on the phone and he said he'd like to put Get Warmer out on Asian Man Records, my favorite record label as a teen that inspired me to do stuff myself... both of those were moments where I was like "I can't believe what IS HAPPENING! IN! MY! LIFE! RIGHT! NOW!"
Going to Brazil as well, that was just such a lucky amazing thing to be able to do. And Australia. And everywhere else.
Jeff! I have a couple questions
1) Any news on a headlining solo show in Toronto? Went to the acoustic show at D-Beatstro and saw you open for PUP at The Phoenix (both in my top shows of last year) and I am dying for a full band headlining set.
2) Is there any songs you love or hate playing live? Why?
3) Top albums of last year?
1) We will try. We've had a hard time getting into the country recently, but we love Toronto, and we love Canada, so we're gonna make it happen in 2017.
2) I never really liked playing "Stuff That I Like" live... it's easy to sing in the studio when you can punch stuff, but pretty hard to do well live. That song would always end up being a thing where everyone was excited at the beginning and by the end it was like "what song is this?"
3) I posted a bunch of 'em on Instagram!
Hey Jeff! Worry was my favourite album of 2016 and I wanna say thanks for making perfect music and being endlessly inspiring. My question is, which song(s) from Worry do you most enjoy playing live, and why?
And also, do you have any plans to play any shows in the UK this year?
I realllllly like it when we play the last half of the album into each other because it is SO INTENSE. Maybe "Bang On The Door" or "Pash Rash" are my favorite to play live.
AND YEAH WE'RE GONNA BE IN THE UK IN SPRING!!!
How much has your life changed since A.S.O.B. to currently?
What are you're 3 most influential artists?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My life has almost changed entirely except that I still make music.
Beach Boys, Green Day, Elvis Costello
Right now probably Melbourne Australia because it's cold here, it's a great city and I miss my buds on the other side of the world!
How do you think the concerts with The Menzingers are going to be compared to a concert that you headline? OHHH, and what kind of microphone did you use to record Bomb records? I'd like to know more about low budget recording.
I just bought tickets and I'll be seeing you in Chicago :)
We were playing like, over an hour on our last tour. Our sets on The Menzingers tour are around 45 minutes I think? So hopefully you'll see less talking, but probably not ha. I don't ever know how the tour is gonna be different until we're on tour and find out how we play together in that situation. I'm stoked to tour with them though, they are rad guys.
I used an Oktava MK-319 to record the first three Bomb records, all the rest have a handful of mic's on them but my main go to has been a Rode NT-1A
hey jeff, i'm a big fan of your music. i love your solo albums and "im serious im sorry" is one of my favorite songs of all time. i have an unrelated but very important question though, which one of these girls do you like best? thanks.
the two with the sick hoodies
Hey Jeff, this recent album WORRY has had a lot more mainstream success than anything else you've done. How does that make you feel? Would you be happy to become mainstream?
I don't know if there is mainstream rock anymore, and if there is I'm sure it's not a place where I would fit in. But I'm obviously pretty happy about the response to the record, especially how much it meant to people last year. Music gets me through so many dark times, and all I've ever really wanted was to make something that could do that for someone else.
And obviously, touring is a lot easier when more people like your band, because then you're not playing for three people in the middle of nowhere who all seem really irritated and just can't figure out why you're playing so loud and sweating so much.
Hey Jeff, I've been a huge fan ever since I stumbled across the Everybody That You Love music video on YouTube a few years ago. ASOB! Bomb, your solo stuff. It's all been the soundtrack to my college years and I can't thank you enough for all the fantastic music you've brought into my life. WORRY was by far my favorite album of 2016.
Having seen that short paragraph you wrote about A Tribe Called Quest's latest album on all your social media, my question is who are some of your other favorite rap/hip-hop artists?
P.S. How exactly do you rock those jorts so well?
