Give Up The Ghost
A little over a year ago, the band now known as Give Up The Ghost was sued by a band which shared their name and the Nightmare truly began. The record sold out of the pressing and Equal Vision was unable to make more due to the pending litigation; the band toured the U.S. several times without so much as a 7" to sell. After an attempt to change the name to American Nothing was also blocked, the band couldn't even make merch until they settled on a new name. Now it's 2003. The new album is recorded, mixed and mastered. And the band that redefined hardcore with "Background Music" is ready to reinvent music as we know it with a genre-bending album which is simply one of the most outstanding artistic achievements of the year. From "Background Music" to now, this is Give Up The Ghost's story. This is the first part of the interview and contains only Tim's responses.
It's been a rough year and a half for you guys. How much can you say about the lawsuit now that it's settled?
Tim: Under our settlement with the other band, it's pretty cut and dried that we have a "prepared statement" for us - literally - that is basically words put in our mouths and we aren't allowed to use any other derogatory terms and that's pretty much it.
So is it safe to assume by now that people know you were sued because another band was using your name and kept you from putting out merch or doing anything with the record? Basically, you were put in a situation for that year and a half that pretty much all you could do to keep the band alive was tour, right?
Tim: Yeah, pretty much exactly, and keep our fingers crossed and hope things ended well. It was the worst situation possible.
For a while, you were touring as American Nothing. You had the domain name, you had a Web site set up, you had pretty much everything done. When we talked a while back, you told me that was a placeholder. I'm wondering what happened with that because it sounded like something happened with that name and then that's when you finally settled on Give Up The Ghost.
Tim: Well, we got the cease and desist order in August or September of last year. We had gotten back from England and found that they had actually taken it to the next step and put it into the courts so they were very, very serious about it. We had to come up with a new name. We were already billed on the Glassjaw tour as main support for them and we were wondering what the hell we were going to do. We decided that we were either going to use a band lyric for our name because that would be suitable, but we knew everyone knew us as the initials AN so we were just like, "Fuck it, let's just try to keep that and go with that." We came up with American Nothing and we weren't 100% psyched on it, but we could still be known as AN. It will work. It won't be the best but it will remedy the problem and we'll go with it. We went on that tour, got the domain, went ahead and made merchandise and about a month later, while we were on that tour, our lawyer contacted us and said "They told us that's not going to fly and that if you don't change it to something else which doesn't use the initials AN, they're going to go ahead with a lawsuit." They were basically going to try to claim confusion in the marketplace. In that AP article when something was said about it, they claimed they never did that and they 100% did, otherwise we would still be American Nothing. It turned out that it was a blessing in disguise. We were not 100% psyched on that name.
Given that information, it sounds like choosing the name Give Up The Ghost is as much a middle finger as anything else, like you were saying, "Okay, you win, we're throwing in the towel, but in the meantime, here's a giant 'Fuck you' from the bottom of our hearts."
Tim: I would nod yes to that.
Okay. So officially, how did you come up with Give Up The Ghost?
Tim: When we got off the Glassjaw tour, we went straight into the studio and recorded our record. At the time, we did not have a band name or album title. The one name that we came up with for the album title that we liked was Give Up The Ghost because we thought it fit perfectly. Over the next two months, we had a million different ideas and finally, Wes and I were like, "Listen, we really like Give Up The Ghost. It's the one name that everyone can agree on, at least for an album title, we think it makes a great band name, let's go with it." We talked the other guys into it and we went from there. It was a painstaking process. How do you reshape your whole image with a name change after being a band for three years and have five very opinionated dudes agree on one thing? It was so hard. That's pretty much how we came up with that.
So it sounds like the path of least resistance. You all liked it or could live with it.
Tim: Yeah. Wes and I were the ones who loved it and the rest of the guys were like, "We can live with it if you guys really like it." I'm going to head out on the back porch for a cigarette.
Well, that takes us conveniently into the next part. You and I had been chatting recently about straight-edge and the ideas behind it. You know that I'm not straight-edge and never have been, but there are probably some kids who want to know what's going on with the band in terms of the edge because you have been associated, sometimes as individual band members, with being straight-edge.
