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2000.11.DD - Cosmik Debris Magazine - The Tape Hiss Interviews Presents Josh Freese

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2000.11.DD - Cosmik Debris Magazine - The Tape Hiss Interviews Presents Josh Freese Empty 2000.11.DD - Cosmik Debris Magazine - The Tape Hiss Interviews Presents Josh Freese

Post by Blackstar on Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:27 am

The Tape Hiss Interviews Presents...

Interview by John Sekerka

In the middle of a boffo Monsters Of Arena Rock tour with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and Our Lady Peace, Perfect Circle drummer Josh Freese, who's worked with everyone from Guns And Roses TO Paul Westerberg TO Devo, talks about all the assholes he's had the privilege to work with.

John: How do you like big stadium rock?

Josh:: It's okay, it can be fun. Sometimes I prefer to play smaller theatres and clubs where it's a little bit more intimate. The energy you give out comes back a little quicker.

John: You are the drummer to the stars, are you not?

Josh:: Guess so, the drum slut to the stars.

John: I'm gonna fire off questions about bands you've been involved with okay?

Josh:: Sure.

John: How long have you been in the Vandals?

Josh:: Since I was sixteen.

John: I've talked with Joe (the only original Vandal left), and he has quite a history. Is he the oldest punk alive?

Josh:: I think he's tied with one of the guys in Bad Religion.

John: Joe has been the lone constant in that band, surrounding himself with young punks every coupla years...

Josh:: It was like Menudo: when you hit a certain age, you were kicked out. Though they've kept a constant line-up for about ten years now.

John: Is Joe the Dorian Grey of punk, with an aging picture up in the attic while he remains young?

Josh:: Exactly. He's still sixteen, but in dog years.

John: Before you joined the Vandals there was Polo. What the hell was Polo?

Josh:: Imagine five dumb young white kids in Orange County California, Star Search Champions in Disneyland. Hence the horrible name Polo. I was about twelve or thirteen, and didn't know any better. I don't want anyone to think that I was an adult, playing Huey Lewis and the News covers at Disneyland.

John: Okay, let's switch to Mike Ness...

Josh:: We did the Cheating at Solitaire record. I've known Mike for a very long time, from the Social Distortion / Vandals / Orange County punk rock connection. Most of the recording was just he and I. It was a blast, we got it done real quick.

John: You work cheap?

Josh:: Not really.

John: So is Mike Ness really the asshole everyone says he is?

Josh:: I think he's a great guy.

John: Shucks, another legend debunked. What about the stories of him stiffing his band to buy heroin?

Josh:: He has a bad reputation cuz he used to be an asshole, drunk, on drugs, in fights. He's been sober for years. He has two great kids. He also looks like such a scary bastard.

John: Guns and Roses.

Josh:: Next question.

John: C'mon, is Axl the asshole everyone says he is? This, by the way, is my line of questioning.

Josh:: I can't really answer questions about them.

John: On the advice of lawyers?

Josh:: Not necessarily.

John: You did play with them, though?

Josh:: I recorded with them for a few years. There's an upcoming record. I'm not sure of it's status, though.

John: Okay, let's move on to Devo.

Josh:: Oh yeah. Devo for me was like playing with Led Zeppelin or the Beatles. The first record I ever got in my life was a Devo record. Their guitarist produced a Vandals record, and when they kinda reformed, jumping on stage at Lollapalooza, they asked me to drum cuz they had a falling out with the original drummer. It was a blast playing the songs I grew up listening to. They're such bizarre, eccentric, intelligent weirdos.

John: What's it like playing in a radiation suit?

Josh:: Hot as hell. We're sweating backstage before we even go on.

John: It must doubly hard on you, the other guys can just stay pretty rigid with some minimal robotic moves.

Josh:: I count the songs. About five or six songs into the set we take off the yellow suits, strip down to black shorts and shirts. Oh what a relief!

John: I remember seeing an early video of which Devo were pioneers, with Neil Young playing along.

Josh:: He was instrumental in signing the band. Funny cuz Neil Young is such a grass rootsy kinda guy, but he was a big fan.

John: Are there Devo groupies?

Josh:: There are, believe it or not. Office girls. Clean groupies, not the skanky, heavy metal chicks.

John: Devo goes back to '74. How old were you then?

Josh:: I would have been two.

John: Those guys could have been your dad!

Josh:: Yeah, that's frightening.

John: Okay, let's move on. Besides ceaseless touring, who are you going to be working with next?

Josh:: I'll be working in the studio with Perry Farrell, and hopefully sleeping in my own bed for a couple of nights.

John: Sleep? You must be drumming twenty-four hours a day!

Josh:: I basically am. I eat, sleep and breathe it. Not necessarily just drumming, but music in general. Luckily I can do it for a living cuz it's what I love doing.

John: Is that your dad on the back of your solo CD ("The Notorious One Man Orgy")?

Josh:: That's my father, the professional tuba soloist.

John: What's he doing with a tuba and that pimp mobile?

Josh:: A pervert / Mafia guy in the desert that should be burying a body, instead is burying a tuba.

John: With black cowboy boots and no pants!

Josh:: (laughing) He's definitely a freak in his own right. Actually he used to direct a big band at Disneyland for years. Now he hires all the entertainment out there.

John: Does he know he's on the back of your CD?

Josh:: Oh yeah. Originally that was gonna be the front - he was totally into it. Then people at the label would whisper, "I thought Josh was younger than that."

John: There is a strong resemblance.

Josh:: "Josh looks weird in that picture." So we put a picture of me on the front so as not to confuse anybody.

John: Who's the guy leaving all those goofy telephone messages on the record?

Josh:: Oh that's my Asian gay stalker, Steve from Long Beach. He's actually a harmless stalker. He works with my girlfriend, and she'd have him call and leave these crazy messages on my machine. And they were so damn funny - between his queenie lisp and his broken English - they were so hilarious that I started saving them.

John: Does he know that he's on the record?

Josh:: Oh yeah. He actually got paid. A lot of friends played on it as favours, guys from the Vandals, X, Pearl Jam, Wallflowers... and no one got paid. I made the record on my own money. Steve is the only one who got any cash.

John: Let's back up to folks you played with. Paul Westerberg...

Josh:: As much as Devo but in a completely different way, is one of my heroes. Devo and the Replacements were the most important bands in the world in my teenage years. Those records still hold up. I met Paul through record producer Matt Wallace. I came in on a couple of tracks on his first solo record in '92, and went on tour with him. I love playing with him.

John: I've seen the Replacements a couple of times, and there was always plenty of bickering on stage. How's Paul these days (carefully reworking the "asshole" question)?

Josh:: He's a lot mellower. They were really drunk in those days. That helped with all the bickering, snickering and messing around.

John: Geez Josh, you ain't giving me any juicy stuff here. Everyone's just wonderful. Isn't there anybody out there that you can slag. Doesn't anyone live the nasty rockinroll lifestyle anymore?

Josh:: I try to, damn it, but no one wants to participate.

John: It's all up to you Josh.

Josh:: Okay, I'm up for it.

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