Guy Picciotto - 2003

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Guy Picciotto is one of the central songwriters/guitarists/singers in what might be the most consistently great rock group in the world.

Phish.

No, come on now! I'm simply telling a funny joke to you! Guy is actually in Fugazi. He previously served as vice-president of vocals and guitar for Happy Go Licky, where he helped increase gross revenue by 20% over two quarters. Before joining Happy Go Licky, Guy worked with musical startup One Last Wish, where his accomplishments included the establishment of a North American headquarters and significant exposure building in the channel. Guy also spent three years with Rites of Spring (NYSE: ROS), where he was credited with the invention of the now-ubiquitous "emo" subgenre. Guy's duties with Fugazi include writing songs, singing them and playing guitar while singing them.

Guy agreed to a telephone interview because he's a supernice guy who doesn't let the fact that his band IS THE BEST FUCKIN BAND IN THE WORLD(!!!!!!) go to his head. He's "down-to-earth"! He also speaks incredibly quickly, which made real-time typing a real pain in the ass, especially when three-quarters of the way through, two fingers on my left hand came loose and flew across the room, leaving "W," "E," "S," "D," "X" and "C" in dire straits. Luckily, Guy didn't use a single one of those letters in the last ten minutes of the interview. Except "sex," which he said 179 times. Unfortunately, I was unable to type those parts, but I assure you - things were getting pretty hot and heavy there for a while! Ooo la la!

My questions are in bold - Guy's answers are in plain text.

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Hello?

Guy?

Yes?

Hi! This is Mark Prindle, the interviewer guy.

Hey! How's it going?

Fine! Do you have time now?

Sure!

Okay so, whether you like it or not, you're basically considered to be the creator of "emo." And I was just wondering - why have you always thrown yourself so emotionally into your music?

Well, first of all, I don't recognize that attribution. I've never recognized "emo" as a genre of music. I always thought it was the most retarded term ever. I know there is this generic commonplace that every band that gets labeled with that term hates it. They feel scandalized by it. But honestly, I just thought that all the bands I played in were punk rock bands. The reason I think it's so stupid is that - what, like the Bad Brains weren't emotional? What - they were robots or something? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

But anyway, when I was young, I was always over the top because I was so fucked up. Not "fucked up" as in "wasted" but more mentally "fucked up". And I was really jacked up. So it came out of that. I mean, before I was in Rites of Spring, I was in a band called Insurrection with Brendan, the Fugazi drummer who I've played with in every band I've been in.. And our music was like Motorhead and Discharge and Venom - shit like that. That was what the band sounded like. And we weren't very good! But nobody was calling THAT "emo." Then when we started Rites of Spring, I guess we got more serious about what we were trying to do. But I didn't actually sing in Insurrection. In Rites of Spring, I decided to sing and that's what came out. Because when I was young, I was nuts.

Like that scene in the "Instrument" movie where you push your legs up through a basketball hoop and sing upside down while dangling from the rim by your legs!

Yeah, that era of Fugazi was weird because I joined the band in a staggered way. I joined after the band had already been playing together and writing songs for a few months. I'd always been a guitar player - I was in five bands before Fugazi and I played guitar in all of them - but I didn't see room for another guitar in Fugazi with the way the songs were. So my concept was I'd be like Flavor Flav or something; a guy who sang occasionally and played a different role, offsetting things. When we started playing shows, I was so used to having a guitar, I had to struggle to find a way to occupy myself. It's funny - that show with the basketball hoop was NOT a big show. The way it's filmed makes it look pretty crazy, but there were probably 20 people at that gig. It was in Philadelphia in a gymnasium or something. It was one of our first ten shows, and we were playing really fuckin hard. In the movie, we cut off the film before you see that I fell.

You FELL?

Yeah, I fell into the drumset. Fucked myself up pretty bad.

Good lord! So. do the songs you - when you're playing a live show and you get to one of the early songs that only had one guitar, do you put your guitar down? Or have you written parts?

