|Interview done by Burt Wolf with Jethro, guitarist & singer for THINGS FALL APART.
Interview done on December 10th, 2005.
THINGS FALL APART IS A FAIRLY NEW BAND IN THE UNDERGROUND SCENE. I DON'T REALLY
HOW YOU GOT TOGETHER? ANY PREVIOUS BANDS YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN IN BEFORE?
We all had been in bands prior... Dec & Jake had a Metal band That Chris & I at different times had filled in on
rhythm guitar. I had played in a band with Chris since I was in high school. Then later on, I ended up joining a
band Chris was in to play bass when Jake quit. Incest is confusing...soooo, at around the same period of time, all
these bands broke up. Me & Dec both lived in this dilapidated Punk house on Willy Street & started working on
songs in the basement. Chris & I had a bunch of parts that were never used & never really fit well in our other
bands, so we began building songs off those. Over about a year we would get together whenever we were all in
town & had free time. We eventually had enough to play shows. But at that point, we still didn't have a bass
player, our ambivalent friend Jake was then harassed incessantly until he would come over & play with us.
WHY WAS THE NAME THINGS FALL APART CHOSEN AS
THE BANDS NAME?
I think that if it has any meaning, it would be a reflection of the
entropic period of time we were getting together to write these
songs...a lot of bands here called it a day & broke up, all the old
houses that had shows & parties in their basements & living rooms
moved on...relationships & friends. And I'm standing at my job
listening to a fucking count down to a "shock-and-awe" bombing
campaign on the Iraq people over the radio & all the pre-emptive
demonstrations & rallies against the war that February were
completely shrugged off by the Bush administration...sorry...uh...
personally, at the time, the bands name seemed fitting. (And yes, I
know who Chinua Achebe is & can recite fragments of William
Butler Yeats, yo).
WHO OR WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE & MUSIC?
...Uh, do you mean who do we rip-off? If I don't produce a list would imply that we write music in a vacuum?
The other guys are at liberty to make a list of comparable bands, but that stuff seems all too much like a sly type
of conflatory marketing algebra (i.e. hey kids, if you like (x) + (y) & (a) is greater or equal to (x) & (y), then you
will totally like (a), yuck...) or perhaps this is just a case of mommy not wanting to compare her ugly, misshapen
baby to the other "normies" in the ward.
YOU GUYS BLEND TOGETHER METAL & HARDCORE MUSIC TO COME UP WITH YOUR STYLE?
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE & SOUND?
Oh, that's a good one...how about "Global-warning-style-snow-core:?
YOUR SELF TITLED CD HAS BEEN OUT FOR A LITTLE WHILE NOW. HOW WELL HAS IT DONE
FOR YOU GUYS?
Like, monetarily? Or critically? We recorded those songs at Chris' parents basement over the weekend & there
was a stuffed bear standing in the corner, for real...it was December, I was ill, we were drunk. We put it out
WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE LIKE FOR IT?
Sometimes when I'm riding my bike, dudes yell "Hey your band sucks!" out of their windows & I console
myself by muttering "That's, like, your opinion, man" under my breath.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN SOME OF THE MEANING BEHIND THE COVER ART & WHO DID IT?
Me & Dec did that. The front is a sinking ship that I silk screened onto a piece of cardboard & then peeled away
the front to expose the corrugation for texture. So the sinking ship is a thinly veiled symbol of how sometimes
ships sink. Oh, I also did the masking tape.
WHAT IS SOME OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT IN YOUR SONGS?
The lyrics are made up of words, hardy har,har,har!... Okay, that's
enough sarcasm...a lot of the songs are based on conversations &
moments..."where were you when" is based on discussions &
arguments during the manufacturing of the war in Iraq, & about our
connection to imperialism. "Maquiladoras" is about the effects of
exploitative trade policies like nafta (and now cafta) & predatory lending
institutions such as the IMF & world bank. "Bound By Myth" is about
the despair of having to work at a job you hate to pay rent, the ecological
effects of production. And how all these negative effects of capitalism &
how we live our lives are completely separated from necessity & adverse
to survival...um, there's more, but I'll leave it at that, word.
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY LABELS INTERESTED IN THINGS
FALL APART? IF SO, WHICH LABELS?
What do I say if not?
IS THERE ANY NEW MATERIAL IN THE WORKS OR A NEW RELEASE AVAILABLE?
We're going into the studio December 9th to record four songs & then we'll get it mastered & then we have no
idea what will become of it. Our friend Ian was gonna put out a seven inch on his label, MINISTRY OF FIRE,
but we've been informed that he's no longer doing the label, now he wants to be a chef, since we don't know
anyone else to try to curry nepotism, we'll probably do it ourselves.
DOES THINGS FALL APART PLAY OUT A LOT? WHERE ARE SOME OF THE PLACES YOU'VE
PLAYED? WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU'VE PLAYED SHOWS WITH?
