Interview with Sean and Kurdt on March 7th, 1999
by Clark

Who are you, what do you do, how old are you and how old is your girlfriend?

Sean: Go ahead Kurdt.
Kurdt: I'm Kurdt and what do I do in the band or what do I do just generally speaking?

Whatever you want.

Kurdt: I play in the band and I play Playstation a lot.

What are you favorite games?

Kurdt: Right now? What is my favorite game? I got Twisted Metal 3, I like that. I like Cool Boarders 3 a lot. I just got the first Tomb Raider and I find it the most impossible thing in the world to do. I think I'm going to give up soon. Cuz I curse a lot at it. And my finance is 25. She's 14! And boy is she hot! And I'm old. This thing isn't on is it?
Sean: I'm Sean and I play guitar. I work in my spare time. I also like playing Playstation and doing computer stuff and dicking around with the website. My girlfriend is 24 going on 25.
Kurdt: 24 going on 34! Whooo!

What's happened to the band in the past few months?

Kurdt: Absolutely nothing well, that's not true.

Have you guys been writing?

Kurdt: Well that's true. But we haven't really...
Sean: We've been spending a lot of time writing because we have a new record to write. There's been a lot of change in the way the band operates in that...
Kurdt: We're worse than ever.
Sean: We're preparing to do a new record and everything about that is business as usual but the guy who we usually record with just past away. It was in the beginning of February. So now we are faced with the unfortunate task of trying to find someone new...

(Someone stops by the van, but leaves when the see Sean and Kurt are busy)

Kurdt: He was take some of his new boyfriends in the back of the van. Thinkin' he's cool.
Sean: I'm with HOBOKEN!!! I'll prove it to you Lemme show ya, I handle their MERCH. Yeah, so we need to look for a new person to record our records which is kind of weird - it's almost - our relationship that we developed with Phil was almost like the relationship you'd have with a family member so it's almost like we're looking for a new uncle to help us with what that uncle used to do.
Kurdt: Phil seemed to understand a lot of the things we wanted to do, he was kind of on our wavelength, now we have to bring someone else in who's new.

I was gonna ask you about that because Phil did such a good job on your latest record, House of the Rising Son of a Bitch and I think I'm in Love (Sidekick Kato). And even Matt Allison, the other main punk recording guy in Chicago can't touch the quality of those two CDs. They just sounded so good.

Kurdt: We really put Phil through the ringer on the last record.
Sean: Phil certainly was in touch with what he does especially with bands that he's worked with for a long time. Matt Allison is very competent of what he does, but he's also a newcomer to the punk game, meaning emo, ska and anything else that may come his way, I don't think he may have a relationship built with a band so that he knows exactly how to guide them and how too make their vision and their sound come out the way they'd like it too. And also on a technical note, he works only in digital. Which is not something I'd like to do in the future while Phil at Solid Sound was analog. So I'd like to stay in analog. On a technical note...

How was your Ten Foot Pole mini-tour?

Kurdt: We did five shows with Ten Foot Pole and that was the first show we'd played since like December, we took winter off.

A Playstation break?

Kurdt: Oh yeah, that's what we did.
Sean: We took a break.
Kurdt: Well it sucks touring in the winter. Because of the weather.
Sean: We toured pretty much constantly from May until December. We would go out for six weeks or four weeks..

And then Todd would get sick.

Sean: Yeah, we would either come home like naturally and stay home for a couple weeks or Todd would get sick and we could come home a recuperate.
Kurdt: We were burning ourselves out.
Sean: Yeah, we were certainly burning ourselves out. It was the first time we'd actually tried working that hard at it. That fact that some of us harder than others, but...

Did it go as well as you had expected?

Kurdt: Up and down...
Sean: Fifty-fifty.
Kurdt: Some shows might not have been good but we ended up meeting a lot of cool people and ended up being able to go back to that town and have those people be there. It was nice.
Sean: That is a really cool thing.
Kurdt: To be able to stay at some guy's house that you know. It's kinda like we are making new friends. It's very weird.

What's your favorite past Apocalypse show?

Sean: Some of my favorite shows have been the New Years Eve shows at Fireside. Those usually are pretty fun. I think that the 'blood show' at Metro was great. That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We've had people request us to do it again and they just need to understand that we will never play the 'blood show' again.

For all of us who missed it, what exactly did you do?

Sean: We came out on stage in blood.
Kurdt: A la Samhain. Real blood. Samhain's blood.
Sean: And we threw it out onto the crowd. And that was the whole bit for the whole show. That we we're gonna play in blood. Like Samhain. It actually turned out better than any of us ever expected or hoped it would.

Do you have any favorite shows Kurdt?

Kurdt: Well, I got a chance to see the Blue Meanies in Indiana last night and I just remember when we toured with them I remember having so much fun with those guys and a lot of those shows were really good cuz they a fun band to tour with and they were fun to feed off of.

