"When Hootie and the Blowfish hit
number one is the day America gave up."
An interview with Sloppy Seconds
By: Alex Sandell
Sloppy Seconds. As I stated before; they're more than just a punk band, they may be the best band of all time. With classics like "I Don't Wanna Be a Homosexual", "So Fucked Up", "Human Waste", "The Pop My Dick Song", "I can't Slow Down", "Ice Cream Man", "Lynchtown USA", "Yuppies", "Jerry's Kids", "Underground", "Hiptune", "Blackmail", and "I Want 'Em Dead" you would think it was time to close the book and put them in the rock 'n' roll hall of fame.
But there's more . . .
A brand new album called "More Trouble Than They're Worth" was just released, and another batch of instant classics such as "The Queen of Outer Space", "You Got a Great Body, But Your Record Collection Sucks", "Why Don't Lesbians Love Me?", "Let's Kill The Trendy", "Just Because You're a Girl", "Killing Myself" and "Forced to Suck" were thrown into the punk rock pile of perfect "get drunk and kill your girlfriend" tunes.
Parting ways with their longtime original guitarist, a lot of people didn't think Sloppy could put out another classic album with someone new playing lead. They were wrong. Ace (Spice) Hardwhere? exceeds all expectations and adds a grinding three-chord punk sound to the band's trademark style. "More Trouble Then They're Worth" makes up for the five year wait between albums, and then some.
I spent a couple hours talking with BA, lead singer of the band, about the past, the present and where things will be going in the future. Here's what he had to say.
The Juicy Cerebellum (JC): It's good to hear some original "Sloppy" material again. With five years in-between (not counting your live album), it's been a long, dry haul for us die-hard "Sloppy Seconds" fans to get through. What's the band been doing between albums (other than drinking beer)?
|BA (BA): We did two tours of Europe, the first with a temporary guitar player, and|
BA takes a break from screaming into the mic
and holds on for dear life
|by the time we went back again, we'd enlisted Spice, our new guitar player. After that, we put out the "Live: No Time For Tuning" album while we were shopping around trying to decide what label to do the next record with. The most important thing is we came to terms with Taang! that we weren't going to do a third album with them. That was real pleasant to get that behind us, so . . . in the spring we started talking with Dexter Holland (lead singer of "The Offspring" - Alex the editor and|
|your helpful guide through the punk rock universe) and in, I believe in September, we formally signed a contact and we started recording right after the first of this year.|
(JC): So how is Nitro working out for you guys so far?
(BA): So far we're very happy. The good thing about Nitro is that there's the benefits of being on a major label but you're primarily dealing with people who have had the experience of playing in a punk rock band. They seem to have everything on the ball. They're really persistent in doing promotion which was probably the biggest factor determining that we would sign with them over any label in that they have a really good promotional machine which is probably the most important thing to us. It's nice to have the word get out to people and that the proper push is put behind it.
(JC): The video for "Fifteen Minutes or It's Free" being a good example.
|(BA): Yeah, it's directed
by a guy named Neal Toussaint who has been a cameraman on
a lot of major Hollywood films. The two I know right off
are "Batman Forever" and "Renaissance
Man". He's done other music videos, but I can't
remember any of the bands offhand.
(JC): Well, Sloppy Seconds would be the best, obviously.
(BA): Obviously (laughs). The video is a great conceptual song about the night of this poor, put-upon pizza man having
Bo'Ba proves he's so much more than just
another guy in a Michael Bolton T-Shirt.
|to deliver a pizza to a house where Sloppy Seconds are the house band (laughs yet again).|
(JC): Are you guys gonna try and get it on the big networks such as MTV and Much Music?
(BA): Well it's definitely budgeted and conceptualized with mass-media in mind. So it'll definitely be submitted to MTV, and it'll probably be on the next video compilation Nitro is affiliated with. It'll probably make the rounds onto several punk video compilations in addition to being serviced to a bunch of community access shows, and everything across the country. So . . . it's definitely gonna get the full working.
(JC): Is there any truth to the rumor that I've heard about unwanted policemen interfering with the video, thinking that it (the cops in the video - Alex the editor who interrupts even himself) was the real thing?
(BA): Um, there was, yeah, that did happen, but that wasn't something that affected the shooting schedule other than postposting the shooting of the party scene one day.
|(JC): I just saw the video for "Veronica" for the first time and thought it was pretty good for what it was. Seeing Danny (ex-Sloppy guitarist - Alex the editor interrupting himself again) had me wondering what you were looking for in a new guitarist? Did you try to find someone that played the same as Danny, or did you want to add something new to the "Sloppy" mix?|
(BA): The main concern that we had was that we didn't want someone joining the band who had no stylistic leanings anywhere out of punk rock. It had to be somebody that could bring a strong rock 'n roll influence because we listened to a lot of hard rock and pop music before we ever started playing in a punk band. A couple of the things that really sold us on Ace (Spice) was the fact that he had a great attitude and just wanted to go out and play and make the band successful, and two of his biggest influences were Agnus Young (AC/DC) and Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick).
(JC): Had he heard of the band before he auditioned?
(BA): He was aware of us, but actually he just auditioned because he read the ad we put out for the kind of person we were looking for, and he thought he fit the bill. And it turned out he really did.
