THE SPITS: WE’RE NOT CUTE AND WE PLAY PUNK ROCK
The Spits are one of those bands keeping the planet from collapsing in on itself from pure shame and every self-titled album they have done—which is tons—is full of feral robot punk that will get you demoted at your job if you happen to have a job. They play Friday with Bleached, Clorox Girls and more. Win tickets here or buy ’em here. This reissued interview by the legendary John Henry.
You guys have been around for quite a while—when did the band start?
Lance Spit (drums): In the ‘90s—partly in Michigan and partly in Seattle. There’s still some people who actually fucking saw us perform on the streets back in Seattle. I just heard that story tonight. We all grew up in the same small town called Allegan, Michigan. Allegan is now the meth capital of Michigan. I know every place says that but that’s what they say. They have a sign as your coming into town that says that.
Ernie Q. Spit (keys): They have signs that say ‘Meth Patrol’—you know, like a neighborhood watch group. They have neighborhood meth groups. What is the official thing called?
Erin Spit (bass): Meth Watch—it’s a sign you see going into every township. I haven’t seen the actual Meth Patrol but…
LS: I think that’s what the black helicopters are for—I think the men in black that you hear about are actually the meth watch.
How difficult do you find it to play shows and write songs living in different cities?
Sean Spit (guitar): Very hard. But you know—we’re a family and we’ve been doing it for a long time, so in that way it’s not that hard. We’re a unit. We’re not a band—we’re more of a….
EQS: We’re not a band—we’re a gang. We’re actually more like brothers. We talk all the time. We constantly have conference calls. The thing I’m stoked about with playing at this moment is I’m playing with the three original Spits—Sean, Erin and Lance. They actually started off as a trio. It’s really cool seeing Lance part of the band again because he had quit in 2000 after the first album.
SS: He quit but now he’s back. My brother and I have seen a lot of people come and go. It’s not a style—it’s a way of life. If we put a new record out and we only sell five copies, it’s not gonna fucking end it. You know what I mean?
EQS: We’ve pretty much been the most productive we’ve ever been since Lance got back in because Sean and Erin needed someone they grew up with. Same mentality, same sense of humor. When I see them—all three together—I feel like I’m looking back in time. I’m seeing them like they were with the first album and now I see them writing this new album. This new album is—from what I’ve seen as one of the biggest Spits fans—going to be the best one so far.
And you’re recording it with John Reis from Swami, right?
SS: Some of it. It went great but there were too many complications with his label so now we just decided to put it out ourselves.
When you’ve put out records it’s always been different labels or something you put out yourself. Is that because you can’t find someone who sticks with you?
SS: We just go with whoever is the best at the moment. You know? Like our buddies Black Lips—they just went with Vice because it was a great deal. Vice really helps them out but you know—record label, record shmabel. They’re all business. They’ll only kick down while your succeeding and we also don’t have the option of being cute little fucking rock dudes. If you look at some of my favorite fucking bands—the bands I idolize like the Misfits and Black Flag—they started their own labels. SST, Plan 9—they did it themselves and they’re some of the best bands in history. They’ll go down as legends. Sometimes our friends are like, ‘Why don’t you put it out with this label?’ or ‘Why don’t you try to put it out on Vice?’ Well, you know—we’re not cute and we play punk rock. I know I’ll be around a lot longer then some of these dumb little punks. The thing about the Spits is we started playing music to play what we wanted to hear. We don’t give a fuck about anything else. It’s about what we want to do and what we want to play. People that enjoy us—right fucking on. You know? I don’t give a fuck if I sell one fucking album.
What’s up with Nickel and Dime Records? Can you talk about it or are there legalities that prevent you from saying anything?
ES: Please don’t buy that record or CD. We’ll see our day in court and we can finally put it behind us.
SS: That was out in 1995.
EQS: Dude, that was 2000 when that came out.
SS: No, it wasn’t.
EQS: Late ‘99.
SS: Late ‘99—whatever, fuck it. We’re a punk band, we play for the people.
Do you ever catch shit for that video you made—Chucky and the Spits? Where the Howdy Doody puppet is puking on other Seattle bands’ records? I saw that it’s up on the merch table again.
SS: Nah, they respect it. I mean—there’s been many brawls back in Seattle, man. Between me and my brother and a couple buddies of ours, we got all kinds of fights with crusty punks, garage rockers… Fuck, this one time at Gibson’s, me, my brother and my friend Eric took on two garage rock bands. We were the real deal and they weren’t. They came up and started shit and we called their bluff and fucking went to town. They kicked my fucking windshield out and I smeared this guys fucking face on the goddamn curb.
Every time I’ve seen you guys play, the fans are almost cult-like in their appreciation of you. They’re 100% behind you, no question.
EQS: There was a dude just tonight that hand-painted this badass poster. It was just amazing. It’s hard to describe—it’s so cool. He just made it to give to us. It was such a nice gesture. It’s of all us playing but all trippy. He had me with my spacesuit playing the keyboard with skateboard wheels on the bottom of it. It was a nice present. We get that all the time. I’m the same way. I’m still a fan.
SS: When we went on tour with the Black Lips, it was hard in a way.
People didn’t realize that those guys asked you to come on tour?
SS: Half the kids don’t know that. They don’t know our history. It made it kind of hard for us. The band—they’re killer, they rip it up, they know what they’re doing. But the fans—they don’t know, man. A lot of those kids, they’re into ‘what’s the new fad?’
Isn’t part of being a kid about being a little stupid?
SS: Yeah, I know. Shit, I used to listen to Twisted Sister. I used to listen to some bullshit but these kids… I don’t know what the fuck they want.
EQS: Probably once they drop out of school and become drug addicts then they’ll understand the music and become our fans.
SS: I think once they start drinking or taking fucking acid or something.
EQS: Wait wait wait—have Sean tell you an acid story. He’s got plenty of them. When you took a whole sheet of acid—no, more than that?
SS: I got plenty but whatever. I think what the kids need to do is to take a whole sheet of acid, do a half gram of meth, and then pack a SKS assault rifle… and lose your fucking mind, man. Then you will know rock ’n’ roll.
EQS: It’s true—he did this in Kalamazoo. His friends had to tackle Sean because he tried to shoot some people.
SS: Then you will know rock ‘n’ roll. Then you will know the extremes and what it can do and where it can go.
EQS: How else are you gonna come up with shit like ‘I H8 Pussies’ and other classic song titles?
I guess it’s just comes down to experience, right? The media’s passing off some pretty face as rock ‘n’ roll, as opposed to who really makes it and lives it. It all comes from the blues.
SS: Fucking right. We grew up listening to bluegrass, blues, country, old heavy metal—all of it and put it together. Man, you ask a lot of people today, ‘You like bluegrass?’ ‘Oh man, that’s gay.’ ‘Oh, you like country music? Oh, that’s gay! Ha ha ha ha! Hey man, you like Dio? Oh that’s gay.’ Take all that shit and combine it with, you know—fighting with a shovel with your dad. You know what I mean. Beating the shit out of your dad with a fucking shovel—that’s the Spits, baby.
L.A. RECORD PRESENTS THE SPITS WITH THE CLOROX GIRLS, BLEACHED, JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III AND RAYON BEACH ON FRI., JULY 29, AT PSYCHO BEACH PARTY AT THE BLUE STAR, 2200 E. 15TH ST., DOWNTOWN. 9 PM / $10 – $12 DAY OF/ 18+. WIN TICKETS HERE OR BUY TICKETS HERE! VISIT THE SPITS AT THESPITS.COM OR MYSPACE.COM/THESPITS.