Friday, 2 July 2010
Jason Chandler gives us the Goss
I recently had the opportunity of Jason Chandler from The frustrators agreeing to do a special interview,
From the Designing of images for skate boards, The drawings of comics - for his own comic "horrible comics", to
T-shirt designs, & album covers, He also enjoys playing with his own band "The Frustrators" currently with the following members:
Jason Chandler (lead vocals),
Terry Linehan (guitar, vocals),
Art Tedeschi (drums),
Mike Dirnt (bass, vocals)
& of course not forgetting Stanley The Chicken!
They were all once members of other bands, Terry Linehan from Waterdog,
Jason Chandler and Art Tedeschi from Violent Anal Death,
and of course the well known Mike Dirnt currently from Green Day, Foxboro Hot Tubs, and of course Not in The Network!
They have had two releases with Adeline Records, "Bored in the USA" and "Achtung Jackass".
& Here's what Jason had to say,
Tell us a little about yourself, for the readers who don't know who you are.
Hi Lis! Thanks for having me over. I grew up in Massachusetts, which for a young guy was very hard to spell. I've always been in bands since 6th grade, most of them were a lot of fun and destined for obscurity. I graduated high school in 1987 full of schemes, some of which have actually worked out. I live in San Francisco now. I make my living drawing pictures and telling people how bad their websites are. About 10 years ago I got into a band called "The Frustrators." If that hadn't happened this interview would be highly unlikely.
When & how did you form the band? How did you come together as a band?
I only know it from my perspective. Most of my life I've been the guy who starts something... but this time around my good friend Art asked me to come try out for vocals one night at Mike's house where his new band was practicing. The band didn't have a name yet, hadn't been rehearsing very long, only had a couple of tunes, and "I Slept With Terry" was the only lyric they'd written by then. Apparently Terry and Mike had the initial idea to do a rockin' little project. Art and I had played in bands together since high school, and I was just glad to be hanging out with a familiar face out here in CA. So it felt like a regular band practice I guess. We ran through some covers -- maybe Crazy Train? Sheena is a Punk Rocker? I don't remember but we had some fun. After that we had band practice a night or two a week as I recall, drank beers, made noise, until we had our first set of 8 songs basically written and ready to go.
My Favorite Frustrators song, which was a single, is Trout. Tell us about The Frustrators albums & other singles they released.
Did you play Gilman with The Frustrators?
Yep. The big photo on the back of "Bored in the USA" (pictured here) was from that show. I think Gilman was our 2nd show, and maybe the first one where we called ourselves the Frustrators. ... I just Googled it, yes indeed it was our 2nd show and the first one where we used the name "The Frustrators." It was in 1999. At that show we handed out hand-burned copies of our unmastered "Bored in the USA" which had just been mixed. It was our first indoor show so it was nice.
Did you ever wanna make the band bigger and tour?
Nope. We once did a mini tour down to L.A. after "Achtung Jackass." But overall I think we've played a total of 8 shows in our history as a band which is weird. Your band should never have more songs than shows. So it's not anything like a desire to make the band "bigger" but it just would be nice to play more.
The craziest part of this band is all the attention we've gotten because of our bass player. If this was a video game it's like we typed in a cheat code and got unlimited bass player power. People literally copy his tattoos. I'm used to playing loud little songs in rooms full of scruffy proto-adults where some people like it, some people don't, but most people are just trying to have a beer in the dark. If I can get one person to laugh or heckle me I feel like it was a good show. But by literally the 3rd show the Frustrators played very young people were pressed right up to the stage. They were singing along and seemed to know every word better than I did, which was creepy but pretty convenient.
Well actually we've hung out a bit recently and there were instruments involved. It would be awesome to come out with another record. I'll warn you if anything happens...
He never knew his real father. He saw his mother loaded into a shipping carton. He was the accidental product of biological engineering, a unique mutant step along the way to the development of the boneless chicken... but he escaped, and now they're looking everywhere for him. Actually I don't know. When I met Mike he had a very special rubber chicken named Stanley. I ended up incorporating a surly plucked rooster with the same name into some comics and drawings (like the cover of Achtung Jackass). I've been noodling an animated video for Trout starring poor Stanley. So far I've got a pretty workable storyboard but don't hold yer breath waiting for me to finish it!
What made you wanna be a musician and get into The Music Scene?