We don't use a set list, but basically before we go on tour we learn every song we've ever written except a few things we can't stand. So we call stuff out to each other, and it can be any of like a hundred songs, so when someone wants to play the old stuff, I'll put my guitar down. On a few of `em we've added a second guitar. Like for "Merchandise," we added a guitar idea for me. "KYEO" is another one; we reworked that for two guitars. "Furniture" is one of the oldest songs the band ever wrote, but when we decided to redo it, we put it together with a second guitar. But for most of the other early ones, when we do them, I put the guitar down and get the chance to stretch my legs.

You said there are some songs that you're sick of?

Only two or three. And there's one we can't figure out how to play. We just never added it to our live show. That's "Polish" from Steady Diet of Nothing. And there are a few others here and there that have drifted away.

Every Fugazi fan I know feels the same way I do - that every album you put out is even smarter and more interesting than the previous one, which was already really smart and interesting. Does this sort of audience expectation ever scare you at all? Like, are you ever afraid that you won't be able to live up to your own expectations of yourself, or that you might get writers' block or anything like that?

We've certainly had that. That's why it takes us so long between albums. We are really slow. That's one of the weird things about the band; all four of us have really extreme filters. Nothing will get past us if it stinks. It's happened a few times, but we're really hard on ourselves and on each other. For each song that ends up on a record, there are so many permutations and arrangements that have been discarded. But we have a high standard. And if it ever got to the point where it just wasn't working anymore, I think we'd have to put it to bed. But what's helped is that with every stage of the band, it's gotten MORE democratic instead of less. In the beginning, Ian had written a bunch of songs so that's what was on the first record. After that, more people became involved in the writing process. First I started writing some, and then Joe sang a few of his, and now we all write and we've even added a second drummer. One thing that nobody realizes is that our drummer writes tons of the guitar parts and bass lines. He's as involved in the songwriting as everyone else. Outside of the lyrics, I mean.

I noticed that there's only a few bands on Dischord right now. Is there still any kind of hardcore or punk scene in DC?

Yeah, but I mean it's very different from what it was in 1980, when it really was contained enough to where you knew everybody and all the bands. In terms of music, the city has grown so much stylistically over the years. There are so many types of music going on. Even on Dischord, the bands have aesthetically splintered off in so many directions. So the scene isn't unified in a sonic sense, but there are still people who've lived here for fucking ever who still hang out and go to shows.

I know that Fugazi is very much into DIY and avoid the major labels, but do you - are you against other bands that do that? Like Nirvana - would you say they "sold out"? Or do you not really care too much what other bands do?

We take care of our own business. I know a lot of bands that have made completely different decisions, friends of mine too. But I'm not into other peoples' business like that, and the way they decide to run things doesn't impact my enjoyment of what they create. But for us, we're serious control freaks. I think part of the reason we've been together so long is that we work in isolation and we have the freedom to do what we want. A lot of bands I respect decide to do it a different way and the pressures put on them by the music business just fuck them up. It's an object lesson. I'm into people being inspired by the way we work, because it works. But it's not a template I think everyone absolutely has to follow. But that's me - I personally don't feel judgmental about what other people do.

Wait, you're not typing all of this, are you?

I'm a fast typer! Don't worry about me!

Oh, I'm sorry!

I tried to record through the phone a couple of times but my phone is too quiet, so. I type fast though. Of course, you talk fast too.

Yeah, I need to slow down.

Nah don't worry about it. I know I'm taking it out of context here, but what did you mean by that old lyric, "I realize that I hate the sound of guitars"?

That's funny you mention that on the heels of your last question. That song was written at that moment when all the shit was exploding for underground music. This gushing of guitar bands, marketing of guitar bands, was so obnoxious to me, that at a certain point, I just realized, "Man, I'm fuckin tired of hearing about this! It's just so pat." In a way, it's kinda perverse. I mean, you can't get much more guitar-oriented a band than Fugazi, but there I was saying I hated the sound of guitars. But it was a realization that sound has no politics - guitars have no politics and just because the guitar is distorted doesn't really mean anything. It was just an industry selling point for a little while till the next oddity strolled down the runway.

Do you still get kids coming up to you thinking that you're all straight edge and purist and everything?