Tim: Yes. Where to begin? Well, I used to be straight-edge. Alex, our drummer, used to be straight-edge. Wes used to be straight-edge. Josh, our bass player, used to be straight-edge and Brian, our guitar player, is the only one who still is. We've all been into hardcore for many, many years and straight-edge has played a very important role in all of our lives. I was pretty much the last one out of those four people. I broke edge about a month ago. Shit, I don't even know. It means a lot to all of us. It means a lot to me. I was in a straight-edge band, Josh was in a straight-edge band ...
You're talking about Ten Yard Fight with yourself, right?
So was it just not who you were anymore, was it something that didn't quite fit?
Tim: Well, the typical answer is that I grew out of it, but for the last couple of years, I've felt less and less like I fit in with that. I never, ever was the type of person that claimed things and put it in people's faces, even though I was in a straight-edge band, but anyone who knows me knows that wasn't really how I was. I was straight-edge for myself. That was the reason and before I claimed edge, I was drinking and smoking in high school and I came to a point where it just wasn't me anymore, I couldn't deal with it, and I became edge. After the past couple of years, it just hasn't really fit me as well and so here I am. I love it, but it's not me anymore. I'll never be a person who would talk shit on the edge and say it was a stupid part of my life, it was awesome. I got a lot of shit done and I think that straight-edge is not only being drug-free but, more so, having a clear mind and being able to make decisions for oneself and I still think I'm that person. That's pretty much what it is.
My issue with straight-edge was always the extremes that some people could take it to, that all-or-nothing attitude of abstaining from everything intoxicating or addictive or which harms the body. I support the ideals of keeping my mind and head clear so that I can create and produce, but at the same, doing anything to any extreme is bad.
Tim: Right. You know, whether a lot of kids will admit it or not, and I was talking about this with Wes, a lot of straight-edge kids that I know all have portions of their lives that are very extreme. Not all kids, but a lot of kids I know, whether it be that they're sex addicts or gambling addicts, there's something that they do that is quite the extreme and they'll seem to latch onto that. Everyone has a different thing and a lot of straight-edge kids still abstain from sex, are vegan, don't do any of that shit that I just mentioned. I was never like that, but it just isn't me anymore.
You mentioned that you chatted with Wes about this. I was wondering if you had any heart-to-hearts with any of the other guys in the band before you broke edge.
Tim: Not really. It really came to a point where I had been thinking about it on my own, hadn't mentioned a word about it to really anybody because I'm a firm believer that once you've said you're going to break your edge, you might as well just do it. A lot of kids I know will talk about breaking edge on this day and such and such, and I think that's bullshit. If you've finally made the decision that it's not you anymore, then fucking shit or get off the pot. I'm never about to say, "This is what I'm going to do." Out of the blue, I sat down with the band and we had a talk and I ended up sitting right there and breaking my edge in front of them.
Okay. So what I was planning on asking you about before you said you were going to go have a smoke is your comment that you went into the studio without a band name, an album name and with all these unanswered questions. You said that you went back to the same studio that you recorded "Background Music" at but used the head engineer at the studio. How did that change the process?
Tim: We did the first two seven inches with Kurt Ballou from Converge and it was awesome. We've recorded some other stuff with him. Dean Baltulonis, one of our good friends from Boston who lives in New York now, did "Background Music." We just basically knew that Jim Siegel, the guy who owns The Outpost in Boston, it's his studio and he knows it so well. That's his studio. That's his shit. He's recorded Blood For Blood, Dropkicks, a lot of really good sounding stuff. He's recorded a ton of bands and it basically came down to really wanting to be at home while we recorded the record and just commute to Boston. Going to other people's studios, it was just going to be a really far hike, going to New York or something, and it just made sense so we went with that and couldn't be happier with the outcome. We are really proud of the last record we did and we think this record blows our previous LP out of the water. Everything from recording, music, lyrics - everything about the record. We've finally, and I think the rest of the band would agree, come into our own now and done the record we've wanted to do for the last two years.
