Here is your chance to learn about new RR act Downer...20 questions asked by our very own Jamie Roberts, and answered by John and Aaron from our very own Downer. Enjoy, and if you have anything further you want to know about the band, shoot over to their website HERE and I am sure the boys will be more than happy to indulge you on their message board. TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH JOHN SCOTT AND AARON SILBERMAN OF DOWNER! 1. So, since Downer is a new Roadrunner band and the RR fans are not that familiar with you guys, please let us know who is in the band, what they play and how they came to be in Downer... JS - Our line up is Aaron on guitar, Tracy on drums, Jed on bass, and I(John) do the yelling. Many years back, Aaron and I knew each other and played in different hardcore bands around Orange County, CA. Our bands had their run and broke up. I was looking to start something new and called Aaron. He, luckily for me, felt the same way and we hooked up. We got a band together, recorded an e.p. and an L.P., and toured a couple times. We knew that we needed more and knew of Tracy from our past drummer. We called him up and he bit. AS - Jed hathaway (bassist) has been a close friend and fan of downer for many years and stepped in when it was most crucial for downer and has been a great asset ever since. 2. So how did you come up with the name Downer? JS - The name downer is actually the title of one of my favorite Nirvana songs. Off the Bleach record. It was suggested by my friend Drew, it's fitting, it's memorable(good or bad), and it stuck. Here we are! 3. How did you get signed to Roadrunner? AS - It started a few years ago at Atlantic records where Michael Gitter and I both worked. I worked in the west coast office and Mike was at the home office in New York. He had gotten our first album "wrestling with jesus " which he really loved . He tracked me down through our work and we had a relationship from that day on. i already had a lot of respect for Gitter because of his magazine , writing , & punk /hardcore back ground as well as signing some of my favorite bands - jawbox , orange 9mm , glassjaw ,etc. Downer had gotten a demo deal through reprise records they did not bite, so we took it played nxnw & a few shows for some labels . Mike came in with his viking helmet and won. JS - We were at a point where we needed to take the next step. We needed a label with the ability to market and promote our record worldwide and give us the push we needed. Growing up in the O.C. hardcore scene made us pretty afraid of signing with a huge major label. It was a very grassroots type of movement. Aaron spoke about how we got involved with Mike Gitter. the appeal of Roadrunner's street cred, hardcore roots, and current roster made our decision an easy one. They offered all the benefits of a major with the integrity of our hardcore roots. 4. What was the best thing about making your record? JS - Finishing it. No, seriously, it was then ability to step inside the studio and go through the process. Being in a studio for an extended period of time and having the ability to express your anger, frustration, happiness, aggression, love, and sadness on tape is what being in a band is all about. Recording is what I really enjoy. AS - I think I would have to say mixing, there's nothing better .though recording my guitars with mr. marlette was also pretty amazing! 5. How was it working with Bob Marlette? What kind of contribution did he make to the sound of the record? JS - Bob is the man. He took our frustrations and directed it into his vision. He brought out a lot in me personally as well as Aaron. He was quick and efficient, but, didn't stifle the creative juices at all. He brought out a signature Downer sound that has changed the entire outlook of this band. I can't wait to do another record with him. AS - Bob really crafted the entire record! He took what John and I had and really took us to another level . He brought the most out of our songs musically and vocally. 6. Can you tell us something about the bands you came up with / played with over the years? JS - I think we've played with everyone imaginable. Aaron and I, as I said earlier, were part of a very special time in music. We grew up as part the mid 80's to early 90's hardcore/straight edge/"alternative" scene. In Orange County, CA, this scene was growing at a rapid pace. There were so many great bands and such a variety of styles. We grew up watching punk/hardcore bands like Black Flag, the Minutemen, Husker Du, The Replacements, Minor Threat, Fugazi, X, Cro Mags, Youth of Today, Inside Out, as well as "alt' bands like Jane's Addiction, Dinosaur, U2(before stardom), and many others. We've had a wide range of influences at our disposal. AS - We've played with Deftones , Korn , Offspring , Neurosis , 7 seconds , Earth crisis , Agnostic front ,Ignite, Lollapalooza, Glassjaw and more. When we started off years back we shared this amazing warehouse with Korn, they played their 1st show there . I looked at John within 10 seconds of Korn playing and said "This is the best thing ever." The rest is history , many props to them. We take a little from each experience with each band and use it to better ourselves in some way. It's been a great ride so far. 7. How did you guys hook up with Pushead to do your album art? What does the art that he did for the record mean to you? AS - We hooked up with Pushead through our friend Robert Ferry (guitarist / skateboarder extrodinaire). He introduced me to Pushead when we're on a trip in San Francisco. Pushead did a lot of Bobby's bands' art as well as many of our favorite past and present bands. Pushead is king! As far as the art's meaning , it's a combination of a lot of things, the fury and tension of what this record represents in general. JS - We were well aware of his style and previous work with so many old school punk bands as well as some of the metal bands. We wanted him to come up with an icon that represented the band well. Something simple that would be recognizable as Downer. He designed our pillbug. The pillbug, to me at least, represents life and modern society as a drug. Something that you are forced to swallow entirely that could either give you pleasure or kill you. Pushead also designed one of his patented skulls for our layout that, for me, represents the "dark side" of life. He's amazing. 