Ummm there's lots and Tribe might be my fave but let's say Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, KRS-One, Nas, Dre, Del, Outkast, T.I., Das Racist, P.O.S., Kendrick, Lizzo, Killer Mike, Run The Jewels.
Also, jean shorts are very practical when you sweat a lot, that was you don't collect sweat in the bottom of your pant legs, it's disgusting.
First off, huge fan.
Is there any reason you don't frequently play covers at shows? Your set of covers with AJJ for the AV club is probably my favorite cover(s) and I think you have an amazing approach to music. Thanks!
Thanks!!! I don't think that's true! We played "Police on my Back" a lot on this last tour, we played "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star on a tour with Dan Andriano and on a tour with MOBO, PUP and Tiny Moving Parts in 2015 we played a different cover every night that we learned that day! Look at this list! That's a lot! They were sometimes not good!!!
Yo Jeff! WORRY is easily one of my favs of last year, and i've had We Cool? in heavy rotation the past week.
2 Questions!: What was your favorite album of last year?
And if I come to your show in DC thursday night can we hang out?
My favorite is probably Chris Farren's record and I'm not just saying that. Or Big Thief as far as non-Chris Farren records go.
I bet I will be running around like a crazy person.
What do you think about PUP and what are your favorite things about each of the band members in PUP?
P.S. I'm obsessed with WORRY and you are an incredible artist, especially live.
I love PUP. Everyone in that band is so incredibly kind and generous, I can't even take it.
Stefan really likes gross stuff and was enjoying watching me tug a fucked toenail I had that was hanging on by a string.
Zach is so so so funny and is a really good person to talk to about dark shit.
Steve is a good person to get stoned with and talk about weirdo music in a non-pretentious way.
I love watching Nestor play bass 'cause he's such a rock and roll monster, but he's also the dude who took me to a drug store to buy Canadian flu medicine when I was sick on tour. What a sweetie.
Well the second run is when I got my flag so don't feel to bad. I really appreciate the addition of the pink stripe that I don't remember being on the sticker.
Thank you!! Glad you like it!! Yeah the first sticker just has an extra color for layout purposes... I didn't know there were other pride flags other than the rainbow one. When I was putting the PULSE ones together, my buddy Alex from Hiccup/TCSG/Mikey Erg recommended adding the trans colors I was stoked that they fit in perfectly!
Hey Jeff, I know you’ve sampled, “Magnolia,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” and “Milk” in your music. Are those some of your favorite movies? If not, what are your favorites?
Those are either movies I was watching at the time of making those records and something jumped out at me, or just quotes that I remembered like the Can't Hardly Wait one.
TOP 5 MOVIES ARE???
BACK TO THE FUTURE SOMEWHERE IN HERE?
I KINDA STILL THINK ETERNAL SUNSHINE?????
Hey Jeff! Thanks for doing this AMA, you’re probably my favorite artist ever so it’s really cool to get this opportunity to talk to you. I’ll be seeing you in a couple days in DC and I can’t wait. Here are my questions:
Are you planning on participating in any of the marches or protests in DC on the days surrounding the inauguration?
Where do you get most of the inspiration to write your music, or do most songs just spring from random ideas?
How do you think we'll see the music landscape, and particularly the punk landscape, change over the next four years? Has the angst of the new administration given you any inspiration to write new music yet?
I'll be at the inauguration protesting (http://www.disruptj20.org/) and I'll either be at the DC women's march or the NYC one, haven't decided just yet... I know the NYC one is smaller but I would love to stand alongside my city.
It's hard to say, but I rarely ever sit down and just try to write a song from scratch. Sometimes I'll be sitting around noodling and something good will come out and I'll go from there. I read an interview with Neil Young where he said he has only one songwriting rule: if you come up with an idea, follow that idea until the song is done. I try to do that but also I'm lazy.
I have no idea where the landscape of music is going but I'm holding my breath for a mega political 311 record plz.
hey jeff!! a couple questions if you want to answer any of them:
1) what's your favorite track off of worry?