That had to get pretty crazy on the road.

Kurdt: Yah, they're a good time though. I just remember a lot of those shows cuz we played really hard then because it was maybe slightly friendly competition just because they are so good and they are so tight and they work so hard at what they do. And they don't sound like anyone else or sound like us so all those shows every night it just seemed like we were really giving all of our energy every night so that was really fun.
Sean: They sound a lot like 311.
Kurdt: Yeah, you're right.

Kung Fu Records- how did you guys get hooked up with them?

Kurdt: We played with the Vandals and The Suicide Machines in Evanston at least 3 or 4 years ago. And we were kinda look for a new label then and I remember we ended up talking with Joe and Joe said that at that time he was starting up a new label.
Sean: We thought about maybe doing a 7" or he just kinda offered you know whatever and we tried different labels and we just kept in touch with Joe and it just worked out.
Kurdt: He seemed to be really into doing it, it seemed like he actually wanted to do it. Whereas with other people we had to kind of wave our arms.
Sean: I think he was impressed with our ability to blow them off the stage.
Kurdt: Well, there was that too.

What are your musical influences?

Sean: Varied, in many degrees. It's so wide.
Kurdt: Everyone brings something different to the band. Sean: I listen to The Cows, a lot of bands that start with C, like Elvis Costello, Chokebore, Cure.
Kurdt: Sean is the most diverse out of all of us because he actually has Slayer records along with his Morrissey records.
Sean: I have Slayer records right next to my Sir-Mix-A-Lot records.
Kurdt: Which is the same with all of us except that Sean is much more spectrum oriented.
Sean: I think Todd's is a little wider.
Kurdt: No I don't think so. Todd doesn't hold as much. Todd has lots of records and he listens to lots of stuff but he sort of consumes and throws away, Sean has a very large library. He doesn't hold on to CDs very long. He'll listen to it and be like, that's cool, I like that.
Sean: He'll sell the CD then.
Kurdt: And then move on to something else.
Sean: So I'm cooler than Todd?
Kurdt: Yeah, you're cooler than Todd.
Sean: Thanks.
Kurdt: Todd's the coolest.
Sean: Make sure you put that in there: Todd is cooler than all of us.

What are the lyrics in your songs about?

Sean: I think a lot of it, especially the new record, a lot of his lyrics touch on quite a bit of his childhood.
Kurdt: They also are about experiences that he's had.
Sean: He seems to draw from those. And insecurities. But he's left everyone who listens to our record up in the air about what the lyrics mean just like he's left us up in the air too. He doesn't come out and tell us exactly what it means. But he can elude to it. He will read me the new lyrics of something. And I'll be like "Okay, I understand that, but this part right here I don't understand." And he'd be like "You don't?" and that's it. He won't explain it to me. It's maybe meant for me to try and figure out. That's probably how it's meant for everybody. I think it's really important for him that everyone take his experiences and his lyrics try and interpret them in their own lives and kind of make them their own. He's very concerned with touching people on an emotional level.

The songs seem to deal with a lot of abuse.

Sean: Yeah, and I don't know how much of that is in his past or not but it's definitely something he feeds off of.

What smaller bands do you guys listen to that barely anyone knows about and where are they from?

Sean: I don't listen to those bands at home because they haven't put anything out yet. But I like Mary Tyler Morphine, who are a Chicago band and are really great. We're trying to help them out a little bit. A lot of the times when we get home from playing that last think I wanna do is go to the Fireside and check out a new band.
Kurdt: You see some good ones on the road but you see some bad ones too. 8 Bucks Experiment are a great band. We've played with them a couple times.
Sean: They're from Colorado. Electric Summer, I don't know if they are a smaller band but they're from Colorado too, and they're a great band.

If you could start a side project and do anything you wanted musically, what kind of music would you play?

Sean: I would do a band that would be very much like Red Red Meat, who were a Chicago band that broke up. They were on Sub Pop. They were kind of like a very experimental, Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones dirgy blues band. I would do something like that.

Did you get to see their Halloween Reunion show?

Sean: No, I didn't. The only reason I didn't is because I don't like crowds. And I knew it would be really crowded. I should probably talk to a therapist, cuz that's a show I should've seen.

(Then we talked about Tim Rotelli, the frontman of Red Red Meat opening up for Sunny Day Real Estate at the Metro.)

Sean: What would you do Kurdt? I bet Kurdt would probably do something much like Fate's Warning.
Kurdt: I would do very intricate 'brain metal.'

As in Dream Thearte?

