After No Doy, you mentioned that you wanted to bring new sounds into the studio for the next record. Was that a conscious thought that continued through to when you started making this album? Were you like, “We’re going to do things that aren’t necessarily moe,” or did it just kind of evolve into that when you were in the studio?
It’s not so much as when you’re writing the song, but after playing it a lot of times, you hear parts other than what everyone in the band is playing. You hear a piano, or you can hear strings. You hear different sounds that definitely add to the vibe of the song.
Like the strings on “Plane Crash”?
Like the strings on “Plane Crash.” It’s an epic tune to start with and if you add that element it pushes it over the edge.
There was also some talk about adding a keyboard player. Is that something you’d be interested in doing? I know Al said it would clutter things up too much.
It would definitely add to the band, but it would also detract from some of the elements that we already have going. There’s too much that everybody’s trying to accomplish already. We’ve had great keyboardists play with us in the past. There are two that I’d consider — friends we’ve met and played with along the way — but no. I think we already have musical density.
Al also said that the band considered adding one when you quit for a bit. When was that?
It was before Headseed, back in ’92, I think. I quit for a number of personal reasons then realized I couldn’t live with out it, so I begged the guys and they let me back in. They told me that my punishment would be that I’d have to play an entire show in a speedo.
And have you done that yet?
No (laughs). I think they forgot. They’ve probably let me off the hook by now, though I’m sure they’d love to see me embarrassed like that.
Hey, what happened with “Waiting for the Punchline?” Did that ever get considered for the album?
It was, but it needed too much of an overhaul. We didn’t have the time to work on it, and it didn’t really seem like a good option to do it half-assed and not be happy with it. But we’ve since re-done the tune.
Are you happier with this newer version?
Our new version came out very well. It makes more sense. It’s not quite as spastic as it was. There’s definitely a jump to it where it changes gears, but not as much as before. And we’ve lost the reprise section where we really blow it out, which is really fun to do but it’s not necessarily something that we really needed.
There seems to be a loose road theme on this record.
Oh you noticed that, did you?
Yeah, duh Was that a conscious decision to create that thread?
You write what you know.
So it wasn’t like, “We’re going to put all of these songs together and we want to keep the road theme going?”
Albums tend to be much stronger if they’re cohesive, and it is cohesive in that way (lyrically), but it wasn’t so much a concerted effort from us to do that. When we were choosing the songs, it was a voting process. The ones that ended up on the album were the ones that we felt best about.
Do you think the album is cohesive musically?
Yes. In a lot of different ways. No Doy got a little genericized from the production gloss that got added later. We used a lot of the same equipment for every song. We got different sounds, but the basic elements were included on every song. Tin Cans, on the other hand, is a little bit more diverse. We got into changing amps in guitars and effects, just trying to get to the essence of the song in many different ways.
Yeah, I remember when I was in the studio with you for the JAMtv webcast, you had lots of different guitars there, lots of different amps, types of percussion, etc.
Yeah, you gotta have all the toys there. So if you’re inspired to do something you just do it. If you have to think about it too much or track it down, it’s gone. If you have everything there, you’re like, “Oh my god, I could use that monkey wrench on the conga and it would sound great!”