2) what would your dream tour lineup be?
3) any advice for music business in nyc?
I have no idea. While You're Alive maybe?
Hey Jeff! Thanks for doing this, and also double thanks for swinging by Toronto and doing that PWYC acoustic set. That was so fucking rad and saved my holiday season.
Two questions! At least one of em quick!
1. What's yer favorite Cribs album?
2. I really want to get into home recording. If you were just starting out again with solo recording, but armed with yr current knowledge, what would you want to nab / set up / prioritize first?
Hey Jeff! Absolutely love WORRY. Thank you so much for making it. I have a few questions! The first one is was there a major event (or events) that inspired WORRY. or any of the songs on it? What bands or albums that inspired it or your sound? What are you currently listening to?
(Also, please come to Atlanta. I'm begging you.)
I had a pretty great year after We Cool?, I got married, things were looking real good. But it was hard to stay in a positive mindset with a lot of bad things that were happening in the country. Also with Brooklyn getting more and more expensive, it seemed likely that I was going to get priced out of my apartment at the time and have nowhere to go... like a month or two after I got married. That didn't end up happening this time, so I was lucky, but it's happened before.
The whole thing of WORRY. was trying to nurture love and human relationships at a time when so many people and things are trying to control us and drive people to hate each other without ever meeting each other.
I'd say 90's pop-punk, Elvis Costello, ELO, The Jam, Patsy Cline, Beastie Boys, Otis Redding and Beach Boys have all been pretty big ones for a while now.
And I was listening to "Armed Forces" by Elvis Costello but the record ended.
Hey Jeff! Long time fan of ASOB and BTMI. Last time I saw you was at a Bomb show in a church in Eagle Rock, CA and it was a great show. Couple questions:
Thanks again for doing the AMA!
I retired the iPod shows after Bomb played our last shows, I felt like I needed to force myself to try something else. Glad you liked 'em! I'd never say never, iPod shows are pretty easy to do!
Oh man, I'd LOVE to do another Kudrow record. We're all real busy these days, but I bet it'll happen.
I think it's great, it's crazy to think that for a few years there the main goal in the biz seemed to be to keep music away from the people, either through high prices for bad products, or LAWSUITS. It seems a lot more evened out now, and when Chance The Rapper can get nominated for Grammy's for putting out a free record, I am STOKED.
Hey Jeff! What would you say is the most underrated punk album of all time? Thanks!
no-thought answer: Scared of Chaka Crossing With Switchblades
Hey, your friend and former-ish bandmate Chris Farren said that the vinyl I bought from him would have tips on his haircare regimen, but there were none in it. Can you tell me some of his deepest fears so I can use them to psychologically torture him in revenge?
/u/chrisfarren does that do anything?
I seem to remember that before Bomb the Music Industry broke up, the band put out a call for dog pictures. I had heard at the time that this was for a hardcore album you guys were recording. Did this actually happen or am I crazy? And if it was a thing, did any of those songs end up coming out?
Love everything you do, Jeff. Also, give Ian Graham a big hug from St. Louis next time you see him.
We made a shirt that had everyone's puppies on it, but made it look like a hardcore shirt. BUT MAYBE YOU ARE CRAZY?????ALSO the hardcore record didn't happen.
I'll be at the House of Blues show on March 1st, and they charge $11 for Miller Lites. If there are any spare beers backstage, could you toss me one? I'll be wearing a Cavs t-shirt.
ok i'll look for the guy in a cavs t-shirt.
Jeff! Stoked to see Antarctigo Vespucci next month. You've been one of my favorite musicians for the last few years. I have a couple of questions:
EDIT: I gotta also mention I'm In A Hurry Pizza which was the pizza place around the block when I was a kid that place was the SHIT!
