By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
It didn't make it on the album. Something about going crazy and holding on.Do you keep in mind that kids make up a big part of your audience? Everything seems G-rated, like a Saturday-morning cartoon.
More than that, it's that every band that gets out there on the mic and cusses and yells—it's just old. I went to punk shows when I was 13 and saw the greats, like Bad Brains and Black Flag. What they call punk these days, there are really only a couple of bands doing it well. We'll get flak for saying that, but punk was never really about being unoriginal. We would rather be original and be branded G-rated; we don't want to alienate people with our music. Except those people who want to be alienated. We're helping them out once again. We play shows, and there'll be a group of skinheads yelling, "You guys are fags!" or, "You guys suck!" and we're like, "Duh. How much did you guys pay to get in? Great! Thanks for coming!" So it's kind of fun to make all these upset bands even more upset because that whole sound is tired. Plus, we didn't want to create an oppressive environment, with guys who start fights in the pit and stuff. Like what happened at Woodstock '99—people were sexually assaulted and getting beat up. That would never happen at an Aquabats show, and if it did, we'd jump off the stage and make it stop. We've been in fights with people who were starting trouble at our shows before, and then they'll get kicked out and feel stupid because they got beat up by one of the Aquabats. We're just trying to be original and create something positive for the kids to listen to.How important is your image to the band?
Well, we try to make it really easy to tear us down. I mean, we're wearing spandex costumes! Beyond the obvious lameness of our band, radio stations for some reason have some sort of unknown grudge against the Aquabats. They're out to get us, like the Floating Eye of Death. We get a lot of flak for being goody-goodies, for being dopes.Your act seems much more honest, though, than if you were happy, well-adjusted people trying to be gangsta rappers.
We just haven't crossed into that market yet. The Aquabats can genre-hop. Some kids have told us that this album's not as reggae-ish or ska-ish as the last ones. But we're the Aquabats. We can do whatever we want. If our next record were hip-hop, it would be totally mocking it, like anything else. People have said we were a ska band, but from the get-go, we've said we were having fun with ska. It's all about fun.Do you feel this album is more mature than the others, that you've been in the music industry longer and you know what you're doing?
We're pretty much still band geeks at a high school kegger.Do you still feel like that when you're on tour with other bands?
If the Warped Tour were a high school, we'd be the Dungeons & Dragons club. But then once people get to know us, it's like, "Hey, you're cool; will you do my homework later?" We met some cool people on tour, like the Long Beach Dub All Stars. We toured with them almost two years ago, and we hit it off right away. Well, not rightaway: the first time I met Ras, Louie the dog was with him. He said, "Sic 'em! Get those Aquabats!" They didn't like us at first.And now?
If we ever went on tour with the Dub All Stars again, we'd feel comfortable because they'd protect us.They've got your back, huh?
Yeah, and just to put this on the record, if the Dub All Stars ever needed backup, we've got their back, too [laughs]. I like those guys a lot. They've been through a lot of tragedy. And we've had some, too—we missed breakfast yesterday.