You said you spent about a month in the studio this time. How does that compare to "Background Music"? I thought "Background Music" took a little less time.
Tim: Yeah. "Background Music" was about 20 days. This one was about 25. It was mixed up here and there. We got interrupted for a week but all in all, it was about a month, over the whole month of December. I think we went in on the 2nd or 3rd and mixed the last song on New Year's Eve. We went home for Christmas. I literally came home Christmas Eve to my parents' house, I was at home for about 12 hours, got on a bus on Christmas Day and went right back to the studio. It was tight. A little bit longer, but it came out amazing.
So where did the extra time go? Overdubs, re-recording, extra things and more layers?
Tim: Wes blew through his vocal tracks a lot faster. A lot of people have said that his voice changes so much from record to record and his voice sounds a little bit different but I think it sounds much, much better. I mean, you heard it.
And you know what I think of the record. Top 10, easy.
Tim: I think it was a combo of everything. We had Alex, our new drummer, and that was the first time we actually had a drummer on board and we knew he was going to be with us for the long haul and he wrote his own parts along with the music I wrote. Everyone put in their two cents. We really sat and thought about things a little bit more. It wasn't just like, "The record's in my head, let's go record it." You know Jarrod recorded on our last record and I knew how I wanted everything and this time it was much more of a band interaction. We all practiced. We were all there at the studio making decisions about what exactly we wanted to do. We took our time with it and I think that was really the deciding factor on what made it what it is.
You brought up another interesting point - lineup changes. Was Alex the only new addition?
Tim: No. We are five people as Give Up The Ghost and I honestly hope to God that we don't ever have another lineup change because it's the right five dudes now. We've gone through so much. Up until "Background Music," we had so many different drummers and bass players. Brian has been with Wes and I pretty much from the get-go. He joined the band about six months after we started. Josh came in right after "Background Music." My best friend played bass and after the summer tour, he just couldn't hang. He just couldn't deal with traveling and he was passing up a really opportunity with college and I just said, "Dude, you have a full ride. Don't throw that away if you aren't 100% heart into this band." Since then, he went back to school and Josh came on and he adds so much to the band. Everything fit perfectly. The only other lineup change we've really had in the past few years was drummers. After our drummer quit that summer on the "Background Music" tour, we had another kid from Providence join the band and he didn't really work out. Then we had a really good friend, Wes and I have known him forever, Colin Kimball from Virginia - he was in Count Me Out and Time Flies - and he was in the band for about a year and it was a very similar situation. His girlfriend of a very long time lives in Virginia and he was in the band while we were going through a lot of the legal issues and at a great many points, it looked like there wasn't a light at the end of the tunnel and it was very discouraging for all of us. He finally just said, "I can't do this anymore, I have to go home." When you aren't on tour, you're up in Boston and away from home and that was really hard for him. We don't make a lot of money and every penny he was saving was going towards his apartment or his girlfriend and his bills at home in Virginia and God knows we were all broke. He and I talked about that a lot so I knew that was coming, but it ended good with everyone and everything was cool. Alex just happened to be back in Boston. I've known Alex for about five years. I think I've said in the past that the stars aligned and I think that's the best way to describe it. I had been calling him for two years off and on, whenever we needed somebody, and he was finally back in Boston. He lived out in San Francisco and he's been in so many bands. Finally he was not in any full-time band but he came back to Boston because that's what he knew he wanted to do and the first practice, it was just like, "Yeah. This is so right, let's go with this." So we did.
You mentioned that one of the drummers left after the "Background Music" tour. Given your touring schedule, I have to ask which tour you're talking about. How many of them have there been now?
Tim: I don't even know. At least 10 U.S. tours. I don't even remember. I've lost track. When the record came out, we did two U.S. tours, one with Kill Your Idols. Actually, there were three tours, two by ourselves. Then we had August of that year off. I remember because we had the full Fall booked through doing a week with A.F.I. or doing a U.S. tour by ourselves and then over to Europe and then another U.S. tour with Converge and The Hope Conspiracy starting on the day we got back from Europe. We had from September until December 24th booked straight and we basically got put in a really bad position with him. He notified us that he was leaving the band via email so that was pretty harsh. Everything's cool, water under the bridge now, but it threw a serious monkey wrench into the situation so we had about three weeks to come up with somebody and get back in the swing of things.