Kurdt: Yeah, lots of runs and fills and complicated songs. And we'd need a shrieking vocalist.
Sean: He'd do a band devoted to interpreting and reinterpreting "Big Bottom" by Spinal Tap.
Kurdt: How can we reinvent "Big Bottom"?!??!? Actually, there's a bunch of things I'd like to do. I'd probably just do something like The Melvins, initially. But, I'd be into doing all sorts of different kinds of stuff.
Sean: So you like dinner theater?
Kurdt: Yes! I like dinner theater.

What kind of music is the new album going to be? Is it going to be more like Superincredibleheavydutydudes or more like House of the Rising Son of a Bitch?

Sean: Actually, it's going to be murder-core.
Kurdt: All of our songs will be about murders.
Sean: Much like Macobe. A punk Macobe.

You could be like Kraftwerk and have themed albums.

Sean: This next one will be all about murders and fights. I don't know where it's going. We've only written half of it. It's still in sketch form. Just basically two guitars and maybe some vocals. So I don't really know how it's going to turn out. I think it might be a little more experimental.

The songwriting on House of the Rising Son of A Bitch got a lot better.

Kurdt: We were taking more time with it.
Sean: That's when I joined the band.

Sean, you play guitar right?

Sean: Yes I do.
Kurdt: If that's what you call it...

I was just going to say on the last song I forgot the name of it...

Sean: "One Last Tasty Morsel."
Kurdt: "One Last Stinky Piece of Crap."

I think the opening guitar riff is really cool. The whole song actually.

Sean: That was one of the most fun things to record. I got to experiment with different amps... I don't wanna geek all out though... Unless this is Sean's Studiophile Magazine. Anyway, that whole song stinks of Phil. Seriously, that was hours and hours of Phil and I and the computer doing cuts and stuff. It would've never turned out like that without Phil.
Kurdt: And once again, the same kind of thing, Phil knew what to do with us.
Sean: He knew exactly what we wanted.

Why did Apocalypse choose the song from Meatballs to be the hidden track?

Kurdt: Was it Andy's idea?
Sean: I think it was Todd.

The band covers a lot of great songs especially the one's on Monchichi 7".

Sean: That stuff is all gonna come out again. We are releasing a retrospect record. It's gonna be 2 cds, it's gonna have all the stuff from Johann's Face, it's gonna have the Led Zeppelin 7" stuff, and the Monchichi promo stuff, and comp. tracks and stuff that we released under different band names.

As in Drunk Old Guys?

Sean: Yeah, Drunk Old Guys and a song called "Considerate Suicide" under a band named Fink. Betcha didn't know that existed.

(Then I told them I did, and they were surprised.)

The first time I saw Apocalypse was at Scrap many years ago, that must have been one of the early Drunk Old Guys shows.

Sean: I don't know, I wasn't in the band.
Kurdt: I remember that. I'm trying to think why we were Drunk Old Guys. What record was that?
Sean: You guys probably had a Metro show or something.

I think it was around the time when Slapstick released their 5-song tape.

Kurdt: Wow, were we drunk old guys then? Yeah, I guess we were.
Sean: You know what, I played with Jerkwater that night. Was it an all day thing?

Yeah, it was an all day event.

Kurdt: One of the long shows.
Sean: That's the night we got the pitchers from Dyslexic Records.
Kurdt: I thought you got those pitchers made for us?
Sean: No, I didn't do that.
Kurdt: We had these glass pitchers...
Sean: ...With our band logos etched on them. Dyslexic Records had them made for us. For Slapstick, Apocalypse, Jerkwater and Sidekick Kato.
Kurdt: And I've still got mine. Ours has the middle finger on it. It's pretty awesome.
Sean: That was really cool.
Kurdt: That's one of the coolest things I think I have.
Sean: That' one of the coolest labels, too. Those guys were really cool.

(Then we talked about Sidekick Kato for awhile. Jay was having some trouble with Choke. Then the digital tape 'broke' while on the subject of the new Naked Raygun CD. After it was fixed, I asked about Sidekick Kato)

Do you know what Kato is up to?

Sean: Last I heard, they were trying to get back together. I really don't think that they can make music without each other. Those guys are just... they should be together. Tom has done other things, mainly experimental, but I don't think any of it would constitute a full time band.

They're my favorite band, so I was just wondering what had happened.

Kurdt: They are great.
Sean: They're one of our favorite bands too. Them and Madonna.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Kurdt: No, except that Todd is cooler than all of us.

Do you guy's ever play your old songs any more?