There's a lot of misconception about the band. And that's what happens when you don't do a lot of press; not that I have a single regret about our avoidance of the traditional PR machine, quite the opposite, but mythologies do develop in the vacuum and spin out of control. Sometimes it's really strange - you'll meet people and you realize that they're intimidated. Like they think you're gonna knock the cigarette out of their hand. And it's such a complete distortion of reality. But it's hard to explain what we're all about and give people a full history lesson of what's gone on with us. The film helped. I think that made people feel like, "Alright, they're human beings." It gave the world some perspective, which we needed to do, because we're not on TV every day or in a million magazines.

Like in the movie where one of the band members says his sister started dating some guy who thought Fugazi all lived in a cabin with no heat?

Yeah, like that! There's still this thing where people think we live this monastic existence, and it's not true at all.

Are there any new bands you're into?

Yeah, I hear new shit I like all the time. There are some great new bands from around here like Et At It, Antelope and Measles Mumps Rubella - who all have records coming out soon. And there are bands that have been around for a long time that we have an affinity with. Like Shellac from Chicago, and The Ex from Holland who I think have been around since like `78 and they're still playing music that's as radical as they've ever been. And I like Blonde Redhead from New York. Locally, there's this kid named Mick Barr, a guitar player who's played with a lot of different projects called things like Orthrelm, Octis, Crom Tech. He's this incredible, psychotic guitar player. It almost doesn't sound like a human being could make those sounds with a guitar.

Do those bands have records out?

Orthrelm and Crom Tech do. Actually, our bass player put one of their records out on his Tolotta label and I put one out on my Peterbilt label.

What else have you put out on Peterbilt?

It's kind of a weird label. I was doing it even before Fugazi started, when I was in a band called Happy Go Licky. I put out a live EP by that band. (NOTE: AT THIS POINT, MY APARTMENT BUZZER BUZZED AND MY DOG BEGAN BARKING VERY LOUDLY, HOPING IT WAS MOMMY COMING HOME FROM HUNTING. AS SUCH, I MISSED A SENTENCE OR TWO HERE) Sometimes I put out some old archival tapes like this great band Brendan was in called Deadline.

Oh, they were on, uh.

Flex Your Head, yeah. This stuff beats any of their stuff on Flex Your Head. That was the floor I came in on - Deadline was the band I was really down with.

Can you hold on a second? Someone keeps buzzing my buzzer.

Sure.

(pause)

Sorry about that. It was a delivery guy delivering food I didn't order. (NOTE: TURNS OUT IT WAS MY WIFE'S DINNER - SHE ORDERED IT WHILE ON THE BUS COMING HOME, AND HAD TRIED TO CALL ME TO LET ME KNOW, BUT OF COURSE I WAS TYING UP THE PHONE LINE WITH GUY PICCIOTTO OF FUGAZI FAME, SO HER DINNER GOT RETURNED TO SENDER, ADDRESS UNKNOWN).

So have you put the Deadline record out yet?

Huh? Oh yeah! It came out a long time ago. It's actually out of print now. I'm thinking about reissuing it though. I can send you a list of stuff I've put out. I usually do 1000 copies of each pressing, and they come in these manila envelopes that I handcut. It's actually a fuckin pain in the ass, but they look cool!

I know you play a lot of benefits for various causes. Is there ever a situation where one member of the band doesn't want to do a particular show because of his ethical or political beliefs being different than the other members, or anything like that?

The stuff we do benefits for isn't terribly controversial. It's usually local grassroots organizations that we've been in contact with for a while. Like the DC Free Clinic, I mean we're all down with stuff like that. There have never been any arguments.

Since you're a resident of Washington DC, I'd love to hear your thoughts about George W. Bush and his War on Terror.

It's crazy, man. I wake up every day thinking it's a nightmare that has to end. It's an incredibly bizarre time. I'm very perplexed. I've always felt like there's been a disconnect between the voters and the people who run the country, but lately the gulf is getting so extreme, it's like they have complete contempt for ordinary people. What we're witnessing is explicitly true class warfare from the top down. This war is absolutely insane. So are all the weird civil rights cutbacks that have been going on. You look at our government and all the way down, on every single level, something's wrong. But hopefully something good will come out of it; maybe, it'll re-energize people so they'll get involved and active in political protest.

Yeah, but what good does that do? Millions of people protested the war and he announced - ANNOUNCED - that it would have no influence on his decision.