I've been in Illinois about eight months now and you've played Chicago at least twice, you've played Iowa City at least once, you were slated to play Rock Island. I'm just looking at the time I've been here and it seems like you've come through heading to and from the West Coast twice. I'm beginning to wonder if you're trying to play every town in America with a population over 5,000.
Tim: Trying. We're just hitting places over and over again. It's what any band has to understand you have to do. You're never going to go to a place and have it be awesome, right off the bat. It's happened a few times, but it doesn't necessarily work like that. Very rarely does it work like that. Iowa City is a great example. We've been there with Poison The Well, with Hatebreed, we went back and did it two other times by ourselves and it's just such a random place. Iowa, in the middle of the United States, who would expect a hardcore band to do well and that's awesome that places like that now exist and they're great cities to play and we look forward to going to places like that because kids care and that's really from going back and hitting it over and over again. You just can't expect it. The first time we played Iowa, we played the Botanical Center in Des Moines to 40 kids. We went back and hit Iowa four or five times and it's just awesome, but yeah, that's what you have to do. A lot of people in bands either don't understand that or don't understand that fully, that you really do have to do shit like that to get anywhere.
Well, it seems like you're touring constantly as a result of that attitude, but it also seems like touring, in some ways, helps keep the band together and vital and focused on creating music.
Tim: Yeah. We're young. We know that it's something we want to do. We want to able to travel as much as possible. Yeah, it does get old after a while and that is specifically why we canceled this last tour, but there are no complaints whatsoever. It's what we love to do and we're happy that we can do it.
Just do me a favor and take a break every once in a while, even if it's just a couple of weeks.
Tim: Well, that's what we're doing this summer, taking a three-month break for some well-needed rest.
Exactly. I know that Neil Young said "It's better to burn out / Than to fade away" but don't burn out yet. So back to the new record, and you watched me listen to that record and you know that I think it's one of the best things that I'll hear this year, what the hell sparked it? When you and I first met and talked about "Background Music," I told you that piano melodies wouldn't sound out of place, that I could hear room for experimentation in the music, it sounds like a lot of those things came to pass on this record and I'm wondering what caused the shift. How did you come up with it? Was "Background Music" a level set to indicate where you were going? It's not a dramatic change, it's just a huge progression.
Tim: Yeah. I've always, always since we started the band wanted to progress and do new things all the time. Being in a band, that's the one thing you can do to keep things from getting boring. I think with these records, we have done that. I think our second record from the first seven inch was a huge progression and then to "Background Music" was another progression. Some kids say the first seven inch is the best thing and some say "Background Music" was the best thing and some say it's the second seven inch, but this record is the longest between recordings we've ever gone. We did the first two seven inches and LP within 12 months. We even did our demo in that 12 months, so we were recording like crazy, putting new stuff out and writing songs. This time we've had two years between. We are all into so many different kinds of music other than hardcore. That's what we grew up with and we love it - if we didn't love it, we wouldn't be doing it - but we really wanted to incorporate new things into our music and push the envelope. I think, finally, we've really done that. It wasn't like we were going to change our sound. This is just what hardcore is to us now. Wes said a couple of years ago that we sound like a hardcore band should in the year 2001. Now I think we sound like a hardcore band should in the year 2003. We just don't want to do what we've done before and we don't want to do what anyone's done and if that is original, then I guess that's really all we're trying to be. We always wanted to be ourselves and do our own thing. There are so many different things going on the record, I don't think one song sounds similar to another on the record and that means a lot.
In some ways, based on what you're saying about the time you had to make this record, it sounds like the lawsuit might have been another blessing in disguise on that front as well.
