This one was a bit lucky really. I contacted Jonah, the singer from Far, regarding an interview, as Id done a few previously with him for YAZ. He told me to turn up at Rock City and theyd see if they could sort something out. So when I did, there seems to be someone from the label doing things officially. Ugh, never done things, officially before. Dont actually think I have since either, but thats not relevant here. So they check the list, and voila, someone has cancelled, so theres a free interview spot. So, along with someone else from somewhere else, I get led to the tour bus for my 20 minutes alone. Well, apart from the fact that Jonah will be doing the interview with the other bloke at the same time. So I settle down to chat with John (bass), and the initial elements are to make sure that everyone one the bus is able to hear their own interview over the other interview. So hopefully we wont get any quotes from Jonah creeping through that seem to have no relevance to what Im talking to John about. Because if they do, well it means its the answer to one of his interview questions. Ah, youll figure it out as we go along. Im hoping to anyway. So move that playstation out the way, and grab a seat.
As we ease into this interview, a few things become apparent. One is that Id tailored the questions towards Jonah, and of course, Im interviewing John. I made the same mistake with Tura Satana, I must remember to come up with general questions. So, as usual, it means reverting to more off the cuff. The other thing, is John comes across as quite reserved. Shy maybe. As if he knows its usually Jonah or Shaun that takes the interviews. Or maybe he just sensed something about me. Whichever way, it takes a little time for things to warm up, but bear with us on this one ok ....
Ok, well, as Ive said, some of the questions were more tailored towards Jonah, but one of them was that the last time I did an interview with him, he appeared very excited about the release of Water & Solutions, so the obvious question I guess is how you feel now that it actually has been released.
In a way, for me, it feels like its been out ever since we finished recording the album yknow. Just because Ive heard it so much, it was like thats how its come out sort of thing he laughs. It was just like, whatever. But I guess now Im glad that it is finally out, because I know a lot of people have been waiting for it.
Well, I dont know if youve seen any of like the UK reviews of it, there seems to have been quite a bit of good press about it. And I was wondering if there was one review, or one thing that kind of justifies the making of the album?
Yeah, I think there was a review in, where was it he asks himself, Holland, I think, and it was something like 100 / 100. And I was really kind of taken aback by that. When I see reactions to it like that, and stuff like that, its kinda like .... he trails off humbly. Because to me it was like I was not always pleased with the whole project in general, I think towards the beginning, and now coming out of it, Im not really prepared for that if like the whole world loves it.
You said then that you werent fully taken by the project in the beginning.
Well I guess what was weird about this recording at the time was we kinda just got in a room and got some ideas. We were kinda pressed for time, and then eventually it doesnt come out for a year, so we wouldve had time anyway he laughs. So theres kinda lot of ideas that were not anything and a few that for me didnt have time to work themselves out, cause thats the way weve always worked. We write the songs and then we play them a lot and finally figure out what we dont like and what we do like. And so we kinda just had these songs and went in a recorded it and in general that whole process I didnt really like that much. But once we got into the studio and started working with Sardy our producer, we were really just like walked in there not knowing what really we were doing, just doing the song. And I was like, this sucks, cos we dont have any songs. We were just grabbing ideas. As it turns out a lot of them were really good. So a while it was very hard to think that what we were doing was going to be really cool.
One of the reviews, Kerrang! described Far as the best band in Sacramento, and that the Deftones were the second best. I also did interviews with Incubus and Human Waste Project and they were all talking about Far. Does that peer support mean anything to you.
Its cool he ponders, I guess if we are the best band in Sacramento, the people of Sacramento dont really think that he grins. But no, its really nice when people say that. It can be a little frustrating sometimes, you know, if were the band we think we are and some people seem to like us, theres all this going on, and then you think yeah, but who the fuck is actually listening to us? Its cool to hear that though.
Do you think that with this album youre beginning to turn the corner.
It definitely seems that way. It seems like theres a lot more positive mood this time around, like the reviews and stuff.
The next question I was going to ask was maybe aimed more at Jonah. Last time you were over here on the Deftones tour, Jonah was doing his daily tour diary, and it came across as like a person living a dream. Did it feel the same for you?
Yeah in a way. There was an element that you felt like you were in another world. Ive always wanted to come to Europe and to get to play with the band is a bonus too. I never actually read any of his journals, but it was really exciting for me. Its like, this time that Im here weve been to a lot of the same places, and this time Im not quite as excited about it. Its kinda like, here I am again. But Im actually pretty psyched that were able to play for a lot longer this time. We get a day off tomorrow.