Kurdt: Some stuff. If you say "Pop Goes the Weasel" then no, but...
Sean: What do you mean by 'old songs.' Like stuff off of Superincredible...? We might surprise you. We play "Brett." Did we play that at Metro?
Kurdt: No we didn't and I'm really surprised we didn't. We had practiced that too.
Sean: Sometimes "Brett" will come out. We'll play "Bad Times" sometimes, and if we're just talking Superincredible... At Metro we played a 'medley' much like Metallica would do.
Kurdt: Or Dio...
Sean: We played a medley of "Cup of Life", "Jerk Lessons", and "Joe Piscopo." Which was really kick ass. It riled them all up.
Kurdt: It got the kids MOVING!
Sean: So we still play it, it's just that a lot of that stuff is a little bit long.
Kurdt: We were really long-winded.
Sean: Our attention spans have gotten shorter,
Kurdt: Let's do the chorus another EIGHT TIMES!!!!! What a great idea!
Sean: So now we've just decided it's best to put them into...
Kurdt: ...Special...
Sean: ...Special songs.

So not a lot off of the Jerk Lessons 10"?

Sean: The only stuff we play off of that is "Idiot Revolution."
Kurdt: And "Small Things" (sarcastic)
Sean: "Small Things." Yeah, that's a regular.
Kurdt: We used to do "Blockhead."

I think "Hello, Hello" is one of the best songs.

Kurdt: That's one of my favorites too.
Sean: I think the 10" is one of my favorite things. Especially sound-wise.
Kurdt: Too bad you weren't there for that one.
Sean: I know.
Kurdt: You must have been around the studio though.
Sean: But if I had recorded it, it would've been bigger.
Kurdt: That's kickin' so much ass, that's got you written all over it, baby!

Sean, did you go to a lot of Apocalypse shows before you were in the band?

Sean: Uh...
Kurdt: He didn't like us.
Sean: No well, that's not true. I liked them a lot when Ted was in the band. And back when Green Monster came out. It reminded me a lot of 7 Seconds. And then Ted left and they got Lyle. I wasn't too keen on that. Then they got Todd and I saw Todd for the first time, it must've been their seconded or third show at Turner's Club and I hated him. I thought he was horrible. So yeah, for a period of time after that, I really didn't like Apocalypse anymore.
Kurdt: We used to get hatemail from him.
Sean: Not from me, I didn't send any.
Kurdt: (dictating letter) I'm going to kill you! From, Sean.
Sean: But then I saw them at a New Year's Eve show and I was properly sedated...
Kurdt: Best way to see us.
Sean: ...And I enjoyed what they were doing. It wasn't like I was pursuing this band, you know? I was so happy in Jerkwater. So great... Jerkwater...
Kurdt: When we asked Sean to be in the band he's like well, alright...
Sean: ...But I've gotta keep Jerkwater together.
Kurdt: We had to change, we had to do so many things just to get Sean to audition for us he was like "Aw God I don't wanna do that!"
Sean: That's right. (re-enacting) I need a platter of meat...

Who was in Jerkwater, wasn't Matt Skiba in it?

Sean: Matt Skiba was in it.

Now he's a rockstar, sweeping the nation.

Sean: Sure is, wearing a heart on his sleeve.
Kurdt: Does he wear a heart on his sleeve?

I believe that's one of the lyrics.

Kurdt: Ah...
Sean: Skiba was always meant to sing in a band. And he's always wanted Glenn Porter in his band. That's why he broke Tommyrot up.

Tommyrot, I have one of their records.

Kurdt: Is it you? Are you the one? OHHH!!!! A little slam on Tommyrot there! Just kidding, love 'em.
Sean: You know I was in 'em.
Kurdt: What band weren't you in?

Now that Josh Caterer, formerly of the Smoking Popes and Apocalypse, has become a born-again Christian...

Kurdt: Is he really? I didn't know that.
Sean: Yeah, that's his deal.

(Then Sean talked about the Smoking Popes for a little bit.)

Do you think Todd's going to go Christian anytime soon?

Sean: I doubt it.
Kurdt: We'll all go Christian before Todd does. Todd is the exact polar opposite of Josh, I think.

Some of Todd's stuff sounds a little sadistic...

Kurdt: Josh has got that in him too, he's just better at holding it back.

Who does most of the songwriting in the band?

Sean: We all bring riffs... Kurdt. Kurdt brings like 98% of the music.
Kurdt: I am the Roger Watters of this band.
Sean: We all bring riffs. We put them together. We through them out there to get humiliated and poked at and made fun of. Hopefully some of them stick and the others are just painful memories.

Who is the 'leader' of songwriting or band practices?

Both: Andy.
Sean: Andy is pretty good at guiding stuff along. I wouldn't say he's the leader, but he definitely has a pretty good ear for what sounds good. There have been some things that come out in practice that I thought were stupid and he thought were good and now that I listen to the record and hear these parts I thought were stupid, they're actually very good. I think that he has a really good ear for that sort of thing. Todd does too. Todd has the ultimate veto.

I heard Todd had a new look.

Sean: It changes. He had a mustache at Metro and for the trip, but now it's gone.
Kurdt: It changes a lot.
Sean: I think he likes to travel incognito. He fancies himself a young spy. And he's cooler than all of us.