Yeah, he had some incredible quote. Like "I don't rule by focus groups." It's seriously like he's saying, "Protesting is fine, but it's not going to have any impact. Go over there and blow off some steam if you want to, while we just run the whole world."

So what can we do about it?

If I had the fuckin answer, he'd be out of there. I mean I don't have any blueprint of like we need to do this and this and this and it's all going to change. But feeling hopeless is easy to fall into, particularly, obviously now and I think that is a luxury we really can't afford ..... There can't be this sense that there is only one conversation going on in the world and that it is subsidized by money and power - there has to be some counter to that or otherwise we are just confirming their hustle that there is this uniformity of consensus in this country which is complete bullshit. Also, I think there are always more cracks in the system then even it recognizes. You just have to really lean on them a bit to start exposing them. Back in the 80's we would be out in front of the South African Embassy pouring red paint on the street and beating on pots and pans. Sometimes, I would have this feeling like it was just this stupid, idealistic pissing in the ocean but the thing is apartheid and white rule actually ended and Nelson Mandela, who no doubt spent major time on some State Department terrorist list, got out of prison and became president of the country! I'm not saying our midget protests in DC brought it about in any specific way, but globally speaking a lot of human weight was brought to bear and a lot of people in South Africa sacrificed themselves to make it happen and it did happen. So I mean no one knows what will come down as history unfolds so in the meantime you just have to keep adding human weight on the side of things that you think are right. And obviously, there is plenty that is not right right now.

Back to the very beginning - when Fugazi first started, was there a lot of resistance from hardcore fans who just wanted to hear fast punk rock?

The first few years of the band were confrontational on every level. It was a really weird era because you had a lot of people who - there was this weird kind of fallout where hardcore had gotten so twisted by the time it disseminated around the country, it had become just stupid and violent and it was kind of a drag. It was like going into combat, all the craziness we had to deal with back then. Like nights where you would have all these insane "Nazi" skinheads trying to smash in the front of the club. You know, all this violence over a show. It was a lot of work to go out every night to make the case for something new. In the end, it paid off, but at the time sometimes it felt like missionary work.

What is the band doing now?

We're actually kind of shutting things down for a while, because our drummer has a third child coming in April and he needs to deal with family stuff. So we're putting the band to sleep for a while. We got back from a tour of England and that was kinda the last thing we had on our roster so we did that. We had actually worked on a bunch of new music too, and made a bunch of tapes, but I'm not sure when we'll get back to that stuff. We were working pretty hard up through December, and then we had a band meeting and he let us know that he needed some time off.

What are you doing while the band is on hold?

I'm producing the next Blonde Redhead album.

Oh, you're producing?

Yeah, I worked with them on their last two records too. That'll take me through next month. Plus, the thing about our band is that even without a tour or new record, the bureaucracy of running the group always exists. And we're self-managed so most of the work kinda falls on Ian and myself. So I'll be busy just running day to day stuff and waiting on the next turn in the road.

How have you managed to stay together for fifteen years, seeing each other every day, riding in the same vans, having to deal with each other for that long without starting to hate each other? Like The Ramones absolutely despised each other by the end there!

Well, we really go back, the four of us. I've known Brendan since I was 14 or 15. I'm 38 now, so we've been playing together for 23 years. And I've known Ian the same amount of time and Joe just a little less. So we have a lot of shared history and similar frustrations. We'd all been in a lot of groups before Fugazi that had broken up. I was in five bands that I felt never reached their potential. So, I was only 22 when I joined Fugazi but still I was frustrated to an insane degree. We were all looking for a complete outlet of what a band could be.

Plus we went through all the weird bullshit right at the beginning. The first couple years, we did endless touring, like six or seven months of touring a year, and having made it through that.. It was ridiculous, it was like joining the army to go out there and do that much work in that span of time. I had been in five bands that had never toured at all. Then to join Fugazi and immediately go on a three-month tour of Europe..

Is that why Fugazi got so popular so quickly? Because you were always touring?

