August 23rd, 2007 | Interviews

dan monick

The Fuse! released their Fisherman’s Wife LP in 2003 on In The Red and broke up in Arizona the next year. This will be their first and final show since. They speak just before practice in Santa Fe Springs.

What were the final ten seconds of the Fuse! like?
F-1 (drums): Quiet. Very very quiet.
F-2 (guitar): Very tired.
What was the magic question that made this show happen?
F-2: It was more like a very slow process. Something that just kind of got talked about, and then the guys from the Explosion were coming out to do their last show.
F-3 (bass): What made the process long was we had to search the FBI files for Mars.
F-2: I’m not an easy character to trace. I don’t leave a trail. Just follow the empty rum bottles.
Was it hard to re-learn the songs?
F-2: It was pretty surprising. I don’t really listen to the record—if I’m drunk, you’ll catch me doing an a capella here or there.
F-3: I put down the bass since the end of the band.
F-1: There was rust on your fucking case!
What was the first song at the first new rehearsal?
F-2: ‘Fire In The Hole.’ It was transcendental. Ask us questions where we talk shit on people.
Are you banned from Spaceland?
F-2: I banned myself. It’s a boycott—boycott that shithole. They said you’ll never make in L.A. I guess we’ll just make it in Echo Park instead.
What’s the worst change in L.A. since you broke up?
F-2: The best part is getting free drinks.
You gave me that same answer three years ago.
F-2: I’m pretty much still just getting spoiled rotten.
What’s the most boring show you’ve ever been to?
F-1: The Sads at Family. I was bored as shit.
F-2: Jesus and Mary Chain. They looked lame, they sounded lame—I wish I would never have went to that show. I went home and listened to my records to try and erase that dirty feeling from that night.
What was the total casualty count of the Fuse!?
F-2: Like people being hurt?
Or feelings.
F-1: Feelings? So many. A trail of tears.
F-2: There are clubs that still have holes that we created. Places mirrors used to be that aren’t there any more. Neon signs that aren’t there anymore.
Any graves you want to spit on?
F-2: Spaceland is one of them. There has to be at least a couple more clubs I still don’t go to.
F-1: Silverlake Lounge.
Any of our other advertisers you want to complain about?
F-1: They can take it up with us if they got any problems.
Why would anyone ever have problems with three sweethearts such as yourselves?
F-1: The thing with bands in L.A.—I’m kind of glad we broke up after one record. Seemed like we kind of proved a point.
What point?
F-2: Of not becoming what we hate. I think for every person who’s made a career out of music—there’s no honest way to be in a band and make a living. They had to shit on somebody or walk all over someone—name any band that made it and never stepped on somebody? Come on, man!
F-1: Or that had some huge compromise—for what?
Free drinks?
F-1: Which we get anyway.
F-2: Not to make it seem ungrateful—it’s great when it’s three years down the line and the bartender still recognizes you because of one of your shows. That’s love! You don’t get love by shitting on other people. I think a lot of bands don’t have many friends because they’re always shitting on people.
F-1: We never overstayed our welcome. Like a good houseguest.
F-2: And we never tried to be trendy. The music still sounds so fresh. Through the years, I became better at playing my instrument, and I was surprised at how simple some of the stuff was. Like Kraftwerk—or the blues. It’s not what you play—it’s what note you don’t play. By not playing so many notes, we withstood all these trends.
What was the worst trend?
F-2: Emo bullshit.
F-1: Dance punk.
F-2: Rich kids dressing like they’re all fucking poor, and poor kids dressing like they’re rich!
Did you read that review that said you dress like Paul McCartney circa 1966?
F-2: Stupid! See, man—at that time, people just didn’t get it. People like that need to exist to make other people look smarter.
What is the purpose of this one-and-only show?
F-1: The last show we played was at the El Rey, and that wasn’t really a show we’d play on our own. And I guess enough time went by—people started getting nostalgic, or maybe just bored as shit by all the shitty bands in L.A., and for one reason or another, we got hit up for a last show. And we were happy to do it.
F-3: To finally fucking bury it.
F-2: And the timing was right. I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing songs that are no longer a part of me anymore, but I was recently going through some things—I feel like they were foreshadowed by a record that came out years ago. So I wouldn’t feel stupid doing it. And in three years, I noticed how many people who got into the Fuse! never seen us play. Like friends of the friends of my sister’s friends. All kids that never saw us—it’s for them, too.
What kind of damage did the Fuse! do to you?