8. Are your songs written from a personal perspective... about your lives? Please talk about the inspiration behind "Last Time" and " Born Again" specifically. JS - I write my lyrics based on events, situations, and emotions that affect me. I've seen and experienced a lot of things in my life, good/bad/happy/sad, that have raised certain emotions in me and directed my train of thought. I believe my life in the hardcore/straightedge scene raised my political and moral consciousness to a level that only someone from that scene could understand. I write to not only open eyes and educate, but for my own therapy as well. "Last Time" is a song that I wrote while at a low point in my life. I had gotten to a point in my life where I felt I had let everyone down. My parents, my son, and especially myself. I had no money, no job, no future. I felt that life had beat me down me. I could either snap out of it or do a back flip off the nearest high rise. I chose to snap out of it. "Born Again" was written after a particularly frustrating time in my life where I witnessed so much greed, corruption, and plain meanness in my friends and in society. It pisses me off when people think that others' emotions, property, and lives are ripe for the harvesting. Our social and political climate is geared so as to train people to feed off everyone else and take advantage of others' weaknesses and fears. It's disgusting. AS - "Last Time" musically came to me as like a second wind to an old song "Boulder Dash". I liked the momentum of "the 'Dash", but it wasn't up to Downer par , so I kind of gave it a sexchange. "Born Again" musically came from a bad rollerdisco nightmare I had when I was just a boy. 9. Which is your favorite track on the record? Which is your least favorite? AND WHY?? JS - My favorite track is probably "Savior". It is about religious groups and figures that take advantage of peoples' emotional and spiritual weakness for financial gain and those people who are in such need of a crutch that they will spend their entire life savings to attempt to purchase salvation and acceptance from god. The music itself has a wide variety of dynamics that draw you in, lift you up, then beat you into submission. Kind of like religion itself. My least favorite? Probably "Punching Bag". It is about the dementia that exists in some men that allows them to look at women as meat. To actually work to gain the trust of someone in order to get close to them. Then completely disregard that trust and force themselves upon her with no regard for her feelings, her voice, or her well being. I would have liked to have spent a little more time with that one. AS - I think I like "Bi-furious" most, because that's a song that shows all of DOWNER... 10. Do you plan on touring behind this record? What bands would you like to tour with?? JS - Absolutely!!! We are hoping to have a tour lined up for early 2001. I think that touring is so much fun. It's hard work , but, to be able to travel and meet so many different people is so uplifting. You really get a good idea of what goes on outside your own little world. I'd like to tour with bands like Deftones, Fear Factory, Glassjaw, Radiohead, Incubus, Coalesce, as well as bands like At The Drive In, Linkin Park, The Scrimmage Heroes, etc. AS - Oh , definetly, I want to tour for the rest of my life so please take us with you! I would love to tour with Deftones, Fear factory , Korn , Refused, Glassjaw , Orgy, Foo Fighters , Queens of the Stone Age , At the Drive-In... 11. Do you have any advice for new/young bands that want to get signed to a label? JS - Perseverance, patience, intestinal fortitude. Build a grassroots following and promote the shit out of your band as well as your own scene. You make your own future. When looking for a label, take into consideration the people you will be working with, the labels track record with young bands, and the type of bands they have on their roster. It isn't hard to get signed if you really want it, it's hard to be successful once you do get signed. AS - Don't stop playing. you can do it yourself! Everything can and will catch up to you. so please save rock n roll! 12. How do you feel about the internet and its power to reach the fans? Since we are on the RR website, what do you think of the new design?! JS - I believe the internet is both good and evil. Good in the sense that it can be used to market your band as never before. It reaches to all parts of the world. Everyone will have access to that band's or person's message. That's what makes it evil as well. Evil because it's limits and influence are so vast and unknown. The possibilities really haven't even been touched yet. It seems to be a great vehicle. The RR site looks great!! I love the new layout and structure. I am particularly fond of the message board concept. It's always important to let the fan's have a voice. Let them express opinions and respond to others' opinions as well. AS - I love the new design! Everything looks beautiful. I want to thank all of our fans on the message board, you rule ! I think the internet is completely amazing and isn't gonna stop blowing us away !!! To know you can do anything worldwide. pretty sweet! 