Tim: Yeah. Because of the lawsuit, it literally took us that long to get our shit together and go in and record. We've been sitting on these songs as American Nightmare, that's what everyone has to keep in mind. Most of this stuff was already written when we were still called American Nightmare. We just changed different things and as Alex came into the band, we did new stuff, but yeah, we really had to wait it out until the coast was clear to get into the studio. Even then, we were pushing it. Our label wanted us to wait another six months and we were like, "Yo, it's going to be two years once our record comes out. We can't wait any longer. We have to do this." I think there have been many blessings in disguise.
Have you actually gotten around to titling the record yet?
Tim: Yeah. "We're Down 'Til We're Underground." It's a lyric from one of the songs.
When you said that this is what a hardcore band should sound like in 2003, I started thinking about some of the albums that you and Wes have recommended to me and some of the other hardcore albums I've been picking up lately and it seems that people are starting to expand the boundaries of what hardcore is; it's no longer just one-minute of chugga-chugga riffs, a mosh breakdown, a speedy chorus and you're out. Like that Isis album you suggested, like the Black Dice album that Wes suggested - there are a lot of albums that loosely fall under the hardcore genre but don't necessarily seem to have much to do with what it was back in '86 or '92 or '98.
Tim: Right. All of those bands influenced us. We have always been into older bands and I think that we definitely come from fast hardcore and I don't ever want to lose that because there's something magical about that music and there always will be but trying to incorporate different elements of different genres of music is fun. I couldn't ever imagine wanting to be in a band where you just do record after record that's the same thing. When "The Shape Of Punk To Come" came out, people were like, "Holy shit, this band has hit their peak" and Refused broke up because they were like, "We can't do anything better. We've come to our element." I think that record came out in '98 and it was sort of over the heads of a lot of kids, granted a lot of kids were into it then, but I think it's safe to say it took a couple of years for a lot of people to catch on and then you have bands like Crazytown covering their songs on fucking Ozzfest. It got to a huge proportion that this band has influenced so many people and now you have bands that rip off that band horribly and that's nothing we ever wanted to do. We want to take what they've done and say, "Yeah, that band was amazing." We aren't modeling ourselves after them whatsoever; we never have. We never model ourselves after anybody, but what they did was very, very important and I think a lot of the punk rock community will agree with that, but I think what they did to say, "We don't give a fuck anymore and we're going to do what we want to do," that's the magic in what they did and I think it's still hard for a lot of bands to do that, but that's what we want to do.
It sounds like what you're saying is that there are bands that are too far ahead of their time and wind up breaking up as a result, whether it's Refused or My Bloody Valentine, and it also sounds like you're trying to advance what you do and progress as musicians but also not do a record so far ahead of its time that people don't get it for 10 years.
Tim: Well, yeah. I think doing anything, you always want to say that your last record was your best and if we ever get to a point where we say, "Two records ago was our best," I think it's a good idea to call it a day. I think you always want to be striving to be a better band and with this record, I think we've gotten to that point and I'm psyched for our next record and the record past that. I think we can keep going. I don't want to be a band that puts something out and half of the kids around right now like it and half the kids hate it and it discourages us and makes us break up. Also, in the sense of how huge punk and hardcore have grown since the Refused record, in that time span, punk rock is so much bigger now and kids are so much more into newer things. We want to try to keep doing what we're doing now but having it still be something kids can relate to, like you said, not jumping 10 years ahead of your time.
Well, you always want to challenge people but at the same time, you want to make sure there's something there that they can recognize and that they're familiar with because that will give them a key to get into it and then they can puzzle over the rest of it. Those are the albums, and I'm sure you know this, that you really fall in love with.
If it doesn't challenge you, what good is it?
So what was your favorite part of making the record?
Tim: Listening to Alex do his drum tracks and knowing that we are in a band with the best drummer we've played with. He has so much natural ability and it means so much to me to be in a band with somebody that plays such a crucial role in the band, the drummer, and knowing that we've rushed into this a little a bit and this is how it's coming out, knowing what the future can hold. I think that was the best part. I think once the whole thing was done, sitting down and reading Wes' lyrics to this record, having it mastered and having the final copy, listening to it in my room and reading along with Wes' lyrics, I was like, "Holy shit. This is leaps and bounds past what we've done." It's such a good feeling.