I never really thought about it. I played music with my parents when I was a kid. They were heavy into bluegrass and festivals and partying and so by the time I was 8 I'd been in plenty of situations where the only way out was to play some bluegrass music. By the time I was 11 I decided that the only way to move forward was to make the loudest, ugliest music I could. So near the end of 6th grade I got into "the music scene" of Norfolk Massachusetts playing a self-wired old Sears Harmony electric guitar in a band with my brother who played a little Casio CS-01. Over the next few years I figured out how to rent Knights of Columbus Halls, build speaker cabinets, write songs, etc. I never really understood the idea of a music scene. I was pretty much an outsider among the outsiders. Oh well. You just keep doing what you do and eventually you either become world famous or you go on to other things. I personally benefit from the fact that the first band I've been in that sounds really great (The Frustrators) is also the first one to exist during the Internet Age. So nobody can search for all the embarrassing old crap I did. And yet people all over the world are able to hear about this one good band of mine. It's pretty convenient.
What was the last music CD you bought?
Jimi Hendrix Live in Stockholm. It's working for me. I'm glad to know that even at my advanced age there's still huge veins of untapped music for me to like.
I hear your other band member Mike Dirnt has a passion for vinyls, Do you also collect vinyls, or have any cool collections?
I don't really collect things. I've got lots of vinyl, usually ones I can get for a dollar but a few that are just meaningful relics. I love listening to records. The time it takes to play one side of an LP is about the right amount of time a person should pay attention to something.
Drawing is like being in a band all by yourself. On the one hand you've got nobody else to bother you, nobody to set your schedule, nobody to fart while you're in a van with them. But on the other hand you've got nobody to bounce things off, keep you focused, hand you a beer. For me making comics is the most complex thing I've ever tried to do but it's like I finally plugged myself into the right outlet. I spend literally every spare moment of my life on this open ended project... a series of short stories about zombies, mutants, robots etc. called "Living It Up at the End of the World". It's taking forever. By the time I finish it I'm sure everyone here will have completely forgotten about it. Maybe I'll be able to sell it to your kids.
You designed the Foxboro Hot Tubs artwork for the "Stop Drop and Roll" album.
I love the 60's style to it all, What gave you the inspiration and ideas?
The guys in the band sent me a book they'd been reading about what was happening on the Sunset Strip back when the music was popping off and leading up to the riots. I think they knew I was the right guy to design it since my style is a lot like that: all wacky and manly and scrappy. To me it's not "retro" (which makes me cringe), it's just the way good things should look. I even got to work with Julian Wasser, a photographer who was down there snapping the party people back in the day. In the beginning it was just going to be a web site which my pal Greg Schneider and I worked on together. I wanted the image on the screen to feel as real and scratched and worn-by-use as the tracks sounded. Then when it turned into design for a physical CD I wanted to keep that feeling going by doing everything in my power to make that CD felt like a tiny, old, vinyl LP. I'm really happy with how it all turned out -- when I pick it up I feel like a giant. There's some bits from the development of that design on my facebook page (facebook.com/horriblecomics) in one of the photo albums.
Do you think you can live the punk way of life when you're an artist as much as when you're a musician?
Yep. It's just the way you approach your life without compromising your individuality or your efforts to shock the world into becoming a better place.
How did becoming a dad affect your Art and Music?
Honestly I don't notice any difference since my son came around. But a lot of things kinda changed focus in the years running up to that. It's not like I write stuff that needs a Parental Advisory -- my instincts are to surprise and annoy people into action, not to disgust them or dwell on death or anything that kids shouldn't see. But things have gotten more complicated now that I'm what you'd call an adult. The hardest thing is to offend just the right people. When I was at the height of my hormone-drenched, poverty-stricken, angst-ridden, gleefully-cynical, post-highschool rebellion I realized the amazing power of offending EVERYBODY. It was the antidote for what I'd absorbed from a lifetime of exposure to mass marketing (those guys try to offend NOBODY, which is itself somewhat offensive if you think about it). But these days I've realized there are real villains and enemies in this world, people who spend a lot of effort and money directly trying to turn back the clock. So you have to pick your battles, and it's wasteful to attack your fans (but it sure is fun... I mean c'mon they're sitting right there!!)
If you had tomorrow afternoon off what would you be up to?!
Working on about 100 things that I've promised to do for people that are already behind schedule. Or reading Saga of the Swamp Thing. Or sleeping.
Thanks Lis and Punk Globe! Yer pal, ~JasonC
You can find The Frustrators at:
ALSO - check out Jasons page on facebook & drawings, comics, album designs here at:
Thanks Jason Chandler you Rock!
This is also featured in Julys Punk Globe at http://www.punkglobe.com/