I don't know. Maybe that had the most to do with it. But it was an ethic that had existed since the early 80s - not just to play the big towns, but to play EVERY town. We really worked hard and took it really seriously. Our records - I've always felt like we could make a better record, but from the beginning the shows were about playing as hard as we could and making the audience FEEL something. It's weird though because the popularity thing probably peaked in '91 but we've had a really steady kind of audience for a long time. We've been around for sixteen years, and I guess there are a lot of people who are just really down with the band.

Speaking for myself, I became a fan when Repeater came out. At that point, I was in high school and I'm not sure I really would have been into something like Red Medicine or End Hits at that time. So for me, it was like I grew up and learned more and wanted to hear more challenging music, and it's almost like my interests were parallel to your own because, like I said, every album is even smarter and more interesting than the one before it. So maybe it was like that for a lot of people, they just grew up with the band.

I don't know though. Like there's that scene in the movie where the kids are ragging on Red Medicine; they were totally bummed out by it. I think of it kind of the way I think about the Beatles. In 1964, they looked a certain way and sounded a certain way, but within two years, EVERYTHING about them was different. Sonically, their clothes, they way they looked - And I imagine that a lot of people at the time didn't know what the fuck was going on. But they were just responding to the changes of being alive. That's how bands work. If you're not genre-defined, and you're reacting to reality, then the music is going to change as your life changes.

Plus, I imagine that after playing the same songs over and over on tour, if somebody comes up with a new song that sounds like the stuff you've already done, you're probably like, "Uggh! No! Do something different!"

Yeah, we always want to do something new. But certain things are built into the sound. We can push against it, but - the craziest thing about our band is that we're all pretty limited as to our actual skills. Except our drummer, who can play any instrument. We're working as hard as we can, but we're not virtuosos. We just have a discipline to push ourselves as hard as we can.

It's like what a friend of mine said - "Every Fugazi album sounds different, but they all sound like Fugazi." It's like you're not afraid to completely change your sound and make it jazzier or slower or weirder, but somehow it always has this Fugazi feel to it.

Well, we've been kinda learning how to make records. We tried to produce ourselves the whole time but for a long time we didn't know what were doing. It wasn't until around Red Medicine that we finally felt comfortable with what we were doing. We were so used to playing together as a live band but in the studio nobody took the reins. But we eventually figured it out. The idea was to - our first few records had a stiffness about them that bothered us. Over time, it became easier to feel spontaneous. The weird thing with records is that you only get to make a few. Playing live, you fuck up one night and its bad but so what? It evaporates. But if you make a bad record, it haunts you for the rest of your life.

Are you happy with all of your records?

(NOTE: AT THIS POINT, MY DOG HEARD A NOISE OUT IN THE HALL AND BEGAN BARKING REALLY LOUDLY, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. SO I MISSED MOST OF HIS ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION). I don't know, I never really listen to them. I actually went back and listened to our first CD recently and it was like JESUS! I couldn't believe it was recorded in a basement!

Have I taken up enough of your time?

Dude, is that your dog?

Yeah.

Wow!

He's upset because my wife isn't home, and he keeps hearing noises out in the hall that he thinks are her. It's okay though - we live on the fifth floor which is the top floor, so we don't hear noises all that often.

What kind of dog is it?

A German Shepherd mixed with a Greyhound.

Oh cool!

Do you have a dog?

Nah, I have a cat.

What kind of cat?

A fat as hell cat!

Nice! Okay, here's my last question. The whole thing about breaking up. I know a lot of people thought you were going to break up when you called your album End Hits. But for me, it was a lot earlier, when I bought Steady Diet Of Nothing on vinyl and saw where you'd scratched "Don't worry; this is the last one" in the inner groove. What was that all about?

It's almost like a joke. Like that was just some - I forgot the exact reason - we were so toasted and feeling so fatalistic by the time we finished that album. It was just like dark humor - "This piece of shit's the last one." But we didn't mean for End Hits to sound like we were breaking up. There's other stuff too. People always come up to us and say, "Hey, I hear this is gonna be your last tour!"

Why?

I don't know! I guess people expect DC bands to break up really quickly so they keep waiting for us to have some kind of fall out. It's been tough - the last few years especially as people have gotten older and had kids. But we kinda work in the moment and set up parameters to work around. It's not gonna last forever, and at some point we know it will fold. But I'll tell you, there have been so many times when I've thought, "Okay, this is probably gonna be it," then another ten years go by. So we just keep on rolling and see what happens.