I told you that a friend of mine emailed me the lyrics to "Love American" and I was just going nuts. The lyrics on "Background Music" were incredible but the new lyrics are so far beyond that.
Tim: Yeah. I think, along with how the band has musically changed in the last few years, Wes' lyrics have really come a long way too. He's come into himself so much better as a writer. He has a book and he's always writing stuff down. Granted, every song we've ever done has a special meaning to him that he doesn't have to explain to anybody, just like any writer or lyricist, it means something, but now each individual song on the new record, you can tell there's different meaning to different songs. I'm so psyched on it.
It also seems like, and you have to remember that I'm basing this off hearing the album once ...
Tim: Sitting in the van in Iowa City.
Yep, watching squirrels. I have to tell you, that was one of the best days of my life, flat out, but one thing that struck me about the album is that - and it wasn't that "Background Music" wasn't hopeful, it had a bitter, sarcastic sense of humor; it wasn't until the end that you started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - it seems like it's more hopeful or more determined, if that makes sense.
Tim: I definitely agree. I think - and this is the Wes department, talking about lyrics - I've seen how Wes has grown as a person and how all of us have grown. With "Background Music," this is really general, but it was a little darker and more negative in a sense and think there's definitely still that element in his lyrics, but he's not the same person he was two years ago and I think this really reflects that. He has more issues to talk about and I think he's more comfortable talking about different things. Music aside, being someone who sings your own lyrics is tremendously hard. It's people's outlet. Me, I do another band where I write my lyrics and sing and it's scary to put your work out there and be like, "This is me, this is straight up." A lot of kids that aren't in bands don't really think about that, that it's such a personal aspect. Obviously, a lot of kids love Wes' lyrics and that's been amazing for him and for us, but with this record, I think he really touches on really important things in his life this time around. Wes and I have had this discussion a million times and it's not so much 12 songs of similar lyrics, meanings jumbled about. I just think it's him finally separating all his different thoughts. This is how I take it, I could be 100% wrong, who am I to say, but I just think you can tell he's taken more time with this and focused on it quite a bit more.
Okay. So. The lawsuit. Now that things are finally starting to settle down ...
Tim: Knock on wood for me, Puckett.
Just did. So now that things seem to be settling down, was the lawsuit - in the long run - a good thing in the sense that it inspired creativity, forced you to take a bit of a break and think about things differently and gave you time to process things or was it a bad thing in that it held you up for two years and kept you from having the record out, making merch and doing things like that?
Tim: I think it was definitely both. The good things that have come from it are that we know we finally had a major, major roadblock where we said we can throw up our arms and just quit or we have something to strive for now. We have this band that we have worked so hard on for, at that point, two years and we don't want to quit. We want to continue doing this. This is our lives, this is what means so much to us. Giving up would have been such an easy decision and I think a lot of people thought we were going to. There were a ton of rumors. We even thought we were going to a few times. I can't lie. We didn't know what to do a lot of the time. We were sitting on all these new songs and once Alex joined the band, we knew that we just couldn't give up right then. If we gave up, they won and we lost and that's how we saw it. Other people might not see it that way. People might see it like, "They went through so much shit and they just had to break up," but we were just determined not to let this get the best of us. Unfortunately, it did take a lot of time and in terms of creativity, yeah, the more time you have, the more creative you can get and I think that was certainly a blessing in disguise. On the other hand, yeah, it has put us so far back. We didn't get to record our record a year ago. We didn't get to record our record on time or put it out when we wanted to and what have you and it's cost us tens of thousands of dollars and it's cost our label and our lawyers all this time and money, but throwing all that out the window, I think we're a new band and hopefully we can continue to do this for a while.
If I remember correctly, you had a recording date set before everything came down.