We played a show on national television where we were dressed as dogs and the audience was mostly free-roaming dogs so we had to turn our amps down a lot. https://youtu.be/h9jJHLYMWaQ
Ummmm I think I just start hearing the full arrangement right off the bat and then I demo it with drums, bass, guitar, all the stuff. I'm definitely more of a songwriter/arranger than guitar player. It has certainly gotten in the way of more collaborative songwriting, but I've joined and started a handful of bands over the years where I can give my input and everyone else gives just as much if not more input and I really like it. But I'm a total weirdo about my songs ha.
Hey Jeff, huge fan of your stuff here! WORRY. was my favorite album of 2016, which is really something considering the quality of releases last year.
Question: If you had the ability to make a collab album with any other artist/band, living or dead, who would you make it with?
Me and P.O.S. have been talking about making a record together forever, so I guess him. I also think it'd be a dream to make a record with Jeff Lynne to see how he gets all those instruments to sit so well with each other.
Hello Jeff! It's probably safe to say you're a hero to us all. Anyways, questions...
Are you coming to Virginia Beach any time soon?
Never Get Tired begins with a seriously amazing solo acoustic version of Snow Charges that cuts into Cold Chillin' Cold Chillin' very nicely. Have you ever played these songs together like this?
You said that Beers Again Alone was written as a demo for Goodbye Cool World, but it didn't end up on an album until We Cool?. Did this same thing happen with any of the songs that ended up on WORRY.?
Thanks for doing this AMA!
We were there in 2015 with Modern Baseball, PUP and Tiny Moving Parts. We'd love to come back, e-mail our booking guy and book us a show I DARE YA. I love Virginia Beach, it's cheap and it's a beach. DUH!!!
Yeah, I play songs in the same key back to back all the time to give the illusion of a coherent set.
The song "June 21st" was originally for the ice cream musical I hope to write with Chris Gethard one day. Other than that, no, WORRY. was a complete fresh start.
Hey Jeff! You've written a lot of songs throughout your career about drinking too much. Is that something you still struggle with? Or has growing older evened your keel regarding that kind of thing?
I've definitely evened out with drinking, but I think when you're a touring musician you still drink more than most other people. I think I always wonder what it would be like to be a person who exists without any sort of chemical boost, but whenever I dry out it's not very fun haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Hey Jeff, I'm a huge fan of yours and of past projects you've been apart of. Vacation is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, albums of all time. There's so much nostalgia and so many memories associated with that album for me that I'm not sure many albums can surpass it. We Cool? and WORRY. have also provided the soundtrack for these past few months and gotten me through some stressful times. So thanks for consistently making great music!
My unrelated questions to you are: I've always been curious as to what's being said, so what are the recordings that play in the background of All Blissed Out? Also, do you plan on stopping by Indiana any time soon?
Thanks for answering all these questions!
Thank you very very very very much!!!!
All Blissed Out features a bunch of field recordings my friend Nick Carbonaro took while we were on tour together in Australia. The first one is drunk and running around at the beach at like 3 AM. The two that play at the same time are a bunch of us at the "tour wrap" party at the Smithies' Queensbury house eating pot brownies and then one where we're in a parking lot trying to see how late we could possibly show up at the airport and still make our flights.
Hi Jeff! So I'm a college student with very little time but a lot of songs I have written. I don't have enough time to start a band and keep up with that at the moment, so I'm thinking about just producing my own records. That begs my question - how did you create Album Minus Band, all the chiptune stuff on Vacation, etc? What software did you use, and what might be a good place to start?
Thanks so much, love ya dude!
I use ProTools and Reason, but there is a great open source program called Reaper which is free to use for 30 24-hour days, which is a ton of time. I did all the chiptune stuff in Reason using their "raw synth" sounds but honestly, if you look up chiptune tutorials you'll probably find way better answers! I am constantly looking up YouTube tutorials to learn how to mix and mic stuff better. Also, Tape-Op is a great magazine about recording that is completely free to subscribe to and also very inspiring!
wagwarn Jeff, my band are looking to take a BTMI-esque approach to releasing our music and handling business(??) and all that sort of stuff. Can you give any advice on doing this and still being able to live comfortably and put food on the table? Thanks
PS, are you ever coming to England?