Cool! Well, thank you so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it.

No problem! Thank you!

Okay, have a good evening.

You too!

Reader Comments

shoushou22@madrid.com (Karla)
Thanks for the awesome interview. Fugazi's my favorite band, and I'm always interested in what the members have to say. I was especially glad to hear Guy's opinion on Bush's reactions to war protests. Otherwise, it's a little saddening to see that Fugazi will be pretty inactive for awhile, but c'est la vie. In the meantime, I've got to remember to check out some of those Peterbilt releases!

By the way, you've got to be one hell of a fast typer.

jputh@wf82.com (Jonathan C. Puth)
Hey, that's a great interview with Guy Picciotto. Thanks for doing it and putting it up. I enjoyed it.

drazy@gatecity.com
Good interview! I was blown away at the Rites Of Spring album, Guy's work with Fugazi, and even liked the last Blonde Redhead album he twiddled the knobs on. That makes me a longtime fan, I guess... One thing that I wouldn't want to discuss with Guy is his take on politics. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I remember Guy contributing a lot of his efforts to the Nadar campaign in 2000, under the pretence that the Corvair hating "outsider" would really make a difference. And what a difference he did make! Thanks to Guy's efforts, and thousands of other political "progressives," they directly contributed in G.W.B.'s election victory. "I'm very perplexed." states Picciotto about our current political climate, but I'm perplexed at why he is. This is exactly what real progressives feared would happen if Bush 2.0 got elected: aggression, environmental dismantling, right-wing judicial nominations, chipping away at a woman's right to choose, cutting funding for our country's public schools and numerous examples of giving hand-jobs to extremist Christian lobbyist. I'm perplexed why an intelligent person such as Guy would swoon under the rhetoric of an "outsider" like Nadar who viewed himself as a spoiler, even when he clearly understood that his campaign would give a free boarding pass for a candidate that stood polar opposite of Nadar's supposed convictions. Ralph Nadar clearly demonstrated that his campaign was not about the issues that he "believed," but instead it was all about his own ego and the fact that he, with less that 5% of the public vote, was the spoiler of the 2000 election. Disagree? Take a look at Nadar's comments to his supporters during his "concession" speech.

"This war is absolutely insane. So are all the weird civil rights cutbacks that have been going on." No shit?! For someone who lives in D.C., Guy acts like he was the last one in town to ever figure out that Ashcroft would get the nod as Attorney General when anyone with an iota of common sense understood that Bush had a special position for Ashcroft if he failed to beat a dead man from Missouri.

Guy adds: "hopefully something good will come out of it; maybe, it'll re-energize people so they'll get involved and active in political protest." Sounds like something strait out of the Green Party campaign book: let's let the worst candidate get elected and that will somehow light a fire under the idea that a third party candidate can actually get elected tomorrow. Here's a better idea: if you're not digging what the Democratic Party (or Republican for that matter) is doing, then galvanize a group of people at the local level to push your beliefs upward and change the ideology of the party itself? For fucks sake, the Democrats are so disorganized now I think Dischord's roster could easily manage a complete overhaul of their local political party headquarters. The Christian Coalition didn't just suddenly find their voice in the Republican party; instead they got their twisted members to form a grassroots network and pushed their values up and got their ideology elected. Ronald Reagan, who rarely attended church, noticed their political clout and then started to position his rhetoric accordingly.

And while it would be easy to suggest that Jeb handed his Bro Florida, the reality is that if 5,000 Floridian Green Party voters actually used their head instead of their hearts when casting their ballots, we wouldn't even be living in an environment of "complete contempt." I know this because I voted with my heart too: In '96 I voted for Nadar under the notion that my protest vote would signal that I didn't like the shades of grey our two party system was demonstrating. With that in mind, I understood that 1.) Clinton would landslide anyway and 2.) there wasn't a slight chance of some right-wind retard nominating a Supreme Court justice (which, Ralph, has more power than any corporate contribution). "I wake up every day thinking it's a nightmare that has to end." The problem is, Guy helped create the bad dreams of our current political state. He said it best in that old Rites of Spring song: "And if decisions cause divisions tell me who's to blame?"