You get a day off this time? Yeah, we actually get a few days off, but the whole, after being here once its not quite the same, but its still cool.
Do you get chance to actually enjoy the time, or do you just end up in situations like this?
Well like today, I got up today, I usually wake up early about 9 or something, and just kinda sit back here, watch the countryside and stuff. Theres lots of sheep.
We dip into a little warning to watch it, what with me being Welsh. Have to explain these things to Americans yknow. And besides, you dont want to go down that road do you? Oh, you do? Well, you must have a bigger fixation with sheep then than us Welsh are accused of having.
But it was just like nice to take in the countryside. And like today, I got up and took a walk into town, got some breakfast. Just walking around all day and it was really cool. A lot of the stuffs the same, but its just different. Everythings more compact, and its different enough that the most simple things interest me. Like the market that was down there. They have that in my town, but it was like cool cos its in England.
Do you find that the crowd reaction is any different here to in the States?
Yeah, I mean we actually in the States havent been on an tours that have been packed, yknow, big shows. And here so far weve been on two. And the kids seem to get real crazy. And there seems to be kids that drive hours just to see bands and so theres like a passion for the music. At home Ill open up the newspaper and therell be like 12 clubs just having bands play. I never go out to see bands really, people are kinda spoiled.
Do you think this might be a by product of the MTV generation, or is it that theres just so many bands out there.
For the most part right now, MTV and radio in America is killing bands like us and basically good bands. Theres a lot of good bands on radio, but a lot more bad bands and people grow up with MTV and the radio in the car, what they hear is what they like. A lot of it sucks, so I guess thats part of the reason why they are not interested in the scene and going out just to see music.
Is there any bands out there in the States at the moment that are impressing you?
Uh, theres a long pause. I get the impression the answer is no then?
Um, well I havent really gone out and seen a lot of bands, so ... but we played with this band called Creepin Lagoon (I think) and they blew me away. But thats the last band in a long time that did that.
Do you think theres a lot of bands at the moment that are falling into the trap of trying to sound like Korn and that whole sound?
Yeah. Is that evident in the States? Its like everywhere. Its kinda like, I dont know how it was over here, but when Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains came out, those copy bands were everywhere too. And theyre still around, Days of the New. Theyre pretty popular in American. Its the same thing, something gets popular and you get the copycats. But theyll soon disappear.
Ok, another of those it was aimed at Jonah questions. Again with his tour journals, when he was sending them out, he was always ending with a quote from the Jack Kerouac book On The Road. And I was wondering if the book was inspirational or there was just the relating to life on the road. So, do you have any thoughts?
Well, Ive never actually read the entire book, I read a few chapters and was really into it. It is just totally on the road
Do you read anything that does inspire you?
Well, I only read things that Im interested in, and I think I got a bad introduction to reading at school. But there are a few books that I like, and that book was into, but he was reading it, so I had to give it back. But Pete Towsends biography. Nothing that educational.
So does that Pete Townsend rock excess still continue today do you think? Would you like to be a part of that.
I think everyone, whether they say the dont or not, wants to. I know I would. Those guys, they got banned from chains of hotels, thats rocknroll yknow. I think its partly out of sheer boredom yknow, I want to throw that TV out the window just to see what would happen.
Do you think that the longevity that they have had as a band, and say The Rolling Stones, will be repeated, or do you think the industry has changed.
Well, I think it can and has, but, theres lots of different rock styles around now. Like I was listening to the new Fugazi, and to me, this is a band that is going to be like the Rolling Stones, but on a different level. Theyre doing everything, they didnt need MCA or whoever.
I was wondering about the longevity of record label support, and there Fugazi are on Dischord which of course was set up by Ian MacKye anyway.
Thats what I mean. Theres bands like Pearl Jam who are still putting out albums on major labels but are still doing it a lot on their own terms. And theyre a band I respect a hell of a lot as a result of that. Theyre still doing pretty good music. But its hard with all these bands that are out there that want to do that. I think bands like that are the ones that are really going to go the distance. Theyll do tons of records that are all going to be like fucking great, they (Fugazi) are the only band that has not made a bad song. To me. Theyre not dancing to anybody.
Do you think Far have it to achieve a similar sort of thing, in terms of putting out consistent records.
Id like to, but it kinda seems like were always going to be under pressure to come something. Like if people expect us to do something melodic, we just want to do something that we believe in, like we always do. Theres the pressure, like if you made an album thats brilliant or whatever, like 10 by Pearl Jam. And the second one, nobody got it, but they believe in it.