We all managed to find jobs that were pretty lenient with letting us leave to go on tour. I mostly did temp graphic design stuff, John does event production, Mike worked at a deli, Tom recorded bands and Matt gave private lessons. The less financial stress you give the band, the better... that way you can just enjoy being in a band! When we eventually got to the point that we could tour and come home with rent money, that was a surprise and a mega bonus.
What was the recording/writing process like for the last half of Worry, where the album basically turns into one huge melody?
How do you think you've grown as a musician?
What was the reason for making This is What You Get, the Radiohead cover album you did with TASOB?
A lot of those songs started to feel too long, so I was kind of lost for a while with them. I basically had like fourteen songs that didn't sound better when they were longer. My buddy, and occasional Death Rosenstock drummer, Tim Ruggeri suggested smashing them all together at a New Years Party and immediately it all kinda clicked in my head. Oddly enough, I found a note in my wallet from my honeymoon where I mapped a lot of it out as a potential concept record. So I kinda followed that when I got stuck. But yeah, I demoed the whole thing and tried to make it flow real good, and then laid face down on my bed for a few hours one day and rounded out the rest of the lyrics... I had parts and concepts, but hadn't written them all out.
It feels more like evolving. I'm listening to more kinds of music and trying to interpret those influences in my own way. I also know that I've drifted away from a lot of the really chaotic stuff that was on early Bomb records, so I try to find clever ways to sneak that shit in.
We were playing a Halloween show and we wanted to cover a band that cool indie rock kids would think were untouchable. Man, that was fun. I was wish did it more than one time.
Hi Jeff. My favorite BTMI song is Felt Just Like Vacation so I gotta ask, what's your favorite Nintendo game?
Mario 3 probably right IT'S SO GOOD
Holy shit, "Get Warmer" is a decade old this year!
As for a question:
What's your favorite thing about the wonderful city of Minneapolis, Minnesota? (and what compelled you to write multiple songs on the topic)
Do you have any particular favorite story behind a song you've written?
The best thing about Minneapolis has gotta be the hip-hop scene, there's a lot of good independent rap coming from there. I just like the vibe of Minneapolis... there's a lot of good record stores and venues, a lot of good food and coffee shops, and people are generally nice. I wrote that song because I had built Minneapolis up in my head, as I was a super big fan of Dillinger Four, The Hold Steady and The Replacements, and the first time Bomb played there (the first time I had been there) I got like crazy drunk and ruined everything. And what are Bomb the Music Industry! songs about if not getting drunk and ruining everything.
i've been a fan of yours since i was 12 & you put out album minus band. you & your music has shaped me & my attitude towards art and everything creative & i'm infinitely grateful for that.
my best friend is starting to teach herself guitar & keyboard (she's 23) but she's easily embarrassed & discouraged. what was your experience like when you were learning different aspects of music (learning to play, write, etc etc...) & are there any tips i can pass along to her?? what motivates you & encourages you when you're self-conscious or something like that???
thank you!!! i love you!!!!!!!
I learned a lot of that stuff when I was young, but I think the trick is just NOT TO GIVE UP! Have a little bit of discipline... if you're having a hard time doing something, play it a bunch of times slowly, then faster, until you kinda figure it out.
Also, you don't need to play the same way everyone else plays. Experiment with open tunings, weird noises and fucked up stuff!!
xoxo we love ya deathenstock!
