Interview by Parisa Eshrati
After their show at Beerlands on March 21st, I had the opportunity to briefly speak with Sean, Wayne, and Erin of The Spits. We discussed their latest album, costumes, and world domination.
Last year you re-released Kill the Kool which features some tour-only rarities and demos. Can you tell us about the history of some of these songs? How far back do some of these songs date, are any of them new tracks?
Sean Wood: There were a couple that were just for that album.
Wayne Draves: The fourth and fifth tracks are outtakes and demos from previous releases.
Erin Wood: There are a couple of unreleased singles on there too. We did something with 19 Million that was kind of similar, like outtakes and singles. It was kind of like the next addition.
Sean Wood: There's some shit on there that goes back to 1994 that we recorded on a 4-track in a basement in Seattle. Whenever we do an album like this, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s basically a way to get something new out without having to record new songs – it’s something to sell that’s new. It’s not like we would just put anything out, though. It was something cool that we all really liked.
You guys usually dress up for your live performances in all kinds of costumes. I find it interesting how bands seem to dress up for opposite reasons – either to hide themselves so they stay out of focus or just to have more of a visual aesthetic. Do you feel that your reason falls into either of those categories?
Sean: I think we fall into both of those categories, plus about five more things too. It all started with a band called God Bullies that we grew up watching. They got into costume and they put on a show. The costumes were a part of the show, and those were the kind of shows you really looked forward to. It added a lot to the performance. And yeah, we go out there and put on jenky ass costumes but it goes deeper than just putting on a mask.
Wayne: It goes back to our youth, too. We grew up listening to bands like KISS, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue…
Sean: It’s all about the show, man.
Wayne: All those bands had big stage theatrics, and we just do it on a low budget level.
Sean: It’s not to hide or to try and look cool.
Wayne: I think it’s more anti-cool [laughs]. A lot of bands do it and try to act all serious, but we like to come out on stage and have fun.
Sean: I see a ton of bands that will put on some jenky ass costumes, and I feel like there’s no point to that unless there’s a reason behind it. That was our whole thing, it’s part of the show. Once in awhile, we’ll play without costumes and it just doesn’t feel right.
Y’all have been around and making music since the 90s, so I’m curious what it’s like for you all to look back on your earlier releases a decade later. Do you feel like you can still connect with them after all this time?
Sean: Oh yeah, definitely. I think that’s what makes us The Spits. We can play a song that we very first wrote back in the day, and it’s just as big of a hit today as it was then. We try to create something timeless. We can definitely connect. We don’t just write shit to sell it, it’s all from our heart.
Wayne: We play whether the crowd likes it or not. We play it ‘cause we like playing with each other.
Sean: We’re more of a family than we are a band.
Y’all have done a lot of splits in the past with bands such as Nofx and The Triggers. Do you have any splits coming up in the near future, or bands you’d hope to work with?
Sean: There might be a Crap and Spits split. Crap is a new band from Seattle.
Wayne: They’re really blowing up in Seattle right now.
Sean: But honestly, who knows.
Wayne: We might do a single with Chastity Belt!
Sean: [Laughs] Good one.
Wayne: They’re another Seattle band, they’re all girls. We’re trying to rope them in because they’re up and coming and we’re trying to keep with the times, you know, stay young and fresh. [laughs]
Sean: But really, there are a ton of options out there. The problem is, we get asked to put out singles for people all the time. But you know man, we don’t just pop songs off. They really have to come from deep down inside. It’s getting harder and harder. After about twenty fucking years of doing this, it’s harder to write a classic, solid hit. I don’t want to put out just anything. So, the options are endless and…who knows. Something may happen soon but there’s nothing definite.
You all embarked on a So Cal Torta tour towards the end of 2014. Can you recap some of the best tortas of 2014?
Sean: Best tortas? Oh shit. Actually, I hate to say this, but the best torta I’ve had is here in Austin. It’s a carnitas torta. It’s so fucking bomb, and it comes with this chocolate salsa. It’s amazing. Southern California has good tortas, Texas has really great tortas…
Wayne: I’ll be honest, though. I don’t think we had a single torta on that tour.
No tortas on the Torta Tour?! The truth comes out…
Sean: Oh man, you’re right Wayne. Even in El Centro we didn’t have a fucking torta. Damn.
In a 2009 interview you stated that your ultimate goal is to conquer the world. How close do you feel to that goal in 2015? What are the next steps towards world domination?
Sean: Well the first step is to not put out bullshit music. That always helps. I think that we’ve already set our stone. I think we’re already there. There’s not that much more we can do, you know? We’ve tried, man. No one wants us, but everybody loves us. Fuck it. [laughs]
Wayne: It’s hard because we all live in different cities, but I don’t think we’ve put out our best work yet.
Sean: I think there’s more to come, I think there’s great shit to come. I don’t think age has anything to do with it. We still have a creative bone in our body. Don’t get me wrong, it’s getting harder, but it’s still there. What helps too is that we’re not a band, we’re a family. We’re a gang. We’re the fucking Spits, we’re a family.
Wayne: Hopefully we’ll have something new out before the end of this year.
Sean: Definitely by next year we’ll have something new out.
Finally, please tell us some of your most This Is Spinal Tap moments.
Sean: Oh God, a LOT. A lot…Fucking geez.
Wayne: We actually play our amps on 12. We go beyond 11. We’re The Spits, so we go even beyond Spinal Tap.
Sean: I remember this show in Tallahassee, Florida. We played a big ass venue and there was nobody there ‘cause it got moved from this small bar/club to this huge event center. The venue had all these famous pictures of famous people who have played over the years, and the venue is like 5,000 person capacity. It’s huge. We were trying to get on the stage and we had a total Spinal Tap moment. We got so lost trying to find our way out there, and everyone just kept yelling, “Where the fuck is the stage?!” It was exactly like that one scene [laughs]. Spot on.
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