Well I personally preferred it to 10.
Yeah? Well looking back on it now, those two are my least favourite ones. Their second one had some not bad songs on it, and since then theyve always had some weird songs on the albums like "what the hell is this?". But its really hard to build up to where you were when youre new and youre fresh. You cant be fresh all the time.
A bit like you said about returning to Europe really.
Exactly. And you have to get people to be really into the thing and understand what youre about to be able to stand there and appreciate the music and the songs.
I think that at the end of May youre down to play the Dynamo festival. Apparently there can be up to say 100,000 people there. Have you any thoughts on playing something which can have crowds of that magnitude?
I have no idea what to expect. Were playing that festival and then some others.
How does the idea of playing in front of 60,000 people appeal.
Actually for that many people it just doesnt seem real. Especially when a lot of those people just dont have any idea who you are. So I think Ill just try and rock out with the band rather than try and make some kind of connection with someone who cant even see me.
Do you like that crowd then where you can see them and almost interact or do you like your own space. Like I saw the Mighty Mighty Bosstones recently, and there were so many stage invasions and divers they had to stop the gig a few times.
I dont really enjoy barriers, but I think they need to be there. Its kinda funny, I enjoy having people be right there in my face but I dont enjoy it when people are just jumping up like its a diving board and theyre interfering with my monitors and stuff. Thats the only time I really get angry. Its like ok, stop now, thats enough. But I mean places like this are great. Its big, a lot of people can fit in, but its still not arena, its still a club. But anything over 1000 people its a little weird for me. But I guess Im probably going to have to get used to it. But as of right now, I like the smaller crowd.
Which is a cue for me to start off ranting about arenas and the hell holes that they are for watching a gig. The nicely allocated little slot that is yours and yours alone. Ah, you know how that particular record of mine goes by now.
To me now, when I go to see gigs, Im not trying to get MY spot like I used to. I like to sit back and be able to watch from not too far of a distance, but to be able to watch whats going on. I remember going to see Rush when I was like 10, and I was in the rafters, and that just sucked. But like they had the lazers and stuff, so it was kinda cool. But when it becomes like watching an opera or something its kinda a pointless exercise.
My first gig was Donington where there was 108,000, and its hard to top that in some ways. But now, I like to see the bands in small places. I may not be down in the pit moshing and whatever, but I still like to be close enough to see everything. The last time you were here, I was right at the front, and there was a guy next to me who seemed to know the stuff, and Jonah spotted him and held out the mike for him to sing on Love American Style. And I was terrified that it would be passed to me, and I cant sing and like (I imitate a choke voice, squealing, you know, youre worst nightmare where you make a total prat of yourself in public) would come out. He laughs.
I cant totally remember the last time I was right at the front for a show. I think the last time I went up front was with Chris (Far drummer) when we went to see Pearl Jam when Vs came out. And they opened up with the song Oceans from the first album, a really slow song, and we were working our way up to the front, and we were like about 50feet from the stage, which is pretty close in this big auditorium. And I thought I was going to die, it was sooo bad. I lost my hat, I was going under the crowd coming up. I really love that band and I wanted to get close to them, but I couldnt. And that bummed me out a lot, and I know it did Chris as well.
The label rep person type thing stuck their head onto the bus while that answer was coming from Johns mouth, but I decided to spare you the interruption. Nice of me huh? Anyway, what that tends to me in shape up and ship out people. In other words, its the cue for that oh fuck, how do I end an interview question. So how about plans for the rest of the year?
I heard possibilities of a tour with Will Haven.
Us with them? That would be cool but Im afraid I dont know anything about that, so I dont really have any answer to that.
And with the ultra fast turnaround under which this zine operates, youll of course know that they didnt return here in October with Will Haven. So we can put that one down as a bit of a rumour methinks. Also, since this interview occurred, rumours are around that John has actually left the band, though at the time I was actually getting around to finishing typing the thing, Far were taking a break. Who knows? Time will tell. But if it's true, Id just like to say that this interview didnt drive him to it. Honest. It may not have been the greatest one ever conducted, hey, none of them are, but hopefully it wasnt bad enough to convince him to go.
But lessons to learn. Two quiet people on tape make for hell when playing back and typing. Think of back up questions just in case youre intended victim, er, interviewee isnt the actual one. And dont take 6 months or more to type an interview. Also, cheers to the various web sites Ive, borrowed, images from. Who knows, I may even start trying to take my own pictures soon, instead of just taking others.