13. What is the most unusual fan experience you have ever had? What is the strangest music business experience you ever had? JS - I once was asked to be part of a threesome with some toothless metal guy and his equally toothless girlfriend. He volunteered his girl's services to me on the spot. I declined respectfully but had to almost run for my life when my refusal was not accepted. It was pretty bizarre. Strangest music business experience? The whole business is a strange experience. Working with Mike Gitter has been interesting. AS - Strangest fan experience would be in Virginia Beach when we toured with Earth Crisis a guy gave me his Pepsi work shirt off his back. I think he was the real life Butthead from Beavis & .. No joke! The strangest music business experience would be Mike Gitter. 14. What is in your CD player right now? What are your favorite new records from the year 2000? JS - I'm listening to Cave In -"JUPITER" right now. My favorites of 2000 are(in no order): 1.)Cave in- Jupiter 2.)Deftones-White Pony 3.)Refused- Shape of Punk to Come 4.)Scrimmage Heroes- 5.)GlassJaw!!!! AS - Right now CD-wise I have Deftones "White Pony", Girls Against Boys "Freakonica", Glassjaw "Everything...", Refused "Shape of Punk" , Failure "Fantastic Planet" , Foo Fighters " The Color & Shape" this years best records are Deftones "White Pony" , Glassjaw " Everything" , and Burning Airlines "Mission Control". 15. How do you feel about Napster? Would you be upset if you heard "Last Time" was available on Napster? JS - It is on Napster!! It doesn't really matter to most bands because, unless the band is beyond huge or have a strange contract, they really don't make any $$$ of record sales anyway. The only bands that seem to be really opposed are the giant bands like Metallica. Bands that actually recoup enough $$$ to turn a large profit. Most bands make $$$ from touring, merch, and publishing anyway. I believe that Napster is a great vehicle to hear upcoming bands, find obscure music that is unavailable in most stores, and to get your own band out to people without label assistance. Music should be free. AS - I would love it , I do love it. It's already up there!?! Napster rules! High five!! 16. Who has inspired the work that you do musically? How were you inspired to pursue music seriously? JS - I am personally inspired by a wide range of influences. The intensity of bands like Black Flag, the emotion and aggression of Husker Du, the unity, morality, and political awareness of the hardcore scene in general, and my life. Some people that have influenced me include Martin L. King, Bob Marley, Chief Joseph, Malcolm X, Andrew Traulsen, my mother and father, the L.A.P.D., Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Hitler, Gorbachev, Pat Buchanan, Tipper Gore, and many others. Some in a good way, some in a bad way. All and more have had some sort of impact on me. AS - I 've been inspired from everyone - like Dave Navarro and Billy Corgan to artists like Mark Ryden & Pushead. video games influence me , Star Wars , Pizza , all influence me. To take it seriously was Yoda and probably growing up with big influences like Zack and Tim from Rage, the Korn guys , my parents and brother and sister who turn me on to different stuff. 17. What are your favorite websites (music and non-music) and why? JS - I Love ebay!! It's kept me afloat financially for the last year!! Some I like are www.amihotornot.com , the deftones site, and spineshank have a cool site. www.mullitsgalore.com , www.newpic.com , and, www.rotten.com . Some nice, some naughty. AS - I love ebay.com , buying and selling anything. Pusfan.com for pushead stuff. revelationrecords.com, great catalog of records . you can buy downer's previous releases from there!!! markryden.com - amazing 18. Your site, www.downermusic.com is really cool - how did you come up with the design/content for that? How do you hope to expand what is on the site? AS - We took a lot of Pushead's images that he did for the album and our man @ loudside (Thom) went off! We can't thank him enough , he blew my / Downer's expectations out of the sky. truly amazing. We will have merchandise , mail list , message board ,seperate email for each band member so you contact us, as well as some other surpises!!!!! JS - We wanted something that was different from the norm. I think that the layout/design is not typical run of the mill. We also wanted to include our past as well as our present and future, so, we incorporated some old material and artwork from earlier releases. The site is constantly being updated. I've been driving Chris Misutka (our site guy at RR) crazy with my inquiries and requests. I am really excited about the prospect of a message board so our fans and haters alike can come on board and express opinions and concerns about all types of issues, both political and social!! I want to drop a couple of e-bombs on people as well. 19. What do you think of your labelmates? Slipknot? Type O Negative? Deicide? Nickelback? JS - I have great respect for all the bands on the label. MOST are the type of bands that wouldn't normally get mainstream media exposure yet have found a home at RR. They have been through the shitty tours, the rat and urine infested squats, and complete financial ruin but have kept their dream/pursuit alive. Slipknot absolutely crush. They took the Korn thing and kicked it's teeth in. I can't wait to see them live. The record is amazing. Type O are legends. What else needs to be said about them. Peter Steele is really fucking cool as well. Deicide.....whew!! Heavy shit. Nickleback.....I saw 'em play and met them. Nice guys, good record, big hockey fans. They are Canadian though.....haha!!! AS - I pretty much have great respect for all Roadrunner bands and Roadrunner in general. My favorites are Fear Factory , Slipknot , and Glassjaw. But Peter Steele wins coolest guy on the roster!!!! 20. Who loves ya, baby?? AS - we'll find out JS - you and only you, Jamie!!!!