Before their show at The Pat on January 22nd, 2004 with EVE6 and Jersey  I got to speak with the Yellowcard’s drummer LP, and guitarist Ben about sticking out above the bland and some of the influences they had along the way.

 

Punkoryan: First off I was on your website yellowcardrock.com and I found links to over 37 interviews. Do you ever find you have been interviewed to death? Are you tired of the same questions over and over?

Ben: Well you know its all for a cause. We’ve got to get the word out, we all have a story to tell.

Punkoryan: It seemed the same question came up every time: “What’s up with the violin?”

LP: Yeah that’s pretty much what everyone asks us, about the violin.

Punkoryan: Yeah so I figured I wouldn’t talk too much about that because you must be sick of it.

Ben: Yeah but that’s cool. For us that’s normal, we were so used to it. It’s always been like that since LP and I were kids. When we were in 10th grade and Sean joined the band it was a normal thing. But since we listened to bands like NOFX and Lagwagon and having the violin we were certainly a band that stuck out. We are a rock band, but we certainly have a lot of punk influences, and violin isn’t that foreign to rock bands.

Punkoryan: Do you guys work together when you make music, or does one part of the band go off and make the lyrics and the other does the music?

LP: We work together, everyone does their part.

Ben: Ryan writes all of the songs and brings the chorus and verse to the band group and then everyone puts their parts in. LP’s rhythms bring the music from part A to part D you know, and every person changes the song to something completely different. Sean writes violin parts, and it’s completely a teamwork effort. Sometimes Ryan will already have a riff or a chorus written, sometimes we’ll have a cool riff and it doesn’t even go to the studio with lyrics yet. We’re just making music you know. You never know what your going to get, it would suck if it was just an assembly line.

Punkoryan: We’ll I promised you I wouldn’t ask you the same 10 questions you always get so I’ll put you to work. If I was in a music store, and only had enough money to buy one CD, why should I buy your new album Ocean Avenue?

Ben: Well I’d say it’s deep, it’s well rounded, you get a lot of different emotions that come from it. It’s not dark all the way through or something like that.

LP: I would say, well that’s kind of a hard questions because you know I’m not going to tell you to go buy the record if you don’t like it, but it explores all genres.

Ben: Exactly! …. Well except for hip hop and techno…. [Laughs]

Punkoryan: Time for a cliché question. How do you like the Canadian Tour so far?

Ben: It’s been awesome! All of the shows have been sold out. We’ve played in Toronto and Montréal before, but this is our first time touring all of Canada.

LP: It’s crazy, I just found out the other day when I was talking to our bus driver that we were 130 miles away from Alaska and that was awesome!

Punkoryan: Well speaking of how the show sold out. Something I noticed with this show was that #1 my “snob punk” friends who normally wouldn’t listen to two chords of anything indie or “pop punk” were excited that you guys were coming and #2 my friends who normally wouldn’t go to shows got tickets before I did. You guys have a really original sound. How does it feel to be a band that sticks out above others and can draw people like that?

LP: That’s great!

Ben: That’s awesome! Not often do we get told that in an interview. But that’s awesome; it just makes us want to keep going. I think there are just a lot of elements in our music, and parts that just make all types of people want to stick around, whether it’s the vocals, the drums or the guitar.

Punkoryan: Now you guys all started as a high school band, and now you are signed on a major label and are on the main stage this year for Warped Tour. Obviously you guys had to have determination and want to get where you are. When did it “click” that you guys had “made it”?

LP: Well getting signed really isn’t that big a deal, it’s just a piece of paper you know. I think it really set in on our shows when we were playing bigger and bigger venues.

Ben: I’d say when we started making money you know, for a living. That’s when we knew this is all we are going to do.

Punkoryan: You’ve played lots of shows but when was your first “big stage moment” when you walked out and thought “wow”?

LP: Jane’s Addiction.

Ben: Yeah for sure. We’ve done lots of big gigs, but that was at the gravity games and it was in a field with nine thousand people which was like ten clubs for us. That was huge.

Punkoryan: How do you guys feel tonight about playing a “bar show” because lots of fans are going to have to miss out because they are underage.

LP: Well for us it’s always been like that, we’ve grown up playing bars. I couldn’t even tell you how many bar shows we’ve played. But we like it because it’s a smaller environment so you can really feel the energy from the crowd.

Ben: This is the second of the last four shows we’ve had that isn’t all ages. Definitely we feel like a lot of our fans have to miss out. This time we had to prove ourselves because we’ve never played here before so EVE6 was nice enough to let us come but we will be back and we’ll be headlining next time.

Punkoryan: Now you guys have a very original sound and of course that is because of the violin. Now a lot of rock bands have violin, but for your sound specific, how long do you think it will be before someone rips your sound off?

Ben: Well I haven’t heard anything yet, but who knows maybe right now some huge label is signing some other band.

Punkoryan: How would you feel about that?

Ben: It would be an honour I think, but they would have a lot to live up to with our Sean. He would rip whoever a new butt hole. [Laughs]

Punkoryan: One last cliché question. What’s in your CD player right now?

LP: What I’m listening to right now would probably be a Road Runner compilation with some metal on it.

Ben: Okay, we’ll put you to the test, you tell me.

(Ben then reaches over and pushes play on the CD player and asks me what it is)

CD Player: “Last night, I had a dream, that we went to Disney Land, went on all the rides, didn’t have to wait in line”

Punkoryan: Ataris of course!

LP: When we were seniors in high school it was that, Lagwagon, Good Riddance, NOFX, Guttermouth. That’s where our music comes from.

Punkoryan: Did you know Guttermouth were actually kicked out of Canada because of a show they played here at Louis’ for indecent exposure?

Ben: I’d believe that! [Laughs]

 

Check Out More Pictures of Yellowcard at punkoryan.com

All Pictures Copyright 2004 Ryan Jackson