(JC): I was really surprised with how good he did. I think the album is just as good as the rest of them, with exception to . . . you can take constructive criticism, can't ya?
(BA): (Laughs) I suppose.
(JC): The lyrics don't seem quite as raunchy as they did on your previous albums. There's nothing as "in your face" as "So Fucked Up". Things seem toned down a bit. I was wondering if that was a conscious effort?
(BA): I don't think so. Maybe they're not as prominently placed, but I was going through the songs for potential airplay and about three-quarters of the songs have pretty objectionable lyrics. "Forced to Suck" is pretty rank.
Steve pounds the drums like no sellout could!
|(JC): "Forced to Suck", which deals with the issue of selling out, and actually seems to come down hard on the "don't make money. don't go on MTV" type punkers, had me wondering if you are worried about abandoning your DIY (Do It Yourself) fans?|
(BA): Well, that is directly what the song is written about. That was part of the reason we put it in the song, because we've done it in a lot of interviews. You know, ultimately our goal is to reach as many people as we can. Speaking as a band that's been fucked over by a lot of supposedly "DIY" labels, that's a lot more demeaning than the kind of blood-thirsty attitude you'd expect from a major label.
(JC): Like you say in the lyrics, you may as well get fucked by "the biggest dick" you can.
(BA): Yeah, we anticipate, you know, I'm not sure if this is true, but I've been told Maximum Rock 'N Roll (a very DIY magazine - Alex the big gigantic punk rocker from cyberspace) won't even review records that are released on Nitro. This is what we want people to understand: Nitro isn't a major label, it's got the trappings, maybe, of a "well-connected" label, but it's run by the singer of a punk rock band (Offspring).
(JC): Since you're on a well-connected label, do you plan on doing a big tour for the album?
(BA): Yeah! The Nitro package tour is probably this fall (the tour is now in full-swing! Go out and see the band when they hit your neck of the woods! - Alex the promoter guy). Then most probably we'll get on a tour set up as a label package tour. There's a lot of great bands on the label, so that would be cool.
(JC): This is unrelated to the tour - but is a pretty big deal on the the album - you have Jason Maclain (the guy who sings "You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated" in the Offspring single that made the band a household name - Alex the guy who thinks that "keep 'em separated" guy was the best part of the song) singing vocals on "Smashed Again". Did you hook up with him through Dexter Holland?
(BA): Before we met Dexter, what happened is, the way we indirectly met Nitro was through Maclain who contacted us saying he thinks Nitro and Sloppy would be a perfect match. So, first of all, we were really impressed this guy was a big fan. I mean, this guy has been on MTV countless times, and we were really happy we were one of his favorite bands. He was really instrumental in our signing to the label so we thought it would be a great thing to have him sing on our album.
(JC): Okay, I guess what I'm leading up to is the inevitable question: are you guys looking for Rancid or Green Day level fame?
(BA): Well, that'd be great. We'd love to be as successful as we possibly can with this band but that's never been the point. You know, we can't really find a way to mainstream our sound. It's more been a deliberate effort to bring the masses around to our way of thinking.
(JC): Not only do you have the infamous Offspring guy appear, but also, from the sounds of it, Mr. T. How did you guys ever get Mr. T to lend his famous voice to a Sloppy Seconds album?
|(BA): We met him a
few years ago. When he saw me with my chains and
everything and saw my name was BA he rushed out and said
"we gotta talk. We gotta get pictures." So we
did a videotaping of Mr. T and me crawling around in this
comic book store and that's when he taped his prediction
for Sloppy Seconds.
(JC): Going even further into the record, I have to ask what the inspiration was behind one of my favorite songs, "You Got a Great Body But Your Record Collection Sucks"?
BA poses with "BA" (Mr. T)
(BA): Well that song is kinda a personal favorite of mine on the record, too. It really is about people who have no consideration ever for what they put into their headphones. What I've said a lot of time is that when Hootie and the Blowfish hit number one is the day America gave up. You know, to me, it's the day when "pop culture" did not care. This song is about the person that cares more about home furniture than they do about music.
(JC): That seems like a pretty good note to end this interview on. Just one last thing. Is there going to be another five year pause between albums, or . . .
(BA): No, definitely not. You gotta remember really, we've put out recordings in the meantime, since our last album, "Knock Yer Block Off". After that time, it was a year before we integrated our new guitar player and we did some tours with some temp guitar players, and we had Ace in the band for six months before we made him an official member. We thought this was very wise on our behalf. This was another reason we chose him. We were going very business-like about the way we were going about selecting our guitarist. We wanted him to be "that guy." In the year that followed, we put out that live album with songs that were singles. We wanted to be on a label that we wouldn't regret later where we rushed into a deal just because it was thrown at us, and we didn't want to be put into that position this time, and thank God we're not.
Special thanks to BA for spending
countless hours talking to me for this interview. The rest of the
band for spending countless hours talking to me just for the hell
of it. Wolf for scanning the pictures for me, and God, for being
more than just "Dog" spelled backward.
Fan of Sloppy Seconds? Send an email my way!
©1998 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. Copying this would be like playing Russian Roulette. There's a one in six chance you would really regret it!
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