F-1: I have many physical and emotional scars. I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m glad I’m in the band because it helped—in a lot of ways—shape who I am as a person. Like there’s been tons of personal growth.
Maybe you could hire out to life-coach people.
F-2: Like a reality show? Boot camp with the Fuse!? ‘What are you talking about you can’t drink twelve shots? I’ve done it before!’
F-3: I always wanted to be in a band and I always wanted to put records out. And I did it. I can do anything.
F-2: We had such a strict ideal and we still went as far as we did. And that’s an accomplishment in itself. There are bands you read in magazines like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about? Have you heard your own album?’ I look back and I see nothing but positive things. If you got negatively affected by the band, you probably brought it on yourself. The negativity itself is like a positive—like, ‘I got hurt at your show, but fuck! It was the best shit I’ve ever seen!’
Are there any L.A. bands left that have those kind of strict ideals?
F-1: I don’t think so.
F-2: I think in the black metal scene. There’s no bar codes, everything is so underground, you can’t have things with colors on them, and everybody is so supportive of their scene versus that other scene. I started buying their CDs through mailorder—something I haven’t done for like ten years. They’re the not opportunistic careerists people are when they form even the most grassroots punk band—so many bands, no matter how grassroots, still romanticize ‘making it big!’ Except these black metal bands—they don’t play live. They think that’s rock star posturing shit. I find a lot of inspiration in that.
And they kill each other and eat brains.
F-2: Yeah.
Which is real commitment?
F-2: Or just super-super unwavering love for what you’re doing. Those guys are not hypocrites! Maybe I don’t agree with everything they do, and they do use a lot of negativity in their lyrics, but it’s even more philosophical—satanism in a philosophical way. I’m completely atheist, and I don’t believe in it, but it’s really intelligent. Their interviews are really articulate—English isn’t even their primary language and they really eloquently express their thoughts.
What’s it mean that you have to look all the way to Norway to find something that inspires you?
F-2: Maybe I’m jaded. I still pull out an old Jawbreaker record. I still like old stuff.
What American town will never forget the Fuse!?
F-2: Fargo. Because it was so detached from anything the other bands were doing. Or whenever there were three hours of trees on the way there, chances are they were gonna be pretty, ‘What is this?’ Towns where you pull up to pump gas and they already look at you like you stole something. I like it better when crowds are difficult.
F-1: Like they’re vibing you the wrong way—heckling but not a cute Locust heckle. Like they’re out to get you.
F-2: You know in two seconds. There are people who get affected by the vibe and people who are gonna affect the vibe—you wanna turn the vibe to your favor! ‘We’re not gonna play the cute songs tonight! We’re gonna play ugly songs, and get too drunk, and not do shit right! And if you’re lucky, you won’t get a pitcher off the top of your head! And we get paid and you still have to go to your shitty jobs tomorrow! Fuck you and shit! Go to your shitty house and get in your shitty bed with a bunch of blood still coming out!’
Didn’t you once fool away some cops by telling them you were a jazz band?
F-1: The first time we went to Portland—I was driving around looking for parking and we had stolen all this booze and guitars and amps from San Francisco.
F-2: If we don’t get paid—
F-1: —we take shit for ourselves! And we tried to pawn it in Berkeley. We stole all this booze, finally made it to Portland, and dropped shit off—
F-2: And we stole a fire extinguisher, and F-3 fell on it when he was drunk, and the whole van was covered in white dust!
F-1: Neither the first time or the last time!
F-2: All I could see were his legs in the rear-view mirror and an explosion and shit! He got up and looked like a 9/11 survivor—wearing a suit, covered in dust, and that weird look on his face, like, ‘What happened?’ That shit hurt—stung our sinuses. I felt like we were caught in a riot. We had to go to the car wash and vacuum that shit off.
What would your criminal specialty be if you weren’t in a band?
F-2: I’d be a crazy burglar and break into people’s houses when they were still inside.
F-1: Like home invasion?
F-2: No, I saw on TV—this guy who would go steal silver in upscale neighborhoods. He’d get doors with panels on the bottom and take them out, and not only that, he was was a dog whisperer—if dogs came up, he’d whisper and they’d leave him alone. The greatest burglar of all time! I have nothing but respect for that guy—if I could choose one person to be in another life…
That was a more detailed response than I thought I’d get.
F-2: This guy was like a size seven, and he wore size ten sneakers to make police think he was bigger. The next time I break into a house, I’m wearing big-ass sneakers!