Other than that, Guy, you fucking rock...

bfixico@vaecorp.com (Neb Fixico)
Bravo. I found your site by accident. I'm glad I did. Wonderful interview. I am now a new fan of this site. Gotta go...more to read.

jsimon@san.rr.com (John Simon)
Thanks for the interview. Fugazi has been my favorite band since 1989 and I sure hope that the songs they have been working on make it onto an album. Funny thing about "Polish"... I love that song, but I guess I'll stop hoping that they will play it when I see them.

Also, I am a conservative (as in Republican) Fugazi fan. A contradiction in terms?... It shouldn't be. One thing that I don't understand is why all of Fugazi's fans (as well as music fans in general) think that just because Guy or whatever star may be a flaming liberal, that it is cool for them to be one too. Wouldn't they all be more rebellious and independant anyway if you guys went against the grain of your crowd? Can't you all see that Bush has waged a war on terror to enable us to live in and raise our children (including Brendan's unborn child) in a safer, more peaceful world? Don't you think that human and civil rights should apply to all of the families in Iraq that, under the evil rule of Sadam for decades, have been denied such rights and the freedoms that we enjoy?

Of course it is a shame that people have to die for peace and freedom, but these things are worth fighting for! This does not mean that I am pro-war. Only an idiot would be pro-war, but only an idiot would fail to recognize that war is sometimes necessary to rid the world of greater evils (nazis, fascists, communists, terrorists) that threaten the existence of innocent people. I am so thankful that we have a leader who is strong enough to do what is right, rather than swaying with the breeze. We just have to look beyond today and take in the big picture.

Guy's political comments make me sick, but their music isn't about the political issues of the day... at least not to me. I think that anyone who looks to uneducated musicians or actors to be their political voice is looking in the wrong place. What is really important is that Fugazi is truly a great band.

FYI - While waiting for new music from them, I have been listening to At the Drive-In a lot lately. They were independent for several albums and then put out there last one on a major label. All of their stuff is really good and you will hear Fugazi's influence.

Thanks again.

PS - Drazy, does the gatecity address for your e-mail indicate that you are from SF? If so, no reply is needed. That explains everything.

tapiad@seattleu.edu (Daniel Tapia)
Great interview, Mark! I like Fugazi but I'm not sure if I'd call myself a fan, but why I'm writing mostly is to address the previous comment, by one John Simon, relative to the matter concerning Guy's political views, as well as political comments in general. First off, I can't tell if this guy is kidding or not with his admiration for the Bush administration; supporters of Bush are kind of like myths I hear about sometimes but very rarely ever hear words from. Whatever the case, I can't let certain words go without a response, so here's my two cents, even though most people that read this will probably agree anyway, being that Mark's writing style isn't *ahem* very conservative--which is great though!

Being conversative I guess isn't bad in and of itself, and I don't like to classify myself as a liberal or whatever, I'm just a guy that feels awful a good deal of the time to know the world is going to shit and we have people like John Simon backing a mad, war-monger cowboy. And you might say, "well, that's just your opinion too", but come on, we all know it's the truth.

Like honestly, why do you back Bush? Why back any politician? Do you realize that like a very small percentage of people run this country--the most powerful nation in the world--and without even commenting on how a great deal of them are not very bright (and they aren't) do you realize, anthropologically and sociologically speaking, centralizing a wealth of power to a main core and trying to diffuse it out DOESN'T FUCKING WORK? There's a reason every city-state civilization has never lasted a substantial amount of time--cause the dynamics of power don't work that way, and they sure don't work well by focusing power and influence among a bunch of ignorant rednecks. I'm so sick of all this fucking bullshit.