We're playing tonight at the Orpheum Stage Door for the Roller Derby after party!!
ARE THERE ANY GOOD INTERESTING OR FUNNY BAND STORIES YOU COULD SHARE WITH
Here's one, about a year ago we booked a couple shows over a weekend that we were all in town. I had just got
back from Northern California & had a really gnarly reaction to poison oak on my forearms. I had been doing
some landscaping & was clearing brush & any other time of the year poison oak is easily identified by it's bright
red oak shaped leaves, but it was December so the leaves had fallen & I'm pulling up all these ferns & vines &
shit, totally rolling in poison oak. Then I took a hot shower which doesn't do anything except spread the oil
around. Then the next couple days was hitching south to the Bay Area to catch a flight here, all the while
wearing the same sweatshirt I was working in for another five days, until I started breaking out in blisters while
I'm visiting my family for Christmas. It was so bad & getting worse, every hour swelling more. I hadn't been
freaked out enough to go to the doctor until a few days later when I woke up without knuckles. So I got back
from the doctor with a bottle of some steroid pills & had to go load out for a show. I played two nights in a row
with extremely itchy, bright red blistered Popeye arms, a fat cartoon hands without knuckles that I could hardly
bend. Mind over matter, eh? Oh & that night I fell off the stage, the medication hurt my stomach & made me
dizzy...a couple weeks ago Jake played a show after he caught the bird flu... Oh, here's a good one. Our van
broke down on tour right outside of Fort Worth, Texas in a dry county. So, the guy who worked at a hotel
offered to let us use his truck to go buy beer. The van took five days to fix & we missed the rest of the tour. We
watched the same movie every day & played board games, read books, got bummed, got drunk. Believe me, the
irony of the situation didn't escape us, so don't even say it.
ARE YOU INTO ANY OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC BESIDES
WHAT YOU PLAY? WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU
HAVE CURRENTLY BEEN LISTENING TO?
I like a lot of different stuff. The last couple years I was obsessed with
a French composer named Yann Thierson & have been playing the
accordion. I just got the new Tom Waits & have dug it, Jolie Holland is
awesome. , Gillian Welsh, Woodie Guthrie...oh, & there's a lot of rad
Hip-Hop: SAGE FRANCIS, AESOP ROCK, DEAD PREZ, BUS
DRIVER, IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE...Hardcore bands that = good:
BOTCH, BREATHER RESIST, HIS HERO IS GONE & the new
PROPAGANDHI is riggin' amazing.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE BEST & WORST PART ABOUT
BEING IN A BAND?
The worst part is probably loading out at the end of the night, you're tired, you're possibly drunk, things seem
heavier, though not something to complain about. Playing music is a profound privilege. I feel immensely
fortunate to be able to play music with my friends & record songs that express & communicate what i think &
feel. It's a vert cathartic experience.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST ALBUM YOU REMEMBER BUYING?
I bought two 7"s when I was thirteen by OPERATION IVY & BIKINI KILL at RAINY DAY RECORDS in
Olympia, Wa. Before that I had a bunch of mix tapes I got from friends.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST CONCERT YOU REMEMBER SEEING?
I saw RANCID & THE RICKETS when I was thirteen at The Capital Theatre in Olympia, Wa. It was the most
amazing thing I'd ever seen. All these kids going crazy & causing the stage to wave back & forth.
WHO DO YOU FEEL ARE SOME OF THE BETTER BANDS. LABELS & ZINES FROM YOUR AREA
I haven't come across any zines from Madison that I know of... THE PROGRESSIVE & THE NATION, two
cool lefty mags, are published here, a month ago there was a zine fest here but alas, I didn't attend...Madison
bands of note: MURDER OF CROWS, WEAVING THE DEATHBAG, DICIDER, 715, THE SUIT, THE
YOUNG BODIES...Milwakee: HIGH ON CRIME, SINCE BY MAN, GET RAD, SEVEN DAYS OF
WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?
I can't type without looking at the keyboard.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE NEXT FROM THINGS
The new songs are way better, they're more organic than our
old stuff, there's been more time to write lyrics, I'm excited to
record them. Though it's a shame that they're resigned to
obscurity. We won't be able to tour this summer as Chris will be
spending it in holy matrimony. We're going to discuss playing
some concentric Midwest shows in February. That's about it!
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE ANSWERING THIS
INTERVIEW? WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT IT'S
Today I volunteered for a fair trade holiday festival that had handcrafts, rugs, textiles, toys & food & coffee
from India & South America & local producers & farmers. Then I drank Coffee. Now I gotta load equipment
for tonights show.
THANX A LOT FOR ANSWERING THIS INTERVIEW. FEEL FREE TO ADD ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D
LIKE TO CLOSE OUT.
Thanks for asking, take care go to our website & have a good day!!!