Tim: Well, how it worked was we went in last September when Colin was still in the band and said we wanted to record the record in winter, in January, and then for timing things with Jim at The Outpost, he couldn't do it because he was doing the Dropkick Murphys record and he was just like, "I really want to do your record." We did our demos with him last summer and basically we were just like, "If we're going to do this and have it be ready by Spring, we have to push it a month earlier to December," and our label didn't want to cooperate. We totally understood their point of view. You're sending a band without a name that's in a lawsuit into the studio? It's a lot to put on the line. Financially, it's a lot of money and there's a lot of ifs and buts in the scenario, but we knew that we had to do the record. Right after we came back from the Glassjaw tour, we had literally 10 days off that we spent practicing with Alex before we went in to record and that's how it worked.
I was wondering if there was a gap between when the lawsuit came down and when you went into the studio; if the lawsuit changed the recording date and, if so, whether the songs had a chance to evolve during the time the lawsuit was going on.
Tim: Yes. We did our demos right before we went to England last summer and at that point, I had a lot of it written and ready. Wes hadn't heard everything but we had a little bit more time to sit back, for Alex to write better drum part than I already had in my head. Wes put all those things together, so it definitely gave us a little bit more time and that was definitely good.
So you're at the tail end of the past two years. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you've been through hell.
You've toured the U.S. more times than most people can count. You've done more shows in that period of time than most bands can imagine. You've busted your ass all along the way, you've been shit on in terms of the lawsuit, the lineup changes - it's been pretty chaotic.
What, for you, has been the best result of that period?
Tim: I think the best thing has been two things. When Glassjaw asked us to go out on tour, they're a very big band and we didn't know them at all. We knew them through friends and I called Beck, the guitar player, last September and said, "Yo dude, you asked us to go out on tour. Do you want us to be your main support?" Let's be honest here. Bands take out bands because they love them and they know that there are going to be a certain amount of kids there for us. I said to him, "Dude, you don't owe us shit. Nothing. Right now, we're in such a bind that we're going to go out on this tour with you under a different name. Right now, we can't even have our name on the fliers because of this shit. Do you still want to take us out?" I was expecting him to say, "Yeah, maybe we should wait," but he was like, "Fuck no. We love your band for what you guys are. We don't care what your fucking name is, you're coming on tour with us, period." That meant a lot to me. That was a really awesome beginning to a great friendship with Glassjaw. Those dudes are some of our best friends as far as bands are concerned. All five of them are solid, stand-up dudes and going on tour with them was just amazing. Second, after we recorded the record and got back out on tour under the new name Give Up The Ghost this past spring, we were so nervous and rightfully so. We were going out on tour, we've been a band for this many years but it's not American Nothing, not American Nightmare, we aren't even allowed to say AN in anything, and we're going out under a new name with no new record. Can we do this? We went to Europe before even we had toured significantly in the States and it was our best tour in Europe ever. We came right back and three days later we started the U.S. tour. Same situation. We're on a headlining tour. We headlined in Europe and here in the States, and it almost felt like we hadn't lost a step, remarkably. I can't explain it. The major thing is that we have the most amazing kids that love our band and that leaves us all seriously speechless. We were ready to go out on tour and play in front of 20 kids and start over. We had been a band for three years but we knew it was probably going to kill us and what we've worked so hard to get to, and somehow, it didn't because punk rock kids care and they know what's up and they followed us and stuck by us. That, seriously, was the most amazing feeling, knowing that we could still do this. If those tours had gone badly, I don't know what would have happened to the band. I honestly think back to Lifetime right before they put out "Jersey's Best Dancers" and they had been a band for seven years but things just hadn't caught on and they were the most amazing band, but it really takes a toll on a band. Luckily, someone was looking over us.
Very cool. Anything you'd like to add, anything you think was left out, anything you want to clear up?
Tim: No. I think you covered everything quite well, per usual. Once our new record comes out, it just got pushed back to September 9 because the layout isn't done yet, we're still getting that all together with Jake.
Since "Background Music" just got reissued, getting pushed back a week isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Tim: Yeah. When that comes out, we're going to start up doing things the only way we know, getting back on tour and seeing new places and new faces. We're psyched.