Christine was a friend of my friend John, who played bass in Bomb and plays in the new band. I met her at Warped Tour when ASOB was sneaking on every day in order to make our way back home from the west coast. We didn't talk much, but we got along and liked each other. Then I played a show at John's school, got really sick, ended up at a party feeling weird and sick and she came over and talked to me and we are still having that same conversation today THIS ISN'T A WARM SENTIMENT OR A JOKE WE ARE HAVING A VERY LONG CONVERSATION THAT JUST WON'T END.
Probably flying. Classic.
Hey Jeff! What investment(equipment or other) has helped your music career the most?
Getting an MBox changed my life... up until then I didn't know that I could make recordings with lots of tracks that sounded decent on my own. I always thought you had to save and save and save to go to a studio and then rush rush rush to get it perfect. Having a way to record and experiment infinitely on my own was clutch.
I said it before and I'll say it again: your music saved my life back in college and it really changed my outlook for the better. This said, I've got two q's:
See ya again in Houston!
Thanks!!! But hey...
WHAT DO YA MEAN? THE WOOOO OOOOOHS ARE TIGHT! THAT'S WHAT'S UP. Ok, it's kinda pretty clearly Beach Boys rips, but when I was making Vacation I wanted to start to let out all the other music influences I was feeling, not just the punk-ish ones. So I decided to write some WOOOOOOO harmonies, and I always liked them as a texture. I think the ones in HELLLLHOOOOLE and June 21st are my fave.
My favorite designs are either that Bomb the Music Industry! Enough Already t-shirt and the WEED PRIDE 666 flag. And also all the stencils that we spraypainted with, those always looked cool.
Worry. rocks and is awesome.
1) I'm always amazed by how much (great) material you put out with each of your projects. How do stay so prolific? Could you tell us more about your songwriting process--how does it happen that you walk into a room with nothing but walk out with a song?
2ish) I know musicians love music recommendations so, were/are you familiar with the Memphis band Lost Sounds? Their self-titled is perfect synthpunk. I picture you a fan.
Thanks for the AMA and thanks for the music.
1) Thanks! I don't know, I always like to be creating stuff, so I think when I get bored a lot of the time I'll just fuck around on the guitar, or work on an idea I hummed into my phone and try to make it good. I don't really have a process, I try to just go with the flow, I wouldn't ever really want to go into a studio having nothing and I've had bands where we've started and decided let's all write together, and I kinda freeze up on the spot. I just try not to think about it, write at my own pace, and when songs start fitting together with other songs, I start thinking of everything in terms of "what kind of album would that fit on, what would that album need to be good."
2) I'm not I'll turn it on now!
Hey Jeff, early last year you played in Lanceston Tasmania. I had just started up my own donation based label inspired by Quote Unquote then, and had a pretty quick chat to you about it. Just wanna say that meant a lot when it was just getting started!
What are your thoughts these days on running a donation based label?
I sometimes think momentarily that perhaps donation isn't the way to go, when I see people who totally can pay for music but don't. But ultimately I want to build a culture here where people choose to support an artist in whatever way they are able, and so people having that choice and understanding it is necessary.
If you do plan to come back to Tasmania at some point, would you be interested in playing as part of a little Productive Pursuit Records weekender thing? It'd be really amazing to have the guy who inspired this whole label joining us for something like that, if that ever works out!
Also, just wanna say it was super inspiring to see your band and Antaricgo Vespicci put on a hell of a show that night, even if the turnout wasn't massive. My mate Joel had the biggest grin on his face when you handed him your guitar to play at the end of your set!
At the end of the day, it's not about money for me, it's about people being able to hear the music. I think if people hear the records and like them, they'll go to the show and support the band, and then maybe support the bands they're on tour with and it will snowball into a bigger thing. Or you can force people to pay $5 for a band they might not have ever heard of, thus making them go "nah, nevermind." I'd rather have a few thousand people hear a record than only seventy people, but seventy people who paid.
Ummmmm maybe! You know it costs like thousands of dollars to fly there though, right? I hope we're back soon though, I love Australia and in PARTICULAR LAUNNY IS BEAUTIFUL.