Freedom? We're doing this for freedom? What does that word even mean anymore? We live in such a postmodern age and no one wants to admit it! Think about how bizarre life and all the world is right now! It's cheesy to say, but we've come so far with technology and so many advances but look at how ludicrous things are--we go bomb the shit out of another country to find weapons that aren't there--we do it against the law basically all in the name of "freedom"? Bullshit. I hate these people that still have an idealized version of that word and of America; I could maybe see it back in the 1940s and 50s but the dream is dead--after this war; after 9/11 there's no going back and anyone to deny that is a moron. It's like, fuck, how do you think we're such a rich country? Could you say: exploitation of other countries? This is all simple logic. We've basically become an imperial monster and nobody is doing anything about it! Well, certainly many are, but the core media is too busy giving blowjobs all day to the government to address the truth. This is an age where you HAVE to go to the alternative media to find the real truth because everything else is made nice and friendly and turned into a good guy/bad guy scenario (kind of like how St. Paul fucked up the story of Jesus and made it, as well as the bible, nice and user friendly). Fuck, there NEVER were any GOOD guys and BAD guys--and ESPECIALLY in this day and age we just can't think about it anymore. Everything is so postmodern! Look at the shitty media, our shitty television shows with "reality tv"--at least a decade ago we at least TRIED to have shows with plots--now it's all about voyeurism and things are so filled with irony and postmodern elements but no--we still have jackasses actually thinking the word "freedom" still means something; that there IS still meaning when there's NONE.

Going off and killing innocent people and a few "terrorists" while we're at it won't stop ANYTHING and if you watch the mainstream news and all that stuff, yeah, I'm sure you'd love Bush because all those networks are busy sucking his cock. None of those tools during all of this "war" had the balls to say how fucking ludicrous this all was. We use these words of "peace" and "freedom" but no one knows that they even mean anymore. How free are we? How free are we when like 5 I think major corporations dictate the dynamics of power; how free when a small percentage of people are making decisions for all of us; how free when we have a sanitized media making everything seem okay and nice and fun and going on watching stupid fucking shows and stupid fucking hollywood movies that still idealize conceptions that have been dead for YEARS--the dream is dead and has been dead and I'm so fucking sick of all this bullshit. The world is going to shit and no one is doing anything about it. In my lifetime I'm going to see serious shit go down in our country with the way things have been going and it's scary. We can't go on like this; it just won't work and hasn't been working and I don't know how the collapse is gonna happen, but I know historically, sociologically, anthropologically speaking, IT WILL HAPPEN (that really scares me!)--and Rome wasn't built in a day and it wasn't destroyed in a day either, but we will be destroyed eventually because of our own petty ignorance and I can't stand anyone fucking dumb enough to talk about "fighting terrorism" or the "bad guys" or "freedom"--we live in a postmodern age and it's stupid to deny that anymore, so anyone believing the dream--that has been dead for years--and being really content getting fed spoonfuls of bullshit from the media and our moronic "leaders" can go fuck themself.

And by the way, it's not protection of the innocent, but protection of the ignorant that's the truth of the matter. Innocent--us? Try more like corrupted fat ignorant pigs. Before commenting on musicians who you call uneducated to be discussing political matters I suggest listening to something other than NBC news and backing a supposed leader who is dreadfully dumb, not to mention probably sociopathic given the hard-on he seems to have when he talks about war. And by the way, like I said, I ain't no liberal; I like to think of myself as having common sense. Anyway, great interview and thanks for letting me have these words.

l.shabazz@comcast.net (lillie shabazz)
I'm just learning about Fugazzi, loving them though. Mark, that was an awsome interview, I was excited to learn a little more Fugazzi history.

I also want to add that when 9/11 hit, this country had a golden oppertunity to make a leap in consciousness---instead it decided to war.

Also, from what I can see (and I hope it's true) this government is totally out of sync with it's people. But hey, that's nothing new.

I also wanted to tell Tapiad right on. Thank's again Mark for hipping me to a little more Fugazzi.

Peace :)

indsever@gmail.com
I just wanna kill your dog, and thank you and Guy for the interview!

fishpaste35@hotmail.com (Berny M.)
Great interview there with Guy P, Mark. The world truly needs a new Fugazi record. It'll not make the world safer to live in, but our ears and brains will thank us for getting a new Fugazi CD. Daniel, I'm with you. Lillie, the world indeed needed that leap in consciousness - seems that humans have stopped evolving. We're now going back to the reptiles. I will never be made to understand how ANY nation can bomb their way to peace.

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Pandas Rushing Into New Delhi, Last Easter