PISSED JEANS: NONE OF US ARE REALLY IN PAIN
Pissed Jeans are from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and released their album Hope For Men on Sub Pop in June. Drummer Sean McGuinness handles this interview. Interview by Nikki Darling.
How do you feel being a band from the same town as the man who invented the department store?
I don’t know. I’m not from Allentown.
Oh, that’s right, you joined the band later. There goes my question about Billy Joel.
Are you not going to ask about our music?
We figure your fans have probably read a bunch of stuff about your music already.
Okay, what are your Billy Joel questions?
What are your thoughts on Mr. Joel?
I like that song, “Only The Good Die Young.” It kind of blew my mind when my mom told me it was about sex with underage Catholic girls. I’ve never had any Billy Joel albums though.
So tell me about Jeff The Pigeon.
That was a sweet place. It was awesome. It was a big warehouse—I know there used to be a sweatshop upstairs and there’s still a bunch of sewing machines up there. Air Conditioning rented that space to practice and another band from Lehigh Valley called Pearls and Brass was rehearsing there. No one was around there and it was just this big empty warehouse at night—it was awesome. I didn’t go to as many shows as our singer Matt went to because he grew up there. I mean—the point is that it’s not there anymore. I can’t forget that place ever—it’s so ingrained in my memory. I was in other bands that played there and the Jeans played there and I played a show there in Air Conditioning and we all played there. I don’t know, man. We would pick up couches and throw them—there’s some amazing stories but none that I remember enough to re-tell. In terms of Pennsylvania and East Coast show spaces, the Pigeon was legendary.
What is your heaviest influence?
My life is pretty heavy. Seriously, that’s an influence. I’m serious. I dunno. I like Black Sabbath a lot. I don’t think we’re a hardcore band—I don’t think we’re an anything kind of a band. We just play music. I’m not trying to say we’re artists or anything—I’m not like, “Oh, I’m an artist.” I just like to play drums, and these guys are pretty sweet to play drums with.
Do kids ever go to the abandoned steel mills in Allentown and look for ghosts?
Why’d you ask that? Did someone tell you that?
I assume if it’s a huge empty building that kids would go there and get fucked up and look for ghosts.
Allentown’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and you don’t get a lot of TV reception or radio reception, and there’s this weird theory—people think that you can’t get TV or radio reception because there are so many ghosts. That’s so weird that you asked that. Anyway, it’s like—you’re just a small town in a valley and you have nothing better to do than come up with conspiracy theories and you have all this time to do it because you don’t get reception. And people go out to the mills to look for ghosts. People think that it’s haunted but it’s just like—Allentown’s a vacuum with nothing to do and so people come up with shit to obsess over. Darts is also an extremely popular activity in Allentown.
The song ‘I’ve Still Got You (Ice Cream)’ is amazing, and what I think makes you guys so unique and powerful as a band is your willingness to be honest about life’s embarrassing sadnesses. For instance—emotional eating. That song is so so powerful because it’s the ultimate vulnerable admission—
Let me stop you right there—that song’s about ice cream. None of us are really in pain. Matt and I went swimming a lot last summer, and afterwards we’d go get ice cream. And everyday we’d get our ice cream, and Matt would be like, ‘Man, I love ice cream.’ And we’d sit and talk about life and—it’s about ice cream, man. People can get out of our songs what they want. But there’s definitely no white power in there. That’s the only thing I don’t want people to get out of it—I’m serious. For me, the entire point is that I want to be in a band and I want to play and these dudes—we like playing music and we like playing it the same way and what comes out is out interpretation and as far as other people’s interpretation… People can interpret anything they want to but to clarify, nothing in our music is about being a Nazi or hating black people. If someone wants to think anything they can, that’s just the one thing I want to make clear. If you want to think ‘I Still Got You (Ice Cream)’ is about eating ice cream and owning a pony and being a girl, that’s cool, or riding a bike or a piece of tin foil, that’s cool.
Can Matt sing pretty?
Only in the shower. He sounded pretty good.
Ever gone to karaoke together?
I mean, sure, if I’m drunk enough.
What’s your favorite thing to order in a diner?
Mile-high meatloaf usually with mashed potatoes and gravy. Or a poached egg.
A perfect quiet Sunday afternoon with Pissed Jeans?
I don’t know—when that happens, I’ll let you know. Twinkies, maybe. A big pot of tempeh.
PISSED JEANS PLAY FRI., AUG. 24, WITH DIOS MALOS, BEST FWENDS, ANTIMC AND NODZZZZ AT THE 6TH ST. GALLERY, 1269 6TH ST., LOS ANGELES. 9 PM / $5 / ALL AGES. AND ALSO SUN., AUG. 26, WITH DEERHUNTER, NO AGE, JAY REATARD, BAD DUDES AND MORE AT THE ECHOPLEX, 1154 GLENDALE BLVD., ECHO PARK. 9 PM / $13 / ALL AGES. FOR COMPLETE LINE-UP AND MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT MYSPACE.COM/FUCKYEAHFEST.